Monday, December 2, 2013

It's Tea-Time: Tasty Rosehip Tea

Rosehip oil is all the rage these days. Applied to your skin it is meant to reduce acne, control psoriasis, be an excellent moisturiser among many other things. In fact, ff you peek at the ingredients of your natural skincare, rosehip oil is probably going to be in there, somewhere.

I've had my eye on Tasty's Rosehip Tea for a while, but never took the plunge in trying it. But with all the rosehip hype going around with the oil, I thought... why not?  And so, I popped a box in my shopping basket and took it home for a sampling. 

A quick internet search shows that rosehip tea is supposed to have high levels of antioxidants, and is good for infllamation and arthritis. It's also supposed to have amazing healing properties, and to be antibacterial. Oh, and it's caffeine free too, of course. 

After brewing, a quick sniff reminded me of just any regular berry tea. And my first few sips were quite pleasant, almost reminiscent of some of the berry teas by Lipton. Then, as I progressed through the cup, the flavours became much more intense, and the sourness started to overwhelm in the bottom third of the mug. 

I thought I may have brewed it for too long - I like my teas strong and normally leave the bag in for a good 5 minutes, sometimes more. So, I tried again the next time, and left it for maybe 1-2 minutes. The same thing happened, where the sourness continued to build as you reached the bottom of the mug. It wasn't as sour as the first time I had made it, because I didn't leave it in for that long, and at first, I thought it was sort of refreshing to have something so sour on your tongue to zap you awake. 

But time flew by, and I never touched that box of tea again. I'd see it in my pantry, but I would reach for something easier to drink, with equal health benefits. 

My verdict? Not my cup of tea, pun completely intended. I think I'll stick to slathering rosehip oil on my face, but leave it off my palate. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tribesports Performance Wear & Update

First of all, apologies for the very delayed blog post dear readers. Explanation below. Before that though, I'd like to gush about something exciting that my favourite sports site has launched.

Tribesports has launched its own range of sportswear. And it's pretty rockin'. 

Granted, there are lots of sportswear on the market today, so what is it about the Tribesports performance range that makes it different? For starters, it's developed by the everyday sporting community, funded by the everyday sporting community and geared towards the everyday sporting community. 

That's right, regular folks... no pro-athlete or celebrity endorsements. 

What was awesome about the range is that pre-launch, they gathered requirements from site users (yours truly included) and then posted up the idea on Kickstarter for funding. User-oriented sportswear cutting out the middle man to bring you very affordable prices. If memory served me right, they reached their funding target in a day or two, and the final number quadrupled the original goal. How insane is that! I guess that shows how much the sporting community really believed in the project (it also helped that the gear looked really, really awesome). 

Enough with my silly ramblings, you'd really rather see photos now wouldn't you? 

Tribesports also run a monthly social media comp. Post a photo of yourself training in Tribesports gear on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #OwnYourMarks and you stand to win US$100/£100 store credit.

What are you waiting for? Check out the entire range in the Tribesports shop, and thank me later.


I've been missing from blogosphere for a while. Unfortunately, that happens when you juggle part-time postgraduate studies and full-time work. I also hurt my knee again from running, and this time the injury was quite bad so I had to lay off anything physical for a while. It seems to have healed, but I'm a little hesitant about placing any strain on it. I've done a couple of light jogs with knee support bands, but I'm still so paranoid that it will go back to how it was especially since it's not the first time this has happened. Krill oil seems to help a little, but not by much, and I do love running so I'm a little torn up inside.

In other news, I finally received my Sadie Nardini 21 Day Yoga Body that I pre-ordered way back in August I think. Woohoo, review to come soon.

Keep posted, because I promise I will update again soon. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wicked Walks: Kinglake National Park

The last time I went to Kinglake was before Black Saturday. I heard that a lot of changes had happened since, so my sister and I thought we'd pay a visit to Kinglake for a day hike. The weather forecast for the day wasn't great, with a chance of rain predicted and strong winds. But, we were really itching for a hike, so we made the trip up anyway.

Mason Falls carpark has totally changed! It has been rebuilt since the fires, and looks really amazing now, with good barbie and toilet facilities (honestly we were expecting no sewerage, but there was that, and sinks and water and even mirrors!), and plenty of car parking space. There were also good park information on massive boards that you couldn't miss.

We began our walk from the Mason Falls carpark and headed to the viewing platform. Then, we took the walking path straight from the platform to Mount Sugarloaf. Apart from the massive steep hill at the start of the connecting walk between the viewing platform and the main trail to Sugarloaf Ridge Track, the paths were really open or clearly marked, with a slight incline.

While it wasn't the most challenging walks in terms of steepness, it certainly was one of the most beautiful. There were so many pretty flowers, and we saw so many colourful tiny birds flitting from shrub to shrub.

The bridge to Mason Falls over a newly formed gully post-Black Saturday

Mason Falls 

Beautiful flowers 

Interesting red saps from trees

I used to see this a lot while trekking but haven't in a while. I love looking colourful fungi!

Purple flowers

The winds were crazy strong! It was almost impossible to carry a conversation, because the wind would literally carry it away. I had my eyes up to the sky, watching all the burnt black eucalyptus branches for fear that some would break while we were under. Thankfully, I've had enough training on watching the skies from playing Skyrim. :P

We got to the peak of Mount Sugarloaf, but the winds were so strong that we didn't even want to stay for too long to admire the beauty. It was very grey, and visibility was poor but we did manage to see Melbourne's CBD all the way from Kinglake.

Melbourne CBD in the foggy distance

The beautiful valley below

Now for the most exciting part of our hike. We found an echidna!! I have never seen an echidna in the wild before, and I have a crazy obsession with hedgehogs, so I was really, really excited. The cute little thing was sleeping under a bush but we managed to sneak a terrible photo anyway. See if you can spot it!

The cutest animal in the world!

Our legs were so sore by the time we returned to the car. Our total mileage was 11.5km by this stage. We stopped by for lunch at a cute little roadside bakery called the Flying Tart, and then made our way to another waterfall.

This was a much shorter walk, 1.5km return, but it's pretty steep. So be prepared for some burning glutes! 

We were planning on doing more kms but we were so sore by the end of this walk that we decided to just call it a day. Our trip back was via Yarra Glen as we had heard about this new chocolate factory/ice creamery, and thought we'd swing by. 

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie

I ordered a two scoop cup, but it was MASSIVE. I only ended up having half. 

Beautiful field around the chocolaterie

If you've never been, do pay them a visit. They offer free chocolate samples, and have such a wide variety of chocolates like you have never seen before. Quality-wise, their chocolates are easily better than Max Brenners or Koko Black, and they are competitively priced. And if you're going for a two-scoop ice cream, make sure you have someone to share it with you.

We loved our trip to Kinglake, and we will definitely be back some time in the future, especially to see how the new vegetation pans out. It's a little melancholic to know that the newly formed gully will only be fully vegetated after we're dead and gone and a new waterfall might even be present, but in the next 10-20 years, things will definitely have started changing. 13km has been our longest day hike yet, we're hoping to go for a full day of maybe 20km soon.

Walk difficulty: Easy to Moderate (a few steep hills but they do not go for long)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Priceline's What's Your Health Age Test and Free Health Checks

I am a huge sucker for online health age tests. I've done the Medibank Private one, which is available only to members, the Bupa one, and the Blackmores one. So, when I got an email from Priceline saying that they've launched their own health test, I made a bee line to it.


Truth be told, it's not bad. It's not as constructive as the Medibank Private one, which gives you health action plans, and a wealth of online courses you can sign up to to meet your health goals. But it's certainly much better than the Bupa one, which told me my biggest health risk was death and that I could have better health by having children (nice one, Bupa!).

So, without much ado, here is my health age, according to Priceline.


Haha, apparently my stress levels have aged me 4 years. While I think that's rather harsh, my stress and anxiety levels have been very high over the last month or so, particularly with juggling uni and full time work. I've felt overwhelmed multiple times, which was why I rated my stress levels a 4/5. Since I'm 'fessing up, nutrition hasn't been great for me either. I've been so time-pressed trying to keep everything together (work, housework, study, exercise) that I've had to cheat with food a little, and I've resorted to using some sauces out of the jar and packets, and some oven-ready meals. I figured it's only a temporary sacrifice while I complete my studies, so I'm ok with that.

Now for the great bits about the test. Until January 31st 2014, if you complete the survey, you can stand to win a $200 Priceline voucher! How great is that?

And another surprise bonus, Priceline and Revive Clinic are also holding free health checks at selected Priceline venues throughout Australia. The health check will comprise of blood glucose checks, blood pressure checks, BMI measurements and discussions about your health and lifestyle plus individualized recommendations.

So, check out the test, and let me know what your health age is!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

R U Ok?

