Tag Archive for Sporty Mama

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Sunday morning and new home!

Good morning all!

I have decided it is time for change and a new home. My new home is at…

www.fashionable-mama.com

Thank you Marco for helping me out, seamless process and very speedy, you are my hero!

I am looking forward to getting on with some regular blogging yet again. This spring has been quite tough but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the summer is near. I believe that the posts will be more positive now that I am back on track.

Right now I am off for my Power Walk, hoping to get a good few kilometres in before my little Pixie returns. She’s spent the past two nights at my parents house and it’s been good for me and Mark to have a break. BUT I am really looking forward to seeing her now.

NOW, Fashionable Mama is back with a vengeance, it’s time to get back in shape and in my new pink Nike kicks I am heading down towards Pampas and Karlberg Castle. Wish me luck!

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Doing the Bikram…

Recently I’ve become obsessed with Bikram Yoga. Read about it on  Wikepedia .

It’s sometimes referred to as Hot Yoga as it’s postures are performed in hot and humid temperatures.  I currently attend Perfection, just by Humlegården here in Stockholm and I am really enjoying it.

Apart from being a great form of exercise, Bikram yoga has many other health benefits?

1. Flexibility:  We all know that yoga makes us more flexible.  Yoga in a 37 degree room is great because you’re operating at basically the same temperature that you body is anyway, so you’re already warmed up! When your muscles are more flexible, you’re at less risk for injury.

2. Stress Relief:  Hot yoga helps relax the mind and the body.

3. You burn more fat:  In Bikram yoga, you burn more fat than a regular yoga class. It is common to lose centimeters in a short time of hot yoga practice.

4. Your feel stronger:  Your body is stronger, but you also strengthen your will power, and your ability to challenge yourself, since hot yoga requires lots of concentration.

5. Your skin looks better: Sweat makes our body release toxins. It’s a natural detox, plus your skin has a healthy sweaty glow :)

For more information about BikramYoga and its benefits, click here.

The Jämtland Triangle – 3 days without my little Pixie

When most people take their husband away for the weekend they go somewhere where they can get pampered. They visit romantic castles, spas and resorts, sip champagne and relax. So what did we do? Well, how about a three-day hike in the Swedish fells, just under 50 km through the wilderness.  No trains, buses, cars or even roads, just a path with cairns appearing from time to time to show you the way. This is what we decided to do, on our own without our little Pixiea lovely weekend for two.

 

It’s my favourite way to spend my time, outdoors, surrounded by green mountains, grey cliffs and stone and the blue water that trickles down from the mountain top. Above you is the sky which can shift from a clear blue with glistening sunshine to dark grey with hailstones so big that they hurt you when they hit your legs and arms. It’s probably one of my favourite places in the world.

 

This beautiful county in the centre of Sweden is called Jämtland. I have come here both winter and summer for as long as I can remember. In fact, I was only 1 year old when my parents brought me here for the first time when they took me hiking in Kolåsen. Since that year, 1974, I have returned on at least fifteen occasions. Most recently with my husband and my daughter with whom I have stayed in the little community Storlien, just on the border to Norway.

 

Day 1

We arrive at the Mountain station Storulvån far too late in the day. It’s nearly 12.00 o’clock and about 3 hours later than I had planned. We drove from Storlien, circa 20 km away where we have just left our daughter behind with her grandparents. First we pay the parking  meter for three days, and leave the car behind in the carpark. In the boot we leave a bag with towels and clean clothes so that we can wash up on the fnal day before we head back to civilisation. Trust me we’ll need it!

 

On this first day of treking we have just under  16 km ahead of us so we get going. The smells of the fell hit me as we cross river Handölan. The birch, the moss, the green grass has a very special smell. You will only find it in the Swedish mountains. Day one is always the hardest on any hike  as it takes a while for the body to get into motion, day two is always easiest and the last day is always the hardest. On a short hike like this one the body is put through its paces, Just as you get used to the walking it’s time to stop.

 

We hike app. 10 km before we stop for lunch. Most of the other hikers on the trail that day had stopped earlier but as we felt a little stressed having set out so late we didn’t want to stop before we had covered most of the days kilometres. We enjoyed a fantastic meat and vegetable soup and sandwiches Just what we needed.

 

After a gruelling 16 km in the sunshine, we finally arrive at Sylarna. The last 3 km are all upphill and quite a tough way to end the day but it makes us  feel alive and happy.  For me personally there is nothing more fantastic than arriving at your destination after a hard day hiking. We pitch our tent just below  Mountain station Sylarna, at 1035 metres above the sea, it’s a popular spot for hikers, bikers, runners and climbers.

 

There is no restaurant and Sylarna, instead everyone cook for themselves in the kitchen area, which is equipped with 8 small cooking stations. There is food in the small shop at the station, but as it’s quite over priced most people carry their own supply. One or two groups have even brought along some wine in old Coke bottles. We settle for a cold beer in the sauna, then a dinner of tortellini with creme fraiche and pesto together with a tomato salad.

 

We spend the night in our tent, and sleep quite well. As a treat we  pay for two breakfasts for the next morning and a lunch pack so that we don’t have to worry about feeding ourselves. Trust me, it’s worth it, especially when you’re on a short hike like this.

 

Day 5 – To the too of Åreskutan and down again…

It’s amazing how much you check the weather forecast when you are based in ”fjällen” which is what we call our mountains, espceially when you want to spend time outdoors. Our fifth day in Storlien had the best weather forecast so far this week and we decided this was the day for our annual hike to Åreskutan’s top.
To make it up on the peak as quickly as possible we ”cheat” a little and take the cabin car up as far as possible on the mountain. This leaves you with app 30 min hike up on the peak, depending on your pace off course. We planned to enjoy our lunch up on the peak, and then continue almost all the way down. Our plan was to take the lift at Mörvikshummeln and Åre Bergbana, down to the square. During the summer you only pay to go up the mountain, if you want to get a lift down it’s for free. Last year we had intended to do this, but arrived too late and got stuck at Mörvikshummeln. Luckily we met some paragliders and the instructor gave us a lift down in his Volkswagen.
So what happened, well the sun was shining and we were all set. Pixie had been talking about the cabin car all morning and she was eager to get going. Storlien is situated app. 60 km from Åre so we got started early so that we would have time, both for our short hike to the peak and the trek down. The cabin car is an experience, not for those of you who have vertigo though! We views are spectacular, Åre village, the lake and the mountains!
On the way up to the peak we met a mixed crowd, it’s so fun each year to meet all the hardcore hikers (with hiking boots and rain gear in their backpacks), the bikers (that cycle down the slopes), the runners (that usually run both up and down) and the ”normal” people (they usually wear Crocs, and the ladies carry their handbags).
We enjoyed our packed lunch and also the trek itself. Pixie had a blast coming down the mountain, and we took regular stops so that she could have some fruit, throw some stones in a big pond and also do some treking herself.
We got to ”Hummeln” just in time to catch the ride down, then we had to run down the slalom slope to the mountain train, Åre Bergbana, in order to get a lift down the last bit. Man, we were exhausted when we finally arrived at Åre Square, we sat down for an ice cream and a coffee. That was nice!
Back ”home” in Storlien we sat on the porch and enjoyed a Heineken. I’m not normally a beer drinker, but this one was GOOOOD!

 

Bikram Yoga early in the morning…

As I left home at 6.30 the streets were quiet. Karlbergsvägen lay deserted and the bus had only 3 other people on. I had my big bag and Yoga mat in my hands, tryingto manouver myself onto the bus I drop my bus pass. Damns, I had to crawl underneath the actual bus to get hol dof it. (yes, everyone stared) 

I haven’t practised Yoga for 3 years, my latest opportunity was during my pregnancy when I practised with Sighle in Dalkey, (Dublin, Ireland). Before that I did various classes, started with Hatha in 1998, then Iyenger and finally Ashtanga. But Bikram is something else!

I did my first class last Thursday, my second this morning and I have booked another one on Thursday morning. Me thinks is becoming a regular thing. It’s amazing! …I must admit I have a bit to go, not as flexible as I used to me,but I am already noticing a difference. My muscles are leaner, my aches are going and I seem to have slimmed down already. (could be that I have been running much more regularly as well lately)

Bikram Yoga is the 26 postures Sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga. The Bikram Yoga studios are built in such a way that you always get the proper heating (40C / 104F) which help you to do your postures optimally. Bikram calls these studios as “Torture Chambers”. (it’s true)

I was so pleased with myself as I left for work…

Hatha Yoga flushes away the waste products, the toxins of all the glands and organs of your body. It provides a natural irrigation of the body through the circulatory system, with the help of the respiratory system. It brings nourishments to every cell of your body so that each one can perform its function and keep your body healthy. Bikram Yoga also employs heat to further that cleaning process: When you sweat, impurities are flushed out of the body through the skin.

Fashionable whilst hiking?

I love hiking. I have been visiting the Swedish mountains regularly since I was one year of age when my parents took me on my first hiking trip to Kolåsen in Jämtland. The mountains of Sweden, fjällen have a special place in my heart and over the years I have visited Dalarna, Härjedalen, Jämtland and Lappland to get a fix, summer or winter, on foot or on skis.I took up the tradition of hiking with a young child this year and took my daughter to Storlien, Jämtland. This is in central Sweden on the border to Norway.

The week before we headed up north, a friend of mine asked me, ”What gear would I recommend if they where to take a trip up the mountains?”

I thought of the battery of ‘gear’ we have built up over the years and thought, what is the one most important thing you need when you go hiking? Well, this is quite a difficult question to answer as the conditions really make a huge impact. Are you going for an hour, a day or a week. Where are you going, is it going to be hot, cold, sunny or rainy. The answers to these questions really impact on your list of things to bring.

But you should always start with your feet. Make sure you have a god pair of hiking boots and take a few short walks (hikes) close to home in them so that you don’t end up with blisters on your first day of hiking.

Then looks at your clothes. If you hike in Sweden in the summer you need a good jacket that can protect you from the rain, and possibly even rain trousers if you’re going to a longer hike. Getting wet is the worst thing that can happen to you when you’re up on a mountain!

Quench your thirst! Always make sure you have access to water. Bring it or ir drink from the streams you pass along the way.

The rest is relatively straightforward, we tend to wear a baselayer top, like this one from Craft, long trousers or shorts, a light fleece or a windstopper and a hat scarf. Avoid cotton, as this gets wet and chills you if it gets cold. If it’s sunny bring SPF.

If you bring a child! In order to facilitate our daily hikes out on the mountain I bought a FAB Baby Backpack Carrier from Vaude, did a quick check amongst the many reviews you find online and decided the Jolly Comfort I was for us. This turned out to be a great choice as it has a kind of ‘pillow’ where Pixie could rest her little head when she got tired. I think she slept quite comfortably.

So being fashionable whilst hiking is actually not about looking good, but having the RIGHT gear so that you don’t get into trouble, come rain or shine.