New Years Challenge!

I’m joining in.. Who else is up for the task? Let’s see how many people we can get to dump the junk and lose that holiday weight!! 😀


Winter slim-down week 10

Happy Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all having a lovely holiday season 🙂 This is, admittedly, the worst possible day for a diet update. ‘Tis the season for accidentally binging on our favorite foods…I’m guilty of a sugar induced cavity fest myself. And of avoiding that scale LIKE THE PLAGUE. However, I have still been exercising daily and now I have some new goodies to add to my daily regime…starting TODAY. (As in, I already did it…not just staring and saying ‘yes, yes…later, when I’m done cooking’.)

On Christmas eve, my luh-vah gave me an 8 kg kettle bell and a bluetooth fitness armband! I’m really excited about it because now there’s finally a ‘hers’ to go with ‘his’. My S.O. is really good at what he does – fitness wise. He’s been in the field for the past 20 years. So this morning, after we all finished tearing into our gifts under the tree, he taught me how to do my first daily regular KB double hand swing with my very own kettle bell 🙂 I’ll be adding this exercise as well as 15 second planks to my regime this week. Add that to the fact that I’ve been stalking my fitness band… Did you know that 1000 steps doesn’t even burn 20 calories?! Now, I’m tightening up on that craziness No random toffees for this chic.

Fingers crossed its enough to combat that extra bulge!

Happy Holidays and Thanks for reading!


Vegan Cabbage Casserole

Happy Holidays everyone!

Since holidays do have a tendency to be a bums rush for cooking, and if you’re anything like me, you usually forget at least one important ingredient; I thought I would share this recipe as a ‘just in case’.

What you need:

  • Soy pieces (I prefer the small ones that look similar to meat and just need to be soaked in hot water)
  • Rice
  • 2 veggie stock cubes
  • ½ green cabbage

What you do:

  • Chop the half cabbage into bite-size pieces
  • Boil for 30 minutes in a medium pot full of water with the 2 veggie cubes


  • Preheat the oven to 200C or 400 F
  • Take a separate large baking pan (Pyrex rocks!)
  • Fill bottom of baking pan with the uncooked rice (only enough to cover the bottom of the baking pan)
  • Sprinkle soy pieces on top of the uncooked rice


  • Once the cabbage has boiled for 30 minutes, pour everything (cabbage AND the water it cooked in) into the baking pan. It looks really soup-y but the uncooked rice and soy will soak up the water and cook in it when it’s in the oven.
  • Mix it together, but make sure the rice and soy are packed down under the liquid
  • Bake in the oven for 2 hours or until the top has begun browning.


Serve, and enjoy!

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading!


The Miss’s mishaps


This crown, worth $300 000 has been the topic of many a news story today.

We’ve all heard it…Twitter, instagram, Facebook, the news; Full of The Major mistake in the Miss Universe pageant. For those of you avoiding the news altogether: Firstly, good for you…have a happy day! Secondly, in summary, last night Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner when the first runner up Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo was announced as Miss Universe.  When he realized the mistake, he promptly apologized and corrected the situation as best he could by announcing Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach the actual winner and Miss Colombia as first runner up.

Miss Columbia Ariadna Gutierrez-Arevalo

Miss Colombia in her brief reign as Miss Universe. Right before this happened…

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach

Miss Philippines being crowned.

They actually de-crowned Miss Colombia on stage, turned around and crowned Miss Philippines.

Granted, I am sure that there was a level of public humiliation shared by all front and centre on the stage. This HAD to have really demolished Miss Colombia’s ego, but I’ll tip my hat to her…she handled it well, given the circumstances.

