BodyPump 92 playlist

bodypumpOk it’s been a few weeks since we launched BodyPump at Golds Gym and I didn’t post the playlist because I forgot, as I was nursing a poorly pup at the time. Sky really wasn’t well the first week or two of the year and I subbed out the launch (my first time in 3 1/2 years!) as we weren’t sure she would make it through that weekend… luckily she did, and seems to be bouncing back to her normal self! We’re taking it one day at a time though, we understand she’s 14 now and we’re into her geriatric years. However better late than never, here’s the playlist for BodyPump 92!!!

bp 92

I have to say that I wasn’t thrilled with this release initially but it grew on me. The music really wasn’t my favorite, too many instrumental tracks and techno style tracks. I mean how can I sing during class if there are no lyrics??? lol! Now not all the tracks grew on me, and there will be a couple that I will most likely never use again… but in all a better release than we’ve had recently. The combo in this release was a challenge in the chest track. The full playlist is available on iTunes

Warm Up: All we need is Love – Ricki-Lee  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

For me this is one of the best warm ups in a long while. I like the song, it goes well with the choreography AND the lyrics “from the ground up” kinda goes with the theme of the featured combo in the squat, chest and shoulder track. Thumbs up!

Squats: Go – Autoerotique vs Marc Noir  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Urgh, I don’t hate the song, but it’s not a squat track… too instrumentally for a track where NOTHING happens. I’m tired of back squats, I’d like to see the plate press squats here, or front squats… something to break up the boredom. Hate the song, don’t like the choreography either. Gone after two weeks!

Chest: The Phoenix – Fall out boy  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Probably one of my favorite chest tracks. Here the combo works well! Great song (remember it from CXworx a few releases back) and good choreography. I generally don’t like the top “pulses” but these work well in this track!

Back: Letting Go (LTN radio edit) – BT, fractal & JES  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Again horrible song. Hate all the pauses, shoulder rolling and it has a disconnected disjointed feel to it. I love the idea of adding throughout the track but the song and breaks in choreography just make this a #FAIL for me. Pity because it could be a great track if different song and without the rolls and breaks.

Triceps: Problem – Ariana Grande, feat Iggy Azalea  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Though I’m not a huge fan on the pullover or pulses I like this track. It really works the triceps well. However my only complaint is the two sets of bottom halves. Repetitive for overload but boring! Second set needs changing to dips or SOMETHING else other than seated overhead extensions.

Biceps: Come with me now – Kongos  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Again not a fan of the weird breaks, but I like the song overall and I like the choreography. This is one that definitely took a few times to grow on me.

Lunges: NRG – Guiltless Happy  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

This one has been hit or miss with my class members. I like coming back to the same leg for a second time with the lunges but stepping intos squats for FOUR reps seems redundant. Sometimes they are sacrificing the workout for the sake of keeping with the music tempo and this is an example of that. I use the bar and it’s a challenge, but maybe something with a plate squat for the 2nd lunge set would have been better? Plus the song is a little… flat for that many lunges, even with a fun combo.

Shoulders: Ping Pong (radio edit) – Armin Van Buuren  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Blah song again. No lyrics. No singing. No magic. I like the push up combo, I didn’t like the kneeling rotator raise but 7 reps was ok. I do like the superset effect though, those shoulder tracks are my favorites. In all ok choreography, fits the music nicely but ‘song’ is boring.

Core: Fancy – Iggy Azalea feat Charli XCX  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Firstly I like this song, but it’s an edgy stretch track, not core. Plus the choreography is awful. Too much going on, with the slow legs, the leg/crunch combo. Not so much the movement but the short rep range. By the time the participants ‘get it’ you’ve moved onto something else. This was one of my complaints with Cxworx which this is reminiscent of. No, just no.

Stretch: Chandelier – Sia  [Amazon Affiliate Link   /   iTunes affiliate link]

Again I like the song, but holy wow it’s boring as hell. The class just had a so so song for the confusing abs and now we get to lull them to sleep with Sia. I for one prefer something melodic but slightly upbeat. I want to finish on a HIGH not feel like I want to take a nap. For me this stretch song is not gonna get played again, though I may put it in my yoga class!


Have you tried BodyPump 92? What did you think? Let me know your favorite tracks, thoughts and comments below :)



*Where possible I’ve linked to the clean/radio edit versions, but please bear in mind sometimes Les Mills

cleans up the songs themselves and so the originals may contain adult language.

On the path to being a RYT - module one of the yoga teacher training.


Bob would say I have ‘weird’ stubby toes :) Seriously I have small feet, and short toes!


Yoga. It’s something I’ve always done, maybe not consistently, but I took my first yoga class when I was in my early teens and as I’ll be 44 this year that’s around 30 years! In 2010 I gained my PiYo certification, which is a blend of yoga and pilates, and then in 2011 I took the AFAA continuing education e-course and weekend workshop to teach their ‘sunrise format’ of yoga. In 2011 I was teaching Yoga 3 times a week and I missed it, a lot. I had enough yoga education to teach in gyms (which I did for a couple of years), and to clients, but not to teach in yoga studios as they required the elusive (and expensive) 200 hour program to become a REGISTERED yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. That seemed a lofty goal. I had my NASM, college, AFAA, and other certifications… I didn’t have time, energy or money for more education, for something I could already do. Plus I had all this education and experience which seemingly counts for nothing with their program.

