5 Podcasts That’ll Get You Into Podcasts

Podcasts. To be honest, my only knowledge of podcasts was when they were a menu option on my old iPod mini and I wondered what the hell they were. I’m pretty sure I concluded I didn’t give a shit, continued playing Greenday’s American Idiot album on repeat, and forgot all about them.

Then I moved to Melbourne the hipster capital of the world.

AND ALL ANYONE TALKS ABOUT IS PODCASTS. Well. And voting for the Greens. And coffee. And buying things from op shops. And AFL. But mostly podcasts.

After months of wondering what the fuck the fuss was all about, I started to think maybe I should be listening to them. Maybe this was the solution to my ornate ability to be so out of touch with music that I’m still listening to Kesha’s only two hits every time I put my headphones in.

And I walk A LOT, which means I listen to Kesha A LOT. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ve OF COURSE got Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All in a safe seat (lol can you tell I’ve been getting right into the Australian election) in my recently played, but to be honest, that’s probably the last time I cared about music. I’ve said at least one hundred times ‘I don’t even know what the kids are listening to these days’, and I legit don’t. Taylor Swift got too cool for me, and the soul of my music-listening ears died at that moment. And never recovered.

SO. I thought I’d give podcasts a try. Though, to be honest, I was worried they’d bore me and my mind would wander towards dreaming of carbs and burgers and cheese and I’d miss what was being said, so I was apprehensive.

I got on with it, and look at me now. I’m hooked. I’m a proper little Melbournian. I’ll toddle along in my Zara puffer jacket, in my active wear, full to my oesophagus of avocado, clutching a coffee (in an eco-friendly Keep Cup I shit you not), on my way to KX Pilates, LISTENING TO A PODCAST.

Let’s get a woohoo for Emma. This is the most alternative thing I’ve succeeded at since my mesh wristband phase circa 2004.

I’m wondering if they’ve taken off in the UK in my absence, but given that 87% of England is as awkward – if not more – than me, I assume they haven’t quite reached the mass market yet.

It did take a little perseverance, but these are the 5 that pretty much got me hooked. Granted, I did hear about a couple of them while listening to a couple of other podcasts (the names of which I can’t remember), but these are the ones I’ve subscribed to and that stuck. Ready? Hipster initiation begins now.

1. Millennial

OH HOW GENERIC. Look, I said I’d got into podcasts. I didn’t say this list was going to be ground breaking-ly unique and game changing. But I’m sorry, Megan Tan, you’ve changed my effing life (she’s the host of the show). The tag line is ‘A podcast about what no-one teaches you: manoeuvring your twenties, captured in real time’, and that’s pretty much what it is. But in a good way. Like, my blog is about being in your twenties, but it’s more totally bloody standard. The part of your twenties that’s going on Tinder and deciding you’re the hottest thing on the market, and being sick on the street outside the club, and skipping Uni in favour of eating Chinese in your pyjamas and spending all your money on moving to London to piss the leftover 80p of your wages up the wall after paying 98.4% of your income on rent. That part. Millennial isn’t that part. It’s the other part. The part when you get spat out of Uni age 22 (ish) and suddenly you’re not on a plan anymore. There’s no feeder school, no next step. It’s that part. And Megan Tan tells it so beautifully perfectly. I won’t say much more because I don’t want to ruin it for you if you download it. But it’s so good, and you’ll fall a little bit in love with her. She’s empowering, motivating, and basically she’s the one that makes it all okay.

2. Flash Forward

This one’s cool for those days when you just want to not think about stuff that’s going on. Like the day 51% of my beloved homeland United Kingdom voted to leave the EU and everybody started hating on each other on Facebook and people started taking my jokes offensively (which is a day I’ve feared my whole life). Flash Forward sets the scene of a scenario that could happen in the future, takes you there for a few minutes, and then unpicks what life would be like if that happened. One of my faves was a life with no pets, where breeding animals or keeping them as pets was illegal, and a life without lies, where a 100% accurate lie detector test was developed and a bleeping sound went off every time someone told the tiniest lie – like “it’s great to see you!”. Easy listening and makes you think about something other than your own life.

3. Bowraville 

Okay I do love Bowraville, but I did fall victim to that zoning out and forgetting to pay attention thing that I was worried about. And with this one, when that happens, you miss shit out and have to go back. Good for when you’re keen to focus, but if your mind is likely to drift, save it. It unpicks the mystery of three aboriginal children who were murdered in suspiciously similar circumstances, on the same street in New South Wales. Gripping, and a welcome non-mainstream alternative to Serial, so you can get stuck in without feeling like a total sell out for being late to the party.

