Detoxing, doggie day care and a lot of liquid.

LittleBird

On Monday all I ate (well, drank) was juice (well, liquids).

I kicked off this week with a detox cleanse. That right ladies and gentlemen, I got suckered in. Despite previously rolling my eyes at the idea of starving yourself for one, three or five days, and questioning how it could do anything other than make you hangry. This one seemed different.

Firstly it was organized/supplied by my favourite rawesome (see what I did there) café in Auckland, Little Bird Unbakery.

Sidenote: This place is amazing, I am completely besotted and since my last review (here) I have re-tried the dreaded green smoothie and now have it multiple times a week because it has completely grown on me. And I’m pretty sure it does good things for my insides (and who doesn’t want that).

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Also adding to its plus sides was the salad waiting for you at the end of the day (yes, actual food). The idea of this cleanse is to in no way starve or deprive you, so you do actually get to eat (woop woop), and they say that you should listen to your body and if you’re feeling hungry during your detox day, you can (nay, should) eat. It also comes with a recommendation and heaps of information from resident Little Bird nutritionist/naturopath, Nellie, in your box of goodies (to help guide you through the days post detox).

Finally (and probably the biggest plus) was how fresh it was. No matter how many days you choose to do, each drink is prepared for you that morning (no exceptions) and can either be picked up or delivered to you. Other cleanses I researched into had you receiving five days worth of drinks at once – I don’t know what is preserving those babies (or how you’re meant to fit it all in the fridge), but I don’t want a chemical filled detox.

So, after picking up my box of drinks (plus salad), I was subject to a day of lots of peeing, excessive drinking and a damn good mood. The drinks vary from juices and smoothies and you’re provided with heaps of info on what each little glass bottle contains along with when is the best time to drink it (i.e. before exercise or first thing).

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It felt like I was continuously drinking (literally from 830am to 830pm I’m pretty sure I always had something in my mouth – dirty jokes aside), and I learnt that I am a very slow drinker, but I loved it and I felt amazing.  Meant as a rest and recharge for your digestive system I felt full of energy throughout the day (even more that my actually food-fuelled self), and never even thought of snacking.

This option is a little more expensive than others, and there were definitely people who scoffed at the $110 price tag (no mum you totally read that wrong, it was actually way cheaper than that, just like those new jeans…way cheaper), but I believe that everybody has their thing.

Some people will drop wads of cash on designer clothes, they will buy into the brand, the ethics and the culture of what they wear. They will inspect fabric quality, poor over fashion magazines and pay that bit extra to dry clean the things they love.

Some will buy their beloved pooch the gourmet pet food and splurge on doggie shaped waist coats for dearest to wear to animal day care on the day of “class photos” (yes, that’s a real thing).

Some with spend up large on GPS watches and waterproof shoes to wear on their latest adventure hike that they hit up after sweating it out in the bikram, but before they take their new shining mountain bike (fitted with GoPro – obv) to Woodhill.

And some will spend every cent they have on going to restaurants to try degustation menus, they will read up reviews and painstakingly rank where they want to try next (in order of deliciousness). They will seek out organic produce, farmers markets and refuse to grace their pantry with anything other than free range eggs.

The problem with me is, I’m kind of every single one of these people (or at least I would be if I actually had a pet).

I tell myself I still get a better deal of it than someone who loves an extreme sport like skydiving. But that’s probably a lie.

What’s not a lie though, is how amazing I felt come Tuesday morning. And how much I would totally do this cleanse again (whilst kitted out in my designer clothes, puppy in-tow, after my hard core yoga sesh – duh).

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Mondayitis

HATS

Not to brag, but I’m gona brag a bit, I get told I look pretty good in hats. In fact, I look so good in hats that I didn’t even realise it was a thing to not suit hats until recently. The problem I find, with all these hats that look so damn good on me, is I never have an occasion to wear them!

