Mondayitis

MondayCoffee

This morning I am not beating around the bush. There is no witty way to package it, and no amount of clothing lusting to cure it. The only thing to cure my mondayitis, is coffee.

You can throw gorgeous, designer dresses at me until I look like Joey from that episode in Friends when he wears all of Chandlers clothes at once (minus underwear), but it won’t do. Because all I want is a real caffeine hit.

It’s barmy outside and I want to walk around naked (I hear its inappropriate or something). But I don’t care. Halfway through this glorious trip, and the only words that are falling out of my mouth right now are complete gibberish and sound (or look) something like “blahblahblah CRAZY HOT LIKE A CRAZY THING blah”.

Between overnight trains, jet lag, and nights that are screamingly hot, sleep is at an all time low. I am craving the taste of my sweet local brew to pump me full of the energy needed to see me through this incredible Cambodian morning.

Next time you are in Auckland, hit up my three favourite coffee joints for your glorious taste of a “proper coffee” as my mother puts it. (A “proper coffee” being one made in a fancy machine, rather than that “instant stuff”.)

Rad This Mount Eden spot is the new kid on the block, and they use Wellington born Flight Coffee in there technicolour cafe. These beans have a deep, caramel-y hit to them and my pick off the menu would have to be the classic Latte. The endless creamy milk will lap up the richness of the shot. Also worth a note, are the scrum my smoothies.

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Twenty Three This little gem was right next door to me, so I had a wee soft spot for it. Not only are the brunch options stella, but the short black is a must try, and the amazing staff will know your order after only a few visits.

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The Espresso Coffee School A ‘gift economy’ cafe (basically, you pay what you think your item is worth, rather than having a set price – food included), which has a rotation of uni students all learning the ropes of the coffee machine. This a pokey place is always stuffed full of business men and suit clad ladies on their way to work, not only because it’s cheap (or you can make it cheap), but because, under the watchful eyes of the owner, those kids are making pretty damn good baristas. Go there and try the kiwi traditional Flat White for a “proper coffee” with a full bodied flavour. If you don’t like it? Don’t pay!

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Pimple cures, ego deflating and my (new) bestie.

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You know that phrase, the one featured in like every sappy 90s love song (or any love song at all for that matter), the one about not knowing what you’ve got… ‘Till it’s gone? Well I’m suffering from that a little right now. To friends and family back home – you can stop that head of yours getting any bigger, because I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about lemons.

Yup. Do you know how hard it is to hunt down a damn lemon in Asia? I don’t know if I’m looking in all the wrong places (and yes, I looked in fruit shops, supermarkets and even asked at restaurants), but I could barely find any. This doesn’t sound like much of a drama right? Well, I guess it’s not on the scale of life events (weddings, children and lemon draughts will probably make my obituary), but it has made me realise that lemons are one bloody brilliant fruit.

For the last 12 months in NZ I’ve been consistently guzzling a glass of water with the juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar every morning (except a few hungover occasions that we won’t talk about). To be honest, I didn’t really understand the good it was doing me. I just kind of did it, because (like any good blogger) I read somewhere online that it’s super duper for all things digestive and helps out your skin too. (And yes, if the internet told me to jump off a bridge, I probably would do that as well).

Lemons

As much as I wanted to squeeze 9 weeks worth of lemons and ACV into my luggage, the boy had already been lenient with my packing quoter (he double checked the necessity of each item in my bag and even let me keep the third pair of shoes), so I decided to test my life – lemon free. Well, you know what? My life is oh-so much better with a little acid in the morning.

Even just a few days in from my morning ritual hiatus, I notices more spots. A week in and my skin tone was hella blotchy, and food was aching my tummy (this could also be because I’m traveling south East Asia… Or, you know, lemons are magic). Three weeks in and I’m reminded of my sixteen year old self, and not in a good way (in a hormones expressing themselves through my pores sort of way).

As well as doing wonders for your skin, lemons claim to boost your immune system (with all that tasty vitamin C), balance out your PH levels (aiding healthy digestion and knocking out toxins) and even reduce inflammation in joints!

So, when I stumble upon these citrus fruits on my journeys around the orient, Im buying as many as I think will stay good, and strapping them to the side of my already overflowing pack. I’ve even started using the juice directly on a pimple to clear it up quick (when I’m done drinking it obviously).

To all you people who are spending up large on fancy name skincare brands that promise to rid you of acne for life, save a buck or two and go to your local grocers* to pick up some lemons. Maybe some apple cider vinegar too – but that’s a love story for a different day.

*unless your in Asia, then good luck to ya!

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Mondayitis

MondayTee

My time as a Fashion Editor is often spent in pursuit of the archetypal wardrobe must have. And, although I can never quite cut that list down from my 387 strong clothing collection, to some what more manageable number (like 10), there is one piece that I’m even more convinced than ever should be in everybodies (men and women alike – hell, maybe even small dogs too) closet… I’m talking (of course) about the classic T-shirt.

