30 days of fitness – part 3

Home stretch! 11 days until Malta!

Consistency has been lacking, but I head back to London from Strasbourg tonight, and I WILL smash the next week and a bit with some solid exercisy, I swear. My day summaries continue, starting with when I eventually arrived in Strasbourg..

Day 19: Plane. Delayed. Ugh. But it’s better than cancelled. It did mean that by the time I landed in Basel, got my luggage, and we drove the hour-and-a-bit to Strasbourg it was pushing 2am. Needless to say this Friday was an exercise write-off. Got my work day done and crashed.

Day 20: Special cuddle time has to count for something right? The boy and I did trek through Strasbourg Ikea and some other stores today so, I got moving if nothing else.

Day 21: To the lake! Oh my, how nice is a Summer sun with actual warmth behind it?! We spent a solid few hours at a lake near his house, did some swimming, got sunburnt – oops. I’m now rockin’ the lobster look.

Day 22: Evening BJJ! It was tough actually, I’m so used to training in the morning so I find it hard to fire up at night. But my face turned a gorgeous, sweaty shade of red, it blended with my sunburn nicely.

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Photo: art-of-bjj.com
It was super great to catch up with Marie-Laure again (now a purple belt!), she had her camera handy and took some candid photos. If you’re not following already, get over to her website and Instagram.

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Photo: art-of-bjj.com
Day 23: I ventured into downtown Strasbourg on my own, actually the first time I have done so since my first visit, which seems mad but I guess not so much when every trip here is to see my boyfriend/go places with him.

So anyway, walking counts? And can you believe… ANOTHER delayed flight  – this time back to London. Cue tears. There are always tears.

Day 24: Tired. Lacking sleep. Do not give two effs about exercise. Bed time.

Day 25: Feeling human! It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do. Up early and to Muay Thai class, really it’s 1.5 hours of cardio/circuit training with pad work, which I love. 

I got a shitty partner who kept rolling his eyes and giving me half-arsed pad holding. It was like he resented being paired with me. I got jack of the attitude and when I had the opportunity, asked the coach to change partners. Immediately new guy and I were in sync; pushing each other, shouting encouragement and holding the bloody pads correctly – it immediately made the session more enjoyable.

Day 26: Had to be at an offsite meeting bright and early today so morning gym didn’t happen, nor did anything in the evening. Hmmph. 

Day 27: No exercise, unless you count lugging three bottles of champagne to Ascot?? Had a fabulous day, won some pocket change and finally saw this iconic place. 

winning ticket at Ascot, King George weekend

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30 days of fitness

There’s nothing like an upcoming beach holiday to get you motivated! Do I care about being “bikini body ready?” Nope. But I DO want to feel comfortable getting about in next-to-nothing in Malta for two weeks, and right now I don’t.

So, here’s me holding myself to account; nothing is stopping me from making sure I get some kind of workout in for the next 30 days.

I’m also back on the MyFitnessPal app for good measure, it’s a pain, but tracking what I eat and inputting my exercise definitely helps me to keep it up.

Day 1: Morning Muay Thai class. 1.5 hours. Lots of pad combinations, short set of sprints at the end.

Day 2: BJJ with the morning crew. 30 mins drilling technique, 35 mins sparring rounds.

Day 3: Morning Muay Thai class. Jose began the class by asking if any of us were sick – then he proceeded to punish us with a crazy 1 hour 15 min workout. Timed pad combos broken up with burpees and sprints and squats and planks and other horrors. I dread how my body will feel tomorrow.

Day 4: Morning crew BJJ. As expected I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck from yesterday’s session. 30 min drills, we had to stack each other and it’s hard for me on a normal day, but after a few days of exercise in a row my body is about as bendy as a steel rod. 30 mins rolling rounds, got my nose squished, a close-but-not-quite sub on Matt and now it’s off to work.

Day 5: TGIF! Had a much-needed sleep in after four early mornings in a row. Going to get my fitness on by walking home from my work in Holborn Circus. Takes about an hour, and my body wants something low impact today.

Update: Walking home successful, got a little wet (didn’t bring a brolly OR a weatherproof to work today, doh!). But I scored a rainbow for my troubles. 

Day 6: I would normally hill run with Matt but that didn’t happen, instead my friend Anthony was doing his practical assessment to be a Personal Trainer and asked if I could be his guinea pig – no worries! He passed with flying colours, and I worked up a sweat. 👍🏻

Day 7: There were a few activities I could have easily done today, but for stupid, mostly lazy reasons, I didn’t. Fail day. 

On a bright note I did catch up with an old friend, and I smashed out three freelance articles. 

Day 8: Another nope day. I even packed my Muay Thai gear for evening class, but tired and cranky won. 

Day 9: Back to it! Amazing how much better you feel after a good sleep. Just finished BJJ class with the morning crew. Didn’t get a sub but did have side control and mount on Pete for a solid time in rolling rounds. This rarely happens with anyone so, pretty happy. 

