5 stay at home ideas

We are all in lockdown and will be for some time. Even when we do get out of lockdown there will be some restrictions.

So how do you make the most of lockdown? For when you are by yourself and that are not Netflix!

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  1. Do a cross-stitch- pick a good one that is big and long like a tablecloth to do as that will take up a bit of time.
  2. Fix up your garden. If you have a tree prune the branches. Fixing up your garden will take some time not to mention getting rid of the stress
  3. Host a dinner catch up online- you can do this by zoom or Facebook Messenger. Many fine dining places and bars now host their own virtual meet ups over wine. Whilst its not free its a good way to let your hair down and see the outside world. What’s more they will send you all the ingredients and wine that you’ll need and then you can cook up a storm.
  4. Join a virtual exercise class- Les Mills have some awesome ones and if your gym is shut they will have some online classes for you to join. Sometimes they might a charge a fee to cover the instructor costs but for most their members its is free.
  5. Read a good book. The longer it is, the more time consuming it would be and it would take your mind off the pandemic. But make sure that you like the book. And you can read it on Kindle.

Lets move 365: Engaging Melbourne by Akira

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Engaging Melbourne is mainly a Melbourne Uni student group which helps to facilitate outside events with local and international students and it is easy to sign up. I first knew about them in one of Meld’s events last year. RMIT students can sign up too. They are sponsored by the Melbourne Football club which won the Hawthorn vs Melbourne match at the MCG by 29 points. Here I got a chance to mingle with many new International students attending their first game and it was fun. Many didn’t know how to open the sauce which is squeezing it open with your hand and putting a little bit on your pie.

Many students didn’t know about the Aussie pie which is a tradition in many AFL games. That and having the glass of beer is also a tradition.

Also having a BBQ in summer is another tradition.

The Welcome Dinner project by Akira

Now I love to cook and cook lots I have. Therefore the Welcome Dinner Project is a great idea. It was started a few years ago by Ellis when she wanted to welcome new people into her home and her Australian way of life. Others were looking for the same thing. Hence that is how the Welcome Dinner Project started.


And it is successful. So successful that they have organised events in Footscray and Carlton. I went to the one in Carlton and I didn’t know that I had to buy food (as I thought that my partner owed me food and thought that they were coming). Normally I would have cooked a Japanese dish but bread and dip had to make do instead.

It is like this: everyone brings a dish from their home country and then they explain what is in that dish and the story behind it. It starts off with a few get to know you activities, then introductions to the food brought and then eating.

Everyone sits at a large communual table and these events attract 20-30 people, most of which are migrants but there are some that are students.

And sharing. I love Meld community’s nasi lemak. I have always been a fan of this dish since they introduced it a few years back at one of their twirlight market days. And Malaysia house makes it for their Hari Raya sometimes.

And then there is dessert for those that love to bake. But for some people they can’t have too much sugar. The facilitators will bring the drinks and the snacks such as popcorn and pretzels.

I enjoy trying everyone’s dishes and do sign up to the Welcome dinner project here. Its free to join it. But the Welcome dinner project would love a donation to cover the cost of these events.

Paying with Afterpay

Ever needed a new pair of shoes or an outfit and can’t wait for payday? Well here is the answer.


Afterpay is a system whereby you pay in four installments for the item that you want but haven’t got all the funds to pay for. I first heard of them via Melbourne Central’s shopping and ever since then I wanted to try it.

Afterpay works on your phone and everywhere that accepts it. But you have to over 18 to pay for things with this system.

But it is easy to sign up online. All you have to do is have a credit card to do so. It is fast and easy and your payment is approved within minutes. The item is then shipped to your house. You then repay the money in four easy installments over a fortnight.

If you forget one it doesn’t matter, they just add the money on to your next installment.

I picked out my shoes in store and then placed the order online. The shoes were $129 ($32 in four easy installments). After you pay you then get the email from Skechers. The shoes came a few days later and boy did I like them. They were light weight shoes which is great for a runner as it means that they can run faster.

My housemate signed for the package.


It is god darn hard to do so in store as not many stores are on board unlike what the website says.

Do sign up and use Afterpay if you want stuff quicker but don’t have the money to afford it straightaway. You will pay it back eventually.

Ilya Frozen Yoghurt


Ilya is a health food yoghurt place in South Melbourne. They also have a store in Elsternwick. Here they really care about the obesity issue by providing many low fat and sugar free options.

It is a self serve place. You go in and choose your yoghurt and the toppings and then pay according to weight. I choose all the fruit toppings and the chia of course. You can sample some of their yoghurt and I did just that. I loved their natural no sugar yoghurt. As for their slightly sweet yoghurt they use something called stevia.

When you want to be served and there is no one there, just ring the bell and someone will come. And that someone is a very friendly Canadian lady most likely a student. They really do focus on health and relaxation. They have many teas and they advertise the city’s meditation workshops which is great.

They also make great raw food protein balls and I had the peanut butter one and it was yum.

Do come by this place on Clarendon st in South Melbourne. It is near City Road and Route 12 trams service this place.

Week 18 of Marathon Training

I started looking at elevated gains. Although I have the old Fitbit model I discovered that I can look it up online and my elevation levels are 0-450 depending on where I run. When you run on flat services the elevation is 0. My calorie burn per minute is 4-7 cals. I don’t have the heart rate thing but oh well.


