Today’s blog post is just a cheeky little baby one because it’s Christmas week and I’m feeling on the relaxed side #sorrynotsorry. Although I am sorry for the title.. what a mouthful! Lately I’ve been pretty darn obsessed with H2coco’s “Cocoespresso” drinks to feed my caffeine addiction to the point where it’s getting expensive. I found myself craving one everyday until finally I said “enough is bloody enough” and decided to try and create my own similiar concoction. Well, not to toot my own horn here but I think I may have nailed it. Actually I would maybe go as far to say that I think my recipe is better than the real deal. Shock Horror!! Big call I know, but if you don’t believe me then try for yourself!
WHAT YOU NEED: (Serves 2)
3 tsp instant coffee.. or 2-4 shots of coffee (depending on how strong you like your Coffee!)
500ml coconut water
4 tsp coconut sugar
Boil your kettle and place instant coffee in a mug. Add roughly 1/4 cup of water or enough water to dissolve the coffee. Alternatively, make some shots of coffee.
Add coffee to the blender
Add coconut water
Add the coconut sugar
Bang in your ice
So as you can see it’s a really tough recipe and you will need to have some serious kitchen skills to pull it off 😉 But in all seriousness though, for something SO easy it really comes out like something you would get at a hipster cafe. It should turn out to be frothy, light, coffee-coconut-y amazing-ness. If it’s not cold enough, add more ice and blend some more.. I added a good handful of ice for two people. If you want to make it more of a frappe type consistency then add even more ice.. YUM! I just think it’s such a great twist on the typical black iced coffee plus the coconut water is nice and hydrating for the summer (insert thumbs up emoji). It contains no nasties and is Vegan friendly too, perfect for hot days when you want your coffee fix but don’t want to swelter whilst drinking it. I’m personally going to be making gallons of this stuff over the rest of Summer and hey, to join the Christmas festivities I might even add some Vodka and make myself one of my favourite cocktails – the espresso martini! Just the one though, I swear 😉
Hope you love the recipe as much as I do and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a beautiful New Year!
These past couple of weeks have been a little on the hectic side. Not only have I increased my own training in preparation for the Australian Dancesport Championships (a big competition in Australia for those of you not in the dance scene!) but I’ve also been helping students in their prep also. Throw in a couple of Christmas floorshows and a quick TV appearance on top of that and it’s no wonder why I’m sitting here post competition absolutely knackered and putting off unpacking! So this is why I wanted to post a little blog on recovery and it’s importance, but also I thought it seemed appropriate considering the stressful times that have been the last few days! I shall explain..
Let’s rewind back to last Wednesday morning. The Aussie Championships were 3 days away, we were flying down to Melbourne for the comp the following day, all was well and we felt fit and ready! That was up until Steve got out of bed and couldn’t put any weight on his right foot without being in 7/10 pain. Slight Drama.. talk about throwing a spanner in the works!! Being a head strong male he decided to still head to work for 3 hours of teaching to see if it would “go away” (I know, don’t even get me started!). After about an hour and a half he couldn’t hack the pain anymore and so he cancelled the rest of his day of work and went home. Now let me say at this point that cancelling work and going home is a big deal for Steve, so I knew immediately it wasn’t looking good. He rested a few hours and thought it felt a bit better so after a big fight I finally gave in and decided to let him see if doing some practice with me would “stretch it out”. BIG FAIL. All our practice did was make it worse and ended up leaving him with a limp when he walked. I thought there was no chance we were going to be dancing that weekend.
With our sports masseuse having no time available we spoke to a few people and figured it might be plantar fasciitis which is stemmed from tight calves and hamstrings and overuse of the feet, common in dancers and marathoners. What we also found was that there is nothing that can be done to make it go away, you just have to deal with the pain, stretch that bad boy out and rest. Rest wasn’t really an option in the short-term so we did everything we knew of in terms of active recovery to make it bearable for the coming weekend. In the end we ended up being able to dance at the competition with most people probably not even knowing that there was a problem so it just goes to show how much this stuff works and can really help! So here are a few of the things I swear by:
Rest: This one is pretty obvious I know and isn’t always an option but I feel it’s the most important! People dont prioritise rest enough when it comes to a training regime and can easily end up burning out or creating an injury. If you rest well you can come back the following time you train so much stronger and clearer and it’s less likely you will lose determination. So keep that in mind when you aren’t feeling 100%.
