Hippy Times #22 🏋🏻‍♀️

Wednesday morning and we have some life admin tasks to do today so after a slightly slow start – great night’s sleep – we are off into the town centre to sort out things such as the bank account, meet with our lawyer and try and sort health insurances. A growth day today for me so no training.

Thursday – off to find my happy place – Sparta gym. Well, the Spanish in the smaller towns are not as focused on fitness and training as I would like! Gym opening hours are Monday to Friday 8 am to 2 pm and then it’s siesta time so they reopen from 5 pm to 9.30 pm. On Saturday the hours are 10.00 am to 2 pm and they are not open at all on Sunday – yikes 😊

That said, I pop into the gym and sign up for three weeks which is the length of time we are in this area. It’s glute day today and for the first 30 minutes I have the gym all to myself apart from the personal trainer manning reception. The gym is actually intended as a boxing gym so some of the equipment I am accustomed to using isn’t here but with an ankle strap and some bands we can make this work. The basics are here – abductor, adductor, leg press, cables so it’s a good session and one where I feel I can load a little more weight on the machines as my hip is feeling good but I don’t want to push too far. So glutes completed, I do 30 minutes of cardio on the cross trainer then off home for a well-earned breakfast of oats and protein bread – I carried a couple of packets with me and am now thinking of how I am going to get this going forward as they don’t ship internationally.

I don’t have any scales to weigh in which is a shame however I would like to get a few good weeks of healthy eating and exercise under my belt before I weigh again. I’m back in the gym in the afternoon when they open at 5 pm for another 30 minutes of cardio. I have split the cardio into two 30 minute sessions as I find that my left knee can sometimes exhibit some referred pain from the hip operation so just need to take it easy until the strength in my muscles is rebuilt.

Friday morning is chest and shoulders – shoulder press, shoulder shrugs, lateral and front raises, push ups, scarecrows and rear delt followed by 30 minutes on the cross trainer. I am beginning to feel more normal – I probably feel the best I have since prior to my operation so am really looking forward to some serious training in the next few weeks.

There’s no afternoon session for me today as we are off to a belated ANZAC day BBQ with Keith and Eileen – we are house sitting for them in August so it’s great to get to know them better and their beautiful dog Rosie who spends most of the evening sitting on my knee.

Saturday and the gym opens at 10.00 am – this unfortunately means I can’t go today because we have to go and meet the couple we are house sitting for from 2 May at 11.30 am and I don’t really want to turn up there all hot and sweaty so I’ll do an early session of body weight, band and some free weight exercises by the pool. Dave and Fiona, the friends we are staying with, have a small selection of dumbbells which I have positioned outside by the pool so that I can use them early in the morning without disturbing anyone.

This morning is legs so I have devised a little training program making use of what’s available – step ups, calf raises, goblet squats, side lunges, rear lunges, walking lunges and Bulgarian split squats. For the rear lunges I have fixed a resistance band to the railings and am actually using that to ensure my stationery leg is pulling against the band in order to strengthen my abductors.

Today is my 6 week anniversary since having the hip operation and so I will now sign off Hippy Times. The next blog phase will take us through May to early June when David and I go to the UK so join me on Wednesday morning to discover the next challenge!

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

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Hippy Times #21🏋🏻‍♀️

As usual, not much sleep on the night flight (Hong Kong to Madrid), just because there’s a flat bed doesn’t guarantee sleep. The movies were not much good either so I ended up watching a few episodes of Scandal which I must admit I love.

I am walking around intermittently to exercise my legs and keep my hip from stiffening up. It’s a little awkward to do my stretches but when everyone else is asleep, I am standing in the aisle doing calf raises, knee raises, stretching and doing froggies and glute bridges on the flat bed.

When we arrive in Madrid, I have a 4 hour wait for the next, shortest and final flight. The lounge is not that easy to find but eventually I locate it having walking all around the airport – more exercise which is good for me. When the flight is called, it is leaving from the gate which is the furthest away from the lounge – according to the signposts, its about a 15 minute walk. There are travellators along the way which takes a little out of the walk but all in all, it keeps me moving and is good when you have been sitting for so long on all those planes.

The one hour flight seems really short, no sooner have we taken off than we are landing and it’s off to see if my luggage, which was checked in at Sydney airport all the way through to Valencia, has made it for the whole journey.

I have a very large suitcase which may be an issue heaving of the conveyor belt so I station myself and my trolley next to this rather large middle aged man and his wife just in case I need to ask for help. My small bag comes off first and then I see the suitcase on it’s way towards me. I am very conscious that I should not twist at the hips for another week and so thankfully, the suitcase is on the end that exposes both the top and side handles – it’s not trouble at all to take off the belt and lands straight on my trolley. Quick check of how the hip and knee feel and it’s off through customs.

We have a one hour drive from the airport to Javea and I must admit that once I get there, my hip / leg feels stiff, it has been a case of extremes for the last 24 hours with periods of sitting, slow walking, pulling a small case etc etc and I know that once rested, it will be fine. So, decide to follow with tradition in Spain and take a siesta in the afternoon as I know we are off out to meet a circle of Dave and Fiona’s friends tonite at the local pub quiz. This turns out to be a rowdy raucous affair but very enjoyable and shock, horror, our team comes third. We arrive home at 11 pm and I’m almost dead to the world, off to bed for me and I go out like a light.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times #20 🏋🏻‍♀️

Monday morning – the departure day has arrived. I set my alarm but am still awake at the normal time. Everything is quiet in Lexi’s house so I have to creep around and end up drying my hair in the back room with the doors closed in the hope that I don’t wake anyone as it’s only 4.30 am.

Lexi is up and is coming to the airport with me – as much as I have tried to dissuade her from this, she is insistent. The Uber arrives and off we go. I check in, there’s no queue but I am told my suitcase is overweight!! It has 1.4 kgs too much so Lexi and I scrabble around and remove stuff and then finally we manage to remove a few things to the backpack and it’s acceptable. We have a quick coffee and then it’s time for me to go through departures and into the lounge. Hugs and tears – as we both knew there would be and a final selfie and a wave good-bye.

