My latest veggie obsession

It may seem like I’ve only been eating out since I got here from my updates but this is not the case I promise! I’ve actually been really good with cooking whilst I’ve been here in Australia too. Perhaps more so now when I’ve got an entire kitchen to myself and eating out isn’t quite as readily available where I’m staying at the moment. I think that’s probably a good thing for my bank account and I love cooking so it’s been nice to get fully into it again.

My roasted veggie obsession continues and I think it’s bigger than ever. It’s so handy to chop them up quickly before taking Taylor out for her longer walk and putting them in the oven when heading out the door. Then by the time I’m back they’re all ready to be eaten. Minimal effort but the results are delicious. Roasting veg brings out all the incredible flavours even more. Then I chuck them on top of quinoa and a massive bed of spinach and by massive I mean all the spinach. Need to get those greens in!

The veggies I’ve been roasting recently go on two different trays. The first tray I’ve put broccoli, courgette (or zucchini as it’s called here and in Sweden), red onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms. Then I just drizzle them with olive oil, black pepper, Himalayan pink salt and of course my all time favourite seasoning Herbamare’s herb salt. It needs to go on everything.

The second tray is what I really wanted to talk about, hello Kent pumpkin!! I picked this up in the grocery store last week because I was a bit tired of butternut squash and wanted to get out of always eating sweet potato. Sweet potato I love you but sometimes you need a break and need to widen your horizons. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. It’s risky business trying new things but I’m always up for giving it a go hehe. Jokes aside, it’s fu mixing it up. I roasted the pumpkin in chunks drizzled with some olive oil, ground cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I kept them in the oven until they turned a nice golden brown on top.

To finish off my bowl of roasted veggie goodness I of course needed to chuck on some hummus because hummus is everything, but you could of course make like a tahini dressing or guacamole or something to go with this. I’m sure that would turn out amazing too! I was so excited to try out the Kent pumpkin and yuuuuuum, it just fell apart when I cut into it. It was incredibly creamy and sweet. I absolutely loved it. My bravery trying something new had been rewarded hehe. It was lovely and I actually bought another one the other day.

Alrighty, breakfast has been eaten. It’s time to get changed and head for the gym. It’s time to do some squats as we’re doing our squat programme today. Looking forward to lifting, yesterday was very cardio heavy so it’ll be good to something a bit more chilled for the first bit of the class.

Hello old friend

When I arrived in Australia I was in a bad place. I’d been through a lot personally the past year. Things not a lot of people know. I had fought a tough battle for a long time. I didn’t realise how much I’d been hiding from my thoughts and feelings. I’d kept them tightly locked up somewhere in the back of my mind. Trying to keep it together. It didn’t always work but it was my coping mechanism, just keep training, just keep on smiling, just keep on acting like everything is okay. Truth be told, I was heartbroken for a long time. I felt close to tears a lot of the time, close to breaking. I cried a couple of times a week. I walked around with a heavy weight on my chest constantly. I caught myself panicking at times, having to stop and take deep breaths to avoid having a meltdown. I couldn’t open that door, not in the middle of the street or in the gym or anywhere else. I didn’t want people to ask questions (yet a lot of friends around me knew things weren’t right and asked). It was tough but I don’t regret what I’ve been through. It had to be done and now I’m here.

One massive realisation I’ve had since stepping out of my situation in Glasgow was how I completely almost stopped listening to music when I was alone. My walks used to be powered by music, my time at home as well but instead I turned to podcasts. Podcasts were my way to escape my thoughts. Instead I could focus on someone else’s life, thoughts and conversations. They saved me from thinking. They saved me from reflections or overanalysing what I was going through. I’m an expert at overthinking things and worrying. I listened to so many podcasts just for the sake of listening. I just needed something to quieten my thoughts and distract me from that heavy weight on my chest. I needed an escape from my life and the situation I was in. They helped me live in denial and get through the day.

As soon as I put on music the thoughts went all over the place. It was scary. I couldn’t stop it. It was just me, the texts, the melody and my thoughts. There was nowhere to hide. Music made me feel and I couldn’t bare to face what it made me feel. I felt like it would break me. There were some days I would allow it and everything would pour out of me. There was one weekend I remember a while back where I spent a full day on the sofa crying just listening to Ed Sheeran on repeat. It was like a cleanse. Then once that was done, it closed the door again and moved on. Goodness it sounds so dramatic when I’m typing it now but it was the truth. The truth I didn’t want to share with anyone because I know what it would sound like. Deep down inside I knew this wasn’t sustainable. This wasn’t healthy anymore. We want to be there for people but for how long? To what extent do you want to sacrifice your own sanity and wellbeing? A big learning for me was you can’t fight someone else’s battle for them. It’s not me who’s not enough, it’s just not my battle to be fought.

Going to Australia was not only a dream of mine for so long but it was a way out of the situation. I needed to go. I didn’t have a job and I was so down I didn’t even realise how bad it was. I needed change. I didn’t realise then how much I needed a new spark. Australia has been that. It was going to change everything, me going away it would give space to find our way back to one another. To the couple we used to be but it didn’t end up being that way in the end. I realised there was no way back. For me there was only forward and I needed to do it on my own. I found people who made me feel amazing and realised I’ll be more than okay. It’s funny how you meet certain people and it feels like you’ve known them forever. You click from the first conversation. I realised I’m not actually going to be on my own because I’ve found them and with the strength I gained mentally from this new place, I knew I’d be okay.

After only a couple of weeks or so here I for the first time during a walk was listening to a podcast and I found it distracting. I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying. I couldn’t understand why, I’d never experienced this before the entire time I’d been listening to them. Then I realised, it was my thoughts. I was thinking and enjoying my thoughts. They were light and happy. They weren’t heavy or making me feel anxious as before. I actually welcomed them and wanted to listen to them. I paused the podcast and for the first time in a while on a walk I put on a Spotify playlist and I loved it. It felt so good to hear a voice singing along to a melody and how it made me feel. I felt again and it wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t painful. I actually smiled and looked over the sea and I felt gratitude and happiness. I know a lot of the pain I’d been carrying around was not my own but someone else’s and once that was gone I was slowly feeling old Maddie coming back. Don’t get me wrong, other days I’ve cried listening too but it’s been part of the healing process and I’ve welcomed it. It hasn’t been an unstoppable waterfall but a lighter stream, which then ran out.

One day in the gym one of the coaches asked me why I’m always smiling all the time and I realised I was. I was smiling all the time and not because I tried to put a brave face on. It was like old Maddie, old smiley Maddie. I was just so happy to be there. I had come far in such a short period of time.

I wake up now feeling light. Not every day is easy but I feel excited and music has never sounded better. Every day here is a new opportunity for me. I’m happy for every moment I have with my new friends and being here. I’m not saying it’s a dance on roses all the time and I’ve still got things to process but I feel like I’m on track for the first time in a while. I’ve got so many exciting things happening and everything I had dreamed of for Australia, I’m living it now. I was terrified to go but now I realise it is what saved me. I couldn’t have done it without all my supportive family and friends. Thank you for supporting me through one of the most trialling years for me ever. I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you more than you’ll ever know.

They pushed me to go. They cheered me on when I booked my flights and made sure I did it. Probably because they could see I needed it. Thank you for seeing I needed change and helping me to make the move. Even though it meant me going far away. I miss them all every day. I really do but right now Australia is where I want and need to be.

I’m happy to say I wrote this entire blog post listening to music! Florence + The Machine’s song Patricia is a new favourite! Oh music old friend, it’s nice to enjoy you again.

M xxx

Soul Press

Not a bad breakfast

Smashed sweet potato with turmeric and pesto

It’s 8th of July today. July! How can it be July already? I can’t believe it’s already July. Over half the year has gone already. Why I especially wanted to acknowledge that today is the eighth is because today marks two months in Australia for me! Two whole months in Melbourne. So far so good! I feel like things are slowly coming together and I’m starting to feel settled in even though I still don’t really know where I’ll be living in less than two weeks time. I’m still so incredibly grateful for being here and every day is a learning experience. I love that it’s still all so new and there’s still so much to experience and see. It’s only the beginning.

How good do these acai bowls look in the picture above? I know, I know, quite the foodporn. Before our visit on Friday I had been to Soul Press once before for lunch. I’ve got to say I was really underwhelmed by my visit. I had their Mexican Fiesta Bowl and it was really boring. I think that was probably the first disappointing food experience I’ve had since I’d gotten here. After that I was a bit hesitant to go back. However, my friend Em said the acai bowls are why people go to Soul Press. Determined to prove to me it’s good she decided we’d all go there after feeding the lambs. Hence, why I didn’t have a big breakfast before going, needed to make room for that acai bowl.

It wasn’t perhaps the best weather for a cold smoothie bowl. Especially after being cold from being outdoors for a couple of hours but we had an acai mission to complete and the cold weather wasn’t stopping us. I just copied Em’s order which was the “Bowl with the Lot”, which we then added the peanut butter sauce to and the 1/2 ace ice cream sandwich to. We then decided to share a slice of the sweet potato and turmeric mash on toast with pesto. I also ordered a match latte with almond milk to combat the cold! I probably wouldn’t order it again though. I thought it didn’t taste great. I think it might’ve been the almond milk.

But wow, what a step up the acai bowl was from their Mexican Fiesta Bowl! I suppose it wasn’t too difficult to create something better than that dish (I’m sorry I hate to be harsh but it was true, maybe I had a bad one). That thick creamy delicious acai blend together with all the crunchy toppings was just yum! I didn’t love the bliss ball on top. It was a bit boring but everything else was delicious (that Ice cream sandwich, wow!). It disappeared very quickly and it was a lot of food. Overall, a very good acai bowl. Then the toast arrived and boy, it was delicious. I’d never thought of smashing sweet potato and putting it on toast with pesto but that was incredible. I would definitely have that toast again. It got a thumbs up from all of us.

So yes, Soul Press redeemed themselves with their acai bowls and toast. If you’re going that’s what you should go for. I am tempted to try some of their more foodie dishes to see if any of the others are better. Then of course I’d like to try a couple more of their bowls. So much to get through!

Feeding lambs

Em is getting her driver’s license and needs to get a certain amount of hours of driving until then so she took the wheel!
Preparing the milk solution for the lambies

All good to go

How happy does cute animals make you?!

Our creation in the woodwork classroom haha

Hello my lovelies! Time has run away with me once again and here I am once more with a couple of days without posting anything. I get to a point where I’d rather wait another day and write properly rather than just throwing something on here for the sake of updating. What do you prefer?

Today marks a week in the house with Taylor and just under two weeks left of my stay here. So far so good. I’m really happy to have Taylor with me, she’s such a sweetie and a dream to take care of. Every evening we lie in front of the TV and snuggle. It’s great! I’ve really missed that about having a dog. She also gets me out walking without any distractions, which is really nice. Usually when I’m out I listen to music or a podcast but when I’m with her I just wander about with my thoughts whilst she’s sniffing. I’d also slightly forgotten how much your life is planned around your dog! Always keeping her at the back of your mind so she doesn’t go too long without a toilet break or company. Small things you don’t think about when you haven’t been a dog owner for a while.

Yesterday my gym friends Mich, Em and I drove down to another gym friend Paul’s (also known as PC) work to feed lambs. Paul works at a school and they have farm animals there. How amazing is that? Amongst the many things he does there he helps out with feeding the animals and yesterday morning it was his turn to feed the lambs. When asked if I wanted to come and see them I could not turn down such an opportunity. Who doesn’t love cute farm animals? We helped out making the milk solution for lambs and then got the incredible chance to bottle feed them. It was the cutest thing!

When looking and holding these cute little things loads of thoughts came up. Like how could I possibly eat you? I haven’t really been faced with a lot of farm animals since I stopped eating meat and I was a bit caught off guard when it came up when I was standing there. I used to eat lamb. I used to love lamb. My curry of choice when ordering Indian used to be with lamb. Now I couldn’t do it. I’m not saying that I’ll never eat meat again because things change and I don’t like putting barriers on what I can and can’t do, of who I am or not, but as it feels now I’m not tempted at all by the thought of meat. I love little lambs and want them to run around in the fields, not end up on my plate. That’s of course only personal reflections and preferences, each to their own but it was an eye opening experience facing these animals from a different point of view than before. I feel more at ease and like I’m true to my beliefs when I don’t eat meat because I couldn’t bare the thought of killing a lamb or a cow myself in order to eat it.

After feeding and petting lambs we carried on to look at the other animals on their little farm. I got to see alpacas up close for the first time ever. They’re such funny looking animals I think! Luckily they didn’t spit on us as they’re so renowned for doing luckily! Then we moved on to the hen house, not my favourite part I’ve got to admit. For those who don’t know, I’m a bit scared of birds or they just make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know why haha.

We then headed to PC’s classroom where he teaches woodwork. Goodness, that took me back to the school days in Sweden. We made a little lego head out of plastic pieces we cut out on one of the machines. It was a team effort of Em doing the hair, Mich the eyes and me the mouth. He’s now in Red Bluff by the whiteboard.

At this point I was starving, I only had a small nibble for breakfast in the morning so we headed for some food at Soul Press (a blog post of that will be up soon!) before it was time for another stop on our little day trip, the piercing salon. Em had been wanting to get her nose pierced for a while and when she said she was going I figured I’d get my left ear done. I’ve been thinking about getting two more holes done in my ear lobe for a long time. I even told myself I’d do it when Rainhill was over as a present for myself for competing but just never did it. Therefore I thought why not now when we were going anyway? Was it painful? Yes a bit but it was over quickly and I’m so happy to have had it done. It felt special having it done with my friends here in Melbourne. I can’t wait for the holes to heal so I can get some new earrings in. I think it’ll look really good! Fun to try something new.

Mich, Em and I then waved bye to PC and headed back to pick up the dogs (Mich and Em have a dog and I’ve got Taylor). It was quite cramped in the car with all of them but we made it work! We had a nice long walk in Dendy Park with all of them. The dogs were so happy and I was glad Taylor got a chance to socialise and run off the lead for a bit. She’s an oldie so we don’t get very far on our walks and I know how much she loves going to Dendy Park so it was great Mich offered to drive us all.

The day finished off with a Friday night gym session. Em, Mich, Matty and I did an interesting workout where you did 50 cal row to start then did 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of squat cleans and handstand push ups. The weight for girls on the cleans was 75lbs if I remember correctly. The handstand push ups got juicy towards the end! Then once you’d done all of those reps you had to finish with another 50 cal on the rower. Then we did an ab circuit, it killed my core haha. We were all struggling towards the end!  Em and I practised some toes to bar and double unders before it was time to head home. I didn’t think I did much but now writing it all it was quite a productive evening!

At the moment as I’m typing this it’s Saturday afternoon. This morning we had a good session in the gym of overhead squats. We were meant to find our three rep max. My upper body is feeling quite tired after a heavy weak for the shoulders and arms but I still managed a new three max at about 50kg! I was thrilled. We then did a workout of snatches and muscle ups (kipping pull ups for me) and I got blood blister in both my hands hehe. Painful! At least I didn’t rip.

Oh yeah, speaking of PBs and the other day I got a new three rep max on my deadlift at about1 06kg! My previous three rep max was about 98kg for my Rainhill seeding and that was a massive struggle for me even with a belt on. This time around I had no belt and it felt manageable, my technique went a little bit but that happens with the heavier lifts sometimes. I feel like I’ve gradually been doing a lot of improvements these past couple of weeks and I’m getting stronger. It’s a great feeling!

Speak soon, M xxx