I have to say that in my opinion Steve Harvey does not deserve anywhere near the public scrutiny and backlash that he is receiving for this. The man didn’t do it on purpose. He made an honest mistake; human error, which we all do but luckily it’s not in such a public forum. He even showed the card and apologized profusely. But for some reason, social media is just not giving the man a break! @Iamsteveharvey if you see this, I’m so sorry all this is coming down on you so hard. Mistakes happen all the time. You’re human, and people love you! Please, give this man a break!

miss puerto rico destiny v

In other Miss news; Miss Puerto Rico Destiny Velez from the Miss America pageant found herself being suspended after making scathing remarks regarding Muslims. Apparently her wildly inappropriate tweets were aimed at Michael Moore in reaction to his posting a photo of himself with a sign saying ‘We are all muslim’. I can only assume that his sign was of the same caliber as the French saying ‘We are all American’ after the 9/11 attacks, and the Americans saying ‘We are all French’ in response after last months Paris attacks. Why this induced a sudden urgency to discuss her islamophobia regarding a perceived muslim manipulation of the US constitution and desire to ‘plant gas stations’ in the USA and deem herself an expert on sacred texts stating that muslims have ‘terrorizing agendas’  and that ‘there is no comparison between Jews, Christians and Muslims’ is beyond me. I think that this shows a blatant disregard for the founding ideals of the U.S. constitution and one of it’s founding fathers, George Washington who calls the United States a Beacon of Liberty as it regards immigration and religious prosecution. This quote (Taken from the Charters of Freedom in the us archives) states that ‘The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent & respectable Stranger,
but the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions;
whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights & privileges.’  So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, cupcake.

To wrap up this rant with a final thought: Why oh WHY, when so many people are suffering in this world. I mean REALLY suffering. Enduring a constant fear of persecution, torture, murder, grieving for the loved ones they’ve lost, unemployed, unable to feed their children, unable to pay bills…WHY are we using so much energy and so much media to cover this event, unfortunate and embarrassing as it is. Do you realize that there are countries so embroiled in war as a daily life that much of it is no longer even mentioned in the western news? Do you know what the 2015 global rate of human trafficking is? Probably not. But Kardashian is a household name, and now even those of us who could care less about the pageant gig know who the winner(s) were.

Rant over. I wonder what kind of backlash I’m going to get over this one…but it has to be said.

Thanks for reading!


Holiday Potpourri made easy

This. My first attempt at DIY potpourri. I did not fail! I also did not google. Here’s how it went down:

Christmastime in a village shop and all my eyes kept wandering to were Star Anise, cloves and glog spice. So I did what any reasonable woman does; I bought it all and told myself I’d figure out how to use it later.

When I returned and was searching my fruit bowl for what I had to eat right that minute, I realized that I had 2 citrons quickly going in the not-so-edible-anymore direction. So, my S.O. told me that if I put the peels by the fireplace the essential oils would warm up and seep out, making the house smell ah-mazing. Well, you probably know me by now…peels? No way! Lets do the whole thing! So we sliced the citrons and I put them on top of the brick on the fireplace. Heats up faster, right? And overnight..of course.

Needless to say, this little trick worked like a charm. Granted, some of the slices got a bit too tanned overnight, but who cares, it’s going in a bowl on the shelf. Smells great 🙂 I pushed the cloves into some of the slices that still maintained some pulp, mixed in about 5 anise stars (OMG, they smell sooooo yummy), and broke off some cinnamon bark pieces for the mix. My secret weapon? I have a bag of cinnamon root. (Yes, it’s technically a tree). The root, once dried sufficiently, has a tendency to crumble easily from the inside out, so you have to cut in half first. But this maintains the fantastic scent, and works great as a powdered topper on a bowl of potpourri.

Here’s my outcome:


Looking a bit fuzzy, nice photographer that I am 😛 Regardless, you can see it. My holiday potpourri pride and joy!

What are your favorite holiday DIY’s?

Thanks for reading!


Winter slim-down week 9

Nope, mr. scale…I won’t fear you anymore! To date, in the past 8 weeks, I have lost a total of 3,8 kg or 8.3 lbs! Since 9 kgs (20 lbs) was my weight loss goal, I am more than 30% of the way there…WOOOHHHOOOOOO!!!

