Festive Friday Favourites + Episode 54 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast

Hi all,

Well it’s finally here, we are only a few days away from Christmas!

I know you are all incredibly busy right now but I am so pleased you stopped by, today, yesterday, last week, all year! Thank you folks!

As this is my last post of the year I just wanted to say a big Merry Christmas to you all along with the biggest of best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. 2018 here we come!

David and I will be taking a much needed two week break from everything – work, stress, CrossFit, routine… you name it. And I can’t wait! So expect another post from me in early January!Friday - chase the red grape

So to let you get back to your present wrapping, Christmas movie watching, cookie decorating, festive tipple drinking, I will keep today’s Friday Favourites short but definitely sweet.

Favourite…Moment – Party time!chase the red grape

We had both David’s work Christmas party and our CrossFit Christmas party at the weekend and they were both really good fun. Sometimes you just need to have a glass of bubbles with friends and get dressed up!

Favourite…Feeling – Making cookies!chase the red grape

I always make a sweet treat for David’s co-workers and a few friends each year. This year I made the espresso cookies from Cook and Savor and they were delicious (I swapped out espresso for choc chips). But I don’t stop there. I always dress them up! Here is one all packaged up ready for an individual eat!

Favourite…Purchase – Wrapping presentschase the red grape

In my opinion, the best purchase is always the one for someone else. Here are David’s pressies, all wrapped up and now under the tree. He is the easiest person to buy for, the hardest part is actually picking the select few to buy! Oh and I adore wrapping gifts so this was pure heaven for me.

Favourite…Food/Drink – Saturday brekkie with Davidchase the red grape

We needed a good feed before the CrossFit Christmas party so we headed out for breakfast to Red Chair who do the best omelette! Filled with veggies, ham, Swiss cheese… it was perfect and all could ever ask from breakfast!

Updates – 5TTT + Episode 54 of the Chase the Red Grape PodcastChase the Red Grape

This weeks 5 top tips looked at Christmas conversation starters. These are tried and tested by me, the girl who detests small talk. Honestly they will be pure gold for your holiday party/ the day itself.chase the red grape

Episode 54 of the podcast went all festive and we talked about our favourite holiday tips along with what we are most looking forward to over the next few days. Hint… it’s mostly food! A nice short sweet podcast, ideal for a car journey on your way to your Christmas destination! Download now on iTunes and Stitcher or listen here on the website.

Plans…. Rest. Restore. Eat. Drink. And simply be merry!

A toast to you and all your family!

Are you taking a festive break?

What are you up to over Christmas?

What are you most looking forward to?

Christmas Conversation Starters #5TTT

Hi all,

I hate fake conversations and small talk. To the point where I would rather stay silent… and often do. David is the one in our house with the gift of conversation, not me.

It’s really tough sometimes and I just don’t know how some folks do it. Maybe practice makes perfect. Maybe it’s pushing beyond the stage of awkwardness to get to the other side. Who knows. But whatever it is, I ain’t good at it!

I have read the odd article here and there about how to start and grow a conversation. Some tips sound good, others you couldn’t pay me to do. I guess it depends on what situation you are in. Speaking to a high level bod at your work certainly differs from speaking to your Auntie at Christmas.

I do however, have a few that work. Conversation starters or changers that I am more than willing to bring up and chat about. These are tried and tested and have always resulted in a conversation I enjoyed and folks were engaged in. Score!

Before I go on to my 5 top tips for conversation starters (ideal over the holiday period in particular) I just wanted to say to my fellow conversation strugglers out there that it’s ok, you are not alone. Just remember, everyone loves a listener and being asked questions!Chase the Red Grape

What’s your next adventure?

For some it may be an adventure within their career. Others it may be travel or venturing into a new hobby or resolution. But wording the question this way allows people to be free to talk about all kinds of interests they may have. People actually light up when I ask this question!

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Talk about a conversation starter! Especially at a table with a several people. Everyone has an opinion on this and it is always different. Keeping the conversation light hearted, away from politics or work, and only getting as heated as ‘is Die Hard actually a Christmas movie’?