This Monday, like so many before it, I felt like I had nothing to wear. My traveling pack has began mimicking my everyday wardrobe; it’s stuffed, scrunched and piled high with a tousled mix of clean and dirty clothes (and some “undecided”), all of which just don’t seem quite right for the day ahead. But you know what would fix that? Whether you too are living out of a suitcase, or a badly organised wardrobe? The perfectly fitting, loose but not-too-loose, T-shirt.

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For me it would fix the dilemma that comes with temple touring – it’s so freaking hot, but you have to cover your knees and shoulders (and it would be an added bonus if you could still look cute for those travel pictures). For you it would master the art of looking chic and sophisticated at work (pair a crisp white tee with a well fitted blazer then layer up the statement necklaces).

Basically all sartorial choices would just be so much more enhanced with a T-shirt shaped partner.

So, please T-shirt gods, set me up with a good scoop neck, cuffed sleeve, boyfriend fit, and I will be forever in your grey marl debt. And officially snapped out of my Monday morning blues too.

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Wet therapy, tiny spaces and the worlds least active human.

Workout

My family and friends are still in disbelief that I actually write a blog with an element of exercise to it. I’ve gone from being the worlds least active human (when I was a teenager) to being addicted to running, boot camps, bikram and anything else that likely to make me sweaty (get your mind out of the gutter). I completely love it all. Exercise not only plays a role in my physical wellbeing, but a huge role in my mental wellbeing. It’s like therapy (wet therapy). So, traveling around, going from backpackers to small hotel rooms, has left me without my usual variety of incredible running and workout back drops! But I would never let that stop me – no, no, no.

I created myself a series of ‘small place friendly’ workouts before I headed off. So, if you find yourself in a tight spot – here are a couple of workouts to help you keep moving.

Indoor Cardio Booster

Cardio can be one of the hardest things to tackle in a small space. When there isn’t a gym full of treadmills or a vast open space to run around, people tend to just skip the heart rate rising cardio set. But you don’t have to! Try this workout… the key is to do each round as fast as you can and only rest when indicated. If you are competitive (like me) time yourself and try and beat yourself each round.

  • 10 x burpees
  • 10 x star jumps
  • 10 x mountain climbers
  • 10 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

  • 25 x burpees
  • 25 x star jumps
  • 25 x mountain climbers
  • 25 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

(Repeat both sets again, then follow with a nice stretch out.)

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Body Weight Strength Session: 10 to 1

Mix up that awesome cardio set with some strength training on alternate days. Don’t worry, no dumbbells needed… just you and your body. This one is super easy to change up depending on what you want to do. Fancy a full on leg day? Why not do squat jumps and lunges or kick backs and side raisers. Abs need a workout? Give v-sits and leg lowers a trial. Play around with it and have fun (very sweaty painful fun).

  • 10 squats – 1 push up
  • 9 squats – 2 push ups
  • 8 squats – 3 push ups
  • 7 squats – 4 push ups
  • 6 squats – 5 push ups
  • 5 squats – 6 push ups
  • 4 squats – 7 push ups
  • 3 squats – 8 push ups
  • 2 squats – 9 push ups
  • 1 squat – 10 push ups

To add an element of cardio, inbetween each set either sprint the length of your hotel room (if its long-ish) or do 10 x star jumps.

(Finish up with a nice stretch out.)

Top Travel Tip: One thing I made sure I found a wee bit of space for in my pack was a skipping rope. It’s not huge, it packs up small and its a great one for getting that heart rate up! Either break up one of the above work outs with 20 second skipping bursts or just go hard out for as long as you can – just you and your jump rope.

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Mondayitis

MondayLeopard

It is Monday, although (just to rub it in) days of the week are kind of smooshing (yup, that is a word) into one big unidentifiable blob right now. After four blissful nights at a beautiful beach resort, I have not one tiny inkling of Mondayitis… but being the lovely and giving human that I am (hey – I saw that eye roll) I’ve been thinking about some nifty things that could brighten the start of your week.

I’m about to head onto an overnight train from Ko Lanta to Bangkok, to see my family. (Yes, yes, I can hear you all gasping… I’ve only just left them, how am I already homesick? Well, don’t underestimate the power of my “mummy/daddies girl” combo. If the boy would let me, I’d probably try and fit them both in my back pack.) My mother is celebrating a pretty big birthday (woop, woop – happy twenty first mum) and as a family, we are coming together in Thailand to have a knees up just for her.

