1 Jul 2015

Eating Out // Ironqiue, Mt Eden

We live literally just up the road from Ironique in Mt Eden, Auckland and it was the first place that Laura and I had brunch together. It's a small shop front in the village. If you blink you'll miss it, but the cafe stretches out to a beautiful courtyard at the back and has plenty of space.
So Michael and I decided to stop in for brunch one Sunday afternoon to test out my new camera.

We went around 11am and found Ironique to be quite quiet for a Sunday but the weather may have been to blame for that. We opted to sit outside in the courtyard as it's partly covered and they have heaters available for chilly winter days.
After fighting our way through the birds that settle in for an easy feed, we found a table easily and ordered a Peach Iced Tea and a Berry Mixed Smoothie. Both drinks were served in mason jars with straws which makes my heart very happy. I don't like drinking straight from a glass so if a cafe or restaurant offers me a straw, I will instantly pledge my loyalty to them.
Unfortunately you have to order at the bar as there's no table service. This can sometimes cause a bit of a traffic jam inside and the queue is normally really long. If Ironique introduced table service, it would make me a very happy woman.

I'm a sucker for a good eggs bene and I know that Ironique do a very good bacon or salmon version. I opted for bacon and Michael had their big Kiwi breakfast. He doesn't eat mushrooms or tomatoes so he opted out of the grilled tomato and ordered the mushrooms on the side for me.
The wait for food is never too long which is good and there are plenty of sweet and savoury cabinet options for you to choose from if you really can't wait.
Ironique has some of the best decor I've seen. They've used rustic pieces of iron and scrap metal to create their door handles and the bathroom sink is a metal bucket set in a beautiful wooden unit with bare light bulbs. It's one of the best parts of going to Ironique, the unique setting is great.

Our food arrived and it was very well presented.
My eggs were cooked beautifully and there was a good ration of bacon, toast, egg and spinach to make every mouthful delicious. Michael's breakfast looked amazing. It disappeared very quickly. I tried some of his scrambled eggs and they were creamy and cheesy and just right.
Our waitress was also really nice and friendly. I've never seen any of the staff sour faced at Ironique so they must be doing something right.

I'll be going back as often as possible.
We've also had lunch at Ironique and thoroughly enjoyed it. We like to visit for brunch so that friends and family that accompany us can choose between something breakfast like or lunch option if they're looking for something to keep them fuller for longer.
I would recommend Ironique to all walks of people and suggest you give it a go.

Have you been to Ironique?
Would you go back? Or do you have a favourite Auckland brunch spot?

25 Jun 2015

Fit June // Elle from Green+Aquamarine on Yoga

If you don't know Elle from Green+Aquamarine then you should definitely head over to her blog for a read. She's kindly written a guest post for me for Fit June on her yoga practices as this is something that I'm incredibly interested in and something we've talked about quite a bit. Despite Elle being in the UK and myself being in New Zealand, yoga is a topic we have in common and isn't it awesome when you find something like that?
Don't forget to check out her social media pages and to like her new Facebook page for yoga updates and fantastic healthy tips and tricks.

Yoga is a big part of my life. I love exploring all kinds of fitness, activity and healthy living, and I find that yoga is always more core driver and inspiration, both physically and mentally. From a gymnastics background, I came to yoga two years or so ago, although it feels much longer! I joined my mum in going to a local Sun Power yoga class and have been hooked since. I started building up a home practice when I had a few months where I couldn’t attend classes before tentatively starting a few photo-a-day Instagram challenges. Now logging on to an online class, or practicing from my head is a commonplace thing for me, as is snapping a few photos of myself in a pose!

At the moment, I rarely have a set routine, so my practice reflects that. At university, I will likely practice yoga in the afternoon or evening, after lectures and perhaps a morning workout. When at home, it can be even more varied! Morning yoga is really energising, but I like to practice invigorating flows at any time of the day, or relaxing flows in the evening. Yoga is flexible like that! I have been working right on the coast this month and have taken the opportunity to practice on the beach on the mornings, which is one of my favourite things to do these days.

I know that I am not ultra bendy as some yogi’s out there, or able to lift into all the tricky inversions. But the best thing is, that doesn’t matter. I love seeing myself progress, and the whole point of yoga is that you feel the benefit from a pose, regardless of how deep into it you can go.

Getting into yoga as a beginner, like any sport or activity, can be daunting, but if you are curious I urge you to give it a go! Many classes are aimed at mixed ages and abilities, so there is no need to feel embarrassed.  Your yoga teacher honestly won’t care if you aren’t in head-to-toe Lululemons and doing the splits. If you are lucky enough to have a choice of teachers, give a couple of classes a few goes each to see if there is a style of yoga or teacher that you connect with. Alternatively, start a home practice and go online. This is a cheaper and a potentially less daunting option, but do be aware that a computer screen can’t check and adjust your posture like a real life teacher can! There are some great teachers on You Tube –give my fellow blogger Jayne at JayneBecca Yoga, a follow for some great Vinyasa sequences. I also love Grokker, which is a website stuffed to the gills with yoga, cooking and fitness vidoes. The free subscription entitles you to watch a couple of vidoes per week, and both Grokker and another website, Yoga Collective, offer premium subscriptions that give you complete access to even more online classes. I find the best thing to do would be learn a few basic sequences that you can do anywhere, and find some 20-30 minute online classes that you like to practice.

Yoga surprises many people by making its way into their lives unexpectedly. I’d really recommend giving it a go and seeing where it takes you.

If you have any questions regarding Elle's practice, please pop them in the comments below and I'll make sure Elle is notified of them.

20 Jun 2015

Fit June // Deliciously Ella Review

Well done to everyone who is nearly done with Junk Free June!
Unfortunately we all know that it is the last hurdle that really counts and while you may be on the home stretch, it feels like a long way to go. But never fear! Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella is here to save you with her new cookbook.
Inside you'll find recipes for healthy sweet potato brownies and delicious smoothies bursting with goodness that tastes like dessert.

If you've never heard of Ella then here's a little run down.
Ella is currently training in London as a nutritionist and runs her blog to help people ditch the bad processed foods and sugar and indulge in a healthier lifestyle. Ella had a lot of health problems before she started cutting these foods out and now she has managed to keep her conditions mainly under control. You'll definitely hear Ella singing the praises of natural and whole food as these were the tools she used to get better.
As well as delicious recipes, Ella is good at educating her audience about the food they put in their bodies. She wants you to know that being healthy does not mean being hungry and denying yourself what you crave. You can get it in other ways.

I've long followed Ella's blog and I follow her on Instagram too.
She's a really inspiring person with a lot of good ideals. She's also very open and honest about her life style and how she feels. Recently she posted on Instagram about feeling a bit depressed and anxious about life despite being incredibly lucky with everything she has. That kind of raw honesty is incredibly important in this day and age and I salute her for taking the step and telling people about the hard times as well as the good.

You can pick this delicious book up at all good bookstores at around $29.99.
While this will most definitely help you through the rest of Junk Free June, Ella's book will become a staple on your shelf for years to come with everything from breakfast options to side dishes and desserts.
You'll find beautiful photos and delicious looking meals but you'll also find a lot of nutritional information inside these pages. Ella talks about her journey (getting very personal at times) and why she uses different ingredients. She also kindly supplies you with a must-have kitchen equipment list which is super handy and means you won't be caught out without a gadget to do the job.
My favourite part of this cookbook is that by sharing her philosophy on food and giving you information regarding why she does things in the kitchen, Ella is giving you the power to make smarter choices in every day life. You can go forth and apply the logic behind these dishes to any situation.
Alternatively you can download Ella's app too.

Do you read Ella's blog and love her recipes?

I was provided this book by Hatchette New Zealand for review. I was not compensated for my opinion and any views expressed are honest and truthful and all my own.

9 Jun 2015

Fit June//Kate Ranfurly's Health Journey with Tips

Hi everyone! It's Kate from Lovingly Kate and Lovingly Kate Etsy fame!
As it's Junk Free June this month, health, diet and fitness is on a lot of people's minds (mine included.) When life gets busy, it's so easy to let your eating and exercise slip to the bottom of your priorities list but they are both so important for not only your physical, but mental state as well. I guess you can say I've been successful in achieving a healthy lifestyle, so Sam asked me to pop on over and share a little about my own journey and some of my favourite ways to exercise.