Ran around Fitzroy and that was a good 9km to and from the city. There were some hills along the way which made it even harder but on a cool day running is great. There were some bars and quirky shops along the way not mention good, but pricey places. It felt good quitting sugar as I had a lot more energy.

Tried to run on a warm day but found that I run a lot slower. Also found that I get very dehydrated easily.

For some reason my arm got a bit sore and stiff. So what I did do was to stretch that arm out.

Celebrated the end of the week and the end of eighteen weeks of training with a house red wine and pasta at Vapiano. Here’s to eighteen weeks of hard work and another 22 weeks of more hard work!

But then on Sunday went for an 18 km run and was very dehydrated. Normally I am good with the water but today was a little too warm for just two bottles of water. I think it was the humidity. Oh and my chafing got worse. In fact I have an itchy place on my back. I think it was from all the sweat and the sugar I had.

Watched the Run Hope race and it was fun cheering on the crowd that came. I was in the sun. Now I know to be placed right behind everyone. At the warm up I learned a few moves.

Afterwards went to the Japanese Summer festival and had the tofu udon there as it was the non sweet item that I could find. There were so many people and queues everywhere. There should be a concept of queues or a ticketed entry.

Readers what do you do about the chafing in the heat?


St Kilda festival and why I like it by Akira

The St Kilda festival means a lot to me as an International student and a health freak. For a start it is free and there are a lot of free exercise activities such as Zumba. I can teach Zumba and next year I would like to teach it as I am an amazing teacher. I have been teaching Zumba for a while at various gyms and all over the world.

Here it was a cold but sunny day and here I always enjoy free watermelon from Hare Krishna. How can anyone say no to free things? There was free coffee and iced tea but as usual it has too much sugar in them. And I don’t drink coffee. I am not an alcoholic but every now and then Katherine loves to have one drink. This one was a Sav Blanc and in a cute glass for a pricey $9.50. According to her it was the watered down version. We enjoyed it at the New World stage along with a live band.

We sampled the same ole sweet potato chips from Nandos and they gave the same ole vouchers that we got in the city but never used. The lines to Nandos was really long.

The cafes and bars along Acland st were filled with people drinking alcohol, but it wasn’t too bad until after 6pm. That was the time when people had dinner and then stayed to watch more of the live shows.

There were also games but we were not interested in them.

By 6pm the people started coming. Before then it was not too busy. People came by tram and by then the trams were fully packed. Even the train home was packed. Thank god we left after 6pm to go and train for the marathon.

Week 17 of the Marathon

This started off with a period and training on the second day of period. I struggled to find anything on this topic from Google, although in the past I did not do so well in it. It is really hard as I don’t always get enough iron in my daily intake. Members of the Crosbie said it is alright to have bad training days and they always train 24/7 of the year.

I did throw up a little bit but then all went well. This period was a bit heavier due to low intake of iron in the past month.


Lost a bit of motivation to train hard in the middle of the week so went to a friend’s event in Princess park. There were a lot of runners for the 8km and I was too late in signing up so I just watched. Even if I ran I would have come last and would have missed the train home. But thankfully Sole Motive gave me some presents and I will review them soon as well as some warm up ideas such as dancing.

Went to meditation this week and here they were talking about acceptance and happiness. This was a free meditation in Federation Square at lunchtime.

This week’s long run was in the headwind on a very windy day. This was not fun. In fact I used up most of my energy and burnt about 900 calories just running in it. I also lost a lot of water in there too.


Sugar free September 2016

Have you ever wanted to lose weight? If so then a month of no sugar might be good for you. We report on our month of being Sugar free. Yes we did want the odd sweet treat here and there but our body thanked us for not having sugar.


We discovered that all those sugar cravings were due to either a lack of good nutrients or water. On the odd occasion we wanted a  lemonade or two but we didn’t give into those cravings.

Oh and of course we still had our homemade sugar free desserts such as tofu cheesecake. we had fruits too and that was alright. But we skipped the free muffins at the free breakfasts and instead had plain yoghurt or other snacks on offer.


The outcome of that was a 2% in body fat decreased and 0.5 kg of muscle added. The hydration stayed the same pretty much throughout.

If this is on again next year I suggest you do it as it is easy to do. It is easy to replace sugary stuff with water or other savoury homemade snacks.



Body transformation challenge by Akira

The body transformation challenge was an exciting time for everyone. It was $20 to participate and although I did not win any money, I learnt a lot. There were a few categories of the challenge: fat loss, muscle gain, best before and after picture and team player. InstagramCapture_7a571ae2-73f3-4c38-afe5-e7d7047331a8Learning a lot is really good for me as a racer in this years Run Melbourne.

To be a racer one must have good health. For a start I had good health but not as good as the experienced runners.

It was a thrilling eight week challenge I got to meet many like minded people and see Shape up for the first time. Here I really learnt a lot about drinking more water and eating more protein. I also tried to increase my knowledge about good fats and running.


My muscle mass decreased and my fat went up. This is normal for a runner like myself who has to train hard for their marathon.

My bone mass stayed pretty much the same throughout.

I didn’t win but I learnt from the two others that did that it was all about the mindset and nutrition. Nutrition is key- you need 80% of it to survive.