Is it too early to start thinking about the holidays? #5TTT

Hi all,

‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose’. Well, not in Australia but you catch my drift! The holiday season is coming!

Maybe you are like me. Maybe you are already thinking about the holiday season – from both the excitement and organisational point of view.

Or maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe the thought of the holidays isn’t even on your radar… and seeing the decorations etc hitting the shelves of the stores doesn’t really put you up nor down.

Either way, today I want to bring you 5 reasons why right now is the perfect time to start thinking about the holidays. Trust me, if you want a stress free season, start thinking about the holidays now.

Family plans and commitments

This is the biggest one right here. Who is hosting Christmas/ New Year/ Thanksgiving? Do you want to join your family or have a simple celebration in your own home?

After a couple of years of marriage, David and I decided we wanted to do Christmas alone. We talked to our parents far in advance, letting them know what we wanted to do and suggested having a mini Christmas with them both earlier on in December. As much as they wanted us with them, both sets were happy and we managed to arrange mini visits. These mini visits actually turned into new traditions on their own. But my main reason for mentioning this was that this was a big shake up in our family celebrations. However, it had less of an impact as we made it known in advance and set up new plans to always make sure we had time together in the season. Know your plans and commitments. Get them in the diary ASAP!

Want to host a party? Book a date now!

Email already gone around about your office Christmas party? Not only is it because they need to book the venue in advance but, more importantly, they need to lock in the date with you! Weekends in December are precious, so if you want to host a party, lock in a date now and let everyone you want to invite know.

Present buying

You can easily work out two things right now. Who are you buying gifts for this year and how much do you want to spend. Even if that is all you do right now it will save time and money later. You probably only have two more pay checks left before the big day, maybe time to put some money aside? And if you want to go one step further, start looking for these gifts in the shops. Or at least brainstorming some ideas.

Expectations

What are you, your family and your friends expectations of the season? Are you expected to attend your spouses Christmas party? Do you and your friends want to meet up in between Christmas and New Year? Are you gifting with a spending limit? Do you actually want to go out for Christmas lunch this year? Have a chat with your family and friends and see what they are thinking. Usually a chat about this now leads to some revelations! But also it often means that the conversation can be had with less stress and emotion involved as the holidays aren’t imminent.

Needs vs wants

What is a need vs a want during the holiday season this year? This can be from the big to the small and often gives clarity to priority planning. Here are some of my examples. Need a turkey – Want to see the new Star Wars on Christmas Eve. Need a skype call with my parents on Christmas Day – Want to visit a Christmas market. Try sitting down with your partner/spouse/kids and listing three needs and wants each. Then make sure the needs are met and plans put in place and the wants are on another list for the second stage of priorities.

Keep the holiday season this year for simply having fun! Make all your plans and have all your discussions now so you can be mentally and physically ready for anything the season may throw at you!

Have you thought about the holidays yet?

Do you like to host?

What is a major holiday stumbling block for you/ your family?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Thinking out loud for Christmas…

Hi all,

Well here we are – 3 days until Christmas and only just over a week away from the end of 2016.

This year has certainly been full of its ups and downs. On the personal level, I am thankful for a year of ups – making Perth our home, going on adventures, developing my skills and feeling more confident as a Health Coach and Writer. Oh and starting a podcast – a big leap that we are glad we took. On the wider level, the world has proved it is one crazy, fast developing and changing place, whether we like it or not.

I am always excited for a New Year and what it brings. Not because of any set goals or resolutions, more that it is simply a chance for us to grow. If we start to focus too much on what might happen in the future, it can bring a sense of fear and a hesitance to try new things. Instead if we look at 2017 as an opportunity and just the next chapter of our lives, that makes me feel excited and driven.

But Jen, don’t look to 2017 just yet, we still have Christmas! Hooray! (Hooray? Could I get more British?!)christmas-david-and-jen - chase the red grape

So for today, I am bringing back the classic ‘Thinking Out Loud’ – a random selection of bits and bobs as a light read before the big day. After all we all want things to make us smile at this time of year!

Speaking of things that make you smile…podcast - chase the red grape

This weeks episode of the podcast (episode nine) has been released and ready to download on iTunes, Stitcher or you can listen via the website on the podcast tab. It is a cracker of episode and it made us both laugh so much – a good old Christmas Q&A, with stories and other bits of advice thrown in for good measure. Got a road trip coming up or fancy chilling out for a little while with a hot (or cold) drink, listening to some friendly folks chatting away? This would be perfect!

So what does Christmas hold in store for the Fotheringham’s in Perth?

Christmas Eve we will be going to our 7am CrossFit WOD where we will be doing our box’s variation of ’12 days of Christmas’ WOD. Anyone who has done this will know the suck… but it’s the suck with good friends the day before Christmas so what could be better?

