Archive for March, 2013

Good Friday

March 29, 2013

Hot cross buns, children scurrying about the garden hunting for brightly coloured chocolate treasures, family camping trips, luncheons and more…..yes it is Easter!

eggs

For many today marks the start of one of our favourite national holidays, the long awaited four day long weekend. With the heat of summer passed, it is the perfect opportunity for camping in the great outdoors and taking a well-earned break to spend time reconnecting with family and loved ones. For many it is also an opportunity for personal reflection and a beautiful time of spiritual refreshing.

hunt

buns

It seems inherent in our humanity, the tendency to get disconnected, not only from others, but from ourselves and the values and truths we hold to that can sometimes be buried under the onslaught of life. How often is it though that the concerns we think so important are often no more than a clever marketing gimmick to draw our energy and focus away from the those things that really matter – love, kindness, peace, joy patience, loyalty  respect for self and others, quality time with loved ones, contribution & service, freedom from fear and through love and forgiveness, freedom from the heavy burden of broken relationship. These are elements of our humanity that connect us all. For those of us who are weary we can find restoration in the message of Easter, in the opportunity to give our burdens to one who is stronger than us, to a friend who is always waiting for our invitation to place his footprints next to ours on our journey through the sands of time.

footprints

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À bientôt Cara Luncheon

March 28, 2013

The invitation read:

Please join me for luncheon, @ UrbanPantry from noon
Send me off in style, wear something to make me swoon

maree

Maree looking fresh as a daisy in her 1940’s floral ensemble (check the hair do in the group photo below) – she looked sensational. Maree and met only recently at the Chamber Philharmonic Cologne @ St Paul’s. I spied this amazing looking woman emerging from Mehfil’s just before the concert with friends. She wearing a fabulous outfit and we struck up a conversation during the interval.

megan

watch

Megan channelling Jackie O here – I just love this outfit and those little accessories really make it! Megan and I met on a few occasions before becoming friends last year. It was however a moment as we crossed paths at the lights on the high street (corner of Ellenborough and Brisbane) when she really caught my eye. I thought to myself she looks sensational! Then she came into Cultiver a little later, we struck up a conversation and the rest, as they say is history! Ok you may be starting to think I am a style stalker….

figen

This is my dear friend and colleague Figen who is setting the trend for girls in scarves and will no doubt soon launch an online fashion store to address this growing demand!

small table

Natalie what was Figen saying?

mon

Monica sporting a fabulous new dress from Cue – the colour and style suit her so, so well! Mon has been a fabulous colleague to work with and has helped me on many occasions with her compassionate and professional insight.

big t 2

Everyone together – from left Maree (check the hair), Karen, Jan, Helene, Monica, Kerri , moi, Agnes (then back row) Figen, Natalie, Megan and Donna). Well nearly everyone, there were friend who wanted to join us that couldn’t make it and I know they’re thoughts were with us. We’re also missing Cassie who had just popped next door to Mortgage Choice to take care of some very exciting business. Not even out of their honeymoon year, Cassie still in law school and this young couple are already purchasing their first home. Cassie has been doing work experience with me and has been my right arm on Thursdays! An exceptional young woman always immaculately presented, she will do so well in all she puts her hand too.  It has been a true pleasure to mentor her.

Beautiful mother daughter team Wendy and Lisa, the wonderful proprietors of Urban Pantry in the high street, hosted our luncheon today. Since they set up camp in the the Top of Town, Urban Pantry has become my favourite spot for café with friends. Their personalised and heartfelt service is simply wonderful. If you haven’t dropped in, give yourself a treat and stop by for a piccolo!

Simply said, I was swooned off my feet…

12 Life Disciplines

March 18, 2013

Over the years I have grown to love the benefits derived from strong discipline, not only in the realm of physical training but in other areas too. I realise, not only from experiences in my own life, but by observing the lives of those around me, that these guiding principles, protect us from the consequences of a life without borders.

” He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” [Proverb 25:28]

I have spent some time today reflecting on a few things that have happened in my little world over the last few days, the kind of life I want and how easy it is to get off track when you don’t have strong guidelines or disciplines in place. I am actually quite pleased these things happened because they have really made me stop & think, take stock, make some tweaks and move forward! Everything in life can be a stepping stone if we allow it!

So this morning I decided to take some time out to meditate on the principles or disciplines that are important to me, those I already practice and some new ones I’d like to incorporate. I have consolidated them down to a list of 12 which I have documented so that I can review them everyday during my Hour of Power and keep my focus on the practices that I wish to become habitual. They may not always be easy to implement and I will be sharing them with friends and family to help me stay accountable, but I know that if I put in the hard yards in the short term, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

suck it up

A well tended life….

March 14, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with a friend for tea in our garden. It’s a magical little place and brings me such joy to share with others. Since the summer rains everything is fresh, green and brimming with life, I have all sorts of seedlings springing up, beans, tomatoes, herbs, flowers and more. The kookaburra’s have been making themselves right at home on my garden chairs, the perfect little perch from which to scan the garden for treats and all sorts of critters abound.

tea

I listened to a Ted talk by an inspiring young man recently. At only eleven years he spoke with eloquence and with a certainty that I am sure not only captivated his adult audience but gave many pause to reflect and consider their own lives. Many of us might recall being asked the same question as a young person, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Even for myself at this moment with a lifestyle change in the wings, people ask me, “What will you do now?” I feel the same though as this young man, the question for me is not what I want to do rather it is what I want to be…..and my answer is no different to what is has been – I want to be happy, healthy and a live my life to the fullest.

happy

In his frank discussion about life young Master referenced a concept known as therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC’s) that he was proactively incorporating into his own life to create health and happiness. Dr Roger Walsh who coined the phrase described eight areas or TLC’s that can lead to wonderful outcomes for anyone who would take the time to invest in them. Whilst the eight areas he mentioned are all concepts that I value and invest into on a weekly basis, I decided to research this concept further. TLC’s have been found to have fantastic affects on 100% of people, the vast majority of practitioners however, across disciplines, prefer to prescribe medication. About 10% were found to encourage patients to engage in TLC’s in order to improve their lives. Not co-incidently those who recommended TLC’s  also practiced TLC’s themselves!

meditation

So you are probably wondering what are these TLC’s? Well as Dr Walsh notes TLC’s are nothing new, they are just practices that have perhaps fallen by the wayside of a society in rapid pursuit of the perks of modernity. They include spiritual connection, exercise, nutrition & diet, time in nature, relationships, recreation, relaxation & stress management and contribution & service. Not only are most of these fun, they are also mostly free! So why not make some time this weekend, perhaps you’ll brew a nice pot of green tea and sit in your garden and write an old fashioned letter to a friend.

vintage mail

Is there a yoga class you’ve been wanting to try? A friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, why not invite them for a healthy, home-made lunch with a big rainbow salad. Take your kids out for a bicycle ride and have a little picnic in the park! Perhaps you want to start a journal where you can begin to jot down your thoughts? Is there a meditation group you want to join, or a spiritual journey or community you want to reconnect with?

Journalling

It’s simply a matter of slowing down, reconnecting with the wisdom of ages past and beginning to tend the garden of your life. I know what helps for me is being around others who are also gently tending a life well lived.  Like an established garden, a life of value takes time and energy to develop – one must sow the right seeds in order to reap the benefits but with time and the passing of the seasons, you will begin to enjoy the fruits of your labours and will discover the joy of making  a safe space where others can also come and find rest.

garden1

Fitness Log week beginning March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

A most relaxing weekend left me chomping at the bit this morning. I started my day at 4am with my hour of power and then hit the gym at 5:30am sharp. Karen and I scheduled a bicep blast prior to RPM this morning. I found this list of Top 10 bicep exercises last night and whilst I am not that keen on having girls hanging off my arms (clearly aimed at the boys) it has some great tips. Females often focus too much on cardio without incorporating strength training to build lean muscle which will help you develop a toned physique. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is still essential. In fact high intensity training for 45 minutes first thing in the morning will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day and cause you to burn more calories over the next 14 hours even whilst at rest! Combining the two types of training in with the addition of stretch therapy and high quality nutrition will lead to optimum health and physique. Think of these components as your four quadrants of fitness.

Monday 11 March, 2013

Training

chin ups

am:  Biceps: 21’s barbell curls (12.5 kg) bottom to 1/2 way x 7 reps, 1/2 to top by 7 reps, bottom to top 7 reps followed immediately without rest by dumbbell curls (descending reps 12-10-8-12 on 6-7-8 kg) just got through the 8’s so working to my limits at that range of reps. Military style chin ups (with arms and elbows actually tucked in closer than in this picture)  using descending reps 12-10-8-12 I started on pin#9 down to 6 but it was a bit too easy, I will start on pin#8 next week.

RPM class (45 minutes) and I also tried a new class Goodlife have launched called X Fit. The yummy mummies and I enjoyed an intense 45 minutes strength class in the group fitness room using the Pump gear. We did a short warm up and then three rounds of intense strength training (which you can easily replicate in your own time) followed by some core work and a warm down. The sets were a mix of resistance with barbell (I loaded up with 4 x 5kg plates) and against body weight incorporating principles of  plyometrics with intense heavy reps and no breaks in between except between rounds (30 second rest). The sets included: 15 squats, 15 cling and jerk, 15 straight leg deadlifts, 15 box jumps (up onto stage),15 tricep dips, 15 push ups and 30 second plank. By round three I was extremely fatigued and dropped 2 x 5kg weights off my barbell, however it was then far too easy, I should have added 2.5’s on in lieu of the 5’s.

plyometrics

I enjoyed a relaxing steam session afterward followed by a warm shower to sooth the muscles.

pm: Boxing class (45 minutes) followed by Stretch Therapy (1 hour) @ the Old Flour Mill. We did handstands tonight and I practiced my shoulder stand. After class I felt like trying a back bend, Trevor being so perceptive spotted my intention and offered assistance. I pushed up into the pose to begin with then he provided further instruction and support to help me move more deeply into the stretch.

HPIM0674.JPG

Nutrition

am: 2 litres purified rainwater, 2 cups green tea, green smoothie (1/2 litre).

tuna

pm: tuna sashimi (one small raw tuna steak sliced up) with soy sauce and pickled ginger and 1/2 a fresh cucumber. 1 litre purified rainwater. Evening meal – pumpkin soup, steamed brocoli and walnuts. Broccoli is amazing food – cleansing, high in vitamin C, protein (45% of the calories) and fiber – whenever I even feel the slightest bit unwell I load up my plate. Pot of peppermint tea.

broccoli

Tuesday 12 March, 2013

Training

am: recovery (much needed after yesterday’s full on day!)

pm: Boxing class (1 hour) back to back with Balance class (1 hour). Squeezed in some back work tonight before class with  increased weights from last week and again using decreasing rep technique (12-10-8-12) – dumbbell rows : 9-10-12.5-9; lateral pull down (pin # 4, 4 +1, 4+2). I am feeling more energised after training tonight.

Nutrition

am: 1 litre purified rainwater, 1 cup green tea, 1 pomegranate which was a gift, (check the link for info about this amazing fruit).1 pot of chai. Intriguing – this morning I had very little appetite even after such a heavy training day yesterday with quite a light corresponding calorie intake.

Pomegranate

pm: I picked up a lovely little pumpkin and some red onions from the Queen Bee at our very own farmer’s market stall “homegrown harvest” on Saturday in the Top of Town. Today I made the most delicious soup with them plus carrots, capsicum, courgette, brocoli, chickpeas, chilli and fresh rosemary from my garden. I finally began feeling hungry around 11:30am so I ate two big bowls of soup!

pumpkin

Super hungry again after classes tonight so evening meal was whipped up in a jiffy: sauté veggies (courgette, red onion, asparagus & cabbage) with lightly steamed broccoli and a tuna steak lightly pan fried.

Wednesday 13 March, 2013

Training

leg press

am: Quads, shoulders and triceps this morning all mixed up and using a mix of decreasing rep technique (12-10-8-12) or straight reps where indicated: barbell step ups (15-17.5-20), barbell squats (15-17.5-20), barbell lunges (15-17.5-20), standing shoulder press (15-17.5-20), tricep dips with 5kg weight on lap (3 x 10 reps), stair sprints 2 x 3, seated leg press (pin # 9-10-11), triceps push ups (3 x 10 reps), leg extension (pin # 5-6-7). 10 minutes powerwalk on treadmill at 6km/hour (10% incline).

Women Boxing Together At Gym

pm: Kerri and I smoked through two 20 minute sessions in the park today. The ground was dry so no excuses not to drop into those push-ups and burpees! A heart pumping drill working the whole body: 50 high jabs, 40 uppercuts, 30 hooks, 10 full burpees, 10 pushups, 1 minute skipping, 10 repulsion lunges, 10 box jumps up onto step. Only rest was during transition between skipping reps (10 meters). We’ve been training together for a few months now, we take it in turns to prepare the sessions and during the hour we spend each week training, we also have time to touch base on life and catch up. Training together has helped us both stay accountable in other areas of our lives as well which has been a huge blessing to us both!

Nutrition

am: 1 litre purified rainwater, 2 cups green tea, 1 green smoothie. Latte.

pm: Tuna in springwater with cucumber, tomato, asparagus and red onion. Walnuts (30g), banana, two plums. 1 litre crystal springs water. Homemade vegetable soup, pasta spirals with vegetables.

Thursday 14 March, 2013

Training

What a glorious Autumn morning to be alive…clear blue skies and crisp, fresh air, I envied the lucky people high up in the balloon early today!

early morning mist

am: I was reading about supersets this week so I decided to use this training principle to combine my hamstrings and chest this morning. Routine: chest dips (pin# 8-7-6) alternating with back extension with plates (5-7.5-10); dumbbell chest press on incline bench (9-10-12.5) alternating with lying leg curl (pin# 3) 3 x 12 reps; straight leg deadlifts with dumbbells (25-30-35) [whilst my legs were fine, I could hardly lift the  17.5kg weights with my arms which got hammered so I need to rethink that one] alternating with dumbbell chest fly 4 kg (3 x 12reps); hamstring curls on swiss ball alternating with hamstring stretch; core work: decline crunches (3 x 12 reps)

decline-bench-crunch

pm: recovery

Nutrition

am: 1 litre purified rainwater, 2 cups green tea, 2 gooey boiled eggs with sauté asparagus, broccoli and garlic.

pm:  Tuna in springwater with cucumber, tomato & spinach. Walnuts (30g). 1 litre crystal springs water. Homemade vegetable soup.

Friday 14 March, 2013

Training

am: recovery

pm:  Body Balance

yoga

Nutrition

am: 1 litre purified rainwater, 2 cups green tea.

green-tea

pm:  2 gooey boiled eggs. Homemade vegetable soup. Ginger chicken stir fry with shitake mushrooms and sauté veggies asparagus, broccoli, capsicum, red onion and garlic.

shitake