FIFIFRIZZLE's SparkPeople Blog FIFIFRIZZLE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Mixing it up a little Even though the days are getting longer and I am enjoying the light mornings, it,s still dark outside right now. I do love this time of year when we naturally wake early and have time to inhabit the mornng before heading to work. <BR> Though the breakfast steel cut oats have less appeal as the weather warms up. I guess it,s time for smoothies to come to the fore. Fruit and yoghurt... I am considering making a permanent switch to breakfast between 10am and 11. Anyone out there doing this? I,m... Thu, 15 Sep 2016 13:52:48 EST Thinking about Stoptember In Nz we have a Steptember challenge going where people raise money for charity by increasing their steps. September here is the first month of spring, although we have had a wonderfully mild winter and the last month has had some lovely weather. <BR> I,ve been picking up my exercise as my injured knee allows, but I'm not up for a Steptember challenge this month. <BR> So I might make it Stoptember. DH and I have been considering stopping drinking alcohol for the month...unfortunately his birt... Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:16:34 EST Food blog: Grab and go lunches Warning, trigger food maybe mentioned here. <BR> <BR> This morning is one of my batch cooking days. i got a head start yesterday when I made a chicken vegetable curry (chicken, pineapple, cauli, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, beans and corn briefly fired in coconut oil in a spicy tomato and spinach sauce), which we had for dinner last night. I've frozen two more meals and like most curries and stews, they are the better for eating later.. <BR> <BR> Last night MyFoodBag with four vegetarian mea... Sun, 21 Aug 2016 19:49:00 EST Fish pie for OJ Fifi's fish pie, by request. <BR> Mash potatoes for topping. Preheat oven to 180 centigrade. Heat 2 cups trim milk with 2 bay leaves and 4 peppercorns. <BR> Gently fry celery and onions in butter. After 5 minutes add 1/4 c flour and some salt and cook until gritty. Strain infused milk into floury vegetables, stirring, and cook roux until thickened. Add white fish and smoked fish. (I grate in a carrot and add corn at this stage.) Cook for a few minutes then gently stir in a few handsful of ba... Tue, 16 Aug 2016 14:01:29 EST A feeling of virtue I exercised first thing this morning, a swim and water yoga. Felt so good. Was tempted to do more but decided to go easy. Just as well because on my return home I prepped and even cooked a few things. <BR> Prepped for Vegetarian stir fry tonight, cooked rice. Prepped a chicken stroganoff meal, and made fish pie. <BR> Several spare servings there for the freezer. <BR> <BR> I have the energy to cook in the morning, but am susceptible in the evening. So it is a good idea to have my soup pre ma... Mon, 15 Aug 2016 21:40:33 EST A pleasant surprise Yesterday was bright and mild. DH & I walked around the waterfront. Little boats were out in the harbour and there were many walkers. We both enjoyed our walk and promised to make it a regular feature. Nothing strenuous, just normal walking - it's good for my pesky knee. <BR> We visited with family on our way home and then had a slow day, which included a nap on the couch for us both. I made our MyFoodBag meal, it was no hassle to simply follow instructions. We decided we'd keep this up for a... Sun, 14 Aug 2016 18:31:23 EST A week in the life ... It's been cold - we have had frosts to the extent I have had to scrape the car windscreen. But ravishing days, and they are getting longer. Driving home around Oriental Bay the water is pink with the sunset, the Harbour fountain foams hyperwhite, and in the distance the snow covered Tararuas recall Queenstown. <BR> Today it is warmer and raining very heavily. I'm about to go for a swim. A nice thing to do when the weather is so rotten. <BR> The week has been full of Fifi maintenance - a heari... Fri, 12 Aug 2016 21:33:51 EST Busy busy with lovely treats It is freezing today, 3 degrees centigrade which is quite cool for us in Wellington, which is normally temperate in winter. Our island is not blanketed in snow but there's a fair amount about. I've had the washing out twice today but I give up now. <BR> <BR> I did have a proper excursion, to get a haircut. Alright, more than one hair. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I stayed in bed well into the morning, it was deliciously wickedly lazy. I feel so much better for it. <BR> <BR> What a pleasant few week... Tue, 9 Aug 2016 00:38:42 EST Doing things differently I've taken up Sudoku again. I got into the craze when it started in the West, then did them less often as I got busier, and more tired. <BR> When I'm tired, I don't do so well at sudoku. I am slower. My app tells me how long they take, so I can see my lacklustre performance. When I'm not doing well, it's a sign I need to rest. <BR> <BR> Except, now...instead of doing sudoku as quickly as I can, I have started to try to solve each square before I move to the next. Quite a different approach.... Mon, 1 Aug 2016 15:22:50 EST its all a matter of priorities i've done lots of fun things lately. On Sunday Dear Niece and I drove to the Manawatu to see the Frida Kahlo photographs exhibition. <BR> <BR> DN took some photos of her own as we were driving back along the coast road. The weather served us up severe gales and the sea was a boiling mass of white. Until DN sends her photos of the sea foam, here's what it was like <BR> <img src=""> ... Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:32:43 EST A working weekend Hi there, sparkadees <BR> <em>213</em> <BR> I know i have been quiet, but, boy have I been busy. Nothing very exciting. <BR> First, the knee is still strapped but definitely getting better. I have to use a stick for my 106 steps and that means the knee gets rested. I expect it will be fine in a week or two. <BR> <em>548</em> <BR> <BR> This weekend I have been cleaning up after DH who spruced up the bathroom in the bottom flat. It looks so much better but he didn't have time to get hi... Sun, 17 Jul 2016 02:00:26 EST Strapped I live up 106 steps, and they've been giving me a bit of trouble since I sprained my knee. After treating it myself with rice (rest, ice, compression, elevation, and exercise) and anti inflammatories I was getting nowhere. In fact, there were a few days when I wondered just how I was going to make it home. <BR> (Slowly, with rest breaks, is the answer.) <BR> So I went to the doctor and she sent me to a physio and the physio strapped my knee. <BR> What a difference! <BR> I was silly to leav... Fri, 8 Jul 2016 02:49:36 EST The winterless north, continued It has been so rainy here, and it's getting a bit cold. So I am going back in my mind to our April trip to the winterless north. Last travelblog we had spent a night at Omapere after a drivey sort of day, which concluded with a sundown swim. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Next morning we headed south for Ngunguru on the Tutukaka coast, where an old friend lives with her family. <BR> <BR> On our way south we stopped at a ... Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:56:04 EST Still drinking Hey there Sparkadees, checking in for the first time in a while. I've been logging in but keeping a low profile this month. Keeping up my hydration challenge, which has interacted a little with last month's sleep challenge, as might be expected. <BR> <em>211</em> <BR> But I have been sleeping well, and taking care of my rest and stress. Somehow hurt my leg and have had to take to propping it up and downing anti inflammatories. For the first time in nearly a week I feel up for water exerci... Sun, 26 Jun 2016 15:21:43 EST Drink up: wine o'clock That,s not quite what I had in mind for my hydrating June challenge, but I came home early today because my arms are overcooked from too much computer work. <BR> It's Friday, it can be wine o'clock, I am rereading the Cormaran Strike books, it is very windy here and when I look up I see the storm tossed tree in the window. Listening to Alberta Hunter except when the wind is particularly gusty. <BR> <em>181</em> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 00:27:53 EST Back to basics: Drink up Taking a leaf out of OverworkedJanet's book to focus on something each month. <BR> This month has been getting enough sleep. And it,s been more successful than I anticipated. I am feeling rested and relaxed, due to getting seven hours sleep most nights, with a few high points of eight hours, and a few failures. <BR> For me, going to bed earlier has turned out to be the key, and then seeking the opportunity to fall back asleep when I wake up. It has resulted in a consistent extra two hours' s... Mon, 30 May 2016 16:05:57 EST A good night's sleep I'm awake after a good night's sleep, I got 8 hours! Felt tired yesterday, did minimal activity beyond a bit of house tidying and a water workout. Went to bed on time and slept like a top, and woke refreshed. <BR> My sleep challenge this month has been