Then we are heading out to Fremantle for the day – a walk around the wee boutique shops and market. My first poke bowl for lunch (hopefully) and just a general chill out. Then off for a nice meal out for dinner to Long Chim – where we went for our anniversary and the best Asian food I have ever had!beach - chase the red grape

Christmas Day will consist of opening stockings first thing on our bed. Then a delicious breakfast followed by a long beach walk. Home for some Christmas cooking where we will make a small feast that would probably feed 6 or 8… for the two of us. #Leftovers. And of course bubbly!

Then pressies, Christmas Pud and an evening of Skype calls to home… just as they wake to start their day. I am smiling so much as I type this.

Movie Updatemovies - chase the red grape

You may recall at the beginning of the month I mentioned that David and I were partaking in our yearly tradition of seeing how many Christmas movies we could watch between December 1st and December 25th. Our count so far? 18! That means we have beaten our previous PB of 17. What an achievement. I expect more to come… One more for certain as we are 30 mins away from finishing Bad Santa.

(Btw, for those who read my post on Monday, still no luck with Scrooged…)

Baking up a storm!almonds - chase the red grape

On Tuesday I was baking up a storm in the kitchen! I made mince pies (it’s a British dish – individual pastry cups with spiced, boozy mixed dried fruit in the middle), a mocha cake and Meg’s candied roasted almonds! These almonds, combined with my crafting skills, made the cutest individual gifts for David’s co-workers. He handed them out today and said they went down a treat! Oh and sadly no pic of the mocha cake but it was delicious, GF and the middle of the loaf rose to a peak! It was a sight to be seen!

The Blog and Podcast – Now and in 2017

So this will be my last post of 2016. I am taking some time off to enjoy the holidays with David and to rest and restore. I will be back early January with a quick update with how the holidays went before resuming usual schedule. The same goes with the podcast – back early January.

With both the blog and the podcast I am excited for the year ahead. Most of all I want the content to be shaped by you so if you have any questions, topics or issues that you would like me to discuss please either comment below or send me a question at chasetheredgrape@outlook.com.

aussie-santa - chase the red grape

Say hello to Aussie Santa… who, yes, is holding a giant flip flop…

And to end, I want to thank all my readers and listeners for allowing me to be a part of your life this year. I hope you have the most amazing festive season and take the time out to relax, eat, drink and be merry with those you love.

Bye for now folks!

How are you spending Christmas this year?

How would you review your 2016?

What is the best Christmas Movie you have watched so far this year?

Week in Review – Back to paradise…

Hi all,

Happy Monday – the last one before Christmas – eeeeee!

Are you excited? Did you spend your last weekend before the big day shopping or chilling out? Maybe taking in a movie or having celebrations with friends?

The weekend feels like a blur to me. A fun blur but still a blur. We didn’t have much shopping to do but still ended up going to the mall on Sunday after out beach walk. Why you ask? To find Scrooged on DVD. It’s one of my favourite Christmas movies and I was convinced our streaming service here had it listed. But when we went to watch it on Saturday night, no trace of it. I was pretty bummed out but we decided to hit the mall for a quick look to find a copy. The store had 5 copies but could either of us (or the staff) find one? Nope. Sigh. But I am determined to find one before the big day! Ha!week in review - chase the red grape

As promised, I am here today with a ‘Week In Review’ – linking up with lovely Meg over at CleanEatsFastFeets – with a recap of the week just gone and my break away with David to ‘paradise‘ aka South West Australia.

My achievements last week –

From Paradise…

I explored caves, beaches, vineyards and bushland….beach - chase the red grapecave -chase the red grapedavid and jen - chase the red grape

I ate amazing food from local suppliers with amazing produce…acai bowl - chase the red grapeice cream - chase the red grapechoc - chase the red grapewine - chase the red grape

I felt a sense of calm, resting, relaxing and focussing on the present moment. It was very much needed…beach - chase the red grape

Out with our holiday, my achievements were –

Got us all up to speed with our banking

Did the weekly shop at the supermarket and famers market (cherries are back in season, woop!)

I published 2 posts (5TTT and Friday Favourites)5 TOP TIP - CHASE THE RED GRAPE

Episode 8 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast on the life of an expat was uploaded and ready to listen. Plus we recorded episode 9 – if you want a good laugh you will love this one!podcast - chase the red grape

We sent our holiday e-cards

We trained twice and went to movement class – oi that one was a burner!

I took a 2 hour nap on Saturday and proceeded to sleep a further 9 hours that night. Proof I needed the sleep!

I made a final choice with regards one of David’s Christmas presents – was either a silly or practical gift… I went for the practical!

It was quite a week! But I loved it and it was full of amazing memories. Sure my weeks aren’t always like this but it is always good to have the chance to sneak one in every now and again!

Have a good week guys! No 5 Top Tips tomorrow (catch last weeks round up if you missed it) – but I will be back on Thursday with a ‘Thinking Out Loud’ post to end the year!

