Moving on and moving out


It has been a crazy month indeed. We have just moved a little closer to Notting Hill and by ‘we’ I mean me as my ‘cousin’ is on a two month trip in South America. So little ol’ me took charge and managed to move both our things into our new AMAHZING apartment. Moving to a new country has definitely made me grow up and become increasingly independent.  I definitely am amazed at what I am capable of doing and sometimes underestimate my capabilities. 

It has nearly been a year since I’ve been living abroad and so much has changed. Looking back on what I did a year ago on Facebook it reminds me of the difficulty I had trying to find a job and move to London. I remember crying after a Skype interview because I didn’t have enough ‘uk experience’ to work over here. Almost a year later and I am a team leader  for GCSE English at my college. Crazy?? We really can’t say where our life will take us but all I know is not to sweat the road blocks along the way. No one can stop you from living your dreams – I am definitely living proof of that. 

Now I get asked a lot from my friends if I plan on moving back to South Africa in the future. I can honestly say that it definitely is not in my cards. I have made this place my home and each day I realise I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life. It’s scary to say that a place I grew up in is a place that I no longer see as where I want to raise my own family. It’s also sad to know that I won’t be sharing these memories with my loved ones back in South Africa. That my family won’t see my future babies take their first steps or celebrate their birthdays. I guess that is a sacrifice I made moving here.

So as the year ends I am hopeful of what the new will bring. My plans for the future are limitless and scary but I know without a doubt completely possible. 

And remember – don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Meg

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Home for the month

*insert moonwalk*

I’m baaaack! Well I was back a month ago but that’s besides the point. I spent over four weeks in South Africa visiting friends and family as much as I could in the short time. Being away from my husband for four months really made the touch down in Durban rather an emotional one. I remember seeing the coastline out of the plane window and having tears run down my cheeks. I was home. I was safe.

It had only been 6months since I had left my homeland but it felt like years. So much had changed in the little time I was away, time definitely had passed. I felt like I had also changed so much being in London but the second I saw the familiar smiles as I came out of the arrivals terminal I knew I was my old self again. 

The four weeks passed pretty quickly that looking at my camera roll on my phone showed that one thing was for sure – I had fun! I laughed, cried and spent many times trying to convince myself that going back would not be that difficult. I was definitely fooling myself – I balled my eyes out the whole flight home and I think I even spent a full day in bed once I landed. It’s tough saying goodbye to people that have always been so special to you and then returning to a place where you are still finding your feet. 


I am definitely happy to be back and into the business of work again. I know one thing is for sure – my husband needs to pack his bags and get his #cootboot back to the land of the Pomms so I can annoy him with some more selfies. 

Here’s a few photos from my trip:

Stay awesome.

Meg. 

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going South for the Winter – why it’s so bittersweet 

As you read this, I will be on the plane heading back to South Africa for my holiday break. I have been counting down the months, weeks, days and hours until I am reunited with my husband, family and friends. The week leading up to my departure caught me by surprise as I started to feel anxious. I spent the Sunday night throwing up and the rest of the week with a knot in my stomach. I initially had this pegged as nerves as it will be my first time flying alone, and having recently picked up a fear of flying, this seemed to be the only logical reason.


However, after chatting to people about my nerves I had discovered another underlying reason – change. What if things were different? I know people’s lives carried on just as my own did but what if I become an outsider in a place that used to carry so many memories? Without getting too personal, I just have this anxiety that a place that had been my home for over 27years will no longer feel that way. As I now call London home without thinking and I wholeheartedly embrace this change of mindset, I don’t see myself moving back to South Africa (to the horror of many of my friends and family).
So what am I expecting when I return? A lot of sun and opportunity to tan (never thought I would ever say that), a lot of questions about my new job, a million hugs even though I’m not a ‘huggy’ person and genuine (I hope) smiles. I also have a feeling that I will be answering a lot of Brexit questions like I’m some new elected MP. As this is my first trip back home I know a lot of people will be expecting gifts from good ol’ Great Britain and hopefully I have remembered everyone on my list! 
So as I am probably snoring away on the plane from popping a few sleeping tablets, I want everyone to know that even with these little worries that I have been having, I am very excited to be spending a month with people I love. 

