April Lifestyle Favorites

Friday, 29 April 2016

Hello Everyone! I feel like April was a really great month and I found some awesome things to share with you. I finally found some new music to listen to, TV shows to binge-watch instead of socializing, and yet another journal project to keep me busy. The only thing missing is books, since I got myself into a bit of reading-rut that I've struggled to get out of. But it's a new month so I will try and get more reading done. Here's what I loved in April:

Essano Rosehip Cleasning Water 

This is my new skin savior and a product I just can't live without anymore. My skin had been bad for a while and nothing was calming it down. I switched from using the Simple brand of cleansing water to this one and it made such a difference to my complexion. I picked it up because I knew that Rosehip oil is really great for your skin and I had used it before with great results. I love that it's a New Zealand brand too!

Rocky is quite the favorite in my family, so naturally we wanted to watch the latest film. You guys know of my love of boxing as well which made me want to watch it even more. It was such a great movie and really inspiring to anyone who has a dream to make it big. It's one of those movies that reminds you that to get what you want most, you have to be willing to go the extra mile (sometimes literally) in order to get it. I loved this movie as a modern Rocky and I highly recommend it!

 This one is entirely my trainers fault. He wanted to know what I thought of it and I ended up watching the entirety of season one over the weekend. It's not as gritty or gruesome as I thought it would be. Yeah, there's tonnes of blood and killing, but they are Vikings. The thing that has me hooked is how much drama happens in just a few episodes. I'm not talking about petty squabbles either, but full-on battles and achievements that make history books. There are some pretty badass characters that just make the show for me (Lagertha is queen bae) and it's made for the History channel, so you learn a little bit too!

Marvel's Daredevil   
 You may have seen in my What I'm Currently Geeking Out About post that this show has been a major love of mine lately. I've struggled to get into super-hero shows in the past (which is really weird for me) but this one has me hooked. I love that we get some awesome fight scenes, as well seeing the soft side of Matt Murdock when he's with his friends. I'm currently trying to finish season 2, which has been really great so far. I'm personally not a fan of Electra, but the Punisher has been really cool to watch and see how he interacted with Daredevil. 

Jason Derulo
As much as I don't always agree with how he sings about women in his songs, damn Jason Derulo can come up with some really catchy tunes! I quite often have Talk Dirty playing on my ipod at the gym, and one of my YouTubers (Mr Ben Brown) was playing Get Ugly in one of his videos so I got hooked.

Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman
I am completely obsessed with this song! I enjoy Ariana's music, but this song in my all-time favorite. It's so sexy and has a great beat; I often use it as my cool-down song at the gym. This song also describes someone I know really well, so I can relate to what she's singing about.

Little Mix 
These girls just keep getting better. I've been listening to their latest album, Get Weird, a lot this month and the songs are just so much fun that it puts me in great mood. I'm currently obsessed with Grown and Weird People. I really wish their tour was coming near me!

Bullet Journals  

I know that this is quite a big trend right now, but I am totally on board with it and love reading blog posts about how people use them. It didn't take me long to go running to my local bookstore and buy my own journal to start creating pages. I love the freedom of bullet journals and how much you can personalize how you use it. I've been using mine for tracking TV shows and for notes when I'm at the gym. I love adding colors and doodles to make the pages a bit more interesting. I did a post on how I got started if you would like some tips : ) 

 Did you find any new favorites in April?
Steph x. 

Getting Through Self-Doubt

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

I feel like self-doubt comes out of no where sometimes and just refuses to go away until you make it. I'm a fairly confident and stubborn person, but even I suffer from it every once in a while. It hit me the other day and I just kept coming back to thoughts like "What if I'm wasting my time?" and "What if I never make it?" Well, it's time for the negative committee in my head to sit down and shut up, because these doubts will not come between me and my dreams.

Remind yourself of why you started
This is probably the most important part of getting through any doubts. Life is full of choices and taking the riskier path can be scary. Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the most terrifying/amazing things that you can ever do. But just remember that the best things in life come when we take a risk. Think back to what made you want to start in the first place, or visualize your dream life, and keep that in your mind when the doubts come. If you want it bad enough, you'll work hard for it and success will come.

Motivational Music 
Apart from coffee, there is nothing that makes me feel super-motivated like a good pop song. There's a few that I always go back to when I need a boost of confidence. Anything by Hedley has to be my favorite and I've played it in the car so many times. Make a playlist and play it loud, dance around if you like, then get back to conquering the world. Everyone needs a theme tune, right?

Why not? They say that fortune favors the bold, so be brave enough to prove it can be you. If you have a dream career that someone else already has, then there is every chance that you could be next if you dream big enough and work tirelessly for it. Life is too short to not follow your passion and be happy with how you spend your everyday.