Stretching: This is something I never really did when I was younger as I never had it drilled into me nor was I ever sore! But.. after you hit 22/23 I think that’s when you really start to feel sore and old haha! Well that’s when I did anyway. What helped me was getting into Ballet Beautiful because it made me realise how much better my body felt after a good stretch. Also if I go into the studio feeling tight (every day!) then I always try to stretch and warm up my muscles before going head first into it! Tight muscles can pull on other muscles which can then lead to injury. As Steve said to me this weekend after learning he really needs to start stretching “I’m really not getting any younger am I!!”. I definitely feel the older we get the more important stretching becomes 🙂
Foam roller: If you are a semi active person and you don’t have a foam roller then its time to invest in one! If you’ve never heard of foam rolling then click here! They are the best for rolling out any excess lactic acid in the muscles and releasing tight muscles in your legs, butt, back and shoulders. I love rolling out my ITB’s on the foam roller and always look for it when I’m feeling stiff and sore. Probably should be rolling on it right now rather than typing this to be honest!
Massage Ball: The massage ball/trigger ball is one of my favourite travel essentials. I use one with spiky ends but you can use any type of ball really. You can try using a tennis ball, rubber ball or even a golf ball if you’re game! It’s the best at getting into those tricky spots and working on those knots and twinges. So just find the points that are aggravating you and literally roll that on the ball. I like to lay down on some carpet and get the ball into my hips and psoas muscle. It’s also great to roll your feet on after a long day of standing. This was actually one of the things that got Steve through the competition this weekend, rolling his foot out on the spiky ball!
Ice Baths: Ok, so I have to admit I’m still a bit of a newbie when it comes to ice baths and at the moment I’ve only tried it on my feet. I know that a lot of athletes use ice baths for their whole body for fast recovery and it was actually suggested to me from my Sports massage therapist. All you need to do is fill up a bucket (or wheelie bin for full body!) with cold water and chuck in around 20-30% ice. You don’t want too much ice that you get freeze burn but you also don’t want just a couple of cubes floating around there either. Then try to stay submerged for roughly 8-10 minutes. Like I said I’ve only attempted feet and its pretty darn painful the first time but once you get used to it it’s not so bad. Also the benefits you reap afterwards are addictive! You will feel like a new you I’m not joking!
Anti-inflammatories/gels:This isn’t really active recovery but they are more so a when all else fails type of thing. I love gels as I can apply the product directly to the area I need it and it gets to work almost immediately. Also taking Nurofen isn’t my favourite thing in the world but like I said when you have no other option they do work. I always try to have some form of gel and tablet on hand just incase!
So I think the best advice I can give on this topic is to listen to your body and try not to turn a blind eye to what it’s telling you! A few years ago I sprained my ankle quite badly and never got it properly checked by a doctor to see if I had done serious damage. I let it rest for only two weeks and was pressured into getting back into my dance shoes and on the floor as soon as possible. Now after getting it properly checked out it turns out I did ligament damage and because I didn’t take at least 8 weeks off and let it heal properly I now have scar tissue. Silly me and even sillier me for listening to other people’s un-expert opinions rather than listening to my gut!! My ankle is now going to be something I constantly have to manage and have looked at because if I don’t it will just turn into a club foot.. haha not what you want as a dancer! I have to crack it everyday otherwise it starts to feel stiff and it’s just a nuisance really. So my advice is look after your body, trust your instincts and put time into recovery!!
If you have any more questions please feel free to ask in the comments below! As I’ve said many times these are only my opinions and things that have worked for me so keep in mind that they may not be right for you 🙂
Ok, so I’m assuming that if you’re looking at this blog post then you are interested in a few sneaky tricks on what to do when your drain is blocked. No? Oh wait sorry, wrong blog! Those tips are for my other website gunmetalgreyplumbing.com (not a real website). You must be here for the Comp Day hacks? Yes? Well, quit farting around and let’s get straight into it then!
If you are a competitive Ballroom Dancer then you would be well aware of those “Comp Day Feels”. They are indescribable feelings that only one dancer to another dancer can relate to. Put simply there’s dry mouth, butterflies in the tummy, hairspray in every orifice, fake tan smell and (many) toilet moments. Too far? Sorry it was I know, but you know it’s true! There is just something about Comp Days that are so different to any other normal day and there really isn’t another way of recreating those vibes to prepare yourself. Some of us can be jittery messes on the day and others out there (me most of the time) play it a little too cool, hiding the fact that we are actually scared shitless behind an overly playful exterior. But no matter how we play it, Competition Days are always a massive energy burner not just from the dancing but from all the hype that surrounds it and that’s why I thought of a few pre-comp hacks that will hopefully take a bit of unnecessary stress away.
