Ta-daaa

I’ve hinted a couple of times about a big and exciting change happening in my little corner of the blogging world.

Finally, after much deliberation and procrastination, I have taken my blog to the next level. From a .wordpress.com site to my very own domain. And here you are… www.inhilshead.co.za!

I am so, so happy be able to share this space with you! A lot of time and love has gone into creating a space that’s all mine, from the design to the written content.

So what’s going to be happening InHil’sHead in the coming months? I guess the best way to describe this space is as a lifestyle blog… about my life as a busy, working mom, trying to live my best life. From my food and life hacks, to parenting, my efforts at fitness, the books I read, the places I go and the thinks I think. And everything in-between. I even have my first giveaway lined up – super exciting and I can’t wait to share it! I’ll be sharing my monthly column with you too – a light-hearted look at parenting tweens and teens. I have so much news to share about what I’ve been up to recently – expect loads of tropical island pics!

Oh – and my old posts are all here too, so you’re welcome to take a look through those while you’re here!

Click subscribe below so that we can stay in touch! You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And please, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Loads of love,

Hil xxx

Foodie Fabulousness: Banting Granola

We’re trying to eat healthily in this house… well the adult contingent is, at least. You know, start the new year right and all. 

I’m trying to eat clean and follow a low carb, sugar free diet, as close to the letter as possible! I absolutely have to get serious about eating well because my weight has been moving steadily,  completely in the wrong direction for the last eight or so months. 

Nick doesn’t necessarily eat LCHF, but he tries to stay away from eating too much bread and eats well to fuel all the running he does. At the moment he’s training for the Two Oceans Ultra and those long runs make him HUNGRY!

One of the keys for my success will be having easy food that I can grab for work – particularly since I eat at least two of my three meals a day at the office. Having a pantry full of low carb options leaves me with choices and not feeling bored and frustrated.

So with that in mind, I bring you my take on The Real Meal Revolution’s 

Banting Granola


Nuts and seeds -I used a 500g Banting mix of nuts and seeds available at Dischem for about R115.00 – it contains walnutspecansalmondsmacadamia nuts, pumpkinsunflower seeds and coconut shavings. You can really make this mix up to your own taste. 

I like to bulk my mixture up with extra coconut shavings and seeds. The coconut crisps up really nicely when you you toast the mixture. 

Cinnamon – I love cinnamon – truly one of my favourite scents and flavours. I add cinnamon very liberally. You could add other spices too, like ginger or allspice. 

Butter and coconut oil – A good couple of dollops. 

Sweetener : honey, xylitol or whatever your drug of choice is.

Pinch of salt – not sure if this is entirely necessary but I find most things taste better with a tiny pinch of salt. 

I like to crush the bigger nuts a bit, just so that they’re not big, whole nuts. Give them a blitz in your food processor or pestle and mortar if you have some anger issues to deal with. 

Toss the whole lot – nuts, seeds and coconut – into a big, deep baking dish. 

Sprinkle the cinnamon liberally. 

Sprinkle the salt – not liberally, really just a pinch! 

Add your sweetener – sprinkle in the xylitol or drizzle over the honey. I used the tiniest drizzle of honey because I’m trying to go sugar free and eat clean so no artificial sweeteners. At the same time, I do think the granola is nicer with a little bit of sweetness. 

Dollop a couple of spoons of coconut oil and/or butter on top of your mixture. 

Place under a hot grill. This is where you need to be careful! This mixture burns super quickly so I place under the grill for 30 – 40 seconds and then mix it all up. Rinse*, repeat until the whole mixture is toasty brown and fragrant. Don’t walk away while you’re toasting your granola! Just don’t! I speak from experience. 

Leave to cool and store in an airtight container. 

I eat my granola with double cream yoghurt, and perhaps some blueberries or strawberries. It’s delicious and easily sustains me until lunchtime. My only advice here is to not eat it every single day – mix it up with other low carb brekkies like eggs etc. And watch your portion sizes. I use about 30 – 40g of granola and about 100g of yoghurt.

Nick’s Not-Low-Carb version is amazeballs:

Oats, yoghurt, bit of milk and a dash of cream, chopped fruit, all mixed up, with a liberal sprinkling of granola on top. Refrigerate overnight so that the oats soften in the yoghurt, milk and cream. Ready to go, first thing in the morning. 

Please share your go-to work day lunches and brekkies! I can always do with extra ideas! 