Anything you would recommend binging on Netflix over the holidays?

We all have a series we love or are loving watching right now. This question has lead to me bonding with many people, especially when someone has found the same hidden gem that you have! Get to know people on a person level. We all watch TV, it’s the way we chill out at the end of the day.

What was your most memorable Christmas gift?

Ah the question that allows us to bring up memories of times gone by. Was it the doll house they got as a child? Was it the PlayStation they literally spend all of their teenage years playing? This question almost always leads on to a conversation about childhood toys… and what could be more fun? Were you a Lego person? Playmobile? Sylvanian Families? Or how about Team Barbie or Team Cindy?

And for getting out of the conversation…

Be polite. Don’t say you will be right back or sneak off to the toilet! Simply move on by saying ‘it has been lovely having a chat with you and I hope to catch you again later on tonight/today. But I must go and do the rounds!’. Works a charm.

Do you find the art of conversation easy?

What is your most memorable Christmas gift?

How do you get out of a conversation? 

Friday Favourites + Episode 53 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast

Hi all,

Are we all having fun? Are you getting excited for Christmas?

This year David and I continued our Christmas tradition of trying to watch as many Christmas movies as possible between the 1st and 24th of December. Oh and we are doing very well indeed!

So far, we have watched 16 movies. Everything from Love Actually, Christmas with the Kranks, the first two Santa Clause movies (still to watch the last), Home Alone, Four Christmases, Muppet Christmas Carol and of course many more. We have still to watch Christmas Vacation and Scrooged, two of my favourites that I am leaving until last and we have so many still to watch… will we fit them all in?

It’s such a fun tradition and something that we enjoy doing every year. That, along with our 24 days of togetherness. We each write 12 ‘to do’s’ and put them in a box. Then, like an advent calendar, we pick out one each day. Today we had to send 3 Christmas gifs to one and other. Another day we had to send a Christmas picture with a twist, make snowflakes, tell a Christmas story… another small thing that makes every day in December that wee bit more special.

Gosh we really love the season don’t we! Ha!Friday - chase the red grape

But for now, let’s check out Friday Favourites!

Favourite… Moment – Festive Rushchase the red grape

We went Christmas shopping at the weekend and David and I separated off to get each others gifts. I actually loved people watching this year. Seeing folks light up when they spot the perfect gift for their loved ones. Everyone chatting whilst queuing to pay. And, of course, finding those things I know David will love. I don’t mind that it’s busy. The mall is the one place over here that really feels so festive.

Favourite… Feeling – Advent Calendarschase the red grape

Ok so we each have a chocolate advent calendar. Then we have our 24 days of togetherness which we take a turn picking every other day and we have 2 paper advent calendars… too much? Nah! We always open them before David goes to work each day and it’s such a nice part of my morning. Makes me feel all cosy and warm inside.

Favourite… Purchase – My favourite chocolates and a new board game!chase the red grape

When I spotted our favourite chocolates (dark chocs with spirit liqueur centres) for an amazing price (and size) we knew we had to pick them up for Christmas. So we did! We also bought a new board game as we do every year. Trivial Pursuit has a love/hate relationship in every British family but this one, the 2000’s edition, I knew would be a good one. No excuse for not knowing the answer! Ha! Will report back after the holidays and let you know how we got on.

Favourite… Food/Drink – Mince Pies!chase the red grape

A British tradition and one I am glad to say has very much made it’s way over to be a part of Aussie life too. Mince pies are small sweet pies filled with ‘mincemeat’ aka spiced and sweetened mix of dried fruit, mixed peel and of course, marinated in brandy or other such delights. We simply had to try our local bakery’s offering and they were just fantastic.

