winging it mum

Working out in a 2012 Gym

Last year I decided to join a gym for so many reasons:

  • I wanted to be able to go for a walk pushing the kids in the pram and not sound like I was hiking up Mount Everest!
  • I wanted to feel my body ache because I chose to exercise and not just from hanging over the side of the cot for half the night!
  • I wanted to have energy and not just remember the good old days when I did!
  • I wanted to feel comfortable in my clothes again and not question if my clothes had shrunk!
  • I wanted to do something for me:)

A new gym was being promoted in our area and if I bought a two-year membership and paid up in cash (a few months before it opened) I would have myself a bargain foundation membership (please read foundation membership in a game show announcers voice – thanks) into the gym of the decade!!! A little too good to be true hey! Well all the above motivating factors took over and I did it. I “invested” a chunk of money into a gym membership. This is what some would call a “high risk” investment. I had a gym membership once upon a time way back in high school with a best friend and then for about 6 months while I was at Uni. So what had I been doing since – well I had seasons of netball, snowboarding, surfing and well then…………. kids? I lifted and chased them around all the time! But I wanted more!!!!!

Then my fabulous gym’s opening was delayed several times and finally opened 4 months late in January 2012. Please take note here that when I went to the gym it was back in the late 90’s, and then early 2001. Take a moment to think of the music of the day, 90’s exercise attire and well my reason to exercise back then. All of these things had changed dramatically. And for that I am thankful!

As I walked through the door of my new and shiny gym (when it finally opened) I felt like I had stepped into the future. I was given a tour by my personal trainer (included in my foundation membership) the gym was amazing. The space was open and light. There was every machine under the sun and it could tell me so many stats on my performance etc that made me spin, I could watch TV, listen to my chosen tunes; all whilst working out. There was even a rotating rock climbing wall – uhuh. There was a room full of exercise bikes – where you do a class of riding, there was a group dynamic studio (interesting name for aerobics room!), mind and body studio (yoga, Pilates etc) and performance training studio (boot camp, personal training area etc). There was even a child care space.

I looked around excited about what lay ahead and dreamed about my time at the gym.

After attending the gym for the last 5 months there are a few things I have noted about getting fit in the year 2012. I would like to share some of these observations with you:

  • It appears that people dress to impress when working out. Now this is something that I don’t really get: Lorna Jane! (sorry to single you out here). Let it be known I think your clothes look great but seriously those prices!!!!!!! I don’t get it as well. My aim when I get dressed and hit the gym is that I try to look bad (and I can achieve this look well). Yep! As I am forced to stand in a room with mirrors taking in my every angle. I am reminded why I am there. Plus I am too tight/thrifty to pay for expensive clothes that all I am going to do is sweat in! I would rather spend money on clothes that I will wear on a special night out or on every day clothes. It appears I may be alone in my thinking though;)
  •  Group classes aren’t just for the coordinated! All those who have participated in an “aerobics” class I want you to think of the person that seems to be working out to their own music, facing the wrong way and well free styling most of their moves. Some do this happily or others are sweating more from the humiliation then the workout! Ok, so that image sums me up! I blame this on me being left-handed and having to re-order my natural movements to the opposite side of my body and then get confused whilst doing this and looking in a mirror!! In 2012, the good news is there are heaps of classes out there for people like me!!! I am making an effort to try all the classes out, even some of the more dancier classes like Zumba, which I swore I would never to do! Yes, there have been times where my mind has had more of a work out then my poor body as I try to get some of the routines. I found the ultimate Zumba class where I had flash backs to my clubbing days and I felt like I was in a flash mob scene. I have found classes that stretch, push, challenge, exhaust and entertain me. However, I have also noted that some classes are being created to just be a little different and well I think some of these are trying a little too hard – no hard feelings gym stick!
  • Music has and hasn’t changed: I am loving hearing music with a good beat again. I am even learning lots of new songs – but the only problem is that now I associate these songs with sit ups, burpees and lifting hand weights;). The other day I was in a class where they played all of my favourite dance songs from back in my uni days. I had to bite my tongue before I sang along or yelled “ooh, ooh” whilst pointing to the ceiling and I must have looked like a sweating cheshire cat!
  • Women are encouraged to attend gyms: Included in my foundation membership, was 6 months free childcare! The fact that there is even a childcare space is cool. My change rooms have a plasma in them, showers like you find in a hotel, hair dryers and straighteners and a steam room. The styles of classes offered and their timetable factor in women. My gym is a unisex one and it does all of this! Very impressive:) Huge advancements from the 90’s.
  • Motivation still falls on you: Despite the brilliance and advancements found in the 2012 gym, motivation still falls on your own shoulders. From my gym iPhone app I can set a reminder on my phone to tell me to leave for a particular class but it can’t push me out the door to get there. As a mother of two young kids, I am finding that my motivation to get out and attend a class can be there (and  extra strong depending on the day we have had – haha) but sometimes sick kids, sleep deprivation, full childcare etc can prevent me from attending the gym. This is frustrating! But also encouraging and motivating for me in itself because I am sad that I miss my workout and not relieved – proving I am motivated!!