The flight is pretty good and uneventful. I watch a couple of movies and read my book, a short snooze of about 30 minutes and before you know it, we are landing in Hong Kong. I have a day room booked at a hotel because there is a lay-over of about 8 hours. I check into the hotel, change and head to the gym to get rid of some energy. It’s pretty decent as hotel gyms go and I’m actually there longer than intended.

After freshening up and repacking my cabin baggage, it’s back to the airport. Cathay Pacific lounge has a good selection of food and I’m starving so have some Chinese vegetables and chicken. There’s also a counter where you can order hot food but as I know they will feed us on the plane, I don’t really need too much.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times #19 🏋🏻‍♀️

And so to Saturday morning. We have quite a lot to get through today – we are up early as we need to check-out of this Airbnb which is really a shame because I only have two more nights in Australia and it would have been good to stay but here we are, packing our stuff and packing the car to move back to Lexi’s place for a couple of days. The weather is great – a lovely true Sydney autumn day – a little cooler in the morning but with the sun shining it’s great. My little pocket rocket and training buddy wants to carry everything to the car and my suitcase is almost as big as her. So, car packed it’s off to Lexi’s to unload as we don’t want the stuff to be in the car the whole time while we are at the Fitness Expo then it’s off to the gym.

We didn’t train with Phil on Thursday because I went to the Gold Coast and therefore we have our second session (and possibly my last ever with Phil). We’re a little unsure of what we want to train today so we decide to do a full upper body workout. We are put through our paces today, heavy weight and high reps. There’s pull ups, rows, lat pulldowns, shoulder press, lateral raises, upright row to overhead and then tricep push downs – great workout, feels so good to exhaust my muscles.

We realise we left something at the apartment so we decide to drive back there and pick it up and then refuel with food at the Grumpy Baker.

After breakfast we drive over to the International Convention Centre where the fitness expo is taking place and Kath is competing. She has sent a text this morning saying that her hair and make up is running way behind time and she is completely stressed – she will be ready but it is stressful when you are already stressed about the competition.

We have a quick look around the expo and then take our seats to watch Kath on stage. We can tell she’s not really happy with hair and make up but she comes on to stage with her smile and tan and she looks fabulous. Her number is 88 – that’s a pretty good number and she struts her stuff looking amazing. Kath places 1st in her category Fitness Model 40+ – fantastic work.

We have to drop the car back at 2 pm so we do so and then we get the bus to Bondi junction to sort out the transfer of my phone number to prepaid and get a holder for the SIM card so that it will fit in the old fashioned handset that David bought for my Australian number before we go to Lexi’s place. We are meeting Britt for dinner at Osteria Riva in Bondi Junction tonite so we just chill and watch a movie. Britt will be moving to the UK once her visa comes through so I’ll be seeing her on the other side of the world. Dinner’s fun and we chat about all manner of things – farewell to Britt and we are off home again.

It’s been an active long day so early to bed.

I’m awake at the normal early hour so get up and spend some time doing some admin and reading whilst waiting for Lexi to emerge from the comfort of her bed. A gym session this morning that consists of full lower body workout. Leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises, squats, sissy squats and hack squats. We are now absolutely starving and head off for breakfast. It’s my last full day in Australia today – so just a few things to do. After a great breakfast of eggs, smoked salmon, mushrooms and protein bread, it’s time to shower and then off to have a pedicure. Lexi stays home and I go to the nail place in Bondi Beach then decide to take a walk along the promenade as it is such a beautiful day. I WhatsApp David sitting on a bench at the beach – it’s so busy and the weather is like a summer’s day.

Returning to Lexi – who’s been trying to take a nap but not having much luck – we have a cup of tea and decide what to do for dinner. If Lexi’s ‘boyfriend’ decides to join us then we’ll go out but if not we decide that chicken, veggies and sweet potato will suit us just fine. We go out to buy the chicken and come across an Italian bakery where we buy two small cannoli for dessert. We’ve been watching the movie ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ because we have already seen Pretty Woman this weekend so thought we would have a Julia Roberts binge and Lexi hasn’t seen this film.

We have to get up early in the morning to get to the airport by 5.30 am so now it’s bed time – my last night in Australia.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times #18 🏋🏻‍♀️

Monday looms, the alarm goes off and we are readying for the gym. Kath is in her last week of prep so we are training together this week to help her push hard in the run up to comp. Kath, like me, isn’t working this week so has offered to pick me up and give me a lift to the gym and home again afterwards which is a fantastic help because otherwise it’s buses for me. Today we work on shoulders – upper body work is fine for me at the moment. I just need to be careful how I pick up the weights – shoulders suits me as I have rehab today and will do lower body there. A few tri sets today because there are three of us and that seems to work.

– 15 Reps of lateral raises

– Straight into 15 reps of front raises

– Straight into 15 reps of rear delts

All the above are performed with dumbbells (the rear delt exercise requires you to bend over at the hips). I have Lexi and Kath bending low but I can’t go beyond 90 degrees.

Three sets of these exercises with a rest of 2 minutes in between is followed by seated shoulder press – four sets of 15 with dumbbells – we all struggle on our last set which feels great.

Our final exercise is a barbell upright row. Kath is experiencing some discomfort in her left arm around the elbow area so finding it hard to grip a heavy weight so goes lighter than normal but increases the reps.

Kath has to do an hour of cardio and I do 40 minutes on the cross trainer before Kath puts her show bikini on and has a check in with Phil. He ups her food (carbs and fruit) which makes her very happy and he also cuts her cardio to one hour where she has been doing three hours per day.

Kath drops me home and then I immediately go out again to rehab. I have a different physio each time as they were trying to fit in as many sessions as possible before I go overseas. Today it’s Hayley. She is lovely and we go through the normal exercises. Most of these are stretching exercises because we need to loosen up the hip and then try and strengthen the muscles. I chat to Hayley about the pain behind my knee and am advised they don’t believe it’s anything more than the muscles compensating and getting used to the different movements now that I am trying to walk properly and not alter my gait to compensate for a painful hip.

An hour and a quarter of Heel slides / froggies / hip hitches / walking / multiple stretches / glute bridges / quad and hip flexor stretches / balancing etc – she’s a hard taskmaster. I then have a 10 minute break before I go off to the pool. The same types of exercises are undertaken in the water but with a few additions such as cycles / walking lunges and crab squats. This feels really good. I finally get out of there at 12.30 – WOW a three hour session and I am starving and gasping for a coffee.