However, due to my PKD, I decided last year to embark on a do more yoga. I was dedicated to it. I’d take classes 2-3 times a week, my passion was reignited. I had a couple of clients I was implementing yoga with and I was doing home practice occasionally too. I’d reached all my 2014 goals and I was ready for new adventures so I started looking around to further my knowledge and maybe dive into that 200 hour program to become a registered yoga teacher. So I when I got back from England in November I set up an interview with a local studio and discovered a new home, and a new/old family. I discovered I already knew 2 of the programs co-teachers from a gym I used to work at, and it turns out the head of the program and studio owner was English! How serendipitous was this? Fueled by my passion for yoga, and desire to learn more I decided to blow my education budget for 2015 and  sign up for training.

yoga nook teachertraininginfo-1 copy

We had our first intensive weekend of training and it was amazing. As I said I’ve taught yoga, I’ve taken classes, I’ve educated myself about yoga but this was different, it was so much more. Everyone is going to have a different journey through yoga teacher training but I already know where my strengths and weakness lies. Thanks to NASM and college I have a solid foundation in anatomy and physiology, thanks to AFAA I have a solid teaching background, and from experience and previous workshops I am knowledgeable on the practical asana and techniques…. for me though as I found over the weekend, yoga is much more than asana.

8 minute yogalates 20141022 downdog

Yoga Practice Oct 2014


This weekend was the first of many training weekends, and was mostly an introduction to the history, anatomy, practical, class structure and teaching… none of that phased me. It covered a lot of information I already knew. Then came Sunday, introducing the philosophy of yoga. We are blessed to have an amazing group of teachers in our program and our philosophy instructor Pat is just amazing, but I left that session so emotionally charged I felt like I would cry whilst simultaneously laughing hysterically. You see I always knew the asana was a small part of yoga, but I skipped the rest… because, I guess, I just wasn’t ready. Jeni said we would find during the training that there would be a-ha moments, and mine was Sunday when I discovered I was doing Yoga, but not living it. Subconsciously or consciously I think I’d pushed it aside because it would mean dealing with emotions I’d buried, and parts of myself that I didn’t particularly like, for instance: I’m quick to judge, I don’t listen very well, I hate change, and I especially don’t like confrontation as I tend to get defensive…. things that I want to change, but  I’m stuck in old habit patterns. Patterns that will need to be broken to get through the meditation, pranayama, and philosophy.

When I did the philosophy section of the AFAA program I memorized what I needed to know, I didn’t LIVE it, and I believe this is the BIG difference between the Registered yoga teacher training and other weekend workshop type trainings. This RYT enables you to teach, whilst finding yourself through your practice of yoga. Fortunately I’m surrounded by a great support team at Yoga Nook, and at home with family and friends.

During our philosophy session Sunday Pat said [paraphrasing]

it’s not about them, the people that cut you off on the freeway, the ones that hurt you, or the mean things people say or do. It’s about you….

This really hit me, like a ton of bricks smack in the face. I sat in the class trying not to bawl. That’s what this year is about, it’s about yoga training, and my year of LIGHT, but mostly it’s all about my yoga practice, developing myself through the yoga practice. It’s all about ME.

di dec 2014



Meatless Monday: Gardein Szechuan Beefless Strips review

szechuan gardein beefless strips review 1

I’ve reviewed a few Gardein products, and I’m always on the lookout for new vegan products to try so when I saw these vegan Gardein szechuan beefless strips I had to try them out. I really like to support the “mock meat” products even though I honestly don’t eat them much anymore. We both tend to prefer plant based whole foods, but on occasion I like to take the easy way out and try new things.

szechuan gardein beefless strips review 3

This ingredients list is why I prefer whole foods. Lots of ingredients, and whilst most are whole foods, there are some that I just wouldn’t use in wholesome cooking, however in the grand scheme of things this isn’t going to hurt you when used in moderation. Without the sauce these are pretty decent nutrition wise, with 11g of protein per serving, 7g of fat and only 250mg of sodium. I’m guessing the sauce with the soy sauce, sea salt, and miso paste really bumps that figure up though.

szechuan gardein beefless strips review 2

These come with a couple of cooking methods and I chose to use the stovetop method because it’s quick and easy, plus I had things in the oven already… The strips look kind of anaemic straight out he bag…

szechuan gardein beefless strips review 4

Once cooked with the sauce though they soon look different. I had mine with pasta and salad, Bob had his with potatoes. Honestly they looked very unappetizing, maybe I should have oven baked them afterall?

szechuan gardein beefless strips review 5

So the taste test? Hmmmm, I’ll pass. They weren’t super spicy or hot, definitely not szechuan as we’ve known it. For me with Gardein it’s always been the texture. This is ‘old school’ Gardein, which is kind of rubbery. I like the meatloaf, roast and some other products but this was just rubbery. It’s that weird texture when you bite into it occasionally that squeaks against your teeth as you chew.

szechuan gardein beefless strips review 6


In all whilst it was fun to try these, I don’t think I’d buy them again. I’d stick to the chick’n style items instead, they tend to be a lot nicer in taste and texture. If you’ve tried them, let me know what you thought in the comments!

Grocery Shopping?

I mentioned in a previous post that I needed to run through the cupboards and fridge/freezer but I didn’t get chance this week. Tuesday we had no electricity due to “maintenance” (this is planned for tomorrow also!), Wednesday I had Jury service, Thursday I played catch up from Tuesday/Wednesday then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I had a training course all weekend. In short I made things that were quick and easy! 

