Archive for January, 2014

It’s Day 3 of a long weekend here in Australia, the Australia Day weekend to be precise, and I can’t even tell you how much I love long weekends.

It’s partly the ability to sleep in rather than get up to the sound of the alarm going off at 6.30am (if I don’t wake up earlier due to the DAMN BIRDS. I’ve not mentioned the DAMN BIRDS before but they are a bunch of parrots that perch in the bottlebrush bush outside our bedroom window and CACKLE AWAY AT 5am. WHY?! Damn birds). It’s also that there’s no schedule to adhere to – sure, you meet friends for morning tea or lunch or dinner, but it’s super casual and there’s still plenty of time for reading and watching films, doing housework and cooking. All that domestic stuff I am always up for now I’m pregnant (it’s called nesting).

Strawberry-cinnamon muffins

I made these awesome strawberry-cinnamon muffins today – they’re delicious AND relatively healthy (for muffins)

But this post isn’t about nesting (that could bring me back to another rant about the DAMN BIRDS and no one wants that), it’s about some awesome books, films and TV series I’ve been amusing myself with over the past few weeks, that I just have to share. So here are my recommendations:

Let me entertain you

TV SERIES

  • Breaking Bad – This both frustrates me and grips me. Frustrates me because, look, if you’re going to be a drug dealer then be a freaking good one or just don’t do it. Walt: stop making dumb decisions, and Jesse: stop making rookie errors. But even when I say it’s too frustrating, I’m gonna carry on watching it. Only a few more episodes of Season 5 to go…
  • Sons of Anarchy – I admit, this is mainly for the awesomeness that is Jax (played by Charlie Hunnam). But the other characters make this an amazing psychological examination of a culture I’m never likely to be involved in. Plus the soundtrack is HOT.
  • What I’m looking forward to watching soon: Portlandia. It was this trailer that an ex-colleague sent me a link to that ensured I’ve downloaded the whole first season.

Sons of Anarchy

FILMS

The Wolf of Wall Street

BOOKS

  • My Booky Wook by Russell Brand – A brilliant re-telling of Russell Brand’s life (up to when he kicks his drug and booze addictions). Told entirely in Russell’s voice, it gave me a laugh, enough so to start reading the second book, imaginatively titled Booky Wook 2.
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – What would you do if you lived your life over and over again – you could not die. And each time you were born again you remembered every version of that same life previously lived? That’s the the premise of this book, which isn’t available until April (I was lucky enough to score a free early reading copy). Intriguingly, the author Claire North is a pseudonym for “an acclaimed British author”…who could it be I wonder?
  • Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon – This book won’t be for everyone (it’s long, and very music-focused, heavy on detail) but I loved the style of writing. It’s about a music shop, Brokeland Records, run by two hapless guys who both have individual problems, as well as the joint problem of a new music superstore opening in the neighbourhood soon. An absorbing, oddball read with crazy characters.
  • What I won’t be reading: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. This book stretches to well over 1,000 pages and wow – it needs a damn good edit! I got 350 pages in and then thought “Life’s too short, I don’t care about these characters” and gave up. I don’t often give up on books, but this had to be done.

What are your recommendations for films, TV series and books?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

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It’s been hotter than Roger Federer at the Australian Open this summer, and I can tell you right now I’ve found it really difficult to cook anything at all in the heat. Couple that with being pregnant and therefore not allowed to eat feta, plus not being able to stand the smell of tuna (both of which have formed a staple in my salad ingredient repertoire for several years) and I’m not feeling very motivated to do much preparing of the old leafy greens.

Those were my salad days

Or so says Shakespeare…

However, I still do enjoy what has to be one of the easiest salads to prepare: chicken & haloumi salad. Here’s how it goes:

Ingredients:
Salad leaves (I prefer a baby spinach and rocket mix)
Tomato
Cucumber
BBQ chicken
Haloumi
Salad dressing of your choice (French, in my case)

Method:
Chop up tomato and cucumber and mix with salad leaves; buy a pre-cooked BBQ chicken from the supermarket or Red Rooster; cut a block of haloumi into pieces and fry in a non-stick frying pan with a spray of olive oil until golden brown. Then bung it all together, throw some dressing over it and voila – a perfect summer salad that tastes amazing and even a 6 months pregnant woman can eat!

Chicken & haloumi salad

Too easy!

If I can’t have feta, I’ll have haloumi goddammit (but in moderation). And the first thing I want brought to me after giving birth (after the wine of course) will be the creamiest, most delicious piece of feta I can lay my hands on.

I need some more salad inspiration – what are your favourite summer salad recipes?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

It’s summer in Oz and while summer is not my favourite season (try having pale skin prone to freckles and therefore skin cancer in Australia – it’s not fun), this summer I’m still finding things to love.

For starters, I’ve re-discovered swimming. And by swimming I don’t mean floating around looking mermaid-like (although that is quite fun too), I mean swimming laps at the local pool. Being pregnant means a fair amount of exercise is off the cards, especially in hot weather, so swimming is ideal. It’s a great workout as well as being a good stretch, and the perfect way to cool down when you sadly don’t have an air-conditioned flat or workplace.

Ashfield Pool

Ashfield Pool

I also quite like the feeling of lapping people who aren’t pregnant. It’s the competitive spirit coming out in me 🙂

swimming meme

It took me a few weeks to get my swimming fitness back, and get my breathing right. Now I’m swimming every Saturday and it’s become a really lovely ritual to start the weekend with.

I’m also LOVING watermelon at the moment. All the summer fruits are out in force here, but the one I’m relishing is watermelon. There’s nothing quite like it on a hot day. Thirst-quenching and sweet, I can’t get enough right now.

Watermelon

Summer lovin’

And of course the best thing about summer in Australia is summer holidays! I’ve had 12 days off so far, with another 5 to go and I tell you I could get used to this lifestyle. Pity about the bills that need paying… 🙂

Beach

Yeah, there’s always kangaroos on the beach in Australia … *cough*

 

What do you love about summer?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x