Day 1 & 2 – Rising and Falling

So as promised, I started training yesterday. Got up at 6:30, chucked on my excessively branded sports gear and went to Albert Park Lake for a run. I felt like a zombie but knew I needed to stick to my word otherwise I might never run again! So despite being slow, I managed to push out the 5km without stopping and keeping a fairly steady pace throughout. Afterward I walked an extra couple of km and made use of the free outdoor gym equipment beside the lake. 

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Unfortunately during the run my ankle started hurting again (it’s been playing up a lot lately) and by the end of the run it was really bad. Throughout the rest of the day I could barely walk and then my back started hurting too! I woke up this morning feeling utterly crap so I’ve ALREADY fallen off the bandwagon on Day 2 of my training. HOWEVER, to make up for it, I’m going to give “Bed-ilates” a go. Yes, you read that right, pilates that you can do from the comfort of your bed. My friend is always looking up health and fitness guru’s on the internet that do “fun” and effective home exercise routines and the like and she came across this one, although I googled it and couldn’t find it so I’ll shoot her a message to get the link for that one. 

I haven’t tried it yet but hopefully it’ll be good, will let you know. Or have a go yourself and comment below how it went. Alternatively I do enjoy a bit of Cassey Ho, youtuber and blogwriter of http://www.blogilates.com 
She’s very upbeat and one of those people that seem so happy all the time that you assume that they must be on something, either that or they’re an alien cause that level of energy and happiness is just not normal! Hahaha… no but seriously. Anyway, give her a go and tell me what you think. She also has some fantastic delicious & healthy recipes! She even has her own app!

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Biting the Bullet & Getting sh*t done

I’d like to start with a cliche quote which you’ve probably heard plenty of times before to set the scene for the rest of this post:

Benjamin Franklin — ‘Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today.’

So welcome back to me. I’ve been missing off the blog-osphere for quite a while now, but finally here I am, I’m back and I promise (fingers crossed) I’ll stick around this time! The day after my last post I tagged along with my mother to a small business conference which was interesting enough despite me not being in any sort of business leader role at the moment. There was one speaker in particular that caught my attention when talking about his blog-writing and the large following he had. During the break between presenters I decided to take up the opportunity to go have a chat to this guy about how he became such a successful blogger. His advice to me was 1) write something everyday – which at the time I was actually already doing, 2) topic purity. I hadn’t a clue what that meant so I asked and he explained that it was simple enough: if you want a large following, you need to tap into your readers interests, not just your own. Everyone has lots of interests and the way in which we bond with other people is when our interests overlap however if you’re writing about all your interests then each topic might only be interesting to a certain group of your readers. In my head I’ve broken it down to a 6-th grade math-like scenario that goes like this:

Sandy writes a blog about her interests. Sandy has 5 potential readers. Sandy’s interests are shoes, make-up and soccer. Of her potential readers 1 is interested in shoes, make-up and soccer, 2 are interested in shoes and make-up only, 1 is interested in shoes and soccer only and 1 is interested in shoes only. If Sandy writes about all 3 of her interests then she is not capturing the attention of all her readers every time. For example, when she posts about make-up she is only capturing 3 of her potential 5 readers. If Sandy continues to post about make-up, shoes AND soccer, then each post will only capture a certain few among her readers. However if she consistently posts about shoes every time, then every post with capture the attention of all her potential readers.

I’m not sure if that made as much sense to you as it did to me in my head but basically what I’m trying to say, is that the advice this guy gave me was that if I want to get a large following of people then I need to consistently post about a narrow interest field because people don’t often want to follow a blog that only posts about something that interests them some of the time. Instead, they follow blogs that they find interesting all the time. As I said, it’s a simple enough concept, but for some reason it blew my mind and sent me into a slight panic that my blog seemed to be about anything and everything. In fact the reason why I’d dubbed my blog ‘kitty’s journal’ is because I was planning to write as if I was literally writing in a private journal and that meant writing about whatever the hell was on my mind at that given moment. I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to post again until I chose which one of my interests I should continue writing about. It took a while but I think I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘health’ will be my topic for this blog, however knowing me I’ll still occasionally throw in some other posts about random topics because, well, f*** the system I guess.

You might be thinking, ‘Hey, you’ve already gone and done it! You said this blog was now going to be about health and this post so far has had nothing to do with it!” True, True, I say, but that is about to change! The title of this post, ‘Biting the Bullet’ not only represents the fact that I am finally getting back to blogging again. But it also represents the fact that I am going to get back into regular exercise and healthy eating again.