It's RU Ok Day tomorrow. RU Ok Day was created to remind everyone to check in on the friends and family that they care about. Admit it, the best of us take their welfare for granted - when was the last time you asked someone if they were ok?

So, to celebrate RU OK Day, I thought I would share my story. Most people in my life know that I've struggled with depression and anxiety, but not many people know how it all began, and what it was like. I will also share some tips on how to notice and support someone with depression, and if you have depression, how you may try to beat it. You can scroll to the bottom of this post to see those if you want to skip the sentimental bits.

My Story 

I moved to Australia at the age of 18. I came and completed my Year 12 in Bendigo, and did very well academically. But socially, it was a pretty tough ride. You see, I had grown up in a small country town in Malaysia, where everyone in my first grade class ended up graduating in my Year 11 class. Ok, that may have been an exaggeration, but it wasn't far from the truth. I had the same group of friends from age 7 and a social life wasn't high priority in my family. We were discouraged from attending sleepovers, and just even from making social phone calls to friends after school. What was the point, our parents asked, when you see them again at school the next day? 

Back to Year 12... it was tough trying to start over, alone, especially in Year 12 when social cliques had already been established at school. For the most part of the year, I felt really isolated, but in time I made a small group of friends.

Then Year 12 ended. And I had to move again, this time to Melbourne.

The thing about Bendigonians is that they kind of stay in Bendigo. So, I had to start all over again. You'd think doing it the first time around would have set me up for the second, but it was harder. I was living in a residential college, so you would think it would have been easier socially. But it wasn't. I was really introverted, and suffered from low self-esteem. To make myself feel better, I got into a relationship and that was when the seeds of depression began to sprout.

It began with the contraceptive injection. As you probably know, chemical contraceptive tools may cause depression, and this caused a massive change in me. I became needy, I would cry all the time, and I became so paranoid that everyone was talking about me... about how much of a loser I was. So, I began to withdraw even more into my already closed life. My then boyfriend wasn't too understanding either... all he said when I told him how tough I was finding life... was to "get a hobby". Eventually, he got tired of my clinginess, and we broke up.

I think that breakup was what pushed me over the edge. My depression got really bad. I started to have suicidal thoughts, and to escape life, I would sleep. I slept on average, 18 hours every day, waking up only to eat, and to socialize just enough so that no one would know my little secret. I had stopped going to uni. If I woke up in the middle of my 18-hour sleep, I'd reach for my stash of alcohol that I kept by my bedside, to knock myself back to sleep again. During this time, I became a very different person. I craved attention, and did everything I can to get it. I tried as hard as I could to make life "meaningful" again, by seeking new relationships, but my efforts backfired and I plummeted myself deeper into the hole I had dug.


This went on for an entire semester. The most amazing thing is... hardly anyone knew or picked up on the fact that I was absent from uni. One lecturer emailed me to find out what was wrong, and helped me pass her subject. I've never forgotten her, or what she did for me that year.

I don't even know what made me realize things had to change. At some stage, I realized I was failing uni, so I went to the doctor and got a prescription for antidepressants, and a special consideration form. Amazingly enough, I got through uni that year. The antidepressants did make me functional, but I was still as needy and as paranoid as ever, and my emotions were fragile.

One day, tired of having to take the antidepressants and how ill they made me feel, I decided to quit cold turkey, and had a bit of a meltdown. To calm myself, all I remembered was walking down Lygon Street, and stopping by a New Age store called Crystal Heart. I browsed the bookshelf for a while, and was drawn to a few books. Robin Norwood's Women Who Love Too Much, Iyanla Vanzant's Yesterday I Cried, and Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. Those books were a massive turning point for me, especially Louise Hay's bestseller.

Maybe the books really helped, or maybe the stars were right, but I came out of my depression shortly after, and was depression-free for about three years. It was during this time that I discovered my love for yoga, and began to soul-search, trying to find answers to the last few years that had seemed so hazy to me. Then, as a result of being in an abusive relationship and from contraceptive pills (I tried a few, including the controversial Yaz), I sunk back into depression again. I was lucky this time around to have a my sister living with me. It was also the first time I decided to see a clinical psychologist, and we worked out a mental health plan to help get me back on track. With the aid of antidepressants and regular yoga, I got my depression under control, and as result, became strong enough to end the abusive relationship I was in.

Just for the record, I'm currently depression-free, and haven't been on medication for a few years. I'm always monitoring my emotional wellbeing, and exercise very regularly for fear of a relapse, and also for good physical health of course! Over the last eight years, I lost many friends and relationships to depression, but also forged many more. In a strange way, I credit it to helping me grow as a person, and to be more in tune with myself than ever before.

