Cuppas, confusion and Miranda’s ankles.

BodyIssues

I was recently having a cuppa with a friend of mine, and that horrid female ritual started taking place in which we constantly degrade ourselves. We started listing off the body parts we didn’t think were perfect like a scene from Mean Girls. Usually, unfortunately, this behaviour washes over me, and despite having found a fairly happy place over the last 12 months with my figure, who I am and the way I look, I’ve come to join in with these negative self talk sessions as it seems the done thing.

Bad Bel. *Slaps wrist*

But this fateful day, the conversation took a turn I wasn’t expecting. My gorgeous friend, who’s recently started running, began complaining about her thighs. More specifically about how running was making them fat.

Now, my fellow internet dwellers, this statement confused me.

I looked to her and said “that’s muscle, your thighs are getting muscular because you’re running – thats good!”. Alas, she didn’t seem to see the difference, and began throwing around phrases like, dare I say it, “thigh gap”.

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As I type this I still sit here dumfounded. I believed that, as a society, we were taking the right steps into encouraging health and strength over sickness. But maybe my world has just been taken over by fitness inspo and I can’t see whats right in front of me.

As women, as people, there are pressures on us all to look a certain way, and I am the first to admit (especially working in an industry that idolises celebrities and models alike) that we can let ourselves occasionally wish upon a star that we did in fact have Miranda Kerr’s ankles, or Beyonce’s flat-as-hell stomach (I mean – come on). But I draw the line at wishing ourselves weak.

Strength is the most beautiful and empowering thing. In all its forms. Don’t look at your toned thighs and complain that they don’t resemble stick insects, be glad that they can get you from A to B without you crumpling into a heap. (Because I seriously watched an episode of Americans Next Top Model the other day, and there was a contestant who’s legs were so freaking thin that she actually struggled to walk in heels because they were too weak.)

I try my hardest to give my body what it needs and deserves. I move lots, I eat well, I guzzle water and I’m starting to talk to it right. (Yes, I talk to my body, I’m an only child ok – I had to learn to adapt).

I know it can be hard, and I know we are fed a lot of crap about fitting in. There are entire industries out there that are bred to tell us we have to be skinny. But I am telling you, you have to be healthy. And that is all. (And hey, I am the most important person ok? So ignore all those other guys.)

Try (although it can be very hard) to find your happy place. Mine, if this helps at all, is a post workout glow sitting in front of a big ol’ bowl of scrambled eggs. I am not going to pretend that I always love the hill sprints and mountain climbers, my happy place doesn’t kick in until well after burpees are over. But it is the satisfaction I take from having given myself (both mentally and physically) something that it needed.

Sorry guys, this post got a little emotional. But I guess, when it comes to my friends, and how they view themselves, it can be tough not to jump on the couch (Tom Cruise style), pointing and shouting “F**K you, you’re incredible, if you loved yourself half as much as I do, you would punch yourself right in the nose for telling your body off for doing what it is meant to”.

It’s been a bit of a friends appreciation week all up in here. And yes, threatening to punch people is my way of appreciating them.

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Mondayitis.

MondayBaggu

One of my best friends just went back to school. Even though I still have plenty of friends at university and that doesn’t sound weird to me, going BACK to school does, It fills me with notions of apples for the teacher, badly fitting (and hideously ugly) black lace ups and culottes. (Yes, I went to an all girls school and they MADE us wear CULOTTES. Pure evil I tell you.) I’m not sure why these things pop into my brain, because she isn’t actually going back to high school, she’s heading to uni. She is however studying to be a teacher, so maybe I am, like, visualising her future? For her sake, I hope not.

I’m so unbelievably proud of her. It sounds silly, but before her recent decision to head back to the books, she was on a one way highway to corperateville, and decided to about-turn, heading back to school to learn how to teach and sculpt the minds of kiwis kids. And, she is utterly perfect for the role. If, dear blogosphere, you ever end up in little old NZ and your munchkins are taken under her wing – they will be in, officially, the best hands. I say this, and she is only a week in. Thats how sure I am, even if she may not be, that this is the best one way ticket for her (and it’s totally not even one way, because she has JUST proven to everyone, that if you don’t like your lot – you bloody well stop whinging and change it).

