Bringing on 30 with Adventure!!!

Photo credit- Eagle rock adventures

Photo credit- Eagle rock adventures

 

Bringing in my 30th birthday like yeeoooooowwwwww!!!!

When I became unwell with ME/CFS aka Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (nearly 4 years ago), life as I knew it was no more and I was fighting for my health like I never knew I would have too. Fast forward to now and after a few years spent bed/ house bound, I am now pretty much well enough to live an active life at my normal pace.

So bringing in my up and coming 30th birthday with a bang, sounded like the only way to bring in a milestone birthday.

I’ve been pining over Machu Picchu, it’s the one thing that I have held onto and told myself I would do once I recovered from ME/CFS. I have hoped and planned to get there this year, the year I turned 30 and fortunately my hard work with my health has paid off. After months of planning, tantrums, talking myself out of it, then talking myself back into it.  I can confirm that myself and darling husband (bless him for putting up with this decision making process) booked for my birthday and recovery dream of course. My much awaited trip to Machu Picchu, in less than 5 months time!

Whoohoo, I am literally pinching myself!!!

Lets embrace adventure! My big goal is happening, so I am one happy lady. But come the day I turned 30 and the adventure didn’t stop there. Cameron took on board that adventure was on the cards, so he organised for us along with my younger brother to go canyoning.

Ummmmm……what’s canyoning? Yeh I had no idea! Let me tell you…….

Canyoning is an adventure sport where you endure a mixture of activities like abseiling, hiking, rock climbing, rock sliding and jumping through a water canyon.

Sounds a little extreme, climbing down waterfalls, jumping off rocks and plunging into fresh water holes and sliding down big rock surfaces!

Extreme? Maybe a little…..but fun? Absolutely!

We went with a Sydney based tour group called Eagle Rock adventures, they were wonderful guides. They fed us, were extremely helpful and kindly took a bunch of photos on our behalf as smartphones weren’t really ideal to take.

The canyon we ventured through was located in the Macquarie pass rain forest.  It was absolutely beautiful. I love rain forests and getting amongst nature is always good for the soul. We also saw bit of wildlife where we went, as we were off the beaten track. We saw a wallaby, huge lizards, frogs and a snake that was happily hanging out near the water keeping a close eye on us.

This adventure was an all day event, the weather was super hot, but the rain forest kept us nice and cool. The water was beautiful and fresh, I could have stayed in it all day.

I can honestly say it was so much fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. There’s nothing like staring down the rock face and feeling your heart racing as you think to yourself “OMG what the hell am I doing?! “This s**t’s way too high!”

Your adrenaline kicks in and then you start abseiling down the rock surface like a boss (or what you think’s like a boss). You’re only going snail pace, but hey your giving it a go and YOU’RE DOING IT and that’s all that matters my friends!!!

With that my friends, I will love and leave you. If you want to check out our Canyoning footage, check out the link below. GoPro was worn by Cameron!

Bye for now and embrace your inner adventure!!

Lennae xxx

 

 

Photo credit - Eagle rock adventures

Photo credit – Eagle rock adventures

 


South Coast Getaway

Culburra Beach

Culburra Beach

Over the Christmas holiday break, I was fortunate enough to spend some lovely time on the South Coast of NSW, in a small coastal town called Culburra beach. Culburra is located 18 km to the East of Nowra, in the Shoalhaven area or for all you Sydney-siders or those of you that aren’t very familiar with Australia it is 182 km’s south of Sydney.

Fortunately for us we travelled down a few days before Christmas and when we arrived we felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. The beaches were practically deserted, the streets were empty and all you could hear were birds  chirping and the ocean waves gently crashing. The supermarket and cafes were fairly empty, even come Christmas Eve. We left a few days after Christmas and that’s when Culburra started to experience the migration of Sydney-siders invading this secluded piece of paradise.

We shared this beautiful place with some of our family, including my in-laws from New Zealand. It was lovely to share this beautiful part of the world with them. We enjoyed many walks along the beach and in the national parks. We are very spoilt for choice with beaches and national parks to explore.  On one of our walks, the Abrahams Bosom track in Currarong we came across a snake just chilling in the middle of the walking track. Thankfully, a couple of people had just walked past Mr Snake and helped him peacefully make his own way back off the track.