Love, 
Hil

* Please don’t literally rinse – this is just a phrase 🙂

Bringing 2017 “into Focus”

Tomorrow I go back to work – my official start to 2017! We’ve had a lovely few weeks as a break, and now it’s time to face the real world again. That means it’s also time to consider what I want out of the year ahead! 

Sharon over at www.theblessedbarreness.com posted her word for the year and it got me thinking about mine. What immediately sprang to mind was the word “FOCUS”.
It’s time to focus on achieving my goals!


I’ve got to focus on my studies! I’d love to graduate with my degree at the end of 2018 and this means I need to do some some serious work in the next two years!  
I must, must, must focus on my fitness and my health. I’m officially sugar free (as of yesterday) and tomorrow I will lace up my running shoes and test my wonky tendons on the road again. I want and need to run again for a thousand reasons! 

I want to focus on doing more of the things that make me happy – writing, creating. Taking moments to lie on the grass, enjoy a cup of tea, read a book. 

Focus on being present for my family! 

Focus on finding joy and magic in each day and making the year I in which I turn 40 a fabulous one! 

I could go on and on about the things I need to focus on, but then you might lose focus and stop reading, so I’m going to sign off and focus on finding something to wear to work tomorrow! 

xxx

The Foot Chronicles… or my (chronic) left foot 

I’ve mentioned the foot/ankle/leg thing a few times. If you’re a regular reader (and yay for you!) you’ll know that it’s been the reason for my extended absence from my running club for a few months now. 

I started off with a self diagnosis with the help of Dr Google. It doesn’t take brain (or even foot) surgery to look up “pain on inside of ankle after running” and find a diagnosis that ticked all the symptom boxes. 

My (correct) self-diagnosis was posterior tibial tendonitis. I then went to a physiotherapist who confirmed the diagnosis and did some treatments and strapped me up.

 But while the strapping and treatment helped a bit with the immediate pain, it wasn’t a remedy and pretty much any stretch of walking now leaves me aching for hours. Running is out of the question. 

After weeks of doing the “rest” part of RICE, with no improvement, I finally decided to seek treatment. Even though I knew what was wrong, I wasn’t sure how to fix it. And I’ve procrastinated about going to a specialist of any sort because, to be honest, I’ve had no idea where to start. Physio? Biokeniticist? Podiatrist? Orthopedic? Reflexologist? Craniosacral Therapy? All of the above?

Long story short, after chatting to a sports podiatrist, I decided a consultation with him would be a good start. And I had a very long and in depth consultation with him this morning. 

At the the end of it, I’m left wondering what’s actually not wrong with my left foot. Low arch, PTT, shin splints and tight, crackly, fascia. So where to from here? He’s recommended physio for the inflammation and custom orthotics to support the arches. And I probably need to shoe shop for a new daily shoe wardrobe. I basically need to be in a supportive shoe 24 hours a day. Ok maybe not 24 – I do sleep for about 7 of the 24 hours. 

Right now, the most comfortable shoes I own are a pair of grungy black combat boots. I’m not sure if can build an entire summer wardrobe around combat boots! The best I could come up with is this:

Once the pain is gone, I can start doing some l strengthening exercises and slowly start running again. Baby steps. 

So there’s the story. Hopefully I’m on the right path for my left foot… and that OMTOM2017 is not completely off the table. 

The Injury Edition

Hey everybody!

It has been about two months since I last confessed posted. Two months of exam stress! If I ever decide to try do four modules in a semester again, please feel free to smack me upside my head! It was terrible. Loads of stress, very hard to focus and I am pretty sure I will be redoing one, if not two of the modules! I’m actively trying not to think about the outcome for now. I will deal with the regret and remorse next month when the IMM release the year end results.

It’s also been about two months since I last attempted a run. The ankle issue I mentioned in my last post has now become a thing. The physiotherapist I went to see diagnosed Posterior Tibial Tendonitis – and Dr Google concurs. My symptoms tick all the boxes. The frustrating part is that there’s no quick fix. Walking and running is pretty much out the question for the foreseeable future. My current project is to find the right treatment for the issue.

I had hoped that a few weeks of resting it from exercise would sort the problem, but it’s clear now that there is no improvement. As long as I am mostly sedentary, like a normal day in the office at my computer, then the pain is limited and I am only vaguely aware of the tenderness. As soon as I get a bit more active – and by this I mean walking leisurely around a shopping mall, the pain becomes very noticeable and uncomfortable.

FOMO! 

