My last day in Stockholm

Met up with my cousin Calle and trying to help him snatch

Cousin photo!

Post-workout tea at Espresso House

Managed to sneak in another poké bowl for lunch. I was very happy about this.

Running about town with Sanna in the afternoon looking in shops

We ended up in a toy store and Sanna found ice cream maker toy. If you know how much she loves ice cream you’d know how happy she was haha.
The day finished off with a lovely dinner with the family at Balzac. They had a lovely vegan dish which Anki and I tried. Super fresh and tasty. If I was starving it would’ve been a bit too small of a portion for me but I wasn’t super hungry for once.

It’s already been a week since I came back from Sweden. The day before you leave is always the busiest. You think it’s not going to be but there are always some last minute things that happen meaning you end up rushing all over the place needing to get errands done.

The morning was really fun, I met up with my cousin Calle at the gym. He really wanted to learn how to snatch so we spent most of the time just doing that and chatting. I love my cousin Calle and he’s always felt more like a brother than a cousin because we’ve always been really close. He struggled a bit with his mobility during the snatch drills. Mobility is really key for a good snatch so he’s got some things to work on now until when I next see him! HE said he was going to keep practising! Olympic weightlifting is difficult because it’s all technique and very precise. You really can’t cheat your way around it or almost do it, either you can do it or you can’t. As frustrating that truth can be sometimes haha.

We were in the gym for a while until we had snatched enough and then headed to the nearby Espresso House for a tea to properly talk about what’s going on in our lives. We could’ve sat there and spoken for ages but I eventually had to go and pick up my passport which luckily was ready to be picked up just in time. I’m very happy I’ve got a brand new passport for Australia so I don’t have to worry about it expiring whilst I’m there. That could’ve been stressful!

The wait was quite long at the police and by the time I was done I was STARVING, it was lunch time so I suppose that made sense hehe. On the way back to my parent’s I stopped by Hawaii Poké for another poké bowl. Again, I couldn’t get over how good it was. It’s probably one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had. After satisfying my hunger I went home to shower and get changed and then head to the bank. Where I randomly saw my old neighbour from when I used to live Stockholm. What are the odds off that? I haven’t seen her for years. I didn’t think she’s recognise me because she’s quite old and I hadn’t seen her for years so I didn’t say hi but it’s odd how things like that happen.

The rest of the afternoon I looked in some shops to pick up bits and pieces. I got some Swedish food things for Jamie which I know he likes and Sanna came and kept me company for a bit. It was so nice to see her  one last time before I left. We grabbed some smoothies at Blueberry as a snack whilst walking about. They’ve got some lovelies ones there. I had one with peanut butter in it (of course, I’m so predictable…). We eventually had to hug goodbye because I needed to head back to the parents to start packing.

We weren’t sure what to do for dinner, in the end we ended up going to the nearby French bistro Balzac. It’s lovely in there. My parents are obsessed with France and it’s funny how there are now two French bistros not far from where they live. To my surprise they had a vegan dish. I did not expect that at all. One of the elements was a vegan feta cheese, it didn’t taste like feta at all but it was still good. Not the biggest dish in the world. If I would’ve been my usual hungry self it wouldn’t have been enough. I find that so odd with veggie and vegan dishes because you do need more food to fill you up when you eat that way and yet restaurants serve you so little. The meal was a lovely way to finish my Stockholm trip with. I’ve got no idea when I’ll next be back but I’m so glad I’ve got this amazing trip as a memory when I’m far away on the other side of the world.

Sis visiting G5

I know this is super pixly but it was too cute not to post. I LOVE baby Samúéil. He is one of the smiliest babies I’m ever met.

Ellie doing her 35 calories on the assault bike
 Push press time!
And we’re done!!

A photo with SB is a must!

Finished off with a brunch outside at the new Singl-End in Merchant City

My sister finally made it to G5 on Friday! It was a long time coming. I’ve been wanting her to join in on the fun for forever but it’s just not been the right time until the other day. It was a great workout for her to do as well. For being the first time in G5, she took it all like a pro. She does train so definitely gives you an advantage rather than just being thrown in the deep end, it can be a bit of a shock the first time you realise how intense the workouts can be.

Strong Mums was super busy, with babies everywhere. I finally got to see cutie Samúéil again after them being away over Easter and me being in Sweden. He has grown so much and has started moving about loads. I couldn’t believe how much he had grown since I last saw him. Still just as smiley!

I loved Friday’s workouts. For the first part we were allocated either the ski erg, assault bike or rower. You had a 5 minute time cap to do 35 calories for scaled or 50 calories for RX individually. Ellie and I were on a team with Sara and we were given the assault bike. Oh that assault bike, how can you hate something and kind of love it at the same time? It’s painful at times but you know it’s good for you. I went first and when I sat there, Sara and I were told we’re doing the 50 calories. I wasn’t even sure I’d finish 50 calories in one go under 5 minutes! I’d never even attempted such a big cycle on the assault bike before. I knew it was going to be painful haha. Or as I would say, interesting (just to make it sound a bit more positive).

Stella yelled go and off I went, I tried to do a more steady pace at first and then blast it out towards the end. As I was sitting there struggling Stella came up and said that Faye had done it in 3:59 so I had that time to beat. No pressure… How on Earth was I going to beat that?! That was an amazing time. Around the halfway point, 25 calories, that is usually a longer push for me in one go, it was tough thinking I had another 25 to go. At one point I couldn’t really feel my legs anymore. Towards the end I could hear Stella shouting the time and knowing I had Faye’s time to beat I dug in deep and pushed for the final calories. I wanted to get a good time on this stupid bike.When the display finally ticked over to 50 calories I couldn’t have been happier. I ended up with a time of 3.40!! I was over the moon. I got off and tried to crouch down to grab my water off the floor and my legs were all over the place. I had no control over what was going on haha. A bit like Bambi on ice!

Then Sara did a brilliant run with her 50 calories and then it was Ellie’s turn. She had 35 calories to do and she smashed it. I was so proud of her.

The next bit was a five minute time cap for finding your 3 rep max front squat. Ellie and I paired up and I started. After that assault bike I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to my legs once I put weight on them. Anyway, weights on the barbell, lifters on and magic belt on. Let’s go! I started off with 55 which felt good. Then I did 60! My three rep max for Rainhill was 55kg so I was really happy with 60 but I felt like I had more in me. We loaded on 65 which is over my one rep max. I got them too! I thought maybe, just maybe I could get 67.5 as well. I got the first rep and the second one but on the third one it got too heavy so I dropped it. Either way, I got new PBs for my three rep (ten kilos heavier!) and one rep max. I was really surprised when it happened.

Ellie did amazing with her front squats considering she never does them and got 42.5 kg! Strong strong lady. I even got her in my lifting shoes so she looked like she meant business!

The next part was a three rep max push press with a 5 minute time cap. I started with 40 kg which went fine. Then 45, a bit tougher that one but I got it. Then 47.5kg! I got those too (I was so happy with that). Then attempted a bit heavier (I can’t remember the weight) but at that point my arms gave up. 47.5 kg for a push press for me is heavy. I usually jerk for that kind of weight so thinking that I can now push press that weight made me really happy.

The push press is a bit more down to technique and timing a well as strength. Ellie struggled a bit on those but got 25 kilos and did more practise ones on it until the time cap just to get a feel for the movement. I think her, like me, and a lot of other women struggle with our upper body strength. Both her and I are built very similar, a bit smaller in our upper body and muscular around our bum and thighs. It’s taken me a long time to build up the strength in my upper body that I have now but it’s better now than ever. When I was in Sweden I did a lot of strict overhead movements and pull ups and I think that’s really helped.