We ventured down to the surrounding coastal towns including Currarong, Orient point and down to Jervis bay. We shopped in Huskisson and the other local shopping hubs including Berry and Nowra. Visited Hyam’s beach which has claimed to have the whitest sand in the world (according to the guinness book of records). It also has another claim to fame for all you Kim Kardashian fans, she did a photo shoot there when she visited Australia a few years ago.

During our stay down the coast we also got to witness the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Binoculars were needed of course and I have to confess we were only able to see one boat, the rest were too far out to sea.

Overall it was a lovely getaway filled with new and happy memories.

Have you been on a getaway currently? I would love to hear about!

I’ll love and leave you with a few happy snaps!

Lennae xxx

Looking over Hyam's beach.

Looking over Hyam’s beach.

Merimbula wreck, Currarong.

Merimbula wreck, Currarong.

Honeysuckle beach, Currarong.

Honeysuckle beach, Currarong.

 

Fam Bam!

Fam Bam!

Snow enjoying Culburra Beach.

Snow enjoying Culburra Beach.

 

 


Wrapping up 2016 and Bringing on 2017!

Photo credit @a.m_banks- Instagram

Photo credit @a.m_banks- Instagram

Welcome to 2017….. Where on earth did 2016 go!!!

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I can’t help myself I love wrapping up a year that’s passed and looking forward to the beginnings of a year ahead! I don’t know about you guys, but a new year just brings a whole lot of exciting and endless possibilities!!!

Although I can’t say I have completely recovered from ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome) I am more functional and active than what I have been in a long time. 2016 was a good year for me, my health turned it up a notch and showed me that my days with ME/CFS are becoming more like it was all just a bad dream.

Throughout 2016 I did have a few issues with my health, but they ended up not being ME/CFS related. How good is that!
2016 showed me a normal and active life, that I am more than welcoming back. I was able to work my way up to working 15 hours a week and maintain that. I will increase the hours more at some stage, but right now I am happily enjoying this work life balance. I also enjoyed a bit of travelling, going interstate, as well as heading over to Singapore off on a cruise. I remember feeling on the cruise like I wasn’t a sick person (how amazing is that). I was also studying some of last year, however I did have to place my studies on hold. I hope to continue them at some stage, possibly in a years time. Putting my studies on hold allowed me time to complete my main goal of returning to work and also allowed me to focus more on my fitness. Which Snowy and I have been loving!

Anyway enough about 2016, we are now in 2017!!!

Whoohoo, bring it on!!!

This year one of my main goals that I will achieve, is dedicated to when I first became unwell. When I first became unwell in 2013, I could barely move. At the time all I could do was lay in bed or on the couch. I did a lot of soul searching and googling online about ME/CFS and came across mostly negative stories. This did not help my frame of mind, I needed something positive. I had no idea when I would get better or how long it would take. However I needed something to look forward to. I decided to make a vision board, it was something I hung on my wall, where I looked every day and helped when I wasn’t feeling the best (which at that stage was everyday). My vision board consisted of destinations that I wanted to visit and stuff that I wanted to be doing once I finally started to get better. The one thing that stuck out to me however was Machu Picchu. I have no idea why, it just did. I decided when I was finally well enough and able too I would go there someday. Thankfully my beautiful friends I am well enough to get my butt over to that amazing place and show ME/CFS who the boss is now!!!

To some it may not seem like a big deal, but to someone that has been suffering with a chronic illness it means having your life back. Suffering from a chronic illness is hard work, but recovering from one is even harder. Achieving your goals is rewarding, here’s to a year full of achieving your goals and setting new ones.

Have a happy 2017 my friends! I hope you all have a fantastic year ahead, sending lots of love, hugs, spoons and positive vibes your way.

Lennae xxx

Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram

Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram

Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram

Photo credit @a.m_banks- instagram


Matcha & Coconut Bliss Balls

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Matcha tea is one my favourite food staples at the moment. It has many health benefits ranging from boosting the immune system, calming the mind, relaxing the body, increased energy and concentration. I can see why the Japanese love Matcha and why they add it to almost everything. I for one am always adding it into my smoothies and am always trying to think of new ways to add it into my snacks or meals.

Here is my latest creation, please do not be alarmed by the colour like my husband was! I assure you it tastes amazingly better than how it looks!