Do it for you 
 This is where I'm going to go all motivational speaker-like and say that the only person in life that you need to impress is yourself. Don't push aside the things that you want to achieve in life for the sake of someone else, screw that! You deserve to live the life you dream of, so do it for yourself. Personally, I'm looking forward to sitting with my grandchildren and telling them about how I just did what I wanted with my life. My own opinion and feelings are the most important and if anyone has a problem with how I'm living my life, then I really don't care. Because I'm happy : )

Get back in the game
Doubting myself is usually what causes me to get stuck in a bit of a rut and we all know how horrible that is. It's so important to always get back to working towards your goals. Of course you are allowed some off days, we all have them and sometimes we need the break. Once you've kicked those self-doubts in the behind and got your fire back, use that motivation to fuel your work and make it your best yet. If you quit, you'll never get what you want. Get back out there and be awesome : )

 The important thing to remember is that every single one of us doubts ourselves. It's part of being human, a very sucky part, but it's something we all experience. I was doubting if I could ever make it as a career blogger and ever make a living from it. But you know what?


Worrying gets us absolutely no where, so remember to always push through it. Successful people are the ones who don't quit when others do.
Keep going, beautiful! 

How do you get through self-doubts?
Steph x.

Badass Book Heroines I Adore

Sunday, 24 April 2016

There is nothing I love more than finding strong female characters that refuse to let anything stop them. I love women who have that edge to them and they don't take crap from anyone. I've found YA books are following more and more strong female leads and it's amazing to read. I don't know if I could ever be as brave as these women, but they certainly inspire me to be.

Here are some of my favorites!

Kady, Illuminae
Last month I was raving about this book and Kady is a big part of why I enjoyed reading it so much. After having her colony attacked and now stuck on a traveling ship in space, where she feels like no one is telling people the truth, Kady becomes her own kind of superhero. With her smarts and incredible hacking skills, she tries to figure out the truth no matter the risk. Defying authority seems to be really fun for her (something I can definitely relate to) and when she wants to do something, no one in the universe can stop her. Seriously, she faces some pretty terrifying situations when she could have chosen not to.Total badass.

Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
I've always had mixed feelings about Katniss. She was one of these characters that annoyed me at times, but I always admired her. Re-watching the series now has made me appreciate her a whole lot more and she's probably the heroine I am most similar to. Everything she went through was completely terrifying, but she was smart about it and did it all for her sister. I think the thing I love most about Katniss is that it taught me that a heroine doesn't have to be charismatic or give in to how people expect her to behave. You can lead a rebel movement without having to sacrifice who you are. She may be stubborn, but that's what I love most about that girl. 

Emma, Lady Midnight  
She is probably my single favorite character out of every Shadow hunter series by Cassandra Clare. Actually one of my favorite characters ever. She's as stubborn and smart as Clary, but she's also fearless like Jace. Her witty comebacks had me giggling through the whole book. I also loved how she trains so hard in order to be good at what she does. She never claims to have natural skills, just works harder than anyone to be the best. It makes her quite relatable and inspiring at the same time. 

Tessa, Infernal Devices Series 
If you have read these books, then you'll know it takes a special type of girl to handle Will Herondale. I've always had a soft spot for Tessa and I think it was always her stubbornness and refusal to give up that I adored. I also loved the relationships she builds up and the kindness she shows a lot of the characters in the institute. She's is as kind as she is fearless when it comes to facing danger, and that is something to admire. 

Celaena, Throne of Glass Series
It takes a certain type of woman to be thrown in a battle-to-the-death competition with a big group of men, and still hold her ground. Celaena is one of my all-time favorite book characters because she proves that you can be powerful and strong, while also being beautiful and feminine. That is a very dangerous combination, and one that I aim to achieve myself. She also never apologizes for being who she is, not even in front of the Prince, which just shows how strong her character is. She went through hell and still found a way to fight her way out of it #BOSSQUEEN 

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter
I couldn't leave out the ultimate book heroine, could I? Hermione was definitely the first book character to inspire me. Thankfully, she stayed with me through my treacherous teen years as well and made me work harder at school. Hermione proves that you can start with no knowledge at all, but with a bit of hard work you can be the best in your year. She also proves that you can be the class nerd, while also being a total badass that should not be messed with. Knowledge is a powerful thing and it should never be underestimated. The story of Harry Potter would have gone very badly without Hermione's help to save the day!

If I had a fictional girl squad, these girls would be it for sure. These are also some of my favorite books I've ever read, and I know that it's because of their awesome heroines that save the day.

Who are some of your favorite badass book heroines? 
Steph x.

