Friday Favourites + Episode 7 of the CTRG Podcast!

Hi all,

I feel like one lucky lady right now. Not only are we mere weeks away from Christmas but in a couple of days David and I are heading back down south for another few days in paradise!

Sun, sea, beach walks, wineries, good food and coffee… what more could you want!?Friday - chase the red grape

Ok so it couldn’t be more further from the ‘run up to Christmas’ that I am used to but let’s bring on the different! As I mentioned on Tuesday, different doesn’t have to mean bad.

Next time you are faced with something that is out of your routine, tradition or just not what you are used to ask yourself – ‘does different have to mean bad?’ I guarantee you will surprise yourself if you go into it with a different mind set.

But back to today’s joys – time for some Friday Favourites!

Favourite… Moment – Christmas PartyDavid and Jen - Chase the Red Grape

On Saturday we had David’s works Christmas Party. It was great fun to get dressed up, have a few cocktails (Tennessee Apple Coolers) and have a good dance with this lovely man!

Favourite… Feeling – Putting up the treetree - chase the red grape

On Tuesday we put up our Christmas tree whilst watching Muppet Christmas Carol (tradition). It gave me all the feels, it always does! Especially due to the fact that each of our decorations has a story about it, half of them from our travels around the world. So many good memories. (The picture deliberately cut short so you can see some of the decorations!)

Favourite… Purchase – Sending gifts and cards

Today I sent my last gift/ card abroad. It feels good to get them all sent and fingers crossed they will arrive in time! I just love sending gifts… even if I wish I could be there in person to see their face when they open them #thebestpartofChristmas

Favourite… Food/Drink – Matso’s Lime Cider with Wild Gingercider - chase the red grape

We picked up this local Western Australian cider at the festival we went to a few weeks back. Served chilled, it is perfection – so refreshing! Especially with the temps being so high this week!

Weekly Update – Episode 7 of the Chase the Red Grape podcast and a new 5 top tips on a Tuesdaypodcast - chase the red grape

This weeks episode of the podcast is all about why we CrossFit. One for both lovers and non lovers of CrossFit for sure. Also putting a call out for questions for a Q&A podcast to be released before Christmas. As us anything – health, fitness, food, Christmas, expat life… anything! The questions can be for us both, or either David or I. Just comment below with your questions!

This weeks 5 top tips on a Tuesday looked at what to do when you are away from your friends and family at Christmas. It can be a tough time but there is a lot we can do to make it still a very special time of - chase the red grape

Favourite… Workout – Double Unders

I liked a lot of our training this week and saw a lot of progress. But one of my favourite achievements of the week was getting 40 double unders (where the rope passes round twice in one jump) unbroken! A massive PB for me and I look forward to the next milestone… 50!

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Farmers market then off to our CrossFit box’s Christmas celebration… at a winery! Sunday – Recovery… then packing and prepping for our holidays, recording a podcast and off to a local producers market.

Have a wonderful weekend folks! Got a great ‘5 top tips’ scheduled for you on Tuesday and then will be back to share my favourites next Friday!

So what do you want to know? Ask David or I anything for the next recording of our podcast.

Have you been to a Christmas party yet?

Tell me one of your favourites from this week!

What to do when you are away from family and friends at Christmas #5TTT

Hi all,

As many of you know, David and I are British expats living in Australia. We love the life we are living right now – it is more of an adventure than we ever could have imagined and we cannot wait to see where this adventure takes us!

The only downside? Living on the other side of the world to your friends and family. This becomes particularly tough during the festive season – where all those family traditions, smiles, gatherings etc still continue but without you there to share them.

Last year my parents came out here to visit for the holidays but this year it will just be the two of us. It would be easy to let it bring us down, especially considering Christmas here is the total opposite to Christmas back home (it’s summer for one thing!). Instead, we are going to do the - chase the red grape

For this weeks ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ I am bringing you 5 tips on what to do when you are away from friends and family at Christmas.