4. Modern Love

I’ve only listened to a couple of these, but I do really like them. They’re not love stories, they’re stories about love. Often heartbreak, often mystery, often grief and sadness. Some heavier than others, they’re sort of like a teeny tiny audiobook. But it’ll make you feel better about falling in almost love with that guy you met twice and stalking him via WhatsApp and Tinder’s ‘last active’ features for the most of 2012. Cmon, we all did it.

5. Women’s Health Live Better Radio

This one is for when I’m definitely not keen for having to listen hard. It’s just a radio chat show by the editors of Women’s Health Australia magazine – which I read avidly like my little chia seed/almond butter/amaranth/puffed quinoa/raw vegan bible. But the episodes are nice and casual, short and feature different topics, so if you do zone out, you don’t miss key info (like you would with Bowraville). Now I like this show because I’m one of those wankers people hate. The ones who annoyingly turn down cake because it’s fatty, and the ones who read the back of a packet and turn their nose up at the macros or ingredients. But I’m aware of it and I mock it just as much as you do. So i’m sorry. But this show might only appeal to wankers like me, so if you don’t love it I’m sorry. But maybe give it a try if you too love activewear and going dairy free for no reason.

BYE xx

 

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Giving Up Dairy | Why My Body is Over The Mooooooon

Over the mooooon.

Get it? Get it?! Man, my puns know no bounds. My clients are lucky people.

This post is about my break up with dairy. I once read a book as a lovestruck teen, called ‘It’s Called a Break Up Because It’s Broken’. And broken it was. My relationship with dairy, I mean.

I think I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts about my love of coffee. I believe the exact words I used were ‘my morning skinny flat white is like a giant hug’. Interpreting a milky bev as an emotional gesture. Hashtag barrier issues.

But it was. And like any addict, each day I vowed that that one flat white would be my first of the day, and my last. But it wasn’t. That morning flat white soon became the first of two or even three a day on some days, and the purchase of my beloved Nespresso machine didn’t help matters. Shout out to the Aeroccino for making ma milk so effin’ foamy, you total babe.

There’s about 225ml of milk in my morning coffee. If I got to 3 a day, I’d find myself staring straight down the barrel of nearly a litre of the white stuff, 360 calories, 9g of fat and 37.5g of sugar. WHAT. I almost loosened the grip on my Keep Cup and fell unconscious when I discovered the amount of sugar in skinny milk. Like, if I’m consuming that much in milk, HOW will I find the room to justify the odd doughnut?

It wasn’t just the coffees. I don’t eat a lot of cheese since going healthy, but that’s not to say this girl ain’t partial to a humble triangle of brie every so often.

Let’s take a moment’s silence for brie, shall we?

…………………

Okay.

So cheese wasn’t a huge issue, but I soon had to face up to the fact that my love affair with Chobani Coconut yoghurts could be the problem. Don’t be fooled, by coconut yoghurt I don’t mean it’s made with coconut milk. I mean it’s a regular dairy laden yoghurt with oh-so-sweet-and-seductive coconut gooey bits on the bottom. Dreamy.

But not for my bloat, nausea and fatigue. One of those little huns every other day quickly pushed my dairy sugar consumption off the charts. I won’t lie, sometimes I had one daily, especially when Coles put on that babein 5 for $5 offer. Never forget.

So, I went cold turkey. DUM DUM DUM.

After a weekend of bloating and concluding I obviously had ovarian cancer (let’s all bow down in my calm and realistic approach to ailments, shall we?), I decided to cut out all dairy for a week. I didn’t just cut out dairy. I went back to basics. Breakfast was oats (made with water), lunch was salmon or chicken and greens, and dinner was salmon or chicken with greens and a complex carb (brown rice or sweet potato). And all coffee, was BLACK coffee (with a dash of soy milk on occasion). I KNOW RIGHT. If only I could eat like that all the time. Victoria might even tell me her Secret.

Aside from feeling a bit gassy from all the greens – hey there, broccoli – I felt SO much better. I wasn’t fatigued, I didn’t have tummy pain, hey, I didn’t even get that afternoon slump where you just sit at your desk and rest your chin on your hand and daydream about laying on an island eating brownies from the tray. None of that.

So come the end of the elimination week, I made the decision to make our breakup more permanent.

I started using coconut milk instead of regular milk, but I kept the black coffee rule. Over the week I’d actually started to get used to it, so now, I drink black with just a splash of coconut milk. So we’re talking between 12 and 40 grams of sugar from my old milk habits that are gone from my diet. MORE ROOM FOR DOUGHNUTS.

