My December Bucket-List 2017

Thursday, 23 November 2017

It's finally my favorite time of the year! 
December for me has always been filled with birthday celebrations (there's four of us this year) as well as the excitement of Christmas getting closer. And I can't forget about all of the vlogmas videos we will all try to keep up and (and fail like always because there's so many!) and get inspired by.

I haven't always been the type of person to go nuts for Christmas, but since I've started my blog and watched Zoella turn her house into winter wonderland, I'm ready for everything December has to offer: advent calendars (aka chocolate for breakfast) making ginger bread cookies, and a Christmas carol playlist on Spotify. 

Since Steve and I are in our first home for the holiday season and it feels like a new chapter in my life, so I wanted to make this December extra special. I wrote out this list back in October when I made the decision to do Blogmas, and it made me so excited for this month to come around. I think that if you have a list of goals ready to go, it will make you go out and do all the fun stuff you've always wanted to do.

Buy our first Christmas tree together

Try new recipes all month long

Make my own hot cinnamon rolls for breakfast

Send out Christmas cards

Celebrate our one year anniversary 

Make a crockpot hot chocolate

Buy a new party dress

Have a picnic in the summer sun

Take a picture to commemorate our first Christmas in the house

Put fairy-lights everywhere

Make a Christmas playlist

Wear something that sparkles

Have a pajama day

Buy our Christmas stockings 

Start new traditions with Steve

Make fun plans for New Years

What fun things are you planning this December?
Steph x.

Weekend In Queenstown: Foodie Diary

Monday, 20 November 2017

Hey Everyone!

It's now the Monday after a weekend trip away to one of New Zealand's most famous tourist spots, Queenstown. I haven't made the beautiful drive (and I mean absolutely stunning) down to that part of our country since I was 6 or 7 years old. But every year my Mum and I look at the marathon events they run and decided to finally make the move to give it a go. We just completed the 10km run and in a great time too. The track was so stunning as you got to run by the lake and surrounding mountains that give Queenstown it's fame. All of us are planning on completing the half-marathon next year and I'm really looking forward to it! 

But enough about running, here's all the delicious food we found!

A south island trip is no complete if you don't start with a Wild Bean coffee from the service station. It's pretty much NZ's equivalent of Costa in the UK, so it has to be done. 

We had no luck the first night of our arrival in QT. Just boring Mexican that will NOT make it to the blog. Not every foodie stop is a winner!

But on race day we lucked out big time! 
At the end of the finish line there was really nothing I felt like eating. They only offered pizza, toasted artisan sandwiches, and empanadas, Which on a normal weekend I would be first in line for, but after a run all I want is some goodness to keep those healthy vibes going. After a quick search on my phone, I found the perfect spot for us: Rehab

It's one of those super-smoothie stores that offers fresh wraps, salads, rice paper rolls, even broth bowls! And I couldn't get enough of it. They even had raw treats for us to try out ( I HAD to get the raw tiramisu that was incredible.) 
Mum and I both got mango sprout salads that really hit the spot nicely. There were so many more items on that menu that I wanted to try, so next year we will have our post-marathon recovery sorted. 

Our lunch stop was a recommendation from Steve's Dad and he did well!  
We found another new favorite at Vudu Larder:

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but this bustling little cafe has a lot to offer. At first we thought they would be too busy, however, the waitress assured us a table would be ready once we go through the cue to the till, and sure enough we were able to get a seat. The cabinet food itself is to die for with GF, vegan and vegetarian options being available. As a vego myself, I was grateful for the selection. The sweet treats were almost too good to resist, so we had to try a raw snickers slice (10/10!) and their blueberry, kiwi, and lime raw cheesecake. Both were incredible. 

Josh ordered the burger and Mum and I shared the spiced pea, agria & turmeric cauliflower flat bread that came with yogurt and a mango chutney. It was a stunning meal with a good kick of heat for me.They offer some really different options on their menu to a regular cafe, so this place was my kinda scene for sure. 

