Exercise is fun!

Exercise is fun

Sort of

Creation Aerial

lovetomtom same but different for September and October was a real humdinger! I have spent the past two months trying to turn exercise into something fun rather than a chore and I’m glad to say I feel I did pretty well.

Cycling on the roads is a huge, scary challenge for me and although it is something I need more practice with, I know I can do it. I wouldn’t completely describe it as a fun activity just yet but I can see the potential is there. I say that’s a win. Walking to and from work was already part of my routine so not too many differences there, other than increasing those walks and being a bit more organised so I was ready and full of beans in the mornings. Of course having a pal walk with me definitely counts as fun.

Speaking of pals, there was one major difference in activity this month that took the form of Aerial classes and I couldn’t have done it without my fabulous friend Ms C. I almost don’t know where to start, I have so much to say. First and most importantly I am so glad I did the classes. Something I can only say now that I’ve finished the term. I was extremely nervous starting out, the unknown can be a powerful thing but having Ms C for company was a huge help. After a class or two my nerves settled down and my energy took a different focus. Without getting too philosophical about my experience I will say I was challenged in ways I wasn’t expecting. Physically I expected to be pushed and oh boy was I pushed. I was often ready to go home after the warm-up and it was evident I was going to need more than five weeks of classes to get anywhere near being physically capable for most of the exercises. What I wasn’t expecting was the struggles with my brain. That part was not fun.

Creation Aerial

I will be the first to admit I thought I was going to be a little better than I was. In fact, I completely stunk! Only I’m allowed to say that of course, but it’s the truth. The Creation Aerial team were excellent in explaining and demonstrating movements and basic techniques and I really enjoyed how encouraging everyone in the class was to each other, but I needed more. There was such a disconnect between my brain and my body, I felt almost out of control. My brain was trying to cope with new information, trying to understand that for example my foot needed to go one way in order for me to move the other way all while holding myself up on the rope or silks. Sometimes, actually most of the time, it didn’t come together.

Creation Aerial

It wasn’t always like this. My third class was the most fun. I started to see the benefits of the gruelling warm-ups and was able to do some of the moves I hadn’t managed the week before. Although these were minuscule improvements they were improvements all the same. At one stage in the class I felt like a kid hanging from the silks trying to get anyone’s attention to make sure they saw that I could actually do something! I felt focused and started to understand how to use my body to make a basic climb more than just a scene from a comedy sketch. I left that class on a high, in pain but on a high. I wanted to keep going, to keep working to get to the amazing standards of those around me.

Creation Aerial

Besides my body and brain, the other thing I didn’t take into account was life. I lost my groove after missing a week due to various things getting in the way and with that I felt I was back to square one. Actually, it was worse. It was worse because I was now at my fifth class and could actually do less than in my first. I felt mechanical and frustrated and with that, as another classmate described it, things had the potential of turning into ‘a downward spiral’ of negativity. Did I have fun? Not all of the time but it was all of my own doing. The mind can be a powerful thing and in trying to be the best at something completely new, I actually missed the point altogether. After all the point was to have fun!

Even though I was completely poo at this, it wasn’t all a complete disaster. I did laugh along the way. Not enough but I definitely learnt a lot in these classes. Most important I learnt I need to loosen up a bit, and not just literally.

If you want to know more about these classes, take a look here Of course I have to say a huge thank you to the Creation Aerial team and students who let me take a few snaps while they were busy teaching, learning and laughing!

Hello

#lovetomtomSBD

November

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

Before anyone tells me off for saying the ‘C’ word, the only reason I’m bringing it up is because it sparked this month’s same but different.

Whether I like it or not Christmas is here and it’s not even December. Although I’m not a fan of Christmas one part I do like about it is writing Christmas cards. This got me thinking. Why is it that I put time aside to write Christmas cards yet I don’t write cards, or letters any other time of the year? With that, I’m starting early and writing my Christmas cards in November but adding a little extra something special.

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

It’s a good thing I like stationary as it will come in handy for what’s ahead this month.  I’ll be pulling out all the stationary I’ve collected over the years and putting it to good use. Not just stationary though; postcards, wrapping paper, writing paper, photographs, pictures, doodles, sketches, napkins, my list goes on. Anything I can write on or turn into a card is going in the mail. My loved ones are going to get something that reminds me of them or even something they can write on and send back to me!

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

Time to turn the computer off and get writing!

xo

More Fat

More Fat

Before I give you my keto update, be sure to read Fat Fat Fat otherwise none of this will make sense!

Since I last spoke about keto, things have taken an ugly turn. I’m still consumed by fat but this time the ugly kind. My experience with keto was going well. I was seeing the benefits and felt this way of eating had become my norm. During the first two months I had very few ‘slips’ or cheats’ as some people call them. I actually had no intention of cheating as that is not how keto works. None of this five-day on, two-day off business. I didn’t go through what is known as ‘keto-flu’ to  have to start from scratch again after one sniff of bread! If you have ever detoxed from anything,  you can only imagine what I’m talking about. I did have the odd non-keto meal and if I’m honest I really didn’t enjoy them so didn’t feel the need to have those ‘cheat’ meals. Even though I didn’t feel the need for non-keto meals, I somehow stumbled into a new way, or in this case an old way of eating: Shove everything I see into my gob. That very way of eating was what lead me to keto in the first place.

With me eating my body weight in Cherry Ripes (an Australian treat that my parents brought over), bread, sugar, pizza and alcohol amongst other things I noticed something different. Before I started eating according to a keto diet I was eating anything that was in front of me, shaming myself about eating what I was eating while going in for another mouthful. This time while stuffing my face with Cherry Ripes I did less of the shaming and decided that this was where I was at that point in time.

More fat

Maybe that’s why my time with keto had been so successful, because I was ready to make those changes. A few months back I had that conversation over and over again in my head, that I needed to eat better. My body was telling me that what I was eating was making me feel rubbish but I didn’t do anything about it. However, for some reason or another, the day I decided to start keto was different to all those other days. Something just seemed to click and I knew I was ready to take on this change. It’s the exact same thing with #lovetomtomSBD the past month. I wanted to exercise more and I did (am). We all know the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet but maybe it’s best when it’s on our terms. The other thing I realised is that for me, keto has to be all or nothing until I can find some kind of healthy middle ground. What that will look like I have no idea but until I find it, the benefits and my head space say I’m going back to the good fat.

Like I said in my last post, I would never encourage or recommend a diet for anyone else other than myself but if I’m ever going to tell you what to do it’s this: Enjoy the chocolate or bread or whatever food it is that you like to eat. If you feel it is affecting your health, do something about it but only when you feel ready.

xo

You’re doing what?

#lovetomtomSBD

Creation Aerial

Most of you would know by now that as part of this month’s same but different I’m trying to find ways to make exercise fun. I’ve been getting on my bike more often in the hope of turning my fear of cycling on Dublin’s busy streets into a fun way of getting around. That one is a work in progress. The other thing I have started is Creation Aerial and yes it is as fun as it sounds.

I’ve only had two classes and gave my initial thoughts on Snapchat.  If you missed it I spoke briefly about my fear of started something new, my excitement and the pain! Even holding the phone was difficult! I’m going to give this adventure my full attention and will spill the beans at the end of my five weeks of classes. While you patiently wait in anticipation for what it is all about, here is a sneak peak of what  I’ve been up to.

Creation Aerial

Thank you Ms C for taking this action shot. I’m clearly delighted with myself and I promise it is much much harder than it looks.

xo

Exercise is fun?!

#lovetomtomSBD

September and October

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I have been toying with this month’s same but different for so long that it will be September 2017 before I put pen to paper! You may have heard my recent ramblings on Snapchat about why it was taking me so long. In fact, I needed a little recap as to why I’m doing same but different in the first place and if we cast our minds back to January when it all started, I wanted 2016 to have no new year’s resolutions, no unrealistic expectations, the same things, just different.

Lately there has been one thing on my mind; exercise. There I said it! I got this notion some time ago that I wanted to start cycling to work and the lightbulb went off in my head. This was perfect for same but different but then it hit me: The fear, the planning, the hard work, the dread. At times, these are all things I associate with exercise. Ok so this isn’t the same but different, this is exactly the same! Hence my procrastination on the matter.

Cycling wasn’t the only thing I wanted to try. Even though I don’t really like swimming I thought it would be a good thing to do especially in the winter months ahead. Why would I do something I don’t like, you ask? My thoughts exactly! I could easily spend the next week telling you why I find exercise difficult, physically and mentally but we are all grown up enough to know our own demons and the struggles that people may have. One thing I will say is that, sometimes I like exercising and when I’m in that space, in no way does it feel like a chore. I am not in that place at the minute.

#lovetomtomSBD

So here I am saying that #lovetomtomSBD for Septermenbr and October is going to be about exercise. My plan is to try different forms of exercise like swimming and cycling. For me, at this stage the key to this is that I don’t have to exercise. Of course it’s good for one’s health and all that but like all the other same but differents, this is about having a different perspective so I am going to look at exercise for the next two months as fun things to do and not something I dread.

I’m glad to say that I made my first attempt a few weeks ago in preparation. One Sunday morning I got on my bike and cycled to work as a trial run. For some of you this is no big deal but for me it was a huge deal as I’m rather a scaredy cat when it comes to cycling and traffic. Even though I haven’t cycled to work in peak hour traffic, it was a huge achievement and one that needs more practice. You can guess what I’ll be doing the next few weekends; cycling to work and on the road!

Whether it is cycling, tennis, swimming or aerial acrobatics (something else I looked at), walking, pilates or whatever tickles my fancy I am going to look for one thing in each; fun! Fun in the activity, fun with the people I do it with, fun, fun, fun. That is going to be the key.

#lovetomtomSBD

Wish me luck and don’t forget you can join in too. What do you do for exercise? Is it fun or a drag? Is there anything that you do to make it fun? I would love to hear from you and I should warn you in advance, you may be flooded with photographs of swimming cap hair, my flushed sweaty face and dare I say it….activewear!

xo

Summer wrap up

lovetomtomSBD + Summer wrap up

Pit stop

It has been one busy  month here with visitors, travel and whatnot, so I feel I need to do a bit of a wrap up to sort out my head and get ready for what is next. Almost like a de-cluttering of my mind if you will.

As you know my mama and papa crossed the pond for a visit (if only it was a pond!) and we had a jam-packed month with lots of random holiday snaps that only we think are funny but I’m going to share a few with you anyway. We explored Dublin and Ireland, ate and drank too much, debated the style choices of my papa and of course we were lucky enough to have a little jaunt in Paris.

Paris

IMG_5375

Summer shopping

Exploring

Also while they were here I got news that lovetomtom was shortlisted for the Blog Awards Ireland and it was lovely to share the good news with them in person. Another fun thing that happened was I had a surprise dinner for my folks with a years worth of celebrations crammed into one night. If you follow me on Snapchat you would have seen what I was up to. Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, even our wedding was celebrated so with the house decorated (I’m sure our neighbours think we are nuts!) and me cooking dinner in my wedding outfit we had a great night celebrating all the things we normally do from afar. It really was so much fun I’m considering doing it every year, all the celebrations in one night!

Happy....

lovetomtomSBD this month was a huge help to me while I waited to go on my own holidays and even more helpful upon my return to fight those holiday blues. The real lovetomtom also contributed all the way from his holiday in Vietnam! Lucky boy! I have added so many new places to my travel wish list I don’t know how I’ll get through them all but I guess that’s a good problem to have.

the real lovetomtom

After all of that and trust me, that’s the short version, I feel I’m slowly coming out the other side, hair a bit dishevelled, mind a bit cloudy but somehow finding my way back to reality. After a holiday I think it’s so important to plan the next one so until I can do that, I’m very much looking forward to other exciting things that are coming down the track.

With all that going on, I feel I haven’t been around much so normal viewing will resume and I have to say a special thanks to everyone who got in touch to wish me and my parents a fab holiday. If you were lucky enough to have a proper summer holiday or live somewhere with more than an hour of sunshine a day, keep sending your pictures my way!

xo

lovetomtomSBD

lovetomtomSBD

Time to fly away

Before I get stuck into this month’s same but different I want to give you a quick wrap-up of last month. June was all about photography and doing something with all those snaps. I had great fun taking my camera with me nearly everywhere I went and even more fun changing some of the pictures I had hanging in the house. It’s something I’m going to try to keep doing as much as possible as changing a photograph can really lift a room without spending a fortune!

lovetomtom same but different for July and August is about one of my favourite things; travel! Whether you are on this side of the world planning summer holidays or on the other side daydreaming about escaping winter, it is the perfect time for travel and adventures. Actually travel is good at anytime!

I feel like everyone is on holidays at the moment and while I’m counting down to my own, I’m going to live through others’ to reminisce about places I’ve been and to discover new places I want to go. While I wish I could overload you with two months full of photographs of my own travels and adventures, I’ll have to pretend instead and share some pictures I’m drooling over. I’ll include all the links to everyone’s Instragram and websites so be sure to spread the love. What a hard task, checking out talented photographers and exotic places!

 There’s no better way to start than with Gray Malin. Some of you may be familiar with Gray Malin’s work but if, not the only way I can describe his photography is that it’s like a big ginormous bowl of your favourite sweets. I never tire of looking at his pictures and when I grow up I want to have one of his photographs hanging in my house.

Gray Malin

Photograph by Gray Malin

xo

Recipe of the month

lovetomtomSBD

April Wrap up & Recipe of the  month

What a fun topic last month’s same but different was! If I’m honest I spent more time reading up on different recipes than actually making them but as with all of my same but different topics, they don’t end because the month is up, so there is plenty of time to cook, bake, share and of course eat!

There have been some real highlights the past month. It’s amazing what can happen when you look at things with a different perspective. It turned out that some of the dishes in my Moroccan feast are no longer different recipes but permanent fixtures in my repertoire. I tried different ingredients in my daily juice with the most memorable one being peas! Another same but different this month and one I’m very much looking forward to is thanks to Indy Power of The Little Green Spoon. Now Indy’s recipes are not new to me but I was delighted to hear that her fabulous recipes will take shape in a cookbook and you know how fond I am of those!

Harissa cauliflower

Pea juice

The Little Green Spoon

Photograph courtesy of The Little Green Spoon

And now it is time for Recipe of the month. Thank you to everyone who sent in their recipes! I’m glad I’m not the only one completely obsessed with food! This month’s recipe is thanks to the wonderful Eavan from Dublin. Eavan shares my love for pancakes and the clever lady that she is introduced me to pancake mini muffins. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this before! The name says it all, pancakes in the form of little muffins. Easy to make, totally delicious and the options are endless. Use whatever recipe you normally use for a basic pancake mix, I use this one and add whatever you like to the mixture. Pour into a greased muffin tin and bake for about 12 mins at 180 degrees. Of course it all depends on your oven and how your prefer your mini pancakes so if you want them a little crispy on the outside, leave them in a bit longer or if you prefer a more gooey texture, take them out sooner.

 For this batch I added a small dollop of homemade blackberry and apple jam and the only bad thing about them was that I wanted to eat all of them! I have tried a few different variations, jam, fresh blueberries, peanut butter and next I’m going to try a savoury version. The thing I really like about this recipe (and the point of same but different) is that my love for pancakes has taken a different form, literally. I love that these are so easy to make and that I can even transport them with me to nibble on at work. Well done Eavan!

It really was a fun same but different and I look forward to working my way through all of your recipes.

xo

#lovetomtomSBD

#lovetomtomSBD

June

June is here already, the sun is shining, yes I said the sun is shining and it’s time for a new same but different theme. This month I’ve decided to focus on photographs. Taking them, printing them, hanging them and changing them around.

I always take photographs and I mean always, but what do I do with them? I’m currently working on a project that requires me to print some of them and it hit me, why don’t I do this more often? I take a lot of photographs on my phone but this month my camera is going to be my third eye and I’m going to take every opportunity to snap away at any old thing!

The other thing that got me thinking this month is the weather. I have a lot of photographs around the house and with the sun shining I thought now is the time for a little spruce up, so they are going on rotation. It’s amazing how the same frame with a different photograph or even moving it to a different spot in the house can freshen things up. Better still, besides printing the photographs, this is not going to cost me a cent!

Here are a few things that have caught my eye so far. Colours, patterns, shapes, inspiration and some old favourites that are getting another look.

Colours

Summer

New York

Don’t forget to tag your photographs with #lovetomtomSBD. I can’t wait to see things through your eyes!

xo

#lovetomtomSBD

#lovetomtomSBD

Food, food and more food!

#lovetomtomSBD

lovetomtom same but different for April and May has been all about food, recipes, cooking baking and of course eating.

The Moroccan Soup Bar’s cookbook ignited it all and after some menu planning I tried my hand at my very own Moroccan feast. Not only was I trying something different I thought I would try to snap about it at the same time! I’m glad that March’s #lovetomtomSBD is still kicking on.

Moroccan feast

Snappng and menu planning

My final menu was the amazing chickpea bake, cabbage, cucumber and walnut salad and harissa potatoes with cauliflower. There was one major hiccup before I even started, as the night I decided to whip up a storm, I realised I had forgotten to soak the chickpeas so the feast was pushed back a night (or two). I got there eventually and I’m so glad I gave it ago.

What I made was absolutely delicious but it definitely wasn’t as good as the original. Not to worry as there were no complaints and the leftovers were technically not leftovers as they got eaten so quickly!

Moroccan feast

 

Moroccan feast

 

Moroccan feast

I’ve a few more recipes on the list to try and thanks to everyone who has sent their recipes for me to try. Keep them coming as one of you will get the title of Recipe of the Month. There are loads of ways to get in touch and you can find them here.

Moroccan feast

Snapping and eating

xo