February 28: Yoga Cross Training arm workout

My stomach muscles are sore today from the previous two days, so I switched focus to my other ‘problem’ area by giving my arms a solid workout with this video from yoga instructor Sadie Nardini. I’ve mentioned her a few times before and really enjoy her style. This is the first time I’ve done this video. She also has workouts for core and legs if you fancy having a look at those (I may end up linking to them next week, so if you’re patient, I’ll do the searching for you soon enough!).

This wasn’t a normal yoga routine, rather what Nardini calls yoga ‘crosstrain’, with the main difference being the moves were done a little faster than normal yoga. And I have a major announcement to make … drumroll … I’ve replaced my two chickpea tin cans (Shock! No way! “They’ve been with you from the start!” I hear you say!) with two 1.5 litre bottles of water. I’m half expecting them to explode over the top of the computer because I squeeze them so hard. Maybe they’re not the best workout equipment because they’re quite hard to hold, but I need to ‘up the weight’ to do some serious damage on the chub!

Overall, once again, this was a workout that did what I expected and taught me some new moves and stretches as well (the forward lunge on the knee with the foot turned out and leaning in was a great inner thigh and hamstring stretch). It runs for over 26 minutes, but the actual workout part is about 24 minutes long. As much as I enjoy doing the videos, I’m really looking forward to going for a run soon. Come back sunny weather, please? Soon? Have I caught the running bug? Could I become a runner? I do like the outdoors aspect of it, definitely. Only time will tell!

We had a great day today, with my first trip to a famous Swiss biscuit factory called Kambly. It took an hour to drive there and I was a bit surprised we couldn’t actually tour the factory – I was fully expecting to put on white coats, hair nets and plastic covers over our shoes so we could walk around the factory floor. Instead, we could only watch a video of the production process, a live macaroon maker and taste all their biscuits and buy them cheaper in the factory shop.

After we sampled ourselves sick, we decided on a few packets for us and some as gifts. Yummy, buttery, chocolatey biscuity goodness. They are not part of the nutritionally fit plan for 2015, I know, but as mentioned before, I haven’t changed my diet too much yet. Baby steps, baby steps. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy those naughty treats that come around once in a while …

Oh alright, alright … I have to confess I’ve been naughty two days in a row. Leo brought home custard doughnuts/donuts yesterday as a treat for doing all that cleaning and it was impossible to say no! So next week I have to be better. Damn, did we really buy all those biscuits? Did I mention they were yummy, buttery, chocolatey, biscuity goodness?

At home, we watched a replay of the Brit Music Awards and, boy, I felt for Madonna. What a professional, to get up and keep singing – she must have been in so much pain! I’m not going to put a link to it. She’s been all over the news. Poor Madge. On second throughts, I will add a link, because this lovely, funny story from The Guardian puts it all into a bit of perspective. She didn’t fall, she was pulled!

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the weekend.

And here are the links to some articles I found interesting this past week:

Bea from zerowastehome shared what’s in her wardrobe with us … now she’s a minimalist. Could you be like Bea? I’m trying to wheedle my stack down and would love to carry it all in a carry-on!

Someone made an amazing underground greenhouse to grow food all year round. Brilliant.

An article about foods that make us smarter … what? No doughnuts/donuts?

Do you have an anger issue? Here are some tips from a radio interview discussing how to react differently to stop a potential heart attack.

The gymnastic flips this guy can do are just amazing. What a skill. How fitfor15in15 fit must he be?!

February 27: Five hours of cleaning and 20 minutes of ab work

You read that headline right. Today, I cleaned the neighbour’s house for just over five hours. It shines. It’s spotless. Leo will be disappointed when he comes home because all that cleaning was done somewhere else! Ha!

My back aches a bit from the vacuum cleaner (they have a German Shepherd – lots of hair!) but unlike last month when I decided four hours of cleaning was enough exercise for one day, I wanted to do more.

As predicted, yesterday’s Pilates workout really gave my stomach muscles a hammering. I could feel them all day and cleaning the top of the shower gave them a good stretch. Luckily I haven’t sneezed yet; I think they’d yell “hello!”.