Jan 20th Trader Joes= $111.51

  • Pop chips salted
  • Pop chips BBQ
  • Seaweed strips
  • Chickenless tenders
  • peppermint tea
  • Bag D’anjou pears x2
  • Soy choc milk
  • Organic frozen corn
  • Frozen broccoli florets
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen organic green beans
  • frozen blueberries
  • organic bananas x 21
  • Kale chips
  • frozen berry medley
  • hummus
  • OJ
  • honeycrisp apples x 4
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Tomatoes on the vine
  • Red onion
  • sugar snap peas
  • cremini mushrooms x3 packages
  • parsnips
  • iceberg lettuce
  • organic baby kale
  • steamed beets
  • organic romaine hearts
  • bag of heirloom oranges x2
  • bag of clementines
  • plain bagels x2 bags
  • Dried mango slices
  • Tofurkey sausages x2 packets
  • Soy chorizo
  • olive oil wraps
  • Clif builder bars x2
  • Jar beets in vinaigrette
  • peanuts

Jan ?th Target = $11.04

  • Canned peas x 10
  • Canned black beans x3
  • Canned corn x3

I know I went to Target at some point during this week, but I don’t remember WHEN exactly. I know that the average price is 69c a can and I know the number of cans I bought so I simply deducted that from my budget this week, which I was already over! Honestly I really need to get on track with the old budget, and start taking a list with me when I go shopping. I now have a LOT of duplicate items in the fridge to use up! So to combat this I just printed off a weekly menu planner and as soon a I post this I’m taking it into the kitchen to plan meals for the week ahead!


One of the problems I’ve had this week is fruit ripening, or lack of. The pears I bought last week just aren’t ripening up very quickly. The bananas JUST got ripe as I ate the last lot but the pears just take forever. Thankfully I had the oranges I bought to fall back on, but those are gone now. I did just pick a bunch off our tree though so that should help a lot this week. 

$122.55 is this weeks total which blew my budget of $90 for the week, and ate up the excess I’d been accumulating each week. Time to menu plan and get back to basics. This is good news for Bob who is wanting to lose some weight, eat healthier and get back on a wholesome eating plan.

w/e 23rd Jan = $122.55

w/e 16th Jan = $88.04

w/e 9th Jan = $69.53 

Weekly Budget = $90**

Yearly Total = $280.12

Balance = -$10.12


**Figures based on USDA cost of food reports**



Definition Magazine 2015

2014 E1 definition mag promo

2015 was going to be a year of change where I moved into new areas and found my ‘voice’ as a writer. I am so delighted to announce that I am one of the plant-powered badasses who will be writing for Definition Magazine in 2015. Last year I wrote a workout feature for them, and this year I will be bringing more workouts and articles as a writer and fitness expert.

website blurb definition fitness mag 2015

Definition is for the woman who is passionate about her health and fitness. Our goal is to help empower women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their inner strength and nourish their bodies with the best plant-based vegan lifestyle that nature has to offer. Definition contains insightful interviews with vegan athletes, nutritional guidance and tips, resistance training and bodyweight workouts, inspirational transformation stories, gear reviews, and of course, recipes for quick and tasty wholesome meals.

We provide the space for building a fit, healthy, compassionate life and support you in your journey. In short,Definition is a magazine for strong plant-based women, without the junk—because nobody has time for junk.

I absolutely love this magazine and believe in it’s vision, which is why I jumped at the chance to be one of the writers for 2015. Right now it’s only available in eco-friendly digital format. Each issue is available to view online for FREE. The new 2015 subscription to Definition fitness magazine is now available if you want to download the issues to your iPad or PDF Reader. Issue 5 will be out in less than two weeks so make sure to mark your calendar and check out all the plant based fitness goodness this magazine has to offer.

2014 E1 definition mag


Also remember to check out their facebook page, twitter, instagram and website for more information :)

Meatless Monday - Review: Cheezly

Available in the UK, Cheezly vegan 'cheese'

Available in the UK, Cheezly vegan ‘cheese’

Continuing the theme of vacation posts I never got around to posting last year this week for Meatless Monday I’m reviewing a vegan cheese product I had while in England. One of the perils I discovered of traveling in the UK is the lack of vegan options in airports so for our return journey I decided to take a packed lunch with me. On our shopping trip at Morrisons I discovered this vegan cheese as the ONLY vegan option for rolls other than veggies so I decided to get some, eager to try the UK vegan options that I couldn’t find in the US.

cheezly review 2014 2

Here in the US we’re spoiled with quite a few different cheese options including ones from Follow your heart, daiya and Trader Joes. This one from VBites was touted as a white cheddar cheese suitable for vegans. On opening the packet I was struck by how dry the cheezly was. Thankfully I did have some vegan margarine because with the roll, and veggies this would have been super dry otherwise. It was pretty easy to cut, and reminded me of Quorn roast (not vegan).

cheezly review 2014 3

The taste taste? I actually enjoyed it. It wouldn’t have been my first choice of foods for a sandwich roll but it was enjoyable. Again though the roll needed some moisture. Margarine isn’t my first option with these things as I feel it had enough fat already, but maybe would have been nice with Branston Pickle  or pickled beetroot, alas not really an option for traveling. With salad veggies and margarine it was nice though. 

cheezly review 2014 4


I’d definitely buy it again next time we go to the UK so I have an option for travel, and snacks at home. If you’re in the UK I’d definitely recommend checking it out. However, it does NOT taste ANYTHING like cheddar, nor does the texture resemble cheddar. Honestly I feel the taste is more like a cream cheese, with the texture of a soft cheese like brie. 