The finisher was as many burpees as possible in 5 minutes! Not an easy finisher but interesting to see how many you could actually squeeze in in that time. Five minutes feels like an eternity doing a workout like this. The goal for scaled was 50, intermediate 70 and 100 for RX. I was aiming for at least 70 but really didn’t know how it would go. The issue I struggle with is that I sometimes go out too hard at the beginning and then fade, like with the assault bike. I’m now trying to get better at pacing myself and go nice and steady at first and then push towards the end. About 50 or so burpees in my legs were on fire but as we say in G5, you can always throw yourself on the floor and get up again so that’s what I did. Just keep swimming as the Great Dory of Finding Nemo also says. I got past 70 and the five minute time cap was approaching. In the final seconds I managed to squeeze a couple more in and got 78 burpees. Not too bad, not too bad at all. I didn’t stop ever to break and went consistently throughout the time and I was really happy with my effort.

It was then Ellie’s turn. I really wanted to make sure she was pacing herself and didn’t tired herself out. It’s tough when you’ve never really done something like this before. Usually you do a shorter blast of burpees and not a five minute burpeeathon! I told her to aim for 50 and everything else was a bonus. We started off with her doing 10s and then a I got her to take a short break, walk around in a little circle and then did ten more. I could tell she was getting tired and we instead changed it to fives with shorter breaks for her to catch her breath. She was a real champ and before the time was up she’d managed 54 burpees. She did amazing.

I loved how happy she looked throughout the entire class and I know she’s been struggling with stress at university (I can really relate to that, those of you who have been following me since my uni days know how stressed I was whilst I was studying and training kept me sane). She even said she wanted to come back so we’re planning in for her to join in a couple of times before I leave for her to find out if this could be something for her.

After training you of course need a nice meal and we needed a catch up so we headed to Singl-end’s second venue which just opened in Merchant City. It was slightly sunny and being the desperate Northern Europeans we are, we sat outside despite how cold it got when the clouds passed the sun. Just for those little glimpses of light and warmth. The new Singl-end is lovely and very cosy! They really lucked out when they got their hands on that venue. The food was delicious, portions a bit smaller than the other venue but still super tasty. We sat there for ages until it was time to carry on with our day. At that point I convinced Ellie to come with us to Proving Grounds to watch her first Crossfit competition, I was so happy to have her join us on the cheer squad fun!

By the way, in two weeks today I’ll be waiting to board my plane to Australia. I can’t believe it’s happening so soon. I’ve still got loads to do before I leave but I’ll get it done! Two weeks, that’s really no time at all!

Steninge Bruk

This is brunch taken to a whole new level

Look at all that veg!

Dessert table
 Just one of the many plates of food I had, I got a food coma that was so bad it felt like it was Christmas all over again!Dad and I
Sis and Anki

Trying to be a tree

Posing in front of Steninge Castle (I thought it looked more like a mansion)

I did manage to get outside of Stockholm one more time before coming back to Glasgow. My family and I decided to do a little Sunday afternoon trip to one of the nearby castles for a little stroll and lunch. We ended up going to Steninge Slott (Steninge Castle) which also had what looked like a lovely restaurant (Steninge Bruk) in an old beautiful stone building nearby. We ended up on a bit of a detour on the way there and at this point it was quite late in the afternoon so by the time we arrived I was starving. It was so bad I couldn’t think straight!

The plan was originally to walk first but in my state I just needed food so we headed straight to the restaurant. The venue is stunning in there and it’s not only a restaurant but the building also has a couple of home decor shops and a florist. We didn’t realise the restaurant only had their brunch buffet available on Sundays pretty much. Well it was either that or spinach soup and I needed a lot of food so after having a look at the beautiful buffet we all decided to go for it and treat ourselves. We were all so happy we did because the food was incredible. There was a massive barbecue just behind the buffet where they were cooking loads of the food on and I’d never seen anything like it! I think they said it was one of Sweden’s biggest barbecues.