Because my abs feel good, and my tummy feels a little flatter, I thought I’d concentrate on core again with something new – this 20 minute advanced total abs workout from GymRa. I am officially nuts! I should heave read the comments on the video first – this is tough! My abs were cursing me after five minutes, but I made it to the end … and am a bit scared about what tomorrow will be like.

This could be a great addition to anyone’s weekly program. They suggest you do it three times a week on alternate days. You don’t need any equipment, just those abs … and arms and legs. The instructor Christine Khuri has an incredible six-pack stomach – majorly daunting, but impressive at the same time. She looks like someone who takes exercise very seriously.

The GymRa website has a free 30-day trial you might be interested in. You can create your own workouts by adding exercises to a video timeline which is pretty cool. I have no affiliation with this company whatsoever and am just providing this information in case you think it could be beneficial.

After yesterday’s glorious sunshine …


The sun sets on a beautiful, sunny day

And a homemade treat, with help from Pastora …


Yummy chicken and Spanish ham croquettes for dinner

It returned to a strange old dark’n’gloomy day today …


Early morning snow

Speaking of strange, I did something strange today too – I had to pick up a rifle. It was heavy and freaked me out. I doubt it’s loaded, but it was sitting in the neighbour’s house and I had to clean the floor underneath it, so I picked it up … tentatively … and put it back down again straight away. In Switzerland, men from 19 years of age start compulsory military service, which continues until they’re 34. Everyone keeps their gun. So there are a lot of guns in Swiss houses. But, thankfully, minimal gun-related crimes.

On a much lighter note, here’s a field of poppies to give you something nice to think about. It was taken while walking the Camino in Spain, 2011.


Ahh … that’s better …

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 26: 20 minutes of Pilates

Well, I couldn’t really showcase yesterday’s yoga routine, in the yoga versus Pilates debate, without doing Pilates today, could I? And on the beach … I want to watch some lucky person doing a workout on a beach …

Voila! Jessica Smith TV (I’ve done videos of hers before here and here) came up with the goods. Surprisingly, there weren’t that many beach Pilates options to be found. Call me unpatriotic, but I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the Australian woman’s accent in this 15-minute video. You might like it!

Smith’s 20-minute Pilates workout requires just a mat and a towel. One of yesterday’s highlighted texts from an article said you don’t really sweat much with Pilates. Not true! I definitely worked up a little sweat doing all those core muscle exercises. Phew.

This was a great routine. Tough but not in an upside-down-with-one-hand-in-the-air-and-the-other-behind-your-knee kind of way. Just solid leg stretches and lifts with a lot of focus on engaging the stomach muscles. Using the towel also made the arms work as well.

I recommend this workout to people of all fitness levels. As a beginner, you can modify the moves by not dropping the legs as low. I couldn’t do certain sets of exercises for the duration she did them – they wear you out! I’ll definitely have a tummy ache of a good kind tomorrow.

So which workout is better? Yoga or Pilates? I think they’re both beneficial and can easily be included in a varied exercise program. It would be strange to dismiss one or the other outright as they provide different things – in yoga, the quiet time may help you slow down; in Pilates, the succinct simplicity may suit those with time constraints. Both will continue to be part of fitfor15in15!

And did you see yesterday’s guest contribution from knitter and spinner Peta Yaxley? What an inspiring and relaxing story. I was almost in a meditative state, thinking of her spinning on her property, hearing the wheel and the birds, feeling the sun and taking in the view. I hope you enjoy reading about Peta’s way of staying mentally fit, too.

Wishing you a wonderful day.


The sun may be shining today, but it definitely isn’t beach or pool weather. The poor pool …

I am a spinner by Peta Yaxley

This is the third guest post in a new fitfor15in15 series designed to show the pleasant impact that feeling fit, in all its forms, can have on your life. Peta Yaxley stumbled upon a community willing to share its knowledge and she now enjoys new skills which have dramatically altered her life. Take it away Peta!

I am a spinner by Peta Yaxley (school teacher in Australia and lover of music)


Peta spinning at the Borough Markets, London, during a blizzard!

