LCHF and Me: The Six Week Low Carb, High Fat Challenge

Nine years ago, I was about to get married (for the first time ha!) and so I did what what most brides-to-be do – hit the gym. HARD. Got myself a a personal trainer and was there at 6am, 5 days a week. I don’t remember her name, but she told me about this special diet I could do to help slim down for the wedding. It was all about limiting your carbs and increasing your protein and fat consumption. There was a catch though. No alcohol, no dairy, no sugar… AKA, no fun. But I’m one of those people who, when she puts her mind to it, can do close to anything. So, I followed the diet to the letter, lost a bunch of weight and looked amazing on my wedding day. By the end of the honeymoon though, I was basically back to square one. All that work wiped out in the space of a fortnight.

Fad diets. Ugh.

Fast forward nine years, another wedding and two kids later, and here we were. A little worse for wear. A few wobbly bits here and there as you might expect. Still looking pretty good, but not feeling like “me” anymore. Tired, lethargic, and lacking motivation.

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Here I am, living my best life being a legit underwear model with my post-kid wobbly bits out for all to see #noregrets

So I went searching for a solution. Not a fad diet – a lifestyle overhaul. A way to change it up that was going to help me out of the fog and hopefully, back into those skinny jeans sitting in the back of the wardrobe.

After doing some research, I decided I was going to sign up to the 6 week Low Carb, High Fat Challenge with Vicky and Joe from Eat Play Thrive.

I paid my registration fee and off I went. Before the challenge started, I was given a plethora of information to get me on my way to make sure I felt supported and ready right from day one. There’s a private Facebook page for you to join with the other participants, which immediately makes you feel like you are a part of a community. Having a bad day? Post about it in the group and let the other members lift you up and remind you why you’re doing this. Having a great day? Post about that too! I used the group regularly when I had questions about particular foods, which were always answered quickly by Vicky, Joe or a member of the group.

For all the participants who need to understand the science behind the LCHF movement, theres workshops and interviews with Doctors, Nutritionists and other who clearly explain how shifting to a LCHF lifestyle benefits your body.

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Keto Chicken Curry Pie. Wahhhh, poor me eating like a QWEEN.

And finally, the recipes! Oh my lordy. The recipes. Never did I think that being on a “diet” (for lack of a better word) could be so delicious. Not once in the six weeks did I miss the foods I usually rely so heavily on (I’m looking at you pasta and bread), because the food I was consuming was so amazing, I never felt like I was missing out.

And heres the best part – the results.

For me, this was never about the number on the scales. It was about dropping body fat and feeling good. Both of which I achieved.

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All 163cm of me, before and after.

BEFORE                             AFTER

Bust: 92cm                        86cm

Waist: 77cm                      69cm

Hips: 98cm                        92cm

60.1kgs                               56.7kgs

25.6% fat                            23.2%

48.3% water                      49.9%

29.1% muscle                    31.0%

So where to from here?

Thats the best part about the program and signing up with Vicky and Joe. At the end of the six weeks, you have the tools you need to make this a LIFESTYLE change. Not a fad diet. I’m now in maintenance mode, and feeling better than I have in a long long time.

The next six week LCHF Challenge starts on 28 October, and I’ll be there. This time around I’m ready to learn more about the exercise component and how I can really kick my body into shape over summer and beyond.

Registrations are now open for October – come and join us and see what all the fuss is about!

Amy x

Gift Giving Made Easy with Ryobi

Ughhhhh Father’s Day.

Look, it’s not that I don’t like the day itself, or the idea of showing Benji that we all appreciate him. It’s just that Benji is the hardest person in the world to buy stuff for.

Every special occasion it’s the same. “What do you want for *insert special day here*?”

“I don’t need anything. You and the girls are all I want.”

SPEW. Also, not very helpful Benjamin.

We usually settle for some new jocks and a case of beers. In terms of originality, we are severely lacking… Until now that is.

You see, now that our renovations are over, Benji’s focus has shifted to the garden that we let go a while ago when we had tradies trampling through it every day. Spring is just around the corner and it’s time to get back on track!

And thanks to the Ryobi Gift Guide, I’m going to pick the perfect presents for the kids to give to Dad this year.

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Much tools. Very powerful. So confusing. Narrow it down for me Gift Guide!

Not that I don’t like roaming through Bunnings on a Saturday with a snag in one hand and, um yeah, another snag in the other. It’s just that when it comes to power tools, I can get a little overwhelmed with choice.

This is where the Gift Guide comes in handy. You simply pop in the stuff you know (e.g. I’m looking for gardening gear, so I popped gardening into the interests) and it sorts the results for you by relevance. You can search using different categories like price, power source and type of tool as well and its super user-friendly.

Now I’ve done my searching, I’ve narrowed the field to a hedge trimmer and a leaf blower. Both essential items for Benji to tend to our growing box hedge and deciduous plants. Talk about wife of the year – stop the search and hand me the trophy. Better luck next year!

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Prize does not include small child unless she’s been particularly painful the day I ship the package your way…

To celebrate the launch of the Ryobi Gift Guide, I’ve teamed up with Ryobi to give away an amazing prize pack valued at $399. Consisting of:

  • Compact Drill Driver
  • Impact Driver
  • Angle Grinder
  • 164mm Circular Saw
  • 2 x 2.5ah Batteries, and a
  • 2A Charger

All you have to do is head to my Instagram and follow the instructions on my post. Easy!

Whilst this blog and competition is a collaboration between the Jaded Monkey and RyobiAU, I only work with brands who I use and love.

All ONE+, 36V and 12V tools are now eligible for a 6-year replacement warranty with online registration.

I Don’t Care if you’re Meghan Markle or Kim from Next Door – Slut Shaming is Never Okay.

Mamamia – we need to talk.

A couple of days ago I was scrolling my Facebook feed and one of your articles popped up, as is often the case. One of my friend’s had commented, “How is this appropriate or necessary?” (or something to that effect). I scrolled down the comments on your post and found all of them reflected my friend’s sentiments. You had made people angry.

So naturally, I grabbed a glass of wine and settled in for a read to see what had the women of Facebook up in arms.

The article in question was titled, “Prince Harry wasn’t the first famous person Meghan Markle had a romance with.”

Who would have thought it? A successful actress has had romances with other famous people.

Shock fucking horror.

Anyway, I digress slightly, as this wasn’t really the reason I was getting increasingly pissed off as I read through Meghan’s black book.

What did piss me off though was the way it was written.

“The royal wedding is just a week away, but why focus on the union of two people in love when you can instead just go deep on Meghan Markle‘s exes for no reason other than… fun?

That’s right.

Fun.”

“FUN”.

Even if this article was written in jest, with tongue firmly in cheek, it still does what so many of us are fighting to stop, ironically yourself included. Mamamia, you’re slut shaming Meghan Markle and I’m not okay with it.

If I call someone a racist name, is it okay if I let them know I’m just doing it for fun first?

No.

If my boss grabs my ass and tells me I look great today and then when I get offended, follows it up with telling me to “relax, it was just a bit of fun”, does that make it okay?

No.

Getting the gist yet?

You are calling out a woman for having relationships prior to her current one and even though you do defend her through the article, you are still calling her out. You are making it a thing for her to have seen other famous people before meeting Prince Harry, like no-one else in the world has ever had an office romance or five. Hell, if that’s the case, then Meghan and I are more similar than I ever thought. I’ve had a few office romances (thankfully I work for a very large organisation so there haven’t been too many awkward run-ins with the ex!). That doesn’t make me a slut, it makes me a normal woman who kissed a few frogs before she found her “prince”.

I don’t care if Meghan’s list has five names on it or 200. It’s 2018 and it’s time to stop making this a thing. Strong, independent women are allowed to have as many bloody relationships as they want and not be made to feel bad about it.

How do I explain to my girls as they get older that men and women are equal when the media continues to have a different set of rules for us both, even if it just in the name of “fun”?

I want my girls to know that it’s their choice to have as many romances as they please, provided they are safe and always feel like they have a voice. They have the right to kiss all of the frogs in the world if they really want to before they find their prince, or princess as the case may be. Just like Meghan Markle did.

Who do You Dress For?