Start new traditions

It’s time to start afresh and that means looking at Christmas and the holidays from a new perspective. What have you always wanted to do but never had the chance? Cinema on boxing day? Sending Christmas emails instead of cards? Starting the day with Christmas pancakes? It can be anything you want because you can now choose, as an adult, what you want to do.

But keep some old ones going too…

Now don’t get me wrong, there is something so magical about certain traditions we already have that we can add to our new lives and keep alive. Things that connect us always to home. For me it is opening the presents in my stocking first thing, in bed, when we wake up. Going out for dinner on Christmas eve. Putting up the tree whilst Muppet Christmas Carol plays in the background. A good mix of the new and old.

Live in the present

If I let my mind wonder, I think about what I could be doing in Scotland right now… and then I make myself stop. Enjoying myself over the next few weeks means living in the present. Focus on what is going on around you – look at all the decorations, the lights and the beauty of where you are right now. Live the life you are in.


I am so thankful that we live in today’s modern world. It means we have the ability to freely and cheaply communicate with our friends and family back home. Even with the massive time difference we will be able to Skype our family back home. You may not always be there in person but you can still see their Christmas smiles – treasure that.

Make plans with new friends

Remember that you are not alone. No matter where you have moved to I’m sure, like us, you have made some wonderful new friends. Ok you may not spend the actual day of Christmas with them but make plans to celebrate time with them throughout the season. Allow yourself to be social even if you pang for everyone back home. And if you don’t know people that well maybe now is the time to finally get to know them better.

I hope this will help some of you who can’t be with their loved ones this year -whatever the reason. In writing this I have realised that ‘different’ doesn’t have to mean ‘bad’. Time for a new way to celebrate the season – Aussie style!

Have you ever been away from your loved ones during the holidays?

Name a tradition that you have created and enjoy.

Would you like to experience a Christmas in the summer?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites + Episode Six of the CTRG Podcast!

Hi all,

Well wouldn’t you know, here we are finally in December!

The Christmas trees are popping up, the lights are all in place around the city… and it’s hotter than ever. Yup, welcome to Christmas in Australia.

It does not feel like Christmas at all. It’s like everyone is throwing their Christmas trees up in July and telling you it’s Christmas but you know they are lying. It is one of the strangest feelings ever. My prescription? A good dose of festive cheer! We are opening our advent calendars, the tree and other decorations will go up shortly and we intend to watch as many Christmas movies as we can between now and the big day. Oh and of course begin listening to Christmas FM! This surely has to work, right?!Friday - chase the red grape

So as I write this, I am listening to Christmas tunes and singing away. It may not exactly feel like Christmas yet but it sure is making me happy, which is the main thing!

Time now for this weeks Friday Favourites!

Favourite…Moment – Mount Lawley Christmas Festivaltrinket - chase the red grape

As you read from above, I’m not feeling that festive. But thanks to a local Christmas festival on Sunday I am feeling a lot better! The local school set up stalls and refreshments, there were local makers selling their works, Christmas carols, food trucks and even the ability to ride a camel! Nothing like some community spirit to make you feel good inside and out! Here we are in a local makers trinket shop buying a handmade candle!

Favourite… Feeling – Happyadvent calendar - chase the red grape

Each year for the past 3 or 4 years David and I have done a ’24 days of togetherness’ advent. We each write 12 things to do, see, visit etc on a piece of paper and place them into a stocking. We then take one out each day and we have something we either can do that day or put a plan in place to do over the next few weeks. Today’s one was ‘Go to Fremantle and buy some Christmas coffee’ – yes please!

Favourite… Purchase – Lindt Advent Calendaradvent - chase the red grape

Holy guacamole people this thing is insane! We couldn’t find a good chocolate advent calendar this year so we decided to share one and splurge on this luxury Lindt one. Shipped over from Europe, it doesn’t even have the English translation on the back… and all the chocolates inside are ones I have never seen before. I got a ‘doppel milch’ ball today… it was like heaven in my mouth. David takes the odd days, I have the even… which means I don’t get another treat until Sunday. But when it’s not my turn to open this one I get to open the 24 days of togetherness one and a paper one my parents sent me, so it’s delights all round!

