Monday, 13 June 2016

5 Happy Things

It's that time of year when it's pretty chilly/dark here in Melbourne (or as cold as Australian winter gets... which is not that cold) so I'm having a quieter few months. By the way, I think I may have discovered the trick to surviving winter - this whole running thing! I hate winter with a passion but training for a half marathon is getting me outside everyday, even when I don't feel like it. I always feel so good afterwards and less sluggish and trapped indoors. Do you have any tips for surviving winter?! 

1. Cosy evenings at home
I try and get my running done as soon as I get home from work, or even run straight from work. So after I arrive home and have a hot shower, I am fully appreciating a relaxed evening on the sofa! Pass me the homemade apple crumble, an episode of The Returned (is anyone else watching this at the moment?) and a blanket, and I'm a happy chick. 

2. Planning our engagement party 
I will show you the invitations at some point, but here was my inspiration - this big beautiful bunch of Australian native plants/flora! I love them so much. We have the venue booked and I traipsed around Melbourne today finding a dress for the evening. I'm so excited! :)

3. Surprises  
I usually only work Monday - Friday but I worked a random Saturday as well last week, and came home to this little pile of presents from my love on the bed. It made me so happy! I have the hand cream on my desk at work and it smells amazing. Lucky me! 

4. Pilates
They've cranked up the heating to the perfect temperature for winter - not so hot that I get too sweaty but a toasty temperature that greets you when you walk through the door. I'm loving my mid-week sessions on the mat with a few candles lit, and a great playlist.

5. A long weekend
Happy birthday Queenie! It's been mostly a relaxed weekend but we took the train to a hilly town called Belgrave on Sunday for a long forest walk and lunch. It was lovely and we even spotted a few kangaroos, which will never get old for me! Today was spent at the shops, with a couple of mulled wines to relax with afterwards. I picked up this bridal magazine called Hello May as well, which I'm getting lots of wedding inspiration from. 

What is making you happy at the moment?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Training for a Half Marathon: The First 6 Weeks

I mentioned back in February that I'd signed up for my first half marathon in July. Somehow this has come round very quickly, and suddenly it is only 7 weeks away! I know a half marathon is probably nothing for those marathon-runners out there, but it's a scary distance for me right now! I feel like I'm on track at the moment. I did a bit of research into the best way to prepare for the race. When I signed up I could run 10km and I would be tired and aching afterwards, so I knew I'd have to do some training to be able to run 21km without injuring myself. I found a few blog posts that were really helpful so I thought I'd log my experiences here in case anyone else is interested.

I gave myself 12 weeks to train for the marathon. Prior to this I was going on a run once or twice a week, but not very long ones. I knew that if I gave myself too long I would lose momentum, so 12 weeks seemed ideal.

I've been running three times a week, and I'm so proud of myself for keeping that up! I've been doing two runs between Monday - Thursday, and then one big one at the weekend. After the first week or two I've been running minimum 8km - 10km every run during the week, and then I'm slowly increasing the weekend run, from 10km, to 12km, and my longest one so far is 14km. I hoped to do 16km this past weekend but it was pouring with rain and I get so intensely bored on the treadmill that I only managed 10.

It's getting colder and darker here in Melbourne. It's dark by 5:30pm now as it's midwinter, so I've been doing a few runs straight from work and running more on the streets instead of unlit parks. It definitely makes it harder to drag myself up and out the door when it's cold, but I always feel so great as soon as I've got going. Running is so good for the mood.


I also read that it's good to strengthen other parts of your body as well as just running. So I've been doing a Pilates class every Wednesday and it feels sooo good to stretch it out and do core work. I've been meaning to do some HIIT or strength training too but I think at the moment, exercising 4 days a week is enough for me...

I haven't changed my diet much except for the odd protein shake after a long run. I eat a pretty balanced diet but I'm 95% vegetarian so feel like I lack protein sometimes. However a couple of weeks ago I ran 14km on Saturday, 11km on Monday, and 9km on Tuesday and I was ravenous on Wednesday. Not a normal kind of hunger where you haven't eaten for a few hours and your blood sugar is low, but my body needed fuel! The running hunger is real guys. So I had a few more snacks that day...

I bought a Shocksock armband for my iPhone and it's been so good, not annoying to wear at all. I use the Nike running app to track all my runs and I couldn't train without it. I can check my pace and clock all my km so easily.

In terms of what I wear, I find cropped leggings the most comfortable to run in, strap tops, and the tightest sports bra I can find! But I might do a more detailed post on gym gear soon, as it's turning into an obsession! Asics trainers work the best for me, but if you are thinking of running long distances, definitely go into an independent specialised running shop and get them to measure your gait and the shape of your foot etc.


Have you ever run a half marathon or marathon? I would love any tips you have! I am raising money for Children with Cancer UK. This amazing charity helps fund research, raise awareness, and provide better care for children with cancer. If you feel like sponsoring me, my fundraising page is here :)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Home Studio Space

I've been getting my paintbrushes out again recently. Alex's family are throwing us an engagement party to celebrate with the friends/family here in Australia who can't make it to the wedding in the UK. I'm so excited! So it was time to get started on designing some invitations sooner than expected! I'm pretty happy with how they're coming together so far. Once they're done and we've posted them out, I'm sure I'll share them on the blog.

Over the weekend I shuffled a few things around to create a little home studio so I could have some space to paint, listen to music, and work on the blog. Our spare room is also doubling up as a guest room still, so I kept it pretty minimal. I was approached by Harveys Furniture recently to share my ideas for spare room layouts, so I've given some tips over there.

This post is in collaboration with Harveys Furniture. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Current Interiors Obsession: TEAL

Happy Sunday! What are you up to today? I went to a beer festival last night so today I'm recovering on the sofa, doing a bit of watercolour painting, and looking forward to a Japanese style curry for supper, delicious. Alex cooked it up yesterday and I was over the moon when I tasted it and it unintentionally resembled Wagamama Katsu curry. Dream. 

The weather has taken a cool change here in Melbourne and we've been spending more time at home in the evenings. I'm feeling a need (well, want) for a couple of changes around our home and I'm totally obsessed with teal in interiors at the moment. It's such a gorgeous calming colour, whether it's a fresh minty tone or more of a deep moody ocean hue. My favourite way to use it in a room is paired with wood, copper, white, and warm blush tones. I'd love to add a couple of teal cushions to our sofa, and that Anthropologie serving ware below is so beautiful! What do you think?

Sources (clockwise from top left): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Shop (clockwise from top left): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Sundays are for Cake and Flowers

Most of the time I tend to make my weekends jam-packed but this past weekend I made zero plans and it was so blissful! Sometimes you really need to have one of those days where you only leave the house to get brownie ingredients and to treat yourself to a bunch of fresh flowers (even though it was mother's day, and probably not the best day to splurge on flowers for yourself but who cares). 

If you haven't made Hummingbird Bakery brownies before, you need to go and do it. Right now. They are so easy and create minimal washing up, but they are the PERFECT balance of fudgeyness with a divine flaky top. Even though they do make my teeth hurt a bit...  

The rest of the day was spent sipping chai tea, munching on avocado toast, and planning recipes for the week from Madeleine Shaw's cookbook. Why does every good day in my book always involve a lot of delicious food? 

At the moment I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine for the first time in months, spending time at home, rustling up some new recipes, and watching a new tv series (any recommendations?). However I know it won't be long until I start getting itchy feet again, opening up Skyscanner (that pesky thang of a website!) or browsing my 'Wanderlust' board on Pinterest. If you fancy a bit of travel and a lot of food yourself, Chill Home Insurance are rather generously giving away ten pairs of tickets to Taste of Dublin 2016, which you can enter here. Such a perfect trip for a food-lover like me! Good luck! 

I have teamed up with Chill Home Insurance and Taste of Dublin for today's post, I hope you enjoy x

Monday, 9 May 2016

Home Sweet Home

It's been pretty quiet around here recently but it's been the maddest 2 months. If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I went back to London for a couple of weeks at the start of April. It was a very last minute trip to see family and it was the first time I'd been to England since leaving 15 months prior, so it was all very surreal. It was a very low key trip mainly spent at home, but it was also really special.

Being away from home for such a long length of time is very strange. As much as I love Melbourne, I was really homesick for the first year and had only just eventually moved on from that. I was worried that I wouldn't love London as much as I used to, but I was very wrong! London in the Spring is just a magical place. It is wonderfully fresh, full of crisp cold mornings with blue skies and heavy candyfloss-coloured blossom. Everyone is happier, full of hope after coming out the other side of a long dark Winter (apart from me, mwaha). Driving through London from the airport was so exciting - everything looks so beautifully quaint compared to Australia.

As well as spending lots of time at home enjoying time with my family, the open fire and all of my parents' cooking, I made sure to visit a few of my favourite local spots. Richmond Park, the gorgeous Petersham Nurseries, the King's Road (and tried Phat Phuc Noodle Bar - so good!), WHOLEFOODS, and plenty of runs along the River Thames. An explanation for one of these random photos - my mum and I tried a matcha latte from Planet Organic for the first time and I had to throw it away it was so disgusting! Should I try another one... I can't understand the Instagram obsession when the drink was so revolting? I also saw a few of my besties, which was such a bonus, and got totally spoilt with engagement pressies wahoo!

London, you will always have my heart. See you in August! <3 p="">

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Wedding Inspiration 01

Alex and I haven't made any concrete plans for the wedding as we're waiting on news about our (hopefully!) venue at the moment. For the first couple of weeks we were just enjoying being engaged and celebrating with friends/family. The wedding will most likely be at the end of next summer in the UK, but there are a few things up in the air at the moment. However we have a pretty clear idea about what style wedding we would like. I've always dreamed about having the reception in a simple field in the fresh air, in the summer. Although there are some gorgeous wedding reception venues out there, I really dislike the idea of having to cut the party short because we only have the venue for a certain time. I want to party all night! :)

We want to keep costs down as much as possible, so that will probably mean making a lot of the food ourselves and having a buffet style dinner. The amount that some things cost just for one day is just extortionate so I think we'll be scrapping a few traditions that we're not bothered by. I am planning on designing the invitations, making all the signage, and any placecards/menus. I would like to have a wild/relaxed theme for the flowers for the tables and decoration, with lots of greenery. I would love to have Australian native flowers for bouquets as a nod to Alex's home, and I also just think they're beautiful. 

Planning a wedding is more overwhelming than I thought, but every time I get stressed I take a step back and remember what it's all about and try and enjoy the planning process as much as possible. My amazing sister has already created a spreadsheet for all the details which made me feel so much better! 

Have you planned a wedding? I would love any tips you have! 

Image Sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

© a rowan tree - design | lifestyle All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger