January 31: 15-minute workout on the floor

How on earth can it be 10.10pm? Not one skerrick of exercise has been done! Argghhhh!

A beautiful clear morning quickly turned into a snowfest around midday and it hasn’t stopped snowing.

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Love how the icicles have formed on the garage

I was hoping to do this 14-minute pilates class tonight, with a Thera-Band. The band’s been hanging around in a drawer for years (used halfheartedly a handful of times) and it’s been staring at me since the start of fitfor15in15. But I couldn’t do the routine in the upstairs office (Leo’s downstairs watching a movie) because it’s impossible to put my arms over my head up here! The ceiling is even lower than downstairs. So I’ll save it for Monday. Maybe you might like to do it with a Thera-Band or an old pair of stockings or stretchy tights? You don’t really need the actual rubber thing. See if you like the idea of using a resistance band first before buying new equipment.

So the search continued for more 15-minute routines and far out! There’s a whole series called #fitin15 which I’ve never seen before, which is crazy because I’ve already done one of Jessica Smith’s videos. Cannot believe it – it’s like I’m not as clever as I thought I was. It’s been someone else’s mantra for years! I’ve just added the ‘for 2015’ in there.

This is the routine (I wanted something mainly on a mat!) which is video #5 in her #fitin15 program. It had some great exercises, and I feel like I’ve done something, which is the goal! It came up a bit short time-wise, so I did just over a minute of squats with the chickpea tins to complete 15 minutes.

On a totally different note … How great are these smoothies we found at the shops? With the sale of every drink with a beanie, money is raised for older people in financial trouble, to keep them warm and healthy in winter. Loving that concept, and the cuteness!

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It’s like they were saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”

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So many creative options

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Leo chose blue and white (Zurich colours) and I chose the sweet little hippie beanie

And last but not least, here are some interesting things I’ve read this week that you might enjoy too:

Can breathing properly, with focus, make us healthier?

25 things you can do with apple cider vinegar

More insights into high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Ira Glass talks confidence (one-minute video)

And finally, babies reacting to going through a tunnel in the car. This is one of the best laugh-out-loud videos I’ve seen for a while. Such incredible expressions!

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the weekend.

January 22: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

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The snow was so perfect and fluffy, I wanted to swim through it

The three-week mark has delivered some noticeable David Bowie Ch-ch-changes. This morning during my stretches, my elbows touched the ground for a few seconds! Brief, but satisfying (before the pain told me to stop overdoing it!). My jeans weren’t Horrifically Tight – now they’re just Uncomfortably Tight. I feel slimmer in the outer thighs and that makes me happy. Plus, my arms also seem to have lost a few fatty lumps and bumps (plenty more to go!) and feel much stronger. These are all positives to keep the motivation high.

My workout today was another YouTube find from Jessica Smith TV – short, sweet and focused on something I need to do a lot more work on. The butt. Her exercises were really good – some I hadn’t seen before – and it was all over in 15 minutes. The background noise was a little distracting, but if you can overlook (overlisten?) that, then I think you’ll enjoy it. She also gives relevant instructions while you’re doing the exercises to make sure you’ve got the right posture and so on. Thumbs up. I watch the video on my phone and move it around on the floor while exercising. Handy to not have to crane your neck to watch the television.

I went into town today, walking to and from the bus. Once again, I was running late (walking on the road instead of taking the short cut through the fields adds a few minutes which I keep forgetting about), so I had to run for a few minutes down the hill (happy that it wasn’t up hill!). But I stopped when I saw these guys – how nice for them to be outside! Their happy meandering and munching was a good thing to see.

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Welease Bwian! The cows were an unexpected sight today. Normally they’re in barns during winter. What a great release for them.

This article caught my attention today too – do you think you’re working out wrong? The author makes a good point. Sometimes I feel like a 30-minute exercise video has more benefit than a two-hour walk. Should we be exercising ‘smarter’? As long as we keep mixing it up, I think we’re doing ok. Variety is a good thing. And so are the changes.

Here’s some live Bowie if you fancy.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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Walking alongside a little stream on the way home

January 21: Pleasant surprises

Wow, today has been full of surprises. Love surprises!

Please excuse the random thought processes below …

This morning, I acted on a comment from Freda from livesimplysimplylive. I really enjoy checking her site every day; it’s peaceful and inspirational. She mentioned candles, and I’d never thought about using them to add some ambience. The 10 minutes of meditation and five minutes of stretching did feel calmer, so I’ll be lighting a candle during my morning routine every day from now on. Thanks Freda!

After that I did some research to help a friend with his website, then Leo sent me an email with a job advertisement – for an editing job in English. It has really piqued my interest! So I spent the afternoon tweaking my CV and cover letter, and will send them off tomorrow after one last proofread when my mind’s clear. Here’s hoping!

I spoke with my neighbour about the possibility of our visitors, who arrive on Monday, staying in the empty apartment in the main farmhouse for four or five nights. She said yes, so I’ll be cleaning and preparing it on the weekend. Great news!

For some reason, my mind hadn’t switched onto the fact the Australian Open Tennis is in full swing – I love the tennis and can’t believe I haven’t been cheering on my favourite players. It’s been a busy start to the week, but from now on I’ll be watching as much as possible – more than the 20 minutes today. C’mon Roger!

And last but not least, I’ve found another great exercise resource, by complete fluke (and a bit of laziness!). I didn’t have time today to do more than 15 minutes, so typed “15 minute workout” into YouTube on my phone, and found this great resource from Fitness Blender. You do your own warm-up and cool down. It was an intense workout and raised a sweat. I’ll be doing it again, plus the others. Damn burpees!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 19: A day of silence

Today was a day of silence. I went outside to go to the laundry room and was so astonished I stopped in my tracks – no tractors in the fields, no cars or machinery noise coming from the council workshop nearby, no wind. It was the right moment. After a while though, I realised it wasn’t actually silent. I could hear snow clumps falling off trees in the forest and water trickling from the gutter. And then it started to snow. Today was another day to feel very happy about where we live.

Snow covered clothes line

Needless to say I didn’t hang the washing on this line

Solar lights in snow

I don’t think the solar lights will be working tonight

So with a clear head it was time to exercise! I ummed and ahhed about what to do and decided on another YouTube workout. When I saw Jillian Michaels’ Six-week Six-pack Abs Workout Level 1, I had to try it, knowing how weak my abs are. But what? Once again, I couldn’t get the volume to work (occasionally we have this problem when watching things off the internet on our television), so I did the workout in silence. Well, not complete silence, because there was plenty of my huffing and puffing. Despite ‘missing out’ on all the motivational talk (maybe that’s a blessing?!) and the odd instruction, it was doable without the sound.

Michaels performs the classes with two other women, who give beginners and advanced examples while she does the intermediate. Again, I couldn’t do all the beginner’s exercises. These gals are very fit! But I worked up a serious sweat, and feel good. It goes for about 35 minutes including warm-up and cool down.

Do you have a collection of fitness DVDs or internet workouts you’ve been neglecting? I just go with whatever takes my fancy, and doubt I would or could follow a six-week daily course. That seems too regimented – for me fitfor15in15 is all about variety.

Speaking of variety, how are these for some eggs! My friend Kanjana, who we visited for lunch on Friday, works at an egg factory in Bern, and gave some special eggs to Pastora, Iva and I. I’ve never seen eggs so big! And they are double yolkers! So here’s my lunch today.

Double yolk eggs

Lunch of champions! Great egg-laying skills from some very large hens

Big egg

They weigh over 100 grams. We received a carton of 10 – so far five have been doubles, and one a very large single

As an aside, the Germans and Swiss Germans call men’s testicles eggs, whereas we call them balls. Chuckle chuckle. Sorry, did I just put you off your breakfast?! 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day.