Updates – 5TTT + Episode 53 of the Chase the Red Grape PodcastChristmas

This weeks 5 top tips looked at the gifts you can give yourself this year. It won’t cost you anything but the impact it will have on your holiday season and new year will be huge. Take heed!chase the red grape

Episode 53 of the podcast was the final episode of our series on how travel has impacted our lives. This week we looked at how and why we came to be expats here in Perth Australia, what we have learned from that and what the future will hold travel wise. Download now on iTunes and Stitcher or listen on the website here.

Recipe – Gingerbread Banana Bread

This banana bread from Juli over at PaleOMG is outstanding. A bread that you can make from throwing everything in the food processor, mixing and popping straight into a loaf tin… who doesn’t have time for that? I made it into a loaf but I also made a few mini muffins from the mixture which worked perfectly. Keep it in the fridge and even a week later it is perfectly moist and so damn good. Oh and I will add that no one will know this is paleo… or even gluten free. This is one of the best loaf cakes I have ever tasted. Period!

Weekend Plans – Tonight – David’s works Christmas party. Saturday – Our CrossFit Christmas Party. Sunday – Recovering from said Christmas parties! And hopefully recording a podcast!

Have a fab weekend everyone!

What Christmas movie have you watched this year?

Have you baked any Christmas goodies?

What board game do you and your family play over Christmas?

The gifts to give yourself this Christmas #5TTT

Hi all,

Christmas is a time where we think about everyone else. Our friends, our families, our neighbours, colleagues, even strangers we have never met. We give generously. We want to make others happy. We want to make them feel loved.

All of this is wonderful and really is what makes the season so special. But have you ever thought about giving yourself a gift this Christmas? I can tell you now that one of the most deserving people in your life that you neglect every festive season is you. Who knows you best? You. Who can really give you what you need? You.

It’s not going to cost you anything. No purchase necessary. This weeks 5 top tips will show you where you can give yourself a gift this Christmas. One that will guide you through strong into the new year.Christmas

Time

We all know how precious time can be. We all find ourselves wishing for more hours in the day on a frequent basis. Over the holiday period clock in some time for you. Find an allotted time if need be! It could be having a lie in. It could be snooping around the holiday sales. It could be taking a solo walk with the dog. Time is there for you if you make it a priority.

Your wants and needs

Last week I spoke about traditions and I want to bring it up here again. Make sure this festive season that you also do the things you want to do. Make sure at least one activity is on your ‘must do/see’ list. Pleasing others and others wants and needs only goes on for so long until you rebel. And guess what, they want to do the things that make you happy too!

Rest to restore

This goes hand in hand with time and I know it’s something I talk about all the time like a broken record but it’s true. Let yourself rest over the holidays. If you are lucky enough to be off work during this time make the most of it. Lie on the couch and binge watch movies. Take some time of your usual exercise programme and go for a walk instead. Sleep in later. If you rest now, and restore your body over this time, you really will be rewarded in the long run.

Peace

Got kids? Yeah maybe this one might not be so easy! Ha! But peace, contentment, joy, calm… these words really are synonymous with the season, let’s not forget that. When I was younger, Boxing Day (the 26th) and New Years Day were always a day of calm in our house. Little to no plans, house bound, eating leftovers. No one had to do anything or be anywhere. It was peace.

Drop the guilt

Oh I really want a slice of Christmas cake… I shouldn’t. Oh I really want a cookie… I shouldn’t. Damn I ate those chocolates…. that bit of cheese…. that eggnog. STOP IT NOW.

This is once a year. Holiday foods are treat foods. We indulge once a year to celebrate. Food and drink isn’t something to fear. If you want, have, but do so without the guilt. Savour, enjoy, celebrate, experience those tastes and flavours with family and friends. Decide to you what you love and be happy. And for those who decide to eat/ drink etc differently to you… leave them be. You do you and let them do them.

As for the other forms of holiday guilt – forgetting a present/ someone not enjoying your gift, not being able to see a loved one or someone who expected you, not having time to bake x,y or z… the list could go on and on. But remember what the season is meant to be. You wouldn’t want anyone else to feel guilty this year… don’t place it upon yourself.

Now get thinking about what gift you are going to bestow upon yourself this year!

