Tag Archives: weather

April and Autumnal … sort of!

12 Apr

Is it just me or is 2013 speeding along at a rate of noughts?

A quick run through on what I have been up to lately …. No I’m still not working. No I don’t want to talk about it.

Sugar Free Update.

I have now been on the sugar-free wagon for over 14 weeks, I stayed off fruit completely for 3 weeks in February and then slowly reintroduced it into my diet but the strange thing is I don’t really enjoy it as much now! I have no desire for anything sweet at all, although I do enjoy the sweetness I can now taste in milk, corn on the cob, beetroot and carrots but the overwhelming urge for a sweet fix is long gone. That is of course not to say that it won’t come back once the long cold, wet Winter months set in but I am hopeful that I can continue as I am. I bought a little jar of Chai Spices and am planning on adding that to hot milk for a nice warming drink, I already enjoy a glass of cold milk with a spoon of cinnamon added in a few times a week, it is honestly so delicious, naturally sweet and fragrant! I have bags of activated nuts (hee hee) in the freezer and a handful make a lovely snack or chopped up are a great addition to salads, curries etc. My attempt to avoid gluten hasn’t gone quite so well especially since I can’t resist the Sourdough bread at the Subi Farmer’s market (must find out the name of the baker actually). However, I am limiting wheat to one meal a day and finding it easy enough to stick to that. I haven’t lost any weight which is rather disappointing as I was sure Elizabeth Jagger would be handing over her dark haired supermodel status to me by now but I do feel great, my skin is really good and I have loads of energy! All in all its been one of my more successful endeavours of late …..

Running 

As the weather is getting cooler, or at least it did before heating up again to the hottest April day for some ridiculous amount of years but its raining today so am hoping it will cool down again I’m done with heat for the moment, last week I joined a running group that I first heard about at Christmas. ParkRun is a worldwide endeavour which sees volunteers organising a 5 kilometre run. Its free to partake and its good fun as well as a good way to get exercise for people like me that will stop running if I am on my own and the going gets tough but hate to lose face in front of bunch of friends or strangers! Last Saturday morning at 8am after encountering a number of route diversions, typical, we arrived at the designated starting point to meet our friends. There was a group warm up, a number of instructions and off we went … it was my first decent run in a very long time due in part to the hot weather but in another bigger part to my incredible laziness. Anyway I made it around the 5K albeit in a bad state by the end, there was a terrible steep hill to finish! But I soon recovered and felt great, there’s an amazing sense of accomplishment in finishing a course and that’s the feeling I must keep in my mind when I feel like stopping. The weather got very hot this week so I didn’t make it out for another run but tomorrow morning is my second ParkRun and I am really looking forward to the feeling afterwards … the actual running I still find tough …but worth it! Have a look on the site and see is there one near you, there’s at least two in Dublin and you could set one up in your local area!

The Library: My newest favourite place

I love the library! I’ve been borrowing books and DVDs at least once a week lately, its so much fun I get to leave with armfuls of entertainment .. cook books, books on beauty, fiction, fact, DVDs of movies I never saw or ones I love to watch over and over, TV series I never caught .. its fantastic and its all free! Some books I’ve loved and some I haven’t but that is in essence what is so great about the library I get to try before I buy 🙂

Another related discovery has been Downton Abbey … seriously how did I miss this?? Its AMAZING! I LOVE IT! So far I’ve watched Series 1 & 2 and the Christmas special so I now need to track down the remaining series and find out what happens with Mary and Matthew, Sybil and Branson, the dreadful Edith, Mr Bates and Anna and my absolute favourite character the Dowager or “Granny”…I did like His Lordship allot until that carry on with the maid, I’ll say no more!

So the Summer is over and Autumn is here … although its still warm daylight is increasingly diminishing and I am remembering last winter with horror but determined not to let myself be as bored or housebound as I was last year … might be time to get the crochet back out too ..

SJ xx

Helloooo 2013!

10 Jan

Pinterest NY Fireplace

Happy New Year everyone,

The first ten days of the new year have been lovely so long may that continue. Here in Perth there was a heatwave over Christmas and New Year and I found myself longing for bitterly cold weather, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Christmas was really lovely, both our big dinners were lots of fun. Bread sauce was a revelation and I will be attempting to recreate it at some point in the future, a pot luck dinner party is a really great idea as everyone shares the stress and there are lots of different and new foods to try. On Christmas Day we had a delish dinner with my relatives in the evening both the turkey and ham were cooked on the BBQ then served with roast potatoes and an array of hot and cold salads. The pudding was lit and served later on in the evening and it was a lovely relaxed day over all with a nice swim in the ocean before dinner. A success over all! I received some beautiful gifts which I will do a post on soon, two new cookbooks if you don’t mind along with lots of other great stuff!

New Year’s Eve was spent drinking french champagne with our lovely neighbours by the pool, it was so hot that we had to keep jumping into the water to prevent spontaneous combustion or melting! There weren’t any fireworks as I had thought, it seems Perth does a huge display on Australia Day which is January 26th so NYE is a more low key affair in the skies!

I would imagine I am similar to lots of people with new year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, do more exercise and drink less! My plan is to set myself a challenge each month as I feel a month is doable. So this year I am embarking on a Dry January inspired by the lovely EnglishMum. So far so good … although the hot evenings are not helping as I would love nothing more than a glass of white wine by the pool but I’m holding firm! I am going to break it for Australia Day though, my reasoning being if you are allowed to break lent for St Patrick’s Day then its only fair. When in Rome …

My plan for both February and March is to eliminate sugar from my diet. I’m spending this month reading up on it and slowly getting prepared food wise … so once I know exactly what I am at I will share the details. For anyone interested in trying this Sarah Wilson’s Blog is a good place to begin.