Meal Prep Ideas #3 Ginger & Chili Stirfry

Friday, 22 April 2016

Hello Everyone! I have some good news for you. I weighed myself recently and discovered that I have dropped 2kg! I've felt really good about my eating habits lately, and I truly believe starting meal prep has helped me a lot. The more that I focus on clean eating, then the less I crave any kind of bad foods. This week's prep was probably the easiest recipe I have made so far, and one of my favorites to eat. It was also super quick, so if you don't have a lot of time to spare then this one is for you!

I actually had my mind set on making a vegetable-filled meal during the week, but now I need it more than ever! There seems to be a cold going around at the moment and I've started getting a few headaches while I feel like I'm getting sick myself. Medicine isn't really ever the first response to illness in our family, instead we always pack our food full of ingredients that help build our immunity. This means lots of chili, ginger, lemon, garlic, and lots of fruits/vegetables!
This recipe should definitely do the trick in helping me beat this cold and not let it stop me from enjoying my day.


You can use any vegetables that take your fancy or, like me, whatever you have lying about in the fridge. Don't forget to add a protein of some kind too, being vegetarian I opted for tofu as always. It never fails to keep me full for the rest of the day.

Here's what I used: 
2 cups mushrooms
1 head broccoli
2 medium carrots
1 red capsicum
1 cup edamame (soy beans)
1 zucchini 
1 packet of Tofu 
1 onion, diced 
2-3 small chili
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic

For the sauce: 
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
optional: 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, to thicken

To serve:
150g Bulgar wheat, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. 

 If you love spicy food, feel free to add as many chili peppers as you like. It's great to get your metabolism running! I'm growing to like it more and more, so 3 was a good amount for me.

Healthy Treat: Pumpkin Pie Cookies 

I also found a new healthy biscuit recipe as a nice treat. Autumn is in full-swing here now, so pumpkin spice seemed perfect. Once again, I got the recipe from Lola Berry's cookbook The Happy Life and they turned out amazing. I know they don't look like it, but the taste is incredible. Her cookbook is proving to me that I can have a treat everyday, but it doesn't have to be something that's bad for me either. This recipe is GF, low in sugar, and is so easy to make!

You will need:
1/2 cup almond butter
3/4 steamed, mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup almond meal
 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt flakes

1/2 cup sultanas
1 tablespoon coconut sugar, for sprinkling

Just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until well combined, place heaped teaspoons of the mix onto a prepared baking tray, and cook for 12-15 minutes in an oven at 180*C. I flattened mine down with a fork and sprinkled some cinnamon and the brown sugar on top before I put them in.

This was definitely one of my favorite meal prep weeks so far, and it felt great adding a few more veges into my daily routine.

Have you guys tried any great recipes lately? Let me know!

Steph x.

How I Started My Bullet Journal

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to share my latest obsession with you, which is the world of bullet journals (cue the eye-rolls for me taking on yet another journal project...) I came across this positive post by Rosie fromdamzelinthisdress blog where she lists 6 Reasons Why You Need A Bullet Journal. It's safe to say that I was sold very quickly, and before I knew it I was in the depths of Pinterest looking at inspiration. You guys know I love anything to do with journals, stationary, or just being creative in day-to-day life, so this is right up my street!

The Journal 
After a little research, everybody tends to go for either a Leuchtturm1917 or a Moleskine journal. When I set out to find one of my own I couldn't find any of the the first, but my local bookstore did have a selection of Moleskine ones. Most of them were either blank or lined, but I managed to get the very last dotted A5 softcover. It was fate, I reckon! The dotted version was well-worth it too, because it makes symmetry a breeze. I did have to settle for a tan color, but I wasn't really fussy.

The Accessories 

I feel like this is where you can have a bit of fun. Firstly, I got two black fine-point pens, which are definitely worth the money! They're so easy to write with and make your handwriting look so much nicer. I also bought some washi tape to help make borders and to bring some color into my pages.

Another little accessory I've found to be a real life-savor, is a ruler. I actually use a mini one that I had back in high school. You could easily free-hand everything if you wanted to, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I need a ruler for all of my boxes/outlines.

The Pages  
I will admit that I got a bit overwhelmed with where to start at first. My solution: start anywhere! Get some ideas, then just create pages as you need them. I also started a Pinterest board to keep tonnes of ideas and inspiration all in one place.

Workouts - At a recent gym session, my trainer explained how my training was going to be different from now on. I basically start at my lowest rep and work up to my highest, which is when I need to meet with him for an update. This is where he suggested I write down my reps as I go through them each day and have a record of how I'm doing. It will be great to see how much I improve within a few weeks.

Daily Schedule -My mind can be a bit scattered sometimes, I think it has to do with my dyslexia, so I find it hard to concentrate on one task at a time. But I've found in the past that on days where I have my hours mapped out I'm so much more focused and I get more done. I know some people hate being so strict with their time, but for me it helps get through my whole to-do list. I've found it really helpful so far. 

2016 Reads - This is probably my favorite page so far. I'm determined to get through 50 books this year (or more if I can) and I'm already itching to fill in more on this one. I'm still not sure what to do with the opposite shelves. I could use it as my TBR, or just wait and fill in the rest for my 2017 reads. I love keeping note of what books I have gotten through in the year and this is such a satisfying way to keep a record. 

Habit Tracker  

There's nothing that makes you stick to healthy habits like having to note down what you do! I love the idea of seeing what I do (and don't do) throughout the month. This is the beauty of bullet journals; you can personalize it to whatever suits you and your lifestyle.

I think the most important thing to remember, is that it's YOUR journal. The pages don't have to be perfect and Instagram-worthy, just have fun being creative with whatever you decided to put in it. There's no right and wrong way to use a bullet journal. Have fun with your planning and be creative anywhere you want.

You just need a journal (any make, really), a pen, and a bit of inspiration. Then you're good to go! 

Have you tried using a bullet journal?
Steph x. 

What I'm Currently Geeking-Out About

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm pretty passionate when it comes to my fandoms. I've seen a lot of great bloggers embracing their nerdy-side lately and it's made for some great blog reading. It's encouraged me to talk more about what makes me geek-out and how excited I am for things to come. Get ready for a whole lot of exclamation marks and geeky-ramblings!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
I wasn't too sure about this movie series when it was announced, but the recent trailer has me so pumped for it's release! I grew up obsessed with Harry Potter, so I'm keeping my mind open about this prequel. The trailer does have that HP feeling to it, and even just hearing the theme music had me grinning from ear to ear. I'm really digging the old school New York vibe that we're getting, plus the cast list is incredible. Hurry up November!

Considering how much I have struggled to get into a superhero TV shows in the past, I'm so happy I've found one to get addicted to. Daredevil just keeps getting better and better! This show has the perfect balance of humor and grittiness to keep me hooked. I've just about finished season 1 (I know, I'm a bit slow!) but everyone has raved about season 2 being amazing so my expectations are high. I am so glad they made this into a TV series and not a movie, so that we can get as much of the story as possible. There have been so many unexpected jaw-dropping moments so far, I'm addicted!

Suicide Squad 
They released another trailer for the movie and I just have one word: BATMAN! When I heard Ben Affleck had a bigger role in this than we all thought, I was so happy. He did such a great job in Batman v. Superman as the older/worn Bruce Wayne. The characters in this movie just look so flipping cool and badass. I'm usually a Marvel girl, but I'm loving the direction DC has started to go in. And you have to admit Harley Quinn is totally awesome. I love Superman, but it's great to get some anti-heroes thrown into the mix now too.

Captain America: Civil War 
Bet you knew this one was coming! It's possibly my most anticipated movie of 2016 and the release date is getting so close! Since the press tour has officially started, I've been watching a few interviews with the cast who are all hilarious (bless you, Jimmy Kimmel.) I think I'm most excited to see all of the characters banter with each other, especially with Paul Rudd in the mix. And even though he's on the opposite side, I am a big fan of Spiderman. Team Cap anyday!

Doctor Strange Teaser  
Benedict Cumberbatch + Marvel Universe = One VERY happy fangirl. If you're not sure of the story, it's about a neurosurgeon who is injured in a car accident and goes on a journey to heal himself. He encounters all kinds of magic and gains some pretty cool abilities (creating portals and levitating) and thus, another great superhero takes the stage. I love anything to do with magic, and I equally geek out over superheros, so to combine those two should be amazing! Especially if Mr Cumberbatch is involved. 

Re-watching Teen Wolf  
I've probably mentioned my love for this show many times before, but I gonna tell you again how addicted I am to it. I was chatting to a few lovely bloggers on Twitter the other day and we were all saying how much we missed the old cast. As much as season 5 was still gut-wrenching and filled with cute boys, I really missed Derek and some of the others being on the show. I've gone back to watching season 3, which is one of my favorites, and it's so great having the old gang back together. Allison is just the coolest, and I miss the more innocent Stiles before he was possessed by an evil Japanese spirit. There's no better way for me to spend my Friday night than binge-watching some Beacon Hills action!

So many exciting things coming up! : D
What have you guys been geeking out about?

Steph x.

Meal Prep Ideas #2 Chickpea Koftas & Chocolate Risotto

Friday, 15 April 2016

Hello Everyone! 
Week one of meal prep was so awesome that I wanted to do another one. You guys seemed to enjoy it too, so thank you for all of your lovely comments! Meal prepping has honestly made me feel so much more organized and my body felt clean all week. I thought I might get sick of having the same thing for lunch everyday but I really didn't. It's honestly been such a weight off my shoulders when I know I don't have to worry about creating something healthy everyday. I definitely should have started this a long time ago!

This week's lunch was:
Pumpkin and Chickpea Koftas
Brown rice
Frozen broccoli and peas
Buckwheat flatbreads

Afternoon Snack: Apples
Dessert: Chocolate Quinoa Risotto

I was craving some kind of Indian dish and since I always order the vegetarian koftas, I decided to find/create a healthy and simple recipe for the week ahead. They may look like a bit of a mess, but oh man are they tasty!
I pretty much just made the recipe up as I went along and it worked out well!

Pumpkin and Chickpea Koftas (makes 12)

2 cans of chickpeas, risnsed
1 & 1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin 
2 chili 
1 teaspoon of garam masala
 1/2 teaspoon of cumin 
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/3 cup sesame seeds

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then get a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form round patties. Roll them in sesame seeds and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to help hold their shape. 

Brown both sides of the koftas in a pan over a medium heat until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

For the sauce:

1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2  dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
 1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
300mls coconut milk 

In a small saucepan over a medium heat, mix the dried spices for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, tomato paste, garlic, and ginger. Mix until the onions are coated in the spices and have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer until it thickens and you are happy with the taste. 

   Pour over the sauce over the koftas and simmer over a low heat for 5-10 minutes. Pair with brown rice or quinoa!

I made another batch of buckwheat flat-breads this week to go with my lunch. You can find the super easy recipe on my previous meal prep post.
 I was really happy with how these turned out. They kept me full for ages and tasted so good. Plus the added chili I put was great to boost my metabolism with the heat! Once again, it kept in the fridge really well all week and still tasted great on Friday.

Dessert Time! A big part of eating healthy for me is making sure I don't feel like I have to skip having an evening treat. But I still do my best to keep it clean and healthy too. Here's how to make Lola Berry's Chocolate Quinoa Risotto (from her cookbook The Happy Life) :

You will need:
1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed 
1 cup of coconut milk (plus extra of needed) 
1 tablespoon coconut oil 
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or honey)

Raspberries & shredded coconut to serve

In a saucepan, mix the quinoa, coconut milk & oil over a medium heat. 
When it boils, reduce the heat and add the maple syrup and cacao powder. 
Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the quinoa has tripled in size. 
Add more coconut milk if the quinoa absorbs it too quickly. 

I probably didn't add enough coconut milk at this point, but mine still tasted great. I ended up having mine with some natural yogurt and a tonne of raspberries. Quinoa is so great to have during the week for some extra energy, and when it's chocolate flavored it's hard to resist! I can't recommend Lola's books enough. I've found some amazing and healthy recipes that are staples in my diet now.

I was really happy having these all week long. My Sundays will feel incomplete if I'm not in the kitchen prepping my food for the week. It's letting me try out tonnes of recipes and even creating my own. I've also been getting a lot more blog work done in the time that I'm saving as well.

Have you tried out any great recipes lately?
Steph x.

Health and Fitness Update - April

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Hello everyone! I got such a positive response from my last Health and Fitness Update that I thought I would do another one for you this month. I feel like things are still progressing well and getting a little more serious. Easter was a very trying time with so many treats in the house, but thankfully I got given a sugar-free dark chocolate and orange egg that was amazing! But I still hit the gym hard the next day and got in an extra run. April has been my month of stepping things up and channeling my inner-superhero to get better results.

Meal Prep
If you follow my blog, you might have seen that I have started a Meal Prep Ideas series where I have been sharing what recipes I've been using. I've finally jumped on the band-wagon and started prepping clean meals for the week and have been loving it. I feel so much better about what I'm eating and it's letting me have some fun in the kitchen. I'm a big foodie, so any chance to experiment with new recipes is time well-spent for me. 

My love-hate relationship with leg day 
I recently got an update on my leg program from my trainer and my main focus is with my squats. I've really bumped up the weights on the bar I use, so it's become a really tough challenge. Part of me really loves it and I'm always determined to get back try again. But man is it hard! And failing is not in my fitness vocabulary, so there is only one way through it: hard work. Bring on leg day!

Wearing shorts to the gym
As much as I love my legs because they let me run far, they're still the part of my body I am most self-conscious about. I do run in shorts most days since it's means I won't over-heat, but wearing them to the gym has been a test of my confidence lately. Maybe after another month of good leg days I will feel better about it. Something to work on, I think.

Pre-workout drink 
Now this makes me feel like I'm properly transitioning into a gym-junkie! So lately I have found myself getting annoyed at being fatigued so early in my workouts. I do eat really well, but I just felt like I needed that extra energy boost to really make my time at the gym the best I can. Since I had no clue what to go for, I opted for one designed especially for women called Ignite and it was on sale too! I can honestly tell you that it works wonders for your energy levels. I was bouncing up and down, ready for my work outs. Sometimes I just wish it never wore off!

Knowing my limits 
So after last month's mid-workout panic attack, I've learned the hard way how important it is to know when to take a breather. I find if I'm doing a HIIT workout, or anything with high intensity, I struggle with my breathing and it triggers panic mode in my anxious brain. I've successfully stopped myself from pushing too far a couple of times this month, and it feels like I've conquered a really important fitness lesson. Yes, it's great to push yourself and give it everything you have, but sometimes you have to rest for a bit, then get back to working hard.

Weight/Overall improvements 

So I'm still staying around the 60kg mark, which I'm really happy with. I'm still building muscle, so I know that it's not going to drop dramatically anytime soon. I've been working really hard on my arms this past month and I'm really happy with how they are looking now, as well as getting stronger. I have also noticed that my posture has improved a lot, which was something my trainer hounds me for! I still have a long way to go, but I'm really happy with my progress so far.

I'm still boxing once a week too, which is always my toughest day at the gym. I think my trainer enjoys being really mean to me, but I love the feeling at the end of it where I know I've made it through a tough session. I also recently watched Creed which has really inspired me to be tougher and to go that extra mile with my training. I'm also wanting to get better at my boxing technique, not that I need to punch anyone anytime soon, but it's a skill I want to learn to perfect. It is in my family after-all!

I found this quote on Pinterest the other day and I absolutely love it. Focusing on being healthy is the most important part of any fitness journey, not stressing about dropping dress sizes. That definitely comes in time. You'll be surprised by how quickly results can come by eating cleaner foods and adding more exercise in your week. 

Let me know how your health and fitness is going in the comments! 
Have you tried anything new lately? 

Steph x. 

50 (more) Things That Make Me Happy

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Hello everyone! I did a post back in January listing 50 Things That Make Me Happy and you guys loved it! I honestly didn't expect it to be one of my most popular posts, but you proved me wrong. Not long after that I found that I had quite a few other things that make me happy, so I started writing out another list for part 2!

1. Seeing dogs stick their head out of car windows

2. We my baking turns out the way I wanted it to
3. Pay day book splurges on Book Depository


5. Listening to radio banter in the morning

6. Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show Hashtags segment

7. Starting a new book

8. Guacamole. And lots of it.

9. Having a day at home just creating and drinking coffee
10. Reading #BOSSBABE quotes

11. Morning time (yes, I'm one of those people)

12. Feeling exhausted after a workout

13. Snacks that involve peanut butter

14. Boxing lessons with my trainer

15. Trying new Lush products

16. When Monday feels as good as Friday

17. Updating my blog and feeling proud

18. Having real-fruit ice-cream

19. When the weather turns out better than predicted

20. Starting a discussion on Twitter

21. Eating grilled Tuna

22. Anna Saccone "What I ate Wednesday" videos

23. Beach balls

24. Stunning Instagram feeds

25. Late Late Show Car Pool Karaoke

26. Thai Pumpkin soup on a cold winter day

27. Saturday coffee dates with my Mum

28. Hearing the rain outside whilst reading

29. Making someone laugh

30. Food shopping at wholefoods stores

31. Getting butterflies from talking to someone

32. When my song comes on at the gym

33. Positive people on Twitter

34. Getting enough sleep

35. Realizing there's time for another coffee

36. Sunday Netflix marathons

37. A hot shower after a long run

38. Second day hair

39. Friendly cats who want to say hi when I'm out running

40. Getting ideas for tattoos

41. Using fine-point pens so my handwriting looks great

42. Re-watching Full House episodes (big crush on Uncle Jesse <3)

43. When my hair naturally curls itself

44. Baymax from Big Hero 6 : )

45. Listening to music in bed before I sleep

46. Sweet potato fries

47. Spontaneous blog post ideas

48. Sassy book characters

49.Waking up on Saturday mornings

50.Watching new movie trailers

There we go! Another 50 things that me me happy. I've come to realize how many of them are food and exercise related, but let's face it, they are two of my greatest joys in life. Sometimes it's all about the little things that make you the happiest.

What are some of the happy things that would make your list?
Steph x.

My Fit-Girl Essentials

Sunday, 10 April 2016

When it comes to fitness, I've found that it's a lot of trial and error to find products that work best for you. But one of the great things about the health and fitness world is that there's plenty of options for you to try out/trends to get into. After a solid year and the gym and two years running, I now have a list of essentials that have been key to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. I absolutely love finding something new to add to my routine and I never thought I would love going into sports stores, but I honestly go in every week. It's the same with food, my Mum and I are always looking out superfoods to try or healthy recipes we can make for dinner. It truly is a lifestyle, but it's one that I am in love with!