Today was the big Soweto race. I’d registered to run the half marathon again this year and it was in my first week of training that I discovered that I really had a problem. Facebook was full of memories of last year’s race and this morning, Nick and all our running buds left home at 4 am to run the 2016 race. I stayed home to babysit and made the crew a big breakfast for after the race.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had FOMO. Running is the first form of exercise I’ve ever really gotten into and it sucks to not be able to participate. Running is good for my body, head and soul. I want to try get into the gym thing while running is out of the question. Getting hot and sweaty at the gym gets the endorphins flowing but it doesn’t feel quite the same as pounding out a 5k on the roads. I guess gym will cover the head and body bit. For the soul, I need to try to focus on being creative again… post a  bit more regularly here on my blog and put brush to canvas and every now and then.

So I have a project plan and a plan… now to just keep with it!

Till next time friends!

xxx

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That time I signed up for a full marathon

If you’re hoping for a super motivating post about achieving the impossible… I suggest you turn back now! This isn’t that sort of post! This story is about changing my mind and deciding not to go for a particular goal.

A couple of weeks ago I had this crazy notion to sign up for a marathon. A full 42.2k race. Even though I said a gazillion times to all that would hear that I was never going to run further that a half marathon. The reason for signing up was honestly a bit loopy. My friends had signed up for the Capetown Marathon (see Jenty’s blog for her story) and Nick signed up too… and I suddenly felt massively left out and grumpy about it. FOMO x 10000. Grumpy because I suddenly felt like a useless runner again. I felt like I used to feel when I trudged behind the last of the pack whenever I walked. Gradually, my grumpiness gave way to an inkling of an idea – what if, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I tried to join them. I tested the waters by throwing the idea out to a few running friends and the responses I received were mixed, to say the least. Some agreed that the idea was crazy and others said if I put my mind to it, I could do it. I’m grateful to both camps for both the honesty and the faith. I went with the latter opinion, paid the entry fee, signed up for a full marathon. I did some research and convinced myself that even if I walked the entire race at 10 minutes per kilometre, I could still finish it. I found a 12 week training plan, which seemed sort of doable. Although I told my close friends about my decision, I couldn’t quite bring myself to post about it here or talk about it to too many people because even with the plan, it seemed like such a far fetched idea! 

I loved the idea of feeling the elation that I felt when I finished my first half marathon and doing what I never believed I could, but the reality of running that sort of distance was scary as hell!  

A couple of weeks have passed since I completed that online entry and I’ve had some time to think about the idea and why I wanted to attempt the run and honestly, FOMO is just not a good enough reason! The truth is, right now, I’m not physically strong enough and three months is just not enough time for me to build that strength. 

Even if I somehow managed to get my legs and lungs fit enough, I really don’t think that my feet can cope with that sort of distance. The commitment to training is another issue. I’ve signed up for a bunch of modules for my degree course and they have to take priority. Training to run a marathon whilst trying to complete my assignments, study for year-end exams, work full time and be a wife and mom just seems like more than I can deal with. 

This past weekend, I ran the Northgate 10k, and it was a pretty good race. I enjoyed the run and I realised that having made the effort to run more regularly in the last weeks felt awesome but that I was completely okay with deciding not to run the Capetown Marathon. Although it felt good to have a goal which gave my running some focus, it didn’t feel great to have a goal so huge that I got palpitations everytime I gave it any serious thought. Deciding not to do it felt more right than trying to do it. I’m no longer saying never to anything longer than a 21k, but I am saying not right now. 

Maybe knowing my limits is winning in its own way? 

From the other side

I woke up a little stiff this morning, after yesterday’s Adrienne Hersch/Randburg Harriers race. And I didn’t even run. I was there though. My shoulders were a little achy from holding out water sachets for all the runners!

Our Run/Walk for Life branch looked after the 8km water point so a bunch of us crazies woke up early, long before dawn cracked and  a sparrow farted, donned our RWFL shirts to go set up our 10 water tables.

To the non runner, you may wonder why we would get up so early, on Mother’s Day Sunday, in the chilly weather, to hand out water sachets and cups of coke.

Because it’s fun!

We made bacon rolls on a skottel braai and drank coffee from flasks. We worked together. We chatted to neighbours and felt like part of a community. We laughed and joked. We cheered for the thousands of runners as they ran past. Runners who included family, friends and colleagues as well as some of SA’s top runners. We got to see Caroline Wostman speed by, as she tapers before Comrades in three weeks as well as Rene Kalmer, who won the race.

