Friday, February 23, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Yoga


Another exercise, another Groupon. This time 5 classes at my local yoga studio Yoga Zen for £15. I've dabbled a bit in yoga at home using the Wii Fit and Youtube videos but never attended a proper class so I'm looking forward to trying it. I'm also incredibly anxious as this is my first instructor led class in years. I feel worried that I won't be able to keep up.

I needn't have worried, I just finished my 5th and final class and it's been a really great experience.

From the minute I walked in everyone was friendly and encouraging. Aina, the instructor, was very welcoming and several times told me not to worry if a pose was too difficult. I feel I have that attitude in exercise already, I don't push myself too much and I'm kind to my body. It was nice to be reminded of it in this situation because I had been worrying about appearing hopeless!

I survived the first class and after a chat with Aina was ready to try again the following week but in a smaller group closer to my level. This worked out much better for me as there was more time for adjustments and advice. The sessions were always well thought out often with a theme. One week we focused on shoulder work to release stress which was very much appreciated.

Getting help with Cobra pose.


I always walked out of class in a lifted yet relaxed mood. Feeling good about my body because of it's strengths and optimistic that I could feel improvements in my flexibility and core muscles already. The following day I would feel my muscles aching and feel pleased they were getting stronger. I was encouraged further by the other group member, Emma, who had seen improvements in the few months she'd been practising yoga too.

Warrior pose.

The surprise in yoga for me was the mental change I felt after a few weeks of going. Yoga is very much about breathing and focusing on how your body feels. It's grounding and relaxing in a way I've never experienced through exercise. Aina would often read out some words of wisdom as we started. Always something positive and inspiring. Encouraging us to be proud of ourselves or to show ourselves compassion. I really appreciated that she'd taken the time to find interesting passages to read out. I feel I've become more aware of my body away from yoga too. Sometimes at work I'll feel a knot in my neck or shoulders and stretch out to relieve it instead of letting it build up.

I've really enjoyed my yoga experience and felt a bit sad to finish it for now. I've learned that yoga really is for any body. Give it a go!

Me and Aina.
Contact details:

Aina Maj Landvik - yoga@ainamaj.com 07432679385
YogaZen Harogate - https://yogazenharrogate.weebly.com/ 07455 028148

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Smoothies: Kiwi and Kale

This is my first time with a green smoothie. I always tend to go for berry flavours when I make them.


 Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1 cup kale
1 kiwi
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey

Blend together until smooth.


I was hoping for a bright green colour for this one but it's more delicate. It was really frothy and light to drink. There was a slight peppery flavour from the kale but the peanut butter was the strongest taste in this one. I enjoyed it. The last mouthful had lots of tiny crunchy kiwi seeds.


Kale is a great food to get in your diet as often as you can, it's benefits are numerous. Vitamins C, K and A, high in iron, anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, high in calcium and also helps lower cholestrol. Kiwis are pretty great too, they have vitamin C, they help digestion plus apparently they're a good sleep inducer.

Next up: Beetroot and strawberry

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Well, Burger Me 9: Jerk Pork Burger

Amother week, another burger. this time the jerk pork burger. Made up with jerk seasoning. It's gonna be a spicy one!

Ingredients:

500g minced pork
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1 tablespoon oregano
salt & pepper


Get your hands in there and squish all the ingredients together making sure to incorporate the jerk seasoning quite evenly through the pork. Form into patties and fry in a pan for 5-8 minutes on each side depending on how you like them.


I'm coveting a burger press on Amazon at the moment so I had a go at a homemade burger press with these burgers. I used the lid of a peanut butter jar lined with clingfilm. It worked pretty well except the burgers are a bit small.


The taste of these burgers was great. Jerk is a lovely deep, spicy flavour. The addition of so much jerk seasoning made the burgers a bit dry though, almost a bit gritty. The addition of a sauce would improve it I think. Still, tasty!

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Family Game Review - Exit: The Polar Station

My sister Sally got us this game for Christmas and I was dying to play it. It says on the box that it takes 1-2 hours so we waited until we had plenty of time to set aside for it. (Even though I secretly thought we'd do the game much faster!). It's a one-play only game.


The idea of this game is to simulate an Escape Room Experience. You're trapped in a Polar Station with rescue helicopters about to leave. You only have a notebook you found and a mysterious decoder disk.


You start with one Riddle card and you have to solve puzzles to gain more Riddle cards. When you solve a puzzle you work out a three digit number which opens a drawer or cupboard in the room you're trapped in (revealing more clues). The puzzles were great, all different kinds of puzzles. Anagrams, number puzzles, impossible to solve puzzles and puzzles using things you wouldn't expect. We had to cut things out of the notebook, scribble things in it and use all of our collective mental efforts to solve them.



It took us 2 hours 43 minutes to complete! So much for my earlier confidence. :D

When we were solving the puzzles it was great but there were also times that we'd be stuck for 5-15 minutes not knowing what to do next. It was quite frustrating. There are clue cards you can use if you want to but we were reluctant to rely on them. We did eventually use them a few times as the game went on.

We all said how mentally tired we were after we'd finished. 

JD weeping with relief as we finally escaped the polar station.

It was a cleverly made game. Puzzle games are often too easy but this one wasn't! It was simple to set up, just a few minutes getting things out of the box. It took too long to play but that's a difficult thing to gauge as it depends on the people playing it. If we played another one we'd break up playing it between two sessions instead of persevering to the end.

Ratings: Emma - 4, JD - 3, Leigh - 4, Erin - 3
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