Saturday, February 22, 2014

A new focus

It seems like it has been a while since my last blog –  probably because there has been a lot going on since I arrived back from Auckland in early January.

Soph was here visiting for two weeks prior to returning to Uni for the start of her third year.  We managed to fit in a lot of exciting things whilst she was here including a day trip to by ferry to Batam, Indonesia for some amazing spa treatments – including an hours head massage where we lay outside under the trees (photo below) whilst having a lovely concoction massaged into our heads - very relaxing – ideally we should have stayed 24 hours at the spa/resort as the surroundings were gorgeous (if you have time google 'Tempat Senang Resort and Spa').  

We also managed to get to the movies to see ‘The Book Thief’ which we both really enjoyed; ate in some lovely restaurants – one of Soph’s favourite was Hard Rock CafĂ© and we managed to fit in some running at MacRitchie which is an 11km trail run and Mt Faber as well as some gym sessions together.  Soph also had to do some study in readiness to sit two exams on her return to Uni having not been able to sit them in November due to her chickenpox incident during exam week (the good news is she just sat one of the exams and got 80%, so she must have managed to fit in more study that she thought).  At the end of the two weeks it was tough waving her off but was made slightly easier knowing we will be at home together at Easter.

I also took some time to reflect on what I wanted to achieve for 2014.  I have always wanted to become a counsellor so I finally signed up to complete a Diploma in Counselling which I will do part time whilst working full time.  I can complete six months of the qualification whilst living overseas but will need to finish it on my return to NZ (not sure yet when this might be).

I signed up to the gym in January and have been getting there 5 mornings a week from 7am - 8.30am and doing a mixture of workouts either with a personal trainer which is exhausting and after the first session it took me four days until I could lift my arms up to wash my hair….and I also run on the treadmill for up to an hour (mostly doing interval training to speed my legs up a bit).   Today I joined a friend from work, Caz, who is training for the Prague Marathon in May, for a 90 minute run and was surprised that I could run that far having not done a lot of outdoor running since I have been back - the heat here can be a real challenge.  This morning though it was a fairly cool 26 degrees with a nice breeze - very nice running conditions.  Its also really nice to run alongside someone who is training for a marathon rather than it being me who is training for one.

After getting so confused with the diet issue – dukan/ primal  /paleo / low carb - high fat, I decided to return to 'normal' eating habits only to find I didn’t know what 'normal' meant anymore.  Scary….for the first time in months I had a sandwich for lunch (smoked salmon and avocado) and really enjoyed it.  Lets hope it doesn’t take me long to find my way back to normal eating (whatever that may be)!  I think 'normal' for me just means eat healthy at least 80% of the time.

So for the next few months my plan is to study ; work out in the gym 3-5 times a week, run a few days a week and eat healthily.  Sounds like a good plan to me – oh and fit in some great movie viewing – I just saw ‘Rush’ a true story about James Hunt and Nikki Lauda who were competitors in Formula 1 motor racing – really enjoyed it!

Until next time!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrations Begin….

One of the biggest celebrations for the year is about to begin here in Singapore with Chinese New Year.  The city is looking really colourful and yesterday at the office I was excited to take part in a 'Lo Hei' - the tossing of a prosperity salad - the higher you toss the salad, the more prosperous you become.

Given we had more than 600 employees tossing salad you can imagine the fun that was had and surprisingly the tossed salad was really tasty. We were also given gifts as we left the lunch - 2 mandarin oranges which is another symbol to help usher in prosperity - this was followed with traditional music being played by an orchestra in the afternoon which was enjoyed by all - a fun day.

I wanted to try and capture some of the excitement in the city so on my walk home from the gym this morning (3kms) I stopped to take photos - the colours of the mandarin trees and the decorations are really gorgeous.  The temples are full and the traditional restaurants have queues around the block.

As most of the celebrations centre on family and food its not surprising to see the price of food has sky rocketed (hard to believe given the already astronomical cost of food) and you don't want to to see a hairdresser or a manicurist as they all hike up their prices with the long weekend starting on Friday and everyone wanting to look their best.   Taxis are really hard to come by (as most of the taxi drivers are enjoying their celebrations) and advice to those needing a taxi is to 'jump the queue' when using the taxi app's to book a taxi, which adds an extra $5.00 to the $3.20 booking fee.  So the cost is $8.20 before you have left your destination.  Given the majority of people living here don't have cars - taxis are the next best mode of transport - no wonder you need all the symbols and wishes for increased prosperity - just to make it through the New Year!

Anyway, I am particularly looking forward to the long weekend as my gorgeous girl Soph is coming to stay.  That in itself is reason to celebrate - we will both enjoy the firework displays that will be on show as the Chinese begin to celebrate the most important event of the year on the Chinese calendar.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Back to work!

Well its been a busy week - and hard to believe I was in NZ only last weekend albeit briefly as I flew out from Auckland at 7am on Saturday. The flight through Sydney was made even longer as none of the entertainment systems worked - can you imagine 8 hours on a flight and no entertainment.  I was gutted as I had a list of movies I was planning on watching - I don't even think the Qantas flight attendants remembered a time when the entertainment system crashed and didn't re-start!  Thank goodness for my kindle which had another of Karen Rose's great reads waiting for me so that kept me busy instead.

It was a bit of a shock getting back into work mode after an amazing 14 days in sunny Takapuna with my gorgeous girl Soph and other family and friends.  I woke up at 4.45am on Monday morning still on NZ time so what was I to do other than lace up my running shoes and head out the door.  It was raining and a fairly cool 24 degrees perfect for a run - it's still the rainy season which is due to go on for most of January - I did some run drills and some sprint work to try and speed up my run pace after all the long slow distance work I did getting ready for the marathon last month.  It was a great way to start the day before heading back to the reality of work!

Last week I outlined all my goals for 2014 so now that I am back in Singapore I thought I better get myself along to the gym and sign up - I headed over to PURE which is a 32,000 square ft gym offering an amazing place to work out. They also offer Yoga, Pilates and spin classes - awesome.  I decided to take advantage of the free personal training session and turned up on Thursday morning at 7am.  I knew it would be a hard session but I had no idea the pain I was going to suffer for the next few days - in fact as of tonight (Saturday) I still can't lift my arms high enough to wash my hair.   My core strength is negligible so all the planks/push ups left my arms screaming!   I keep thinking that I am pretty fit and I keep being reminded I am nowhere near as fit as I could be.  So I will aim to get into the gym every week morning at 7am and see how much things improve.

I am also another week in to the paleo low carb high fat and maintaining less than 50 carbs a day.  Given a few days ago I was weighed at they gym and had body fat etc measured I can watch closely to see if this is going to work for me.  I suspect I may be eating too much fat - if you are reading this Helen K or Mikki can you let me know if I need to watch the calorie intake as well or just keep below the 50 carbs??  I just want to make sure I do it right.  I headed off to the supermarket this morning and loaded up the trolley with organic low carb high fat foods - the better stocked I am the less likely I will fall of the wagon.  Looks pretty good doesn't it!

So things are off to a good start for 2014 - I am back at work, have joined the gym, and seem to have the food under control so lets see what happens!