Favourite… Food/ Drink – Emma and Toms Lemon Lime Bitterssoda - chase the red grape

Every now and again when I see a ‘all natural’ soda I check the ingredients out in the back… normally I am very disappointed. Not by these ones! If you are looking for ‘clean’ soda, aka without the sugar hangover afterwards, I would check these out for sure! The Lemon Lime Bitters were delicious and David had the Cola – which he said tasted like old fashioned cola! Very much a good thing!

Weekly Update – New episode of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast/ 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday

Episode 6 of the podcast is ready to rock! In this episode we are looking at the concept of ‘Healthy Holidays’ and how we can all have a fun season without restriction, guilt etc. CTRG Podcast - chase the red grape

This weeks 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday also had a seasonal spin. 5 gifts you need to give this Christmas… and I guarantee it wont be what you think!5-gifts-you-need-to-give-this-christmas

Favourite…Workout – ‘Chucky’

We did the hero WOD Chucky this week which was fun. Don’t mind a squat clean and 200m runs are short and sweet – the max amount of running I like to do! Ha!

AMRAP 20 mins

7 Squat Cleans

7 Toes to Bar

200m Run

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Farmers market, mobility class, weekly shop, food prep and then David’s work Christmas Party (will be snapchatting @chaseredgrape). Sunday – Recovery…. then off to see the Spirit of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.) exhibition at our local conference centre.

Hope you have a fab weekend guys!

Is there anything else I could be doing to feel more festive?

Do you have an advent calendar this year?

What sort of things do you hope to do with your loved ones this festive season?

Linking up with Heather @ LifeInLeggings

5 gifts you need to give this Christmas #5TTT

Hi all,

So here we are in the last few days of November. How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?

Do you find that you struggle each year to think of new ideas both of what to give and what to ask for? How about if I asked another question. What type of gift really means the most to you? Those gifts you remember for years to come. The ones that gave you a warm fuzzy feeling inside when you received them. Those are the types of gifts we want to give.

For this weeks 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday I am going to reveal 5 gifts that you need to give this Christmas. Gifts that are both a joy to give and to receive.5-gifts-you-need-to-give-this-christmas

The gift of Time

Time is the most precious gift you can give someone. We are all busy, we only have so many hours in the day but letting someone know that you have blocked out time for them is so wonderful. Take your loved one out for lunch or dinner. Arrange to see an event together like a concert, show or adventure activity. Take them on a spa date, especially if they have been stressed out of late. Even let someone know that for Christmas, you are taking them to their favourite coffee shop for a coffee date and good old catch up.

If you are away from your loved ones, how about arranging a surprise Skype session or phone call? Letting them know for the next 20, 40, 60, 90 minutes your attention is all theirs.

The gift of Energy

This year, why not give the gift you didn’t know you needed to give, your energy. Volunteer your time for a good cause, collect donations for a charity, call up your local shelter and ask them what they need – use your energy to help another that may not know your name but will certainly appreciate your kindness.

The gift of Effort

Some of the best gifts I have given/ received have been those which have the most generous effort behind them – handmade gifts. Get in the kitchen and bake up a batch of cookies rather than buying chocolates. Handy with a sewing machine or knit? Make some Christmas decorations/ trinkets/ scarfs. Make your own bath salts, face scrubs, hot chocolate kits or get the kids to decorate photo frames. The list is endless. These inexpensive gifts make the receiver feel so loved.

The gift of Memory

For many years now David and I have always put our Christmas money towards creating a memory. Items come and go but a memory lasts and can be cherished forever. You too could create a memory for someone you love, but you could also bring up forgotten memories from the past. Get a childhood photo framed or get home videos transferred on to DVD. Buy your brother or sister their favourite toy from their childhood or their favourite book. My brother gave David and I Ghostbusters Lego 2 years ago and I could not have been more excited!

The gift of Love

Realise that for some, this time of year can be tough/ stressful/ tiring/ busy/ expensive. Take the pressure off someone else. Show compassion and kindness. Pay for a strangers coffee. Ask someone how their day has been. Offer to look after someone’s kids so they can have time as a couple together. I could give many more examples of how you could gift your love but I am sure you are thinking of plenty already.

Let the spirit of the holidays enter you and your home this season. The best gift is not the most expensive one, it is the one with the thought, intention and most importantly love behind it. Maybe you know what you are giving this season, but if not, maybe this has sparked off some ‘out of the box’ ideas for you/ given you food for thought!

What out of the above would you like to give and receive?

What was the best gift you were ever given?

How do you like to show your love for someone each year?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites + Episode 5 of the CTRG Podcast!

Hi all,

Happy Friday – and I hope those who celebrated Thanksgiving had a fun time!

So now I am craving turkey, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Stuffing and gravy…. insert Homer Simpson drool here… But it got me wondering. If this is what Americans eat on Thanksgiving, what do you eat a Christmas? Similar?

I guess if you look at the art of feasting around the world it tends to follow similar meals for the different festivities – highlighting the best produce at the time. So to have the same food as a feast, only being a month apart, makes complete sense. Us on the other hand – no sense at all. A turkey dinner in Australia really is far from what is in season. Many do adhere to Aussie traditions like eating grilled prawns (shrimp), mangoes and having pavalova for desert – but for me, being from the northern hemisphere – Christmas will always be a turkey dinner with the works. Maybe New Year will be the time to start something new!Friday - chase the red grape

So from food to, well, probably some more food! Here are my Friday Favourites!

Favourite… Moment – Drinking Rose and eating popcorn!wine - chase the red grape

Last Saturday David and I spent a good few hours sitting and chatting the afternoon away in local bar Bobeche. 1920’s speakeasy style, from the furnishings to the music, it was a delight to sit in and relax. Also the fact that they give you freshly popped popcorn with your drinks just makes it even more delightful. May have ate my bodyweight in popcorn that day…!

Favourite… Feeling – The Sunshine and Flowerssummer - chase the red grape

I think we have bypassed Spring here in Perth and went straight to Summer. Although Perth is known for only having 2 seasons, Summer and Winter! It is hot right now and while I try to acclimatise to that again I can’t help but stop and notice all the beautiful flowers and trees blooming around me. Such vivid colour!

Favourite… Purchase – Fresh Mintmint - chase the red grape

I picked this mint up on sale and have been adding it to my water all week. So refreshing! Will have to buy another mint plant… shame my one didn’t survive. Poor guy…

Favourite… Food/ Drink – Rice Cakes, PB and Jsnack - chase the red grape

You know what, I actually really like rice cakes. Love the crunch and the fact that it is the ideal blank canvas for a snack. Add on the wonder combo of PB&J and you are on to a winner! It has been my favourite grab and eat snack these past few weeks.

Weekly Update – New Episode of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast + 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday + WIAWpodcast - chase the red grape

Episode 5 is ready to download and listen to. We talk about Mental Illness – what to do when you think there is something wrong and it really is a must listen for everyone.

Stitcher is back up to speed so you can now download all episodes over there as well as iTunes. Also if you don’t have access to either you can now listen online! Just click the podcast tab and you will find all the details there.

This weeks 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday was all about how to prep your home for the holidays – you still have plenty of time!How to prep your home for the holidays - chase the red grape

I also brought you a What I Ate post this week- not glamorous but damn tasty and nourishing!

Favourite… Workout – The Chipper

This was hard and horrible to do at the time. But finishing it well within the time cap (32:58) was an awesome feeling!

For time

10 muscle ups/ burpee pull ups

30 dumbbell snatches

400m run

30 wall balls

400m run

30 hang cleans

400m run

30 dumbbell squats

400m run

30 dumbbell squats (yes twice)

400m run

30 hang cleans

400m run

30 wall balls

400m run

30 dumbbell snatches

10 muscle ups/ burpee pull ups

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Farmers market, mobility class, weekly shop, home stuff/ food prep and out for drinks in the evening. Sunday – Pancakes, newspapers, podcasting and off to a Christmas street festival!

Have a fab weekend folks!

American? Do you eat the same at Thanksgiving as at Christmas?