After lunch I get a What’s App video call from David. He has just woken up in Javea where it’s 6 am and I’m in Sydney at 2 pm. We discuss house sit possibilities and what he’s been up to. Some friends over in Spain are having an Anzac Day celebration (25th April for those who don’t know 😊) and have asked if I could take over some Two Up sets and an NZ flag. I start the online search for these items. I find that Australian Geographic Shop have the Two Up sets and there’s a store at Bondi Junction. Off I go and purchase two sets. Whilst there, I sort out the issue David had with his prepaid phone number with Optus. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to buy an NZ flag so I return home and research this on the internet. Find somebody who undertakes to despatch the item by express mail the same day as the order so I’ll give that a go.

Lexi comes ‘home’ from work and we catch up on our days and just hang out.

Tuesday morning – Kath has again offered to pick me up from Bellevue Hill – great location for Bondi Junction and for rehab but definitely not for getting around to many other places! A couple of buses and a 40 minute journey to Darlinghurst Fitness First!! Glute day today. It’s fine for me as I need to strengthen my glutes after the operation – just need to be careful about angles and not too much weight which seems a little frustrating but I am actually doing as advised – WOW there’s a first time for everything.

– Tri set – 15 reps x 4 sets

– Cable pull throughs

– Squat jumps with cable

– Froggies – lying on your stomach on a bench with a weight between your feet

Then we move on to the abductor machine. Think we’ll do another tri set here –

– Tri set – 15 reps x 4 sets

– Abductors

– Bulgarian split squats

Glute bridge (strong focus on first engaging your glutes, pushing outwards with your knees and raising your hips – this is a rehab exercise I have been given to do and is good for stretching the hips

Just one more exercise on the back extension machine. These are partials and weighted so designed to engage the glutes and hammies and when the shoulders are in line with the hips, a short hold before lowering back down slowly. I’m not in a position to do these but it doesn’t stop me pushing my two training buddies.

A quick 30 minutes of cardio again today as Kath needs to check in with Phil. The scales are messing with her head and she thinks her definition has diminished – we try and assure her that Phil will get her in the right place and she is looking really good. I decide to have another quick weigh in whilst Kath is changing and I have lost 100g not much but considering I had a croissant, wine and ice cream yesterday, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. I think I will try and do another 30 minutes of cardio this afternoon. Need to be careful that I don’t push too hard too fast and sometimes it’s hard to reign myself in and put the brakes on but the pain behind my knee has almost gone completely and I am feeling really good.

Kath has given me a lift home and I decide to do some admin. I also have a new program to write for an older gentleman who has a sedentary lifestyle and wants to get into a better place in terms of his weight so that he can have two knee replacements. It’s not so hard to formulate a training plan for him and I include exercises that are specific for strengthening the muscles around his knees in preparation for the operation. I am so fortunate that I had good muscle strength prior to my surgery as I know this has helped me to recover quicker than the average.

Lunch time and I have tuna and steamed veggies – it’s strange how much I enjoy the food from my old meal plan when I haven’t eaten it for so long – makes me feel good too that I am eating clean for some (if not all) meals in my day.

It’s 2pm and time for a What’s App discussion with David. He fills me in on some vehicles that he has seen locally but nothing that really peaks his interest – I’m sure he will fill you in with more details on the To Senija blog.

I decide to take the bus to Bondi Junction and do 30 minutes at Fitness First on the cross trainer. That done it’s back home. Lexi will be later home this evening as she is going to get her nails done after work.

We decide to watch MKR as I’m quite intrigued to find out which team is excused from the table – the suspense😊 Well, they are stringing it out and again we don’t find out today. After that, it’s the series final of The Good Doctor – great entertainment.

Wednesday and it’s a PT session for Lexi and me with Phil this morning. It’s a back session and he pushes us today – great session of assisted pull ups, lat pull downs, seated row etc.

Kath doesn’t need to be at the gym until 7 and we need to be there for 6 am so unfortunately, no pick up for me today. Lexi takes her motorbike to go to work afterwards and I take an Uber. I have planned out the buses to get back afterwards.

I meet a friend for coffee in the Grumpy Baker, just over the road from the apartment and we spend a lovely hour chatting about fitness and general life events – she is taking a 6 week holiday starting in July and may well come to Spain – would be great to see lots of our friends coming to visit – short stay or long stay – everyone is welcome.

I have my final hairdresser appointment today at 12 noon with Tori at Saba Hair in Crown Street at Surry Hills. I’ve been going there for quite some time now and it was really easy to get to when I had my scooter but now, it’s two buses and 50 minutes – ho hum, now I really am missing Scootie more than ever. The daily catch up with David needs to be later today because of the hair appointment. He tells me of the pub quiz they went to last night and about the two vehicles that are top of the list for purchase. One of them is actually a dual cab ute – in great condition with reasonable mileage. This could come in quite handy when we collect the stuff we have shipped to the UK but we need to consider comfort etc for the couple of long drives we will make. He is test driving that and a Mazda today.

Lexi and I are cooking a stuffed chicken breast dish tonite and we’re going to make roast potatoes to go with it – partly so that I can teach Lexi how to cook these. We prep together – it’s fun. We’re punctuating the culinary preparations with wine – bad habits, empty calories – last week in Australia – RELAX. Dinner is consumed whilst watching MKR and yes, Sonia and Hadid are the two who leave the table – what a couple of complete arrogant, disrespectful and rude ‘ladies’ (and I use that term loosely) they turned out to be.

Thursday morning – growth day! This means Lexi gets a lie in and I am off to the Gold Coast for the day to have coffees and lunch with some friends before I leave. It’s the normal 4.15 am alarm for me today – not that I need an alarm – my body clock knows when it’s time to wake and I don’t normally need the alarm to help me.

My flight is early at 7 am so no time to exercise beforehand – I struggle with growth day but it’s an essential part of growing those muscles, resting and refuelling. The flight is on time and uneventful. Arrive in the Gold Coast and pick up the hire car. I’m driving to Chevron Island to meet with Petta who is a lovely friend from my days at Caltex. I’m sure she won’t mind me saying that she has taken up my 3 month body transformation program and is doing really well. She looks amazing. The training plan and meal plan that I have given her is clearly working as she has lost weight, become fitter and looks great – you can really tell she is progressing well and is so enthusiastic about the program. She is a great ambassador for me. We spend over an hour just catching up at a really lovely café … Tribeca NYC … if you’re on the GC and want to have some nice food – great service and great coffee, you should give this place a go.