To those of you who read my last week update, thank you for all your support and comments! My teeth are A-OK and I’m back in the game and raring to go!

During the holiday season, I’ve decided to just enjoy myself and try to make up for my utter lack of self control with exercise. The amount, duration and type of exercise change or increase bi-weekly. I’m assuming that my appetite decreased when I was having dental issues, and just hasn’t yet fully returned. Nothing drafting, just in the manner that I can go fine-dining and not come home hungry enough to eat the couch. This combined with an increasing level of excercise seems to be doing the trick!

What I’ve been doing:

  • Vegetarian diet
  • 1 coffee daily limit
  • I STOP eating when my body tells me its full! Sometimes the plate doesn’t need to be licked clean.
  • I keep eating if I’m still hungry after 20 minutes.
  • 100 daily intermittent squats
  • Rotating hand weights, kettle bells with a day break in between
  • Using my own body as resistance with stretches
  • Walking. The weather has been really nice and getting some fresh air, enjoying the outdoors – never hurt anybody
  • Real life exercise of running up and down the stairs 30 times daily 😉

I’m also super excited because we’ve managed to adopt 2 older huskies, which will be here soon! YYYYEEEEEEEEAAAA! I can’t wait…I’m soooo excited 😀 This will require several long walks or jogs daily so a win-win situation 🙂

Enjoy your holiday season!

Thanks for reading



Winter Slim-down diet week 8

Jaahas…This week I lost all the extra weight I gained and regained. But, by no conscious doing of my own; sad to say. There’s only one magic word involved in this weeks’ weightloss and that is ‘DENTIST‘. I think we’re all on the same page now.

It seems that this chic has been keeping herself so busy this past 18 months that I’ve been rather masculine in my approach to healthcare. ‘I’ve got too much to do and can’t take time away’, ‘I’m not dying yet…’, ‘I’ll go if it starts to hurt’ or my personal favorite: ‘How the hell am I supposed to go to the physician when I cant speak the language?! I’ll make an appointment when I get home’ (and then never does).

I finally went. Good news; no cavities! Bad news; Thanks to a serious addiction to chili peppers and all things seed-y (flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower…you name it – I gobble it down. But the chili peppers seem to be the main suspect), it seems I managed to achieve a bit of a gum infection. I know…eeeewwww.  They patched me up at the docs, and after feeling as though I’ve taken a few hits to the face for the past few days am now healing nicely 🙂

Now that I’ve managed to babble my way through all the things nobody cares about, here’s what I did. As most chipmunk-cheeked victims of dentistry, I went for the softest, warmest things I could get. In all honesty, I didnt eat much of anything for like 3 days because it just hurt – but I’m not a proponent of starving yourself so let’s not go there. This past week has been all about plain yogurts with a splash of honey or something or vegan soups. For drinks, it’s been mainly vichy and herbal tea. (So, no booze and that always helps drop the extra weight)

The soup pictured above proved my favorite: Vegan Thai red curry soup broth with some small soy pieces, soup veggies (root vegetables) and fresh sliced mushrooms thrown in for good measure. The ingredients provided me with enough different vitamins that my body wasn’t craving any additional weird foods. (Which is awesome)

This upcoming week I’ll probably still take it light on the gorging myself on whatever I want for the holidays, but I’m sticking to the enjoyment plan with fingers crossed a miracle happens and I don’t wind up right where I started when New Years rolls around.

How’s your holiday diet going?

Thanks for reading!


The Body Shop 2015 advent calendar

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

  • Vitamin E Hydrating Toner with daily quote: ‘Don’t be a wallflower today, enjoy the limelight!’ – ‘Ne faites pas tapisserie, lancez-vous sous les feud de la rampe!’
  • Fuji Green Tea body wash
  • A green shower puff
  • Black eye definer kohl
  • Shea body butter
  • Vitamin E moisture creme
  • Frosted Cranberry shimmer lotion

I had to post a week 1 update on this calendar because I am seriously ready to break into this stuff! Est nécessaire!

Last year, I was gifted with my first Body Shop advent calendar…and there was no looking back! I actually enjoyed it so much that I requested the same Christmas present this year. And more than likely next year as well 😉 It’s a great deal for the money, a gift that lasts all month long and longer because I actually use everything in it, and its well, just fun! 😀

Until week 2 calendar goodie update…. Are there any awesome advent calendars we should look for that you know of? I spy a lego calendar that’s pretty cool for the young ones also 🙂

Thanks for reading!


Neck rejuvenating treatment at Mimando Spa :)

Ladies, ever have that morning when you’ve managed a one-eye open cup of java, sit down at your vanity to proceed with the morning skin care ritual, and realize….oh, hell! My neck looks like…an elephant! Well dearies, I did, and then I had a meltdown. Luckily, I was in the country with my favourite skin-care spa, so I called up and made an appointment…PRONTO!

Mimando is awesome and I always feel like a million bucks when I leave. Glowy and all 🙂 So when I explained the situation and whined a bit about it. She was, a superstar! I had a neck-facial… Is there an actual name for that? We’ll call it a ‘nacial’.

As you can see from the photo, I also got a bit of care on the face too…don’t want the face to feel left out! 😉 OK, so here’s how it went down. All my skin was cleaned, followed by an ultrasound treatment. (By the way, you really don’t realize how much this area is actually neglected until you get a treatment…the skin on my neck was already jumping for joy by the time the ultrasound treatment was over. ) I then got a poultice treatment (haudehoida) in order to increase absorption, which was then followed by a collagen mask…on my neck.

In the picture, you can see that the collagen mask was covered with a light covering to prevent it drying out. I was then left to soak up the goodies in peace for about a half-hour. (Give or take; I was too preoccupied enjoying myself relaxing to even think about the time.) After the break, she came in and removed the mask, made sure that everything had soaked in and followed with a moisturizer.

I seriously cannot convey how much better I felt when I looked in the mirror. To me, it seems as though at least the last year of hard travel and long hours had been wiped away with an eraser…and with just the one treatment! Although I felt a bit awkward requesting a ‘nacial’, it actually turned out really great. And quite affordable to boot 🙂

So there you go…’nacial’ at mimando spa in Finland …totally worth it. I wanna go back! Wherever you are, if you’re having the same elephant neck problems I was having, I suggest you look into the possibilities of getting something like it.

Who doesn’t love a day at the spa, and it’s more affordable and more fun than investing in tons of creams (some with strange skin tightening ingredients like…snake venom??  – once, I heard about this when in the States…unfortunately I am unable to recall the name of the product. Nor am I 100% sure that it wasn’t just crazy talk from the sales lady. But, I digress) that may or may not actually achieve long-lasting effects. So…go for it, ladies! Every time I go for a treatment, I get more and more convinced that a spa facial or ‘nacial’ in this case…just can’t be beat!

Love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Thanks for reading!



Cold and Flu season quick-fix

Good morning greetings and salutations from cold and flu land! I woke up the other day with a major case of the sniffles, due only to playing too much outside during major weather fluctuations. So I figure it’s as good a time as ever to share a home remedy of mine. OK, adapted and mutilated from several friends to fit me perfectly.

Years ago, I had a horrible case of the flu and was in a country where I recognized nothing, so felt unable to confidently purchase medicine for myself without risking something odd happening as a result. A good friend of mine from the East told me a home cure his mother used to make. He told me to slice an entire lemon and boil it in a huge pot of boiling water. Eventually the water would thicken with the boiled lemon pulp, to pour that into a mug and gulp it down. I must admit, I was skeptical because who, could cure the flu with nothing but lemon and water? Why the need for antibiotics, if its that simple? Well.. guess what. Although it might not have healed me completely, this hot lemon mash drink patched me up with some relief long enough to enjoy the rest of my trip!