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So how was everyone’s Christmas and New Year?? Any exciting new year’s resolutions?

Any suggestions as to what I should do per month after March,with a health benefit? All suggestion gratefully received 🙂

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2013

SJxx

Gardening: First Lesson Learned

6 Dec

Firstly some good news: The caterpillar was located. He has been sent to a nice farm in the country where he will happily live out his days*.

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SJ and plants

Since my last gardening post we have been very busy! Seven huge plastic containers were purchased and lots more plants, so adding to those we had before we bought celery, strawberries, joi choi, rainbow chard,  lettuces, spring onions, snow peas, zucchini/courgettes, cucumbers, more coriander, mint, thyme and basil and my favourite was a rainbow selection of carrots .. potted them all, arranged them beautifully in the yard and were very proud of ourselves altogether. The weather was awful that week really stormy and wet, I worried about our little plants but they survived.

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Then it got very hot ….. and lots of them died!
What a rookie error on our part not to realise that a 36 degree day would burn the leaves of all but the very toughest. After a quick relocation into the shade some of them came back to life but we had a number of casualties and my dreams of rainbow carrots are fading. Its not just my skin that needs the factor 50!

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However there have been some good developments, our chilli plants are weighed down with long green chillies and our courgettes are flying it with flowers bursting out, the capsicums are also doing well and we get about 2 teeny tiny tomatoes each day. The herbs and strawberries also with stood the heat and are thriving. This evening the tomatoes are being relocated as we think the wall behind them is getting too hot and burning their leaves so they too will benefit from a bit more shade. Its the complete opposite to Ireland where we were chasing the sun shine.

I cannot wait to be able to harvest the produce, hopefully neither the caterpillars nor sun will cost us anymore plants .. fingers crossed!

SJ x

*May not be true.

Thai Beef and Cucumber Salad

14 Apr
It’s Autumn here in Perth and the weather is warm and sunny (no complaints from this camp!) so here’s a summery recipe to get all of you at home in the mood for what’s ahead and help us here in the Southern Hemisphere hang on to the last of the lovely days. 
 
Cucumbers are a fruit (yip!) that I never had alot of time for, seeing them more as a filler in salad or a sandwich  for cricket players although I was quite happy to add it to jugs of Pimms!  My Mam makes a lovely cucumber pickle so when I came across this recipe and remembered having absolutely adored the salads while in Thailand I decided to give it a shot …. its been a staple ever since. Really delish as a salad to accompany cold meats or BBQ and even better with some yummy rare steak! 
Thai Beef and Cucumber Salad 
 
Ingredients (not strict quantities, all can be tailored to your taste) 
60ml fish sauce
60ml lime juice
2 x sirloin steaks (220g each)
2 cucumbers thinly sliced (with a mandolin type thingy or indeed peeled into strips with a veg peeler) 
4 spring onions sliced (very thinly sliced red onion is also good)
250g cherry tomatoes halved
1 tablespoon mint leaves
2 tablespoon coriander leaves
2 tablespoons basil leaves
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1 chilli thinly sliced
 
Method:
1. combine 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 tablesp lime juice in a medium bowl, add beef and marinate for at least 3 hours or overnights.
2. Drain beef and throw out marinade. Cook beef in a griddle pan, grill or BBQ. Cook as desired (personally I am all about the RARE). Allow beef to rest for 5 min and then slice thinly.
3. In a large bowl combine cucumber, chilli, onion, tomatoes and herbs
4. In a screw top jar place the sugar, soy, garlic and remaining fish sauce and lime juice. Shake well to combine.
5. Add beef and dressing to salad. Toss salad gently to combine.
 
Lovely served with some steamed rice, baked potato or fresh crusty bread 
 
Enjoy 
 
SJ x 

G’day from Western Australia

8 Mar

I am alive … and sweating!

My fat has been crying allot, I think it must be homesick!

Its a cool 29 degrees today but the next four days are forecast as 38, 39, 39 & 38 respectively .. and I have learned the forecast here is pretty accurate*.. So days on the beach, eating fruit, jumping waves and reading books ahead! This is Autumn like I have never known before .. and I like it!

I arrived in Perth on February 20th via Dubai (which was surreal, amazing, worth a visit) laden down with my belongings, a hurley shaped chopping board, beautiful leaving gifts,  spices from the souks and a heavy heart having left my friends and family …
But once I arrived, was reunited with himself, got over the jetlag and saw my new abode it didn’t take long for me to realise what a great place we now are!
I have spent the last 2.5 weeks learning to navigate the public transport system (its super easy and ON TIME* – Dublin Bus & Irish Rail take note), using the free internet in the gorgeous State Library, walking all over the place and spending lots of time lying on this beach …. its not a bad game!

Cottesloe Beach

Job hunting has started in earnest this week and I finally have broadband in the house so I can get back to blogging now too ..

Sadly my camera passed away just before I left, hence no photos of Dubai or Perth so far ..and I think I may have lost all my ones of Chapter One so that review is also on hold for the moment!

Anyway rest assured I am surviving down under and you’ll hear from me again soon …

SJ x

* I am going to compile a list of interesting/surprising/different things in Australia when compared with Ireland  … you’ll all be mesmerized 😉