When you go on a beach holiday do you go hiking, sunbathing or swimming?

Would you/ have you toured a cave?

How far would you go to score a copy of your favourite holiday movie?

 

Friday Favourites + Episode 8 of the CTRG Podcast!

Hi all,

Well that’s me back from my wee break away and it was so much fun!

We explored, we relaxed, we went on an adventure, we ate amazing food and had a few wee tipples of local wine… it was perfect.

If you can ever manage it, I would definitely recommend having a break away at this time of year. Yes it can be hectic, manic and you have to be here, there and everywhere but that’s exactly what makes it so special. You can break free from the madness, be with the one you love and just focus on you.

Being down by the sea, breathing in the fresh air and getting some sunshine made me glow inside and out.

But the best part? Even though our break is over, we only have 9 more days until Christmas! It may not have been a very festive holiday but it certainly made me feel so lucky and thankful for all that I have in my life… and that seems very inspirational to me as we head into Christmas and the New Year.

(Come back on Monday for more info on my holiday in ‘Week In Review’)Friday - chase the red grape

For now, we can bring in the weekend with some Friday Favourites!

Favourite…Moment – Breathing in the sea airDavid beach - chase the red grape

Stopping, watching, listening to the waves crashing, feeling the sunshine on your face and breathing in the sea air… the perfect moment.

Favourite…Feeling – Being happy, calm and immersed in the presentbeach - chase the red grape

I love that feeling when everything else in your mind seems to disappear… and all you can feel are the feelings of the present moment. Moments of happiness and calm, like everything just a lines. These feelings are so precious – cherish them when you have them.

Favourite…Purchase – Coffee from Albert and Nikola every morningalbert and nikola - chase the red grape

Apart from the purchase of the holiday itself, my next favourite purchase was treating ourselves to coffee every morning from a local coffee shop Albert and Nikola. Their blends are just wonderful – and I drink it black so I can taste every note. Ideal way to start the day!

Favourite…Food/Drink – The Wave Acai Bowl from Kona Joesacai bowl - chase the red grape

Kona Jones is an amazing little food truck serving up brekkie on the Dunsborough beach foreshore. Their special? Their acai bowls. I had never had one before now, I actually held off having one until I could try one from Kona Joes… and it did not disappoint! This one was blended with cacao and banana and topped with fresh crunchy granola, coco whip, blueberries, honey and coco nibs. Perfection!

Weekly Update – 5 Top Tips Roundup and Episode 8 of the CTRG Podcast5 TOP TIP - CHASE THE RED GRAPE

A great holiday roundup post this week for 5 Top Tips on a Tuesday – everything you need to know or would want to know for over the holidays.

Episode 8 of the Chase the Red Grape Podcast is now ready to download! This week we are discussing the life of an expat, the good, the bad and the different. One for those who are thinking about moving abroad or are just interested on what it might be like! Find it on iTunes, Stitcher or the podcast tab!podcast - chase the red grape

Favourite…Workout – Walking, hiking, movingcave - chase the red grape

Yes I trained twice this week… but my favourite ‘workout’ if you want to word it that way would be all the exploring I did when down south. We walked and hiked through various terrain – sand, grass, rocks, dirt tracks, sea… and I loved every minute of it.

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Farmers market, mobility class, a trip to Aldi (woop!) and a chilled out afternoon with Christmas movies and firing up the grill! Sunday – Pancakes and newspapers, beach walk with coffee, record the podcast, quick tidy up and maybe another sneaky Christmas movie!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Have you ever been on a break away in December?

Do you like acai bowls?

What do you order from a coffee shop?

Linking up with Heather @LifeInLeggings

A ‘5 Top Tip’ Holiday Roundup! #5TTT

Hi all,

As most of you will probably know, I am currently on holiday for a week! Hopefully sunning it up in beautiful South West Australia – enjoying some fine wine, beach walks and general all round calm.

So for this weeks 5 top tips on a Tuesday I thought I would bring to you some posts you may not have seen before and hopefully will enjoy! Previous 5 top tips that still hold true one year on!

Click away at the links and enjoy! Will be back on Friday to let you all know how our little holiday went.5 TOP TIP - CHASE THE RED GRAPE

How to survive a holiday party

How to gift with a twist

How to feel and spread holiday cheer

How to organise your Christmas dinner

How to make the best of leftovers

Did you miss these ones from this year?

How to prep your home for the holidays

5 gifts you need to give this Christmas

Oh and don’t forget to check out the podcast! 7 episodes now ready to download and listen to via iTunes, Stitcher or via the web. We even have a healthy holidays episode that strips the concept of a healthy holiday down to its core – a core of fun!

What are you looking forward to the most this holiday season?

Are you a holiday planner or more go with the flow?

Leftovers – what do you like to do with them?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

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 year.christmas - 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 following.christmas - 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.

Communicate!

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