a success, even if the month is not quite done yet. I've learned that I can sleep seven hours a night if I create the conditions and give myself the opportunity. I've also learned that success doesn't demand that I do every single thing on th... Sat, 28 May 2016 15:26:57 EST The winterless north - holiday continued. It's raining and I have spent the weekend reading John Le Carre's Smiley's People trilogy. It's hard to remember that hardly a month ago we were swimming in the sea. <BR> <BR> Last holiday blog we had made it to beautiful Ahipara at the base of 90 Mile Beach. But we didn't stay, because we needed to press on to catch the car ferry that plies between Kohukohu and Rawene. <BR> <BR> We arrived just at the right time, no waiting, and there was just room for us and one other. This is the kind ... Sun, 22 May 2016 04:05:47 EST The world of sleep My challenge this month is to improve my sleep and I am so pleased I started. It has surprised me how readily I have taken to more sleep. The last few nights I've woken in the small hours, and whereas in the past I would accept that it was all over and not try to return to Sleepytown, I have changed my approach. I wake, I read a little, and at the first hint I might be able to snooze, I turn off my iPad and give it a go. <BR> It is a real pleasure to wake three hours later, count up my slee... Thu, 19 May 2016 14:45:21 EST How Fifi found her FitBit I got in touch with the FitBit folk. They suggested I try to sync my FitBit down in the garden. <BR> So I went down to where I thought I had lost it, and Lo, it tried to sync to my iPhone. I knew it was somewhere nearby, but where? <BR> Three huge fadges of ivy later, no luck. So I moved around the garden trying to sync it, and there it was, in amongst the bark. <BR> Oh frabjius day, harroo, harray! What joy was mine! <BR> Off to the shop I went, and now I have a replacement. <BR> A happy en... Tue, 17 May 2016 01:10:19 EST FitBit woes You know Fifi loves her FitBit, right? <BR> Well, yesterday whilst gardening, the FitBit came undone. I looked for it as soon as I noticed it, but it's hard to see a black FitBit amongst the ivy and other major green debris we were taking to the dump. <BR> <BR> So I fear it is lost forever. <BR> <BR> To make matters worse, this FitBit was about to be replaced. It was a FitBit Charge, and the strap had been delaminating, so I asked for a repair or replacement. The store wouldn't repair a... Sun, 15 May 2016 21:38:38 EST Feeble Beck Check I am off to a slow start on the Beck Check committment but I know it will gain traction if I just hang in there. So here is my feeble Beck Check number two. <BR> <BR> I have sat to eat nearly every time. <BR> I have planned my meals 60% of the time. DH is in charge of a lot of meals at the moment and I am in his hands. But my lunches and some dinners are up to me. I am turning to the idea of planning my food again, I used to resist it but this Beck Check has reminded me, actually, planning m... Sat, 14 May 2016 16:09:57 EST A good rub down helps this stress bunny I was a bit stiff after my Thursday pool session, in a good way. I love that creaky feeling the day after an exercise session. <BR> Yesterday I had a Bowen Therapy session scheduled, to help me cope with some physical problems I am having at work. Bowen is a very gentle form of massage performed while you are fully clothed. See my blog about the Sausages of Bowen for more. <BR> I've only had a few sessions over the last couple of months, interspersed with a holiday trip, and last session I c... Fri, 13 May 2016 16:08:36 EST An old friend Thursday night is ladies' night at the programmes pool. It's a warm pool used for swimming lessons. It has just one lane, and you sure need it, because it is full of women and children behaving randomly as they enjoy the pool away from the male gaze. <BR> I work Wednesday to Friday, and despite thinkng I might exercise, I get tired and want just to go home after work. But last night I had a date to meet my DN in the pool on ladies night. So I had to go. She was there when I arrived. We had a ... Thu, 12 May 2016 14:20:50 EST Slept! Even though it is early in the morning, I had eight hours sleep last night. This is pretty much unheard of for me. <BR> How did I do it? I simply went to bed very early. <BR> I was exhausted from work. On getting home, did ten minutes on my mini tramp, just to relax the muscles and boost the lymph system. Had a very light dinner, sat reading for a while too tired to do anything else. Then DH put some ghastly