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!

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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 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.)

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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.

January 24: Bedtime yoga

After yesterday’s four-hour cleaning effort followed by a boozy, cheesy dinner, I felt pretty average this morning!! My morning routine was done at midday, so that gives you an indication of how I was faring.

The whole day seemed sluggish. Mundane things like grocery shopping, doing the laundry and more vacuuming, this time at our house, preceded an afternoon on the couch eating Leo’s yummy chilli and watching crappy TV. I thought about using the step machine at some stages during the evening, but grabbed another piece of chocolate and pulled the blanket higher.

I haven’t changed my diet at all. This is something to address in the coming months (not that it’s terribly terrible), because there was no way everything could be done at once – I would have been a disaster. So I’m still drinking beer and eating dessert and having the odd bowl of chips/crisps and so on. Once the exercise habit is a habit, then I’ll look at the quantity and quality of what fuels me day to day. That’s also part of the course I’m currently enrolled in (my studies have been neglected this week. The lecturer said 40,000 people have enrolled in this MOOC, so I better pull up my socks!).

During the week, I read this simple but effective article about a woman who committed to doing 15 minutes of yoga per day for a month. Her outcome was encouraging and has also made me more inquisitive about yoga. Maybe I’ll add 15 minutes of yoga to my morning routine? 10 minutes of meditation, five minutes of stretching, and then 15 minutes of yoga … it could be possible. And then I’d do a minimum of 15 minutes of sweatier fitfor15in15 exercises later in the day … Hmmmm … It’s something to think about (but I’m worried about overcommitting myself time-wise).

The author, Grete DeAngelo, lightly touched on something I have been meaning to write about for a while. How the day could almost become a collection of 15 minute blocks; of 15 minute habits. Once you form one habit, it becomes easier to form another. Because when I think about how much I can achieve in 15 minutes with exercise, it almost becomes a game, a challenge, to start thinking of what else can be done in 15 minute blocks. It’s addictive!

Her story also sparked my desire tonight for a calming yoga routine before bed. I found this, and enjoyed it. It’s shot quite strangely – we’re looking at the man from behind and to the side, and he’s sitting a fair way away! Sometimes I had to look twice to work out what he was doing. But the exercises were just enough, the waves on the beach nice to listen to, and the rising moon pretty to see. Because this was the first time I’ve done this video, I had to keep checking my phone to understand his descriptions of some of the moves. If I do it again in the future, it will be more relaxing.

Here are some other things I enjoyed reading about this week:

Diagrams to help us understand some foods. This was very interesting, and helpful. As I said, I haven’t altered my diet at all yet. Baby steps, baby steps.

Technology is harming our brains. I think we all know this, but it’s an interesting read.

An interesting article about study and learning techniques. If you’re guilty of this, like me, it’s time to re-evaluate our methods!

A recipe for tumeric and ginger tea. Apparently it’s good for us. It sounds pretty delicious too. I’m trying to drink at least one (two-cup) pot of tea a day at the moment.

The Swiss finance industry caused a massive stir recently. If you can work out what it’s all about, can you please let me know? I’m still confused (was never good with money matters) but do know it means it will be more expensive for friends to visit us in Switzerland now. Sad face.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the weekend.