Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Trove of Tales

I recently spent some time in Castlemaine, a small historic goldmining town in Central Victoria. With a population of approximately 8000 people, this deceptively small regional centre is driven by a vibrant community of diverse locals. I was constantly surprised by the vast variety of attractions this town has to offer those who visit:

Great food - I took this photo when I was doing some study at my favourite cafe called 'Apple Annie's Bakery'. Whatever your budget, Castlemaine has an abundance of cafes and restaurants that will not dissapoint. On the cheaper end of the scale (where I tend to linger), there's the 'Railway Hotel' with brilliant food at very reasonable prices. If you're happy to spend a little more money, I also dined at 'The Public Inn' and left with extremely satisfied tastebuds!!

Botanical Gardens - I was so surprised when I came across the gardens in Castlemaine, with tree lined paths, a lake filled with ducks and swans, and vibrant displays of flowers, it is a hub of activity from children in the playground, to bootcamp classes and groups of runners or walkers.

Mineral Springs - Castlemaine is located in the midst of a number of mineral springs. This photo was taken at Glenluce mineral springs, approximately 10km south of Castlemaine, and features the original mineral springs hand-pump.

Wineries - Surrounding Castlemaine are a quite a few impressive wineries, which make for a lovely afternoon of touring and tasting.

Bushland Walking Tracks - Kalimna Park is a large bush reserve within the township of Castlemaine. There is a network of walking tracks etched throughout the reserve, and a tourist road that runs around the perimiter...featuring some very steep hills, it was a perfect location for my hill training.

Shopping - Castlemaine offers a very unique shopping experience, from recyled vintage, fashion boutiques, to art galleries. This bookshop named 'Soldier and Scholar' certainly took me by surprise. I couldn't believe how many books were crammed into this small space! I really enjoyed spending some time persuing the shelves of this shop.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the attractions on offer at Castlemaine. If you ever find yourself driving through the town, I highly recommend that you stop for an hour or so to see it for yourself. I'm sure you wouldn't be dissapointed!

Emma xx.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Musical Matters

People encounter music on a daily basis. It is such an integral aspect of life, that it seems to fit seamlessly into our day without us taking too much notice. The morning joggers listening to their iPods. The pleasant elevator music that manages to disperse awkward silences. The theme tunes to our favourite TV shows- I can't imagine watching Offspring without first singing along to 'When We Swam'!

My beginner guitar fingers...
My most recent musical challenge has been teaching myself to play guitar. However, music has certainly been a large part of my life since I was little, I've always had a reasonably good 'ear' for music, or natural pitch. I have been a flautist for 10 years now, and know from this experience that music provides an avenue for communication on a level different from words. It can be a powerful way to express emotion or tell a story.

I'm currently completing an honours research project about the use of music as a therapeutic tool by occupational therapists. Being a research topic that I am interested in I'm finding it a very enjoyable process! The part I have most enjoyed is hearing stories about the ways music has successfully helped people overcome barriers to communication and participating in daily life with others.

Music is a great way to bring people together. It's something that everyone can relate to, and provides wonderful opportunities to connect with others. I can't wait to complete my dissertation and have my research findings available to the public. I hope that in my future career I will be able to incorporate music into my practice in one way or another to assist my clients to achieve their goals.

Emma xx.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Lunch Break Manicure

I'm currently living about a one minute walk from my workplace, and can therefore zip home and back to work for my half hour lunch break without losing precious time. Today I had my lunch prepared in advance [home-made sausage rolls...mmm] and had 20 minutes up my sleeve after eating it. What better way to spend it than a mini-manicure?!

I have been wanting to try out this Innoxa polish [pomegranite] since I got it on the weekend, and was not dissapointed by the glorious colour! It was a perfect consistency, dried very quickly and didn't leave any streaks. Very appropropriate when you're on a strict time limit!

Going back to work with brighter nails certainly worked to brighten my day!

Emma xx.

The Nail Can

Last Sunday I ran the annual Nail Can Hill fun run in Albury, NSW. This 11.3km event has been running since 1977, and is currently managed by the Rotary Club of West Albury. The first year it was conducted it attracted 98 members, this year there were 1526 participants to finish the race! It's a challenging course, but the scenic beauty it offers is well worth the effort. The course is along the fire trails on the ridge line of the hills surrounding West Albury.