I got to give my hubby a sweaty hug mid-race – he ran the 21k with his brother, Jonathan. And massive kudos to Jonathan who ran and finished the 21 k in a great time, despite having not run further than a 10k training run in months. It was fabulous seeing the two brothers running together.

The kids were with us and loved every minute, hanging out with their mates, cheering the runners on, handing out drinks and stomping on the left over water sachets at the end. Without a doubt, most runners would much rather grab the water from the little ones! I loved my niece’s squeals of excitement every time she “sold” a water to a runner.

Without wanting to sound too precious about this whole running thing, I think that it is really important, if I am to be part of a community, to give back a bit. It’s fun as well as valuable to experience the water tables from the other side. To witness and be a small part of the hard work that goes into organising these events. It gives me so much appreciation  and reminds me that a smile and a joke with the workers and the marshals makes the whole experience more special for all!

And finally, a note on the event organiser, Graham Block. This man is such a hero in our running circles. He organises amazing weekend long runs from Virgin Active Randburg, with refreshments, each and every weekend! He also organises weekday shorter runs from the Boskruin Shopping Centre. He has a heart of gold and never fails to inspire us with his kindness, dedication, humour and warm laugh. Thank you Graham!

So with that, I will leave you with a few photos from the morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Oceans!

Last year, Nick got to run the Two Oceans half marathon as part of a work thing and I had such FOMO – even though I hadn’t yet actually run a half marathon! 

I was really keen to experience the race for myself so when entries for the 2016 event opened up we decided to see if I could get an entry for the half. Nick said that that if I managed to get a half marathon entry, then he would enter the ultra marathon! 

As luck would have it, I did get one of the elusive half marathon entries and so the planning began. We decided to plan a holiday around the event with our running friends Lance and Jenty and their boys.

I will admit my race training was a little sketchy. I tried to focus on speed and hill training, but was pretty lazy about doing the long runs and relied heavily on the fact that I’ve done a couple of half marathons now and knew that I could run the distance but I was terrified of not being able to make the cut off time! The rainy weather in Jozi in the weeks preceding the race made tapering very easy – some afternoons running was just impossible! 

  
So now that all my excuses are listed… Here is how the race went down! 

After much guessing about what the weather might do on the day, we decided to take along black garbage bags as makeshift raincoats and thank goodness we did, because it was a rainy wait to start to our race. We left home at the ungodly hour 3:45 am and as we drove into UCT, the heavens started spitting. I’m ever so glad we left early though. A couple of friends got caught in the crazy traffic and one of them didn’t even get to run the race. It is a helluva long way to come to all the way to Capetown for a race and not actually get to run! 

  
The pre-race build up was just awesome! I loved the singing of the anthem and the canon signifying the start of the race. Real goosebumpy stuff. I was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as I had been for Knysna, so I really just tried to soak up the energy and try to commit the experience to memory. 

I managed to somehow to get seeded in the Group D starting pen, which I was grateful for because it meant I had an extra 10 minutes to run the race. I felt better knowing that there was an extra few minutes on my side. I’m still not sure how the seedings actually work because a whole lot of runners I know, who are faster and more experienced than me, started in the E group. 

And so the race… I started off with a good run for the first two kilometres. I was too scared not to run at that point because there were just so many people all around me running and I didn’t want to stop. The third kilometre was a tough one and I had to walk a bit to conserve my energy for later in the race. I was feeling nervous at that point. It was before I had warmed up enough and my the muscles in my legs were not fully cooperative. I gave myself a bit of a talking to about giving this my all and managed to pick up my pace for the next while. All was going pretty well until I hit the notorious Southern Cross Drive. My pace slowed right down there. I felt like I had no choice but to walk those hills. The runners around me were mostly walking and I just didn’t have the strength to try run around them. I drew on my walking training from my early days at RWFL, put my head down, swung my arms and trudged up! 

The rest of the race felt fairly easy by comparison. I managed to run a good chunk of the last few kilometres. I finished with a time of 3:05:50. I had hoped to finish sub 3 hours, but considering how difficult and full the race is, I’m not unhappy with my time. 

  
Aside from the rainy weather as we waited to start, the weather gods were really on our sides for the race – the rain and wind held off for our 21 km run and the temperatures were lovely and cool. 

The wait for Nick’s finish was a bit chilly but he ran in strong with a time of 6:30 – such an amazing achievement to complete an ultra marathon after having only recently entered the world of long distance running! I was super proud! 

Would I do it again? For sure… Now that I have one under my belt, I’d love to run another. I would like to be stronger for my next race. Running a 21km highlights all my weak spots – so it’s time for me to focus. My feet, my glutes (ITB) and my core strength need to improve. And it’s time to shift those last 15 or so kilograms!  