Day 10: Ashamed to say it was another nope day. Traveling for work, got to the hotel late and smashed a wheel of Dutch cheese instead of smashing out some sit-ups. 

Day 11: Well I didn’t pig on cheese today, but I didn’t work out either. We did a two-hour Amsterdam walking tour so I guess it wasn’t all meetings and work meals. 

Day 12: Got up early and took my skipping rope to Vondelpark for 30 mins of skipping and sprints. Feeling great for getting sweaty! 

Time In Malta – Part 2

“See that building there? Behind the red boat. That’s the customs office where your Nanna, Nannu and the family boarded the ship to Australia.”

I was standing at a lookout in Gardjola Gardens with my dad’s cousin Turu, gazing across The Grand Harbour to where at age seven dad had left Malta, his country of birth. He wouldn’t return for a visit until 43 years later. It’s amazing to think of how different his life could have been had the family chosen to stay on the island. Of course, I’m grateful for my sake that they didn’t!

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Staying in the fishing village of Birzebbuga where dad lived and where his extended family still reside today, I timed this trip (my third to Malta) to coincide with Festa San Pietru, aka St Peter’s Feast.

Festas are a big deal in Malta, where Roman Catholicism is the main religion. It’s considered one of the most Catholic countries in the world, and divorce was only actually legalised in Malta in 2011. In April of this year, a law was approved to legalise civil unions and allow same sex couples to adopt.

Every weekend over the Summer and well into September, you’ll find a village celebrating the feast of its’ patron saint. There are also a number of larger annual events including Notte Bianca in Valetta and the Malta Fireworks Festival.

My first tip on festas came from the cousin who picked me up from the airport – always be in a town a few days before the actual celebration weekend, to really soak in the atmosphere and attend some lead-up events.

Villages hold pre-festa concert nights, there are food trucks and market stalls and street parties. In Birzebbuga a statue of St Peter is taken on a boat ride around the bay. The local marching band clubs alternate in ‘headlining’ the evening’s entertainment, and they have a wicked rivalry going on.

My family’s loyalty is split between the green and red band clubs. These St Peter tees are totes rockin, no?
My family’s loyalty is split between the green and red band clubs. These St Peter tees are totes rockin, no?
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Festa time is (cheeky!) family time

One of the main celebration nights in Birzebbuga featured Nar tal-Art – mechanised ground fireworks set up beside the church.

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They were lit one at a time by a bunch of young guys in white t-shirts, who would jump about like they were at a rave whenever the first sparks started to shower the crowd.


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The following evening I again joined the throng for the main event – to see a big statue of St Peter emerge from the church and be paraded through the streets. Air fireworks were set off on the beach, and what sounded like cannon blasts produced tufts of white smoke over the village.

The social fabric of the Maltese islands is built around each town’s church, band club, football club, National and Labour Party clubs – and while that culture is still prominent today, there’s no doubt it’s changing thanks to everyday modern life.

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St Mary’s Parish Church, Ghaxaq Malta.

I saw few young people taking part in the church procession and marching bands for example, and I’m told that these days musicians from neighbouring towns will often help make up the numbers for village feasts.

I DID do more in Malta than mingle with extended family, eat pastizzi and drink Kinnie and Cisk at the Festa – I also mingled with extended family, ate pastizzi and drank Kinnie and Cisk at some gorgeous swimming spots!

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Jumping off the rocks near the Blue Grotto, Wied Zurrieq Malta.

Each day was above 30 degrees celsius so there was a lot of swimming to be done. Oh, and you MUST bring/buy a snorkel kit. If you happen to scuba dive, it’s heaven.

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St Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk Malta. I didn’t want to leave this place – but eventually I had to because, there are no public loos – take note! 😉

I had a fantastic time sightseeing with some cousins from Australia, and one of them commented that he could see me moving from London to live and work in Malta for awhile.

Could I? The apartments are HUGE – that would be a nice change from the shoebox flats of London… EU wages are lower but living is more affordable (30 Euro cent pastizzi!). Two BJJ clubs in the whole country I could probably handle, but Maltese life reminds me a lot of ‘Island time’ for those who have ever been to places like Fiji.

My perception to date is that it’s sooo relaxed – village shops close for a few hours at lunchtime while everyone goes for a nap or hits the beach. I went to the post office at 1pm on a weekday to find they were shutting….for the REST of the day! And Malta’s bus network (its key mode of public transport) is a tad infuriating if you need to route-hop. Never be in a hurry.

Outside my holiday mindset, Malta might not be the right fit, considering how much I (usually) love the hustle and bustle of London.

I felt right at home though standing on the street by a Birzebbuga stop sign at 7am with a phone to my ear, waving like a lunatic at a live web cam atop someone’s balcony. My excited dad watched and chuckled, and waved back from Australia.