I haven’t tasted that silky smooth feeling of a whole milk flat white for over a month now, but I don’t miss it. I’ve created a new habit and I’m pretty darn pleased with it.

Yoghurt wise, I’ve actually switched to goat’s yoghurt, and I’ll eat goat’s cheese and feta cheese, too. There’s arguments as to whether these are considered ‘dairy’ or not. Obviously, in a vegan diet, yes, they’re banned. But I find they sit much better with me than cow’s dairy, so whether they are or not, I don’t really mind. I’m gonna back this up with a bit of science. Ready?

Goat’s products are much easier on the human digestion system because the fat molecules are far smaller than in cow’s products. Goat’s milk, cheese and yoghurts contain far less dairy sugar than cow’s (that’s the lactose that irritates a lot of people’s gut), and it’s naturally homogenised – so it doesn’t go through our processing to make it drinkable and uniform.

That said, I still don’t eat a whole heap of the stuff. A blob on some blueberries every so often, sure, but even though I’ve switched out the cow’s dairy, I’ve cut the consumption of the type of products in general. *Self five*.

Now, while this all sounds too good to be true, I’m going to be frank. Yes, I’ve made all these changes, and I can honestly say I have cut dairy lattes/flat whites out completely, in do believe in the 80/20 rule. Or even 90/10. At this point I’d say I’m 90/10 cow’s dairy free.

I don’t want to be that person that’s awkward when someone’s cooking for you. I don’t want Jess’ poor mum to have to accommodate non-dairy, and most of all I don’t want to cut anything out completely. Because if I do, if I’m not sensitive to it now, I will be eventually. Complete lack of exposure to something is bad for us, so yeah, once a week or so, I’ll have a slice of cheddar cheese on something, or some mayo, or a scoop of dairy ice cream. And that’s all cool. It can be done.

This lifestyle change comes in part of my pursuit of balance – something I struggle with. I’m an all or nothing kinda girl. People tell me my obsessions with healthy diet and exercise are dangerous, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have got to where I am without that little bit of addiction and obsession. I half-arsed health my whole life. Sure, now I’m tasked with finding a balance, but I’m not overweight anymore. I’ll find that balance one day, one chia seed at a time.

Ciao,

Coco xxx

 

 

Digital Detoxing | Wellness Loading by Andi Lew | How to Do a Digital Detox

Ah, detoxing. Juices, teas, cleanses… everywhere we look there’s an opportunity to reverse all the bad, undo your mistakes and ‘detox’ the crap out of your body. Problem is, all we seem to do right after a detox, is retox. No, you can’t undo years of bad eating with a 3 day juice cleanse. Shock. The key is repetition, and learning from your mistakes, and making new, better habits each time.

Last week I attended Andi Lew‘s Wellness Loading book launch with the lovely Zee from Insincerely Her.

Let’s take a quick moment to appreciate those times when you meet someone for the first time and you just click instantly. You might be completely different people, with different types of jobs and at different stages in your life, but somehow, something clicks. The conversation doesn’t feel totally forced, and you’re actually interested in what the other person has to say. Despite us being at a PR launch for a book advocating a digital detox, I’m grateful for the internet for bringing me together with people like Zee. 

Anyway, we slurped some vegan, sugar free ice cream (which was surprisingly good), mingled and heard a motivating and refreshing chat from Andi, about how stepping outside of our comfort zone, cutting off from the digital world and appreciating the world around us can be a total mind cleanse.

I’ve often wondered about giving up Facebook or my smartphone, for a period of time or even forever, but the nature of my work does command me to keep up with digital. I can’t manage brand’s social channels without an account myself, nor would I want to profess to be a social media guru if I was shunning it behind closed doors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from a digital detox.

Wellness Loading takes you through the benefits of a digital detox, and how to do one. Even if it’s no phones on date nights, or at the table, or after 8pm, or even turning off your 4G so your iPhone is just a normal telephone for a few hours. Cut yourself off. You’ll soon realise how accidentally addicted we’ve become. *sings accidentally in love from Shrek*.

I’m now trying to put my phone in another room overnight. That way, if I can’t sleep I won’t be tempted to check out snapchat, and I won’t waste hours before falling asleep on Instagram and Pinterest. Anything that needs to be done can be done by 10pm. I’ve recently got a sleep spray for my pillow with lavender in. I think it’s helping me sleep deeper and wake less during the night, and I notice an even better change when I cut off from my iPhone earlier the evening.