I was so hungry I was just stuffing myself! It felt like Christmas when you’re just eating because everything tasted so good. There were loads of amazing veggie salads prepared and everything was incredible. I even had some scrambled eggs because they looked so good and wow, I can’t even remember the last time I had scrambled eggs but they tasted good. I don’t eat eggs very often at all anymore but once in a while I do crave them and I eat them. I don’t want to be restrictive or feel like I’m restricting myself, if I want something I’ll eat it. I might not ever be hundred percent vegan but that’s not my goal either. I want to be me and eat a diet which suits me but also helps the planet. I see it as a nice treat when I actually do eat some fish and eggs these days rather than eating it every day.

After my hundredth plate of food (okay perhaps a slight exaggeration) it was time to move on to the dessert table. Everything again looked so good. There was so much to choose from, in the end I went for some blueberry crumble with vanilla custard, a pancake and some fruit salad. The blueberry crumble was out of this world. WOW. I couldn’t get over how good it tasted.

When I had finished eating I was stuffed, I had eaten so quickly and the food just lied in my stomach like a lump. I didn’t even care because everything had been ridiculously good. Even then I was still sitting there contemplating whether I could eat some more. That’s when I felt like it was enough, I was perfectly happy having tried everything I wanted to and I was stuffed. If I would’ve had more I would’ve probably felt sick! Didn’t want to end our lovely brunch on that note. It’s funny how we think that eating more of something because it tastes good is the best option. The best thing I think is when you eat until you’re satisfied and then it leaves you with just wanting a little bit more, rather than stuffing your face until you feel ill. Then you leave feeling horrible no matter how good the meal was. What do you guys think? It’s an odd impulsive thing isn’t it? More isn’t always the best but somehow when we like something we just can’t control it. I’ve gotten a lot better at noticing when I’ve had enough but it’s definitely not easy.

Afterwards we went for a browse in the shops and then headed over to look at the castle before the park around it closed. We were all in a slight food coma! The castle was nice but I didn’t really think it looked like a castle, more like a stunning mansion. I wish we would’ve had more time to look around a bit longer but it was better than nothing and a lovely couple of hours out with the family. When we got home we collapsed in the sofa and watched the new Tarzan and then Wonder Woman. Neither of them were particularly good but at least we know that now!

So there was a slight change in plans yesterday after I wrote my post and Ellie didn’t end up making the class due to her eye lids being puffy and swollen. She’s all sorted now with some eye drops and is coming with me to Strong Mums today. I was originally going to go to the early morning class but I don’t really mind which one I go to. It would’ve been nice to train with Faye but I’ll see her soon anyway.

Walking on Djurgården

“Spring in the Plant Shed”
Slightly blinded by the sun!

Surrounded by stunning plants and herb plants

My beautiful friend
If there is one thing I love in Sweden, it’s all the bread. You just can’t compare it to anything you get in the UK

Hello Stockholm from the other side!

Lunch at Flickorna Helin, one of my favourite places

We had their homemade veggie curry

Then we couldn’t not have one of their cinnamon buns and we also shared a raspberry and blueberry raw ball. Nice that they had a slightly healthier option as well.

More walking along Djurgården.

Love this girl!

Hello my dears! I’m back in Glasgow! Sorry for going silent here but the last two days were busy busy with lots of emotions. Saying goodbye or “see you later” (it’s not actually goodbye) is tough when you don’t know when you’ll see your loved ones next. My cousin Mickis and I cried on Saturday when we said goodbye and I thought I almost made it through saying goodbye to my family yesterday morning without tears but as I walked with my bags to the underground, I felt them rolling down my cheeks. I just love them all so much  and there’s always going to be a part of me left in Sweden as I have so many loved ones there. I know it can’t stop me from pursuing my dreams and not go. As much as I love Stockholm, I don’t feel like it’s the place for me right now, or ever. We’ll see but there’s just so much to see and do in the world!

It was an odd feeling arriving back in Glasgow, a place that has been my home for so many years, knowing that it soon won’t be my home anymore. I’m not sure when the next time will be when I fly back here and if it will ever be home again. Here is where my reality and every day life has been happening and soon it won’t be. I have no idea what the future holds but I know this city will always feel like a home to me, no matter when I come back but I know it won’t be the same and it’s scary. My Glasgow chapter is coming to a close.

As soon I got back, Jamie and I went for some lunch. It was really nice to see him, I feel like I’ve been away for so long and we had so much to catch each other up on! Then when he headed to work I went and saw Faye for a tea at Singl-end.

This morning I was finally back in G5. I was contemplating going back yesterday afternoon but after my early start I was knackered and decided to stay home and get organised instead and have an early night. Stepping back into that gym made me so happy but it was also bittersweet, knowing my sessions left in that gym are numbered. I can’t even think about having to leave that gym and the my amazing friends there, so for now I’m not trying to think about it and enjoy every second I’m in there. Soak it all in and enjoy it as much as I can. The workout was a lot of fun and sweaty! It’s quite warm here at the moment and I can’t get over how bright it’s gotten in the mornings. Makes the morning sessions a lot easier to get up for. In the summer months the morning sessions are the best I think.

I’ve still got so many things to share from Sweden so I’m still going to be posting about that too! On Friday I met up with Sanna again, the weather was stunning so I requested to go for a walk on Djurgården. I’ve written about this island many times before but for those of you who are new to the blog, it’s an island right in the centre of Stockholm owned by the Swedish Royal family. As soon as you walk over the bridge it’s like you enter an oasis. It’s like a different world and a country break right in the middle of the city. You almost forget how close you are until you stand by the shore and see Stockholm on the other side of the water. Either you get there by boat or just cross one of the bridges. There’s so much to do there such, something as simple as a picnic in the summer months but there’s also an amusement park, Skansen (the outdoor museum and zoo), plenty of other museums and cafés and restaurants.

Sanna and I walked along the shore for a while and then headed towards Rosendals Trädgård (trädgård means garden). It’s a stunning area where they grow organic crops of all sorts, sell all kinds of plants and also serve organic homemade delicious food made from local produce and cake in their lovely café. They’ve also got a lovely little shop filled with delicious bread, buns, cookbooks, beautiful crockery and so much more. It’s a wonderful place and somewhere you definitely should pay a visit.

We continued our walk and were getting peckish a bit further on and decided to go to Flickorna Helin. They’ve got a lovely outdoor seating area and their food and cakes are so tasty. I’ve taken Jamie here before and he refers to this place as the one with the best sandwich ever because they have an incredible Club Sandwich with chicken and curry mayo with loads of other components in an incredible dark bread. When I ate meat I used to love that sandwich and Jamie still talks about, so that says a lot haha.

Sanna and I both had their veggie curry. It was served with courgetti and a fresh mix of vegetables. It was incredibly tasty the dish and you got it served with a yoghurt dip, I usually avoid eating dairy as I try to eat as much vegan food as I can because I want to for several reasons but the curry needed that little something because it was a bit on the sweet side (it had mango chutney in it) and just adding a little bit of the yoghurt just took it to a new level.

I love that they include a tea or coffee in the price when you order food, it’s a common thing when you order lunch in Stockholm. When we were standing by the till to order food we had been so tempted by their deliciously smelling cinnamon buns and I mean you can’t go to Sweden and not have kanelbulle, as we call them, so Sanna and I shared a kanelbulle and they also had a raw ball I wanted to try, it was a raspberry and blueberry one so we shard that one too. It was all incredible, I really think Flickorna Helin is a lovely place to go for lunch or fika on Djurgården and in Stockholm in general. Not to mention, the building they’re in is so cool!

We then headed back towards the bridge, crossed it and we were back on the busy streets of Stockholm. I’ll never get over how much I love the contrasts of Stockholm fro the hectic streets around the centre and the calm around Djurgården and Gärdet. It’s incredible and very unique.

Now I need to get showered and get on with my day! God I can’t even think about how little time I’ve got left! I should really write a list of everything I need to do. I need to get travel insurance, sell off more stuff on eBay, cancel our home insurance and all other direct debit things and start thinking about trial packing, to name a few things!

Speak soon lovelies, M xxx