Firstly, the dress. The hot, crinkly, mess of a dress that has probably been left abandoned since the last time it was used. Now I’m not speaking for everyone out there but my dresses can definitely get on the crinkly side, especially when I have to squeeze two of them into one carry-on suitcase! At the moment my skirts have around 300 layers of material which means ironing out the wrinkles is not an option. But nor has it been for a while if I’m being honest! I’ll get to that in a minute but first I just want to say I’m not a believer in the whole “hang your dress in the bathroom and the steam from the shower will smooth it out” situation. Been there, tried that, set off a fire alarm in my room/the whole Bed n Breakfast and had to apologise endlessly to all the people out the front of the building in their pyjamas afraid of catching on fire. Plus, after all that commotion AND steam, my dress was still no better off! So yeah, I haven’t had much luck with that and I think it’s a bit of a myth really.. but if you’ve had luck with it I envy you! Actually no I don’t, because my hack is all I need 🙂 I came about this idea a few years ago when I had a dress with its skirt and float’s made out of Lamé material (very expensive, shiny type of material for those of you wondering!). Steve (the professional iron master of the partnership) was beginning to tentatively start ironing the skirt on the lowest setting when all of a sudden, the iron melted the skirt. Not ideal. We put the old hotel iron away and I decided to try to use a hairdryer on it instead and BOOM!! Seeya later wrinkles. It was smoooooth and silky and amazing. This dress had been shipped from England, so she was like, really wrinkly. Since then its been something I do on all my dresses and it works an absolute treat. I’ve tried on a variety of materials too, ranging from pearl chiffon to crystal organza and all work fine. The best thing is you can even take the hairdryer to the comp and do any touch ups when you get there! I just recently gave this idea to a World Professional Finalist after I had been watching her struggle for 10 minutes with her steamer trying to work wonders on her floats and she was extremely grateful! We got the job done in no time!
Next up, why don’t you try to pre-make your own isotonic drink the night before? All those unfortunate “feelings” I mentioned previously equate to one dehydrated person! Put a bunch of dancing and sweating on top of that and you will quickly feel like your running out of steam. So it’s important you get those liquids in without pumping yourself full of sugar from pre-made “energy” drinks. Steve is rarely seen in the kitchen but if there is one time when you will find him there it will be on a Comp Day where he will be whipping up a LARGE isotonic drink for us to take to the competition. It really is as simple as:
Before I start, I’ll just tell you that I don’t have exact measurements for this drink sorry as it’s mostly about playing with the ingredients to find something your taste buds enjoy. Generally we buy a massive bottle of Evian (the biggest), transfer about half the water to our tummy’s or another empty bottle, squeeze in the juice of 2 lemons, bang in a pinch of salt, and then fill up the rest of the bottle with coconut water. Very specific I know 😉 haha. We just try to taste it as we go along and see what it needs more or less of. If we are travelling and don’t have access to all of these ingredients (who wants to buy salt on a weekend away?) then we have a simpler version where we mix fruit juice (I love any mango versions), water and coconut water into a bottle. Not only are they delishhhhh, but they are so much better for you than those sugary lolly drinks! Remember it’s really important to replenish those lost electrolytes!
Finally are a few key items that we always TRY to make sure we pack beforehand so that we aren’t left stumped at the competition.
Nurofen Gel- This stuff is my JAM! It works wonders on inflammation and targeting pain and is quick, easy and scent free! Sorry Deep Heat you may be good but you make my nose bleed. I love using it on my knees if they feel a little niggly after I’ve danced (aarrhhh.. every damn day! haha I kid, I kid. But seriously..) and always keep it close by for quick application on my neck and shoulders incase Tango was a little bit… rough 😉
Safety Pins- An obvious one but it’s crazy the amount of times I’ve had guys come up to me at a Comp scrounging around for pins! That number ain’t going to just magically levitate in positions guys! Pack some spares just incase you or a friend needs them! We usually attach a bunch of them onto Steve’s suit bag as it is literally at every. Single. Competition.
Clear Contact and Scissors- I mean this one is optional I’d say but most guys these days like to cover their paper back numbers in clear contact. This way if there are any unwanted sharp elbows that happen to fly by then your number is covered! It’s a perfect option for those times you have to wear the same number for many rounds or days (Blackpool). The scissors are also handy for those occasions when you get your number and its the size of Australia. Sometimes the back numbers these days are HOOGE so if you can cut around it neatly without chopping off any important info (sponsors/name of the comp) then I’m sure it’s ok 🙂 Just note that not all comps these days have paper back numbers! Most comps in Australia these days provide numbers that are now made out of material.. so contact isn’t necessary!
I hope some of these hacks help to eliminate some stress on your next Competition Day! But as for those nerves/butterflies.. just pray that they never go away because as long as they are there, it shows that you care! #POET *drops mic and leaves room*
P.S To all my Aussie dancing buddies competing in the Australian Dancesport Championships this weekend; GOOD LUCK! I will see you there or I will see you on a another time 😉