To keep up with these celebrations, I thought I would do what every good daughter does for her mother on her birthday – disobey her. You see, my mother used to tell me that tattoos were for sailors or prostitutes, and animal print was tacky*. Well, last year I got a tattoo, so I guess it’s time I whipped out my best Mrs Robinson impression, don’t you? Leopard print has long since left the realms of cougar-only wardrobes and has been seriously welcomed into the fashion elite (not that it ever left Donattela’s life).

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Just like Kate and Wills’, denim and leopard is a match made in heaven. The love affair between two heavy duty fabrics is the fashion equivalent of a commoner marrying into the royal family. The play of dressy vs casual, of plain vs out there, and of workwear vs um…play-wear… (?) strikes a brilliant balance. Taking the simple pairing of skinny jeans with a classic white tee and throwing on some (fake) animal skin heels really shakes up your look and lifts your style game. Other noteworthy partners for your lovely leopard pieces are camel (think traditional style trench) and leather (think texture combination to die for).

So, this Monday, in order to fight off your morning blues I suggest you all (maybe not you dad) throw on some animal inspired prints and act like Pippa isn’t the only hot piece of ass.

*Now, before I start getting angrily worded emails, please note that my mother has a fabulous sense of humour and this is a running family joke. NOT a comment meant to make sailors, prostitutes or wearers of animals cry.

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Goodbyes, celebrations and the tart that has it all.

Tart

The other week the boy and I had a party to celebrate our impending departure. We filled our house with beautiful fresh flowers, picked up some incredible cheeses (the most important guest at any good party) and had bubbles all round. It was a beautiful night with beautiful friends.

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You know what else was beautiful? These super cute mini “cream tarts” I made. They were paleo (duh), raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free orange and rosewater tarts – who knew one tart could be so many things!

Recipe makes 12 mini tarts

Ingredients

Almond Case

  • 1 cup mejdool dates
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup almonds

Cream Filling

  • ⅔ cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • ¼ almond milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp rice malt syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp rose water essence

Instructions

Get started on the nutty casing first by adding all of the ingredients into a blender and processing until roughly combined and sticky. I like mine to be fairly chunky and “rustic” (aka lazy), but finer is just as good.

Once you’re done with the base, line a mini muffin tray with glad wrap and split your sticky mixture into 12. Push your 12 pieces down into the individual muffin moulds until a tart case is formed. (You could also opt for larger muffins and this recipe would make 6.)

Then pop your cases into the freezer to set, whilst you get on with the cream.

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For the orange and rosewater filling, put the soaked cashews into the blender and process for a few minutes. With the processor still running, add the juice of an orange, almond milk, rice malt, rosewater and vanilla. Keep all this yummy-goodness blending away until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.

Once you have the desired consistency for your cream, pull the tart cases out of the freezer and fill each tart to the top (with the cream). Then put these into the freezer for a few hours to set. Your tarts can be kept in the freezer until serving (let them defrost for 10 minutes or so for cream to soften).

We popped some raspberries on ours, but anything you fancy could go on top. Seasonal fruit? Hell yeah! Toasted nuts? Yum! Cacao nibs? Why not! All of the above? Even better!

Enjoy.

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Mondayitis

MondayPinterest

Easily the hardest thing about packing up shop is leaving some precious people behind (that and having to cut my shoe collection down to three, way too practical, pairs). One of such people, who I’m missing like crazy this Monday, is my bestie. I love her (mushy-bel alert) for a million different reasons, but one of them is because she introduced me to Pinterest.

I also hate her for this.

For those of you not on Pinterest – whats up with that? You do know that it’s not just for people planning weddings right? There is literally an endless supply of beautiful fashion shots to inspire. It is like a beautiful home to build your perfect wardrobe… then just keep looking at it. Admiring it. Lusting after it.

So, while I live my life out of a backpack, in a miniature hostel room and in the same pair of cut offs everyday, I’m waisting away my early morning, jet-lagged, hours filtering through the outfits I wish I could be wearing (and owning).

To cure your Monday morning blues, check out my favourite fashion ‘pinners’, Elle, Lauren Santo Domingo and Rachel Gadiel  and get your wardrobe wish list flowing.

Breakfast picks (caveman style).

PaleoBreakfast

One of the biggest things to change when I went paleo was my breakfast routine. Mostly, however, because I didn’t really have a routine to start with.

Breakfast hasn’t ever been a thing in my parents house (mentally slaps mothers wrist). They are definitely a pair of (dare I say ‘overworked’) individuals who’s morning routine almost always revolves around coffee. Despite growing up around this, mum has always tried to encourage me o stuff something quick in my face before the day begins. I used to flick between oats, toast or All Bran (which should be more aptly named cardboard). These options are actually some of the healthiest out there, but still down’t sit well with a paleo diet (or my recently diagnosed gluten intolerance).

Once paleo hit in, I realised there was no point in attempting to find anything for breakfast actually in the breakfast food aisle at the supermarket. I don’t care what healthy looking branding they are wrapped it in – every single item on those shelves is loaded with artificial crap and mountains of sugar. It is probably the worst place in the grocery store for processed food (ok, ok, maybe the chocolate/lollies aisle, but this is a damn close second).

Over my recent food journey I’ve tried my hand at many different wake up calls to get me bounding out the door (and looking like Miranda). I have noticed that, with a bit of thought and prep, breakfast has easily become my favourite meal.

So, here are my top 5 hits at the caveman breakfast table.

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Chia Pudding By far the easiest (although needing a little forethought) a chia pudding is a great option for those with a quick schedule. Simply pop it in the fridge the night before and bam – a tasty break is waiting for you in the morning. Above is a super simple vanilla chia pudding with a banana sliced on top.

How to make it…

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup (or your preferred sweetener)
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • Banana to serve

Chuck all the above (except the banana) into a jar or airtight container and give it a little mix through to make sure the milk is covering all the seeds, then pop it in the fridge overnight or at least for a couple of hour until the seeds have absorbed the liquid. When you’re ready to enjoy, slice the banana on top and voila! 

Any other fruit or spices work too. In winter I quite like pairing mine with stewed apple and cinnamon – yum!

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Poached Egg Slightly more complex (unless, like me, you have an amazing boyfriend who has mastered the poaching art) a poached egg is a classic but a great paleo option. Here I have paired it with asparagus and an avocado and salmon stack.

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Paleo Muesli See my muesli recipe here for a great on the go, chuck-in-a-bowl-and-chow-down-on-some-goodness meal. I always make mine in huge batches and store in an airtight container. Serve with a small handful of berries and some almond milk for a filling breakfast.

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Spanish Eggs Great to warm up a winters morning, this one looks complicated but actually isn’t.

How to make it…

  • 3 Eggs (use however many you want, this recipe is for me and the boy so has 3)
  • 250g canned tomato
  • 1/2 and onion (sliced)
  • Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (for frying)
  • 1 tsp paprika (or spice of your choice)

Pre heat your oven to 120C. Fry the onions with the coconut oil in an oven proof pan. Once softened add the tomatoes and paprika – stir well. Once this has warmed through, remove from the heat, take a spoon and (in the tomato sauce) create three small wells. Crack open an egg in each and pop the whole thing in the oven for about 10 minutes (depending on how well you like your eggs done). Once out of the oven, sprinkle with parsley and season to taste. 

Often the boy and I add churizo too, but only if we can find a great quality one with no added sugar.

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Sweet Potato Hash This is my go to breaky before a big workout. When I was training for the half marathon I would chow down on this baby every Sunday to keep me going through a 15k run. To create the hash simply grate as much sweet potato you desire and remove the moisture (I put mine between two paper towns al squash like hell). Then form into patties, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven (on 180C) until they start to brown. You can top these with anything your heart desires (except not non-paleo desires because that would defeat the purpose of attempting a paleo breakfast). Here I’ve gone for a good old poached egg, salmon and peas.

Other honourable morning mentions include a simple seasonal fruit salad with some toasted nuts/seeds and scrambled eggs (paired with avocado, tomato and fresh herbs).

Being a bit of a foodie, I like to spend hours trawling the internet for great new recipes, but I always come back to these guys because they just taste so damn good. And coffee. I always come back to coffee.

Why are you still reading? Go eat!

Mondayitis

MondayCoats

Despite the heat here in NZ, and the rather intimidatingly hot weather that will greet me off the plane tomorrow (yes, I said tomorrow… and yes I’m freaking out about it). All I can think about (mostly because I prescribe to the theory of “if your scared of something, ignore it and it will go away”), is what I will face when I finally finish my round the world adventures, and land in Europe.

Having lived in Auckland for 13 years, one thing I’ve very rarely needed is a coat. This will no longer be the case as I gear up for British winters (hell, even British summers). And to be honest? I bloody love dressing for the chilly seasons. Don’t get me wrong, hot sunny weather is great, but in winter I physically get to wear more clothes – win.

Drowning in cashmere, swaddled in chunky knits and investing in buttery soft leather as I sip on my Monday morning coffee – the life inside my head right now is pretty damn perfect.

What would complete the winter wonderland I’m creating is an all-engulfing coat. The kind that’s pretty much a dress, is very much oversized and looks best with a chunky belt (think Coco Chanel styles). I recon coats like this, in either bold prints or scream-your-head-off loud colours, will be big for winter months to come.

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With a backpack filled to the brim with flip flops, tanks and shorts, I’m well and truly terrified of the heat wave I’m spending the next two months playing in. So, in line with my amazing avoidance theory, I’m dreaming of nestling up by the fire, and falling into a coat (that will probably be bigger than my London apartment).

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