Running apps for women

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tracking your running in terms of time and speed is nothing new. In the pre-smart phone years, people used stopwatches and wristwatches to see how fast they were going, how long it took them to run a certain distance and how they could improve on their time. But you couldn't really measure your heart rate while running - unless you did it the old-fashioned way of two fingers on the wrist. And you couldn't track the amount of calories you burned during your workout, and you couldn't share your times and achievements in an instant like you do today. You had to phone everybody to tell them.

I started running a little more seriously last year and although I haven't participated in any races, except for Park Runs, I still like to track my performance ad that is why having a personal trainer in my pocket is so amazing. I have always used the Nike + app, but since upgrading my operating system, I'm having endless problems with it, so I tried a few other apps to see how they compare.

What I like: the coach, the powersongs, the encouraging voice. This is the benchmark for me when it comes to running apps, as it was the first one I used and I love it. I am used to all the buttons and things, so this is my favourite. 

What I don't like: the encouraging voice, the inaccurate tracking.

The Nike app allows you to 'upload' your shoes and see how much mileage they have performed. It also has a coach option, which coaches you to run certain distances, depending on your preference. The app is also available on a number of operating systems, including Android and Windows. This is the only app of the four that tracks you while you are on a treadmill, just choose the indoor option.

It is a lot like the Nike app, but you can pair it with a heart rate monitor, if you have one. It also has an Elite option where you can access all training plans for free and some rewards programme that  I am not yet familiar with, because I haven't run far enough with it yet. You can add your reason for running and what motivates you to run.

What I like: It's like the Nike app, but has a more interactive interface.

What I don't like: The voice wants to make me kill myself, could have more enthusiasm.

What I like: that it is like the Nike Running app in terms of measuring running distance, calories and time.

What I don't like: the interface, the user-friendliness is not that great, the colours, lacks in tech department.

I think this app is better suited for cyclists than runners. It is also subscription based, which I understand, as companies need to make money, but I feel that it excludes a large audience. It also features a Segment Explorer, showing you what sort of running or cycling activities is in your region, as well as give you the option to plan your route. You need access to a desktop for this though.

What I like: it's pink and pretty!

What I don't like: I dont know how tracking is done, especially on the bike. My music stops when I open the app and doesnt fade when a voice over is playing. It also doesn't have the indoor tracking option Nike app has, so when you run on a treadmill, your map shows that you have run up and down.

If you are a fan of the clothing range and love all things girly and pink, then this app is for you. It's like getting a cupcake every time you exercise, without the bad side effects ;)

Love Locks Come to Pretoria {giveaway}

Monday, August 18, 2014

It has always been on my bucket list. To lock our love and names on the famous - now infamous - Pontes de Arts and then chuck our keys into the Seine. I don't know how and when it started, but there is something awfully romantic about love locks, a reminder of the unbreakable bond that marriage should be! 

Not every one is a fan, as recent campaigns have urged tourists to rahter take romantic selfies than put padlocks on their historic bridges. With hashtags like #notolovelocks, #lovewithoutlocks and #setyourlovefree, the City of Paris is trying to prevent another bridge collapsing under the immense weight of all these love declarations. 

That's what makes the Love Lock 'bridge' coming to Magnolia Dal, Pretoria, in September so clever. It isn't just a bridge but a custom designed architectural piece by Johan and Grete Wentzel from Wdesign that won't damage the integrity of the bridge. 

 Through this project, the organisers of Marriage Week SA (from 1-7 September), INTIEM Tydskrif, in collaboration with Cool Capital, hope to encourage a renewed focus on the institution of marriage. To register for Marriage Week, click here.

Our vision with this project is to see how thousands of married South African couples declare their eternal promises to each other by means of permanently attaching these love locks to this newly constructed bridge,” Says Liezel van der Merwe, Managing Editor at INTIEM magazine and head organiser of International Marriage Week.

The Love Bridge will be inaugurated during a special event with famous couples, and the public can buy their tickets at iTicketsEach couple present, will receive a lock to engrave their names onto and will have the opportunity to be one of the first couples to close their locks onto the bridge.

The organisers of Marriage Week are excited to get Cool Capital involved with this project. The goal of Cool Capital Biennale 2014 is to introduce the public to art, architecture, urban and graphic design, and in this manner, bring visual, perceptual and actual change to Pretoria.

Marriage Week SA is an initiative in collaboration with INTIEM magazine and 1Life, that strives to make people aware of just how important stable marriages are for the wellbeing of our nation. Through this the organisers hope to inspire couples around South-Africa to once again focus on the wellbeing of their marriage.


To stand a chance of winning one of two tickets to the unveiling of the Love Lock Bridge in Magnolia Dal, on 6 September, you can just share this tweet: "RT I want to win an engraved lovelock with @intiemtydskrif and The Sun House. cc @waitingformeg #tshlovelocks
This competition is only open to people in Gauteng.
 Top Three Love Lock Bridges in the World

1. Pont des Arts - Paris 
The most famous of the lot, the bridge has caused some controversy when it collapsed in June. {image from here}

 2. Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany
Not too far from the Paris love bridge, is this old bridge over the Cologne river. {image from here}

3. N Seoul Tower, Seoul, South Korea 

Perhaps learning from the mistakes of Paris, this place of love declaration 
has seven trees to put your locks on. {image from here}


Queen Street, Kensington

Thursday, August 14, 2014

If your'e looking for something to do this weekend that won't involve crowds or noise, but still want to get out of the house, then Queen Street in Kensington is the place to go.