Here are my essentials:

Oddly enough, I actually made fun of my Mum when she bought this. I didn't think we would get much use out of it, but we have honesty used it 2-3 times almost everyday since buying it. An afternoon smoothie can be so great for getting extra nutrients into your day when you're really busy. I also use it to make my favorite protein smoothie (banana, peanut butter, vanilla protein, almond milk) that I have post-workout. It's also handy for quickly mixing pancake batter, as I have recently discovered. Couldn't live without one now!

Whey Protein  
 I know it's a very typical fitness-lover's item, but it has so many benefits to helping you lose weight and tone up. I first started buying protein a year ago and it's been a key part of my diet ever since. My nutritionist said that I'm supposed to have 80 grams of protein a day, which is a lot when you look at how little there is in everyday foods. I just mix a scoop into my smoothie after a workout or run to help my muscles and to keep me fuller for longer. I stick with vanilla flavor since it's easy to mix with anything really. Just watch for added sugars in some brands!

Training Gloves
Because no one wants to battle with constant blisters, am I right? I started doing deadlifts a couple months back and found it quite painful to handle the bar with just my hands. I invested in some Nike gloves and I absolutely love wearing them! Not just because it makes lifting easier, but because it also makes you look like a bad-ass. They weren't very expensive at all ($30) and I've worn them quite a bit already.

Lacrosse Massage Ball
A while ago I was struggling to pull my shoulders back when I was lifting, so I asked my trainer to help me stretch them out with a massage ball and it made such a difference! I pretty much just have to add tonnes of pressure to get the knots out of my back, which is extremely painful to be honest, but worth it for the relief at the end. It's basically like the inside of a tennis ball, and it works wonders!

Over-ear headphones
 I don't know how people can survive workouts without any music. And my gym's audio playlist can get a little too retro for my taste, so good headphones can make a huge difference. I started just using my ipod ones, but they fell out a lot. I found some over-ear ones for about $20 and it made my workouts so much easier because I wasn't constantly putting my ear-buds back in. In you want to invest in cordless ones, they would also be awesome to use.

A good playlist
There is nothing that motivates me more than music while I'm working out (not even my trainer yelling at me!) I've come up with a bad-ass playlist that gets me into super-hero mode and I'm ready to conquer my workout that day. My go-to song is "Salute" by Little Mix since it has that awesome girl-power/military vibe to make you feel tough. "Unstoppable" by Sia is another great one, and I also listen to a bit of Jason Derulo for a bit of fun.

Cute workout clothes
Look good, feel good. You do the same when you put on your favorite dress that makes you feel confident, right? Fitness is no different, and it always makes me feel great. I usually go for anything black that flatters my body shape (high-waisted tights are a gift from the heavens!) I've recently been loving the different styles of sports-bras you can get too. I actually feel my most confident in sports wear, so it always pays to treat yourself to the right clothing.

Dry Hair shampoo
Saves me every time! I find even if I have washed my hair already, by the end of my workout it needs some love and attention again. Of course my go-to is Batiste; I usually use the XX-L Volume one as my hair gets so flat without any help. I always look like such a wreck after an hour at the gym (but hey, at least I know I worked hard!) so dry shampoo is a must to bring back some much needed glamor into my day.

Peanut Butter
Because there has to be some joys after a painful workout! Rewarding yourself is essential to keeping motivation up, and doing it in a healthy way that you enjoy is key. To make my protein shakes even yummier, I add a good tablespoon of PB to it for extra flavor and it is heavenly! Just what you need after working hard that day. And the extra teaspoon here and there can't hurt, right?

A Personal Trainer 
I know that this isn't for everyone, but it has let me take my fitness in the best direction possible. Trainers are fantastic for helping you with those target areas (get that booty!) or helping you build your strength with what weights to use. I do boxing with my trainer once a week and it's the most satisfying/grueling and fun workout that leaves me absolutely dripping in sweat. It's always my favorite day at the gym and it adds some fun to my usual workout programs. I wouldn't have half the results I've had without my trainer, and he keeps me motivated too : )

Good running shoes
 There is a lot of room in fitness to save money on cheaper options, BUT if you are a runner or want to get into it, having a really great pair of trainers makes an absolute world of difference. Cheaper or less-supportive shoes can leave you with sore feet and you'll have to replace them more often. My favorite make is the Nike Zoom Structure models, which are amazing at helping you run further for longer. They're super comfortable and pretty darn stylish too. They're worth every penny for making running even that little bit easier. Make sure you replace them about every 6 months, or when they get worn out.