Maybe I will see you next year OMTOM???

I will be back in a few days with a post about our holiday! I’ve got some awesome pictures to share! 

Hello 2016!

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My first work week of 2016 is done. Another festive season done and it’s time to pack away the tree and it’s tinsel. Smokey the cat will miss the baubles to play with!

So I guess it’s time to think about what I want from 2016, right? As I said here, I am not big on serious resolutions, but I do think the beginning of a new year is a great time to sit down and think about what I want out of the coming months.

Mostly, these are things I strive for every day of every year. But I guess it’s good to remind myself of the goals every now and then.

Actually, having looked at the dictionary definition for “resolution”, particularly the synonyms, maybe I am big on resolutions, after all:

resolution
rɛzəˈluːʃ(ə)n/
noun
noun: resolution; plural noun: resolutions
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

So without further ado:

My house:

  • Spend some time and (a little) money each month on prettifying my house – especially the outside areas. Even if it’s just a small purchase each month, I want the outside of my home to be an extension of the décor inside that we have been working on for the last few years.
  • Spend a little time each week doing small organising jobs to maintain some control on the clutter.

My work:

  • To be positive and upbeat wherever possible.
  • To look for opportunities to excel.

My family:

  • To be present and in touch.
  • To communicate well.

Me:

  • I am hoping to begin something that I have wanted to do for all my adult life. I want a degree and although I have started studies before, I have never seen them through. I labeled myself as a bit of a quitter. My experiences in the last two years of running have proved to me that maybe I am not so much of a quitter after all. Which means maybe it is time to start again and achieve the that one goal that has eluded me all these years. More on this to follow.
  • Run… just keep running, get my pace to under 8:00 min per km, finish Two Oceans (dare I hope for under 3 hours?)
  • Carry on with my LCHF/Banting lifestyle and hopefully say good bye to a few more kilograms.
  • Find time to be a little creative everyday. I’ve started a #drawsomethingevery day challenge – I am hoping that I manage to keep it up and produce something little each day. More on that later!
  • Read more
  • BE GRATEFUL and AWARE.

Over to you – what are your thoughts for the year ahead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 things about 2015

Yes – believe it… I am writing something! It has been a crazy, busy, stressful few months leading up to the end of 2015 and quite honestly I just haven’t had the time or energy to pay attention to my blog!

I’ve seen a couple of 2015 round ups recently, so I thought that this would be a great prompt to get me typing again!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I ran races… a whole bunch of them. I ran a number of 10k’s and two half marathons!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’m not big on resolutions. Around this time of year, I do try and give some thought to the coming year and how I would like to live it. I think I achieved the objectives I set out to in 2015 and will do the same for 2016.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

Probably at home, with a few good friends

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

No overseas trips for me this year. We did have a wonderful midyear holiday in Sedgefield though.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Time spent well.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

11 July 2015 – the day I ran my first half marathon. The toughest physical goal I have ever set for myself. The awesome moment when my husband met me with a hug at the finish line and I just sobbed into his shoulder and the cheers and tears from my friends and family who were waiting for me at the end.  IMG_0419

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My first 10k… then my next and my next…. And then my first 21k, and my second. See a theme here?

9. What was your biggest failure?

Spending wasting too much time on my phone. Books I started and didn’t finish. Art I didn’t make.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Aside from the occasional sinus flare up, I’ve been pretty healthy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My running shoes and my new dining room chairs.

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12. Where did most of your money go?

Probably food.

13. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Hello by Adele – because it’s been played on the radio like a gazillion times.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Blogging, reading, sitting outside and enjoying my garden, getting out and about in Jozi.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Messing around on my phone.

16. What were your favourite TV shows?

Shameless, Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I probably dislike Zuma more this year than I did last year, but hate is such a wasted emotion.

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18. What was the best book you read?

Shoo… I only read a couple of books and can’t remember any of them right now!

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Apple Music.

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

Not much of a movie person. Nothing springs to mind.

21. What did you do on your birthday?

Spent the day with the people I love.

22. What kept you sane?

Chats with my friends and love from my family.

23. Who did you miss?

I missed my work buddy who left for a stint in the USA

24. Who was the best new person you met?

I met a whole bunch of new colleagues when we moved offices and some of them are awesomely interesting and inspiring.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015

That I can do amazing things if I set my mind to them and that I need to make sure I do something worth writing about each year.

 

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