How to notice a friend/family member with depression

1. Behavioural changes
This is a lot harder than it sounds. Someone who's depressed may not just be sad, they may also appear to be more "attention-seeking", or clingy. These changes often just get brushed aside, or go unnoticed. If you are a close friend and notice these things, it doesn't hurt to ask "Are you ok?"

2. They stop hanging out 
If your friend starts to avoid social situations, chances are that something's up. It never hurts to stop by to check in on someone.

3. They talk about death/suicide and have really low self-perception 
Always take suicide talks seriously. Often, these talks get brushed aside as "attention-seeking" behaviour. If you think about it, if someone is so "attention-seeking" that he/she needs to talk about suicide to get it, something isn't right.

How to support a friend/family member with depression 

1. Listen without judgement
Sometimes, all a person needs is to have an outlet. You don't even need to offer any advice, in fact depending on the seriousness, it's probably better if you don't, unless you have experience in counselling. Also, your advice could sometimes appear to sound as if you are trivializing your friend's troubles, even if you aren't. So, just lend your ears and a shoulder to cry on.

2. Tell someone 
If you aren't a person who can closely monitor your friend, then tell someone who can, particularly if they are high-risk.

3. Be patient 
Supporting a friend with depression is tough work. It requires so much patience. Often, you may feel your friendship is taken for granted, particularly if your friend becomes less social or communicative. Or, perhaps you are annoyed that your friend can't just take steps to get over it, such as seek medical help. Just remember that for someone who is depressed, life is overwhelming, and the simplest solutions are distorted to be giant gargantuan steps.


You have depression. What can you do? 

1. Seek professional help 
I'm not saying this to be preachy. I'm saying this from personal experience. While it is possible to ride through mild-moderate cases of depression, it never hurts to seek professional help from your GP, or a counsellor. I found the most effective treatment to be a combination of a GP that you trust and like (who would prescribe the relevant meds), and a clinical psychologist. If you are at uni, you will probably have access to uni counsellors who are free of charge. If not, there might be community counsellors around your neighbourhood. Google is your friend.

2. Don't close yourself off 
As hard as it is, try to let friends into your circle. It'll may seem like a huge effort, but it is worth it. Know that you are not alone, depression is a very common affliction.

3. Self-help 
Not the best option if you have severe depression, because you probably won't even have the will to read. But if you can read, the self-help section of a book store is amazing. I harp on about Louise Hay all the time, but she really did help me to heal my life. So, check her out.

4. Read all about it 
Find out more about depression via online resources such as Beyond Blue. Beyond Blue now also offers a basic online counselling service. You could also try Lifeline, but I haven't had a good experience with them.

5. Exercise if you can
If you can exercise, do some outdoor walks, or yoga. My personal opinion is that anything outdoors or in a group situation is more effective, so aim to do some group yoga sessions. In any case, any exercise is better than none.

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. The advice above comes from personal experience. Please seek proper medical help for your situation. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My First Race - De Castella Run 2013

One of my running goals in 2013 was to do an organized race, but life just kept getting in the way! I had nearly lost all hope that I would be able to meet this goal by the end of 2013, particularly when I hurt my knee and couldn't run back in March-April, and again in June-July (can you tell that I'm a glutton for punishment yet?).

Coupled with motivation from my sister who is also my occasional running buddy, and trainnng with the RunDouble C25K app for Android, I finally signed up for my first organized race ever, the De Castella Run.
The De Castella Run was organized as a tribute to Rob De Castella, Australia's Olympian Marathoner who won the Boston Marathon in 1986 (coincidentally, when I was born! It was a very good year :P). It's held in Kew every year, and features the training route that Rob used to train for his runs, along the beautiful and scenic Yarra Trail. The run begins and ends at Xavier College, and follows the Yarra River into Yarra Bend Park. It's an amazing trail even just to go for a leisurely walk, so check it out if you are ever in Melbourne!

My sister and I are both race n00bs, me having done none in my entire life, and my sister having only walked the Mother's Day Classic. So, we had no idea what to expect! We showed up early on the day at 7am for an 8.15am start, only to realize that we didn't need to get there so early since we had pre-registered. Still, better early than late right?

