Monday, July 28, 2014

Mindful Monday: Morning Routines

Hello :) You know I don't know a great deal about mindfulness (though hopefully I'll learn a few things from doing this series!) - but when I think of being mindful, terms like being in the present moment or awareness or feeling calm and centred come to mind. And one of those things that can certainly help you feel a little less frazzled as you get on with the day, is having a nice, quiet morning routine to kind of set you up.

Twice a week I'll do an 8am yoga class, which I consider to be my morning routine on those days. It is definitely a great feeling finishing the class early at 9am, and knowing there is so much left of the day to enjoy. Despite it being difficult to jump out of bed around 6:30, I do it knowing that it'll be worth it afterwards. I think that's the thing with morning routines - it's only until you start one that you know how valuable and rewarding it can be. 

On the days I don't do yoga - I would love to wake a little earlier and find half an hour or an hour to do some simple things to feel centred and ready to start the day. It might include lighting some incense and sipping on tea, or doing some yoga stretches, or taking deep breaths or reading a magazine. I think everyone has their own way of staying mindful which doesn't always have to strictly be yoga or meditation. Sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee and taking a few deep breaths might work for you. 



So as with all mindful monday posts I write about things that I want to implement more in my life. And this week I want to start waking earlier and finding time to sit still and start the day with ease. Making time for some quiet morning moments to help with the busyness of the day. Do you have a morning routine? Will you join me?

Sipping lemon myrtle tea by the windowsill 

Oh and did anyone try the simple meditation I wrote about last week? I didn't do it everyday, but most evenings would wind down with a few deep breaths and the mantra let go. 

Funnily enough the phrase let go was something I really needed to hear last week. I had been doing a trial at a cafe which I enjoyed but was told on my second day someone more qualified had been given position instead. In my head I thought I already had the job as I was doing well, and told a few people - so I was a little annoyed. However the following day I received an even better job offer from a friend, to help out in their kitchen! It's a lesson in itself, some things are just meant to be! Have you had something similar happen? 

Well I hope you all have a great week! I have two more blogposts planned for the week, so keep checking back in. Tonight I have a fancy dinner date at Catalina which should be lovely ... better get ready!

Hannah x

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mindful Mondays: A Simple Meditation

Hello :) First up, I have been in Melbourne for the past few days, hence this post is a day late. I was going to quickly write one up last night when I arrived back in Sydney - but I find blogging/writing to be one of those things I don't like to rush ... I'll partially write a post, let it 'marinate' for the next few days and then come back to it, to finish it with a fresh perspective. Does anyone else do this? 

Anyway. A quick post today, about a simple meditation. I might do a few posts on meditation, since it is definitely one of those things that can become a powerful tool in becoming more mindful and present.  I'd say I'm a novice at meditation - and the only time I really meditate is during savasana in yoga. Although sometimes at the beginning or the end before savasana in yoga, we will sit quietly and meditate for a few minutes.

One mantra that I have noticed a few yoga teachers teaching us, is when you inhale repeat LET in your head, and on the exhale repeat GO. It is a simple, yet meaningful phrase that can bring you back to the present moment and literally let everything go ...

If you want to try the exercise - I'd suggest sitting in a comfortable spot when you wake up, and for the first few minutes practice some deep breathing, repeating this simple mantra.

Russell Falls in Hobart 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on meditation - is it something you wake up early and commit to? This week I am going to try this simple meditation mantra. Maybe you can join me too. I'd love to hear how you go ... I'll let you know how I go next week.

Hannah x

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mindful Monday: Eating Without Distraction

Hello :) Welcome to the first proper post of Mindful Mondays - and if you're unsure what I am talking you might want to read this post. Considering my research on mindful eating is what propelled me to initiate this little series, I thought it is only natural to begin on said topic. It was interesting - when I researching for my literature review, I'd usually tell people about my research topic when they asked me how uni was going, as it seemed the subject I was most interested in, and it was interesting hearing people's responses.

I remember my ballet teacher Anne saying how important mindful eating  was to her, in the sense that she  tries to eat without any distraction; no phones, books or newspapers. It was something she held onto after attending a buddhist retreat, where during meal times everyone was silent, as they were encouraged to simply enjoy the food by thinking about the different tastes, textures, smells, where it came from, how it was prepared etc. What a lovely ritual.

A recent solo lunch at Emilia Pasta in Surry Hills - goats cheese and beetroot ravioli with salsa verde and kale. They were pillows of heaven! 

This idea of eating without distraction does seem especially relevant nowadays where everything is quick and on-the-go ... eating at our desks, rushing around with takeaway coffee cups - all without really thinking about what we are eating/sipping. I love the concept of sitting down and taking a moment to appreciate where the food comes from and how it was prepared.

Of late I have been trying to make a conscious effort to eat without distractions - but I acknowledge that it doesn't happen at every meal. Often my breakfasts are eaten in bed listening to the radio, and sometimes dinners are eaten while watching masterchef and I'm okay with that. I find lunch at home is my favourite time to relax and take time out - so even if it just for one meal a day, it's nice to have time to slow down and add some calm into an everyday ritual.

An organic vegetable stall at Salamanca markets in Hobart.

There seems to be something so simple, yet so important about eating mindfully, and allowing yourself to be in the present moment; taking time to fuel and nourish your body.

So perhaps for the next week - observe the ritual of how you eat. If you feel like you are rushing through meals, take a step back and make a conscious effort to slow down. Turning off your phone helps! Even if it's just for one meal a day...

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Hannah x

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This Week

Hello :) I've had a really great week - so I thought I'd do a little Sunday night reflection.

This week I've ...

Made a yummy oat, blueberry and lemon slice (adapted from here using oats instead of quinoa)


Enjoyed getting back into yoga after a week away. 


Remembered how yummy cabbage is cooked in butter!


Read my novel on a a lovely sunny patch of grass between Bronte and Bondi ...



Baked some spicy apple muffins (adapted from here - making muffins instead of the cake) for Adrian's 22nd :)


Purchased some lovely vintage shoes from paddington vinnies! I spied another girl trying them on, and was quite happy when they turned out to be too small for her. Yay for size 5 feet!


Enjoyed a cold brew at coffee alchemy in marrickville with a caramel chocolate from loving earth.


Eaten too many of these kalamata olives at work with pomegrante, chili and walnuts.  


Next week is going to be just as fun - I have an exciting job trial and will be going to Melbourne on Friday for a few days to visit my friend :)

Hannah x

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Holidaying in Hobart

Hello :) So as the title suggests, I have been in hobart for a holiday with the family. On another note, I left and came back on Monday, so I haven't had time to start my mindful monday series - but will have a post ready for next Monday.

Back to hobart - so as a family we've travelled for a few weeks around tasmania previously, but this time we wanted to stay based in hobart with lots of little day trips here and there. Despite mum describing the weather as almost antarctic and making sure we packed accordingly, it wasn't even that cold, with some days reaching 14 degrees. I think we made great use of the week.  Here are some of the highlights ...

Oh hi! Outside our little cottage, it was very cute.


It's always nice staying somewhere with cooking facilities, and we were able to make our own brekky and dinners. Breakfast looked something like this most days ... boiled eggs, tassie butter, avo and salami. 


As we didn't have a car to travel around, we went on two day tours - one of them to Port Arthur. We had an enthusiastic guide, and stopped off at many places along the way to learn about the interesting history. At Port Arthur we had a wander around, and a short cruise on the river. It was a great day!


Of course we went to MONA! This is the stunning view from the cafe. The museum definitely lived up to expectation, it was pretty incredible - the grandeur of the building, the interesting works (there was one particular buddha made from incense that I loved) and the view .... such a great day out.


One morning we visited a tasmanian devil conservation park...though my sister Rosie and I had more fun playing with the wallabies and kangaroos ...



For the second half of the trip we stayed in Battery Point, and closeby was an amazing bakery called Jackman and McRoss. We had lunch there one day and I had this pork belly with a parsnip tart and rocket. Soooo good that I may have had it again the following day ...


Playing around in Rosie's lisa ho skirt from rozelle markets. Isn't it fun dressing up on holidays in clothes you wouldn't usually wear?!


The weekly Salamanca markets every Saturday was a must - Rosie and I spent a few hours just wandering around the area, eating vanilla slices, crispy apples and buying some lovely produce for dinner.



How awesome is this stalk of brussel sprouts - had no idea they grow that way !!


Best coffee of the trip from pollen tea room in battery point.


Our second day tour was to russell falls where we went on a great short walk to the amazing waterfall with lots of ferns and wallabies spotted along the way ...


Until next time hobart ...


Have you been travelling around hobart or anywhere else in tasmania? 

Hannah x

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Farmed Table

Hello :) Last Saturday I went  to a great little pop up restaurant in Surry Hills called The Farmed Table. Every few weeks, the region where the food is sourced changes. When Adrian and I went, the Hawkesbury and Hunter region were showcased, and the food sourced direct from farmers, producers and artisans within a 50km radius. Yep, everything except the salt and pepper is locally sourced! My kinda place. 

The menu is set at $55 per person, or $80 per person with wines - and is excellent value considering  how beautiful the food was. There were two shared starters, as well as two individual mains and one dessert. I didn't take photos of the starters (ha you'd think as a seasoned food blogger I don't get hesitant taking food photos in public, but oh I do!), but they were lovely ... we had leek, with grilled romanesco cauliflower and shaved lemons and shaved cabbage, with smoked pumpkin, roasted chilli and cows feta. 

The first individual main was hawkesbury whitebait with sweet corn, foraged sea plants and cured mullet roe. So very delicious - the foraged sea plants had a lovely flavour !


The other main was redgate farm duck with kohlrabi, wild weeds (sowthistle, turnip weed), citrus and crispy cavolo nero. The duck was ahhhmazing - so tender and delicious !!!



And for dessert (took a photo halfway through eating, sorry!) ... strawberries, rhubarb, sabayon (creamy italian dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and wine) and a fennel meringue. Lovely flavour combination, and loved the pop of fennel from the meringue. 


I love little pop up restaurants like this, with the focus on showcasing local, seasonable and sustainable produce (reminds me of The Eat In we went to last year). It was a cosy space, with only 20 or so seats, so I'd advise booking in advance! I'd want to go back just for the duck ... 

Hannah x

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mindful Monday: A New Series

Hello :) I am happy to say that as of last week I've practically finished my nutrition degree (except for one sneaky subject next year) and now have plenty of time for blogging! In terms of what I'll do with my life for the next little while I'm just thinking about the short-term, which includes hopefully getting a job during the week to save some pennies for my Europe trip in November! At this stage I'm not sure what kind of work I'd like to do with my degree, but I'm sure that will sort itself out ...

A perfect rose from our front garden ...

A topic I have been thinking about lately, is the topic of mindfulness. You see, during the semester I completed a nutrition research subject where we each chose a topic of interest from a list, and conducted a literature review on the matter- collating different journal articles and writing about our finds and potential significance. Well I scanned the list and found a topic looking at the mindful eating approach for overweight / obese women, and really enjoyed researching and understanding the psychological components of obesity.

My research found that perhaps knowing how to lose weight (i.e. eating well and exercising regularly) is not the only key to long-term weight loss, but part of a holistic approach, which incorporates behavioural and cognitive training too. It is said that when we cultivate a greater acceptance and awareness of the present moment, automatic thoughts can be replaced by healthier and more conscious responses.

Mindfulness can be described in many ways, and is usually described as paying close and conscious attention to the present moment, eating with intent and understanding how our different emotions can affect consequential thoughts and behaviour. It's funny, after researching the topic I keep seeing it mentioned in blogposts, newspaper articles and in magazines ... so I've taken this as a sign to understand more about this topic, and begin a new series on this blog called Mindful Monday.

A pretty bunch of radishes straight from the farmer.

I'm no expert on the matter, so I thought a weekly blogpost would prompt me to learn more about this. Mindfulness is quite a broad topic and can include things like yoga, meditation, learning where your food comes from, slowing down, disconnecting, setting an intention etc. To kick things off this week I thought I'd share some other links that I've noticed which talk about this topic. And of course, I would love your thoughts .... is mindfulness something you think about? Has practicing yoga or meditation allowed you to become more mindful? ...

- A little article about mindfulness in the workplace (here)
- Jacqui Lewis, a vedic meditation teacher wrote a great piece on mindful eating (here)
- Heidi, one of my favourite bloggers has a series called my mindful kitchen, where she talks about her experiences of working on a farm and connecting with local producers. It's brilliant! See (here)

Taking a break from study last week with a lovely lunch and some sexy crocs ...

Hannah x