Stay awesome.
Meg

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My most embarrassing moments abroad..

.. and there are quite a few!

I am the most awkward person when it comes to conducting myself like the average person. My husband can testify as he always reminds me how I tripped over a tile in the middle of Woolworths while I was happily minding my own business. Needless to say, change of continent has not helped with my war against gravity. So here are a few times that I really felt like Bridget Jones:

1. The luck of the bird

It was a beautiful sunny day where the birds were chirping and I was so oblivious to the fact that I was standing directly below a diarrhea infused, fat bird.  I so merrily climbed on my morning train to work and acted so nonchalant about the world when I looked down and noticed a huge runny bird dropping on my bag. I looked around and noticed a few people staring at this nightmare of a scene. I so casually whipped out a few tissues and confidently (with bright red cheeks) wiped up the mess and then stared blankly at one spot for the rest of the trip in complete embarrassment. 

2. The pole dancing incident

A couple of weeks later when I eventually grew courage and confidence, I decided to stand up while the train is moving in order to get a better seat closer to the front. Little did I know that you need years of surfing skills to prepare you for this brave task. I found myself diving towards the nearest pole as if my life depended on it. I then tried to shimmy over to the closest seat with my rear end leading the way as if it were a metal detector. Absolutely mortifying experience! 

3. The toothpaste incident

This little scenario taught me my third lesson, and that is to never wear a scarf while brushing my teeth! I always leave my teeth brushing routine as the last thing to do before leaving the house. I should have known something was up when all I could smell was minty freshness. I just assumed that I had brushed my teeth extra minty that morning – turns out a whole wad of toothpaste fell onto my perfectly layered scarf that I wore so proudly. I quickly took it off and shoved it deep inside my bag for later investigation.

4. The premature push of the button

I am very new to taking public transport and even though I spend my day travelling from one campus to another, I still have not learnt the bus route. Every time I feel like I do, an awkward situation occurs. On a busy bus ride to one campus, i could not see the sign for the next bus stop that is normally displayed at the front, so when I looked out the window and saw that buildings started looking familiar, I decided to push the button to stop the bus. I was the only person who pushed it and intended to jump off. So when the bus stopped and I realized that my stop was the next one, I immediately jumped off in fear of the bus driver and my fellow passengers sacrificing me to the road gods for misuse of ‘the button’. I ended up walking 2km more than planned but hey, it’s exercise! 

I’m sure this is not the end to my embarrassing stories and lessons learned from these unfortunate events. Needless to say, I am definitely not cool enough to be oblivious to my surroundings. I need to be alert 24/7 in case I spill hot coffee down my shirt and we all know that’s going to happen!
Stay awesome

Meg

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“You’ll get fat in the UK”

Said everyone.

I have heard this comment a lot before leaving for my trip abroad, and it shocked me because I had just spent the year shedding my excess weight. I had worked hard to get where I was and now I was being told I would ‘get fat’ just from moving from one part of the country to another. It made me think, are all people fat in the UK?

Well, firstly, so what if they are? And secondly, what does my weight have to do with anyone else? It took me ages to get to grips with loving my body (and I still don’t think I’m completely there yet) but to have this stigma put on me was not going away lightly.

Skip ahead four months, I have not gained/lost any weight from being here. In fact, I have toned up so much that I have well defined leg muscles and shockingly enough my arms have found some oomph in them too. I don’t have time to carry out proper exercises 3 – 4 times a week like I managed to do back in South Africa. I simply walk ev.e.ry.where! Non stop, at least 5-6km on a slow day. I carry a ton of things to and from my classes which have something to do with these hulk like muscles (I exaggerate of course) that have formed on my triceps? Biceps? I forget what they’re called!

Don’t get me wrong, I do a lot of eating! I love my comfort food, but I also am aware of what I put into my body to what I burn off. I know that it’s easy to eat a lot more when you’re cold and want to stay at home under a warm blanket until the rain stops, but let me tell you something, it will always be cold and there will always be rain. So pack on the thermals and carry an umbrella because if you’re not going to be active during the cold days then it’s never going to happen on the warm days either. That’s something my ‘cousin’ said to me when I first arrived over here and she’s the main motivator for me to pick myself off the couch and get moving. 

that’s us in Sweden where we walked an average of 15km a day!