All in all the advancements of the 2012 Gym are great and they have definitely encouraged me an accustomed couch warmer to get up and get fit! So I thankyou 2012 Gym for helping me to get active, energised and helping me to feel so much better. I am also enjoying the social side of the working out with new and old friends. I had put off getting fit for so long, then I had kids and that also stopped me. If this is you can I encourage you to do whatever it takes to look at fitting exercise into your personal and/or family routines. If you need some help with this read this helpful post from the planning with kids website. The gym may not be for you but don’t let that stop you from staying healthy.

Leave a comment and share how you exercise in 2012! Lets encourage each other HERE  people (and especially now it’s Winter, for those of us here in Australia)!

Em xx


What puts a smile on your dial?

So since last Wednesday sickness has struck the kids of our house (and hopefully no one else)! This little cold didn’t strike and knock then down in the dramatic fashion that most do. It has been more a of a slow progressing and annoying cold ending with a dramatic all-consuming cough. So needless to say that some of our days have been long and exhausting. My poor little ones:( Jas is on the home stretch and poor little Elijah was struck worse and not yet recovered!

After quite a protest and struggle to get Elijah to have his day sleep (out of character), I was exhausted and a little flat. After seeing a friend’s Facebook status and seeing how much she loved this week’s New Girl episode,  I decided to watch the it too (Season 1 – Episode 17). The housework could wait. This is a series that I have watched from time to time and have really enjoyed and Brett decided to record it for me as we were going out. There is something about the characters of the show and in particular Jess, that I really like.   In this episode Jess was soaked from an out of control Bidet.

Thanks Jess!

All of a sudden I was transported to a different time and place where I too had a similar experience. I was in South Korea, visiting a teacher’s family home (from the school I was doing my teaching rounds at). Her elderly parents and middle-aged siblings had never met a westerner  – sorry I think I tarnished our reputation.

I needed the toilet and was shown where to go. Upon entry I knew I was in trouble. It was a small room. If I sat on the toilet, I could in fact turn on the shower and actually start to wash myself whilst on the throne. And even wash my hands in the basin! After assessing all of that in seconds I decided to mount the throne, only to take a second look at the control panel next to me covered in Korean writing and with at least 10 buttons on it. Having previously lived in and travelled throughout Asia I had never experienced such a control pad. Not one button explained to me its function  – not even a power on etc. I suddenly longed for the previously dreaded squat toilet!  I did my business and then my automatic pilot kicked in and I dropped my toilet paper in the bowl. OH NO! (in Asia usually the used paper would be put in a bin). So now not only did I have to get rid of my business but also the toilet paper!!! It took me ages before I did the inevitable; working my way through each and every button on the pad (TWICE, yep thought I may have missed a button).

Not as high tech as the toilet/bidet I used!

With each button a new and thrilling water spectacular happened, all it was missing was an accompanying laser light show. There were some sprays that were so big I screamed as I tried to dodge them. Some I managed to avoid, only to hear the sound of water hitting the tiled wall opposite! But at least half of them sprayed onto my white shirt. Yep!

Time check: Ok, so I had been in there about 10 minutes with no toilet flush, rather silence accompanied by very loud screams and the sound of water hitting the tiles. I can only imagine the faces of the family outside who could only hear me. After a while I gave in and had to call in the teacher to help me with the fundamental task of flushing the toilet. She entered to find a wet shirt competition in play, in a saturated bathroom, with the bonus of toilet paper and my business in her loo! Yep, I half laughed as I explained my problem. Then she leant over to the other side of the toilet and pulled down the lever that was so obviously attached to the side of the toilet and then flushed it. Ok, a new level of red washed over my face. I had flushed toilets like this so many times. But I saw the pad and panicked not even looking for a normal flusher! Upon leaving the bathroom, my friend spoke in Korean to her family members who all began to laugh – maybe the same embarrassed laugh I had just laughed! I would have loved to have had subtitles flash before me as she explained the antics of this crazy saturated, red-faced Westerner! Like I said I may have tarnished our reputation;)

Thankyou Gub, New Girl and Brett for reminding me of that hilarious experience! Extra shout out to New girl for the tears of laughter that came out of my eyes later in the episode. I guess what this reminded me of was the importance of humour. When the kids are sick I do anything I can to make them feel better. I give them extra cuddles, their favourite foods, the TV is on more than ever and I try my best to make them laugh by tickling them in their favourite spots etc. All of this is done for the purpose of cheering them up. As Mothers, I think we can become so fixated on our children that we lose sight of the importance of taking time out for us. When Elijah awoke from his nap he found a fresh and happy Mum all because I took some time out and better still had a laugh!

So what is it that could put a smile on your dial? Break you out of the flat, tired state that we can sometimes find ourselves in. Have you had a similar experience lately?

For me sometimes it’s a TV show, reading, doing craft, writing this blog or the latest using Pinterest. Give it some thought and arm yourself with these tools. You never know when you will need it. Just be aware that the more you do this the more refreshed you will feel and therefore the better mothering you can offer.

I should end with a joke here so you can practice smiling.

Here is Jasmine’s favourite joke at the moment:

Knock, Knock

Who’s there?


Arch who

Bless you 🙂

Em xx


Thrifty Thursday #4

So it’s Thursday and time to share some new-found bargains!

Bargain Boots

In the land of Oz we are heading into Winter, in Melbourne it would appear lately that we are well and truly there already!!!! Recently, I was doing my weekly shop at Coles and I was shocked to find little desert boots for $2.50 a pair! Crazy hey!!!! So we bought 2 pairs; one for Jas and one for Elijah! Each pair came with a set of spare laces. Jas wore her’s for the first time today and even scored a few compliments, to which I had to tell them how cheap they were!! They came in Pink, Grey and Navy. Rookie mistake; I should have applied a suede shoe protector spray before Jas wore them as they are already marked. They are still in Coles stores until stocks run out. When I was there I saw they had sizes 6-9. Not sure if other sizes are available? But it’s definitely worth grabbing a few pairs if you can find the size you need.

Family Friendly recipes

Those who know me, know I need inspiration when it comes to cooking for my family. There is a magazine that I have purchased recently that I never thought I would – it’s Family Circle. It was recommended by a friend and last winter. I secretly (well no longer a secret) love the recipes. They are simple, delicious and the ingredients are often ones I have already or would normally buy. The magazine only comes out twice a year; a winter and a summer/Christmas edition. This edition’s recipes include indulgent choc/caramel desserts (wouldn’t serve them to my kids as I try to limit their sugar intake but I love it!), crumbles and tarts, savoury pies and tarts, filling soups, roasts, award-winning potatoes, lots of vegetarian meals, pasta and comforting casseroles. All for just $5.95! Not bad and worth checking out:)

Price check!!!!!

Here is an activity that I have started to play with the kids and they love it!!! Jas has a toy cash register that scans, it has a microphone for price checks and full of (now torn) play money. We go to our pantry and take out canned items, boxed items, bagged goods and set up a little store. We haven’t done it with fresh produce yet but I plan to. Then we take turns being a “shopper”, with their helpful “child”and a “cashier”. They select, scan, make announcements (that constantly crack me up), take the money, bag the goods etc. we used to do this with their toy food and other toys in the area pretending they had a bar code. This new game they love as its so realistic and every item has a bar code to scan. I love using real and heavy items not using empty cereal boxes etc. It also makes me look through my canned goods stock taking my items as I go:) They seriously love this game and it’s a great one to play on a wet and rainy day. This is cheap entertainment at its best:)

Price Check on soup, price check!

My stash from the Baby and Kids Market

As mentioned previously, I went to the Blackburn Baby and Kids market on Saturday. I normally go to these markets alone but I took Jas this time and met my mum there. We got there before it opened and queued up (always a good sign). Jas made the first purchase of the day using her savings and bought some 50 cent fairy wings! That’s my girl xx I love snapping up seasonally appropriate items at these markets; we got a retro ski suit for Elijah and a couple of gorgeous and warm jackets for the kids. I even managed to buy some birthday gifts. They had a new book stall selling Usborne books, we love those books. Best thing about these markets is knowing I have helped a family recoup some cash, made sustainable spending choices, saved some cash and had fun rummaging! It was great to bump into lots of friends there too. Look for second-hand markets in your local area and get amongst it;)

Hope you too have had some thrifty luck lately! Tell me about your bargains!

Em xx

PS Fresh off the press a lovely friend at Living Simply But Well is also experiencing Thrifty Thursday moments check it out here

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Thrifty Thursday – Market to market to buy a ……..

It’s been ages since I have posted a Thrifty Thursday post. My husband may laugh at me using the words thrifty and markets together in the one heading but I think I save money shopping at markets!!

Let me explain/justify myself:

  1. At farmers markets I can buy fresh produce from the farmers direct, rather than buying fruit and vegetables that may have been stored or in transit for a period of time
  2. I can support local business, crafters, designers and charities through my purchases or entry fees paid.
  3. I can go to a market and find a one of a kind, unique, vintage or handmade item. Yes, these can be pricey but saves me traipsing through the shops tired of seeing the same old same old stuff ie wasting my time and then me settling on something that the person already has – Are you with me on this?
  4. At second hand markets I can reuse others people’s trash and make it my treasure which helps the environment in sooooo many ways. Also grab bargains of items that appear brand new!

Justification aside, its safe to say I love markets. Markets excite me. I love all types of markets, really I’m not fussy!!!! Farmers markets, craft markets, baby & kids markets, church or school fêtes – I could go on. For just under 2 years we lived in Taiwan. Those in the know understand how my love for markets grew living there and traveling around Asia in particular! Taiwan is famous for its night markets and all the special snacks you can only buy at them. I loved the clothes, accessories and random things we’d find at them.

These days back in Melbourne I am still in love with markets! I go to a huge variety of markets but below are a few that I have been to and liked! Click on the underlined words to read more from the market’s websites. Some of these markets you may know and perhaps there will be some newbies for you:

  1. Baby and kids Markets – This is a well known market that travels to different venues across all of the states and ACT. I have grabbed, bought and browsed through several of the venues that they hold their markets at. They are busy and the earlier you get there the better bargains you can find. The majority of stall holders sell used items clothing, furniture, prams, equipment, toys and books. However, there are also some stall holders that sell new items too. I love being able to buy all the expensive brand names but at bargain prices!!! The beauty of these markets is that no two markets are ever the same! Come with me to the next on in Melbourne it will be held in Blackburn (at One Community Church) on the 12th of May – but don’t grab what I want;) read more about it here! Only draw back is they do charge $4 per adult for entry but kids are free!
  2. Matilda’s Market – Ok so this isn’t the cheapest children’s market but this is the kind of market where you can find something special, unique or original. I don’t leave this market with lots of full bags but I have bought some beautiful items and been inspired by things I’ve seen etc. It’s a great market for gifts or special outfits. Their website is good too and has lots of interesting stuff to be found there. The next Melbourne Market is the 29th July and they are found in other states too.
  3. The Finders keepers – Love, love, love this market but sadly missed their recent one:( and they only have two a year! This market has a great mix of beautiful designed items for adults, children and the home. Only problem is I leave this market wishing I had unlimited funds;) There next Melbourne isn’t until Oct:( varied prices are found at this market:)? This market is in Brisbane and Sydney too!
  4. Magnolia Square – Another lovely market but not full of just kids stuff. It’s a smaller market than the others I’ve listed but still full of lovely gift ideas. It’s on From the 3-5th May at the Malvern Town Hall. Again not a cheap market though! Melbourne only market.
  5. Melbourne Design Market -This is another great market held in the car park at Federation square I like this one as it showcases Melbourne Designers a lot of who are launching their businesses etc. Next one is on the 29th July.
  6. Skirt & Shirt Market – Held the third Sunday of every month at the Abbortsford convent I am a fan of this market but don’t get there often. The next market is the 20th of May.
  7. Warrandyte community craft market – This market is on the 1st Saturday of the month. It has local craft, amazing cards (best stall Indigo and Rose -when they are there!) and good produce too!
  8. Red Hill Community Market – Massive craft market with very regular stalls. First Saturday of the month from September through to May.
  9. Camberwell Sunday Market – Run by the Rotary club, this is a large outdoor second hand market (with some new good sold too) that is on every Sunday (except the Sunday before Christmas!) Check it out!!!
  10. Farmers Markets – I don’t have a regular market I go to (but I would love one!) but we always stop when we see one. What are your favourite farmer’s markets, especially if you are a Melbournian?
  11. Local Markets or Fêtes – These are the gems that you find advertised in your local paper or on real-estate sponsored boards in your local area. I love to support these and these are the ones we love to go to as a family.