program on TV so despite the early hour I went to bed. <BR> Even if it seems like ... Wed, 11 May 2016 13:24:11 EST Busy busy check in I've been so busy! I just spent some time catching up on blogs. Still haven't got round everyone yet. I'm still here, but too busy to blog on work days, and a lot of my days are work days at the moment. <BR> <BR> The new tenants are camping in the flat until they head off in a few days for a long overseas trip. They didn't want to pay rent for the time they are away, so they have stored their stuff in one room and their tenancy begins on their return. <BR> We are taking the opportunity of n... Mon, 9 May 2016 15:52:01 EST A Northern holiday continued Do you feel like a virtual break in New Zealand? Last post about our northern holiday we were in Kerikeri, one of the country's earliest sites of European settlement. There's a 5 minute talk on the Mission settlement at: <BR> <BR> missionaries-and-muskets-kerikeri <BR> We went on to Omapere, on the west coast. The direct route Kerikeri to Opononi/Omapere is only 85 km, but we took five hours going the long way. First we went north via Mangonui, aiming for a f... Sun, 8 May 2016 19:09:45 EST A rude awakening I woke early with cramp, ouchy! I was so sleepy last night, I went to bed early without my Mg citrate drink. Must remember to take it regardless because this is the first time I've had cramp this week. <BR> Sleep focus this week has been sporadic but it's good I am focusing on it. Have had a few late nights yet my sleep has been high quality and ranging from 6-7 hours. Tonight I will do everything right. <BR> It's interesting that my first week of the sleep challenge has been so anomalous. L... Fri, 6 May 2016 12:22:32 EST Sleep and swimsuit fatigue My sleep challenge has got off to a slow start. After beginning early, I've had two anomalous nights. On one, we had guests which made for a long night, didn't get to bed until late and the wine I drank made for a less than optimal sleep. Then last night I made an exception to watch a rerun of the film 'Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy', which finished late. <BR> I certainly didn't regret this. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> W... Mon, 2 May 2016 15:22:55 EST Kerikeri continued Last holiday blog was our first day at Kerikeri on the beginning of our northern holiday. The next day, in the warm rain, we visited the Kerikeri Mission Station. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> It was established just a few years after the Napoleonic Wars, in 1819. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The station was established by the Church Mi... Sun, 1 May 2016 19:23:42 EST Snoozing to lose it in May How did you sleep last night, Sparkies? <BR> I started my sleep challenge early last night, and went to bed at 10 pm. Slept wonderfully until 4.30 and that's OK, I consider 6 hours plenty though I'd like to get a consistent 7. <BR> Watermellen mentioned Jessa Gamble on polyphasic sleep and I googled her. She is a sleep researcher and in her TED talk she describes a natural pattern of sleep interrupted by wakefulness. <BR> Some people significantly cut down their sleep and substitute severa... Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:51:58 EST Planning for next month It's the last day of the month and I am contemplating new steps for May. Overworked Janet has been Behaving in April but I've been holidaying, zooming around the country side. I needed that break, for sure, and have come back refreshed, and still have some remnants after my first week back at work. I'll blog more about my holiday because I want to hang onto it. <BR> <BR> I like Miss Behaving's monthly themes, it seems like such a good way to focus. So I'm taking a leaf out of her book, and ... Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:14:09 EST 250 days since I began Becking And a confession to make. I love Beck pink. I worked it good! Then was all set for Beck Blue in January. Started, got to my most important issue...Uh Oh! <BR> It was a total washout. Somehow I couldn't connect at all with it. <BR> Struggled to persist and gave up. <BR> <em>24</em> <BR> <BR> I had trouble finishing Beck Pink the first time. But it was worth it. SO worth it. <BR> And, golly do I hate making a commitment and not following through. <BR> Now I am reconsidering. <BR> <BR> Do... Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:00:53 EST Gone up north for a while. In earlier times girls "went up north for a while" to bear babies born out of wedlock. In the 1960s eight per cent of births were ex nuptial; whereas nowadays it is nearly 50 per cent in New Zealand. I think this might be quite different in other countries? Nowadays going up north just means what it says. <BR> <BR> We flew to Auckland, our largest city. Once clear of Auckland's motorway, we relaxed into the drive, headed for Whangarei, and Kerikeri a few hours away. Some parts of the countr... Tue, 26 Apr 2016 01:38:12 EST South Island sunsets west and east In the past Overworked Janet has commented that Maori is a tongue twister, and in fact many kiwis struggle to pronounce Maori. The vowels are pronounced in the same way as Italian vowels. So: the vowels a, e, i, o, u are pronounced as in: are, there, three, or, two. You can find a pronunciation guide here: <BR><BR>i-language-week/100-maori-words <BR> <BR> We stayed in a hotel on the beach in Hokitika. We enjoyed watching the slow descent of the sun in... Mon, 25 Apr 2016 00:01:32 EST A trip to the West Coast A few of my Sparkbuddies have asked about my holiday, and I downloaded some pictures today. So here is a blog about the first part of my trip, where we traveled to the South Island for a few days. Our first day was from Wellington to the West Coast via Christchurch where we picked up our rental car and drove via Arthur's Pass to Moana. <BR> That's LOTR (Lord of the Rings) country, going through Cass which I think was used for Rohan, and some battle scenes. It's a lovely drive. <BR> On the wa... Sat, 23 Apr 2016 06:18:48 EST Sleeping in my own bed Ahhh, on the way home, DH & I turned to each other and smiled. "Our own bed!" <BR> We flew from Auckland to Wellington on a big plane. These days when we fly even to Christchurch it is often a smaller plane, despite the fact that Wellington is an international airport. It was good to touch down and find our way into the house which we had left tidy. To get a load of washing on and have a nice cup of tea, on our own sofa. <BR> Not that we have been at all uncomfortable on our travels. No no no... Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:51:43 EST Road trip (no photos yet) OKM said a wise thing about hoping the travel was done and the stay could begin. We are actually doing a road trip which is a favorite holiday passtime amongst kiwis who are great travelers and can be found anywhere on the globe. <BR> My last two weeks has involved a trip to the South Island of New Zealand, return for a conference then a trip to the north of the North Island. And, somewhat foolishly, none of our stays are beyond two nights. That said there have been not too many journeys of m... Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:37:15 EST North A long day's traveling yesterday but here we are in the beautiful North. Once we got out of Auckland the countryside was ravishingly pretty for the entire trip. We arrived at our destination in colorful subtropical garden surroundings and have been resting up since. But now it is time to get out and explore Kerikeri and get a little bit of exercise. <BR> The plan is to rest and sleep and stroll about. <BR> Alas there are showers but it isn't cold and we will have a fine time. Enjoy your week... Fri, 15 Apr 2016 19:11:04 EST Let it be easy I was watching for the green flash, and so lucky to have seen it. I didn't even try to photograph it, I would have missed it. But here is a snap of the Hokitika sunset, anyway. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Our hotel was right on the beach, the Tasman sea. It was about 18 degrees centigrade, and not too windy. <BR> From there we went to Lyttelton, a working port. Here is the view from our B&B. <BR> <BR> <img src="http:... Wed, 13 Apr 2016 05:49:30 EST The green flash It's good to be home and find everything as we left it. DH spends today within DMiL while I attend a conference that should be really interesting. But I am dreading being cooped up inside in an uncomfortable chair for such a long period of time. Two days is quite a lot of that. <BR> <BR> I have had a nice break catching up with friends and family, but mostly driving around and looking at our beautiful countryside. No time to post pics, but maybe later. <BR> IN Hokitika we walked on the beach... Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:24:05 EST A mad dash... I sure could use a holiday. But life conspires... Regardless, tomorrow is the plane trip to the 90th birthday party then a dash across the alps to a mountain hideaway, then to the Wild West Coast, and back again. <BR> Meanwhile our dear tenants are moving into their first own home together, but they will show prospective new tenants around in the midst of their packing... I have a conference to attend then what I consider to be the true holiday, in the glamorous north, which you will underst... Fri, 8 Apr 2016 06:28:53 EST Holidays We have travel plans this month, to the West Coast of the South Island this weekend, and then hme for a conference then up north for a week before D Nephew's wedding, then home. <BR> I have had a lot on at work and this holiday break is catching me unprepared. I have booked some accommodation and we will wing it for the rest. We'll drop in on friends, too, just for visits not to stay. <BR> Beck says to plan for holiday eating but I just haven't. I haven't even planned what to wear! I'm figuri... Tue, 5 Apr 2016 04:35:35 EST Ooops I spent several hours in the garden yesterday dealing with prunings, DH did most and by the end of the weekend he had taken 650 kg of green waste to processing. After my measly effort I bathed in good old Epsom salts and then fell into bed for an afternoon nap. I felt wonderful afterwards. <BR> We went to an early movie, then a simple dinner. I didn't stay up for long after that which was a mistake. <BR> Because I woke in the small hours and stayed awake. I had had enough sleep and wasn't go... Sun, 3 Apr 2016 18:15:03 EST The sausages of Bowen Bowen therapy is the last treatment of many many I have tried to treat an intransigent pain condition lasting many years. It has actually offered resolution, so I thought it might be worth blogging about it. <BR> <BR> For me the essence of Bowen is that it stimulates a self repair process. The body is great at self repair. If your condition can be fixed by Bowen, it happens rapidly and there is no need for multiple repeat treatments. I asked my practitioner what was happening during my last ... Sat, 2 Apr 2016 04:37:30 EST The value of a reality check Even though my mojo is MIA I have mostly tracked my activity, with a few exceptions when my FitBit has been on the fritz. I'm glad I did because I was just now logging it for my distance challenge and I haven't been as bad as I thought. <BR> <BR> I had felt quite demoralized about my activity slow down, but really it has been just a week or so, not FOREVER, which is what it has seemed like. We all have these tough times don't we? <BR> <BR> It's only that I was going great guns and then ... Sat, 2 Apr 2016 00:29:06 EST Easter mojo hunt A lovely autumn day, will go to the pool soon and work out some elbow pain and stiffness. <BR> DH finally made it back after horrendous delays travelling from Sweden, and slept the first 2 1/2 days of the Easter break. <BR> <BR> He brought the Toblerone bunny with him, whose blandishments I am doing my best to resist. I am not that fond of Toblerone, or chocolate, but somehow... I'd rather not have it in the house. <BR> <BR> Yesterday we worked refurbishing the window furnishings in one of... Mon, 28 Mar 2016 19:03:02 EST Fitbit charge I have a FitBit Charge and this is the second one where the strap is separating. It's so annoying because I am a loyal fan of FitBit. I just spent nearly an hour at my local store getting it replaced, except that they can't replace it today and I will have to go back when the replacement is in. <BR> Fitbit does replace their faulty stock and it is such a good product in every way...except... <BR> Has anyone else had a problem with the strap of their Charge? <BR> <BR> Later: Yes a gap and th... Wed, 23 Mar 2016 21:28:08 EST A little bit of gardening... hard to do. I spent a couple of hours tidying, everything is dried to a crisp and we have water restrictions so there's not much I can do about that. The temptation is to spend longer out there but I must be disciplined and remember my physical limitations or I will regret it. <BR> <BR> The air is full of butterflies at the moment, we have a kind of plague of white cabbage butterflies. <BR> <img src=""> <B... Tue, 22 Mar 2016 19:10:24 EST Bowen technique I've been sore lately and my forearms are not liking me spending much time on the computer. I finally thought to go to a Bowen practitioner. I was going to say, it finally got bad enough for me to go to a Bowen practitioner. <BR> I know Bowen will help and I sometimes suggest that friends try it for problems that I think will be amenable to it. But it had to get BAD before I thought of going myself. <BR> What is that about? I really need to get my head around self care. <BR> Anyway, I had a B... Sat, 19 Mar 2016 14:10:33 EST