What is your ideal feast menu?

Do you like adding things to your water?

Linking up with Heather @LifeInLeggings

What I Ate Wednesday – It ain’t always glamorous…

Hi all,

I usually like to do a ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ post about once a month – it’s fun to write and I love reading (aka snooping) into what others are eating too. But when I look back on my last few ‘What I ate’ posts, I realised that they aren’t really accurate of what I eat every day. They have fallen on a weekend or a holiday and as fun as those eats really are, they don’t really give the full picture of how this girl eats on a simple weekday.

Want to know something? My food ain’t always glamorous people. I love food, local produce, fresh fruit and veg but 9 times out of 10 I let those ingredients sing their own praises and don’t tend to mess with them. The result? Simple cooking that may not win any awards for visual appeal but definitely come top for taste, satisfaction and nourishment. All that I ask for in my food!WIAW- chase the red grape

So let’s get to it! Here are my eats from Monday 21st November. Thanks as always to Jenn, Arman and Laura for the link up!

On waking – Unpictured hot lemon water

7am – Post CrossFit protein shake and datespost workout - chase the red grape

Replenishing those muscles with protein and my glycogen stores! But also yum!

9.30am – Breakfast – Thai Omelette with rice and Brussels sprouts, topped with sriracha.breakfast - chase the red grape

One of my favourite breakfasts – and I cook my rice in turmeric, hence the colour!

12 noon – Snack – Pink Lady apple and iced coffee with a splash of local milk in the librarysnack - chase the red grape

My favourite place to work! But I cut up my apple so others don’t have to hear me crunch!

2.30pm – Lunch – Sweet potato, 2 kangaroo burgers broken up, tahini, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.lunch - chase the red grape

I must admit, I dressed this bowl just for you guys… normally I eat all my tomatoes and pickles while waiting for the sweet potato to cook!

4pm – Grabbed some choc chipschocolate - chase the red grape

Need a container for your choc chips? (so you don’t go to town from the bag!) Grab a egg cup holder. Don’t think I have ever used these for eggs… need to rectify that!

5.45pm – Snack – 2 x rice cakes with PB and Jsnack - chase the red grape

Match made in heaven! Easy to whip up and keep me satisfied until dinner. Eaten whilst watching the CrossFit Invitational footage with David!

7pm – Dinner – Chicken, roasted Brussels sprouts and oven fries.dinner - chase the red grape

A few things to note here. Number one – yes I had sprouts twice in one day. I would have them three times a day if I could. Number two – these fries are the only way I like potatoes. And I adore these fries! Just the right amount of crunch and puff. Check out Diane Sanfilippo’s instagram or Balanced for the recipe. Number three – counting macros means this small amount of chicken… urgh. But it tasted amazing!

8.30pm – Pre bed snack – Koala crisp cereal with almond milk. Unpictured peppermint tea.bedtime - chase the red grape

Cereal and a good cup of tea. Pair that with a couple of chapters from my book = the perfect way to end the day.

So you see, good food doesn’t have to be complicated or styled to the max. Keep it easy and tasty and you will never go wrong!

Tell me something you ate on Monday?

Do you keep food simple and quick? What is your favourite quick meal?

Can you have too many sprouts in one day?

And a very Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow to all those celebrating! The rest of the world is watching… in hunger!

How to prep your home for the holidays #5TTT

Hi all,

Holidays are coming, holidays are coming…

Like I need to remind you of that!

For my friends in America, your first big hooray of the season is this week. For the rest of us, the holidays start in so many different ways – Christmas party’s, school holidays, family gatherings… So many celebrations before the big day itself! And I love it!

The best piece of advice I could give anyone out there on how to be able to fully enjoy the season is to be prepared. A little work beforehand equals a lot of stress free holiday cheer – which is what we all want, right?

Your home is the place where all the holiday spirit comes together – but you need to give it some room to be able to enter your life and this is where my tips come in!

For this weeks 5 top tips on a Tuesday, I am going to reveal how you can prep your home for the holidays – small steps over the next few weeks that you will be thankful for when the day comes!How to prep your home for the holidays - chase the red grape

Get rid of clutter

Take a box and go around your home. Your first trip around the rooms will be for rubbish, old magazines, recycling etc. Take another box and go around grabbing bits and bobs that need to be put away. Finally go around with a box and grab things to take to the charity shop. Just 3 trips and they don’t have to be in depth, now is not the time to sort out the cupboard under the stairs! But by just taking away surface clutter that shouldn’t be there you will be surprised on how much you collect up!

Get ready for guests now

Get those spare rooms sorted. Make the beds with fresh sheets. Take out spare sleeping bags, pillows and duvets for any other guests you may have. Make sure you have enough clean, ready to go towels for them all. Also pick up a few extra toiletries for guests who may forget their own.

Start buying staples for the pantry

Stock up each week with items you will need – spreading out the cost but also taking up less reminder space in your brain! Think non perishable food items like crackers, nuts, chocolates etc. Soft drinks, ice and other mixers. But also other essential items like tin foil, cling film, zip lock bags, twine for your turkey, a thermometer (have one? Check it still works), toilet roll and kitchen roll.

Test your Christmas lights right now

Trust me. Do it tonight. It’s a simple and easy task to do when you don’t have the pressure of putting up all the other decorations to contend with. Working? Great, now you know you are all set. Not working? Is it worth getting them fixed/ try screwing back in the bulbs? If not look out for special deals coming up.

Clean what you can

Just do what you can when you can. But you will be so happy you did. My list for the next few weeks include cleaning the oven, fridge, barbecue (grill), roasting tins and the kitchen cupboards.

Take control of your home this holiday season, there is no need to be overwhelmed when you have prepared so well!

Share these tips with your friends and family using the email, Facebook and other sharing social media buttons below!

How do you like to prepare your home for the holidays?

Are you entertaining guests this year?

Is there any planning/ organisational advice you would like from me either via the podcast or blog post?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites + New Podcast Episode! Nov 18

Hi all,

How’s your week going? Heck how is November going? I feel like this month is flying by and December will be here before we know it.

Doesn’t help that the entire blog world seems to be American, therefore Thanksgiving focused. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – means I can check out some holiday recipes and bookmark a few well in advance… but it also means that a week from today I will be looking at all your Thanksgiving dinners… lusting and feeling pretty hungry!

Ever feel left out when you see pictures from a party on Facebook that you either weren’t invited to or had to miss out on? Yup, that’s the feeling the rest of the world have at Thanksgiving. FOMO.

But for now, let’s put the idea of a huge turkey dinner (mmmmmm) behind us and get ready for the weekend Friday Favourites style!Friday - chase the red grape

Favourite… Moment – Podcasting!

I am loving recording our episodes of the podcast! Starting to get used to it now and the flow that we want – it’s so much fun! See details below of this weeks episode!

Favourite… Feeling – Celebrating David’s Birthdaybirthday - chase the red grape

As you might remember, it was David’s birthday last week and he had a fab day! Thanks for all the wishes, they were passed on! Highlights of his day – getting some new Converse, a free affogato from a local coffee shop and ending the day with pizza from a new restaurant to us, ‘Rise’.

Favourite… Purchase – Lindt Salted Caramel Lindorlindt - chase the red grape

I bought these for David for his birthday and, you guys, I think they are the best Lindor chocolates they have made. And see when you get that little crunch of salt… heaven!

Favourite… Food/Drink – Locally grown Pink Lady applesapple - chase the red grape

I used to feel guilty about buying Pink Lady apples, even though they were my favourite. In the UK they are shipped hundreds of thousands of miles from New Zealand – no bueno. Here in Perth, I can get them from the farmers market LOCALLY GROWN! Never have I had sweeter, juicer apples!

Favourite… Workout – Partner WOD

This week has been a tough week of training… ha, when is it not!? So it was really good to end the week with a partner WOD – still tough but nice to get out of your own personal zone! And our box has new dumbbells – ooooh!

Weekly Update – 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday and New Episode of the Podcast!