Cheeky in its name, and sometimes bustling, the street is home to antique shops, restaurants, beauty salons and a German pub - De Kneipe - frequented by roughians and hipster alike.

The street might not look like much at first, but the secret is that you have to go into every shop and every nook and cranny. The shops are all old houses that were converted and you'd be surprised how big some of them can be! When you find yourself in Queen Street, make sure to see the following spots:

The Rusty Lady
We ate lunch here on the day we went exploring Queen Street. Besides its wonderful atmosphere and amazing food, The Rusty Lady was also a homicide scene last year, when one of the managers killed a waitress and stuffed her in the store room. We only learnt about this after we had eaten there. If murderous scenes are not your kind of thing, well then there are other options.

Cafe 141
Take really good friends to get really good pizza!

Europe Coffee
This little restaurant makes you feel like you are transported to a street cafe in old Italy. A favourite during lunch hour in the week.

Pastaleria Princesa
If Portguese food is your forte, and you are into shows like Cheers and Friends, where the same people return to the same restaurant, then you need to pop in here. It's the restaurant I used in the first picture in this post ^^^^

However, if antiquing is more your thing, or you just like to discover old, quirky and unusual stuff, then have a sniff around all the little shops.

These include Kensington Trading; The Yard - which sources and sells what they like to call architectural antiques; Ye  Olde Collector; and Barter Buy Antiques - which also rents out their props to movie sets and dabbles in interior design - also my personal favourite to snoop around in, as it has endless hallways and rooms and nooks crammed with titbits.

The suburb of Kensington has a colourful and vibrant history, still evident in the lingering antique stores. The suburb was formed 1897 by Max Langerman and has seen many changes throughout the years. If you are into history like I am, read Jean Collen's account on living in Kensington in the late 50s. It is fascinating.

Spoil your pups this month with Hill's

Monday, August 11, 2014

My dogs are spoilt, and when I say spoilt I mean they sleep in bed with us. All three of them. Every night requires a little strategic planning to get them all in their spots. And sometimes, it can be a bit disruptive to sleep. 

So, I was more than relieved when Hill's Pet Nutrition sent me a doggy pillow, for my furries to chill outin! I thought they would then sleep on it at night. This is still in progress. I love that the material is tough and robust, so it stands a chance against Mila - unlike my furniture. And it's a slipcover, so it can be cleaned easily. My three already jumped on it with muddy feet!

You can get your hands on these pillows or a doggy donut this August, while stocks last from participating vets and vet outlets by purchasing selected bags of Hill’s Science Plan Canine. 

Buy two small (2.5 or 3kg) bags of Hill’s Science Plan Canine Mini to receive a doggy donut, worth R250. To receive a giant lazy pillow, worth R350, buy two big (11kg or 12kg) bags of Hill’s Science Plan Canine. Click here for more details.

These comfy beds are available in a variety of colours so you are sure to find one to match your style! I got the grey and white, which is perfect; but it is also available in blue or red. 

Now, excuse me, I just need to go buy some Hill's so I can get another pillow. My two girls refuse to lie on the pillow if the other girl is on the pillow. Silly puppies. 

Fourways Farmers Market {a city outing}

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Yesterday, an article by Times Live stated that Johannesburg is the unfriendliest city in the world. It made my blood boil, because I could think of a million other cities that are not friendly - hey, the whole conflict in Gaza comes to mind, not very friendly there, are they? There is also this inter-city conflict between Joburg and Cape Town about who has the best city - and we all know it's both right - but CT ended up 8th on the list of friendliest cities on earth. PAH! Just ask someone who has lived in Cape Town and they will tell you how utterly clique-driven that city is.

Also, I don't think the survey-conveyor has ever been to Joburg, or to any of its markets for that matter. Want to see friendly people? Go to a Joburg market! Or a dog park. Heck, just stand in an effing queue at your local shopping centre. We are a happy city and its people are full of smiles. We like flirting in traffic, smile at the beggars and their funny tricks, chat to random people almost anywhere - heck, it's like we are a small Free State dorpie, damn it! And we LOVE our dogs, collectively, as a city. We take them everywhere - parks, restaurants, fairs, markets. People who love dogs cannot be unfriendly!

So take back your inconsiderate survey! And come to a Joburg market! The other day, we went to the Fourways Farmers Market, across the road from Montecasino, and what a real treat this was.  I enjoyed getting out of our cold house and into the warm winter-sun. Sometimes, a little sunshine is all you need to lift your mood.