It’s then off to Wyndham to catch up with all the girls there and of course Barry Robinson who I have worked for and his one of the nicest, most charming and energetic bosses I know. He is always positive and encouraging. He’s my sort of person and it’s always so good to catch up with him.

I’m having lunch with some of the girls – such a laugh and you know it’s incredible how many people are intrigued by what David and I are doing and once they know somebody who is doing this they all seem to want in on the action – it’s great. Life is for living and you only get one shot at this so make the most of it. A few of them ask me what I am going to do about competing in Europe. Well, I am going to compete! I know that I am now more determined than ever to compete in Europe and once hippy is back to normal, I will start training again in ernest. The seasons are obviously different in Europe so I just need to do some research on when the comps are and where – WOW wouldn’t it be great to compete at Olympia 😊 I think I can get myself there but I will probably enlist the help of Phil Harding who has been an amazing mentor and coach to me over the last 17 months. He doesn’t normally do online coaching but as I have spent time with him, I think it will be easier to persuade him to help me achieve my new goals. I’ve gone off track a bit here but it’s a necessary distraction especially when everyone keeps asking what I will do.

So lunch and other catch ups done, it’s back to the airport. I’ve received a text message from Virgin that says there may be some storms which will mean flight delays – gee I hate that but the skies are clear and I check in with Lexi in Sydney and she says there doesn’t appear to be anything untoward there so we should be OK.

It’s odd but hippy didn’t set off the alarm when I went through screening in Sydney but on the Gold Coast, here we go. The lady at security is lovely and as the machine buzzes she asks me if I have a hip replacement or any other prosthetics and then I have to have a full body check with the machine that bleeps. When I’m in the lounge, I have my daily call with David. For some reason, What’s App and Skype don’t work so I call him using FaceTime and we discuss the transfer of monies for the car and what else he got up to yesterday. Today I think he is having a chilled day – the first one since arriving in Spain so it’s really well deserved – he’ll be so tanned by the time I get there that I’ll having some catching up to do but for the time being, I need to keep my scar out of the sun.

I also exchange texts with Kath to see what she is going to do about training tomorrow and it’s a full body pump up and she offers to pick me up. YAY – what a great friend she is, and I am so excited to see her on stage on Saturday. I ask if she has a plan for the training or if she would like me to put something together – she has nothing definite planned so I’m going to put some thought into this whilst I am on the plane.

When I arrive home I start to pack stuff as we need to move from our Airbnb back to Lexi’s house as we can’t stay any longer and we can’t find anywhere reasonable to stay for Saturday and Sunday night. I decide that it would be a good idea to book a hire car for Friday and part of Saturday. I have lots of places to go such as rehab, moving, the gym, the Fitness show etc and figure that it’s probably just as cheap to hire a car as to take Uber everywhere.

Kath picks me up on Friday morning and we are off to the gym. I think I am more excited about her competition than she is – she still has so much to do today – posing practice, registration for the event, tan etc.

Our training session is a full body pump up so we do a couple of exercises for each body part followed by a little cardio and then Kath will check in with Phil to see how she’s looking.

I have been trying to get my eating back on track after my spell in hospital and few weeks off so on Monday I weighed myself on the scales at the gym. As these are different scales to my normal ones, I am treating the reading as a starting point rather than benchmarking it against where I was prior to being admitted to hospital. I wasn’t too disappointed with the weight which was up 3.5 kgs on my pre hospital weight. I am told the hip replacement weighs about 1 kg heavier than normal bone but I’m not going to use that as an excuse! That said, my weight since Monday has dropped steadily each day and I have lost 600g since Monday morning which I am very happy with especially as I have not been eating totally clean.

Friday is my last rehab and the physio is very happy with where I am. My movement is fluid, the pain in my knee is all but gone, I am walking normally and can move my knee to a 90 degree angle but don’t go past that yet as it’s not 6 weeks since the op.

Friday evening and another friend, Larissa, joins us and we decide to go to the Waratahs vs Lions game at the Sydney Cricket Ground. We have tickets that allow us into the Trustee area so we head off down there. Unfortunately when we arrive, we are refused entry as Lexi is wearing ripped jeans and they are not allowed – such strong rules as she looks great with a nice black top and black jacket and to top it off, heels. So off we go in an Uber back to the apartment and Lexi changes her jeans whilst we get the Uber driver to wait and then take us back again to the game. It’s a bit of an uneventful game but we have a great time eating a burger and just chilling out. We leave 10 minutes before the end as the score is Lions 19 and Waratahs 0 – no amount of miracles will see them win this game.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times # 17 🏋🏻‍♀️

Well, we are up early as David has an early flight – pioneering our new adventure. He leaves at around 4.45 am and I pack and clear out the kitchen cupboards as I am moving to another Airbnb today with Lexi for a week until I go.

At 7 am, when the gym opens, Lexi and I go there for a glute session – soft gentle session for me to take into account my hip replacement – lots of the exercises they have me doing at rehab are for glute activation so I do those in the gym and Lexi does a heavier version of the same.

Lexi has to rush off for a hair appointment so I finish my sets and do 20 minutes of cardio on the cross trainer. This movement doesn’t entail my knee going past 90 degrees and also doesn’t put any undue weight on my knee so it’s a comfortable exercise to do.

Apartment packed, I don’t need to check out of this one until 11.30 am and can check into the next one at 12 noon. I struggle a little to get all my luggage downstairs in the lift but do it in small lots so it’s not so much strain on my hip by trying to support too much weight. The Uber driver turns up and asks me to help him with my suitcase as he’s not permitted to lift anything over 20 kgs!!