I have hundreds (that may be a slight exaggeration), cable knit beanies for winter, classic floppy hats for beach trips, cute vintage boaters, bowlers, a 60s style helmet hat and even a cowboy hat! But they only seem to come out at very specific (and very few) moments in time! I’m pretty sure if I acquired one of these magnificent headpieces, it would be different.

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I would wear it all the time, at any and every occasion. Heading to the beach? Gotta grab my sarong, bikini and Lack Of Color* hat, and I’ll be there. What’s that you say, Winter is here? Never fear, I have my trench and LOC hat to keep me toasty. Best friend getting married? I’m sure my pastel LOC will go great with any (and all) wedding outfits. Work event? Who needs a statement necklace, I’ll pair my ball gown with a statement hat! Suffering Monday morning blues? Well, I will sweep that bad hair day out of my eyes and cover it with my magnificent, oversized, perfectly simple and effortlessly chic Lack Of Color hat.

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And even if it wasn’t different, it would be the same, but I would own a damn cute hat. That’s enough to fix anyone’s Mondayitis.

*Dad, I can literally hear you wincing from here, but I can’t help it if the company has misspelled it in their name! We can totally forgive them because they make some damn good hats ok? Ok. Good!

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All images from the Lack Of Color website.

Perfect paleo breakfast (and any other meal you like).

Here in the Fashion Fitness Food household, mornings can be tough. Once you’ve dragged yourself out of bed at some ungodly hour to do a morning workout, the last thing on your mind is putting in the efforts it can take to make a healthy conscious breakfast. When we are feeling good (and by we, I totally mean the boy) we’ll whip up some poached eggs on spinach, or some incredible Spanish style eggs. However, when we don’t feel like getting our cook on, we have been stuck.

Enter this amazing recipe for a completely paleo friendly, quick and easy cereal. Bam.

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The initial process can take a while, especially since I tend to make mine en-mass. But do be patient with it, because when 7am rocks around and all you have to do to satisfy your rumbling tummy, and your primal lifestyle, is pair a bit of this with some almond milk, you will be laughing.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cup Almonds
  • 2 Cups Cashews
  • 1 Cup Hazelnuts
  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • ½ Cup Brazil nuts
  • 1 Cup Sunflower seeds
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin seeds
  • 4 Cups Shredded Coconut
  • 3 Cups Coconut flakes
  • ½ Cup Chia Seeds
  • ½ Cup Linseeds
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Powdered Ginger
  • ½ Tbsp Mixed Spice
  • ½ Tbsp Nutmeg
  • ½ Tbsp Cinnamon

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Preheat your oven to 180 (on bake).

Firstly you need to roughly chop your nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts and brazil nuts). You can mix up, take away, or add to this list of nuts, it should just be whatever you like (also the quantities can vary depending on your favourite nuts/how many you have etc, the above are just suggestions).

Once you have chopped these, its time to roast! I tend to roast them in the order above, individually putting each nut-sort in the oven for 15 mins or so. But I do keep an eye on them, and smaller nuts will take less time.

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Repeat the above with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but keep these whole.

Put both the nuts and seeds in the blender and pulse a couple of times (don’t go over board, this is just to get a more cereal-like texture, not a powder).

Now to toast your shredded coconut and coconut flakes, this will take less time than the nuts and you will need to watch these in your oven so they don’t burn. I usually put these is for 5 minutes, then take them out and stir them a little, then return them to the oven for another couple of minutes.

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Combine all your coconut with your (slightly) blended nuts.

Add the (un roasted) chia seeds and linseeds

Lastly, mix your (almost complete) muesli through with some vanilla powder and your favorite spices (I like ginger, mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon).

Pop this into an airtight container and whip out tomorrow morning!

I love this with berries, almond milk and a spot of tea for breaky. But it also works as a tasty crumble style topping on fruit for dessert, or even just on its own as an afternoon snack – ahhhh perfection (if I do say so myself).