They had a lot of complimentary activities, including free Zumba sessions to warm runners up! We did a little bit of a session, then decided to do a brisk walk to keep warm. Then, it was time to race! Everyone was really keen and excited at the start line, so I was expecting a rocket start when the gun went off. But, it was surprisingly very, very slow. So slow in fact that it actually took us 18 seconds to reach the start line, because we were standing somewhere in the middle of the crowd.

One of the unexpected obstacles I discovered during my first race was having to slalom through the conglomerate of slower runners at the start. I probably should have started closer to the line, but I thought I was a pretty average runner, and kept towards the middle. After about 5 minutes of trying to push through the crowd, I was able to concentrate on keeping a good pace, which is quite challenging on the hilly terrain of Kew!

How the elevation was on the route... some steep hills
from the De Castella Facebook page

It was both inspiring, and demoralizing to see the 5km leaders already on the way back when I was only about 40% into the race. Some of those 5km leaders were primary school aged! Anyway, I tried as best to keep going, it was certainly a lot easier to maintain a good and steady pace in a race because your competitive spirit drives your resilience and stamina! Towards the last 400m, I sprinted for dear life, and managed a very decent race finish of 27:27 minutes! My net/chip time, which was my actual race time from start to finish was 27:09 minutes which is my Personal Best !! (remember it took me 18 seconds to get to the start line?)

Run Forrest! Run!

I finished in 25th place in in the Women's 18-44 years category, 38th in the Women's Overall, and 147th overall. I was very pleased with my category results, 25th place out of 207 is more than I could have hoped for.

They had restorative yoga sessions after the run, courtesy of Kozen Yoga. We borrowed the mats to warm down with some asanas, since all the runner yogis there seemed to be doing their own, and left before the sessions started. We then had a wander around the Mind/Body expo. There wasn't too much on display at the expo, to be honest. A Mizuno tent, a new sports bra shop, a supplement stall, and a couple of food/drink tents. The best part of the expo, in my humble opinion, was the children's petting zoo! The animals were sooooooo adorable. I'm embarrassed to say that the most photos I took at the event was of the petting zoo, I just couldn't help it!

Every girl's dream come true - a petting zoo!

Every finisher received a goodie bag, and as a freebie lover, I was thrilled to pick mine up.


Lots of sample power snacks and vouchers 

I really enjoyed my race experience. If you are a running newbie and thinking about signing up, I strongly suggest that you do because the experience is so amazing. I'm considering signing up to my next one before the year end as well, hopefully a 10km run!

Friday, August 16, 2013

How Running Changed My Yoga

It's no secret that yoga helps runners. Most runners know some basic asanas to help them warm up and cool down, and yoga is one of the best activities to complement running.


Since running though, I've also realized that my yoga practice has begun evolving. I don't really think of it as for better or for worse, because a yoga practice is just that. A practice. There are no "good" or "bad" practices, each practice is unique in its own right. But my yoga practice is so different now to what it was two years ago.

For starters, I'm no longer as flexible as I used to be. Running does that to you apparently. I used to see runners in my yoga class struggle with forward bends and have no empathy. Well, empathy I have now, and lots of it! However, being less flexible means that I'm no longer pushing myself in the asanas. I'm letting myself just be, I deepen into poses and I'm in each and every moment.

This shift to more self-awareness and mindfulness is a big step in my yoga practice. I have a lot of trouble with self-regulating, and with holding back. I use running to expend all that energy, and I use yoga to centre it all back.

I bring yoga into my running as well. Both are melding into each other in a way. When I run, I practice pranayama, and when I'm in the zone, I'm almost in a meditative-like state. I can't imagine one without the other, so I'm glad I have both.

Because running is such a high intensity activity, my yoga is all about gazing inwards. I focus on nurturing poses like child's pose, forward bends, supine twists... I hardly ever do backbends anymore and when I do, they are gentle.

What is most important is that I feel that I am now truly practising yoga and not just an aspect of it, which is what I've wanted all these years. Strangely enough, gone are my aspirations of becoming a yoga teacher. My practice has become something intimate and dear to me that it's so personal. Sharing it with others just doesn't feel right.

I look forward to reflecting on my practice again next year to see how it has further evolved. Chances are, it's not going to be the same, but I'm also ok with that.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Giveaway: Sadie Nardini's 14 day Yoga and Empowerment Course - ENDED

I recently pre-ordered Sadie Nardini's latest book, The 21 Day Yoga Transformation Body, which is due for release in September, and received a free gift of the Udemy course that I already have, the 14 Day Yoga and Empowerment Course, which I have reviewed.