I’ll be sharing more meatless recipes and reviews every Monday! If you’ve tried Cheezly let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.


Grocery Shopping

Meatless shopping trip this week came in pretty much right on budget at $88.04 One thing though is that I really need to get back to menu planning this year. Too many times we’ve been home with no plan. Also I need to use up what’s in the freezer and cupboards. I found some vegan parmesan in the fridge that was use by feb 2013! Yeah guess we don’t use that stuff much huh?

Jan 10th Trader Joes= $11.25

  • Sweet potato chips
  • BBQ pop chips
  • Tofurkey slices
  • Plain Bagels
  • Olive Oil wraps

Jan 13th Trader Joes= $67.23

  • Salted pop chips
  • BBQ pop chips
  • bagels
  • coconut water
  • OJ
  • Chickenless Strips
  • Organic Spring mix
  • clif builder bar x2
  • Olive oil wraps
  • pico de gallo
  • hummus
  • frozen berry medley
  • Medjool dates
  • steamed lentils
  • clementines bag 2lb
  • Guacamole
  • 4lb organic potatoes
  • 24 organic bananas
  • 4 apples
  • Bag heirloom oranges

Jan 13th Trader Joes= $9.56

  • mineral water
  • vegan ground ‘beef’
  • tofurkey sausages
  • organic white flour & Corn tortillas

Honestly the 2nd trip to Trader Joes was purely because they had no Tofurkey sausage at the Thousand Oaks location so I had to make a special trip after yoga class to pick up some for the next days packed lunch. It’s a new week and I still have lots of food leftover, but am noticing the freezer running down. Time to get menu planning for the upcoming week. Tough to plan though as I’m on jury duty this week and don’t know when I’m home.

w/e 16th Jan = $88.04

w/e 9th Jan = $69.53 

Weekly Budget = $90**

Yearly Total = $157.57

Balance = $22.43


**Figures based on USDA cost of food reports**


Vegan food on our UK vacation

Many of you will no doubt know that we took a couple of weeks vacation in November 2014 to visit family and friends and while fun it was my first time going back ‘home’ as a vegan. While they cater everywhere for vegetarians, it seems vegan options are less available in the UK, or I’m spoiled here in  California! Anyways before we left I did lots of research on vegan options and got a lot of help from friends on vegan facebook groups. The town we’re from in England doesn’t have any vegan/vegetarian only restaurants for dinner, just two little places one of which is a tea room (tiffin anyone?). So yeah, I had to do some research bigtime!

toby carvery 2014 A

One place I found very helpful was Peta’s blog for vegan options at chain restaurants. Really though it’s more helpful to look at the restaurants website, as most of the UK ones put all the info on their website now. To be specific you are looking for “allergy information”. Many of the UK sites have full details of what items contain dairy, or eggs, and they are usually obvious if they have meat in them. One place I liked was Toby Carvery. Their Nut Roast Wellington was vegan and all you can eat veggies!


toby carvery 2014 B


We also went to another carvery, Bartlewood Lodge, a crown carvery and they had the same dish. However for a change we opted to just have the meatless carvery with just the veggies and that was also delicious… and cheap ;)  Another cheap option was Subway. Not somewhere I’d go in the US but in the UK when you need a quick bite, I’d prefer Subway over a chip shop! This is the Veggie Delite – without the cheese. I actually started to get the footlong rather than the 6″ because it was so few calories without the cheese too! Give me more veggies anyday!

subway 2014

With my husband though, a visit to the chip shop is inevitable and we had one nearby that did more than your usual fried foods, but had some veggie stir fries too. This was VERY garlicky though, which I didn’t mind but I’m sure other people we’re thinking WTF??? 

QQ takeaway 2014One place that struggled with vegan foods was regular pubs. The place we used to go to as vegetarians had ONE vegan option which was a curry and no offense but if I’m going to eat a curry then I’m going to an Indian restaurant (which we had an awesome one nearby with HUGE buffet as that’s all they do). The Tap in Derby had this pasta dish which without the goat cheese was vegan and excellent.

pasta at the tap inn 2014


Obviously dessert is something you HAVE to get when on vacation so I made a point of trying out some of the vegan options in the supermarkets. One of which was vegan chocolate from ASDA. They had a few options, and I liked it, Bob hated it. Again though it’s been 18 months since I had dairy so my tastes have changed…. I thought these were great! 

asda vegan choc buttons 2014


Bob did think of me when he went to Sainsbury’s though and picked me up these Jam Tarts, cruelty free! Another “free from” range, no eggs, no dairy, no lard or other animal products. I demolished the pack of 6 all by myself too! Not in one sitting though, lol!


vegan jam tart sainsburys 2014


As I mentioned Derby has a little vegan tea room (in the market hall) called “The Cake Hole” and it’s so quaint. All the cakes are vegan and we had the lemon coconut cake. Honestly, the cake was a little dry. My friend Jan makes absolutely to die for vegan cupcakes and they need to be selling her cakes there… Naturally I ate this piece though… and Bobs leftovers too ;) Never waste cake!


cake hole vegan cake 2014


Obviously we ate at other places, notably the Indian buffet restaurant and several visits to the Carvery. In all a successful first time to the UK as a vegan. I am struck by how there is so little choice though for vegans, when they are so into catering for vegetarians. Maybe things will slowly progress like they have here in the US, at least where I am in California.