I am a spinner. I take raw fleece, preferably dark, straight from the shearer and through a process of carding and drawing and plying I make yarn. It’s such a simple, pure process and I am addicted. There are many things I love about spinning wool – the main being that the only thing that has come between me and my garment is a shearer. In a world of sweat shops and Primark, there is an ethic to my craft, along with the general ‘slow cloth’ movement, that looks to embrace the slow process of transforming raw materials into something beautiful and unique to the creator.

I left Australia in 2004 after a bad breakup and three years later found myself lonely and depressed living in London. Working in London in the hubbub of broadcasting, I revisited crocheting and then taught myself to knit under the tutelage of my dear cousin Karen, who also lived in the UK. As my love of these crafts cemented, I saw Karen spinning (and saw the cost of quality yarn) and thought I might try my hand at a wheel. It was my urban epiphany.

At the back of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (where I had spent many a trashy night in my ‘lost years’) was The Vauxhall City Farm where I met an amazing group of older women who taught me their crafts. My Saturday mornings became sacred as an escape from the churning cog of London town – I would jump on my bike, pop into the Farmers Market on the way and then with panniers full of veggies I’d cycle across town to the farm. I learnt to spin on a drop spindle, then a wheel. We spun the fleece from the farm’s sheep and alpacas and I learnt to dye from their large and comprehensive dye garden. All this whilst I bonded with women of all ages and walks of like – my love of the craft circle was born too.

The apothecary of dyeing with plants had me transfixed as I learnt about the wonders of woad and weld and madder. Reds from Brazilwood and greens from stinging nettles. Yellow from marigolds and those blues from indigo – those blues! I was transfixed and transformed by a craft centuries old – mordants and dye baths and rinses – alkaline or acid bath can alter my hue. Addicted.


Spectacular indigo dyed wool, drying on Peta’s property

There is a meditative state that I get from spinning that calms me. I often spin listening to music or the radio and I can be at the wheel for hours; time dissipates as one hand sorts the fleece and the other releases the draw. I can spin very fine and have tried my hand at sheep, alpaca, yak, angora, cashmere and the amazing world of silk. Spinning silk is akin to working with cobweb – fine and strong and stunning.

There is a resurgence of women into knitting, crocheting and spinning. For all the twee ladies (to whom I owe a huge gratitude) there is a growing number of us into the ethics of the craft. There are guerrilla knitters, yarn bombing public monuments. Ravely.com connects millions of us across the globe as we share projects and advice and patterns. There are stitch’n’bitch groups globally, connecting women (and some men) together; Stitch London was an amazing network – some nights there would be over 80 of us making at Royal Festival Hall. Good, clean, productive fun.

I quit London and spent a year in the Middle East. I’d already joined a knitting group online and fell straight into a community of expat women who welcomed me and helped me navigate the strange land I had fallen into. Again, huge gratitude to the Doha Knitters. I spent a hot, repressive Ramadan spinning silk dyed with spices from the local souk. I later knitted a shawl that earned me first prize at the local Bangalow Agricultural Show (in northern New South Wales).


Peta’s winning silk shawl

Back home to Australia, a land built off the sheeps’ back. The irony of living in the Northern Rivers of NSW where it is ‘too wet for sheep’ doesn’t escape me. There are loads of alpacas though – in fact there are currently eight on the macadamia farm where I live. Two spinning wheels that have crossed continents and oceans sit in my awesome tin-shed-conversion flat and I spend days outside spinning staring across the valleys. I have taken on the local agricultural shows with gusto – first prizes and highly commended for shawls and vests and skeins. I joke that I’m giving the nannas a run for their money.

These days I am never happier than when I am at home, outside in the sun, BBC6 on the radio, cat by my side and sat at my favourite Ashford spinning wheel. It is the simple things.


Another beautiful creation – Peta’s mandala shawl

February 25: Yoga v Pilates

Reading this article on the greatist website this morning got my mind working … (by the way, greatist.com is an exercise website with a catchy name, not my misspelled personal endorsement! If you want to find out more about their philosophy click here.)

What exactly is the difference between yoga and Pilates? Which one is better? Show me a novice exerciser who hasn’t asked these questions!

The article explains the origins of both formats, which is interesting in itself. Pilates uses a capital ‘P’ because it’s the founder’s surname. I didn’t know that. If I’ve written it with a lower case ‘p’ on this blog before I shall go through and amend all mentions … in another lifetime.

The crux of the ‘argument’ between yoga and Pilates basically boils down to personal preference and the article’s final sentence … “Yoga’s the go-to choice for stress relief and a mind-body workout … while Pilates is typically better for strictly strengthening muscle.”

Not one to count on a single story as a source of information, the search continued for my yoga versus Pilates debate. It’s endless!

From bodyandsoul.com.au this article concludes, “If recovery from injury or strengthening weak joints is a priority, Pilates is probably going to give you optimum benefits … If, however, your aim is to take a break from everyday stresses and refocus, yoga is probably more likely to be your activity of choice.”

From the Victorian Government’s website, this very in-depth comparison contained a lot of new and relevant information with handy bullet points: “In Pilates, your muscles are never worked to exhaustion, so there is no sweating or straining, just intense concentration … The health benefits of regular yoga practice may include lowering blood pressure, improved posture and circulation, and a sense of wellbeing.”

This article from active.com highlights five key differences and to finish off, this Oprah magazine article does a good comparison between heart health, weight loss, body strength and flexibility, and bonus benefits.

There’s so much more information out there, but if you’ve asked yourself ‘what’s the difference?’ before, hopefully you now have a better idea of which one you might prefer. But you don’t really have to choose between the two – mix them together, if you’re so inclined, for a healthy mind and body.

So, obviously, today I’ve either chosen to do a yoga workout or a Pilates workout, right?! (I wish I could be cheeky and say wrong!) Yes, I’ve gone with yoga. I need to calm the head a bit. My plan to include yoga on Mondays as part of my morning routine hasn’t quite happened yet. On the strength of the only other Sadie Nardini yoga workout I’ve done (I still love it; click here to read more and find that workout), I chose her 20 minute yoga workout for weight loss and fat burning.

It’s actually only about 17 minutes long, but she encourages you to lie on your back for a few minutes at the end, to centre yourself before you jump up and resume your day. This workout has similar moves to the previous one, but is shorter and not quite as tough, so if you’re looking for a gentle but still challenging routine, this could be the right one for you.

I do feel calmer … even if that DAMN CAT is still running around in our ROOF! Ahem … calm … calmer … calmest …

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 24: Boogie on down!

Today, I painted the ceiling, did the grandfather clock, tried to pon di river and for the first time in my life, twerked. And I couldn’t stop smiling.

Keaira LaShae is an American singer with one helluva happy-go-lucky, smiley, infectious personality, who does fitness dancing on the side. She can do those moves! I cannot. But her 20 minute reggae dancehall workout has got to be close to the most fun you can have attempting an exercise video. She makes hair flinging look graceful and loves what she does.

Reggae wasn’t part of my life until 1999, when I travelled to the Caribbean with friends to watch Australia play the West Indies in four cricket Test matches. While walking through Bob Marley’s home (now a museum) in Jamaica, I realised I didn’t own any reggae music, let alone one of his albums. After two months on the islands, I loved it as much as any local and now count Could You Be Loved in my top 10. ‘Mainstream’ reggae, I know, but reggae none-the-less.

The track playing on this video was good to move to, but I laughed pretty much the entire time thinking about what I must look like – no rhythm, no hair flinging, no hip jiggling skills, no style … but it was 100% fun. Keaira must rip up the dance floor on a regular basis.

I totally recommend this to put yourself out of your comfort zone for a while, and so you can appreciate the skills of talented dancers. You learn the moves separately at the start and then perform them together as a routine, twice. It’s hard to remember what comes next if you don’t know the names of the moves, but hey, it’s really enjoyable. Despite my best efforts, and Keaira’s encouragement, I didn’t sweat as much as she did – probably because I wasn’t exercising in a cropped denim jacket!