Not-so-fun runs and runners code.

Skechers

On the weekend I ran Auckland’s sculpt 6k fun run.

I find the notion of a fun run so hilarious. It’s like someone decided to chuck a nice word at a nasty word and hope people wouldn’t notice. Like tasty cockroach, thought provoking Adam Sandler movie or honest politician. People aren’t just going to stop after the first word and think “that’s sounds grand, sign me up”. Or do they?

I suppose I did.

I know what you’re all thinking, “how can she be bagging running when she does it so often? If she’s a runner, she should love it. Right?” Wrong.

I’m going to break runners code right here, right now. The worst bit about running is actually getting out there and doing it. For those 60 minutes before a race (any race, 6k, 8k or a bloody half marathon), you kind of want to punch yourself for entering. (Hell, 60 minutes before just general non-race related running you don’t really want to get out there.)

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Even when you first cross that start line it sucks at first. Until you get into your grove, and you’ve got your fave song going (and the opportunity to pack it in has passed) it is crap. And then you have this wave over you, you kind of sit back (whilst running- don’t ask me to explain that) and realise that you ARE doing it. You are actually doing it. And no matter what your brain tells you about going faster, or harder or even winning, it can’t possibly fault you for trying. Because you’re there, and you are doing it. That is the moment that makes it all worthwhile.

That and, of course, when you cross the damn finish line! Bliss.

So, for all you newbies, (or maybe some experienced runners trying to get back in the game), stick with it through that lying in evil first word…. Fun it won’t be. Stick it out till you get to that second bit. The run. When you get there it will hurt and it will be hard, but it is so rewarding that you don’t need the fun.

Helping me get across that line on Sunday was my brand-spanking-new Skechers GOrun 2’s.

I’ve talked before about how much I love my Skechers runners, they are the shoe that eased me from novice pavement pounder to seasoned(ish) racer. Their vast range of performance shoes is bound to have a style (and a colour combo) to suit, so check them all out here. (Or, if you live in Auckland, go to the new Skechers store in Westfield St Lukes – opening this Friday!)

Now, after all that complaining about un-fun fun runs, I must say, I loved my sculpt experience. I may have starting way down the back of the pack (and it did take me 5 entire minutes to cross the start line), but was quickly in my stride and even smashed a personal best finishing up in 34 minutes.

Not bad for pre 9am Sunday activity.

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HealthySelf ladies and Sam from Move Eat Play, image from Move Eat Play’s Instagram.

Mondayitis

Sass&Bide

I work right smack bang in the centre of Auckland City. It’s a plus when I want to buy lunch or do a spot of Christmas shopping on my break (yes people, it’s gearing up to Christmas already – time it get ready). What its terrible for is when I am trying to save money (always) and when pretty shops open up a stones throw from the nine to five (always).

Sass and Bide (swoon) is the latest fashion fave to have landed in Britomart, and has therefore become my go to stop for lunchtime wanderings. I’m pretty sure the shop assistant thinks I’m crazy (she would be right), and I’m yet to take my relationship to the next level and actually try anything on. Like a classic commitment phobe, Im terrified of falling so head over heels that the (rather high) price tags will seem dim in comparison to my lust and I will skip every paleo meal, social occasion and stop using power to make sure it’s mine.

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The other reason I’m yet to take that step? I can’t pick! Do I fancy that architectural metallic skirt? Or how about that cropped jacket? Maybe even the graphic tee and matching palazzo pants? Um, duh…I want it all! (Me? An only child? However did you guess).

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To cure my Monday morning blues (and every other day this week it seems) Im heading down to Sass and Bide to dream of a closet dripping with the sequins, lingerie, and billowing jumpsuits that I will never have. To touch the boyfriend jeans while the sales woman isn’t watching and to mentally sell all my belongings to fund my budding new romance.

I think it’s true love.

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Cheese puffs, (not) paleo cake and Hank.

HeartHealth

There’s a guy in my office (lets call him Hank*) that finds it hilarious to suggest everything is paleo.

Cupcakes come out for morning tea? Hank will chime in “they’re paleo you know”. When it’s somebodies birthday and cake is on offer, Hank grins and says “hey bel, cake is paleo”. And when its 6pm on a Thursday and pizza rocks up for the crowd working late, he’ll holla to me, “this pizza is definitely paleo”.

Hank not only thinks he is the most hilarious human being (he’s not), I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m completely bonkers.

And, it seems, there are plenty of people like Hank who can’t get their brains around the idea of eating how we used to (a long, long time ago).

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People get self-righteous about the way I’m choosing to live my life; they believe it’s unhealthy. My explanations of what I do and don’t eat are usually met with raised eyebrows and gasps of “but grains are healthy”.

Although this frustrates the hell out of me, I see where they’re coming from, because, we’ve been told that they are just that (healthy), for quite some time now.  In fact, the New Zealand Heart Foundation has only just (this week) updated their ‘heart healthy’ food guide, since the introduction of the food pyramid 1992.

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The above is the new suggested way of eating to keep your ticker in great shape. And heeeeey, look at that, good old grains have been knocked from their top dog spot, and fruit and vegetables have taken their (rightful) position as king of the food castle.

It is only a small step, it’s quite a victory for all us on the caveman train. A plant-based diet with a side of protein is what we have been banging on about for a while now. And although there are some significant improvements (can I hear a woop, woop?) from the pyramid we had shoved down our throats at school, much of it is still doesn’t sit quite right with me, or the wider nutritional community. (Namely – the positioning of whole grains and starchy carbohydrates in comparison to meat, protein and healthy fats.)

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But, instead of being a killjoy, I’m going to bask in the joy that a step, however small,  has been taken in the right direction (oh, and do a little boogie). Maybe it will inspire people to question why there has been a shift and encourage them to take their own journey in discovering what foods give them a more fulfilled and healthy lifestyle. Or maybe they will just plod along and do what they bigwig tells them and swap the potatoes on their dinner plate for carrots once and a while. Win, win.

But you know who doesn’t win? The funny guys who chow down on multiple cronuts and lashings of pizza whilst making jokes at me for having a strong stance on what I choose to put in my body. Or the people who laugh and think that I’m the crazy one for the way I eat whilst munching on cheese puffs the colour of no cheese I’ve ever seen.

What is the world coming to that I am the nuts one in this situation?

And yes Hank, nuts are paleo.

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*His name is not Hank. Because nobody would really be that mean right?

Crotch less panties, Liv Tyler and the men in your life.

Lonely

I remember the first time I watched Empire Records (a classic 90s movie you should probably go and watch right now if you haven’t), and during the scene where a young Liv Tyler takes off her clothes I wanted to have a freaking party. It wasn’t because she was bangin’ (although she was), it was because she was wearing mismatching underwear. Bring on the streamers, balloons and banners that say “hell yeah, REALISM”. Because it takes a super special occasion for me to think about wearing pants that match my boulder holders, and it takes an even specialer occasion (yes, that’s a word) for me to consider buying a set.

There is a part of me that thinks only grown-ups wear matching bra and briefs. It’s something you do when you iron your socks or even simply learn to put your freshly laundered delicates in a draw rather than in a crumpled heap on the ground. (No, mum, I most definitely don’t do that*.) And I’m not ready to grow up!

But there is something about Lonely Hearts lingerie, in the latest collection (pictured) and all the ones before it that makes me want to be one of those strange ‘together’ people. One of those crazy adult things.

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I once went to a party where everyone got drunk and stripped down to their underwear (no, mum, I most definitely didn’t do that**). Now imagine if, in that moment of vodka fuelled madness, I’d been wearing a pair of Lonely Hearts underwear rather than some faded ‘Wednesday’ knickers (it was Saturday) and a ill-fitting polka dot bra. My life would probably be completely different now***.

Lets be honest, these babies aren’t really everyday wear. Or at least they aren’t for people who need hefty support (although this season they have introduced an underwire to some of the cuts). But what this impeccable collection of underwear does do is give you a sense of sophistication, creativity and fun. You magically feel playful in the unusual colour choices whiles also feeling mature in whimsical lace and interesting styles.

Gone are the days of nylon red bras and crotch less panties that are bought by men, for men (well actually for women, but usually women don’t want them much) and make you feel tacky. Because this underwear is undoubtedly sexy and will leave you feeling confident, beautiful and just a little bit flirtatious.

And that’s what you (or the men in your life) want out of underwear right? That and an actual crotch.

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*Ok, that was a lie.
** That was also a lie.
**Or it would be the same but slightly less embarrassing to admit to the blogosphere.

Mondayitis

KW

Those who read my blog often (hey guys, welcome back) will know that I have a very large place in my heart for New Zealand designers.

One of those Kiwis who has set up permanent camp in the patriotic part of my heart is Karen Walker. I’ve talked about her a lot in these pages and she is probably the most internationally recognized designer we have here. And I am glad we have someone a little different and very confident in her own style out there, representing us (sort of).

But it isn’t just clothes getting Karen’s love a t the moment. In the past she has dabbled in jewellery (and still does), and I think she is really good at it. I often prefer her bling to her dresses (shhh, don’t tell anyone), but now she has just come a long a changed the gam on us again… finally Karen Walker Home wares have landed in New Zealand.

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There have been selected pieces of KW ‘home’ stocked in Australia, through David Jones department store for a couple of years now. But I have been ignoring them to avoid the inevitable (wine assisted) late night purchase of pillowcases with a side of staggeringly expensive shipping.

But now they are here! So I don’t have to be drunk. I can make sound pillow purchasing decisions during daylight hours (at my favourite shopping spot, but also my bank accounts least favourite weekend activity, The Department Store).

Honestly, I’m a complete geek for being quite as excited as I am about this. Especially since I’m in super saver mode and things like duvet covers and cookie cutters are definitely out of the question.

So, I will look at these pieces and play a game of Ikea App (yes, I totally have that downloaded despite not actually having an Ikea in this country) in my head and place these beautiful items in my life (in my mind)…. I will make cookies to match my rings and bike to the French markets so I can buy things that aren’t sticks of French bread (because that’s so not paleo) to put in the wicker basket, then head home to fall asleep between spotted sheets.

All in my head.

Damn, life in my head is so much better than a Monday morning.

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Korma by the boy.

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I’ve had a few attempts at making korma before, but it never lives up to what you can get at your local Indian restaurant. Unfortunately, that is likely due to your local Indian restaurant going heavy on the cream and sugar, something I wasn’t keen to do at home.

Thankfully, courtesy of the creamed cashew nuts that made this cheesecake so good, you can get the creamyness needed without a bottle full of double cream. Add in a versatile curry base of fried garlic, onion, ginger and chili and your sweetness can come from sweating out their natural sweetness, rather than a few tablespoons of processed sugar.

Feel free to switch up the meat and veges. I haven’t tried this with red meat yet, but I’m sure with a bit of marinating, you could make a lamb korma to rival that Indian restaurant down the road.

Like with the cheesecake, the smoother you can get the cashew nuts the better. However if like me you can’t afford a Kenwood FP980 and your food processor leaves some granules, then don’t fret. You can always strain your creamed cashews and return any residue to the processor for another go if you want it super smooth.

As I mentioned before, the base for this curry is very versatile. You could make a large batch of it and once it is all fried off, let it cool and chuck it in the freezer. It can then be whipped out when you need a delicious, rich curry in a rush.

INGREDIENTS

Cashew Cream

  • 1 Cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • ½ can coconut cream
  • ½ cup vege stock

Curry Base

  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled, cut into chunks)
  • 6 good sized cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 red chillies

Spice Mix

  • 2 Tblsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 Tblsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp Tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (more if you want a hotter curry)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Other

  • 400g chicken (thighs or breasts) cubed
  • 1+1/2 Tblsp Tomato Paste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cups vege stock (you could also use chicken)
  • ½ can coconut cream
  • 2 large carrots (cut into half rounds)
  • 1 head or broccoli (cut into small florets)
  • 1 ½ cups of peas

Garnish

  • Toasted cashew nut pieces
  • Coriander leaves
  • Natural yogurt
  • Lemon Juice

 

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INSTRUCTIONS

Put the cashews and almonds to soak in the vege stock and coconut cream (I try to do this the night before, but an hour plus is fine)

Place the curry base ingredients (onion, ginger, garlic, chillies) in a food processor and blend to a paste. If it is too dry and not combining properly, add a small amount of oil.

Heat some oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the pureed paste and fry for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly to stop it catching on the bottom. You are looking to brown the paste, which will add a nice depth of flavour.

While the paste is browning, add the cashews, almonds and their soaking liquid to the food processor and blend for several minutes until smooth.

Also while the paste is cooking, dry fry the coriander seeds over a high heat, tossing regularly, until browned. This helps to bring out their oils and flavour. Grind the seeds to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add the remaining spice mix ingredients.

By this point the curry base should be nicely browned. Add the spice mix to the paste and stir to incorporate.

Turn the heat up and add the chicken to the pot. Fry, stirring regularly, for 2-3 minutes to seal the chicken.

Once the chicken is sealed and slightly browned, add the tomato paste, lemon juice, vegetable stock,  pureed nut mixture and remaining coconut cream. Bring this to the simmer and then add the carrots. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli, simmer for another 5 minutes and finally add the peas and simmer for another 2 minutes.

(You can choose whatever vegetables you like really, just add them at different times depending how long they take to cook. I often use green beans and cauliflower as well)

By this point the sauce should have thicken a bit. If you want a thicker sauce, you can either continue to simmer, or add small amounts of almond meal to get the desired texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat, dish into bowls and garnish with toasted cashews, coriander leaves, yogurt and lemon juice.

Make sure you save some for tomorrows lunch!

NB To make this paleo and vegan, simply skip the yoghurt on top.

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Mondayitis

Because the personal achievement of running 21ks all in a row is kinda quite damn big for me, I dedicate today’s post to it as well. Now that all those drug like endorphins have worn off and I’m left here with nothing more than cripplingly sore thighs, I’m a little blue.

I’m blue that Auckland is one of the only half marathons that don’t get some sort of medal.

London, Melbourne and Amsterdam half marathoners get a token when they cross the line. Hell, San Francisco peeps get a Tiffany & Co necklace!! And these are all just to name a few of the numerous places that celebrate their half- achievers.

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But no, us Aucklanders have to be tough and realise that if you only make it half way, you don’t get the gold (or bronze, or plastic, or whatever the actual marathon medal is made of).

It reminds me of a rule at my childhood dinner table, mum used to tell me to “eat half your plate or there is no dessert”. Except that I ate half my plate. It was only just half but I bloody well did it so give me my dessert *shakes fists viciously*.

So, to beat my Monday morning funk I did what any independent woman (nay independent PERSON) would do, and I got my own ‘dessert’.

‘Dessert’ in the form of drop crotch leopard print trackies. Because those burning thighs I told you about earlier, they could do with some love too.

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Whether you have run 21k, 2k or 0k I recommend these bad boys for some seriously chic comfort.

However, if you’ve run 41k you can just stick to your hunk of metal.*

Do you think I am bitter much?

*If you have genuinely completed a marathon, I’m in awe and you should probably own all the worlds drop crotch leopard print everythings. No hard feelings eh? Except from me – obv.

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