I was doing really well going to the gym pretty much every day up until I left for a holiday to Europe on November 6th. Initially I tried to keep up with my fitness on holiday by running everyday with my best friend who I was holidaying with. It was easy at first cause she pushed me to work hard and it was also a good way to see the sights. Our first run was through Rome to the Colosseum and I’ve got to say, it was a pretty damn enjoyable run. The other thing that made it easier was that at first I was up and full of beans at 6:30am due to jetlag, but as I settled into the new time frame, my rising out of bed got pushed back later and later, the cold, wet weather didn’t help my desire to get outside either. As you’d expect, as the the trip went on, my running days became fewer and farther apart. By the end of the trip I had only done one run the whole week and it was less than half the distance (not to mention probably half the speed) of what my initial runs were. My friend on the other hand has an uncanny ability to keep up with exercise, so she maintained a regular running schedule throughout the trip (damn her)! I am proud to say, however, that I did do at least one run in all the cities we visited: Rome, Florence, Venice, Bern, Paris and London.

ImageAnyway, point is, now that I’m home (got back last Friday the 6th), I need to get back on top of my health and fitness! Sadly though, before I left I had to quit my job as a live-in nanny because I’m starting Uni next year and won’t be able to provide them with the hours they need. That also meant I had to move out. So I’ve come home to no job and no house and most importantly, no money. I’ve unfortunately had to quit my beloved gym membership which makes motivation to exercise a lot harder! On the plus side though, within a day of getting home I’ve secured a job as a Personal Assistant for an athlete I’d previously nannied for. It starts next week which means the money will soon be rolling in. Then as soon as I find a place to live (so I can get off mother’s couch) the next thing on the priority list will be joining a new gym! Until then though, I’ll have to make to with the great outdoors! Starting tomorrow I’ll be training for a triathlon that I plan to do in Jan or Feb (depending on my progress).

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Talk About Incidental Exercise!!

As most of you know by now, I’m doing Michelle Bridge’s 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT). It’s the start of week 3 and it’s going moderately well. On the exercise front it’s good, I’ve been managing to get myself to the gym almost everyday to push out an hour or so of sweat – or as someone else put it, an hour of making my fat cry. The nutrition plan is also going pretty good although I sometimes have to substitute ingredients or leave them out if they’re too expensive, too hard to find, or only come in too big portions. E.g. I refuse to buy a whole jar of horseradish cream when only one recipe has called for it and in that, only 1 teaspoon. Portion sizing for lunch and breakfast are easy because I’m just cooking for me so I just halve the recipe (most recipes serve 2). But dinner is a little but more confusing because there’s two young boys who sometimes eat as much as an adult and sometimes barely touch their food and then the two parents eat sometimes a normal amount and sometimes enough for 3 people (despite being scarily thin), so I never know weather to double or triple the recipe. I usually triple, then divide it by 6 and serve myself first so I get a more accurate portion and then hand over the rest to the family to fight it out for. Every dinner in their household is followed by a piece of fruit and then chocolate. This is really hard for me to watch because I love fruit even more than chocolate and still chocolate is hard enough to watch so I often organise my gym sessions to be straight after dinner so I rush off before I get too tempted by the giant bowl of glistening juicy fruits that sits as centrepiece of the dining table. 

Last night I planned to rush off after dinner and pump out 20-30 minutes of cardio to get my body in exercise mode and then do an hours Pilates class. So I got there, jumped on the bike setting it to interval training and plugged in my headphones, filling my head with boppy inspiring tunes to get me motivated. From the bike in the gym I can see the stairs leading up to the Group Fitness Studio and was watching it closely. 5 minutes earlier than expected people started filing into the room so I quickly finished up and wiped down the bike before heading upstairs. Staring through the giant glass doors I noticed everyone had steps out… we don’t usually use steps for Pilates but I hadn’t been to Monday night Pilates yet and it was a different instructor so I thought she must just like to incorporate it somehow. So I went in and set myself up a step too. Then she turned on the music which was surprisingly upbeat compared to the usual soothing melodies that the other instructor plays for Pilates… and then it clicked. Sometimes if two classes are held at the same time, they run one downstairs in the creche room which is where my relaxing Pilates class would have been being held. I unfortunately was now stuck in a cardio pumping Body Step Class! I had to resist the urge to run out of the room and embrace the accident as a sign that I needed to do more cardio today. I think when Michelle was mentioning incidental exercise she was talking about the kind where you take on the staircase at work rather than hopping in the lift. But I tried to convince myself this was kind of the same… except a lot harder. I also had NO CLUE what I was doing so I was tripping all over the step to the point where another woman in the class, clearly a regular, said, “here take my spot, so you can see better” so now I was even more centred in the room diminishing all chances of me making a subtle run for it. Somehow I made it through the class and went and apologised to the instructor at the end explaining that I was planning to be in Pilates not Step hence why my facial expression was stuck in a state of shock for the whole 60 minutes. Some girls from the class heard me talking to the teacher and so congratulated me for sticking through it which gave me a little bit of a confidence boost. When I got home I was so thirsty but bored of guzzling water so I went to find some herbal tea. There wasn’t any tea but when I opened the cupboard, a block of chocolate, literally jumped from the shelf and landed at my feet screaming, “EAT ME!” … Okay so perhaps it fell, rather than jumped and perhaps it’s voice was in my head but it still tested me. I obediently put it away and backed calmly away from the cupboard to go back to my boring water bottle. 

My muscles ache this morning but I’m feeling proud and will be hitting the gym again today. This time: Body Pump!

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Super Nanny!

So I finally have some time to sit down and write this! About a week and a bit ago the mums of a boy I nanny texted me saying things were going on in the family that meant my hours would change and be reduced. In the text she actually explained what the reasons were but I’m not going to publicise all the juicy details! The point is, I was then in a situation where I needed to quickly find more work or I was not going to be able to afford my trip to Europe at the end of the year. So I reloaded my Gumtree Ad which reads: 

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Seeking: Casual/Regular Evening Babysitting, Casual/Regular Weekend Babysitting, Casual/Regular Daytime Work, Overnight Stays, Tutoring, Homework Help

Dear Parents and Families,

My name is Katherine and I live in Kew. To quickly get the essential basics out of the way I can tell you that I have current WWCC, Police Check, Senior First Aid, Food Safety and Health Services Certificates. I also have experience with children of all ages over years of babysitting and currently work as a Live-In Nanny for a wonderful family with two young boys aged 4 and 5 who’s parents are happy to be a reference. To clarify, I am planning to stay on long term with this family but have a lot of extra time that I wish to fill with more Nannying/Babysitting and/or tutoring.

My AVAILABLE hours are as follows:
8:45am – 3:30pm weekdays
From 7pm weekdays
All day on weekends
Overnight stays are also welcome
Am happy to work both on a regular or casual basis.

As well as looking after kids I can help out with housework too if needed. I have a car (less than a year old) with full safety features, regular access to child booster seats and license to drive both manual and automatic so am happy to do work that requires me to drive with children.

Now that you know all the essentials you may also want to know that I am Australian (have grown up in and around Melbourne) and am hoping to save and travel in the future. I am a very caring person, I love looking after kids and encouraging a well-rounded development by playing games, being creative, helping them to learn and supporting social interaction where appropriate. All while taking care of the most important goal: to keep them safe, healthy and happy. I also value having an open honest relationship with the parents of any child I care for so that both parties feel comfortable to raise any issues or concerns.

For those looking for tutoring for their child you will be interested to know that my final year exams (VCE) placed me in the top 6% of Victorian students. I took Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, English, Philosophy and Psychology and achieved top state scores for Biology and Mathematics. I am willing to provide tutoring/homework help to any age level from Prep to Year 12 particularly in English, Mathematics and Sciences.

My current family as well as families I have previously worked for are happy to provide reference. I charge $20p/h for nannying/babysitting and $25p/h for tutoring. However payment is negotiable depending on the specific requirements of the job (e.g. number of children needing care or tutoring, ages of children, academic level for tutoring etc.)

Please message me if you would like a copy of my references or photographs of certifications. If all of the above sounds like it would suit your needs then I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully getting to know you in the future!

Other Skills: I’ve played soccer for a number of years and also a bit of AFL, but am happy to play and help your kids practice for any sport or other hobbies. I love to be creative including arts and crafts as well as singing and making music.

Languages: Fluent in English (Australian) and am learning French 🙂 And would love to learn German and Italian in the future.

Anyway, the day after I posted it I got a call from a man who wanted me to work in a Day Spa as a receptionist which I was initially interested in because I really just need the money! But then he started asking a few strange questions and I got this sick feeling in my stomach that said something wasn’t right. So after consulting with my mum and friend I decided to go with my gut and ignore the offer, 6 missed calls later he finally stopped ringing, phew! Then I got an email asking if I was interested in coming to a modelling audition, which my mum immediately said, “No way, it’s not real, it’s dodgy!” (Ouch!) I mean, I know I’m not model material but for a moment I was enjoying floating in the bliss of thinking someone would really think I’m attractive enough to be a model, but mum quickly beat the idea out of my mind, thanks mum! 

Finally the next day I got some legitimate requests for interviews to do the jobs that I’d actually advertised for! Since then I’ve called several people to discuss what they would like and whether it would be suitable and had two interviews which upon leaving I was told I had the job. So I now have 4 jobs! My regular live-in nannying for Aurelien (4) and Alex (5), my now reduced hours with Brodie (3), and my two new ones: Ava (3) and Alyssa (2) two gorgeous little girls who’ve just moved here from Dubai less than a month ago! And finally Chloe (9 months), a little girl of two well-known media presenters, I was pretty please that they like my advertisement because as successful journalists, they obviously know what they’re talking about! I still need to follow up a couple of emails and because the new jobs are just on a casual basis I’ll still keep my ad up on Gumtree to encourage more casual jobs.

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Blog Challenge – Day 30 – Favourite Song

Clearly I failed the challenge because I didn’t post everyday! But how do I do people manage to post EVERYday, like I just get busy and then all of a sudden it’s bed time and a new day is dawning! 

Anyway, I’ll answer the question and then write a separate post about what I’ve been up to! This question is kind of annoying because I never have just one favourite song, I always have a bunch of songs and it really really depends on my mood at that given moment. So as usual I’ll overdo it and give you three songs that I like at the moment:

Change Your Life – Little Mix
Hall of Fame – The Script
Royals – Lorde

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Meeting Michael in the City

Meeting Michael in the City

This is Michael, the guy I met over a penpal website a couple years ago. We’ve become good friends but this is the first time he’s been to Australia and so the first time we’d met in person!

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August 17, 2013 · 8:04 am

Blog Challenge – Day 29 – In this past month, what have you learnt

I know I know I know! Don’t kill me! I’ve been a bit slack during the past week with keeping up with my blog. It’s been an extremely busy week. This week was the official start of the 12 Week Body Transformation, so I was really making an effort to follow all the recipes to the letter and get in some exercise each day as well as just keeping up with work and such. 

Unfortunately I’m a bit new to all these gym workouts and so my technique isn’t really up to scratch yet meaning that I keep accidentally hurting joints instead of muscle. And then to top off my week I was knocked-down Friday with a come back of my pain condition: Neuralgia. For those who don’t know it’s kind of like epilepsy of the nerves because they spasm uncontrollably with pain in the right side of my face. There are different types, mine affects the glossopharigeal nerve. Anyway so I was pretty drugged out, dizzy and nauseas and as a result didn’t get a chance to really workout. but I’ll make up for it tomorrow.

I’m hopefully meeting in person tomorrow some of the girls I’ve been talking to over the 12WBT online forums. We’re planning to go for a jog and then have a coffee. Speaking of meeting new people. My American friend Michael, who I met over a penpal website a couple years ago has finally come to visit Australia so I met him in person today for the first time which was a bit exciting. We didn’t do much, I just showed him my favourite spots around Melbourne, we’ll organise some more “touristic” (as my swiss family like to say) activities for the upcoming weeks, but he’s here for two months so at least we have a bit of time!

Anyway, I’ll stop procrastinating now and get into the actual question…. Hmmm, what have I actually learnt? They say you learn something every day. And that’s probably true. In fact you probably learn more than one thing most days. So I should technically be able to write down at least thirty dot points of what I’ve learnt. But I’m guessing what you learn on an everyday basis isn’t always significant enough to stick out in your mind so I’ll guess I’ll just have to go with a few bigger things. 

I learnt that:
1. Publishing posts when you’re highly emotional is a really really REALLY bad idea. 
2. Some people actually enjoy reading my drivel on here, which is pleasantly surprising! 🙂
3. I learnt a quicker way to get home from the CBD, it requires an extra changeover but I’d rather do that and get home quicker than sit on a boring tram for a million years. 
4. I would’ve made an alright detective in another life …. I’m not going to elaborate on that one though cause I don’t want to giveaway my secret skills. 
5. Protein shakes aren’t just for body builders and gym junkies, they’re actually also good to help you repair quicker and they aren’t so bad tasting as my imagination let me think, nor do they overhaul all your diet efforts because they’re actually surprisingly low in calories. 

That’s about all I got for now, toodle-oo.

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