Grocery Shopping

Last week I posted about Meatless Monday and the direction I’ll be heading for 2015 and this week I am kicking things off a little late for a meatless monday on a Thursday, ah well!

Jan 3rd Trader Joes= $7.98

  • Earth Balance Margarine

Jan 6th Trader Joes= $61.55

  • Peppermint tea
  • Marinara x2
  • Coconut water
  • beets in vinaigrette
  • flour tortillas
  • hothouse cucumber
  • clif builder bar x2
  • bagels x2
  • BBQ pop chips
  • OJ
  • Organic Plum tomatoes
  • Bag of Clementines
  • Organic romaine hearts
  • organic baby lettuce
  • iceberg lettuce
  • organic baby spinach
  • organic zucchini tray
  • Green onions
  • Cremini Mushrooms x2
  • Apples x3
  • Bananas Organic x18
  • Medjool Dates

As you can see I was pretty good this week. My total for the week is $69.55 which is $20.47 under budget for the week AND we’ve eaten at home a lot as we’re both trying to be more mindful of the food we’re eating. Not a weight loss diet but a concerted effort to eat clean and for me plant based when possible. If you’ve been following my social media you’ll have seen I’m eating way more fruit lately too. Call it a phase, whatever but I’m really digging the fruit lately. Maybe because it’s a little warmer again, and I can sit out in the sun in the afternoon? Maybe I just crave the vitamins from fruit? I also have a thing for bagels lately too, which is odd for me, who knows? We all go through phases ;) I know in Spring I LOVE the local strawberries, and then it’s watermelon season, and non-gmo corn!!! I cannot wait for those strawberries though….

w/e 9th Jan = $69.53 

Weekly Budget = $90**

Yearly Total = $69.63

Balance = $20.47


**Figures based on USDA cost of food reports**


Vegan Grocery budget round up 2014 + heading into 2015!

vegan hummus wrap 2014

Vegetable Hummus wrap at a mall prior to a movie screening


Wow it’s been a whole month since I updated about the food budget and meatless monday but I think post vacation with the holidays and my birthday I just got burnt out trying to stay on a schedule. I am a creature of habit, and to throw me out of that routine is like taking a fish out of water… flail flail flail or in this case fail fail fail. It doesn’t turn out well at all. So I just took December off from blogging, and while I stepped back I realized that I miss it but I didn’t have the time to actually put aside for it so here I am with a catch up post for December, an update over the holidays and a plan ahead for 2015, plus some food porn (photo’s) thrown in for good measure ;)

Hugos happy holiday plate 2014

Hugo’s happy holiday plate veganized with the veg patties and substituted the potato for the corn cakes.


Firstly here’s the round up for December: I went stir crazy! The self imposed budget of the whole year had just driven me crazy and I finally snapped, plus is was the holidays (thanksgiving, birthday, xmas, new year) and so the budget went awol and I bought food with abandon,

w/c 28th Nov = $77.00

  • Trader Joes $62.87
  • Lassens $5.59
  • Target $8.54

w/c 5th Dec = $82.61

  • Trader Joes $82.61

w/c 12th Dec = $28.49

  • Trader Joes $28.49

w/c 19th Dec = $206.24

  • Trader Joes $146.82
  • Whole Foods $34.45
  • Trader Joes $24.97

w/c 26th Dec = $111.04

  • Fresh & Easy $19.26
  • Trader Joes $91.78

Weekly Totals – Goal $90 (ish) week

December (5 weeks) = $505.38 (goal $90 week)

November (15 days) = $235.14 ($192)

October (4 weeks) = $308.82   (Goal $90 week)

September (5 weeks) = $504.61 (Goal $90 week)

August (4 weeks)  = $476.77 (Goal $90 week)

July (5 weeks) = $439.10 (Goal $89.80 week)

June (4 weeks) = $349.83 (Goal $90.10 week)

May (5 weeks) = $412.96 (Goal $89.20 week)

April  (4 weeks) = $389.98 (Goal $89 week)

March  (4 weeks) = $330.97 (Goal $88.70 week)

February  (4 weeks) = $347.49  (Goal $88.70 week)

January  (4 weeks) = $395.87 (goal $88.50 week)

2014 Goal = $4487

2014 Actual = $4696.92

As we can see I was over budget for the year by $209.92 which spread over the year (50 weeks discounting vacation) means I was over my target by approximately $4 a week, which honestly I don’t think is too bad. Especially as I’d done so well for 12 months of the year, and started buying way more organic products. Looking back over the year though I see that I’ve got a LOT of food in the cupboards that I haven’t used, a freezer stocked full from the weeks leading up to the new year and basically a lot of food to get through so I’ll be eating out the house for a while to get my supplies down and move into 2015.

vegan xmas dinner 2014

Our Vegan Tofurkey Roast dinner! All cruelty free :)


2015 Meatless Monday

I say this every.single.year but I really want to cook more in 2015. I want to be posting recipes, reviews or something meatless every Monday to encourage people to not only join in on this plant-based cruelty free lifestyle but also show that it doesn’t break the bank. I pretty much eat like a hobbit with breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses,  lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. I eat a lot of food. One of the ways I want to move forward with my OLW for 2015 is to reduce my impact on the planet with less stuff, which means reducing the amount of crap in the kitchen and getting appliances that work for me. One of those things is a new blender for my smoothies, while donating our deep fat fryer and a few other items I haven’t used for years (if ever!). 