Dinner that night was an obvious choice: Ferg Burger

This is the famous burger joint that everyone recommends you come to in Queenstown. You can usually find a line out the door during busy hours, although we went around 4pm and only had a 20 minute wait. This was something the boys really wanted to try so we were happy to join in. 

All of the burgers were pretty generous sizes and had some mouth-watering fillings that almost made me wish I ate meat. I went for the tofu burger that came with a satay sauce and I have to say that it was pretty good, not OMG-amazing, but still pretty good. Their onion rings are up there too!

So we were staying in the beautiful Arrowtown (10 min out of QT) at Steve's parent's B&B, and of course me and Mum had to go for a morning wander through the town. And hunt for coffee like always. 

Being a Sunday there were lots of little market stalls around. We couldn't resist the stand selling cherries, a favorite for me and Mum. They're a special treat this time of year and so we had to grab a bag to snack on for the journey home later. We do make some pretty tasty fruit here in NZ.

Our final meal of the trip was back at Vudu. I know we should have tried somewhere new, but we did get a seat by the lake front to watch everyone go by. It was a beautiful way to end our weekend. 

I was very jealous of my Mum's buckwheat pancakes and the coconut whip that came with it...

I decided to go for the black bean quesadilla and was pretty happy with my choice. It tasted super-fresh which is exactly what I wanted. But next time I am definitely going for those pancakes! 

We couldn't leave without trying the Cookie Time Bar! It's New Zealand's most famous cookie and they've made it into the coolest dessert bar ever. You can go for ice cream, a shake, or our choice of an ice cream sandwich. 

I got the dark chocolate ice cream and Steve went for cookies and cream. A mini one was definitely enough for me, especially with a long car ride ahead of us!

Well there we go, a fabulous weekend away with good company and great food. I'm really happy with the spots we found and will be coming back for more this time next year (or maybe sooner if I can!) Just another reason why Queenstown is one of NZ's most popular places to travel. 

Steph x. 

Have you had any foodie finds recently?

Charity Shop Haul + Why They're Pretty Cool Places!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

I've seemed to have made my blog very budget-friendly recently (and why not I say) and I'm excited to continue that trend by talking about one of my favorite new hobbies: 

I know what you're thinking, and no you don't have to go digging through piles of old clothes in order to find precious items. Sometimes I visit my favorite stops and find bugger all. But then others I leave feeling like I discovered a treasure mine. If you pay close enough attention to whats scattered on the shelves you never know what you'll find. 

It's also the one of the only kinds of shopping that actually gives back to the community, as well as the environment. You're basically recycling old, unwanted items and donating to charity all in one. And you get to take home some beautiful stuff!

And you wanna talk about saving money? This haul only cost me $12. 

The gorgeous pink-flower jar was the first find of the day. It was just too pretty to leave behind and I knew there would be a lovely spot in the house for it (now a sugar jar looking very precious next to my blue coffee one.) 

I always love looking in the children's book section for some reason. Mainly for a bit of nostalgia and hoping to find some old favorites. I don't know how I was expected to walk away from some Disney classics and a Little Golden Book of The Jungle Book that is in perfect condition. I'm not gonna lie to you, I want my children to have their own library by the time they're born, so these will probably end up with them in a few years time. 

I was just about to leave the store when I felt I should take a look at the miscellaneous section. Nothing, nothing, and then I turned around and gasped as I saw these glorious fawn bookends! I've been searching shops (both old and new) for something like this and now I finally found one.  

And how could I resist a Mickey Mouse decoration for 50 cents? Great addition to my decorations this year!

When you think about it, anyone can go to a mall or shop online and buy the same exact purse as you. And even though it could be a very lovely purse, it's probably one of one thousand out there at that moment. Charity stores are filled with items that tell a story and you'll find beautiful things that no one else will have. Or even items to pass on to the next generation, like my Little Golden Books. 

I would always recommend making a visit to your local charity shop, just for the fun of it. You could end up making a difference and finding something beautiful too. 

Do you love charity shops too? What's the best purchase you even made?
Steph x.  

Day In The Life 2017

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Good morning everyone!

My day typically starts with my alarm going off at 4.55am and then again at 5.05pm. And again at 5.10am. I'm a snooze button girl! Can never get up on the first alarm.

I'm up at this ridiculous hour for one important reason: CrossFit! The 5.30am class is the only time I can train due to my work hours, but I actually love starting my day this way. There's a group of us regulars that call ourselves the Sunrise Squad and they are so awesome to train with. 

We had a strength session this morning of front squats (5 sets of 3 reps). I only hit 60kg, which felt pretty heavy to me. But I fixed a few points in my technique for next time, so that's a win for me!

I have to head to work straight after class and the first thing I do is make myself a protein shake. My boyfriend works for a fitness store, so he can always score some awesome protein powders. We are trying out this SYNTHA6 one and it's honestly one of the best I have ever tasted. A shake is the best way to go for me, it keeps me full until my break later in the morning and keeps my tired muscles happy! I even add some instant coffee in there to get my caffeine fix at the same time too. 

Luckily we have pretty good showers at work, and I really need it after a sweaty morning session. Just wanted to share my absolute favorite body wash brand. I know a lot of other bloggers are a fan of Original Source too. Every scent I have tried smells incredible, the lime ones especially. And what makes it better is that they're a vegan/animal friendly brand so you know what you're buying is good for everyone. 

Break time! It's been a little hectic this morning at work. I help deal with dietary needs of people receiving meals and I had to make sure everything was in order. It comes as no surprise that oats are still my morning staple. I still add banana for the protein and I'm a little obsessed with apricots at the moment, especially the sour ones. It's taken me a while to work out a food plan for work (because I hate being hungry) but this satisfies every time. And yes, I sit outside by myself because I'm weird like that.

Home from work now (I do split shifts) which means it's lunch time! I had been having tuna and rice for months but got sick of it, so I'm in the middle of trying to find something new. Today I put together couscous, tuna, and poached eggs. I allow myself a serve of protein with lunch but only with a tonne of protein on top.

I don't want to get my hopes up, but Steve and I have started to consider adopting a dog. It might be too soon, but we found a dog adoption sanctuary that rescue and re-home the most gorgeous pups. There's a few I have fallen in love with and it's been a huge dream of mine have my own dog for as long as I can remember. It can't help to look into our options, especially if it will make us happy! 

Meal Prep Time!
It's not actually for me, but for Steve. He's 4 weeks into his 6 week challenge and is doing so flipping well. I've been making sure his food stays on track by having his meals ready to go in the fridge everyday. I  know, I'm gonna make a great wife someday!

I've made him protein pancakes for breakfast: 
2 egg whites
1/3 cup oats
1 scoop whey protein powder
1/3 cup water

And his dinners are all ready to go too. It's just beef mince patties with spices and stir-fry veggies. He still enjoys them so hopefully it keeps him on track.

Time for my second shift of the day, but not before another coffee hit to get me through. My Dad gave me these Keep Cups before I moved out and they're amazing for when I'm out and about.

Came out of work to the park looking oh so beautiful. This Spring weather is warming me up nicely and putting me in the best moods!

And now here's my meal prep for you guys. I feel like I need eggs at night for the protein to keep me full after a long day at work and taking care of the house. So I made this veggie pie that has sweet potato, peas, courgettes and a little cheese for flavor. It's so tasty and just what I need at the moment. This dish is going to last me the whole week, so I don't have to worry about making dinner. I think that's the best thing about meal prep.

And now a little healthy dessert because I can't resist. Yoplait yogurts are the best in the world to me, I've been having them since I was a kid. I also have some strawberries I need to use up, and some apricots too because why not. Yum!

Nights at our place are very chilled. We just flicked through our junk mail, finished watching Transformers and collapsed in bed. This was a very standard day for me: CrossFit, work, eat, blog, coffee, work, and chill. 

I've been wanting to do another one of these posts for a while now and I hope it wasn't too boring.
I always love seeing reading these posts myself to satisfy my curiosity, so I hope you liked it. 

Let me know if you would like any more posts like this :)
Steph x.