Some things to keep yourself healthy:

  1. Pack fruit to snack on between meals.
  2. Carry a bottle of water with you (and drink it).
  3. Stay away from caffeine and sugar – switch to green tea!
  4. Walk, walk and keep on walking.
  5. Don’t eat because you’re bored.
  6. Remember portion size! 

I always keep those things in mind when I’m planning my meals for the week and how I can avoid snacking on unhealthy things. My biggest weakness is junk food, which is why I don’t even buy them anywhere. The whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ seems to work for me. I also stock up on a lot of fat free yoghurt tubs in the fridge, so if I feel nibblish I can cut up some fruit and mix it in for a healthy snack!

Please share your ideas of how you keep healthy in the comments below. And remember…

Stay awesome.

Meg

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are you Australian?

Nah, mate, I’m a SAFFA! 

The one thing I have noticed since moving to London is the number of misinformed people there are here. I can’t even get a sentence out without someone assuming I’m from the land ‘down under’. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the kangaroo outback folks, but I am definitely proudly South African (shosholoza and all). 

That being said, once someone hears that I’m from an African country they assume I know Michael from Kenya who they met on a ‘safari’ that one time they stepped foot onto African soil. I do know a Michael, but he’s my husband and I’m pretty sure he’s never been with you on a safari in Kenya. Again, I am not putting anyone down. I love the attempt at finding something to talk to me about since we only just met 5 minutes ago, but let’s rather chit chat about how crappy the weather is and move on with our lives. 

Do you live in a jungle? Yes, yes I do and I’ve come to London to learn your ways of civilization. My good friend V used to tell me stories about this exact question that people loved to ask her on her trips abroad and I never quite grasped just how naïve people are outside of their own country. My students had a million stereotypical questions that they hounded me with when I first started working here and I gladly chuckled to myself and corrected any misconceptions that they had about South Africa (there were lots). 

It has now become my purpose to spread the word that South Africa is not what many people think it is. Yes, it is an amazing country with beautiful weather. We do have lions but not where we eat and sleep. I am still South African even if I’m paler than most people in Britain, and no I don’t speak Dutch (Afrikaans to some extent, but not Dutch).

I love being in a country that is so developed in every way but still has so much to learn about their neighbours. Here’s to many more “is that an Aussi accent I hear?” to “no, I’m from South Africa but they do sound close” which we all know is a lie – well us Southerners know at least. 
Stay awesome
Meg

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Missing in Action

I am writing this post sitting on the tube on my way to work. I made the most life changing decision to move abroad and start fresh. From sunny South Africa to overcast-never-going-to-feel-my-toes-again London. It has been a huge adjustment for me to pack up everything (including my husband) and move across the world to a place I had only been to once… on holiday. It has been almost four months since the big move and I can tell you now that it isn’t for the faint hearted. I was definitely not expecting such a huge culture shock as I kept telling myself “South Africa is so multicultural, I can fit in almost anywhere.” No megan, you are naïve and sadly mistaken.

 I have been learning things each and every day, whether it’s at work with my students and work colleagues or ‘meeting’ new people around London. I say ‘meeting’ as no one really speaks to you or looks you in the eye but I have been more observant of the people in my surroundings. They are quite fascinating and each even more different than the last.  

So adjusting to new surroundings, learning how to take on my new role at work and trying to deal with the fact that my husband had to return to South Africa almost two months ago (the whole visa business), it really has been a huge adjustment for me. I probably won’t be as consistent with posting anything but if you are interested, you are more than welcome to stalk me on Instagram where I try to share my adventures in and around London. This weekend I’m heading off to Sweden with my one and only family member who lives in London. It should be fun! 

So as I hear my destination approaching  over the speakers on the tube, it is time for me to sign off. Hope that clears up a few ‘what’ and ‘whys’ about my absence. If you have any more questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will respond whenever I can.
Stay awesome.
Meg

Posted in Bits and Bobs | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

When Life Gives You Lemons

Life. We all carry our own weights throughout our lives, they come in the form of work, family, friendships and money. The way in which we handle these lovely yellow juicy lemons is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. This same outlook comes with any situation that you are faced with, and since this is a health and fitness blog, I thought I would try fit it into how we handle exercise when life is giving us lemons.