Ingredients

1 tsp Matcha powder
1 Tbsp Cacao nibs
1 Tbsp of Coconut oil
1 Cup of Shredded coconut
1 Cup of Walnuts
10 Medjool date’s

 

Add walnuts and shredded coconut into a blender, blend until you get a crumbly texture. Remove pips from medjool dates, then add them into the blender with matcha powder. Blend until mixture is blended. Add coconut oil and blend until mixed, then added in cacao nibs and blend for a couple of seconds. Roll into small balls. Store balls in the fridge, they will be ready to eat within 30 minutes, or you can eat them straight from the blender! Enjoy!

 

Makes  12, time required 10 minutes. 

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Mr Spoons Adventures

Mr Spoon at Flagstaff hill park, Wollongong.

Mr Spoon at Flagstaff hill park, Wollongong (Photo credit: Instgram @a.m_banks).

Last month I was fortunate enough to be visited by the famous travelling Mr Spoon. He travelled all the way from Germany taking a couple of detours around Australia, before turning up on my door step.

You’re probably wondering who is Mr Spoon and what’s his story?  Well let me tell you!!!

Mr Spoon was created by the wonderful Theresa Laura at spoonsforhappniess.com.  She created him for the Spoonie community. His job is to help each person that receives him feel less alone while dealing with their illness and help them feel connected to a wonderful worldwide community.

Now you’re probably wondering what is a Spoonie?

A Spoonie is someone that suffers with a chronic illness, for more details read Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory.  Mr Spoon is helping raise awareness worldwide for people that suffer with a chronic illness. As you may know I have suffered with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for over 3 years. My health is a lot better, however I was bed ridden at one point. For some spoonies they can be house bound or even bed bound. This means basic activities can be almost impossible for some.  Knowing that Mr Spoon was travelling around to help with raising awareness, I was more than happy to help and support Mr Spoon on his travels. Anything that helps to raise awareness for any type of chronic illness is always welcomed.

Now that we have covered the important facts I would love to share my adventures with Mr Spoon with you all! Mr Spoon ended up staying with me for over a month.  Our first adventure was our road trip down the coast to Melbourne. Mr Spoon decided to hide in the back seat on the first day, but we managed to get a lot of sightseeing pictures the following day. We looked for whales in Eden, NSW, crossed over the border to Victoria, and headed for Melbourne while hugging the coast as much as possible (for more details about our road trip click here).

After our big road trip Mr Spoon and I were happy to chill out during the rest of our time together.  Before I was due to forward him on, I decided to set him up with a bit of a photo shoot. Mr Spoon loved every moment of it, he is a bit of a model and I’m pretty sure he would win Australia’s next top model if he wanted to hang around and apply.

After a lot of beach therapy and way too many photos, Mr Spoon headed off via Australia post to see the next wonderful Spoonie.

If you would like to have Mr Spoon come visit you, feel free to contact Theresa Laura at spoonsforhappniess.com.

Thank you for visiting Mr Spoon and keep doing what you doing!

 

Lennae xxx

 

Hanging on tight to Buddha.

Hanging on tight to Buddha (Photo credit: Instgram @a.m_banks).

Looking over City Beach, Wollongong

Looking over City Beach, Wollongong (Photo credit: Instgram @a.m_banks).

Wollongong Harbour

Wollongong Harbour (Photo credit: Instgram @a.m_banks).

 

Whale watching in Eden, NSW.

Whale watching in Eden, NSW.

Mr Spoon takes on Melbourne!

Mr Spoon takes on Melbourne!


Pineapple & Ginger Smoothie

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This delicious pineapple and  ginger smoothie is a great morning starter, that will help jump start your day. The health benefits of ginger will help with any aches and pains and getting that digestive system working. Enjoy this refresher, but watch out for that ginger kick!

 

Ingredients

2 cm piece of Ginger
2 Cups of Coconut water
1 Tbsp Flax-seed meal
2 Cups of Pineapple
1 Banana
2  Celery sticks

Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a celery stick. 

 

Chop pineapple, banana and celery into small pieces.  Remove skin from ginger and add into a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour smoothie into glasses.  Garnish with a slice of pineapple slicing the middle and sliding it onto the glass, add a celery stick into the drink. Enjoy!

 

Serves 2, time required 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Walking with ME

Walking with a view, Woonona beach, NSW.