In 2012 I jumped on the scales for the first time in EVER and was pretty shocked at the number I saw. I've been bigger than most of my friends my whole life and was never really self conscious about my weight so I hadn't noticed that I was piling the weight on. After seeing that three digit number I knew that something had to change. It was just such a huge wake up call to the unhealthy lifestyle I had been living. Takeaways and heavy carb meals had replaced fruit and veges, and I hadn't been exercising enough to balance out all the crap I'd been eating. With health in mind (rather than weight or how I looked) I laced up my running shoes, cleaned out the junk in my kitchen and looked after myself. I never really had weight loss on my mind but thirty something kgs later, here I am and happier than ever. 

Exercise played a huge part in the whole process, so I thought I'd share with you my five favourite ways to exercise. Honestly, food is probably the main issue when it comes to weight gain so that's always the first thing that should be cleaned up. Feeling fit and being connected to your physical needs is amazing though, and it's really important to find forms of exercise that you love, so you have no excuses to not do it.

1. Running
This one is tricky because it's definitely a hate or love for most people. I remember when I was still in high school and walking every morning, and eventually I just got to a fitness level where it felt natural to start running. I couldn't believe how fast my fitness improved when I started running, and how quickly it changed my body as well. When I decided to give my life a health overhaul, the first thing I thought of was going for runs. At first I could barely run 100m, but now I'm running 5km regularly and absolutely loving it. It's such an easy thing to track as well, each time just run a little bit further, or a little bit faster.

2. Walking with a Friend
Exercise AND socialising? Sounds pretty perfect to me! I don't usually walk by myself, only because I feel like I should be running instead of walking, but I really love walking with friends (or with my fiance!) Going for a nice long walk, taking in the sights and catching up with a friend is always a great way to spend a couple of hours. Because it's low intensity, and you're enjoying someone else's company, it hardly feels like exercise but I find that it always leaves me feeling relaxed and happy.

3. Weights
I never thought I'd be into weights, but sometimes I get a bit sick of running - especially when it's cold or raining outside. While running is great for an all over body workout, there's something satisfying about just working one part of your body and really "feeling the burn." I had no idea where to start, but I invested in some free weights and asked a friend of mine to help me write out a program. I think it's really important to have a plan, otherwise by the time you've figured out what you're doing, chances are you've psyched yourself out.

4. Boxing
This was another one that I wasn't sure I'd ever like. I had always wanted to try it but it just seemed too intense for me. I paired up with a buddy who was a whole bunch fitter than me, but had also never done boxing and it was great to be going with someone who was of a similar skill level. There is nothing worse than going along and feeling completely out of your depth and totally uncomfortable. We went along to some BoxSlim (www.boxslim.co.nz) and absolutely loved it! They're a little different because instead of doing reps of each move, they come up with a combo that you have to keep repeating throughout a song. The great part is that the combo is in time to the music, which I find is a great motivator and just makes the whole class a bit more fun! 

5. Yoga
I'd always wanted to try yoga and decided to give it a go by watching a couple of videos online. I've fallen in love with Adriene from Yoga By Adriene (https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene) and have so far managed to get through a few of her videos. I'm normally used to exercise that's a bit higher intensity, but I've found that taking the time to just spend some time to look after my body, and really get to analyse how I'm feeling has been really beneficial to me. It's a great stress reliever, and I tell ya, it's actually hard work! I always finish up feeling really relaxed, light and even a little bit sore. I'm still planning on going to a few classes, just to really get that focus going and make sure I'm doing it right.

And there we go! There are so many forms of exercise, hundreds of different classes to try and it's really important to find things that you love, or at least like. When you HAVE to do something you hate, you'll never want to do it and I think that's why people often struggle to get into the routine of exercising. It's also important to try and not view exercising as "exercise" or a chore. I always have to remind myself why I'm doing it, and how I will feel afterwards because it's really easy to come up with excuses and lose that motivation. Make sure you have a plan, a routine, and a buddy always helps as well!