So, rather than be a dog in a manger and hoard this wonderful freebie, I thought I'd give it to one of my readers! Sharing is caring after all :)

This course is most suitable for people who've done a bit of yoga before, it does say that it caters for beginners, but I've done it and unless you're very familiar with self-regulating and changing postures to suit your level, it's probably not too beginner friendly. It does however, have a very, very, very awesome detox guide that has recipes, household tips, and that I consider as a modern 21st century Bible to coping with today's world.

To receive this prize, you'll have to create a Udemy account, which is free to do! I love Udemy, I can't harp on about it enough so I don't think you'll regret joining them.

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY, and is worth $59! Enter using Rafflecopter below, just follow the prompts. The competition closes in three weeks, so enter now! Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My life as a Type A Personality

I am your textbook Type A Personality.

I've always been rigidly organized - I make shopping lists, I love timetables, and my lifestyle is a fixed almost militaristic regime. Bedtime and bed-rising time is the same every day, I set alarms, a few in fact, just in case I sleep through the first alarm (this has yet to happen). I exercise almost always on the same days, at the same time, and I know exactly when I need to turn my stove on to start preparing my lunch so I can leave for work.


I love packing my day full of activities from the moment I wake up till the moment I pass out in bed from sheer exhaustion. And I've even been told to "stop working"... in fact, during my teaching internship, my assessment was greatly penalized because I just wouldn't stop working through my lunch breaks and recess. I kid you not.

There are wonderful splendid things that come from being a Type A. You are always reliable, so everyone knows they can count on you. This can also be a double edged sword, because when everyone's dumping all their responsibilities on you, and you take it on because that's just your personality type, life can get quite stressful.

As a Type A, you will also strive hard to be good at everything that you do. I am innately very competitive, and I hate losing. In fact, I hate losing so much that I'd rather not participate if I know I'm going to lose. I've been trying to work around this, because life is so much better if it's not just about winning. My mind knows this, but every other part of me does not. That being said, wanting to be the best isn't always such a bad thing. You know you won't just be saying that you'll do your best, you know that it's really your best.

Also, you progress quickly in almost everything because you try so hard. Not to blow my own trumpet, but case in point, after I finished my Couch to 5K program, even while taking a month off in the middle, I can now complete 5km in 28 minutes, on flat terrain. Sure, it's not a great time, but I haven't been running for long, and I only run three times a week. The average runner who finishes the program completes the 5km route in about 34 minutes or so.

The massive downside of progressing quickly? Well, I'm very prone to injury. I'm impatient, and I lack the ability to self-regulate. It's as if I have no 'off' button once I begin. I have really wrecked my wrists from yoga through doing arm balances before I had built up enough strength to support them. I've also damaged my knee from running too far before my body was ready for it. Programs work really well for me to provide some kind of boundary to work within - yoga videos, and running apps are life savers... ok joint-savers :P

Also, the stress levels you experience as a Type A personality is off the charts. I am a massive stress ball, if it weren't for yoga and meditation, I think I'd look like I'm 50. Meditation is extremely difficult for me... training my mind to be still and to be mindful, and to physically sit and do nothing for 20 or so minutes is a major milestone in my life. It even took me awhile to learn how to relax while having baths, or while being at the spa.

There are loads of other little quirks/traits I have as a Type A. I do everything quickly...I used to be able to finish a whole plate of noodles in under 5 minutes, but have gradually learnt to slow it down. I drive fast, and hate when I'm caught behind someone slow. I rush my work, so I'm extremely efficient. But I'm also quick to anger and can get unreasonably touchy about things. Ahh... life in the fast lane :P

So, if you are a fellow Type A personality, here's my advice. Enjoy who you are, because you've achieved great things in life, and you have incredible personality traits that make you a great worker and a fantastic friend. But learn to pace yourself, actively let go when the time is right, and remember that life is not all about winning.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Kombucha: Is it worth the hype?

After reading so much about this latest health fad, I finally got my hands on some Kombucha! It so happens my local Thomas Dux stocks it in the fridge, and yours probably does too. Otherwise, check out your local health food or organic store, you are bound to be able to find it especially since kombucha is very in right now.

What is kombucha? 

Kombucha is a fermented tea with live bacteria and yeast cultures. Unlike other teas, it is effervescent, and drunk cold (to keep the cultures alive I think). Its many health claims include detoxifying the body, because of its glucuronic acid content which is used in liver detoxification. It also contains glucaric acid that increases liver efficiency and is a cancer-preventative agent. 

Kombuchas sitting pretty on the shelf

I picked up a bottle of Ginger Tonic for $4.29. The rest sounded good too, but I can never pass up on a good ginger drink! Plus, ginger has so many health benefits of its own, I thought I'd be getting a double whammy of healthy goodness. 

It's a cloudy drink, with 'floaters' in it which I assume are the yeast cultures. It might gross some people out to drink that, but it's really no weirder than granules in miso soup, or loose tea leaves in Chinese tea. 

It's quite effervescent, I was surprised by how gassy this was. It's very much like any Schweppes bottled drink, and tasted very similar too. You couldn't taste the 'floaters' at all, in case you were wondering, so it's perfectly easy to drink, especially if you love soft drinks. 

Do I like it? 

Well, I have to say I'm going to have to give this health craze a pass. I've tried it, and it's not really for me. For one, I don't enjoy fizzy drinks, especially ones that are very effervescent such as this. Secondly, this is very, very acidic and it made my digestive system go a little off after consumption. Whatever "detoxification" benefits I would have received were probably outbalanced by the amount of stomach discomfort I had after consuming this. 

As this is a fermented product, there is a small amount of alcohol content, approximately 1.6% so that's also something to consider if you're planning on giving this a go. 

I know plenty of people who love kombucha, so if you have a chance, do check this out for yourself. I could see it being a hit in summer. Just be a little careful of any home-brewed kombuchas, as with any fermented products, if preparation is poor and unhygienic, it could contain toxins! 

My Lorna Jane Haul

Believe it or not, I have never own a sports bra before. I just never had a reason to... (TMI, but my boobs are practically non-existent).

With my increased running though, I've had a problem with regular bra straps sliding off shoulder while running, and with my upcoming organized 5km event looming overhead, I wanted more comfort. So, off I went to my favourite sports outlet store, Lorna Jane at the South Wharf DFO.

Here's what I picked up today.

I may have spent a bit today

Clockwise from bottom left

Karin Tank $64.99 $45.00 

Gracious Short Sleeve Top in Scarlet Marl $59.99 $24.00 

Sports Bras 
Idol bra in Black $62.99 $55.00
Laurette bra in Black $65.99 $50.00
Laurette bra in Peacock $65.99 $50.00

Courage Canvas Tote Bag $39.99 FREE 
Because I had spent so much, they decided to chuck in a free tote bag as well! Score! This tote would really come in handy, I've been looking for a new canvas bag, and this can hold up to 2kg!

I'm not really one for sports fashion, but this has been a very occasional spoil, and probably my very last for awhile. I have always worn very cheap sportswear (think Supre $10 tights for yoga and running), but you can't really skimp on sports bras. I think I'm all geared up for the year!

What's your favourite sportsgear hangout? Do you spend on sportswear or do you prefer to save?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

When you wake up feeling a little blergh

You know when you're about to hit that day... it begins when you repeatedly hit snooze on your alarm clock, interspersed with groans as you curse the arrival of daylight (and not because it makes you a sparkly vampire). It's the day that everything's gone wrong... your breakfast burns, you miss the bus and are late to work, nothing seems to go right. Everyone has these days, and so do I.

What then do we do when we're just feeling a little icky, dull and irritable?


When I have such a day, I like to

do as little as possible. 

That's right... I schedule a little off day and reduce all the activities I've had planned. If I'm not having a good day, chances are I'm not going to enjoy my run, or that I won't feel like cooking, cleaning... and forcing myself will just make my day so much worse. Sometimes, it's better to let things be. You know what your body needs, and if it's a day off from routine, so be it!

do a little yoga or meditation or both. 

While I cut down on anything intense and heavy, some restorative yoga always helps to calm and centre me a little. Focussing on breath just helps me put everything else out of my mind, and when you're having a crappy day, there's nothing worse than having your mind burdened by everything that's gone wrong!

read/ look at something that makes me smile. 

Reddit /aww. Need I say more? Just have a quick browse and tell me is your day not better already?

brighten up the house. 

Open windows, blinds, make sure the sun is streaming into your home. Nothing feeds a bad mood more than bad lighting.

When I have such a day, I also try not to

take it out on others. 

So easy to do. I always take a few deep breaths if something's irking me, especially if I know I'm in a bit of a mood. Nothing makes me feel more guilty than snapping at an unfortunate friend/family member just because I'm having an off day.

sink too much into it. 

It's easy to indulge in the mood and get sucked into feeling sorry for yourself. I have on many occasions played Brand New and Tori Amos on my media player non-stop while browsing PostSecret to actively make me sadder! (I know, I'm an emo kid!)

What do you do when you have an 'off' day? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Couch to 5K final run & the Blogstar Awards!

I completed my Couch to 5K program today, and what a run! I finished it in 28:55mins. It's definitely my best 5km time to date. When I first started running last year, before I had my knee and ankle injury, I was finishing in about 32-34mins, so this is a massive improvement for me!

My new goal is now to get it under 25 minutes! 

I've been very happy with the RunDouble app, so happy in fact that I've already purchased the unlimited upgrades, because I'm planning on doing the 5K improver as well as the 5K to 10K program. All in due time :) 

If you've missed out on my Couch to 5K updates, here are my previous updates, in chronological order. 

Whoops, looks like I missed out on posting an update on Week 7! Luckily, my app has stored all my running records, and a quick looks tells me that I was running 4km, at a pace of about 6:15min/km (how terrible!). This was the week I went back to running after being sick for over a month! 

In other news, one of my previous posts has been shortlisted as a finalist by Beautyheaven for the annual Blogstar Awards under the Health Guru category! 

I would be honoured if you could vote for my entry - What you should REALLY listen to when you exercise. It takes a few minutes to sign up in order to vote, but you could win yourself 1 of 100 beauty prizes! 

Check out all the entries for the Health Guru, and if you like my post, please sign up and/or  vote for me

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wicked Walks: Cathedral Range State Park

We decided to go to the Cathedral Range State Park today, a 7km ridge of sedimentary rock peaks 150km north east of Melbourne. It was a pleasant 2-hour drive along Maroondah Highway, aside from city traffic at the start of our journey.

The path we had chosen was Ned's Gully - Ned's Saddle - Ned's Peak, approximately a 5.5km walk return. Even though the weather forecast was gloomy, with showers predicted for Monday, we thought we'd test our luck anyway and had our fingers crossed for good weather!

Lady Luck was on our side, and it didn't rain all day!

We started at the carpark

The forest was so surreal it was like a fairytale

Beautiful trails of all terrains

Including steep rocky paths

The trails we took are graded as "medium" on the Parks Victoria guide, which is quite deceptive especially for avid hikers such as ourselves who frequently use the guide to choose routes. "Medium" for the Cathedral Range Park was clarified in the guide as "Steep sections but footing less difficult.Sturdy footwear and a good level of fitness required". We can usually tackle hard tracks, so we thought the Medium would be easy, but it really wasn't. Apparently, people rock climb in the Cathedral Range! There are some very impressive photos floating around the internet.

Armed with our ignorance, we proceeded to the top of Ned's Peak with much difficulty. It involved some minor rock climbing, but it was so rewarding once we got to the peak. 
Totally wrecked just getting up to Ned's Saddle.
We still have the Peak to get up to

And this is how I capture nature

Nearly at the peak, the path is strewn with rocks
My sister looking snazzy at the top of Ned's Peak

Finally at the peak! Beautiful rock formations

Once we had half a Power Bar at the top, we started our descent. And what a descent it was! Anyone who's said they've had a Walk to Remember has not walked this walk before! While our ascent up to the Peak was clearly marked, our descent wasn't, and we lost the path and veered off track. (It wasn't just us, two other male hikers got lost too, but didn't seem too fazed and proceeded to trudge happily down a 40-50 degree incline in a straight line).

There is really nothing scarier than being afraid of heights, and being lost on a mountain peak, trying to descend.

After meandering around for about 25 minutes, gripping hard onto any surface I could find be it tree, rock or just plain mud, my sister finally got us to the trail! Hooray for her orienteering skills and her Iphone! (She strongly recommends the Avenza app if you're planning on going hiking, total lifesaver today. It's a database of PDF maps from Parks Victoria, but with GPS tracking).

On the bright side, I conquered my fear of heights for the day at least, and the rest of the descent on track was a piece of cake, even though I was concerned earlier in the day about the steepness.

More arrows were definitely needed on the descent from Ned's Peak

This gushing creek though calmed us from our adventure at the end

So, that was what I got up to on my Monday. If anyone's interested, you can go rock climbing, abseiling or walking at the Cathedral Range State Park. It's beautiful, and if I wasn't so petrified of heights, I'd love to go rock climbing too. It's a good challenge, for anyone with a decent level of fitness (as a guide, both my sister and I are runners, and we were both puffed out by by the time we got to the peak).

Have you been to the Cathedral Range? Are you afraid of heights like yours truly?