Walking with a view, Woonona beach, NSW.

During the early days of my illness with ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome) moving proved to be very difficult, my body was weak and heavy. I’m in my third year of recovering with ME/CFS and here is how I have managed to get moving again. Please note that although I have found this to help me, it may not be ideal for you. Everyone is different and this illness affects everyone differently.

When my doctor referred me to an exercise physiologist to help with my recovery, I was confused and didn’t understand why… “how could I exercise if I could barely hold myself up?”  This being my only option from my doctor, I went and gave it a go.

At the exercise physiologist I was given a couple of exercises and was told to start walking, this sounded like pure torture. I did want to get better, which meant I was willing to give anything a go.

The exercises I did off and on, but the walking I have kept and maintained since day one.  I started off with a walk down my driveway; to the mailbox and up and down 2 small flights of stairs. That was me done! I struggled up the stairs, while breathing heavily. Gradually I started shuffling a 5 minute walk to the beach. It was literally two blocks away and took me 10 minutes to get there. I started this walk with someone each time,  I was too scared to go by myself  and scared that I would fall over and be too weak to pick myself up if I ever needed to. I would stop when I got to the beach and get a chai latte. Usually I would need to rest for around half an hour before  heading back again. When I got confident I started do this walk on my own, I remember the first time I was out on my own and I was shuffling along and an elderly man passed me, I was so disheartened. The old me would have lapped that elderly man, twice!

I started to walk around 2 – 4 times a week, this become the highlight of my day and even week.  I would look forward to it, it became good for my physical health and mental health. If I could manage a small walk on my struggle day’s, then that was something and something is better than nothing. There were days where I didn’t want to do it though deep down I knew that if I got out into the fresh air I would feel better for it and I always did.

I remember one occasion I was having a bad day, I was feeling down and had no motivation to face my walk. I was mentally struggling and it was late in the afternoon. I thought to myself I need to do this walk today, I got myself together and slowly made my way down to the beach. When I finally got there, I ordered my chai latte, sat down and looked out over the ocean. I was rewarded with the beautiful sight of whales splashing around in the distance. I was so happy and proud that I had made it down, it was such an amazing reward.

After almost a year of this, things got easier and we moved into a different area.  We lived close to some shops that were under a 5 minute walk. I would walk up there, run an errand or two, have a chai latte and sit down then walk back when I was ready. Gradually I didn’t need to sit down and rest, I would find that I would be walking around for 20 – 30 minutes easily.

That’s when I took on a new challenge of walking Snow. We only had her for a few months, after a bit of walking practice around the backyard.  I started to feel comfortable walking her. We started our walks and got into a habit of walking 2 – 3 times a week, walking around a few streets in the area that would take me around 20 – 30 minutes depending on how I was.

When I returned back to work I had to make sure not to push things. Usually when I went for a walk it would be on my days off and the walk would range from 20 – 30 minutes. I took her on longer walks when we would go to the beach, they were always at a strolling pace. Beach walks were good to add in as the terrain is a bit harder to walk on. This helped build strength, we would bring Snow along to the beach and I started off by walking a quarter of the way and then back. Every-time I would go, I would assess how I felt and then turn around and walk back. Eventually after doing this for just over 24 months I made it to the end and back comfortably.

I have managed to build up a solid pace from the shuffle that I use to do back in my earlier days.  I now can complete regular walks weekly ranging from 2 – 5 times a week. I always assess how I am each day and during the week, if it feels like too much then that’s ok, I limit what I do.

I recently completed my first walking event since illness, it was 6 km’s and I completed it in 54 minutes (click here for details). My goal is to complete CITY2SURF I did it back in 2012 and loved it, due to illness I haven’t been able to do it since. It’s 14 km’s, fingers crossed next year is my year for it!!!

I believe walking can help on so many levels, do you enjoy walking or find helpful at all? Have you noticed any progress over time with your walking? I would love to hear all about it!

Lennae xxx

Walking and resting,

Walking and resting.

Snowy and I at the 3k Million Paws walk 2015.

Snow and I at the 3k Million Paws walk 2015.

We love walks when this is the view, East Corrimal, NSW.

We love walks when this is the view, East Corrimal, NSW.

Snowy in her element.

Snow in her element.

Walk selfies at the park.

Walk selfies at the park.