Considering I hated PE class at school, it's still hard to believe that I'm so fitness-obsessed now. The longer I do it, the more I love it! I will probably update this list for you later in the year, as I'm sure I will find new products to love and want to share with you guys.

What are some of your fitness essentials? 
Steph x.

Meal Prep Ideas #1 Bean Chili & Quinoa

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Yup, that's right! I've decided to take that next step in my fitness journey and set myself meals for the week ahead. It's something I've been contemplating for a while now, and I definitely think it's going to help me further achieve my goals.

There are a few reasons why I wanted to start meal prepping; one was simply to save myself time during the week. From about 8am to 3.30pm are what I call my business hours. I work on my blog all day then slip away in the afternoon to go work a short shift at the hospital to keep up my income. But I also have to fit in 1-2 hours for my fitness routine as well. I basically need to spend as much time working on my blog and social media as I can, while also fueling myself properly. This is where meal prep is absolutely perfect for a busy lifestyle, all I have to do is heat it up, grab my coffee and enjoy!

Another reason I decided to start meal prepping is my desire to keep my food as clean as possible. I've noticed lately how much processed food still slips into my everyday nutrition. I think I've just become more aware of it and it's time to work harder to eat cleaner foods. Those abs aren't going to show themselves if I don't get rid of all that processed food! My body just feels so much better when I do and I know I'm doing the best for it.

I want to express how easy this food is! It didn't take me long at all to put it together and all I needed was a few pots and pans. I actually love being productive on a Sunday afternoon, so I've found meal prepping kind of fun. These are all for my lunches during the week where I need to save time.

Here's what I made for my first week:

 The super-food grain that always gives me lots of energy! I've been trying to incorporate this into my everyday nutrition for a while now, and I had even taken to making a pot of this at the start of each week and having some when I felt like I needed it. I work out everyday so I need food that's gonna help me sustain my energy levels. I measured out 1/2 cup for each day and it turned out to be plenty.

Roasted Sweet Potato
 This is one of my current food-loves and it seems to be quite popular in the health and fitness world. 
I've been cooking up roasted sweet potato for a while now and still enjoy eating it with lunch or dinner. They're also great for post-workout recovery because of their anti-inflammatory benefits.
So good!

Homemade Bean Chili 
 Being vegetarian, it's really important for me to have that extra protein in my diet and beans are perfect for it. I've made this recipe time and time again, and I still love eating (especially with flat breads!)

To do: to make the sauce, chop 5-6 tomatoes, half a red onion, 3 cloves of garlic, and two chili peppers and spread out onto an oven tray. Bake at 150*C for 30-40mins or until the tomatoes have broken down. Place in a food processor and mix until it forms a sauce.

Pour in into a medium sized pot and put on a low-medium heat. Add 1 cup of water to thin out the mix. Stir in a teaspoon of tomato paste and a tablespoon of soy sauce for flavor.
Add 1 can of black beans and 1 can of mixed beans, stir to combine and let it simmer for 10 minutes. When the mixtures is lovely and thick it's ready to serve!

Buckwheat Flat-breads  (only 2 ingredients!)
For a while now I've been having a wholemeal pita bread at lunch time, and they aren't all that bad for you. The extra carbs always gave me the energy I needed for the rest of my day. But buying something in a packet means it's been processed and I don't quite know what's gone into making it.
My family has flatbreads with dinner quite a lot and they are one of my favorite things to eat. I can't remember where we got this recipe from, but it works every single time. It satisfies that craving for bread and goes so well with the home-made baked beans!
 To do: In a bowl, mix one cup of buckwheat flour to one cup of natural yogurt. If it's too sticky to handle, add more flour (and vice versa if it's too dry.) You can leave it in the fridge if you need to or just start rolling straight away. 
Divide the dough into two halves, then half again so you have four (or five if you want extra) pieces. Roll them out one at a time onto a floured surface and cook on a medium-high heat in a pan with some olive oil. Cook until crispy on both sides.
Optional: I added a teaspoon of turmeric to mine for added flavor and health benefits!

And now I'm set for the week! 
This is just for my lunches, but it's one less meal I have to worry about during the day.
As the week goes on you can add extra protein on as well. I usually cook up some tofu or make a couple of poached eggs for something different. It will stop that 3pm snacking habit!

 Meal prep is a big part of the health and fitness world, and I've been a little reluctant to enter it. But there are actually so many benefits to preparing your meals a week ahead. It ensures that you're eating the right foods everyday and it saves you time/money. I'm currently on to week 2 and am still loving the ease of having prepped meals.

I've started putting together a Pinterest board full of recipe ideas and snacks if you're ever stuck for ideas.

How do you guys feel about meal prep? Let me know if you have any tips for eating healthy during a busy week : )  
Steph x.