Thursday, June 28, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Pokemon Go


I'm several years late with this but I finally downloaded the app to give it a go. I'm all about apps that get you outside walking/running, you've probably heard me lauding Zombies Run before. I wanted to include this in my exercise experiments because I think it's a great idea to make exercising fun.

I knew a bit about the app, Leigh played Pokemon Go for a while when it first came out before it ate up all her phone credit.

Just like the original games you have to catch Pokemon but this time you have to physically go out and find them. A map shows you Pokemon close to you and as you walk more appear on your map. Different areas have different Pokemon, rainy days produce different Pokemon and going somewhere like a forest or near a river produces different Pokemon. There's 360+ to catch. I've been playing for a couple of weeks and I've got about 80 so far.

A few days after I started I tore the cartilage in my knee and couldn't walk at all. I managed to catch a few Pokemon that appeared within range of our sofa. This is the second time I've hurt a knee and I knew this time I wanted to be back walking as soon as I could. The day after I hurt it I got on the crutches moving around the house and the day after that I made a short trip out to a local graveyard.


What a weird place to choose for a first walk out, you might think...but it has 4 Pokestops in it. Pokestops are where you collect items like Pokeballs and berries. Both essential in catching Pokemon. I took my phone and hobbled to the end of our street where the graveyard entrance is. Collected items from all 4 Pokestops and hobbled back. Now I had a reason to walk daily and I did. Not just daily but as my knee got better I walked to the graveyard 2, 3 and 4 times a day. JD often came with me, Leigh came a few times and even Erin came with me once.

It's a nice peaceful place to walk, away from the road and quite picturesque.



I feel like I know it really well now I've walked around it so many times. I like looking at the gravestones, reading the names, ages and dates.

Pokemon Go has given me a way of being active when I had little motivation to keep walking because of knee pain. It's speeded up my recovery by making me exercise my knee little and often.

I'm looking forward to my knee getting better so I can walk further to collect more Pokemon.

As well as catching Pokemon you can battle them in Gyms (there's one at the end of my street). You also get objectives to complete. Evolving Pokemon, collecting a certain type of Pokemon, hatching Pokemon eggs by walking and much more.

It's a fun game and it encourages you to be active whatever your fitness level. Hobbling, walking or running all work in hatching eggs and hunting down Pokemon.


As an exercise it's pretty good, it's free and you can play it anytime or anywhere. You just stand up and leave your house and off you go.

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:

Gym 

Yoga

Bootcamp

Boxing 

Pilates

Tai Chi

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Burger Off 14: Sicilian Burger

I've avoided this one a bit because of the inclusion of black olives in it. They're such a strong flavour. It does have one of my all-time favourite ingredients in it though, sun dried tomatoes so I've decided it's time to brave it out.

Ingredients:

1 lb steak mince
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/3 cup parmesan
3oz sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives
foccacia rolls
mozzarella
lettuce
basil mayo


Combine the mince, parmesan and basil in a bowl.


Chop up the olives and tomatoes then add them to the mix.


Fry the burger patties in some oil until almost cooked through. Top with sliced mozzarella and cook more until it's melted on top. Spread some basil mayo on a cut foccacia roll, add lettuce and top with a burger.



These burgers were incredibly tasty. The ingredients combined to make a really strong flavour. JD thought it was too strong but I loved it. Even black olives couldn't detract from my enjoyment of this burger. The steak mince makes for a much better quality, meaty burger. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 5

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I See Faces...Again!

You might remember a previous post where I lamented seeing faces everywhere I look. This one.

I have more faces to share with you. They won't leave me alone.

This happy little socket.
 
This pouting bannister support.

These boxes are clearly bored at work.

This traumatised post strayed off the path.

This toilet roll holder saw me peeing!

It's looking right at me O_O



Faces in things bring me joy 8-)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Daft Burger 13: Falafel Burger

I've only had falafel once so I'm keen to try this burger. We used a falafel mix packet but you could easily make it from scratch with chick peas if you want to.

Ingredients:
1 packet falafel mix
4 pitta breads
cucumber
hummus
spinach leaves
plain yoghurt

Make the falafel according to the packet instructions.


Make patty shapes from the falafel mix then fry them in oil until golden brown and crisp. This part was a nightmare, the mix was a bit moist so I added some flour. The patties ended up a bit mis-shapen but luckily we're not fussy when it comes to food.

Toast the pitta breads lightly to make it easier to slice them open. Spread some hummus inside each one. Put a falafel blob in each pitta along with some cucumber, spinach and a spoonful or two of yoghurt.



These were tasty but something was a bit unsatisfying about them. The flavours were all good together but everything was on the soft side. It was a bit dry too. Not one of our favourites so far!

Ratings: JD - 2, Emma - 2

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Tai Chi




Here we are halfway through the year and still on track with doing a different exercise each month. This last month has been difficult because I injured my knee and had a week where exercise was out of the question. Luckily Tai Chi is gentle exercise so I was able recuperate then go back to finish off the month with the last class. 

When I contacted Alison, the instructor, she was organizing a beginner class so JD and I joined up and went along on a Monday night in a local church hall. 

The class started with various warm-up stretches. Moving each part of our bodies with slow mindful movements to prepare and relax. I always enjoyed this part of the class.

Duck stance.

Next we got to know some of the Tai Chi stances. Eagle, bear, horse, dragon, leopard and monkey. These were interesting to learn and varied how the weight was distributed in your legs as you positioned yourself. 


Gathering celestial energy.
We also started to learn the Tai Chi form. It's made up of 50 movements and we learned groups of movements at a time. I think we got up to number 17 in the few weeks we attended the class. The movements are all done slowly and carefully. It's a nice relaxing feeling to move that way. Each group of movements has a name. We learned Gather Celestial Energy, Play the Guitar, Fair Lady Weaving and Crane Exercising it's Wings.

Crane Exercising Its Wings.
Practising the form took up most of the class. Going over and over what we'd learned each week. I always felt that I couldn't remember what we'd done but it came back a bit once I was back in class. A couple of times Alison (and other more experienced members) went through the full form of 50 movements. It was really nice to watch to see what we were aiming for. 

We learned other stretches over the weeks too. Single Iron Arm, Beware the Bear and Change One's Mind each with different health benefits. Alison emailed us all the details of what we'd done in class so we could practise at home which was a really nice idea.

Tai Chi is a martial art so the movements can be used as defense. We were shown how some moves could be used in this way. JD and I are used to attacking each other after the Boxing so we enjoyed this part.

The classes always finished with another stretch Five Lotus Petals and then a finishing bow (see below).

Alison and I bowing.

We enjoyed the classes. Alison was friendly, approachable and welcoming.  We loved learning the form, the slow mindful movements gave us a graceful feeling (whether we looked graceful is another matter!). We did feel like we'd have liked to know more about the chi part of Tai Chi. Even so, it's another exercise that I'd like to come back to. I think there's much more to learn.     

If you're interested in learning Tai Chi in Harrogate then this website has the details for you to get in touch with Paul Kenny who will direct you to Alison.    


Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:

Gym 

Yoga

Bootcamp

Boxing 

Pilates

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Smoothies: Green Tea & Blueberry


I'm not really a fan of green tea, I can't get past the taste of it. I keep a box in the cupboard because my Mum drinks it. I've nicked a teabag for this smoothie, don't tell her!


Ingredients:

3 Tbsp boiling water
1 green tea bag
2 tsp honey
1cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
¾ c cup milk

These amounts seem really specific but I think it's still good if you deviate a little. Steep the teabag in the water and leave to cool a bit before you blitz everything up.


I couldn't really taste the green tea in this smoothie but it's good to know it's in their giving me it's goodness. It was a nice thick smoothie and a lovely colour.

Green tea & Blueberries have tons of health benefits :)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Family Game Review: Dungeons & Dragons (Starter Set)


We were all excited to play this game but a bit wary because it seems complicated. JD was going to be the Dungeon Master so he was tasked with reading through the instruction books so he could guide us through the game.

My character sheet

Everyone else picked one of the pre-set character sheets and read up on what our characters were like. We got a bit overexcited and made some props.

I was a female dwarf soldier called Helja Ironfist, complete with realistic beard.



Erin was a wealthy noble called Amafrey Illuskan.


Leigh was a halfling thief called Kit with a homemade dagger.


We were all ready to play.

Progress was a bit slow to start with as we were unsure what to do in some situations. There was fights with goblins, then dogs, caves to explore and we almost got swept away by a huge wave.

Despite this excitement Erin was starting to get bored. And then a bit complainy, wanting to abandon the game to do something else. This annoyed JD because he'd spent ages setting up the game for us to play it. It ended with an arguement and Erin going off upset.

We carried on but it was harder with less people playing. After about 2 hours we decided to stop to finish another day.

Dungeons and Dragons has a lot of potential to be a game we all enjoy but it takes a lot of patience and effort to get started. We're going to have another go at it sometime and alter things to make it a bit easier so there's a bit more action and less tediously slow battles.

We all enjoyed the role-playing part of the game, each trying to be like our characters and act how they would. I feel sad I don't actually have a beard.

Ratings: JD - 2 , Emma - 3, Leigh - 3 and Erin - 2 

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