I took 1 hour 18 minutes to complete the run, I had been hoping to complete it in 1 hour 10 minutes but was still pleased when I crossed the finish line. I now have a time to beat for next year!

My first ever race bib and very dusty shoes post run!

Emma xx

Monday, 7 May 2012

Birthday Spoils

I felt very loved last Friday on my 23rd birthday...I received lots of kind messages from family and friends, and was lucky enough to be the recipient of some very fancy gifts!!

My beautiful mother generously purchased an outfit for me to wear to a ball the night following my birthday. Dress and earrings from Forever New, shoes and clutch from Zu. My boyfriend gave me this gorgeous bottle of 'Wonderstruck' eau de toilette by Taylor Swift- he thoughtfully remembered that I liked the smell of it when we were shopping in Myer a few months ago. What a honey!

My lovely birthday gifts all came together perfectly for the ball on Saturday night. (Apologies for the poor picture quality, was the only full length photo I had from the night!)

I also had a bit of spare time on Saturday which I happened to fill with some shopping...
I acquired this gorgeous dress from Portmans (my favourite shop at the moment), I love the teardrop cutouts along the neckline, and it has long sleeves for a perfect transition-to-winter garment.
From Innoxa I purchased a skin primer (absolutely incredible product!!), and lipstick in 'nude'. As a little bonus extra, I got a free gift from Innoxa- nail polish in 'pomegranite', and hand and nail cream!

I'm planning to wear my new Portmans dress next week when I go out for dinner with work colleagues- I will be sure to post up a picture of the outfit, can't wait to wear it!

Emma xx.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sportsy Nutrients

I have recently been training for a fun run which is coming up this weekend! The time has flown by pretty fast and I'm starting to get pretty nervous- it's the first time I've ever participated in an event like this.

The fun run is in Albury NSW, and follows an 11.3km trail over 'Nail Can Hill'. I did a practice run a couple of weeks ago and my goodness is it a tough one! I am aiming to do the run in 70 minutes or less, which I think is quite realistic for my fitness level.

To prepare for this challenge, hill reps have become the bane of my existence of the past month or so. In addition, I've been trying to stick to a diet which will provide my body with the nutrients it needs to repair my muscles and support general health and immunity. My focus has been on having an overall balance between the food groups, with lots of fruits and veges. So it looks a little something like this...

Wake UP! Ahh breakfast, the most important meal of the day they say...

Porridge, my favourite combination is cinnamon and brown sugar, but I also like to cook it with a bit of chopped up apple, or banana and honey.

Fruit salad with a dollop of yoghurt, the wider variety of fruits you can fit in the bowl the better!

3-minute egg and toasty soldiers...takes me back to my childhood!

Lunch break! I see lunch as a great opportunity to up my daily vegetable intake. Lots of people claim that in a 30 minute lunch break there is no time to go preparing vege-full meals. However this is very easy to achieve if you're prepared in advance...

Home made vegetable soup...such a comfort food for chilly afternoons! Not to mention that it's packed with nutrients!

Rice paper rolls-  surprisingly easy to make, I made a batch of 10 and had them for lunch over a few days. Consisting of veges with tinned tuna, a very affordable lunch dish! I whipped up a sauce made with sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, honey and chopped peanuts.

Salad + Tuna =  quick + easy + healthy lunch (especially if made in advance!)

What's for din dins...? I've been mainly having the classic staple of meat and veg with some rice or bread for some carbs. I'll throw in a pasta dish or two each week for some variety...
Chicken + Veg + Rice

Pork + Veg + Rice
Steak + Veg + Rice

Linguine Marinara- for my seafood fix

Snack Attack! During the day I allow myself to snack between meals as I don't enjoy the feeling of hunger! The most important thing is to ensure these snacks are sustainable low GI and the portion size is well controlled...

Vege sticks with hommus are satisfying and guilt free

Cheese with multigrain crackers provide a hit of protein and carbs with the goodness of grains and seeds.

A handful of nuts: easy snack which doesn't need preparation, the hardest part is limiting it to just one handful!!

Does anyone out there have any foods of choice they find supports a training regime?

Emma xx.