This weeks 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday on ‘What I wish I had known about Mental Illness’ was a tough one to write but I am so glad I did.mental illness - chase the red grape

Episode 4 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast is ready to rock! In this episode we discuss competition and how for one of us it is a really tricky subject. Download and subscribe on iTunes now and please spread the word! (Stitcher folk please note that we are aware only episode one is showing. We are awaiting communication from Stitcher about getting the others to appear)Chase the Red Grape podcast

Weekend Plans – Tonight – Drinks after work with David and his colleagues. Saturday – Farmers market, mobility class, weekly shop and then off to a Yelp party! Sunday – Newspapers, pancakes, beach coffee, podcast recording, chill.

Happy weekend folks!

Do you prefer individual chocolates or squares from a bar?

What is your favourite type of apple?

Getting really summery here now – what was your favourite drink of the summer? I need ideas!

Linking up with Heather @LifeinLeggings

What I wish I had known about Mental Illness #5TTT

Hi all,

Mental illness. What a powerful subject. It’s a topic I always wish I could write more about but it’s so personal to me that I often can’t find the words.

There are so many things I wish I could tell the world about mental illness. How it affects you, how it affects those around you, the journey of recovery and self discovery in the process… and one day I will. But today I want to put out there what I wish I had know about mental illness – as a suffer but also for a person on the outside looking in.

This weeks ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ will look at 5 factors that I hope will help so many of you out there, factors that often go unlooked when talking about a mental disease. Whether you are undiagnosed, on your journey of recovery, or simply want to know more so that you can help others, I hope this will inspire you and educate you some more.mental illness - chase the red grape

You need to talk.

Talking is what makes this disease better. Talking is what enables you to be able to fight.  Find someone you trust who will simply listen to you without question. It can be a friend or family member, a coach or therapist. What you say never has to make sense (for those who have suffered you will know that it often never does) nor does it need a quick fix or solution. And for those who are on the outside trying to help someone – just be there. Be an ear not a voice. And never be offended if you are not the person your loved one confines in – often they need that impartial ear.

You don’t need to know why in order to recover.

So many people have plucked up the courage to ask me why I got ill, what was my trigger? Yes I have history of mental illness in my family but does that mean I was destined to be ill? My illness came in the form of an eating disorder but I definitely experienced severe anxiety and depression at the same time – I struggle to put a ‘label’ on myself. I can, throughout the past 3 years of recovery, identify factors that definitely contributed to why I eventually became ill but as for a definitive ‘reason’ – I really don’t know. And that’s ok. I soon realised that others needed/ wanted to know my ‘why’ more than I needed to know. I needed to look at the present and the future, not backwards. Please don’t ask a person suffering the question ‘why’. Would you ask the same to another person suffering from a debilitating disease?

You can’t hide – they know…

Again if you have suffered you will know that others around you knew there was something wrong, long before you knew yourself. Hiding the fact that you are suffering only makes things more obvious. Never feel like you have to hide. The stigma around mental illness is fading and your friends, family and co workers only want to help. I’m not saying you have to announce it to the world but let people in… it will help you so much in recovery.

For those on the outside, if you can feel in your gut someone is suffering, don’t back away. Talk, even if it is about the weather. Communication is key.

You will have to be the priority for a while.

Just like any other disease, in order to fight you have to be the priority in your life for a while. This will affect others, it will affect your life plans, but in order to recover it has to be done. You need to focus on what’s best for you – maybe it’s turning down that promotion for now, you don’t need the extra stress. Maybe it’s swapping your gym session for a walk. Maybe it’s paying for extra health care over other family expenses or a holiday. It’s hard to accept… but over time, with help, you will see it is for the best. Friends and family, please enable them to put their priorities first. I know my husband did this for me and I will never be able to express how much this meant to me. But what I can do is live my life to the full as a healthy, happy woman, because of what he gave me when I needed him.

Some wont/ can’t understand… but you will never be alone.

Watching someone close to you suffer is hard. You cannot expect everyone to understand. Support is shown in so many different ways – some can talk and want to hear what you are saying. Some want to give an opinion. Some want to talk to you about anything and everything bar the fact that you are sick. You will soon figure out the people you want surrounding you and those who you don’t. I had to let go of a few toxic relationships, which at the time was hard but now I feel free as a result. When you go through the worst times in your life you soon know who your true friends are.

When you are deeply unwell, you can feel so alone. But you must remember that you are never ever alone. You are not a burden. You are not unwelcome. You are sick. Your friends and family love you. Yes they may not understand, I don’t even know who fully knew/ didn’t know I was ill at the time, but it does not mean they don’t care. Friends and family – remember you don’t have to understand in order to help. Just be there for them.

Just like any other illness, please remember that it’s not about you, it’s about them. No one can change the past but you can help shape the future. Never be afraid to talk and never be afraid to listen. If you need me, I am always there to listen –

Please share, copy, print out this post if you think it can help anyone or you simply want to put the word out. We don’t have to hide… because the world cares.

No specific questions this week guys, please just comment as you wish!5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites – Nov 11

Hi all,

It’s finally Friday and I want to say a big massive Happy Birthday to my husband David!

I hope he has such a wonderful day as he deserves it so much. Yes he has to work but there will be lots of fun in between – CrossFit and post WOD coffee in the morning, checking out a new pizza joint after work and a couple of cheeky ciders we picked up from the BeauVine festival sitting waiting in the fridge for when we come home.David - chase the red grape

Enjoy your day lovely!

But now it is time to crack on with this weeks ‘Friday Favourites’. It has been a tough week for so many but lets take today to reset our mind and commit to the fun this weekend!Friday - chase the red grape

Favourite… Moment – Watching David competecrossfit - chase the red grape

I loved watching all the athletes from our box compete at the competition last weekend but there is just something special about cheering on your own husband. Is there anything better than seeing those you love having fun, pursing their passions and just generally giving their all?

Favourite… Feeling – Sleep

Sleep this week has been golden. A busy week followed by a busy weekend followed by a busy week has resulted in one tired Jen. But making a solid 8 hours of sleep each night my priority has been my saviour.

Favourite… Purchase – Chocolate chipschocolate - chase the red grape

Our favourite bulk store Kakluas has these amazing dark chocolate chips, fantastic in things like pancakes or simply to eat on their own! I picked up a whole chunk of them on Tuesday to do some birthday baking for David and had to sneak a few in as I went… you know, just to test them…

Favourite… Food/Drink – Meghan’s Magic Barsmagic bars - chase the red grape

I cannot stop raving about these bars… Meg must be like ‘enough already woman!’! But seriously, when it comes to baking, we all want something we know is going to taste good, doesn’t require fancy ingredients and is full proof. Follow Meg’s directions and you will have the most delicious treat waiting for you.

Favourite… Workout – Hero WOD ‘Bradley’

10 rounds for time

100m sprint

10 pull ups

100m sprint

10 burpees

Rest 30 seconds

This wasn’t my favourite because I enjoyed the movements, I mean 100 burpees overall? Yuck. But why I chose it as this weeks favourite was because it showed me what I was capable of. It was 6am, I was tired from a busy weekend, but I focused, lived in the present and cracked on with it. I was still sprinting at the end, my burpees were consistent and I lived to tell the tale. Could do with less burpee WOD’s though thanks coach…

Weekly catch upChase the Red Grape podcast

EPISODE 3 of the podcast is NOW READY TO DOWNLOAD! Check out iTunes or Stitcher for all the info and to join in on the conversation with David and I. This weeks topic is all about making simple swaps.

Also check out this weeks 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday post titled ‘Don’t compete with me, compete with you’ for a cracking look at how we view competition in our lives.COMPETE - chase the red grape

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Farmers market, mobility class, weekly shop and then a well deserved afternoon of nothing! Sunday – Pancakes and newspapers followed by an afternoon at the mall… urgh I hate clothes shopping…

Have a fab weekend folks! Hope you don’t have to go shopping…

Ever been addicted to chocolate chips?

Do you like clothes shopping?

Have you checked out the podcast yet?

Linking up with Heather @LifeinLeggings