Trying reggae dancing is another thing that’s taken me by surprise in the past few days. I don’t know what’s going on with me lately. Yesterday, I made a healthy nut slice – that’s three days of baking in a row!


This is yum and healthy!

This recipe has been on my ‘to do’ list for ages. (I used rice malt syrup instead of honey.) And now that I think about it, I do know where this cooking bug has come from …

In the past few weeks I’ve been getting organised, using the KonMari Method. First up was clothes, then books, and I’ve started with papers. By following Marie Kondo’s suggestion to put everything of the same type in the same place, I’ve finally gone through my phone and collected all the screen grabs of various recipes and stored them on the Evernote App.

I’ve been taking screen grabs of recipes for homemade beauty products, natural cleaning products and interesting healthy food for years … and done nothing with them. I keep too many photos on my phone and could never find a recipe when I wanted it. But now they’re all stored as ‘notebooks’ on Evernote and I’ve been using the ‘Recipes – Food’ one regularly. Yahoo! Everything in its place!

Going through the phone and finally putting all those photos in one spot where I can access them easily has resulted in this extraordinary bakefest. A cake, a loaf of bread and yesterday’s nut slice. Plus, Pastora’s coming over tomorrow to show me how to make a Spanish soup! Hold the phone!

Have you been doing anything out of the ordinary or out of your comfort zone lately? I’d love to hear about it if you’ve got the time!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 23: The need for cardio

After running on Friday, I wanted to recreate that enjoyable whole body moving feeling today. Saturday’s arm workout and Sunday’s walk were nice, but now that Leo’s not around to laugh at me, I mean, now that it’s the start of a new week, it’s time to sweat! It’s raining outside, so that was my perfect excuse to look for a cardio workout video on the internet. There are so many, it’s a matter of knowing what you do and don’t like.

Initially I searched for Billy Blanks, on the suggestion of my friend Sandra, as he does Tae Bo routines, some focusing on cardio. But I quickly worked out what I don’t like about his workouts – the back-up athletes’ incessant counting did my head in just previewing these videos. Close to an hour of that stuff? No thanks. If you can handle listening to people count from one to eight non-f’ing-stop then, please, check out his Bootcamp Cardio Sculpt, his Bootcamp Cardio Inferno or this older cardio workout. They look like great workouts but I just couldn’t subject myself to that noise. Maybe I’ll try doing one of the classes next week, with the sound down. Maybe.

I ended up going with a 30-minute fat burning cardio workout from Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu. It’s the first time I’ve done one of her Good Health 24/7 videos and I was struck by how much she looks like Angelina Jolie with her hair up. Incredible!

At the beginning, the workout seemed quite tame (neck and ankle turns in the warm-up and so on) but when the proper workout started, my goodness, Basu and her team had me moving! The music was a bit techno-ish, but with the sound down you can still follow her dubbed instructions (it seems exercising and talking at the same time, a la Jillian Michaels, is not her thing).

There’s a water break which is needed, but other than that it’s go go go, with marching in between exercises to let you catch your breath. You don’t need any equipment, except maybe a mat for the push up exercises, but you will need a bit of space as there are forwards and backwards jumps and walking lunges.

Now that the routine is finished, and beads of sweat are still trickling from my forehead, one question needs to be answered. How did Basu not sweat?! Was her studio air-conditioned? Did she have someone pat her down between takes? She was a vision of concentration and perfection the entire time!

Speaking of concentration, do you think you’d have what it takes to run a marathon? I’ll sign off now and leave you with my second guest contributor, Karie Parker, who in less than five years has gone from being an occasional treadmill jogger to a marathon runner. Take it away Karie!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

p.s While watching the last Inspector Montalbano episode yesterday (sob sob!) it felt like two earthquakes rocked our neighbourhood. The whole ground and front side of the house shook with the impact. Hours later, once we could be bothered to move off the couches, we saw what it was – the new snow from Saturday on top of the old snow became too heavy, and three quarters of it slid off the roof in two thunderous movements. It’s incredible how such a small amount of snow shook the house so much and made such a racket.


New snow on old snow became too heavy for our roof – nearly all of it was dumped on our doorstep. What a noise!

Becoming a runner by Karie Parker

This is the second guest post in a new series designed to show the pleasant impact that feeling fit, in all its forms, can have on your life. In the past few years, Karie Parker has become an avid runner. When we met over 10 years ago, we loved a social catch-up after work. Now she loves a social catch-up on the fly. Take it away Karie!

Becoming a runner by Karie Parker (mother of three, living in Singapore, and lover of shoes)


A proud moment for Karie, winning her division!

I don’t know where to start. When Ange asked me to be a guest blogger, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I was wrong. My running career has become so important to me, there is no way I can sum it up in a few paragraphs but I’ve tried.

If you had asked me four years ago what I do to keep fit, I would have said I go to the gym, do Pilates, boot camps and a bit of boxing. Today, I would say I RUN! I still do other things but running is number one on my agenda. I started about four years ago and haven’t looked back. It has seriously changed my life – I am stronger, faster, fitter and happier than I’ve been in a very long time, maybe ever.

It all started with a few short runs on a treadmill and now I’m running marathons. I’m the first to admit that I hated running. I had all the excuses in the world why I shouldn’t run but when I look back, they were just that … excuses. I know lots of you are rolling your eyes and saying “running is bad for your knees” or “people die running marathons”. I’ll say the same thing I say to everyone – “Just try it!” You don’t have to run fast or far – just walk out the door and have a go.

Since I’ve started, I have learned so much about myself. I used to eat because I’m Italian and I love food! Now, I (mostly) eat to fuel myself. I used to count calories and weigh myself daily. I haven’t been on a scale for over a year and I’ve had to buy all new clothes to replace the ones that are now too big. I used to be someone who exercised and kept fit. I now think of myself as an athlete – not a great athlete but a pretty good one.

If getting fitter and stronger wasn’t enough, making new friends was motivation to keep me running week in and week out. The friendships I have developed with my running mates is beyond anything I can describe. I started as a Nike run leader in Sydney about two years ago and the people I have met through that have been unreal. We support each other through our training, we help each other reach new goals and we have become way more than running friends.

Through our marathon training last year, we had to do quite a few long, slow, runs on the weekends. This was the time we really bonded. It’s amazing how well you get to know somebody after three hours of running – and that didn’t include the big breakfasts afterwards! These guys are my inspiration and cheer squad for my running events and my dearest friends when I need personal support and encouragement.


After her first marathon, in 2014

I recently moved overseas and thought I was going to die without seeing them two or three times a week to train, but we still manage to support each other through Facebook and daily chats. I feel like they are still with me on my long runs. I’ve been here for eight months now and I’ve had the pleasure of running my second marathon with two of my best buds from Sydney and just recently another friend joined me on a Nike run in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We have big plans for the upcoming 2015 racing season too.

Finally, I couldn’t finish this blog without a very special mention to my number one fan and supporter, my husband. He started off as my personal chauffeur, getting me to and from run clubs, races and the like. He follows me around during races to give me cold drinks and cheers along the way and once we get home, he’s online looking for my times and photos. I’m a very lucky girl.


Karie has embraced her new way of life

February 22: A 20-minute walk for eggs

Inspiration came from … ummm … somewhere … on Friday and I baked a chocolate and raspberry cake. Then yesterday, I baked a loaf of bread. Stop me now! Both were incredibly easy and healthy, and turned out just like the photos in the recipes. They’ll be made again. (I should mention this baking/cooking thing is very unlike me. Very.)


The bread and what’s left of the cake

Making the bread used up our last three eggs, so if we wanted a hearty Sunday breakfast, Leo suggested we walk to the nearest village to buy eggs from the honesty-box shop. It had stopped snowing but for some reason I really wasn’t interested in going for a walk – too cold, too lazy! But Leo’s coaxing did the trick and once we were outside, it was totally worth it.

I moved from Australia to Switzerland just over three years ago, and still find snow intriguing – especially the way it clings to things and the squeaky noise it makes when you walk through it. Hopefully the novelty never wears off (like it must have if you’re living in parts of the USA and Canada right now). There is a disclaimer, though – while snow can be fun, I really don’t do well in the cold.

When we arrived in the village, a chicken was cackling like an old woman; an infectious laugh and soon we couldn’t stop either. I could totally see her as a woman from the 70s, with a cigarette in one hand and a wine glass in the other, leaning suggestively over a table of hors d’oeuvres as she told the most hilaaaaarious story, darling. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo of her, as she was hiding under a small tree in her pen. Highlight of the day, after eggs on toast for breakfast of course!

It’s Sunday, so this pleasant 20-minute round trip is today’s fitfor15in15. I’ll raise more of a sweat during the week, promise. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 21: 20-minute arm workout

What a difference a day makes! The sunny times yesterday have now returned to snow.


The beautiful spring weather of yesterday …


… and back to winter today

I feel sorry for the poor people involved in the Fasnacht Parade today … what a disappointment! Yesterday, half of Bern would have lined the streets to see the floats and enjoy the bands and elaborate costumes. Today, people will be more inclined to lie on the couch! It’s been snowing since 10am – big, fat snow flakes for six hours so far – and all the greenery is white again.

Hard to believe I was jogging through the forest 24 hours ago. My legs are feeling pretty good, so maybe I need to stretch myself to 5km next time? My arms still feel a bit sore from Tuesday’s workout, so I thought maybe I’d capitalise on that and give just the arms a flogging today. It’s no secret – I want toned arms! These days some women dream of having “Michelle Obama arms”. When I was in high school, we wanted “Madonna arms”. Over 20 years later, I’m toning down the expectations, knowing how much genetics plays a part in all of this, and toning up what I’ve got.

This 8 min 23 sec video, from a ballet studio in Brooklyn, focuses on the arms, shoulders and back with six exercises. Make sure you grab some weights first – I used the trusty chickpea tins. Once you learn how to do each exercise, you can press pause on the video to complete each set of repetitions, before moving on to the next exercise.

For the exercises using single arms, I did two sets of 16 repetitions each side, so they took longer. For the exercises where both arms moved at the same time, I just did two sets of 16. By doing this, the workout totalled 20 minutes, and my arms are shaking as I type! I had to modify some of the exercises (and do one on my knees), because the ceiling in the office is so low.

The instructor uses quite a few ballet terms, so if, like me, you’ve never done a ballet class before, prepare for an education!

Last night we went to dinner with the neighbours Liliane and Rene, and their friends Lotti and Fritz. We spend a lot of time with these guys, especially outside by the pool in summer, along with another couple Eve and Paul.


From l to r: Rene, Fritz, Lotti, Liliane, me and Leo. Rene looks very small here – he’s actually very tall!

Because we don’t cook a lot of meat at home, I had an amazing steak with salad … and fries 🙂 Yes, I still haven’t completely changed my diet, and at the moment, that doesn’t concern me at all. Doughnuts/donuts are no longer on Saturday’s shopping list, but I’ll still go to town when I … well … go to town!

So, that’s it for today. I hope you’re enjoying the weather, wherever you are! (Those in North America and Canada may not be so excited by what’s happening around them.) And keep an eye out next week for fitfor15in15’s next guest blogger, Karie Parker, who is preparing for her third marathon.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the weekend.

And as usual, on Saturdays, I like to post some articles and videos I’ve enjoyed this week. Hope you like them too:

Austin Raye is a very fit man. This short video shows his flipping talents. Thanks for bringing him to our attention Rachel!

An enjoyable article and interview with American television presenter Dan Harris about meditation, from the guys behind The Minimalists.

For art lovers out there, this is a book about bark. The pictures are not as dry as the subject matter sounds (badoom tish). Totally beautiful. Thank you Jocelyn, for the link.

This story about cycling, and the rise in popularity of cycling tours, made me feel nostalgic for my trek down the west coast of America in 1999.

And this is just silly! A robot hat has been made in Japan to feed runners tomatoes. John, you are responsible for filling our minds with such craziness.