Do you find the season busy or quiet?

Where do you find peace?

Are you someone who feels guilty?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites + Episode 52 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast

Hi all,

Have you ever heard of the festive period being referred to as ‘the silly season’?

I never have, until this year. Now I see it on adverts and read it in the media… where did it come from and why are we now calling our favourite time of year silly?

Fun, busy, flamboyant, jolly, all yes. Even stressful and chaotic, I get that. But silly?

To me silly means doing something stupid or something you shouldn’t. Something to potentially be a bit embarrassed about. I don’t really like my favourite time of year being referred to in this way.

But I have had my rant now and you sure as can be won’t be hearing me talk about the ‘silly season’. Never feel like you are being silly at this time of year if you want to do something different, wear a big bright jumper or decorate your house from top to toe with lights. Do it because it’s fun and makes you smile. There’s the Christmas spirit.Friday - chase the red grape

Now time for some Friday Favourites!

Favourite…Moment – Crown dinner, cocktails and smileschase the red grape

We went out for the night and had a wonderful time. A dinner of clam risotto with radicchio was had followed by cocktails and my love as seen below. It was just nice to relax in a swanky place with my favourite person.

Favourite… Feeling – O’ Christmas tree!chase the red grape

On Saturday we put up our tree and it’s always a special time for me. Every decoration we have has a story – bought from places we have travelled to, given as gifts by ones we love or are from my childhood. The living room in our apartment has never looked so beautiful.

Favourite… Purchase – Santa and Bobchase the red grape

Meet Santa… and his inflatable flamingo Bob. He sings and dances to ‘Stop. Christmas time’. I saw it in the shop and had to have it, it’s our Australian Santa! Click here for a link to David’s Instagram where you will see him sing and dance. It’s hilarious!

Favourite… Food/Drink – Laphroaig Whiskychase the red grape

Be still my beating heart. I adore Whisky, a true Scot. And when I saw they had my absolute favourite on the menu at The Waiting Room in Crown Towers I had to have it. I sipped. I savoured, I fell in love over again. A smoky, peaty Islay malt is where it’s at.

Updates – 5TTT + Episode 52 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcastchase the red grape

This weeks 5 top tips looked at evaluating the traditions in your life, especially at Christmas. Why do you do what you do? And most importantly, does it make you happy?chase the red grape

For the podcast this week we brought you part two of ‘How our lives changed through travel’ – focussing on our time spent in the Middle East. Download now on iTunes and Stitcher or listen here on the website.

What I am loving – Christmas FM

I know I tell you about Christmas FM every year but it is just the best! You can listen online for free, 24 hours a day and it’s full of all your favourite festive hits. Old, new, crooners, pop classics, you are in for a fab time. It’s all I listen to every day!

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Christmas shopping, food prep and more festive movies! Sunday – Pancakes and newspapers, podcasting, off to see The Man Who Invented Christmas and chill.

Have a fab weekend folks!

Do you think the holidays are a silly time?

What is your tipple of choice?

Is your tree up yet?

Evaluating Traditions #5TTT

Hi all,

I adore traditions. They make me feel warm and cosy inside. They bring an instant sense of comfort and joy, that everything is the way it is meant to be.

During the festive period traditions are heightened. I don’t know about you but my December is full of them, starting from the opening of my advent calendar on the 1st of December. It’s just the way it is done, right?

From advent calendars, watching Muppet Christmas Carol as we put up the Christmas tree, going out for a meal on Christmas Eve, certain decorations being in certain places in the home and on the tree, stockings on Christmas morning, listening to Christmas FM every day to making Christmas treats, I could list my traditions until my hands hurt from typing!

But when we moved to Australia things changed. For one the season changed! No more Gluhwein at the Christmas market. No more snow (or snowmen). No more Christmas Carol concerts. No more Christmas shopping down the British high street. No more family. And my heart still pangs the most with that one.