A friend of mine was telling me a story recently about a girl she knows. Said girlfriend was in a clothes shop, contemplating buying a rather expensive but fabulous shirt. As she ummmmed and ahhhhhed about her possible purchase, she looked at her friend and exclaimed, “Craig is going to kill me if I buy this. He won’t like it at all.” As my friend recalled the story, she threw her arms up in the air. “Who cares what Craig thinks?”

Obviously, in this instance, this particular person cared what Craig thought. Enough that she walked away from the fabulous shirt and now probably goes to sleep every night thinking of nothing but how it could be hanging in her wardrobe right now making all the other, slightly less fabulous pieces hanging around it feel slightly inadequate.

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This sleeve length is maybe the best thing in the world…

On my last trip to Melbourne, one of my main objectives was shopping. I had squirreled away every hard-earned dollar from selling the girls pre-loved clothes, a few Gumtree purchases and bits of spare change I could put to the side, so I could go nuts in a few stores that I don’t have access to in Canberra. Yes, online shopping makes pretty much everything accessible, but sometimes there is nothing better than actually going into a store and being able to try on things before making a purchase.

So, like I was saying… I had come to shop. I had cash in my hand, and a list of shops to visit. What I did not have though, was a list of items that I was or wasn’t able to purchase based on what my husband likes. Sure, I like it when Benji says I look nice, but bless him – he pretty much reckons I look good in a potato sack (note: I do not wear potato sacks around the house, or anywhere else for that matter).

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Too cold to wear your favourite dress? Grab a crazy-cat-lady cardi, hold your head high and go live your best life

I dress for me.

I like it. I can afford it. I buy it. I wear it.

Exhibit B – a previous man in my life used to hate the way I dressed. As far as he was concerned, I wasn’t doing my body any justice hiding it from the world. It was something that should have been showed off in tight, feminine clothing at all times. I thought about what he said, and then went shopping for as many formless, androgynous outfits as my bank balance would allow #icantbelievehewasnttheone

Call that selfish if you want, but I don’t think you will. You see, the way I dress is just one of the ways I show the world who I am. When I wear clothes I feel comfortable in, I am confident, I walk taller, I feel powerful. Like the world is mine for the taking. If I start dressing for someone else, in shapes or colours that don’t quite suit my vibe, this doesn’t happen. I feel like an imposter.

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Gotta love a dress that you can wear with heels or sneakers, but yeah, mostly sneakers

As Avery gets older, she is starting to figure out her own look. She likes being able to pick what she wears and how. Sometimes she nails it, sometimes she looks like a cute little hobo. But maybe in her head, she’s rocking her vibe. Walking taller, feeling more powerful. So I won’t stop her. Just like Benji won’t stop me.

So let me ask you – who do you dress for? Do you have the fabulous shirt hanging in your wardrobe, or just in your head as you close your eyes at night?

All fabulous outfits and earrings kindly gifted by some of my favourite stores. Grab a wine and go find something amazing for you, not your partner below:

Outfit One: Whitehaven Emporium – A Nice Cotton Dress with Sleeves in Chai Lattice $84.95

Outfit Two: Seagrass Design – Pebbles Button Dress $229.00

Outfit Three: Assemble Clothing – The Lakehouse Dress $99.95

All Earrings: Love Buds by Amy – Prices Vary

Got this far? You go Glenn Coco! Discounts and a cheeky giveaway happening soon over on my insta.

Travelling with Kooshy Kids

School holidays. They’re here. Just like that. Pretty sure last Monday I was dropping off Avery for the first time at preschool, but apparently not. So here I am. About to embark on my first of many two week periods where I have to figure out how to occupy a school-loving kid.

Naturally, the perfect solution is only 646.6km away. Grandma’s house.

Thankfully, we have many good reasons to make the trip to Melbourne this school break, but the biggest two are our new niece and Benji’s best mate’s new bub. BABIES SQUEEEEEE!

Along with the portacot, the pram, suitcases, pillows, too many toys that won’t get touched, scooters, presents and enough food to feed an army for the trip down, we’re getting a bit smarter and packing a few items that are going to make our life so much easier this holiday, thanks to Kooshy Kids.

On-the-Go Parent Backpack

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Mary Poppins would be proud. You should see the lamp I’ve packed in this bad boy.

I’ve been testing out the On-the-Go Parent Backpack for a couple of weeks now prior to our trip away and it’s become an essential item for all our outings, big or small. Slim enough to fit snuggly attached to your pram, but roomy enough to fit enough nappies for a three day Easter vacation to the coast (we are from Canberra after all), this backpack has been a God send. With more bells and whistles than I can mention here, the highlights for us have been the unisex design, the waterproof material and the inbuilt frame that keeps the bag open for easy access when you’re doing your best to emulate Mary Poppins.

On-the-Go Nappy Clutch

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Love when a nappy clutch doesn’t look out of place next to your latest Gorman purchase

Super slim, yet extra large when folded out, the nappy clutch is yet another essential item for our wriggling, needs to be toilet-trained soon, almost two year old. I can chuck a couple of nappies and wipes in this bad boy and know that I’ve got everything I need to tend to that cute (stinky) little bum whenever and wherever I need to. It’s washable and fits perfectly with plenty of room to spare in my backpack.

Now, there’s one more thing I want to talk to you about, and this is a bloody game-changer.

Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to be planning a long-haul vacay anytime soon, but when I do, I know what I’m going to bring with me…

Kooshy Kids Kooshion

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Photo supplied because I couldn’t convince anyone to send me and the kids on a long-haul flight to road test the Kooshion

The Kooshion is your perfect travel companion. It inflates to create a flat, flexible space between plane seats for your little ones, giving them that flat bed experience that us adults can only dream of up in Business Class. Lightweight in design and accepted on more than 50 airlines, it’s a must have item for any long-haul traveling.

If you need more info on the Kooshion, head here, otherwise read on because I’ve got some good news for you…

I’m giving away a Kooshion to one lucky reader. All you have to do is:

  • Follow @thejadedmonkey and @kooshykids on Instagram
  • Comment below with your dream getaway location along with your Instagram handle.

Easy!

Competition closes Thursday 19 April 7pm AEST and is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Instagram or Word Press.

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Kooshy Kids, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Five Days and One Menstrual Cup

Since becoming a mum, I have learnt many things. Quite a few of those things are about how I as a person, have changed, mostly for the good I’d say. I’m more compassionate, I love deeper, I am more aware of the impact of my actions and I share more. A lot more.

Maybe too much.

“TMI” seems to be my middle name these days, and this post I’m afraid is going to be no exception.

If you don’t like talking about your period, vaginas, or things that go inside of your vagina, then I’m just letting you know upfront that this blog post is not for you.

Close the page now.

Okay, still with me? Let’s get to the gross stuff.

I hate having a period. I was a late bloomer – 15 or 16 from memory. Have never been regular and am horrible at predicting when I’m about to start my next cycle. Being on the pill for the best part of 15 years helped these issues and life was pretty peachy keen until I decided to start trying for a baby.

Goodbye pill, hello unpredictability!

Fast forward two pregnancies and over a year of breastfeeding each time resulting in about three glorious period-free years in my life and here we were, just a couple of months ago. My period was back and I was not happy.

Not so much with the actual period itself – I didn’t mind the blood, I just hated the inconvenience of it all. The pads – gross. The tampons – gross. The constant trips to the toilet, kids in tow, weapon of choice carefully concealed somewhere discreet – I was always a fan of a tampon in my bra…

But I digress. I had had enough!

I had seen a few posts and things on the internet about menstrual cups and while a super foreign concept, I figured I had nothing to lose and made my purchase online.

Day One

Once again my period has managed to sneak up on me and take me by surprise.

“Not this time”, I think to myself as I get my little pack out of the vanity. Thankfully, it’s a Friday afternoon and I’m not due back at work until Wednesday so the timing is perfect to give this thing a go with little fear of public embarrassment, unlike that one time at a school concert where there wasn’t a toilet close by…

I follow the instructions and fold my cup into a “C” shape and pop it into place. It’s easy enough, but takes a bit of fiddling to get it right. The internet tells me it’s going to take several cycles to nail it, so I’m not too worried.

I’m pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it is, and head off to sleep for the night.