Whole foods salad bar lunch with BFF. I go for lots of salad veggies, red quinoa and hummus rather than dressing.

Whole foods salad bar lunch with BFF. I go for lots of salad veggies, red quinoa and hummus rather than dressing.

This year I’m going to stay on top of my budget WEEKLY with a spreadsheet, as I mentioned I’m a planner ;) This spreadsheet will automatically update the totals each week and I can see when I need to cut back or when I can splurge and stock up. My plan is that next December I have all the grocery ‘long life’ items in the house (canned, packets, etc) so that I can spend the extra pennies on those holiday items without busting the budget.

  • Post updates every Monday
  • Each month check budget amount on government website
  • Post a review or recipe each week
  • Photo’s of groceries
  • Stock cupboards with long life foods
  • Stock up freezer with homemade food
  • Promote meatless monday via social media
  • make videos
  • More info on organic, farm stand, growing your own
  • more?

Let me know what you’d like to see for Meatless Mondays!



One little word 2015

I’ve mentioned before that every year I choose a word that sets my intentions for the year. I started doing this back in 2007 when Ali Edwards mentioned it on her blog, and last year I took part in her online workshop for my 2014 word THRIVE. It’s always interesting to see how your intention for the word and the reality tend to be worlds apart. When THRIVE found me, I want to push forward and realize my true potential, what I didn’t appreciate was that thriving might have a different sense in actually compared to my perception. Things changed in 2014, I changed. One of my faults is trying to over-achieve, I want to do everything and when that inevitably ends up impossible I get  in a funk. That happened in December which is why I took a break from blogging. I needed to reassess, re-evaluate and rediscover my word and head into a new word for 2015 – LIGHT.

olw 2015 light quote 3With each new year and new word I’m reminded of previous words, and how they’ve impacted my life:

  • Focus – 2007: This was my first year doing this and I just wanted to refocus my efforts, and find some drive to complete projects.
  • Change – 2008: This was a year of change. We were on the final stages for our greencards so I knew change were coming. Either we’d be approved and be residents or be denied and kicked out ;) I don’t do well with sudden changes or surprises which lead to my word for 2009:
  • Adapt – 2009: This was the year we got our Greencards. The year I lost 25+lbs and got back into “shape”. It was what I refer to as a transition year.
  • Balance – 2010: My first year back at “work”. It was tough balancing two professions, and eventually led to me going back fully in to fitness
  • Achieve – 2011:  Heck I don’t even know where to begin with this one. 2011 was such a year of achievement for me! Personally and professionally.
  • Grow – 2012: My goal was to grow professionally, personally and financially. Whilst I achieved a lot professionally with continuing education, and financially it’s been my best year since starting my career again in America, however the biggest growth was in me personally. Learning to say no to things, learning to stick up for what I believe to be the right decision and making decisions and learning from those decisions. It’s also the year that Julie and I grew into best friends :) I love that girl!
  • Challenge – 2013: Whilst it might not seem a negative word, January 2013 threw me a curveball with the loss of my mother-in-law, and one of our dogs. So I really felt like 2013 was an emotional challenge, plus it was the start of some physical challenges with PKD. Not the challenge I’d anticipated at all!
  • Thrive – 2014: With the challenge of 2013 behind us I wanted to move on both emotionally, and physically.

Last year I want to take the world by storm, grasp opportunities and live life to the fullest. What actually happened was I learned to adapt, change, achieve balance, and grow through the challenges of 2014 which lead to a new focus. See how the previous years words stay with you? Most importantly I discovered an old/new passion that has been calling for years, and I’m finally listening.

olw 2015 light quote 1

Early in 2014 I’d decided that in order to thrive I needed to destress and add more yoga into my life. Since then I’ve been doing yoga semi regularly. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve done yoga from an early age, I’ve taught classes and educated myself on yoga since then but I’ve neglected to do the training to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with yoga alliance… until now. Most years I focus on some form of education (whether a new/ongoing certification or college courses) and 2015 is the year of yoga training for me. I’ll be posting more on that in a future post but you see it’s relevant from thrive in 2014 as yoga is the reason that LIGHT is my word for 2015.

olw 2015 light quote 7

About 3 months ago I went to a yoga class and heard a song that just resonated with me. My yoga isn’t a full yoga practice, I really don’t meditate (yet) and have yet to find my inner peace, but this song just stuck and I kept coming back to it. I’m not the type of person that gets hung up on daily mantras or self talk or anything but this song still ‘gets me’ now. The song is “Bliss – I am the light of my soul ” by Sirgun Kaur & Sat Darshan Singh. It’s totally NOT something I would normally listen to but as I said 2014 has been quite the year of self discovery. This seems to have appointed itself as my theme tune and mantra of sorts for 2015.

LIGHT has so many meanings and so many ways to impact my life that I don’t want to narrow things down too much yet. However, I’m doing the one little word  yearly workshop with ALi Edwards again and this time in order to make myself LIGHT I’m doing it digitally. One reason I failed at doing most of the pages last year was the printing tactile aspect. Putting pressure on myself to create physically when I’m a digital scrapbooker. I’ve fought it, and sure I still like pretty paper but my creative soul mate is photoshop, so 2015 will be digital, with pages printed (walmart/costco) and put in an album. This makes the project less heavy and dark, and fills me with a sense of lightness.

olw 2015 light quote 5


2015 will be a huge year of self discovery with the yoga training. Whilst I know the anatomy, physiology and asanas the philosophical side of yoga is something I haven’t really fully explored so that will be an interesting journey. One other thing that light means for me is the feeling of being light in STUFF. I’ve been trying to declutter and get rid of stuff over the years, and feel like 2015 is where all this comes to fruition. I’m about experiences and fun, not things. I also want to bring more light into the home, which is not just in the form of actual light but the feeling of light, space, being open, calm and relaxing. I’ve created a pinterest board for LIGHT also, so if it’s your word check it out!

On a lighter note…. (see what I did there!)

olw 2015 light quote 6

I prefer goals over resolutions, and one of my goals is to limit the cursing. Yes sure it would be good not to curse at all, but heck I really do swear a lot. I’ve done good at reducing my swearing and yoga definitely helps chill me out. I am by nature quite highly strung so quick to temper and quick to speak so light for me is also about lightening the tongue, instead of it being as quick as lightening ;) Being mindful of my words as well as my actions.

What is your word for 2015?



Sometimes you just don’t feel like it…

I’ve hesitated to blog about this but hey part of my deal for 2014 was being more open and honest on the blog (even though very few people read it) so here goes. Sometimes I get periods of time when I get pissed off, where I don’t want to workout, where I don’t want to eat “healthy” and generally feel down in the dumps with no focus or motivation. For me it’s generally times of transition: between seasons, holidays, and vacations, goals etc. Which means it’s right now because I’ve had all of those mixed into one short period of time. We had our vacation, then the first week back was Thanksgiving, after that I had a week of routine, then we’ve had the start of the holiday crazy time, then I had no phone so no source of schedule or routine… and now I head into my birthday, more holidays and then the New Year.

thrive olw

I realized that for the last week or two I was no longer thriving I was just surviving. So what happened? During reflection I discover it’s because I’ve hit my goals. As a goal orientated person this isn’t good. The brakes went on and my motivation came to a screeching stop. I discovered I was spreading myself too thin. I was trying to be on all the social media sites, as well as blogging, writing, personal training, working out myself, teaching classes, plus trying to make time for friends, home and family life. I was starting to get too tied up in stuff, and not enough in me, “us” and experiences.

einstein - goal happy

So it’s time to set new goals, let go of commitments, and I find myself being pushed in a new, but old, direction. I am still figuring things out though, and while ‘I’m going through this transition, it will mean blog posting will be sparse. I’ve already made a couple of decisions moving forward, one being that I won’t be posting any workout videos throughout December. I need some thinking time. I need to retreat, think, contemplate and refresh the batteries. I am even feeling out of sorts with choosing a word of intent for 2015. I feel like I’m being pulled towards two different words, which is perhaps mirroring my life being pulled in different directions and once I refocus and set new goals for the upcoming year the word for 2015 will become apparent!

With all that said I invite YOU to reflect on your 2014 goals and intentions.

  • What did you accomplish?
  • Did anything happen that took you in a different direction?
  • How do you feel about 2014 overall?
  • Would you have done anything differently?
  • Are you setting goals for 2015?

I also invite you to join Ali and the rest of us in choosing a word for 2015. One little word that sets your intention for the year. I’ve done this for the last 7 years and its something I will continue to do. Using the word throughout the year, being mindful of your word and it’s intentions when making decisions during the year. 

I’ll share my word once I’ve settled on it, along with goals for 2015!

Enjoy the weekend!


Meatless Monday: Air New Zealand Meatless Meals

bob di UK 2014 LAX

Ok first I want to say vegan food at LAX was pretty pathetic. The terminals restaurants we ALL closed for refurbishment so there was nothing to eat other than a small coffee bar called The Pie Hole. Then did a vegetarian pie that Bob had, and I had a vegan apple crumble, water, fruit cup and potato chips. Bob had the veggie hand pie (which he said wasn’t very good), apple juice and potato chips for a grand total of $21.40 Man airport food is expensive, and it wasn’t that great either. The Crumble was nice and edible but Bob threw away 1/2 of his. Had we known that the airport restaurants were closed we’d have taken food with us!

pie hole vegan UK 2014 LAX


Now obviously this made us super nervous about the plane food. Flying is a pain anyway but on a 10+ hour flight when all you’ve had is essentially junk food we were both wondering what was in store for us. Now Bob isn’t vegan he’s vegetarian and his meals were slightly different to mine but here are photos of my vegan meals with Air New Zealand on the outbound flight from Los Angeles to Heathrow. For those traveling with vegetarian spouses the vegetarian version is VLML and vegan is VGML. Our flight left at 3pm so first up was dinner…

air new zealand vegan food 2014 LHR-LAX B




Honestly I don’t know what the yellow mush inn the main meal would be called. It was a corn based mash, and it was actually pretty tasty. Along with tofu, spinach, beans and as I remember a slice of potato. Everyone gets a small salad and fruit cup. The roll was different to roll everyone else got so vegan, and it came with vegan margarine. I got Bob most of the roll in trade for his salad and fruit cup ;) The little carton of soy milk I assume was for beverages (tea/coffee). It really made a pleasant change to standard airplane meals. As as this was my first vegan flight I was impressed! As I remember Bob had pasta, which he didn’t like as he is not a fan of pasta, or salad, or much fruit hence the trade for the roll ;) After a movie and hot beverages they came round with the alcohol. We opted for a New Zealand beer which I thoroughly enjoyed. Two thumbs up for Speights Ale.