So we had a opportunity, change things up the way we want them. Introduce new traditions, ditch old ones, really evaluate which ones mean the most to us and which did not. For this weeks 5 top tips I bring to you questions that you can ask yourself regarding the traditions (holiday or otherwise) that you have in your life. Too often we find that there is so much to do and so little time, so let’s stick to the good stuff!Traditions

Why do you do it?

Ask yourself this simple question – why am I/we doing this? And no, ‘because we always have’ is not an answer. Can you imagine the season without it? What would happen if you didn’t do it?

Does it make you happy?

So you have a reason, but does it make you happy? Does it fill you with happiness/ a glow/ those little butterflies in your tummy? Does having this tradition in your life bring a big smile to your face year after year? I can also understand that maybe for you it isn’t a deal breaker but for someone else it is. And seeing them smile makes you over the moon happy. To those of you out there, this is perfectly fine!

Does it serve a purpose?

Sometimes traditions are more practical. Maybe it’s the Christmas dinner or going for a walk afterwards (we all know how much we need that… or a nap!). So it’s not so much a happiness factor but a sensible tradition that ‘get’s things done’. But do you have those traditions that you struggle to squeeze in? Ones you have to force into your calendar? Does your mind wonder towards your ‘to do list’ when you are doing them? Maybe time to rethink.

Anything else excite you?

Ever looked at someone else’s December and wish you could do that instead? Feel overwhelmed by the amount of current traditions with no room for new ones? What intrigues you? Going out for Christmas dinner? Taking a Christmas shopping weekend away? Going to church on Christmas Eve. How could you make this happen? Never be scared to try something out. If it doesn’t work or feel right you can change it up next year.

What about the others?

You know what you want. But what does everyone else like to do? Maybe other members of your family would like to change it up. Maybe they simply do what is always done because they think that’s what you want. Pose the question to your family – what is a deal breaker when it comes to our traditions and which ones could you take or leave? Then what would you like to try? Sounds exciting right?

I would love to hear what some of your traditions are!

Or maybe you know of a few new things you would like to try?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites + Episode 51 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast

Hi all,

So it’s the 1st of December aka the first day of summer and I am feeling all the feels.

Longing for Christmas at home, yes (and I think it will always be this way) but mostly just a change of perspective. It’s Christmas time, and I can be happy and celebrate or be sad and suffer… I choose happiness!

So David and I have a long list of things we have planned to do over the next few weeks, festivals, parties, carols (which are rare here), shopping trips, movies and of course, decorating our home. Christmas is an amazing time to feel the embrace from tradition, but it can also open your eyes to many other methods of happiness we have never even explored.

So what if it’s summer here? So what if that is different? If Santa can adapt and bring out his festive Hawaiian shirt and board shorts when he arrives here then so can we. And I think I will leave out some cold brew for him this year… think he would appreciate it!Friday - chase the red grape

Let’s begin December with some good old Friday Favourites!

Favourite… Moment – Black and white pictureschase the red grape

My Auntie challenged me on Facebook to do one of the 7 day black and white picture projects. Photos to be taken on the day, with no people (or no one you know), simplicity at its finest. I didn’t think I would get so much pleasure from it. It has been wonderful to see certain things in another perspective.

Favourite… Feeling – The glow

Thanks to Jamie Oliver’s recent Christmas special, I have been feeling all the festive glowy feels. Christmas specials on the TV are really big back home in the UK and they feel like such a part of the season. Aussie TV couldn’t be more different, but they love Jamie here so they broadcast it… and I am so thankful. Oh and hungry… those recipes looked amazing!

Favourite… Purchase – Advent Calendarschase the red grape

Advent Calendars are so hard to find here but I was so happy to find these in one of our local shops (shipped in from Europe!). They are simple but they are perfect. And the chocolate inside transported me back to the chocolate of my childhood… it was such a dejavu moment!

Favourite… Food/Drink – Turkey. Get your Christmas turkey…

Name that movie!

chase the red grape

Our turkey haul from last year… enough for 2 right?