As soon as I post this I will think of more but these are a few to check out! What have I missed?

What kind of markets do you like?

Happy Market going guys!

Em xx



Mixing it up – Surprise dates

A new tradition has started at our place! We are planning monthly surprises for each other. Brett led the way and the bar was set high. My “special treat” night last month involved a restaurant called Cutler & Co. We had an amazing meal and Brett’s highlight of the dinner was his dessert – now that’s saying something as he doesn’t really have a sweet tooth! Then we went off to SmartBar at the Melbourne Museum where we got to see an adults only glimpse of the museum, whilst sipping on a champers and listening to cool beats! A fun night:) I even bumped into one of my besties!

So this month I decided to plan Brett a surprise and here birthed our new tradition – planning and delivering surprise dates. We hit the Melbourne comedy festival to see “Anyone for Tennis”. Chosen because it was musical comedy; something Brett enjoys- they were good but definitely some cringy moments – Why do stand up comedians constantly take things too far? Anyway it was in the council chambers in the Melbourne Town Hall a cool venue in its self. Overall, we rated the show as good.

We then went for a walk to 7/11 (how good am I at planning surprises!). I left Brett staring at the LED messages at federation square as I made a dash inside to get our $5 bike helmets! (thanks for subsidizing this City of Melbourne). Yep, we were taking it to the streets thanks to Melbourne Bike Share. This to me was the highlight of the night. Hopping onto our bikes with no set plan, riding off into the dark and happy it was dark as I wobbled on my way:) Melbourne Bike Share is now a new favorite thing of mine to do in the city. A day pass is $2.60. With a mere swipe of your credit card and by keying in a special code you and your new bike are free to ride! Then in theory if you take just half hour trips it’s free from there but if you take longer trips more charges apply. This was a random and fun thing to do in order to get to our restaurant which was over near Crown. The bikes were great. There is even a cool iPhone app called Spotcycle that actually shows you where the closest bike share location is and how many bikes are there at any given time! In the future I plan to ride around the city in a day taking lots of little rides to my favorite places! Yes, I could take in my bike but I enjoyed the adventure and having to watch the clock, it made me feel like I was in the amazing race or something! We decided to not return the helmets as we might ride again after dinner, we could have returned them and got $3 back.

With our helmets under our arms and our newly formed helmet hair we hit Number 8 our restaurant for the night! Needless to say we were the only ones in there with helmets!!! We enjoyed a great dinner and dessert topped it off for me their Chocolate Biscuit (an inspired chocolate fondant) is the dearest but yumiest biscuit around;)

What I love about our newly claimed tradition is the thought that goes into the night is solely focusing on doing and planning something that your better half will love! They are your focus and showing them that you love them is the purpose! I don’t want these nights to always be expensive nights out but rather extravagant expressions of love is what I want! Sometimes the most thoughtful expressions don’t cost a thing! I like that it will be once a month because it is achievable and we will alternate planning them so we get extra time to plan (although I will do next month also as it’s Brett’s Birthday).

Give it a go! Plan a loving surprise for someone special in your world! And let me know what you did -I would love some inspiration;)

Em xx