air new zealand vegan food 2014 LHR-LAX beer

Meal number two was breakfast and along with a salad and orange juice I got a dish of tofu, tomato, spinach, potatoes and mushrooms. It was really nice! This was served with a vegan carrot cake muffin. I thought the muffin was great, but when Bob compared it to his he didn’t like it. Proof your tastes change on a vegan diet. In all I was totally impressed with the meatless meals on Air New Zealand. I will say though that unless you eat soy you are out of luck ;)

air new zealand vegan food 2014 LHR-LAX A


The return journey was just as nice however we’d packed some of our own food for the return journey (because of the terminal fiasco on the way here) and I was glad I did. The new terminal at Heathrow is beautiful but vegan options are lacking still. Last time we flew to the UK I was vegetarian and that opens more doors. Previously we’d gotten a Boots meal deal (cheese sandwich or something similar) but there were NO vegan options. There were things that SHOULD have been vegan, like the falafel and hummus wrap but they put cheese in it. Honestly that seemed the theme of the whole vacation regarding meatless meals in England. Anyway Air New Zealand provided again with some great meatless meals. This was dinner which is a main dish of rice, vegetables, with a side salad and roll. The roll again went to Bob. This time I couldn’t exchange for a side salad as he had cheese on his…. ah well. The alpro chocolate mousse was a surprise addition and enjoyable, as were the raisins. The vinaigrette dressing however was horrid, lol!

air new zealand vegan meal LHR-LAX 1


I didn’t take a photo of meal #2 as by then I’d had two beers and totally forgot. I remember it being a light supper. I think it had scone and margarine (rather than scone, jam and clotted cream). I need to pay better attention. I do remember than one option for the meat meals on one of the flights was fish and the whole plane smelled of fish, ewww! All in all a great experience flying with Air New Zealand and good meatless meal options.

Grocery Shopping

Well it’s a good job I had nothing on the tab for November before we went on vacation because with stocking the fridge, essentials and thanksgiving we spent BIGTIME this month! I think this last month has shown that I need to start my “learn to cook” program. There are plenty of meals I make that I like but Bob is fussy. He would say he likes it to taste nice, whereas I see the nutritional value instead. There has to be a middle ground somewhere! 

Weekly Shopping

Well it’s a crazy time coming back from vacation which meant I was up SUPER early Friday morning and the only place open for food was 7-11 where I got OJ and bread for toast. That fueled me through walking the dogs and spin class then we got a proper shopping trip done at the weekend. There was also a trip the Brit shop for Red Cabbage, a holiday meal essential for Bob. 

Nov 22nd – 7-11 = $5

  • OJ
  • Bread

Nov 22nd – Trader Joes = $119.66

  • Pop chips x2
  • salsa
  • dark choc orange
  • frozen corn
  • sweet potato fries
  • frozen berry medley
  • tea
  • medjool dates
  • frozen green beans
  • black beans (canned) x2
  • hummus
  • almond milk
  • rice cakes
  • bagels
  • bananas x13
  • soy cheese
  • low sodium broth
  • zucchini
  • tofurkey slices
  • garbanzo beans canned
  • black beans cuban style
  • potatoes 4lb bag
  • tofurkey sausages
  • apples x5
  • peppermint tea
  • beefless beef
  •  OJ
  • meatless turkey
  • tofu
  • vegan mozzarella
  • clif builder bar x4
  • olive oil wraps
  • canned tomatoes
  • marinara
  • lentils precooked
  • beets
  • mushrooms x2
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • iceberg lettuce 
  • red pepper

Nov 23rd – Whole Foods = $60.74

  • vegan sour cream
  • vegan bacon
  • apple sage vegan sausage
  • vegan carnitas
  • coconut whip
  • tofurkey roast/feast
  • vegan ham

Nov 25th – Trader Joes = $38.74

  • Cranberry juice
  • rolled oats
  • almond milk
  • tortillas
  • frozen mixed veg
  • OJ
  • carrots frozen
  • quinoa
  • bananas x 13
  • apples x3
  • clementines 2lb
  • red potatoes 5lb bag

Hare and Hounds = $11

  • Rhubarb
  • Red Cabbage

Now obviously all this put me SEVERELY over budget this month at $235.14 instead of the $192 it should have been. All in all not TOOOOO bad for post vacation and Thanksgiving overeating. This week has already been a little crazy as we spotted the Tofurkey feast on sale at Whole Foods and bought TWO! Might as well get them NOW for Christmas and New Year right? Also all of this was without a shopping list or having a clue what was in the house, so I’m sure some of this we didn’t really NEED at all and will transfer onto future weeks.

Weekly Totals – Goal $90 week

November (15 days) = $   235.14 ($192)

October (4 weeks) = $308.82   (Goal $90 week)

September (5 weeks) = $504.61 (Goal $90 week)

August (4 weeks)  = $476.77 (Goal $90 week)

July (5 weeks) = $439.10 (Goal $89.80 week)

June (4 weeks) = $349.83 (Goal $90.10 week)

May (5 weeks) = $412.96 (Goal $89.20 week)

April  (4 weeks) = $389.98 (Goal $89 week)

March  (4 weeks) = $330.97 (Goal $88.70 week)

February  (4 weeks) = $347.49  (Goal $88.70 week)

January  (4 weeks) = $395.87 (goal $88.50 week)


Are you meat free on Mondays?