Sure, I’d love to say phones away as soon as I get in from work, particularly in my field, but without wanting to sound like I’m making excuse after excuse, my friends and family in the UK are all waking up around 6 or 7pm Australian time, so I do like to be on hand then to keep in contact. But, once that’s done, it’s night night phone. I’m finding it really refreshing, and hey, if nothing else, it makes Instagram a hell of a lot more exciting when you’ve not been refreshing it every few hours!

digitaldetox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via APL Photography.

Have you tried a digital detox?

Coco xx

 

Here’s why you actually CAN get good at running.

Think you can’t run? I feel ya, believe me. For years I chunked about thinking my size 14 curves were just part of who I was, and that my thunder thighs were incapable of transporting my body at a fast enough pace to call it a run.

I was the slowest runner known to man (and my PE teachers enjoyed pointing it out to me), and I seemed to get left behind even doing simple things like trotting across the road (true story).

I’d see people out running on Saturday mornings and literally feel the jealousy penetrating my bones. I’d always wanted to be a runner, but for some reason my wobbly legs said it wasn’t too be. I truly believe some people just have the ability to run and some don’t. For all my trying, I’d never been able to break the barrier, yet there I’d be, cowering in the corner of the gym sulking on the cross trainer when some newbie would hop onto a treadmill on her induction and casually jog for 15 minutes straight declaring she hadn’t run since before her kids were born. Like seriously wtf.

I’d been flumping around the school track for years and nada. I remember one year, year six to be exact, I thought I’d made a sublime escape when somehow my teacher managed to assign a sports day event to everyone but me. There I was fist pumping to myself in the assembly hall thinking HELL YEAH I can just sit on the sidelines like an untameable badass scoffing mini rolls and dairylee dunkers and nobody gon’ tel me no.

Nah.

Somehow she realised and plonked me on the 400m sprint. SPRINT. Ummmmm what? My poor Mum. The poor little lamb had to leave work early to come and endure sports day with all the other Mums cheering on their little Olympians while I was incessantly lapped by my fellow competitors. When I finally flopped across the finish line the entire event had practically been packed up and everyone sent home. No sticker for Emma. No trophy for Emma. No participation award for Emma. No, niente, nish.

I actually have a vague memory of being told I ‘just had to try a little harder’. TRY A LITTLE HARDER? Are you kidding? I can assure you I was trying so flippin’ hard I honestly felt like my thighs were going to pop out of my pelvis and continue running off on their own. Try a little harder. PLEASE.

(Personally I think this is bullshit because if I’d gone into the dumbo class and told the kids they weren’t trying hard enough at maths I’d probably have become very acquainted with a scraper and the underside of a gum-ridden table. But yeah sure I’m just not TRYING hard enough in PE. Okay.)

So yeah. That pretty much scarred me for life and I had a fear of running ever since. I sort of accepted that it wasn’t for me, and that my poor body just couldn’t haul weight around for longer than a few minutes.

Turns out, people like me actually CAN run. And so can YOU. I actually regularly get told ‘I wish I could go running too’. BABES YOU TOTALLY CAN. If anyone knows the feeling of not being able to run it is me. Need I tell you another of the school stories? I’ll save you the pity. But let’s just say when we went to high school and met the infamous 3500m part of the athletics term, well, I pretty much had to be called in from the depths of the track as I’d ‘miss my next class if I didn’t keep up with everyone else’. PE teachers, hey. WANKERS.

I’d actually love to rock up to my old school head to toe in Nike waving a giant flag (perhaps with a marching band behind me for emphasis) and say through a giant megaphone “To all my PE teachers that taught me here between 2002 and 2009, FUCK YOU. I just ran 10k.”

Yep, it’s true. I can run now. Some days it’s 3k, some days it’s 10k. But I can run. Like the effin’ wind (ish).

The key, I think, is to let go of all the reasons you think you can’t run. Whether you’re like me and you’ve been scarred by a lifetime of jibes about your sporting abilities, or perhaps an injury or weight loss/gain, let it all go. Forget the bad memories. It’s just you and the track now.

Start small. You can only run within your means. If you can run 1k, run 1k. If it’s 500m, run 500m. When you feel like you need to walk, walk. But always keep going back to running. Some of my favourite ways to get started are these intervals:

  • 30 seconds run, 1 minute walk
  • 30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk
  • 1 song of running, 1 song of walking (if listening to music)
  • run until lungs feel ready to burst, walk for 1 minute
  • 30 seconds comfortable jog, 20 seconds harder, 10 seconds RUN LIKE MO FARRAH (repeat 10 times)
  • 30 seconds easy, 30 seconds hard

It sounds lame but these little intervals actually build you up really really quickly. Run at least 2-3 times a week and you’ll see a difference so fast I promise. Oh, and get decent running shoes. I’ve learned the hard way that Nike Roshe’s (while totally babetown with a pair of ripped jeans and a striped tee) ain’t a runner’s friend. I’m now rocking the ugliest, chunkiest New Balance kicks (New Balance 1260 V5 Stability to be exact), but they give me the support and shock absorbance I need to not, well, shatter my knee caps.

The Nike + Running app is also my best pal. It shouts out when you reach a certain distance and tells you your pace at the same time, so you can monitor whether to kick it up a gear or slow it down to preserve energy while you’re training your endurance. Oh, and when you’re passing a group of onlookers scoffing a Nandos in the park and it shouts out that you’ve just nailed your 4th kilometre, it sorta feels like you’ve just won gold at Rio16. Just sayin’.

If you like to run to music, go for it, but I’ve actually learned I prefer silence. I can nosey into other people’s conversations in the park, let the wind catch my hair and sort of pretend I’m Delta Goodrem in a music video, or day dream about a load of fantastical shit that’ll never happen like winning American Idol or bumping into Richie off The Bachelor and having an impromptu coffee while gabbing about life. It’s a great mind cleanser, especially for the uptight like me for whom meditation and other relaxation techniques are pretty much useless. Haven’t heard about my meditation experience? Have a read here.

Trust me, you CAN do it. And it feels really awesome when you do. Let go of everything that’d ever stopped you, lace up your hawttt running shoes and stick your middle finger up to everyone that ever told you to TRY harder, BE faster or that you’re anything less than totally rad. RUN THE WORLD, GIRLS.

Peace,

Coco xoxo

 

58 Thoughts I Had While at Meditation Class

So recently I went to a four-part meditation course with a friend. We both suffer from a bit of anxiety and stress so thought it might be a way to release the fears. Thing is, I’m in no way ‘woo-woo’. Or particularly capable of being something I’m not. What I learned on my Introduction to Meditation is that I don’t wish to read chapter two. I’m a runner. I relax by going for a run. That clears my mind. Sitting does not. I appreciate meditation is a great release for some people. The analogy of the water and soil in a glass, I get that (basically the soil cant settle until the water is completely still). But maybe I like a bit of soil in my life. Perhaps that’s what keeps me on my toes, maybe that’s how I thrive. I have always worked quite well under pressure. Basically, stillness is not for me. I like to move. I like to shake out the dirt, rather than let it settle. If you’re in any way like me – that is, somewhat uptight (though I like to call it energetic and passionate) – you might relate to some of these thoughts I had while meditating. And by meditating I mean being my usual cynical self while sat in a Buddah-like stature.

meditation

  1. This is going to be awesome. Maybe I’ll stop being a stressed, uptight bitch all the time.
  2. Maybe I’ll be able to get a headache without assuming it’s a brain tumour. Or have an itchy finger without Googling ‘finger cancer’.
  3. Wow. I just paid $20 to sit.
  4. We’re all sitting cross legged on carpet. This feels like school.
  5. Ah school.
  6. Seriously, remember school. I feel like a huge giant overhead projector needs to be wheeled in.
  7. Wow I totally zoned out then. Am I nailing this meditation thing?
  8. “Don’t let your mind wander”. Oh shit. I’m not
  9. Wow, I don’t think I’m thinking about anything. Oh wait. I’m thinking about that.
  10. “Let your attention fall towards your jaw. Your ears. Your forehead.” Can anyone feel their forehead?
  11. God I feel like I’m swaying.
  12. I wonder if he’s looking at me swaying.
  13. Ok I’m actually not swaying.
  14. Maybe this is meditating?
  15. Nah don’t think so.
  16. “Walk yourself back through everything you did today”. Seriously? I can’t remember what happened ten minutes ago let alone the entire day backwards.
  17. WHAT DID I DO AT WORK TODAY.
  18. WHAT THE HELL DID I HAVE FOR LUNCH.
  19. Oh yeah salad. Fucking salad. Why am I reliving this again?
  20. God my posture is shit.
  21. I think I can hear someone hoovering.
  22. Gosh I must hoover the apartment.
  23. Focus.
  24. Well, focus on not focusing.
  25. Ommmmmmmmmm.
  26. God I need to sneeze.
  27. *sneeze*. This instructor now thinks I am an idiot. Zen people don’t sneeze.
  28. My nose has never been more itchy in my life.
  29. I wonder how long we’ve been sitting here.
  30. My leg is numb.
  31. Yep, and my foot.
  32. Yay pins and needles.
  33. I wonder if I’m meditating yet.
  34. “So you should now be reaching mid-morning in your journey back through the day”. Oh, really? Everyone else’s day was clearly more eventful than mine then. Reliving sitting in my desk chair chomping on a lettuce leaf didn’t take me long.
  35. “Think about how to be relaxed instead of stressed. For example, when you lose your keys. Just calmly walk your mind back through the day to when you last had them.” Seriously? If I can’t find my keys and Nando’s is about to close I’m gonna tear the house apart like a crazy ass freak of nature until I find them, okay?
  36. I’m definitely too uptight for this.
  37. I think I’m falling asleep.
  38. Wow I’ve never felt my vertebral discs before. But there they are. Individually burning one at a time.
  39. I’m definitely slouching.
  40. I’d do anything to open my eyes right now.
  41. Shit I’m meant to be meditating.
  42. Why am I out of breath?
  43. Oh my god we’re chanting. I’ll just mime along.
  44. How does everyone else know the chant and I don’t?
  45. This is nothing like Les Mills Body Balance.
  46. Please stop talking about my past life.
  47. “Just 2 more minutes”. FUCK YEAH nailed it.
  48. Though all I’ve done is think.
  49. Idiot.
  50. I’m hungry. I wonder if everyone can hear my stomach rumbling.
  51. WHY DO I SWALLOW SO LOUDLY? Nobody else is swallowing.
  52. He’s going to know I’m not in a state of zen.
  53. Why can’t I do this shit lying down.
  54. My bum is more numb than after a RyanAir flight.
  55. God this is a long two minutes.
  56. “Okay, open your eyes slowly”. How do you feel?”
  57. The same. Just with pins in needles in limbs I didn’t know could get pins and needles.
  58. I’m definitely not zen enough for meditation. I’ll just stick to swearing and crying every now and again.

 

Anyone else felt like this?! Tell me I’m not alone, would ya?! Until then, I’ll be, most likely, in a frenzy somewhere – though I truly believe that frenzy will set me on the path to the greatness to follow. It’s called being driven.

Over and out,

Coco x

What ‘plus size’ looks like according to 5 retailers

So, there I was, fresh off the boat (and by boat I mean Qantas Airbus) from Australia, ready to sink my teeth into some good old British high street shopping (and by high street I mean not outside, not on a street, and definitely inside my bed).

“I’m back in the world of next day delivery”, I thought to myself gleefully. The sheer size of Australia means waiting 3-5 business days for something (on a good day)… AND there’s no post on Saturdays. It’s as though they think I plan my outfits in advance or something. Anyway, primed with my MasterCard and ready to plonk a hundy in my cart (£100 for those who need translation), I scrolled through the likes of Asos and Missguided with a grin from ear to ear. Until I saw this. APPARENTLY PLUS SIZE MODELS ARE SKINNIER THAN I AM.

Now this struck a nerve with me in particular as I spend most of 2014 on a treadmill shedding the lbs. Despite slowly but surely tronking my way through enough hamburgers to pile 11lbs back on in Australia, I was still proudly stomping about in a good dress size or two less than pre-treadmill love affair, so I still considered it a mild victory. That was, until I saw myself exposed to some slender little filly with a great big plus sign plastered across her face on a website. And not just ‘a’ website. The shock of the first exposure lead me to explore a few other similar sites, and I didn’t like what I saw.

‘Sizes 16-24’ they claim. Funny that, did you haul the clothing in at the back with a giant bulldog clip as you photographed it on this size 10 rack of ribs I see before me? Why are brands taking the credit for providing a plus size range, yet promoting the clothes on a girl who is far from the size range? Here’s what ‘plus size’ looks like in five different UK online retailers:

ASOS CURVE: Claiming to cater to the curvier lass, the Curve range comes in at a size 18-30. Which is why it obviously makes total sense popping this LBD on a girl no bigger than a size 12. Exhibit A. SHE PRACTICALLY HAS AN EFFIN’ THIGH GAP.

AsosCurve

 

MISSGUIDED PLUS: Probably the worst of the bunch, these cheeky little buggers have slipped this olive skinned stunner into a teal tea dress claimed to be for a size 16-24. As suspected, not a thunder thigh in sight. *crys into size 12 jeans*.

MissguidedPlus

BOOHOO PLUS: Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, OH HELLO BOOHOO. This little chica is wearing a crop top (YES, A CROP TOP) and maxi skirt and claims to be a size 16-24. Well. Let me just crawl into a hole and weep, then, because if that’s a size 16, then I sir am Camilla Parker Bowles.

BooHooPlus

NEW LOOK INSPIRE: New Look faired slightly better in my assessment of their choice of models for the Inspire range for women sized 18-32, but there of course was one or two stragglers. Presenting the furthest thing from a size 18, ladies and gents. Chunky knees? No. Bingo wings? No again. Yet here I am rocking both, thinking I’m a size 10. Well, more fool me. Here she comes:

NewlookPlus

H&M+: Ah, the Swedes. Known not only for their tasty (if not somewhat horsey) meatballs and creative furniture naming skills, they also spat out our old fave H&M. Our go-to guys for a pair o’ leggings or a quickie outfit for a last minute night out, and oh, oh, YEAH YOU GOT IT IN ONE – an inconceivably slim ‘plus size’ model. Their selection of girls for their +18-28 range was commendable, but it what have we learned today? It wouldn’t be a plus size range without an absolute corker of a skinny bitch in there would it. As promised, here she is. Probably a creative who sips skinny capps while painting on her balcony WEARING SIZE 12 CLOTHING:

HMPlus

Food for thought, women of the world. Before this post gets completely misconstrued and I get trolled for hating on plus size women, that’s totally not what this is about. It’s about retailers supposedly supporting positive body image by providing a plus size range, and then totally wrecking it by using models that fit a size that the range doesn’t even carry. Sort it out!

Love (and now probably doughnuts) always,

Coco x

Eating Healthily in Restaurants (an insider’s guide!)

Hello! Goodness me, how on earth is it March. It was Christmas five minutes ago. Lets just take a moment to absorb that we are almost a quarter of the way through 2015. Yep. ONE QUARTER. But its a new month, another of the 12 new starts we promise ourselves each year, and your ‘third time lucky’ stab at your New Years Resolution to be the new and improved hybrid version of your already oh so fabulous self. SO. On that note, I can bet  my life’s worth (which isn’t a great deal more than the laptop I’m writing on, an economy seat on an upcoming Qantas flight, and a coffee-cup filled Peugeot 206 with no stereo I’m afraid) that a good 50% or more of you made the resolution to shape up and be healthier this year. Whether its for weight loss, general well being, or getting toned for summer, we all have such grand expectations at the beginning of the year, but more often than not, something gets in the way. Be it a friend’s birthday, a wedding, an emotional event, a break up, or just a bad day at the office, we always seem to find ourselves back in the arms of our favourite chocolatey snack, or reunited with the only man who ever truly stuck by us, Ronald McDonald (great guy, the cheeseburgers are just a happy bonus).

Anyway, working in a restaurant (spoiler alert, its Pizza Express), and being the nosey little ratbag that I am, I often find myself not-so-accidentally overhearing customers’ conversations about their weight loss flops, and the traps and pitfalls they’ve encountered. Having been on a fitness and healthy eating spur for almost a year now, during which time I have shed around two and a half stone and kept it off since September *takes bow*, I somewhat know my way around the ol’ nutritional values chart of the Pizza Express menu, so I am still able to take advantage of the free food they fling at us daily, without drowning in oil, cheese and carb heaven. BUT, with knowledge comes great responsibility. That responsibility being holding my tongue when customers order things that they THINK are healthy, but are actually marinated in a mountain of hidden calories. Ive found a few common patterns, and its incredibly difficult not to start reciting the nutritional value chart to every customer I hear is on a diet. They are out to dinner with a friend or their partner, they do not want to hear me bang on. If they do, they can ask. Thus, I keep schtum. But all this pent up frustration towards what people THINK is healthy, has lead me to this blog post. Here I will tell you the best ways to eat healthily at Pizza Express, and what to avoid at all costs due to the hidden calorie content!

STARTERS

The Pizza Express starter offering is similar to that of other popular Italian restaurant chains, and to some people’s dismay, yes, a lot of it is dough based (shock, we’re a Pizza chain). Obvious things to avoid are the Bruschetta, Bruschetta con Fungi, and Garlic Bread with Mozzarella. While delicious, they each use half a pizza dough, and are laden with pesto, butter based béchamel sauce, and fatty mozzarella (respectively).

The obvious healthy option is the Leggera Gambaretti Picante, coming in at only 200 calories per serving, packed with metabolism boosting chilli, and carb and gluten free. If you don’t eat prawns, switch them in for chicken (my trick as I harbour a severe seafood allergy!).

Now for the devil. The devil item on the starter menu is the Melanzanine. Served in an adorable mini al forno dish, this gluten free starter layered with vegetables sounds like your friend. NO NO NO. Do not fall for its charm. This starter is like the guy you met in that club one night that ended up playing you for three months. It is not what it seems. Inside that innocent looking al forno dish is layers of fatty mozzarella and oil, all neatly wrapped up in almost 17g of fat. The bad boy older brother of the devil starter is the Mozzarella and Tomato salad. Yeah salad. I was fooled too. How dare they call it a salad and then pack in THIRTY NINE grams of fat. Yep. 39. What you are actually eating is an entire full fat mozzarella ball, tomato slices, drizzled with oil and pesto. Sure, it tastes divine and feels light and fresh, but stay away from this if you’re watching the waist line for sure.

PIZZA

This is a fun one. A lot of people opt for the Classic pizzas, upon hearing that they are a meer 11 inches wide in comparison to the 14 inches that the Romana base boasts. What some waiters won’t tell you is that the same dough is used uniformly. The size difference purely depends on how far the dough is stretched. Conversely, some people choose the thinner Romana base thinking that’s healthier. Its actually a tad worse for you as you’re getting three extra inches of toppings. Similarly, the two pizzas topped with lots of vegetables on the menu, the Giardinera and Il Padrino, are both made with pesto bases, so while you’re getting your greens in, you’re also eating added fats from the pesto base, while the rocket topped Emelia and Rustichella pizzas top out at over 1000 calories due to their added truffle oil and caesar dressings. Most of the pizzas come in at around 750-1100 calories, depending on toppings, but thats not really here nor there. Pizza is what it is. I do however recommend trying one without cheese sometimes. Its actually not as bad as you think. But anyway, what I’m really trying to say here, is if you want a pizza, have a pizza. The low cheese Four Seasons stays under 700 calories, and the Veneziana and ever popular among young females Pollo ad Astra pizzas keep their junk packed in tight under 800 calories. The Devils: the Calzones, both topping 1100 calories each.

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LEGGERA PIZZA

My issue is the poor lost souls who come in and have a tomato and mozzarella salad for starter, and then fall into the trap of having a leggera pizza for main course. Sure, this sounds healthy. The leggera range is all under 500 calories, its a half base of dough, rolled thin and with a hole cut out which is replace with mixed salad. The issue is, combining these 500 calories with the 450 from the starter, not forgetting those 39 grams of fat, you may as well have had a main course pizza!!

leggera pizza

SALAD

Its not news to you that salads are one to watch in restaurants, and Pizza Express is no exception. While the Superfood Salad and Salmon Salads stay true to their word at under 350 calories (roughly), I present to you The Devils of the salad offering: Pollo Pancetta Salad, Warm Vegetable and Goats Cheese Salad, and Grand Chicken Caesar Salad, which are all laden with rich Gran Moravia (like parmesan) cheese, dressings and worst of all, dough sticks. While dough sticks are a fine accompaniment to your main salad, if you’ve already had a dough based starter (garlic bread, bruschetta and so on as mentioned earlier), you’ve actually eaten an entire pizza base PLUS your dressing and cheese packed salad. If you’re having a starter, ditch your dough sticks and ask for your dressing on the side.

superfood

PASTA

The pasta category is a fun one. Generally, most guests watching their weight will completely ignore the pasta section of the menu, as its no surprise that these cheesey carby letharios are just waiting to sit firm on your hips and not budge for months. The Devils are the obvious Pollo Pesto, coming in at almost 1000 calories on a good day, while the main course sized Melanzane Parmigiana as mentioned in the starter section packs in almost 800 calories and 56g of fat (so yes, it is just as bad if not worse than the starter portion. Do not be fooled by its gluten free vegetable packed puppy eyes). However, most of us would probably, upon reading this, shun the layered favourite Lasagne Classico, too. However, sitting pretty at only 650 calories, and with the lowest fat content of all the pastas, this isn’t actually a bad choice if you fancy something a little bit naughty.

So, the lesson to be learned here, is THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Often what sounds healthy really really isn’t, and you can sometimes even have something totally gluttonous and indulgent for the same amount of fat and calories as your so-called healthy option!

I hope this has been somewhat helpful to people looking for healthy options at Pizza Express (though really all i’ve done is tell you that all your healthy ideas are rubbish).

What I’m trying to say is, you can totally eat out when on a calorie budget, but I hope this post will help you avoid the common pitfalls of what sounds healthy, and what you can actually get for your calories! Your favourite naughty meals are back on the menu! Buon appetito!

Over and out,

Coco xx