I enjoy eating healthy and going to exercise but when my week(s) gets busy I tend to forget what I enjoy doing. Work becomes stressful, family and friends become demanding and it just gets too much that I always drop what is fun “alone time” for me. This results in indulging in junk food and lack of energy when I eventually do have an ounce of free time. So how can I make lemonade with what is thrown at me?

Here are few things that come to mind:

  • On the spot squats or lunges around the house ( my husband thinks I’m crazy but I like seeing how many squats I can do before the microwaves timer goes off )
  • Correcting body posture ( I am a lazy sitter and this is something I forget to work on, your tummy muscles will thank you later! )
  • Replacing chips for popcorn (and not adding tons of salt… My friends know that I LOVE my popcorn spices! )
  • Saying no to alcohol and soft drinks by upping your water intake ( water is free and healthy, so instead of having a hang over in the morning, you will now have amazing hydrated skin – be gone wrinkles! )
  • Get enough sleep (this I can do, but it becomes difficult when life’s stress creeps in, so instead of being on your phone before bed, try reading a book or magazine, you will sleep so much better )

So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed and you can’t seem to be following your normal health and fitness routine, just know it just a phase and as humans – learn to adapt and adjust to it (in a positive way). Don’t forget to look after yourself before you can start looking after others and dealing with life’s lemons. 

  
Let me know in the comments of things you do to keep fit and healthy on the go? I’m interested to know the flavor of your lemonade 🙂

Have an awesome week,

Meg.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fad diets suck

If you have read my previous blog posts then you would know that I have been following a healthy lifestyle since May of this year. I have done it properly and correctly by watching the way I eat and how many times I exercise in the week. I have been pretty realistic when it comes to portion size and dabbling across each food group. For this reason, I cringe whenever people talk about going on these “fad diets”. Do you lose your desired weight? YES! Is it an easy quick fix solution? YUP! Have you seen someone you know go on the diet and lose the weight? OF COURSE! Well now you’re wondering what is there to hate about them? I will be more than happy to tell you…

  • You more than likely are restricting one or more of the five food groups that we should be consuming through out the day. The most common two that people love to neglect are bread/starch and fat. And I know what you are saying, but the Banting diet LOVES fat!! Well yes, but do you honestly think it is healthy to consume a large amount of fat in a day? Does adding coconut oil to your coffee in the morning sound enticing to you? I know you love leaving that crispy fat on your meat every time you make that steak or bacon. Mmmmm… but honestly speaking, too much fat? High cholesterol! 
  • Losing two to four kilo’s in a week sounds amazing! I will even be happy if you told me that you have lost that much, and I know of people who have. HOWEVER! Those same people who lose the weight quickly will be putting it back on (and double the amount) once they finish on their “amazing” diet. I have seen this countless times. The quicker you lose it, the quicker it comes back. The same being said for when you are taking FIVE months to lose three kilo’s, you will take longer to put the weight back on again. It’s not brain surgery to figure that one out.
  • These types of diets do not last longer than a year, and if they do then well done! But realistically speaking, if you are serious about losing the weight and staying healthy then you have to work for it, every day! It is not just something that comes easily to most of us. It needs to be conscious decision that you decide to do every morning, afternoon and evening. Do you really want 5 donuts for lunch? Of course you do! That’s one diet I would say yes to, but if we are being real, then you need to commit to eating that salad or smoothie but make it tasty so that it’s not seen as punishment.  
  • Starving yourself is also not good for your body. I have seen people who get excited talking about foods or pills that suppress your appetite! Why do you hate food so much? Because I see you fixated on that fresh cream cake sitting on the table. You are not fooling anyone. To be honest, I would be the first to slice that cake, so we can do it together. Food should never be the enemy, but it also should not be something you become obsessed about all day. Why can’t we go back to where food was seen as something that gives us energy to function and not as the big bad wolf?

  

  • Lastly, before I jump off the stage, fad diets are created to make money for those who created them and those people don’t care about you as an individual. You need to look after the only body that you were give and treat it well. Don’t mess up your metabolism by not eating your required 5-6 meals a day or damage your heart by blocking your arteries with all that fat. The only time your body will “speak” to you will be when it’s too late to do anything about it. Love yourself enough to say no to a quick fix and yes to JUST BEING HEALTHY!