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Needles to say, she is the Charlotte to my Carrie (Sex and the City reference people – catch up), so before her first day, our conversations where filled with what to expect, how to prepare and (most importantly) what to wear.

It was in one of these (many) conversations that I happened upon my latest obsession – BAGGU. Um, how have I missed these guys? In their own words, BAGGU “makes simple, high quality bags in many bright colours. They’re durable and fill many uses so you can own less stuff”. I’m not sure I am sold on the less stuff thing (I’m quite fond of my insane collection of, well, things), but other than that, it sums them up well. These guys just make damn good, no fuss bags. You should probably get one, or three.

Top of my list has to be the Drawstring Purse in camel. Or black. No, both.

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I think bags, unlike shoes, are one of the few accessories that benefit from perfect simplicity. Keeping your bags to impeccable cuts, fuss free shapes and classic lines can be the maker of an outfit. It can take your high street styles and give them an expensive looking edge (even if the bag wasn’t spendy at all). Let that statement necklace, stiletto boot or printed jean do all the shouting and keep your holdall quiet, but beautiful.

FYI, my friend opted for a Basic Tote in Mahogany and it is a gorgeous choice for the ultimate in school bag chic. It definitely wins over the first school bag I ever saw her with (we met when we were 12, so I’m pretty sure that one shoulder, red velcro number was the bees knees back then).

I don’t really deserve to have Mondayitis, because it’s Auckland anniversary weekend, and all I am doing is sitting here drinking excessive amounts of tea and watching the Grammys live (go Lorde – NZ represent). So all I hope for this monday, is that THAT amazing woman (and her perfect sophisticated-but-still-hip-with-the-cool-kids-bag) gives herself a day off, ready to hit the ground running tomorrow for week two of her next insane adventure.

That and umm… a Drawstring Purse (both colour ways), Backpack (in fig) and a Duffel Bag (chestnut) . Yeah, that too.

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Early mornings, five minute prone holds and a bit of fangirling.

BootyCamp

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a while now, I have been getting up at some god awful hour and trying (key word: trying) to get my body moving in the form of booty camp. No, you didn’t misread that, and no it wasn’t a typo – there is in fact MEANT to be a ‘y’ on the end of the word booty.

A while a go I introduced you guys to Sam Bluemel and her insatiable attitude to all things health and fitness. As my post indicated, I found her love of simply moving her butt inspiring, so when the idea of one of her boot camps presented itself, I was in it like a shot, and even managed to convince two friends to come along and be my sweat buddies. (Way less gross than it sounds – maybe).

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The weeks of this morning madness are drawing slowly to a close (well, it finishes up in a few weeks) and I must admit, I’m pretty bloody sad. I’ve seriously loved it. I have never missed a morning, not even when it was pouring down and we ended up giving up on class all together because the rain was blinding us during hill sprints. Now that is pure dedication*.

I’m pretty sure every single morning that my alarm goes off I instantly start making bargains in my head. “It looks like its going to rain”, “I need to give my body a break” or “I slept terribly, I need another hour”. Luckily, I mostly manage to get past every one of those excuses and make it to our little patch of grass, because once I’m done and we’re stretching out in the (usually) sunny Auckland weather with a sneaky sneaky view of the sky tower behind me – I am always so glad that I’m not in bed.

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One of the things I love most about boot camp, Sam, and everything that goes a long with her Move Eat Play revolution, is the emphasis on strength. Physical and emotional. Whether she is encouraging you to try meditating to help handle stresses of everyday life, or screaming you on as you reach the 5th minute of your prone hold (yes, I stayed up for over five minutes), she is a serious motivator to help you take health steps in your life. She fills her blog with recipes, workouts and tips on staying focused on being the healthiest you can (and even throws in a healthy dose of reality sometimes… see her full fledged admit ion of holiday over indulgences here). I’m a pretty big fan girl.