Yes we ordered our free range raw Christmas turkey this week from a local butcher and it makes me so happy. I adore turkey and all the trimmings and yes David and I still cook a whole bird for just the two of us, we have leftovers for days and it’s the best! The past 2 years we have ordered locally (Mondos) and it’s perfect. Pick up on the 22nd!

Updates – 5TTT + Episode 51 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcastchase the red grape

This weeks 5 top tips was a post for you guys to get to know a little bit more about me and my why when it comes to 5 top tips. I want you to help yourselves, after all the only person who knows what’s best for you is you! But if I can help by asking the right questions then I’m where I need to be.chase the red grape

Episode 51 was the first part of our series on travel and how exploring has shaped David and I into who we are today, making the choices we make. A reflective episode but also one filled with great stories! Download now on iTunes and Stitcher or listen here on the website.

Weekend Plans – Saturday– Putting up the Christmas tree, food prep and then off to Crown Resort for an evening of fine dining and cocktails! Sunday – Pancakes and newspapers, podcasting, coffee and a local Christmas street festival.

Have a fab weekend folks!

What snack do you think Santa would appreciate?

Do you put in a food order before Christmas?

What do you watch that gives you the Christmas glow?

My ‘why’ with the 5 top tips series #5TTT

Hi all,

I began writing my 5 top tips on a Tuesday back in September 2015  and I have rarely missed a week since.

100 articles later, I am still going strong, first and foremost because I love writing them. I love connecting with you all and hearing your opinions on a variety of topics. I love passing on any information I have to you and sharing my knowledge. I love that you might disagree with me. I love that you might know in your gut that what I am saying is or isn’t right for you. I love that you come back with follow up questions, stories or suggestions. I am proud of my content because it’s my way of saying you already have everything you need within you, sometimes you just need to answer the right questions to help coax it out.

Asking questions and getting you thinking about what you do, what’s right for you, or how you feel is my jam. No one will have the same two answers. It’s what makes us so amazing. It is also exactly why my approach has never been, and never will be, one size fits all.

For this weeks 5 top tips, I simply wanted to share with you 5 reasons why I am here, each Tuesday, sharing information with you all. Hopefully understanding my ‘why’ will help you all know me a little better and as a result see my intention each week.chase the red grape

Helping me helping you

I have never hidden the fact that sometimes I write these posts based on advice I need to tell myself. Often I know what actions to take in a particular situation but I just can’t do it for some reason. Writing advice as if it was for another person clears all of that. It gives me the drive I need, the proof if you will, to know I am doing the right thing. But I don’t want to do it alone. I know that most of the time my issues are shared by many. If I know I can help myself then I know I want to help you all to do the same. I may pose questions that we have different answers to, but the process of thinking is where all the magic happens so that you can do the best for you.

Cut through the BS

Being in the world of writing about health and happiness, I read a lot of BS. Not because the opinions differ to mine (although that does happen frequently) but because, as I mentioned above, of the one size fits all approach. We are different people. A diet that works for you doesn’t work for me. Same goes for exercise, hours of sleep, motivation, stress levels so on and so forth, The BS is in telling you what to do. No one can do that for you, you need to work it out for yourself. Ask questions, experiment, stop comparing. I never want you to feel that you aren’t good enough. You are always amazing to me.

Keeping advice short and snappy

I ain’t got time for endless reading. I want short, concise and to the point advice, help or motivation. I want a snappy read that will get me excited or gets me thinking. It’s also why we created the podcast. Got no time to sit and read? Listen to Chase the Red Grape instead. Although the topics will differ, the essence is still the same.

Questions to ask yourself and takeaway

Questions, questions, questions. What do you think? How do you act in this situation? What do you feel in your gut? I am always asking you questions. These questions reveal your answers, the real call to action (if necessary). I am just the facilitator bringing up a topic. You have the answer to any factor within your life. I want you to feel empowered. I want you to know that you can and you will.