    I don’t know you guys personally and I’m definitely not a dietitian or any type of health fundi, so please just take what I say as a mini rant and if you agree with me then let me know in the comments below. If you don’t agree with me and you found that these diets work for you, let me know about it too! I promise I won’t roll my eyes too much as I read what you say 😉

    Stay awesome,

    Meg.

    Posted in Gym-spiration | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Meal Prep 101

    Every Sunday morning I have my own routine that I do before stepping out my flat. I make myself some green tea, put SkyNews on and take out my notepad. I start with the easiest meals first (breakfast and snacks) and then work my way down to the meals that I need more inspiration with (lunches and dinner). I’m a creature of habit and hardly deviate from what I enjoy eating week in and week out. I thought I would share a bit of my usual meal prep for a typical week:

      
    For BREAKFAST I have the same cereal from Monday – Friday and on the weekend I like to be a bit more creative and change it up:

    Monday – Friday

    I have 40g of FutureLife Smart Oats with boiled water 

    Saturday and Sunday  

     
    I am normally adventurous and try out some healthy recipes such as protein pancakes with plain fat free yoghurt “sauce” on top (I added some raw honey and strawberries for a little sweeter taste). If I’m lazy, then my go-to weekend breakfast is boiled egg on rye cracker bread. 

    SNACKS

    My favorite meal(s) of the day are my snacks. Morning snacks can include a fruit or rye cracker bread with some almond butter. 

    Since starting my healthy eating journey I have incorporated an afternoon snack without carbs, I like to eat my carbs before 3pm. So when I get home from work I look forward to having 100g of fat free plain yoghurt with a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of my favourite fruit. 

       
       

    LUNCHES

    When I’m at work I normally pack a large salad that takes me forever to finish. I have never been a fan of salads, especially during winter but I found that the reason behind that was because I always made boring ones. So my mission every Sunday is to buy different ingredients to go into my salad that will be both filling and actually look good. I always say “we eat with our eyes” and if what you see is unappealing then how can you be excited abou eating it? My salads have to be colorful and have different textures. My go to ingredients include cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes (lots of them), chopped up gherkin, red onion, carrots, cucumber and feta cheese to sprinkle over.

       
     
    I then like to prepare my protein separately and mix it together later. I LOVE me some smoked chicken which is always at the top of my shopping list, I have started to try tuna as well as some chia seeds for extra filling. The days I crave a softer texture is when I roast some chickpeas in the oven with paprika and have that with my salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And if it’s near the end of the week and I’ve run low on my favourite protein, I always chuck in some boiled egg for some flavor. 

    DINNER

    My least favourite meal prep is dinner, I can never come up with ideas to make healthy food that doesn’t overload the carbs. This is when Pinterest comes in handy as well as some fab healthy food bloggers that I enjoy reading for inspiration. I always try to cook a quick and easy meal, which can be quite difficult. My favourite dishes include a crust less spinach and feta quiche (see below I added bacon and a thin layer of puff pastry). I also enjoy some chicken and veg stir fry with wholewheat pasta and any type of veg bake where I can add in my spices. I find the key to flavor in the kitchen is all in the spices you use and I love experimenting with each dish.

       
       
    Can you tell I love feta? 

    The best thing you can do if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle is to prepare your kitchen for one. Chuck away the junk food and start with healthy options first. There are a lot of products in store that now have healthy alternatives, I was happy to see Mrs Balls chutney now has a lite flavor (look for the light blue lid) and Pick ‘n Pay sell the Lite mayonnaise which is even better than the Weigh-Less products sold. Always check your labels before you put it in your trolley. I don’t care if I spend an hour in the supermarket if I know that I’m coming out with products that are healthier for me.

    I hope this wasn’t too long of a post and that I didn’t ramble on too much. I love being healthy and it’s amazing seeing the people around me adopting the same habits. We all need to encourage each other with the right choices in life. The best way to start is planning your meals and going to the shops with a strict list to follow. Fail to plan is a plan to fail! 

    Have an awesome week everyone,

    Meg.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments