Jul 18, 2019

Lovin' Life 18/7/2019: My Foam Roller.

This week, I'm loving my foam roller.

Image result for foam roller
via Google images
This humble piece of fitness equipment retails for under $15, doesn't take up much space and is easy to use.  Most importantly, it's done my problem lower body muscle groups the world of good. 

I'm not great at getting remedial massages and I never seem to have the time to do my exercises from my physio. However, I've persisted with my foam roller exercises. Heading into TMI territory but I get instant relief from the pressure of the roller over areas of tightness and pain.

There's an exercise for practically every one of my problem areas.

There are my favourites:
Image result for foam roller
via Google images
- the iliotibial band release

Image result for foam roller
via Google images

- the butt cheek .. okay glute release.

Do you use a foam roller?  Has it changed your life and put the spring back in your step?

Jul 16, 2019

Christmas in July and Bastille Day Weekend at The Rocks.

Winter in Sydney isn't too shabby at the moment.

It was one of those magical Saturday afternoons that was made for catching the train someplace to see what was what. My adventures took place at Circular Quay where I was able to catch celebrations for both Bastille Day and Christmas in July.  Sounds a bit crazy, it also sounds very Sydney but it also worked.  People from all walks of life were out and about enjoying both events.  As much as I love the hygge life, I have to admit I also love the outdoor events that Sydney puts on over the winter.

My first stop was the Bastille Day French Festival.  The event this year was bigger than last year's.  This stage and the live performances were new features.

As were the films you could watch whilst enjoying popcorn and mulled wine on a deck chair in the shadow of the MCA.

There was a wine walk you could participate in for between $50 - $80 depending on how many tastings you wanted.  Being a lightweight these days, I was happy to just look on.

Mmm.  Bubbles.  The line for champagne and oysters was overwhelming.

There were pastries, of course.

As well as raclette and poutine.

Part two of Saturday's adventures found me in The Rocks at the Christmas in July Village.

There's something magical about The Rocks.  Its trees, its building and the sandstone hint at the past and all its stories yet there's also a sense of stability and groundedness to its role in a modern city.  The Rocks is a place to escape to when the bright lights, noise and constant motion of the city down the road gets a bit much for your senses.

These wooden cabins were imported from France to help recreate the look of a typical French Christmas market right here in Sydney.  All manner of treats could be found nestled in each cabin.

From Christmas decorations to cheese cones,

to pretzels

and patriotic cup cakes.

The fairy floss that's made here comes out as a portion larger than an adult head.

There had to be numerous sponsors to get an ambitious project like this off the ground and here's a sponsored visual from one of them.

I think this whole Christmas in July Village idea might have just sent Christmas in July cynic within me packing.

It is fun being able to see what Christmas is like in the season opposite to what you're used to.

Are you heavily invested in the concept of Christmas in July? 

Jul 15, 2019

Life This Week 15/7/2019: Self Care #4.

I'm barely into my first week back at work post that gloriously low key trip back to Perth and I'm already in need of more self-care.  As much as I love you, real life, you can be hard work at times.  Just saying.

It's hectic at work as it always in over winter but I'm grateful for the challenges and team spirit that greet me each day after I've had my warm up doing the stairs down from my level in the car park and then up the stairs to my office.  Self-care at this week has been mostly about the simple things and being able to enjoy them at home in my pyjamas with my glasses on and my make-up (all 5 inches of it...) off.

Exceptions to this rule include Saturday morning almond croissants and coffee at my local with the travel supplement and the dreams of my next trip.  They're good dreams by the way and fingers crossed I'll be able to share my absolutely fascinating, middle-aged, working mum experience of a European city with you in the next couple of months.  Don't go anywhere and make an extra large mug of tea....

The other exception to the 'self car = PJs at home' rule is having the run of Woolies on a Saturday morning.  Everyone is so nice and unhurried at 0745!  Fellow customers are up for a chat as you both search the Mexican food products aisle for your favourite taco seasoning.  The herb man plucks a 'fresh off the Woolies delivery truck' bunch of basil for you from out the back.  A previously stern looking woman stops to chat and bond with your mutual love of a detailed list of groceries.

Younger, less easily stressed people might be taking advantage of a free Saturday morning by going to their local farmer's market and shopping for produce there but this is me we're talking about.

If you scrunch your eyes up a bit and imagine really hard we might actually be at said market rather than the cheese fridges at Woolies....

That might not have been the most convincing mental image of a cheese market somewhere in France or Great Britain but are we agreed that a trolley full of fresh fruit and vegetables is the ultimate expression of self-care?  I set myself a goal for the weekend to meal prep for long week ahead and I tried to base my meals on quality protein, lots of vegetables and lots of flavour.  That last bit might explain the bill.  I have a weakness for fancy cheese and cured meat....

Moving right along, perhaps. Let's see how self-care has manifested itself back at the ranch this week.

A mug of tea in bed first thing in the morning as I read (on) my Kindle.  Do I need the 'on' in there?

Simple, not really photogenic meals are also something that nourishes my soul.  At the moment, the dinner is salmon fried Recipe Tin Eats style with a side of greens seasoned with garlic butter and an Ikea bowl (and fork) of fruit for dessert.  

That cheeky glass of rosecco on coming home from work on a Friday night.  The heart says sparkling beverage, the mind says vinyasa flow.  It's Friday night - of course both can and will happen....

It goes without saying that my favourite act of self-care is, as always,  being out there running as the sun rises over another amazing day in Sydney.

What does 'self-care' mean to you right now?

Jul 14, 2019

Sunday Contemplation.

It's Sunday and all is well with the world.

The cockatoos were cresting the tops of these winter-bare trees as I ran through Rushcutter's Bay Park with the timeless words of Xtina (circa her riding chaps days) ringing in my ears.

And to think we've both become stronger and wiser as well as now being mums finding that elusive 'mum / work / life / what's age appropriate fashion when you've lived through hip huggers and Juicy Couture tracksuits the first time around' in the 17 years since the song was released.  We've also passed on those hip-hugging jeans to the next generation....

It's been one of those rare and special weekends where I've had time to be more mindful.

Time is such a luxury at the moment.  Actually, it's not that time is a luxury, it's more that it's a fixed resource that I usually have to allocate very precisely to a million and one different things.

It's been almost obscenely extravagant to just be able to think and let my mind wander to wherever it chooses.  There's been a bit of self-reflection but then there's also been other mental wanderings... Like whether or not Brandy Melville is a store named after a Real Housewife.  Instagram tells me no - Brandi Glanville is the Housewife and Brandy Melville is a youth orientated clothing label with US and European roots.  I wonder if those hip-huggers Xtina et al wore back in the day will find themselves on the racks of Brandy Melville when it opens in Bondi Junction?  I have half a mind to visit the store and try them on if they do - and report back :-)

Other than that, I haven't got much else to report.  It's been a weekend of getting things done and sorted too.  In my mind, I am ready for the week ahead - as organized as this display of Muji bedlinen and as composed as the sunrises I've witnessed on my runs this weekend.  Let's see how it all actually goes down.

Speaking of running (it's a rare day that this fortysomething road warrior doesn't) - it's four weeks until City2Surf.  Excited?  Yes.  Bit stressed about whether I'll beat last year's time?  Yes.  Already planning post-run snacks and shopping?  You bet.

Jul 11, 2019

Lovin' Life 11/7/2019: Things That Never Get Old.

I'm writing to you in a sentimental frame of mind today.  Spending a week in your home town tends to do that to you.

This week, I'm loving (more so than usual) places and things that never get old.

That Perth skyline with its smattering of office towers studding that wide open sky, the neon glow of Elizabeth Quay and its bridge and that reassuring, gentle lapping of the Swan River against its banks.

I love the stillness of a Perth morning.  The traffic seems gentler than Sydney's.  I also love its lights.  Not just from the Narrows Bridge but also the lights that glow from the necks of local dogs and the foreheads of their human companions as they go about their morning constitutionals.  For all the floodlighting of bridges and major roads, much of suburbia is relatively poorly lit.  Without the mood lighting of much local traffic, it does make sense that humans and their canine charges take the responsibility of light upon themselves by bringing their own.

The Blue Boat House.  Not 'a' but 'the'. 

It's a symbol of Perth I find soothing to just look at.  It's like having a living, breathing inspirational photograph brought to life in your own backyard.

There's no one 'quote' or meme that I attach to the boathouse.  Instead, I find myself just simply feeling happier, brighter and lighter just having it in my visual field.

Perth is also about boats and jetties. Again, it's a view that just makes me feel better for seeing it.

In a city of flatness and wide open spaces, rainbows look especially brilliant.  This particular rainbow heralded a day of heavy downpours but it also arched perfectly across the entire sky in front of me.  I even got that bonus double 'bow to the left.

But sadly, rainbows do little to ease the pain of running just a little too far on a morning that was just a little too cold.  A not so happy fact of life that unfortunately never gets old.  

My old friend the almond croissant.  This version from the patisserie up the road features both frangipane and custard.  Don't worry, I went back for another just before my flight home.

Lunch with poh poh at Ikea.  It's a standing lunch date we have whenever we're back.

There's always a side trip to that bit of Ikea beyond the restaurant where I buy things to lug home in my suitcase.  There is some logic here.  I just never find the time these days to make that drive to a store in Sydney.

Nooo!!!! Ikea's checkouts have gone the way of the supermarkets.  They're now decked out with all kinds of impulse purchase items. 

More rainbows. This time from light being refracted through the glass of a staircase.

What never gets old for you when you're back home?


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