Day Two

Overnight is a success! No leaks, and no urge to run from the bed to the loo as soon as I get upright as is the case sometimes when using tampons.

I remove the cup as instructed in the shower and pop it back into place with a bit of difficulty. I can now relax for 12 hours until I need to change it again.

Yes. 12 HOURS.

Day Three

Another night with no dramas and a trip out of the house, wearing a liner just to be safe. Still, there are no incidents and I start to get cocky. I feel like I’ve cracked the period code.

Cue 14 hours later when I’ve forgotten to change my cup and find myself with a dirty big stain on my undies. I take the cup out thinking it’s full, but it’s not. I think it’s moved a little during the course of the day and the seal has broken, creating a leak.

Lesson learnt – a little readjusting throughout the day doesn’t go astray.

Day Four

I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting the cup to fall into place properly when inserted, so I consult the internet and find a useful video on different folding methods. I try the “Punch Down” fold and immediately find it better. I’ve also decided to trim the stem which also helps with not noticing it’s there at all.

Day Five

Things are wrapping up for me this cycle and I’ve made it. five days with no tampons, no pads. A couple of liners which I consider my safety net for now.

It sounds silly, but I am proud of myself for taking a chance and trying something new and definitely not mainstream. For saving a couple of dollars a month on items I can’t stand buying. For switching to something more environmentally friendly.

So for those of you curious about menstrual cups – my advice is just give it a go. If you don’t like it, go back to what you were doing before. I’m sure they’re not everyone’s cup of tea (okay, that’s kinda gross), but I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who assume, like I used to, that there are no other options besides the sanitary items in your local supermarket.

So where do you find your perfect cup? Start here.

Good luck!

Edit* I’ll be grabbing a pair or two of Modibodi’s undies to use as my back up instead of liners to make my cycle zero waste. Go me! See the range here.

Smashing School Lunches

There I stand. In the kitchen. Specifically in front of the fridge. Door wide open, hand on hip, foot tapping.

School bloody lunches.

The thorn in every families side.

The Morrison household has had it too good up until this point. Daycare has provided all of the girls meals, which means I’ve never had to give much thought about how to pack a school lunch box. Until now of course. 2018 is here and that means we’re about to be introduced to the wonderful world of Preschool.

I’m not exactly known for my creativity in the kitchen, so school lunches typically send shivers down my spine. I know I’m not alone though. I see you mama. Reading along. Nodding your head.

School lunches are a pain in the bum. Period.

But I’m going to let you in on some classified information. I’ve got a couple of secret weapons that are going to help me in my quest to nail the perfect lunch box this year and not just for Avery. The whole house is covered. Can I get an amen?!

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The Smash Bento Lunch kit is a great set for little ones or for carrying around on the go when you need to pack snacks. It comes with a 450ml drink bottle, a novelty sandwich cutter and stickers so the kids can personalise their set which is guaranteed to keep them quiet for at least 5.4 seconds so you can have a sip of hot coffee before someone starts whingeing. Did I mention it’s only $10 too? Love a good bargain.

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For those of us who like a little more food, then the Smash Lunch Box is for you. Not only does it look cool AF, it also holds a tonne of food (okay, may not actually hold a whole tonne of food, but you get where I’m going. It’s big.) and is insulated so your “tonne” of food is going to stay fresher for longer. Super fantastic for these 40 degree days we’re having at the moment!

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I’ve saved my favourite until last – the Smash Bento Switch Up. It’s got a detachable insulating liner, you can chuck it in the dishwasher (YAS!!!), the dividers are moveable to customise the size of the individual compartments and it’s leak resistant which makes it pretty much my go to item for Avery’s school bag this year. She’s basically been using it every day since we picked this beauty up and she loves figuring out what she wants to put where. More engagement from her in deciding what goes into her lunch box means she’s more likely to eat it all. Less waste, more healthy options, everyone wins.

So if you, like me are starting to realise that the school year is just around the corner, then head down to your local Big W, check out the Smash range and pick up some items that are going to make your life a whole lot better.

You can thank me later x

This has been a collaboration with Smash Enterprises, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.  

Place mats thanks to We Might Be Tiny