I used to (and occasionally still do if its appropriate) indulge in a Hot Toddy or two when feeling totally…blaaahhhhhhh. Last year I was in the Nordics, and sniffling, of course. The management of the restaurant I’d been frequenting sat me down and poured me a liter creation of hot water, honey and a ton of rum. The result was a somewhat tipsy traveller with a new favourite drink and a slightly raspy voice but with less of a cough and a much drier nose.

This year a friend of mine whom I consult on all things natural and nutritional, recommended I eat ginger or hot chili when I was totally cold, in order to heat my body temp up. This actually really works, so best not to use it if you have a fever, because it will continue ramping up your body temperature.

So here are my 2 adaptions:

For cold/flu with a fever:

Hot lemon mash with honey and a splash of rum (only add the rum if its THAT moment). This helps break up the crud, slow down the sniffles and generally chill you out.

For cold/flu with a low body temperature:

Hot water with lemon, sliced or grated ginger and honey to taste. Adding a ton of garlic or hot chili to your food will also help to increase your body temp to normalize your low fever. Also, go see a doctor! Low temps are more dangerous than high temps…so I’ve been told.

What are some of your favorite home remedies?

Thanks for reading!


Winter slim-down week 7


Aaaahhh, indulgence. The theme of this past week. Today I approached the scale. Seems like my ‘go with what you’ve got available’ theory didn’t exactly work out as I had planned. More than 1 kg regained (about 2 lbs), but it’s actually not that much considering it’s the holiday season. So no guilt, no frustration here.

Speaking of holidays; I’ve made an executive decision. Since I started this, like the week of Halloween and All Saints’ Day – and managed to torture myself through a candy free Octobers’ end…I’ve decided that it’s just not worth the extra holiday stress of worrying about everything I do or do not put in my mouth. We all look like fat Barbie by 2nd January anyway. Am I right?

So, the plan is to just roll with it (no pun intended) and enjoy the holidays and all the holiday goodies that accompany the seasons festivities – within reason. I’ll just have to put in that much extra cardio to counteract the effects of my free-range, sugar laden, carb-filled, creme soaked and wine washed holiday diet. 😉 I also invested in a pair of sweatpants for those Netflix nights in…just in case.  (Only for use when the only person staring at me is the one in the mirror.)

Starting at New Year’s, I plan to first retake all my measurements, then… restart the diet if need-be. Fingers crossed that I can manage at least some semblance of upkeep without having to start from the beginning again.  Such as it goes with a lifestyle change for a diet, as opposed to a crash diet. Oh! And I forgot to tell you that I DID manage to make some home cooked food. I made a ton of cabbage casserole, and it turned out great! I’ll post the recipe this week…promise!

What are your weight loss goals or gains this holiday season?

Thanks for reading!


Facial at Mimando

My very first facial at Mimando Spa, and this is part of what sold me entirely on the experience. Aside from Hanna’s friendliness, expertise and ability to make my skin absolutely glow, she incorporated a red-wine facial mask into my facial and skin care treatment. (Don’t lick it, she says…) This stuff… well a relaxing mask it definitely is, and my skin…LOVED IT!

Proceeding a thorough cleansing, checking, scrub and ultrasound treatment (which I also love, by the way), this red wine relaxing and thoroughly moisturising mask made me feel…just…delicious.IT has anti oxidant and anti age properties. Left to  a good peaceful reprieve in low lighting with soft music and lovely smells while this mask performed its magic; I actually managed to be lulled into a gentle power nap. I can only say that when I was woken and the mask removed, then followed by a vitamin C moisturizer, I felt….delicious. It really felt like everything she had done to me managed to seep through at least 15 layers of skin. And I glowed. Seriously, even my guy noticed! 😀

Mimando Spa carries and uses Etre Belle products. And I highly recommend both! Since I am now thoroughly addicted to treatments at Mimando, I will be blogging more frequently about a variety of treatments offered there. I make an appointment whenever I am even remotely close to the area!

What are your favorite types of facial treatments?

Thanks for reading!