Embrace the suck…view it differently… if it is even there…

Somethings in life suck. Somethings in life we feel bad about because we think we should. Sometimes we feel alone in our unhappiness. Sometimes we feel bad that we feel so good. I spent too long living in the suck. Figure out what you can control and spend your time on that, don’t waste time living in the suck. However, sometimes I want you to see that often the suck isn’t really there. Maybe it can be seen in a different way. Maybe it’s a problem you have just become too involved in or maybe it isn’t even worthy of attention. All realisations after asking a few questions.

Life is too short to feel down. I want to help bring you up. But only you know what is best for you. 

Want to read some of my 5 top tips? Check out the 5 top tips page on the header of the site. Or click here.

Do you like being told what to do or do you like figuring it out for yourself?

Has anything you have read (not just from me) lead to an ‘ah ha’ moment?

What ‘one size fits all’ piece of advice have you seen online or otherwise that would be so wrong for you?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites!

Hi all,

Are you feeling Christmassy yet?

I am trying. But somehow Christmas excitement doesn’t feel right in November. I can plan and prep but those butterflies in my tummy seem to just be designated for December.

This time next week we will have begun opening our advent calendars and will start to be thinking about the tree and decorations… gosh even writing that makes me feel a little unsure…. are you really sure December is coming?

As I say every year since we arrived here, Christmas, heck December as a whole, is odd in Australia. Hot hot heat, sun cream and salads for dinner but still seeing Christmas trees, Santa and snowmen everywhere… it really blows your mind.

But I will try. We are heading to our local Christmas festival tonight and you never know, maybe the December bug will strike and once I start listening to Christmas FM again I will be all in. I sure hope so!Friday - chase the red grape

But enough Christmas chat, let’s get to Friday Favourites!

Favourite… Moment – Saturday coffee datechase the red grape

We had a chilled out Saturday morning planned with only the food shop to do so we decided to sit down and have a coffee. We sat outside, watching the world go by, chatting away until every last drop of this perfect flat white was drunk. It’s nice sometimes not to be so ‘go go go’ with a coffee.

Favourite… Feeling – Doing my own hairchase the red grape

My mum does the best braids ever. When I was home in June I got her to do my hair all the time. But can I braid my own hair? Heck no. David is learning but we aren’t quite there yet. So my mum sent over a tutorial for this hair style and I thought I would give it a go. Twisting rather than braiding. I felt so proud and so pleased with how it turned out.

Favourite… Purchase – Pupusas

chase the red grape

Not the best pic but it was dark!

We headed to the twilight hawkers market in the city last Friday night for dinner and I am so happy that my favourite food stand is back! Made with cornmeal and stuffed to the brim, one with cheese and spinach, the other cheese, pork and beans, they are so amazing. If you find them. Try them!

Favourite… Food/Drink – Mango salsachase the red grape

This salsa recipe from Nom Nom Paleo is easy, quick and so delicious. The recipe calls for pineapple but seen as mangoes are local and in the height of their season right now the fruit of choice was a given. In salads, over burgers, chicken, salmon, basically anything can be made incredible with this salsa.

Updates – 5TTT and Podcast updateschase the red grape

This weeks 5 top tips looked at why taking a time out right now might just be exactly what you need. It can be in one or many areas of your life but rest assured that it will result in gaining that much needed energy boost back!chase the red grape

There was no podcast this week but have you listened to our special 50th episode yet? We did a random Q&A where neither of us knew the questions beforehand – it was a hoot! ITunes, Stitcher or here on the website if you want to listen. 

Instagram love – Diane Sanfilippo

I have mentioned Diane and the Balanced Bites podcast many times on this site but when she asked for folks to spread the love on Instagram this week I thought I would go one step further. Diane gives so much inspiration that goes way beyond food, a successful business women, she gives many the guidance and kick up the butt they need to succeed themselves. Go give her a follow on Instagram and see what I mean. (Ps always watch her insta stories, this is where the magic happens)

Weekend Plans – Tonight – Our neighbourhood Christmas street party complete with switching on of the lights. Saturday – Watching a strongman competition then meeting friends for drinks. Sunday – Pancakes and newspapers, podcasting, food prep and chill.

Have a fab weekend folks!

Are you feeling Christmassy?

When was the last time you stopped to savour a coffee?

Can you do your own hair?

Why taking a time out might just be exactly what you need #5TTT

Hi all,

I don’t know about you, but I am tired.

The year is coming to a close, some are heading into the deep depths of winter, others the crazy heat of summer but no matter what, we can’t escape the change. November is always the calm before the storm. The reminder of all we have to do within the year before it ends. We all know December is madness. Our to-do lists are the size of our arms, weekends whiz past without stopping and before you know it, it’s the big day,

I can’t wait for Christmas and all it brings. It makes me feel so much joy. Right now though, do I even have the energy for it?

So how do I get that energy? How do I bring my mind and body into December with all it needs? What advice would I give someone else who was generally feeling a bit run down?

I would tell them to take a time out.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Take a time out. We can’t be go go go all the time, it just doesn’t work, we don’t work, we don’t thrive. Below are 5 areas where I believe folks can benefit from taking a time out. Even just one may help and it may only take a couple of hours, a day or two, maybe even a week if you have the time. Figure out where you would benefit from a time out and get ready to feel like you have the energy and drive to party and celebrate the rest of the year.chase the red grape

Work

So you are probably holding on right now… waiting for your Christmas holidays, right? Urgh who isn’t feeling like they need a holiday right now?! But there are still several weeks left, how do you want them to go? Have any annual leave left? Why not take a day or two to chill out? Have a Netflix day, do some Christmas shopping, sleep even! If you don’t have any annual leave left see if you company has a policy where you can take a mental health day. Your mind needs a break too.

If you have no option to take time off right now make sure you are putting yourself first. Take all the breaks you are entitled to. Leave work on time and get home where you can rest. Get an early night so your body has enough sleep to tackle the following day. You are number one.

Exercise

Whatever you do for exercise, ask yourself right now ‘at this present moment, is it serving me’? I get it, the gym is community, it’s so much more than just movement. But putting yourself through intense exercise day after day and telling yourself it’s worth it because of what it does for your social life isn’t the right way to go. What is your body telling you? Is it sore? Is it tired? Does it need a break, a bit of TLC? Maybe cut back on how many times you go per week. Maybe drop those weights or intensity for a couple of days and see how you feel. Or maybe just stay in bed instead. Your body will tell you what’s best, you just have to listen to it.

Diet

I’m not going to preach on what you should or shouldn’t eat. If your not eating great, you know it and you know what you should be eating instead. Don’t deny yourself or restrict yourself, just maybe eat some more veg or pass on the pizza. Get your tummy happy for the holidays. If you do eat well then great but make sure you’re not going too far. Does your body need a little more? Does what you eat make you happy?

And if like me you are pretty happy food wise but want to just take a break from alcohol for a little while then that’s always a good choice. I think a lot of folks would benefit from a boozy time out, just to reset our bodies and give it a little break from having to work hard to process the alcohol.

Routine

Why not throw a spanner in the works? I get really tired from doing the same old same old stuff day in and day out. Although I thrive from routine, I also know, if I’m not careful, it can drag me down into a rabbit hole and it’s hard to get out. Do something different. Go for a walk after dinner. Switch up one of your go to meals. Attend a class or go to the cinema on a weeknight. Break your self imposed rules. Take a time out from the grind.

Surroundings

Last but not least, take a time out from your surroundings. Maybe you are a Mum and you just need that night off from the family to spend with friends. You and your husband could book a last minute cheap deal for a stay at a hotel in your city. Or maybe you need some alone time. Work from home instead of the office. Even walking home a different way or trying out a new coffee shop can make a big difference. I like going somewhere new at the weekend. Just switch up what you see.

Don’t let yourself burn out. Take a time out instead.

How are you feeling right now?

Where would a time out be beneficial to you?

Are you patiently waiting for the holidays or longing badly for them?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape