Exploring Perth – Bells Rapids

I love Perth. Everything about it! The chilled atmosphere and cruisy pace. The down-to-earth vibe and friendly people. The amazing weather and pristine coastline. The abundance of quaint coffee spots and cute cafes. The quirky street art and the growing number of bars popping up. The beautiful beaches and natural bushland. I love this city and how it doesn’t feel like a big city, yet there is still so much to appreciate and explore. There really is so much to love about little ole Perth. Even with all the travels I have done, I still absolutely adore coming back here and feel truly blessed to call this beautiful city my home.

But unfortunately, Perth still seems to have a bit of a bad wrap.’Perth is boring.’ ‘There is nothing to do here.’ ‘Perth is small.’ Heard it all before? I know I have. You might even be guilty of letting those words slip from your lips on the odd occasion. I’m not exempt from that either. As a passionate Perth lover and now self-appointed ambassador for Perth (yes, I just decided this), I’m making it my mission to change any negative connotations of this city. Perth may be small, but it is mighty! There is plenty to see and do. There’s so much to explore. It’s just a matter of venturing out of our comfortable bubbles and discovering the beauty of what is at our doorstep.

And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. I have lived in Perth all my life and embarrassingly there are many places I am yet to see. I have actually seen more of the rest of the world than I have of my own home state. I am 25 and only just visited Margaret River for the first time this year (and yes, fell in love). I have only been to Rottnest Island (which is literally a 30-minute ferry ride away) twice – once when I was 12 and once last summer. I have only seen little snippets of the very city that I am head over heels in love with.  So it’s time to change that and get my explore on. I started this weekend!

On Saturday, my best friend and I took a trip to Bells Rapids in the Swan Valley just off the Great Northern Highway. Within a short 40 minute drive we were whisked away from the gorgeous WA coastline where we live, to the most beautiful hilly bushland. In just 40 minutes! Its hard to believe two starkly contrasting natural landscapes can be within such close proximity to each other. But that’s Perth for ya!

Once we arrived, stood in awe for quite some time just taking in the incredible scenery and calming sounds of the trickling water, we hit up the bush walk trail. A little unsteady and slippery at points, the hike was both a good bit of exercise (some of those steep hills really really got the heart rate up) and also incredibly scenic.

 

With the sun shining and an ideal 25 degree temperature, it was the absolute perfect time of year to visit. Any hotter and I think we would have melted. Also being spring, there is still plenty of greenery around and pops of vibrant colours from the wildflowers, making the hike that much more beautiful.

After all that bush walking and hill hiking, we had worked up a bit of an appetite. So en route back home we stopped off for a much-needed feed at The Swan Valley Cafe. A quick google told me this cute little eatery was both vegetarian and vegan-friendly! HOORAY! From the outside it didn’t look like much, but once inside we were pleasantly surprised. What appeared to be just a plain old deli-style roadhouse stop off, was actually a huge but still somehow peaceful restaurant boasting the most amazing healthy menu options, outdoor garden seating and super friendly staff. There is also a playground for the kids.

Just choosing what to eat from the extensive menu was a challenge. I was actually surprised to see so many vegan options all in one place, let alone in the middle of the valley. I ended up choosing the Veg Burger, which was so nourishing, full or flavour and of course absolutely delicious. I was so impressed by it that our lunch conversation quickly turned to me passionately proclaiming how delicious healthy food can be! Seriously, how can people say healthy food is boring?! It is so easy to make nutrient-rich, healthy foods equally as tasty as they are nourishing! My friend ordered the tempeh burger (which was veggo but not vegan), which she raved about also.

If you are ever in the Swan Valley (obviously checking out the amazing natural wonder that is Bells Rapids), make sure you pop in to The Swan Valley cafe for a nutritious meal. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or a meat-eater there is something for everyone on their mouth-watering menu. Sitting out in the sunshine, surrounded by a the cottage-style garden atmosphere is just the icing on the cake. Highly recommend.

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend.

Love Eloise x

If you have any suggestions of places to visit and things to do in and around Perth please leave a comment below. Alternatively send your suggestions through via the contact page. I’m always looking for new places to explore and Perth eateries to review.

Perth Fitness & Health Expo

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Perth Fitness and Health Expo prior to the event opening to the public. Prepared only with the information; wear workout gear, bring your water bottle and expect a few surprises, myself and a select group of influential Perth Bloggers were invited along to check it out. With the suspense of not knowing exactly what to expect, and sore muscles from my leg workout the day before, I was nervous but also excited.

And it certainly didn’t disappoint. We spent the morning meeting some of Australia’s top health, fitness and nutrition professionals, were treated to food tastings, watched cooking demonstrations and were even put through our paces with a sweaty workout from LA fitness trainer Max Philisaire. It was a fun-filled two hours of fitness, education and mingling with like-minded Perth creatives, who also have a passion for health and fitness.

Max Philisaire - also known as 'The Body'. No prizes for guessing why that is

Max Philisaire – also known as ‘The Body’. No prizes for guessing why that is

So how did it start. With a gruelling, sweaty, muscle-burning workout of course. While I was expecting (and actually excited about) exercise being part of the day (#gymjunkie), some of the other girls were a little less thrilled when they realised being introduced to Max Philisaire aka ‘The Body’ wasn’t just about drooling over his rock hard abs and swooning over those biceps. He would be training us too! He didn’t go easy on us either. Running, chin ups, box jumps, kettle ball swings, push-ups and burpees… so many burpees! Yes it was a struggle (especially after leg day) but I loved the challenge and feeling the burn!

No one looks good mid box jump... Photo credit: @_hannahbc from We Are Dannah

No one looks good mid box jump… Photo credit: @_hannahbc from We Are Dannah

Next up was a cooking demonstration and some much needed post-workout sustenance from Sydney-based nutritionist and trainer Kim Beach. Kim showed us how to make a simple yet highly nutritious and delicious smoothie, perfect for a post workout snack, breakfast on the go or even as a meal. Bananas, strawberries, rice milk, rolled oats, cinnamon and pysillym husk all blended up – the secret to making it thick and creamy? Use frozen banana! That’s not where the taste-testing ended either. We also got to try some delicious raw vegan caramel slices from Perth-based company Active Eating, which was so good I was tempted to go back for seconds. Active eating, which provides healthy nutritional balanced meals for people on the go, is currently a one woman show but is set to grow and expand with demand soon.

Kim Beach showing us how to make the perfect smoothie. Photo credit: @_hannahbc from We Are Dannah

Kim Beach making smoothies. Photo credit: @_hannahbc from We Are Dannah

First there was ‘The Body’, then there was a chance to see someone else’s biceps up close and personal. None other than Commando Steve. Forget what you’ve seen on episodes of The Biggest Loser, ‘The Commando’ isn’t as scary as he has been made out to be in the past. Sorry dude, you’re loosing your street cred right now. He was very friendly, humble and yep, easy on the eye.  That being said, we didn’t train with him, so maybe his more intimidating side comes out when he is in his element.

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‘The Commando’

But even better than getting to touch Max ‘The Body”s muscles and get up and close with Commando Steve, was having the opportunity to meet and network with some fellow Perth bloggers and creatives. Attending the event on my own was a little nerve-racking. I was pretty hesitant about going – to be in a position where I knew no one and had no idea what to expect. But I am so glad I put my brave pants on and attended because not only was it a super fun experience but I also left the event with two new friends and a lot of inspired thoughts.

Basically as soon as I arrived I was lucky enough to meet two of the loveliest and most genuinely friendly girls, Ella and Hannah. Ella, a lifestyle vlogger (imellarose) and Hannah a blogger (wearedannah) were breaths of fresh air, making the entire day worth attending. You know those times when you meet someone and you just instantly ‘click’ with them. That’s what it was like, meeting these two ladies. When you meet like-minded people with similar interests, ambitions and goals it only inspires you to dream bigger and work harder on your own projects. At least that’s how I feel. Turns out all three of us are vegans too, so what better way to talk blogging, health, fitness and possible collaborations than over a delicious vegan brunch after the expo. We had earned it after all (thanks Max).

If I was to take away only one thing from this experience as the most memorable, it would have to be the networking opportunities and meeting new friends (sorry Commando). It was amazing to be surrounded by other people who have the same passions and dreams as me, because sometimes my friends and family just don’t quite get it. I am so grateful to have attended this event. I came away with new knowledge, inspiration, fresh ideas, new friends and sore muscles.

The Australian Fitness & Health Expo is a three-day event held annually in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Any health and fitness nuts out there, make sure you check it out when it comes to your city next year. Along with getting the chance to meet fitness celebs, there are plenty of free samples, the latest workout wear, upcoming workout equipment, powerlifting competitions and so much more to feast your eyes and stomachs on.

Love Eloise x

Running Tips for Non Runners

Running. It’s not for everyone. Some love it. Some hate it. Me? I fall into the latter category.

I am not a runner. I never have been. Probably never will be. I am a gym junkie. I love my HIIT workouts, combat classes, group fitness and strength training. I love lifting weights, plyometrics and challenging my personal bests. But running? Nope not for me. It’s just not my exercise of choice. Yet for some crazy reason, I have signed myself up to for the 2015 HBF Run For a Reason* Not just the 4km run either, but the 12km!

Why? Well firstly, to challenge myself. I had intended to register for the HBF run in previous years but it just never happened. Mainly because I hate running and also because, I hate running. However, this year I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and give it a crack. More importantly though, I am running for a reason. To inspire the people of Perth to get active, to do something for their health and fitness as well as support a worthy charity if they wish. I have chosen to support the MS Society WA, for which I have started a fundraising page.

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Having registered 8-weeks out from the event, I thought that would be plenty of time to get run ready. That was until I ended up with an ankle injury that left me out of action for almost 5 weeks. Not ideal. Once I finally start training, I very quickly learnt a lot about running. The good, the bad and the ugly. As a result I have come up with the following 

9 Running Tips for Non-runners

1. Start Small

Set small goals. Just like no one expects you to bust out 20 reps of 20kg biceps curls the first time you set foot in a gym, no one is expecting you to complete a half-marathon distance the first time you head out for a run either. Set yourself small achievable goals – goals you can build on. You might start by running to a street sign, then move on to running 1km on, 1km off. The next time you go out aim for 2km without having a break and keep building on that. Aim for progress not perfection.

2. Invest In Decent Running Gear

Comfort is key. Wear exercise clothes that fit you well. The last thing you want is to be pulling your pants up or tugging on your shirt every two minutes. Even if it’s your oldest, daggiest clothing – comfort comes first! Most importantly, get yourself a decent pair of running shoes. Without good quality and supportive running shoes, you are setting yourself up for pain and injury. Get your shoes fitted by a specialist and ask for advice on the best shoes for your feet and running style.

3. Distract Yourself

Distractions are a blessing in disguise, making the time go faster and keeping your mind off the task at hand. Run with music, run scenic routes, zone out, let your mind wander – all these things will keep your focus off the sounds of your breathing, puffing and the distance ahead of you.

4. Mix It Up

Some people like to run on the treadmill. Others like to run outdoors. Some have to know the exact route and distance, while others prefer to wing it. Personally, I find mixing things up keeps things interesting and stops me from getting bored on a run.  Changing up your running route also conditions the body to all different types of terrains including, hills, slopes and stairs, which will build up your stamina and endurance.

5. Buddy Up

Running with a friend or partner is not for everyone but for others, having a running buddy can provide that extra little boost of motivation they need to get them out the door. Whether it is just having someone there by your side as moral support or you need someone to push you (maybe even literally), training with a friend can make all the difference. As running etiquette goes, always run at the pace of the slowest runner and if one person stops the other stops. Just be sure not to let each other down. Still encourage and challenge one another.

6. It’s All In Your Head

Running, like with all exercise, is very much a mental thing. Your mind will give up long before your body does, so the key is to train your brain. A strong mindset will result in a strong result. Delete the words ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary and focus on telling yourself ‘I can’. What your mind believes, your body achieves. When I start to feel my body giving up I speak words of strength to myself. For example ‘I am strong’, ‘I am fit’, ‘I am full of energy’, ‘this is easy’ and ‘I can do it’. It really works!

7. Stretch, Warm-up and Cool Down

As one of the top techniques for injury prevention, stretching pre and post run is so important. Never sprint straight out the front door. In order to signal to your body and muscles that they are about to start working, warm up with a brisk walk, then increase the pace into a jog. This will also minimise the stress on your heart. Rather than coming to an abrupt stop, follow your run with a 5 minute cool down. If you feel your muscles cramping during a run, don’t be afraid to stop along the way to stretch. If you have a foam roller, I suggest rolling out post run too.

8. Listen to Your Body

Some days you just can’t do it. Your body is aching, your joints are sore, you’re feeling foggy and your energy is low. You may have set your alarm, put on your shoes and stepped out the front door but your running mojo is just not there. That’s ok. It’s important to listen to your body on these days. Don’t push yourself to the point of breaking. Have a day off. Go for a walk, do some yoga or hit the gym instead. Listen to your body and respond accordingly. Rest days are important for recovery!

9. Get The App

This year HBF developed an amazing Fitness App to help participants get the most out of their training in the lead up to the event. I found this app, which guides users through a exercise program and keeps track of progress, an extra little bit of motivation. It was so helpful, for a beginner runner like me, who had absolutely no idea where to start. It even notifies you the night before, what your training schedule is for the next day. Genius!

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If training for the HBF run has taught me anything, it’s that running just isn’t for everyone. Our bodies are all made differently and conditioned to different types of exercise. I’m a gym girl through and through. My joints, in particular just don’t cope well with the impact of running. That being said, I’m no longer a hater. I actually don’t mind the whole running thing now and will probably continue to run once or twice a week. Even if it is just a half walk half run (or as me and my friend like to call it, a ‘ralk’).

So now with less than 2 weeks to go until the event, I am admittedly starting to feel a little nervous. But I have also accepted that I will not be running the entire 12km. Whether I run, jog, walk, crawl or a mixture of them all, my goal is just to finish the race. When I do I will be proud of that achievement.

See you all at the starting line!! Good luck Perth!

Love Eloise xx

*For those who are not familiar, the Perth HBF Run for A Reason is an annual charity run, encouraging West Aussies to participate for charity, health and fitness, to support a loved one or just for fun. With the option to register for the 4km, 12km and (new this year) 21km half marathon, the event is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. For more information or to register for the run visit the HBF Run website.