When we pull up outside the new Airbnb, I am a little taken aback. We chose it because it is close to the rehab hospital and the ad said there were no stairs. Hmmm – looks like about 10 steps to the front door. The Uber driver off loads my bags and off he goes. I have to negotiate the stairs or sleep on the street so I struggle to the door with the pieces of luggage and thank goodness all but one piece is on wheels. When I eventually get in the front door, I see there are more stairs – two more flights of stairs. When I speak to the agent for the property she offers to help with the luggage when I explain I have just had an operation etc and that I can’t get the luggage up two flights of stairs as there’s no lift. The agent leaves and I start to unpack. I leave the kitchen until last but when I go to unpack the foodstuff, I notice a few discrepancies from the Airbnb listing.

There is no microwave.

There is no dishwasher.

There is a fridge with no freezer and just an ice box which is so iced up, nothing can be stored in there

Only two mugs exist for an apartment that sleeps 4 – and no other crockery to drink out of.

I switch on the TV for noise and guess what, it is such bad reception in the area that the picture freezes for what seems like ages intermittently.

OK, this is all too much – I phone the now departed agent Anna and explain my first world problems. Her response is that when she has a moment, she will buy more crockery and a small microwave. She apologises for the lack of dishwasher, says the TV is a smart TV as they are aware of the poor reception in the area (it’s not that smart – or perhaps they just haven’t told it reception is bad) and says they ticked the ‘no stairs’ box as there aren’t any stairs inside the apartment. WOW!

I advise her that we need to discuss the false advertising and what will happen if I want to move out. She says if I go now, she won’t charge and will refund the full amount. If I stay even one night, I will have to pay for one night and the cleaning charge. I let her know I will be gone in half an hour. I ring Lexi who is on her way to a birthday celebration picnic in Balmoral, and let her know what has happened and that I am on my way to her place. There is a key hidden but unfortunately it doesn’t fit the screen door on the back and that has been locked so I can’t get in. I sit on the front verandah with all my luggage and attempt to spread some peanut butter on a rice cake using a piece of cardboard – failure. I have a bottle of red wine so I take a swig of that and then fire up the laptop to search for somewhere else to stay. I have struggled with luggage today so sit on the garden chair with my feet resting on my suitcase to stop any swelling and to ease my knee which has been painful the last couple of days.

So, I do identify somewhere in Bellevue Hill to stay and book it. An Airbnb which is close to Woollarah and the rehab hospital. When Lexi arrives home we transport all my stuff in and settle down to watch some movies. I don’t often do binge movie watching as David will attest to but Lexi has some good movies I’d like to watch so we have a movie night. We break a little way into it and go to Macelleria for dinner.

The house is quiet when we go to bed and I get the best sleep I have had for a long long time.

Sunday morning is a beautiful day. Lexi and I go for a walk – unfortunately I trip on a loose brick on the pavement and jar my knee a little so out comes the walking stick. Breakfast is at Trio before returning home to finalise the packing (again) and order the Uber to take us to the Airbnb in Bellevue Hill – this is much much better than yesterday and has all the items it says. We have lots of luggage as we have brought my things, Lexi’s things and food – my little pocket rocket won’t let me struggle with heavy luggage and so transports all the stuff down the steps to the front door – thank goodness that once inside, the apartment is on the ground floor.

We unpack and then Lexi is off to a yoga class – assistant teaching for a couple of hours and I take the bus a few minutes up the road to Bondi Junction and get some groceries.

When Lexi comes back, we watch a couple more movies, have dinner and then off to bed.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times #16 🏋🏻‍♀️

Saturday morning and what a great sleep I had – the whole night in a bed – yay that’s progress – it was a good sleep too, not sporadic at all. The hip is feeling good and so it’s off to the gym to meet Lexi.

As I come out of the Manhattan building where we are staying I see Phil Harding (my Personal Trainer) waiting on the opposite side of the road. He queries where I have come from and I explain. True to form, Phil has a story about absolutely everything and he tells me that the apartment we have as an Airbnb used to be the home of Renata (another PT at Fitness First). Renata had to move as they were told the owners wanted to take back the apartment to upgrade fit for an Airbnb. They have done some renovations to it but have missed the mark on some things for example, the oven has two dials on it but there are no markings at all so you have no idea at what temperature you have set it and no idea what time the timer is set for. To top that off, I believe it’s a very dangerous oven as it appears to get as hot on the outside of the door as on the inside. The cutlery they have supplied is cheap and bends when you attempt to eat ice cream!!!

Lexi and I do a chest session at the gym, not often we do a full session of chest – normally tag one or two exercises onto a shoulder day but not today.

I spend some time doing emails and applications for other house sits in Europe and then we’re off to do grocery shopping – Aldi is my new favourite store, they have amazing stuff in there. The rest of the day is spent just hanging out. We are off to a Mexican restaurant in Newtown tonite with Larissa and Lexi. It’s got a great atmosphere and is really busy, the food is good but it’s so noisy that you can hardly have a conversation. It’s an early night as everyone seems to be exhausted!!

Sunday was intended to be a growth day but Lexi and I feel we both need to go to the gym – but we’ll leave it until the afternoon and then Lexi is going to come back for dinner and maybe a movie.

I was given a voucher a while ago for Matteo in Double Bay and we haven’t yet used it. We decide to go over for lunch. It’s a beautiful day and we hop on the bus. We’re a little early for our booking but the staff don’t mind and we have a lovely table outside. We decide to go tapas style for lunch so order a few entrees to share and a nice bottle of Prosecco. It’s a great way to spend a sunny Sydney Sunday lunchtime. It’s the bus home and a snooze for me but David decides to go for his walk – in this heat!! Anyhow, he’s back in time for a cup of tea in the afternoon and then it’s time for Lexi and me at the gym. Lexi pops in first as she has brought some Ben and Jerrys ice cream for dessert – hmmm hopefully the spoons can stand up to the challenge?

Gym session is a soft one – we do abs and some cardio. Back home for a nice glass of wine, cannelloni and ice cream – thankfully not all at the same time. We watch a movie and then just before Lexi falls asleep on the sofa she goes home on her trusty Ninja.

Monday is here and I’m working again this week as the new EA has Monday and Tuesday off and the boss thinks it will be good for me to hang around for the rest of the week. I’m happy to do this, every little extra helps. A memory pops up on Facebook – a year ago today I won my first competition. The photo is with Lexi, my trusted training buddy and my amazing coach and PT Phil Harding.

Monday is quite busy in the office and time flies but I have to go to rehab at Wolper for 1 pm so trying to fit a whole day’s work into half a day really. So off to Wolper. I spend 30 minutes filling out paperwork and checking in with the Doctor. She asks all sorts of questions and looks at the scar etc. I then spend 30 minutes with the Occupational Therapist who goes through a raft of questions that she knows I have answered before but ‘needs to complete the forms’- do you live alone / do you have stairs in your home / do you have rugs on the floor / do you know how to sit in chairs / low chairs etc?

All the admin stuff done, I meet my physio (he’s only my physio today, I will have different ones on different days as they are cramming three sessions in this week and three next week). Today’s physio is James. We do some functional movement work just to see where my hip is at and then there’s a lot of stretching. This is something I’m not accustomed to doing – although we all know how important this is, it’s the first thing that gets cut from the training routine when time is short.

After about an hour with James, it’s off to the hydrotherapy pool. Matt and Natalie (both physios) are down there today. It’s great exercising in the pool, it’s so warm, just like bath water and it takes the weight off the joints. There are a few of us in the pool – different ages, different operations etc. Seems like the men mostly have knee replacements and the women hip replacements. It’s an hour worth of exercises in the pool and by the end of that, I am absolutely starving and can’t wait to get back to the office to eat!

I’m pretty tired on Monday evening and feel that my movement is a little easier so rehab seems to have been helpful.

Tuesday morning and because I had a couple of hours at rehab yesterday and have to do the same again today, we skip training at the gym. The morning at the office is the usual mix of emails, phone calls etc and then rehab at 1.30 pm

I have Cecelia today. She’s a lovely physio originally from Sweden. Some great exercises and a bit of walking. I have been experiencing some pain behind my knee cap – there’s a connection there somewhere – but after some exercises with Cecelia, this seems to have subsided. I am even able to do 15 minutes on the treadmill on an incline – feels good to do this. The pool has different physios again today and we do new exercises, the last one of which is to balance on an unstable inflatable ball with your eyes closed for at least 10 seconds – sounds easy – definitely not easy.

I am absolutely exhausted when I get home and by 8 pm am asleep on the sofa!

Wednesday is a PT session with Phil – my favourite day, back. Kath Vaca has a session with Phil afterwards and has a bikini check in as she is competing at the fitness show on 21 April. Kath has been on a meal plan for a long time now and she had a slight slip last night so is feeling pretty bad about that but she looks good. I think her mind is back in the game and she has such a short time to go she needs to try and dig deep – we tell her how good she is looking. Her back has amazing definition and she is pretty shredded everywhere.

I don’t have any rehab today so it’s a day in the office and Victoria is back from her holiday – she’s been busy with her Dad here and like everyone, she feels she needs a week off to get over her holiday.

Run of the mill day and then it’s home to collapse in front of the TV. My knee is very sore today – may have been putting too much weight on it so will introduce the walking stick tomorrow to see if I can ease that a little. It’s good to have work during the day, I think it curbs my frustration with not being as active as I normally am – when in prep we complain about huge amounts of cardio but I’d give anything to be able to do 2 hours of cardio. Slowly does it though as I really do not want to mess this hip up – can’t afford to.

Wednesday night is disjointed – David seems to be restless so is up and about and as usual, he’s not good at being quiet so we are up having a cup of tea at 2 am. Thursday morning sees another PT session with Phil today, we do shoulders although he thought we would be doing legs or glutes. I have rehab tomorrow and that will be 2 hours of legs and glutes so I don’t really want to do them today.

David can check in today – wow – it’s really happening now.

The office is quiet as Peter plays golf on Thursday mornings and as Victoria still has her Dad staying, I get in for 8 and she can have breakfast with her dad and not rush in. No rehab today so a full day in the office.

I catch up with a dear friend for coffee and he brings a long a mate – this beautiful puppy – such a gorgeous temperament and what a handsome looking fella he is.

I am getting some pain behind my knee – I think it’s the weight that it’s bearing so I have started to use my stick again when I am walking any distance and it seems to help so I’ll talk to the physio at Wolper tomorrow morning and see what they suggest.

The evening is spent with a take away and a discussion as to whether David should actually try and change his flights to fly the same day as me. It’s a bit of a quandry as he should be sorting out cars etc when he gets there to save some time when I get there before our first house sit – anyway, we decide to see what we can do tomorrow in terms of maybe changing his flights. We decide to have take away tonite so David goes in search of something yummy to eat. He returns after not too long with a Vietnamese meal from a local restaurant.

Friday and it’s my very last day at the office here. I send an early email to my lovely travel agent to see if we can change David’s flights. They say they will look into it. The short story is that there is no availability on the day I go so we decide to leave things as they are.

Rehab is early today – 7.30 am start. I have a different physio and we go through some different exercises and stretches for over an hour and then it’s off to the pool. This is the worst session in the pool I have had. The physios there today just seem to be going through the paces and ticking off the sheet, no real interaction and it’s pretty boring.

Finishing at Wolper and off to the office. Peter is taking the whole office to lunch today – a farewell for me and a welcome for Victoria. We go to Verde where Peter often goes with his business associates. It’s a smallish restaurant in Riley Street with a limited menu but the food is really great and the service too. After lunch we go back to the office and I pick up my stuff and say goodbye.

Back at the Airbnb to pack – David for his trip to Spain and me for my move to another Airbnb tomorrow. It doesn’t take too long before everything is ready. Lexi comes over after work to say goodbye to David. We have a drink and a chat and they say their goodbyes. It’s a quiet dinner this evening before David departs tomorrow.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times #15 🏋🏻‍♀️

Tuesday morning and we’re doing legs at the gym.  I’m taking it easy and only doing body weight or pin loaded machines with virtually no weight on them at all.  The session is still very enjoyable as I am definitely in my happy place.

I returned this week to my old role as EA to the Chairman of an investment group based in Sydney.  His new EA has taken a week’s annual leave and I offered to go back for the four days and cover for her so off we go to the office.  I’m perfectly able to get around and have checked out all the chair heights and placed cushions in strategic spots for the chairs that may be a little too low and would mean my hip might need to bend beyond 90 degrees which is not allowed.  Everyone is being very considerate.  At lunch time, I decide to walk up to Kings Cross – it’s not far but probably will take me 15 minutes each way which means I get my rehab exercise in during the day too.

The walk from our temporary home in Berwick Lane to the office and back would also count for around 25 minutes so I am staying nicely mobile.  Tonite I have decided to not even try and sleep in the bed.  I tend to go to bed, sleep a couple of hours and then find that I am so uncomfortable with this urge to lay on my side.  Of course, the side position is not permitted so soon after the operation and therefore I need to get up to stop myself fidgeting and I go to sleep on the sofa.  So, I have decided just to start on the sofa and I may get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Wednesday morning looms and I wake at 3.30 am – much better than previously and I’m not sure if this is the position I can sleep in on the sofa or just because I did a day’s work and was more tired before going to sleep – more than one variable so I will never know.  I have a couple of things to organise this morning – a request to our Airbnb host for a late check out on Friday as our next place doesn’t allow check in until 3 pm so I’ll send an email.  Also, need to book another pick up by Seven Seas Shipping to ship some excess baggage – it’s sooo much cheaper than taking it on the plane and paying through the nose – the airline charges $30 per kilo so when you figure that the suitcase probably weighs a total of 30 kgs, it’s so expensive!!

A back session with my Personal Trainer and training buddy today – my favourite day.  Pushed and pulled some heavy weight but it’s only upper body stuff so won’t be detrimental to my recovery.

Off to the office for day two – the air conditioning in the building had broken down yesterday and still doesn’t seem to have been rectified – it is so stuffy in the offices, let’s hope some progress is made today.

My lunch time walk is to Storage King in Palmer Street to drop off the Foxtel box and sundry items so that it can be returned to them.  Seriously, Foxtel don’t allow you to cancel at a month’s notice unless it happens to be on your payment anniversary and to top it off, you also are responsible for returning the equipment – they don’t even pick it up now.

I haven’t heard back from Wolper Hospital about the out patient rehab.  I decide to ring Waratah Private Hospital to ensure that they have done their part of the paperwork.  Sophia at Waratah declares it has all been done and returned and that Wolper will be in touch.  I wait.  At 4 pm just as I had given up hope, Wolper call and they are booking me in for assessment and my first session on Monday 9 April – hydrotherapy too so I am looking forward to that.

I had written to the surgeon over the weekend asking them to move my follow up appointment to the week prior to my departure.  I received an email with very terse undertones and a refusal to move my appointment.  I wrote back outlining many reasons why this should be rescheduled not least of which was the fact that I was flying out of the country on 23 April and my appointment was scheduled for 2 May !! That in anyone’s books creates an issue I think.  Also, I advised them of a compelling need for good customer service and the fact that I and my health insurance have paid their fees and would appreciate some flexibility.  David was fired up and wrote a short and sharp email expressing his concern … to put it mildly! This obviously stirred something and so at 9 pm this evening, I received a call from the surgeon himself.  He apologised for the tone of the email etc and said that I should go and see him tomorrow morning at 8.30 am after having had a new x-ray.  Good customer service, good outcome.

Thursday morning and it’s a light leg session at the gym under the guidance of Phil Harding, Philosophy Fitness, my PT along with Lexi. After our session, Lexi comes home for a coffee.  We arrive at the house and David is sitting on the sofa with the front door open and it looks as though he has nothing on as he is working on his ipad and is surrounded by cushions – I gingerly ask if he is dressed as I have Lexi with me – phew, he is wearing his shorts I just can’t see them.

I am off to St Vincent’s Clinic to get my x-ray and consultation with Dr Nick.  This all goes very smoothly and the x-ray looks good.  Dr Nick removes the dressing from my op site – it’s the first time I have seen the size of the scar – it’s not looking too bad considering this is the first time it has been exposed and he declares that it is lovely and clean so all I need now is to use the Vitamin E Cream / Bio Oil to help reduce the scarring. He also removes two sutures which are not dissolvable.  Clean bill of health, Dr Nick is happy and so am I.  So, it’s off to the office.  As I finished earlier with Dr Nick than anticipated, I decide to call into home on the way to the office and drop of the x-rays. David is there and has listed LVC (Elvis) the scooter last night and somebody has already come and paid a deposit and returning in a short while to finalise the purchase – it’s only 9 am !!!

Whilst there I get a call from the driver of 7 Seas Shipping who is picking up one last box (in fact a large suitcase) to be shipped to the UK for our arrival.  There’s no way he will get up the lane in his van so I walk to the junction pulling the suitcase to meet him there whilst David is dealing with the sale of LVC.

Suitcase gone, I update David on Dr Nick’s feedback and it’s off to the office.  Although Dr Nick has told me I am OK to sleep on my stomach and my side, I find the bed in this Airbnb to be a little too soft for me and as I have been sleeping better on the sofa, I decide to remain there for tonite.

Friday morning is a shoulder session at the gym and this is our check out day to move to another Airbnb – which is even closer to the gym. Most of the stuff was packed last night but I am leaving David to do the final things such as food etc and to do the move.  The walk is about 8 minutes but with so much stuff to carry I am thinking he will use an Uber – wrong!  David decides it’s a good workout and makes 6 trips back and forth with the baggage.  I would have gone back at lunch time but have a farewell lunch to attend for somebody who is leaving where I previously worked (Caltex).  Was a great lunch.  Although the service was unbelievable slow, it was lovely to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a long time.

When I get ‘home’ to our new Airbnb, most everything is sorted out – what a gem of a hubby I have, he’s even done some grocery shopping.  We decide on dinner and then watch some Commonwealth Games coverage on TV – but David’s sister Kim has a bit of time to spare (she’s in the UK) and so he decides to Skype and catch up.  The bedroom here is on a mezzanine floor so I hear some of the conversation but I am absolutely exhausted and so fall asleep on the sofa for just over an hour until David comes downstairs and wakes me.  So, it’s off to bed – let’s see how this goes being in what seems to be a much better bed with far superior pillows and to cap it off, I am able to sleep in various positions rather than just on my back ……………….. watch this space to see how much sleep I get!

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

Hippy Times #14 🏋🏻‍♀️

Saturday morning – I haven’t slept well again.  The bed is too soft I have decided.  I also have decided to cease taking the cortisol tablets as I think they may be contributing to my problem or perhaps I have just got into the habit of waking.

I phone the Dr’s surgery to check on how I get my dressing changed when the time comes and the lovely receptionist says that Dr Small will do it so I don’t need to make an appointment with the nurse – makes life a whole lot easier.

The gym is opening at 8 am – meeting Lexi there for a session– can’t wait.  I walk slowly up to the gym and my leg is feeling better than ever – remind myself not to get too confident and just take it slowly.  Nice slow heavy chest session today with Lexi and a few squats on the Smith machine – no added weight for me but we load it up for Lexi.

Training complete, it’s back home to have breakfast with David before he goes off for his first walk of the day.  When David goes off, I decide to go in search of a pedicure.  Walk back up to Oxford Village shopping centre and get a really good pedicure from California Nails– nice and handy.  I pop into Aldi – not somewhere I have really shopped before but they have some good stuff in there at good prices so I am quite impressed.  Can’t buy much though as I don’t have the shopping trolley with me and can’t carry a huge amount when I have the walking stick as well.

Lexi went to Health Nuts at Kings Cross for me to buy me some Creatine as I had run out so she is on her way over with that.  She’s been to East Village to get her nails done and stopped at the deli style shop there and bought herself some fresh bread and caviar.  This is her breakfast so I make coffee and we sit in the courtyard while she eats breakfast and we chat.

David comes back from his walk and asked me if I wanted lunch – I feel as though I only just had breakfast so he makes do with a fruit salad.

I’m feeling really good today, the hip is improving so well, I am so impressed.  Have found a series called The Crown on Netflix which our dear friends Phill and Viv said they enjoyed immensely so David and I have decided to watch a couple of episodes this afternoon.  It really is very good and I text Phill and Viv to thank them for the recommendation.  Viv calls shortly after and we chat about all things hippy and about all the stuff they are getting up to in their new home in Hobart, Tasmania.  They are doing tourist things and have joined a ‘meet up’ group and are making new friends.  They are really happy down there – it was a good move for them.

David returns from his second walk of the day and we spend the evening with a lovely curry.

Sunday – all my days are mixed up, not sure what day of the week it is – it hasn’t really mattered the last two weeks as I haven’t been working so there’s been no need to focus on it – freedom!

We have decided to go to the Sydney Fish Market today – haven’t been there in the longest time but saw an ad on TV with yummy prawns so thought we would take a trip out and get some lunch there.

We have an early breakfast then I go to the gym and David is off on his walk.  I am doing some very very light leg work today.  Pin loaded machines set at their very lightest – feels strange but mustn’t be tempted to push it.  Towards the end of the session my hip feels a little tired so I simply finish the last two sets as body weight exercises.  Then, it’s off for a 20 minute walk on the treadmill – just gently at 5 kms per hour.  It feels good to be doing some cardio or should I say a token gesture to some cardio.  It will come in time I know, so I just have to be patient.

We head to the fish markets on the bus – there’s a bus at the bottom of the road that takes us almost to the entrance of the market so not too much walking either end.  True to form, the market is absolutely packed – there are heaps of people everywhere and coach loads of tourists – everyone is vying for a spot to perch down and eat their lobster, prawns, oysters etc.  It’s a little nerve wracking as it’s so busy and I really don’t want to be knocked on my ‘bad’ side so I’m being quite protective of it.  The floors are also really wet so it’s a good job I have rubber thongs, I’m walking gingerly so as not to slip up.

We decide that the experience of buying food and eating it there at the market is really not that pleasant!  Firstly, there’s not really anywhere to sit unless you hover over people waiting for them to finish and then pounce.  Secondly, I’m not a big fan of seagulls on the table 😊.  We decide to buy prawns, anchovies, caviar and some fresh bread rolls and take it home to our little courtyard to enjoy with a cold glass of rose.  That’s much more pleasurable.

The rest of the day is spent lazing in the sun and reading.

This has been such a good recovery weekend so far – we may risk the Easter show for a few hours tomorrow – let’s see.

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️

PS: If you want to get an insight from David then follow our To Senija Blog,

Hippy Times #13 🏋🏻‍♀️

Friday 30 March – Good Friday Holiday.  It’s so very quiet around as there’s nothing open today – well virtually nothing and that means the gym isn’t open either.  David goes off on his walk and so I get going on my rehab exercises.  Waratah Rehab finally returned my call and left a message to say that they were waiting for a form to be sent through from Wolper Rehab which they needed to complete, return to Wolper and then I would be contacted in order to start my outpatient rehab there.  As I am going back to work next week just for four days, I won’t be able to attend the rehab classes anyway however I would very much like to do the half days for the two weeks after that.  There’s so much I need to learn about how hard I can push myself, how far I can walk, when I can start doing exercises that have weight added, when I can ride a bicycle etc etc.

This is going to be a lazy day – the sun is shining so I think I will sit in the courtyard and catch some rays whilst reading my book.  It feels like a Sunday today, not sure why, probably because it’s so quiet everywhere.  I’m doing roast chicken tonight and normally a full blown roast dinner is reserved for Sunday so that contributes to it too.

My hip is feeling more and more normal every day.  The swelling is gradually subsiding, and I do mean gradually.  If I spend too long on my feet, they still swell so periodically I have to sit down and put my feet up on the chair to reduce this effect.

It’s turned out to be another stunning day weather wise – we have been so lucky over the last week, long may it continue.

David goes on a second walk during the afternoon and I do my second lot of rehab exercises.  It’s not much compared with what I am accustomed to but I must put the brakes on and only do what I have been advised as there is no way I want to put this hip in any jeopardy.

Yesterday evening I also phoned my surgeon’s rooms to ask what I should do about the dressing on the wound.  They had previously advised that the longer the original silver dressing stays on (and there is silver in it as it assists in the healing process) the better so I am doing everything I can to keep it dry in the shower etc.  The surgeon had said there would be dissolving stitches, the nurse at Waratah had said that the two she had seen where there had obviously been a separate small incision for something, were not dissolving.  So, that said, I was told that my GP will be the one to change the dressing.  I make a note to call him tomorrow morning to check and see if I need to make an appointment when the nurse is there or if it’s Dr Andrew Small who will do this – I can then plan when I go in.

That’s all for today……..the lazy day😊

Hippy Times 🏋🏻‍♀️