I have always thought that exercising on your own is where it’s at (so don’t even think of ever asking me if I want to go for a run with you – because I don’t), but I think this incredible little group of girls has proved me completely wrong. I’m not quite sure what I am going to do come Monday the 17th of Feb – when there won’t be a group of beautiful, motivated and damn fit ladies waiting to egg me on for a fun 60 minute work out.

Don’t tell Sam, but I will most likely roll over and go back to sleep. My bad.

Tuesday though – I will definitely get up then.

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*The day I went to post this I did actually skip a class. I’m a bad human. BUT, in my defence, I had a wedding the night before and it’s just plain RUDE to not stay up really late dancing and drinking the night away with the happy couple. And that’s a fact.

Mondayitis

MONDAYKnits

So, I am not going to muck around – this morning it’s bloody cold.

Now bare in mind I live in Auckland, and it’s summer, so by “bloody cold” I probably mean “like an average day in a English summer”. But for my delicate, New Zealand acclimatised body, it’s freaking freezing. I am filling up on hot teas and have yet to actually remove my coat despite being in the office for over four hours.

With that in mind, and my mind wandering to the days of London living that is sneaking up fast, my head is filled with cable knit dreams.

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I don’t know if it’s the British buried deep inside me, or if I am just a very strange lady, but I love winter.

I love the feeling of coming in from a winters day, cold to my core, and swaddling myself in layer after layer of knitwear, clasping a hot mug of something (anything – because I will likely just clutch it between my hands until it cools rather than actually drink it) and watch bad American sitcom reruns on TV.

It sounds like bliss, and it’s where I want to be right this second.

Maybe a lunchtime trip to the shops in search of an appropriate cardi will cure my Monday morning blues!

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Lena Dunham, Daniel Radcliffe and the one with the list.

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Do you remember that episode of friends, the one where Ross has a list of people, and if faced with the opportunity Rachel had to let him sleep with one of them (he laminated it too – god I loved Ross). Of course you do, what person in their right mind doesn’t have every episode of Friends etched in their brain forever!

Well, the thing with my “list” is, it mostly consists of woman. Oh, and Harry Potter (I mean, Daniel Radcliffe). I don’t know what it is, but I find myself in a land of girl crushes right now.

One of them, who is very much on my list, is Lena Dunham.

And, only reinforcing my feelings, is this:

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It’s rare that I see the cover of a magazine and instantly want to buy it without reading the cover lines. My years of working in the magazine industry have hardened me to the crap that can appear on covers (and by crap, I of course mean truthful statements that have been in no way exaggerated*). Vogue, tell me what you like, I don’t care, you had me hooked with those big brown eyes, lashings of eyeliner and the polka dot shirt.

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So, I will vow to find this magazine, read it, love it and maybe even drool over it a little. I think you should do the same. But the drooling bit is up to you.

Sometimes, my dream of one day walking through the doors of Vogue, sitting down for a good old chit chat with my bestie Grace (over our morning brew) feels like the most important thing in the world. Right now is one of those times!

* I really don’t mean that at all.

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Mondayitis

MONDAYRUNDAY

So, it’s Monday (again, really?) and even though it is only the end of January (ok, ok, not even really half way through), my motivation is disappearing quicker than a bank balance at Boxing Day sales.

Yesterday I went for my first run in, like, forever. Since my half marathon efforts in November, you could count the number of times (and the number of kilometres) I’ve run on one hand. 

But, having put it off for a couple of weeks, I though it was high time I hit the pavement again and re-discovered my love for jogging. 

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At first it was bloody brilliant. I strutted along; my brain fog of packing lists, Asia trips and British bank accounts evaporated, and it left me with a somewhat clear head. I remembered how much running had, in the past, helped me to de stress, unwind and pump some awesome ego boosting endorphins around my stupidly short frame.

And then it hit me. 

The wall.

And, the worst bit is, it really didn’t take long. 5ks in and I needed a walk break. After another 2ks I had a stitch. By the time I hit the 10k mark I was ready to throw my trainers at passing cars and scream “my loins are burning hotter than a Mills & Boon protagonist, FOR F*** SAKE, SAVE ME”.

It’s a funny thing really. I kind of expected my body to just remain in the exact state I left it. Like when you put your cute new neon sandals by the door after work, and they are there waiting for you in the morning. Unfortunately my bodies “amazing runner” state has been left out a while. And with few layers of Christmas pudding and glasses of champagne on top of it and its freaking difficult to dig out. 

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This Monday, I don’t want stuff (ok, that’s a lie). What I really want is to dig out those damn 2 hour 20ks and my confidence. I want to be able to get myself back to that blissful feeling of real achievement, and take advantage of the views from my regular Mission Bay route in my final weeks in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

But that means I actually have to get off the couch and move doesn’t it?

Damn.

Maybe next week.

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Olympians, crack and my Fitbit.

Fitbit

You know those people… the kind who live life in a slow way. They wake up gently, and wander through their day. They take joy in gardening and stews that simmer for eight hours. They watch the wilderness around them as they methodically and carefully repeat their perfected ‘salute to the sun’ each morning.

I wish I was one of those people.

I’m a hard and fast kinda girl. When I wake up, I tumble out of bed (unless I refuse to actually get up… then I stubbornly stick to the sheets and nothing short of a hurricane can move me), I fall down the stairs throwing clothes and make-up in my general direction before bounding out the door with breakfast (and sometimes even a cup of tea) still in hand. When I walk, I’ve been told, my short legs move comically quickly, and when I cook, I like the satisfaction of having it done and dusted in 30 minutes or less.

This tends to mean when I feel things I feel them big, bold and outrageously. When I love something (whether its shoes, boys or a new food fad) I love it vehemently with every bone in my body.

Right now, every bone in my body is addicted to my Fitbit. It could be worse, it could be crack (although it feels a little like Fitbit is my crack right now).

Basically Fitbit is a pedometer that can also do a million other things. It is the female version of a pedometer – it multitasks. It’s bloody amazing.

Think; steps counted, calories in and out recorded, kilometres walked noted, minutes of actual exercise done (verses slow walking steps), sleep tracked and even the ability to log exactly what you are eating. All with a nifty wee wristband (depending on the style you go for, I have a Fitbit Flex) that can talk wirelessly to your computer, Ipad and phone!

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Told you it was good.

I know there are people out there who will roll their eyes at the thought of every step being counted and every calorie being stressed about, but I’m seriously loving this insanely motivational tool (and I am always right – right?). Being a stupidly competitive person (see this previous post for tales of my Monopoly board flipping ways), the best thing, hands down, about this devise it that you are competing with yourself. Every day you get goals (they can either be set by you, or automatically generated by the software for you weight/height/aims) and you are encouraged to reach them, exceed them, excel them and push yourself.

If it hits 9pm and I haven’t reached my daily steps (my goal is 12,000) then I will go out for a walk. Raining? Then I will pace my miniature apartment and bound up the stairs and back down between each circuit. Call me crazy, maybe I am (ok, I definitely am), but this silly little watch has been more motivating for me to get moving than any inspiring movie, hard hitting book on obesity or personal trainer.

There is nothing I enjoy more right now than the small buzz this wonderful devise gives me when I reach my daily steps target (not a figurative buzz – like it actually vibrates). I am convinced this feeling is exactly the same as when all those ubber fit athletes win medals at the Olympics.

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Exactly the same.

I’m pretty much an athlete.

Mondayitis

MondayTravel

Hot off the heels of announcing my impending travel plans, I’m dizzy with packing lists galore. Despite the boys best intentions to keep me on track (re; filling my tramping pack with useful items like water bottles, sensible shoes and insect repellent), all that’s on my mind, like any red blooded woman, is what I’m going to wear.

I don’t know for sure exactly where we are heading (only vague ideas at this point), or what we will be doing in our long days trekking South East Asia. All I can comfortably rely on is that  it will be blisteringly hot. (Like, I-wish-I-could-get-away-with-walking-around-naked-but-I-might-get-funny-looks hot.)

So, before I’m forced to start being practicle, before my brain is filled with quick dry underpants and tramping boots that double as a life raft, I’m going to indulge my stylish side. This Monday morning, with New Zealanders leaving their holidays behind and tackling their first day back in the real world, my escape is at the forefront of my brain.

To beat the blues of yet another beautiful day stuck behind a computer, I’m mentally packing beautiful, simple and elegant plain cotton tees with drawstring shorts, light knits to pair with evening sunset views and aeroplane clothes (yes, thats a real thing) that scream “I don’t belong in economy”.

I know the reality is, two days in, the picture will look very different. I’ll be frizzy haired, sweat stained and ready to burn any piece of excess packing to stop my backpack from toppling me over.

But hey, a girl can dream!

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The month that was.

December

December, the last month of 2013, was filled with wonderful wine, dinners over sunset, chia pudding experiments, fig and ginger gelato, museum dates, paleo Christmas food, brunch, Big Brother marathons and fresh fish lunches. Follow me on Instagram here for even more snapshots of whatever I’m stuffing in my face.

 

Jam donuts, resolutions and jazz musicians.

NYs

New years eve is a funny time. Kind of like a selfie of a VS model with a cheeseburger, it’s confused. It sits juxtaposed as a time of reflection and a time of looking forward. You’re supposed to gather your thoughts on the passed year, regroup and align your hopes/dream/goals for the one ahead.

All while drinking way too much. Which seems like a pretty big ask to me. (Also, drinking whilst not spilling red wine down your front seems a tall order too.)

I don’t know about you, but around my circle of friends, drinking does one of two things…

1) It makes you insatiably giggly and happy (and a wee bit cocky). In which case, the year gone by is probably viewed as the best ever and no regrouping is needed because, you are in fact the best human ever.

Or

2) The over consumption of liquor triggers a melancholy state (read; sad drunk) and minds wander to all the overpriced clothes, skipped workouts and jam doughnuts consumed. This often goes hand in hand with grand claims that both the past and coming year are obviously a complete write off, because you are in fact the worst human ever.

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Well, this year went a little differently. With work butting up against both sides of my celebrations I opted for a quiet one. So three of my nearest and dearest headed out for a ridiculously civilized dinner (background music provided by a jazz musician, and yes, I know I’m 25 not 45). We sipped wine, got merry, ate too much and wondered around town talking about how old we felt (while smugly being sure that we would easily keep the few good years we had on the teens surrounding us, to make sure we weren’t the stars of our very own drunken snap chat video – captured, subjects unaware, by people finding the inability to actually put one foot in front of the other highly amusing).

We got dressed up (and looked pretty damn good), we toasted to 2014 with a bottle of plonk that wasn’t from the specials bin at Countdown, and we compared ourselves to the girls of Sex and the City (oddly enough, we all picked different characters, so for the first time ever we managed to create a faux Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha without even the slightest grumbling). You know its a good night when you each get to be the fictional character form a crass 90s television show without it turning into a fight about how Ross and Rachel/Carrie and Big/Buffy and Angel were destined to be together, or if the world of sitcom writers got it horribly wrong.

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I think perhaps for the first time in a long time I had a little more perspective on what has been and what will be. And you know what? 2013 was a pretty good year. I set some goals, like running, getting into healthier eating habits and introducing myself to the blogosphere (hey). Having achieved all of them in some way shape or form I feel enthused and encouraged to start a new round of goals and aspirations for 2014 (yup, I am talking about new years resolutions).

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Instead of writing a list of open ended, vague and unattainable notions, I think I will make like a high school English essay (because who didn’t love them) and write an “introduction” to the year that follows.

2014 will be a year of experimenting, exploring and taking new steps. It will be about play around with the ideas of meditation, and endeavouring to find healthy habits that can sit comfortably in the crazy suitcase living I’ll be doing. It will be a year of Skype dates with the people I love, and a year of complete focus on a positive outlook. It will maintain a great relationship with a healthy life style through food and fitness, and it will be simply incredible.

Yup, I said it… incredible. You’ve got to aim high!

What would your introduction hold?

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