Day Thirty: My Hopes For My Blog

Wow! Thirty days have passed and now I am just about to write my thirtieth and final post for Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Today’s subject is My Hopes For My Blog.

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I’m actually a little sad about this, which is silly, because I’m still going to be writing regularly, just not every single day and that’s ok! It’s was a lot harder than I expected it would be. Sure, it’s a few paragraphs everyday and you get the topic handed to you, so in theory the hard part is done. That is so not true! If anything it’s harder to write when you have a set topic! You get to be creative and interpret the topic in your own way, which makes it fun, but you can’t stray too far and you have to think hard about what you are going to say. Usually when I write I think it up as I go, but I needed to plan a bit when I was sticking to a specific topic.

But I am in no way complaining. It has been a lot of fun, I have actually found out a lot about myself and I have discovered so many new blogs through the comments people have left for me about my posts.

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My blog has so far exceeded my hopes for it. Even though I had wanted to blog for a while, I really did start it on a whim. It was a couple of days before I started my elimination diet. I was ready and raring to go and it suddenly occurred to me that documenting it might not be a bad idea. So I decided that a blog was a good way to do it. The hope was that if it was out there for people to see I would have to see the diet and writing through. My track record of finishing things has been very very low in my lifetime and I really wanted to actually achieve something.

I spent the next couple of days deciding on a name then I wrote my first post. I was brutally honest and decided that would be the consistent theme in my blog. No matter what I was writing about, it would be open and honest. I shared it on my personal Facebook page that I had started a blog. I thought it might get one or two looks. Boy was I wrong, within the first hour it had had 20 views, I was amazed! Best part was not all the views were referred from Facebook, there were even people who had seen the tags and thought, why not give it a look.

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Since then my blog has taken on a life of it’s own. I always feel good after writing and I have reconnected with a lot of people because of it and found some new and interesting people to connect with too. I have had people telling me how proud they are of me, sharing their own experiences and some people have even told me that reading my blog has given them the kick they needed to start their own healthy journey.

I have also stuck at both my elimination diet and my blog 100%. It seems that I am no longer the girl who was always starting things and never finishing. Sure, I’m not finished with either, but I have stuck with both longer than anything else in my life, aside from jobs.

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My hopes for my blog are now for it to continue to grow and for me to grow with it. I want to keep writing three to four times a week. I want to write about a variety of things, the common themes being happiness, health, honesty and for all of it to be written from my own experiences. I hope that people continue to read it and feel inspired by it. I hope that people try and like my recipes and that if they don’t like them they offer me suggestions for improvements. I hope that people who are having a hard time with their mental health feel a little less alone after reading my posts and reach out for help.

But my biggest hope is that I stick at it and continue to grow as a person. I have learned so much in the last fourteen weeks of having a blog and I don’t want that to stop. Thank you all for joining my 30 day challenge, I hope you stick around for the rest of the blog. And a special thank you to Newfie Chick from Canada a blogger I found because of my first post, who did the challenge with me. It was so cool to read your posts everyday and I’m still blown away by how much we have in common!

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Day Twenty Nine: A Confession

Today brings the twenty eighth post for Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge, with A Confession.

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Today’s challenge is surprisingly easy. I am a very open person. I’m very honest in my blog and there’s very little that I don’t share, however there is something I have been doing for about a year that I feel bad about, but am having trouble stopping.

I’ve talked about my mental health in previous posts. Depression and anxiety are a huge part of my life. For the most part I am on top of them, however they will always be with me and even when I’m mentally well there may still be remnants.

This is what is happening at the moment. I am not in any way depressed. I am a tiny bit anxious, mostly about work and life stress, but nothing over the top, nothing I can’t handle.

I am however, very reclusive at the moment and have been for a while.

I have been turning down invitations and bailing on engagements left and right. When people contact me I’m happy to text them, but I’ll often say I’m busy when they suggest a visit, even if I’m not, because I’m just not up to socialising at the moment. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m almost scared to.

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I used to be very social but now I hardly ever go out.

There are a lot of people I haven’t seen much of lately and I feel awful for it. They still obviously want to see me too because they keep asking. Sometimes I say yes and see them, sometimes I am genuinely busy, but at least half of the time I just can’t. It’s nothing personal against anyone, it’s just where I am in life at the moment.

I have never officially been diagnosed with social phobia, but I don’t know how else to explain it. I want to see all of these people, which is why I make effort sometimes, but other times it is just too hard. For anyone that I have canceled on recently, I am sorry. I know I told someone recently when I canceled that I wasn’t feeling up to it mentally and I regretted being honest. They were fine with it and understanding, but I felt even worse and more anxious about it. I felt like they were going to write me off. They didn’t which is lucky for me, but I still haven’t caught up with them yet.

I was sick yesterday and had to cancel seeing a friend. I felt bad but I had no other option. Today I also had plans that I had to postpone, due to the flow on effect at work of having a sick day. I felt a little better knowing that on these occasions it was out of my control. Now I just need to work on making more effort when it is in my control.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Day Twenty Eight: My Most Embarrassing Moment

It’s day twenty eight one of Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge, with My Most Embarrassing Moment.

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I’ve had quite a few of these, but the thing is, I’m able to laugh about all of them, so they’re more what you would call mishaps than embarrassing moments.

Most of them have been while drinking, which is something I haven’t done for a really long time. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I used to drink to excess most weekends and while I luckily never got myself into trouble, there were certainly some entertaining moments.

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Me being silly while drinking.

I’ve chosen the following moment because it’s one of my favourites.

My friends and I often used to go to a local metal bar pretty much every Friday and Saturday night. We would meet at someone’s house, drink lots, talk rubbish then call up the courtesy coach to go and do some head banging. I always had a sore neck and ringing ears the day after, can’t imagine why!

On the night in question I had gone with a different group of people, including a friend of theirs who I had just met, Frew. We had been out for a while and I thought that Frew was playing pool with some people he had met at the bar.

Now I’m a very excited and friendly drunk, so the next part is not actually that unusual, well at least part of it anyway.

I kept looking over at the pool table because I’d decided that Frew and I had known each other long enough (apparently 4 hours was enough) for a hug. But I didn’t want to do it while the guy he was playing against was there. So I waited until said opponent went to the bathroom.

As soon as he was gone, I ran up to the pool table, said something stupid like, “I’ve been waiting so long for you to be alone so I can hug you!” And then hugged him.

He didn’t hug me back, because… It wasn’t Frew!

I realised my mistake pretty quickly and immediately felt really really silly, so I did the only rational thing. I ran away, back to my friends, who were now laughing at me. I explained to them that I thought it was Frew I had randomly hugged, but this just made them laugh harder.

The following week I was there again and so were the pool players. I was sober this time and decided an explanation was in order. So I introduced myself and explained. The guy I had hugged wasn’t that interested, but his friend thought it was hilarious! We became pool playing buddies after that and saw each other quite regularly at the bar. They couldn’t remember my name for a while so they nicknamed me Random Hug Girl.

The guy I hugged is Zombies best friend, who incidentally looks nothing at all like Frew. And of course Zombie was the friend he was playing pool with. Most of my ’embarrassing’ moments are laughed about later but never lead to much. About nine months after this one, Zombie and I started dating and now I am happier than I’ve ever been.

We joke about how it will be a good story to tell the grandkids. Personally, I love this moment, but it certainly did start out as embarrassing!

Smiles and Sunshine
Random Hug Girl

Day Twenty Seven: What’s in my Wardrobe

It’s day twenty seven one of Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge, with What’s in my wardrobe.

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I cannot believe the challenge is so close to being over! I have some fun posts and some that have really made me think, I think I might miss this a little bit next month.

As far back as I can remember I’ve had an overflowing wardrobe. I remember it used to take me just about an entire weekend to tidy it. I hated tidying it but I enjoyed discovering what was in there. There were always stories I’d written so I’d have to stop and read them, or games I’d need to play, old school report cards I’d need to read, photos, clothes, all very interesting things that were much more fun than actually sorting them.

Now that I’m a grown up (allegedly) my wardrobe is not very interesting. Zombie and I are lucky enough to live in a place with a lot of storage space and cupboards. But between us we have a lot of stuff and not enough places to store it.

My wardrobe has some nice dresses for going out, jackets, work blouses and some skirts hanging. In the top section are assorted blankets, a deflated swiss ball, my skipping rope, some photo albums and some books.

On the floor is my guitar amp, some CDs, boxes with bits and pieces I’m not sure what to do with in them and several Nerf guns.

The Nerf guns are in case of bears apparently. I think they’re actually just for shooting me while I’m doing yoga or cooking or blogging or at other inconvenient times (any time really). They’re quite fun actually.

What’s in your wardrobe?

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Recipe of the Week: Clean Eating Beef Nachos

The fourteenth week of my elimination diet is done and it has been another successful reintroduction and another food back on the menu!

This week I reintroduced beef. It’s been a really long time since I’ve eaten red meat more than once a week and I loved having something other than lamb and chicken.

Now I wasn’t expecting my eczema to react to beef, that would just be weird, but I was monitoring myself for energy levels and sleep, which were unaffected!

Obviously I’m not going to be eating beef every single night so I only had it three times during the week. I had an amazing roast that a friend cooked on Tuesday and then on Thursday I had nachos! Then again on Friday as leftovers.

Clean Eating Beef Nachos

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Nachos are an absolute favourite of mine. I used to eat them any excuse I could get, usually loaded with cheese, sour cream and way too many corn chips. I do make pretty amazing nachos. When I started eating healthier nachos became a rare treat due to all the processed extras (canned tomatoes etc I used to add to them), I think I ate them once in a three month period. When I started the elimination diet they were completely out the window. Pretty much the only part I could eat was the onion!

The last few months I’ve been experimenting making elimination diet friendly versions of foods that I used to eat. Experimenting has made it more fun and I think a bit easier, since I’m not just eating the exact same things over and over. There have been a few failures and a few successes, and nachos was an absolute success.

Instead of corn chips I made kumara (sweet potato) chips, an idea I found and tweaked to my liking from Millie at Clean Eatz NZ and you know what, so glad she shared that idea! I think I prefer it to corn chips!

I can’t have beans yet, so I omitted these, but I did separate Zombies half and add chilli beans to his and gave him corn chips and he still liked them even though it was a healthier version than he’s used to.

Since I didn’t eat anything spicy for such a long time my heat intolerance has gone down quite a bit, so I used minimal spices for this recipe. If you want it hotter simply add more spices to taste.

For 4 serves

300 gms mince
2 medium orange kumara (sweet potato) thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 onion diced
5 tomatoes diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 cups freshly chopped spinach
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
A little grated cheese
2 tbsp coconut or extra virgin olive oil

In a saucepan immerse the sliced kumara in cold water and bring to the boil.

After boiling for 10 minutes, drain the water from the kumara and set aside.

Heat two frying pans on medium with a little oil in each.

In one pan, place the kumara slices in a single layer. Fry for 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning often.

In the other pan sweat all the chopped vegetables for five minutes then set aside in a bowl.

Add the mince to the pan and brown.

Add back the vegetables then all the spices and mix well. This is the point where I separated Zombies and added the beans.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Arrange your kumara chips on a plate as you would if you were having corn chips.

Top with a little cheese, then the mince mix, then more cheese.

Zombie had his with sour cream but I was good. I actually think I prefer this version to the nachos I used to eat, which is awesome!

Tomorrow I am reintroducing gluten free oats. I’m pretty excited about this. New flavours for pancakes, more baking options, breakfasts, it’s going to be good. Fingers crossed it all goes well.

This post is linked up to Tasty Tuesday

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Day Twenty Six: My Hidden Talent

It’s day twenty six one of Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge, with My Hidden Talent.

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So, I really don’t know what to write today. I even asked Zombie and he pointed out that I don’t really hide my talents, for example I post photos of my cooking (I’m pretty good at cooking) and everyone knows I can sing alright. I’m a very open person and there isn’t a lot that I keep hidden so how on earth do I write this post?

I wrote that part of the post a few hours ago. I have since been to the gym and completely exhausted myself with a step class (but I feel amazing, in an exhausted kind of way) but I’m still drawing a blank as to my ‘hidden’ talent.

I’m certainly not putting myself down, I believe I have many talents, I just don’t hide them. What’s the point in having a gift if you aren’t going to use it? And I can’t do any party tricks like peeling bananas with my toes or other such talents so those are out too.

I guess the closest thing I have to a hidden talent is my knack for remembering numbers. I am absolutely useless at maths, but I can remember large series of digits without any effort.

I remember my brother once asked me for my bank account number. I responded immediately and without taking a breathe, the 15 digit number. My brother stared at me blankly, my mothers mouth dropped and my friend who was there also looked at me like I was mental and said a less polite version of “how is that even possible”.

I still remember several cellphone and home numbers of people that I haven’t contacted for years. They might have changed numbers by now, but I still remember their old ones. Due to electronic address books and less need for physically dialing numbers I don’t know a lot of my current friends phone numbers but I truly believe it is because I’ve never physically dialled them. I remember all of my client and other peoples contact numbers for work, even though there are at least a few dozen of them, because I’ve had to dial them so many times and seen then on the caller ID just as many times too.

I can also still remember the PLU numbers for a lot of the produce when I worked as a checkout operator after school when I was 15. Sometimes I still punch them in to the self checkout these days instead of using the images, just to see of they’re still the same. They are.

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I don’t know if it’s actually a talent but it is something I’m proud of. I like the jaw drop look I get when I rattle off a long number without pause and it means I don’t have to bother with looking things up. Now if I could just remember where I left my sunglasses…

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Day Twenty Five: My Biggest Regret

It’s day twenty five one of Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge, with My Biggest Regret and I’m very torn about writing this!

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I used to regret a lot of things. Pretty much everything. Every day was filled with missed opportunities, self loathing and forgotten dreams. I regretted not speaking up, defending myself when necessary, what I ate, what I did, starting smoking, moving out of home for the wrong reasons, the list could go on for a while.

I have been working very hard over the last year and especially the last seven or so months to change my minset on regrets. Without all these mistakes, I would not have been able to overcome them and self improve. I would not be The Happy Healthy Kiwi even, because my life would have taken a different path. Maybe it would be better, who knows, but eventually I learned from all of these things and moving on from them has been the drive behind how much I’ve achieved and succeeded in the last few months. Excuse my modesty haha!

I would have to say the thing I’m struggling to move on from the most is something that has plagued me for years and held me back in life. It still is to this day and will be for a little while longer, although not forever anymore.

I wish I hadn’t gotten myself into ridiculous amounts of debt.

I racked up hire purchases, got myself into rental situations I couldn’t afford, spent all my spare money on stupid things like junk food and alcohol instead of paying my bills and I’ve been paying the price, literally, for years since I’ve learnt from it.

I got sick and tired of having to say no all the time because I had no money, so about five years ago I made a budget, set up automatic payments and stuck to it. I wish I had done this sooner. My friends know me as always being broke. And it’s true. A lot of people think it’s because I’m bad with money but the truth is it’s because I used to be bad with money. Now instead of spending it, most of my pay goes onto making myself debt free. It wasn’t even until a couple of years ago that I myself realized I was no longer bad with money, because finally, loans and debts were diminishing and disappearing.

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I will be debt free except my student loan by August this year. My student loan will be paid off early next year. And then I will be able to start pursuing new things that money has held me back from in the past. It is a good feeling to know this.

What’s your biggest regret?

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie