Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bikram Yoga, It's finally Spring cleaning and Pretty Flowers!

 The Southern Stump doing Triangle at the Lourve in Paris

It's Spring in London and the weather is gorgeous!  It is sunny most days which is surprising to me as I just assumed it would rain all the time here.  I enjoy getting out more now that the weather is nice.   

The next few months are extremely busy.  I have two trips planned back to the United States for my best friend's bachelorette weekend in May and her wedding in June.  I am so excited as this is something we have talked about since we were playing dress up as 5 year olds.  It will be a very special time for us as friends and, obviously, for her and her family.  I really can't wait.  With that said,  Operation "I will not ruin the wedding photos" training has begun.  I have been surprised that I haven't put on more weight since moving here as I haven't exercised as obsessively as I did in New York but...don't be fooled,  I need to tone up in a MAJOR WAY.  My plan will consist of running and getting back to one of my favorite forms of exercise...Bikram Yoga.

The Southern Stump doing
Half Moon at the Taj Mahal
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures performed in a room that is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity that runs 90 minutes per/class.  It was developed by Bikram Choudhury and is done religiously by millions including tennis star Andy Murray,  Prince Harry, Lady Gaga and Madonna.  The heat aspect is to relieve tension and stress on the body while putting it in an environment that warms you up from the inside and allows you to go further into stretches without strain.  Bikram's philosophy is simple... "It is Never too late, never too bad and you are never too old or sick to start from scratch once again".  I love that phrase because it is true...all ages, shapes and sizes can practice this yoga and the results mentally and physically are so rewarding.

 I came to the practice in November of 2009 after being burnt out from running.  I will not lie...the first week was VERY difficult as I wasn't used to being so HOT...but after that,  I never really looked back.  When I arrived in London last year,  my first stop was to a Bikram yoga studio where I signed up for a 30 day challenge.  I attended the 90 minute sessions 30 times over a 30 day period...sometimes practicing twice a day!  It was difficult but well worth it as I felt so strong at the end of the challenge!  You can see from my photos above...that it also gave me the confidence and slight addiction of getting photos in postures taken in front of famous landmarks :)!

Last night I went to my first class since September of 2010 but I look forward to getting back in the heat next week.  I won't lie...the work that I did last fall in my 30 day challenge all died in the months I didn't practice but that's okay...Bikram Yoga is a constant practice and is never perfected so the most I can do is just get back and keep working!  Below is a video I found on Youtube from a studio in London which gives you an introduction to the series and the experience.  I highly recommend that all give it a try!!!!  You will get hooked....I promise ;)!

If you want to find a Bikram studio near you,  copy the link below and paste into your browser.

With Spring,  I have also done an overhaul of my closet.  I decided that the best way to prepare myself for the new season and to make use of my closet offerings was to try everything on,  iron what fit (because let's be honest...if I'm picking an outfit...I'll skip right over the wrinkly stuff because I don't want to bother when I have a tee-shirt right next to it!) and then organizing by silhouette and color :)!  I felt great when done and recommend it for anyone who wants to make the most of their threads!  I forgot how many cute things I have :)!

Finally,  I continue to explore my new London home and last weekend found me in Crouch End spending time with The Tester**'s mother, sister and niece.  We went out to enjoy the beautiful day and found ourselves having tea and cakes at Alexandra Palace followed by a walk through the Garden Center.  Here is a link to the palace which is casually called "Ally Pally" (love that) along with some photos to get you inspired for Spring!

Beautiful.  Tea and Cake can fix almost anything!

I hope you find beauty in the new Spring season!  Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The London Wine and Cheese Festival

Yesterday was a beautiful day in London and, fingers crossed,  the start of Spring.  The Tester** and I decided to head out and experience some of the city while checking out the scene at the South Bank.   I love as they keep me up to date on what is going on in London and I really need that as I tend to miss my social schedule that I had in New York.  I'm so glad mentioned the Wine and Cheese Festival taking place yesterday and so glad we went!

The festival was comprised of about 15 booths selling wines, cheeses and other fun culinary items (see cheese macaroons below...yum).  The weather could not have been more perfect...and The Tester** surprised me with two glasses of champagne when we met up... to kick off our day and tasting!  Here are some photos of our day!

Yum. Cheese, Cheese and CHEESY CHEESER CHEESE!

Wine Tastings

Beautiful selection of Olives 

The tester and his banged up finger hit the spot with his champagne surprise!

The coolest, most dense, perfectly shaped English Muffins I have ever seen!

Stilton Beauty!!!!

Yes please!!!!

Very interesting taste...sweetness of a macaroon and savory taste of goats cheese!  It was an interesting idea and we really enjoyed these treats!

The Tester** enjoys a Chorizo and Cheddar grilled sandwich.  Oh yeah, that was awesome too!  The tester's identity is hidden to protect his identity.  He is becoming quite famous ;)!

Beautiful cheese dish.  Cheese is melted under these machines and then poured over sausage and potatoes!!!!

Cheese on a String!  Sure!  Why not!??!?!

An amazing day!  Here is a link to the festival we attended and TimeOut which supplies me w/all of the happenings in London:

If anyone wants to put together a cheese plate for their next gathering,  take a look at these tips from  I found them quite helpful!!!!

  I will keep an eye out for upcoming events and will make sure to share them with you all! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

World Cooking Challenge on PAUSE

Hi everyone.

I'm here...all is good but I have been slacking in the cooking department.  I can't believe to me now...slacking is making lamb Greek burgers instead of a fancy all out meal.  The themes and countries have taken a back seat to what is more cost conscious ;)!

I did make some fajitas last week and want to share the evolution of a fajita with you.  Also note at the end....the night I let The Tester** make dessert.  Does he have the cooking chops of his partner these days?

Add your cooked peppers and onions
Throw in your chicken
Can we get some color?  Beautiful Lettuce
Manchego all day ...YUM
Salsa and Sour Cream anyone?
Squeeze of lime and roll it up.  Add your rice and beans...POOF. YUM!
The Tester** took a shot at dessert.....hmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

World Cooking Challenge: Shrimp Po Boys, Fry Ups and Bedroom Decor!

Frying = Not fun/Not healthy!
So Cajun week ended with a Shrimp Po Boy Sandwich.  I will keep it brief.  This was the most stressful meal I have made to date due to the FRYING of the shrimp.  UGHHHH...batter, veg. oil, potential 3rd degree burns...MY LIFE!  The finished result was an AMAZING SANDWICH!  I was full but forced myself to finish it because it tasted so darn good!  Remember that whole personal trainer/gaining weight comment a few posts back......yeah,  maybe mamma should go back and read that ;)!

This weekend after a night on the town with The Tester*,  we made a Saturday morning fry up!  For my non UK friends,  a fry up consists of the following:

- Bacon
- Fried Eggs
- Onions
-  Tomatoes
- Baked Heinz Beans
-  Toast with Butter

You basically fry up your bacon,  throw your eggs in to FRY next to your bacon,  add your onions guessed it...fry next to the bacon and eggs and finally, add your tomatoes at the end to warm through.  You can do this in the states and, let me say,  I HIGHLY recommend you try it.  Meanwhile,  cook up your toast and add butter...and warm your Heinz Beans (or any sweet baked beans)...don't knock it until you have tried it!

In other news,  the bedroom is in full swing.  After testing about 10 colors on the wall,  I landed on Dulux's "Malt Chocolate".  This has been my project and I'm almost done...I am so glad we chose this color...absolutely beautiful!  Now, we have to attack how we will decorate the room!!!! Stay tuned!