We had to park quite far from the entrance and I overheard a lot of people walking towards the market that it has never been that full before. Perhaps it was the combination of Christmas in July, or the Motherland band that was launching their EP that drew the crowds, but when we entered it was packed. Families were plonked everywhere, kids were running around, people were having some awesome craft beer and even better food.

With more than 50 stalls - most of them food-related - the market is a quick way to get yourself out of cooking Sunday lunch - winning. And with tasty delicacies including Philly Cheese Steaks and Pulled Pork Ciabattas, it also kept my husband very happy (he loves American cuisine). We also loved being able to taste almost everything before we bought it - from the sweet chilli halloumi, which was out of this world, to the guava jam and chilli sauces. We walked away with this big jar of guava jam and it has taken a lot of restraint to not eat the whole jar already. The problem with tasting as you go, is that you are too full to eat proper food at the end.

At the stall where Flip got his lunch, a pulled pork sandwich, the owner of the stall gave us some ribs as tasters - while we were waiting in the queue. I dropped my ribbetjie, but the owner was more than happy to offer me another one. And was that meat tender! It was scrumptious!

There were quiches and fudges and cookies and biltong and everything you can imagine under the tents. Another special touch is the Maypole Ribbon Marquee, which looks like Spring all year round, the haybale sitting areas, the beautiful plants everywhere, the kiddies play area and of course, the friendly people! We were having such a jol watching the band, it was really vibey and people were dancing and cheering and just being all round awesome.

It was a Sunday afternoon well spent and just goes to show 
that Joburgers are happy, lovely, friendly people.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide {my journey starts here}

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My gym contract expired on Friday. It is something I knew was coming, but something I also feared. I knew I would not be able to renew my contract at this time, because I am currently trying to save up for three huge things. And fear, because I have sort of grown addicted to the gym – following my 12 kg weight shed – and I was not going back to the way I was before.

The first thing I have to save up for is rebuilding a wall and a wooden window at our house, after it almost burned down when a generator caught fire. Claiming from insurance was not an option as the excess would have been more than the claim itself.

That is the biggest thing. The second is an upcoming trip to Berlin, in September. Euros and rands are anything but friends at the moment, so just trying to buy a sparkling water will be equivalent there what a decent meal at a decent restaurant here in SA would be.

And finally is a trip to Cape Town over New Years, which I cannot be more excited about. I have never been in Cape Town in summer and also haven’t been there long enough to be a tourist, so I am out of my skin excited for this little endeavour.

Ah, the gym then. I thought about paying my monthly membership upfront, but at every single gym I went to in my area, it was R850 a month; ludicrous in itself and also reeking of a cartel. Will someone with some detective skills come and expose this? Thank you.

So, this finally lead me to moving my funds around and seeing the bright side in not having a gym contract – and thank you Keri for introducing me {and so many other South Africans} to this – but I got the Kayla Itsines guide. And oh my goodness, does it look like it is worth it, you just have to look at her instagram to see how amazing it is and get hooked. Firstly, it was less than the monthly gym membership and secondly – it runs for 12 weeks. SCORE! I also got a few friends to join in and we started a whatsapp group to encourage each other and have a place to complain about our sore muscles ;)

Side note: I am honestly struggling in myself {just thinking about it} about posting before and after pictures. So you and I will have to see if I actually document this journey of mine with pictures. I feel that, as a married woman, I don’t know if it is okay to share images of my body with people other than my husband – and close friends – and I also feel that I’m not going to be very modest if I do it. Also, nothing against women who have the confidence to do this, I have the urmost respect for you! But I guess it is a struggle I will have to figure out in the meantime. Maybe I could just wear pants instead of boy shorts.Or maybe I will only limit my progress pics to my instagram account? Follow me on @waitingformeg

I quite liked how Nikki over here categorised her journey with the guide – and call me an unoriginal blogger all you like – I thought I would use it to point out why I am doing this and what I am expecting of the guide.

What I Want To Achieve:

Last year, I went on a turn-around journey to get in shape and look amazing on my wedding day. I succeeded in losing 12 kilograms, which is a lot {for me anyways} – you can read about that story here – and although I lost all this weight, I was never really toned. I still had my stomach, which has always been a problem area and I still felt like I had big thighs. So, I am embarking on this twelve-week challenge to become hot-as-fuck. No jokes. I want to be toned as all hell. And look amazing in my bikini when I am prancing around in Camps Bay or Clifton. I mean, have you actually seen the people frequenting these beaches? It is like Adonis decided to live in CT and just have kids there. Also, I am sick and tired of always feeling so very self-conscious about my body and I feel that this guide will make me feel less so. Also, having to hear your whole life that you are less than average also makes me want to feel more than average.

Then there is little thing called pregnancy. No, I’m not pregnant yet, but I hope to be some day. And I have seen what pregnancy has done to girls my age – they become whole new {and by new, I mean 40 kg heavier} people – and quite frankly, I feel that I had to work so damn hard just to lose that 12 kg before my wedding that I don’t want to go through all this drama again after having my first kid. The fitter you are, the easier your body bounces back.

So yes, I am superficial as heck.

Side note: can you believe that people have actually asked me, and I kid you flippen not, why I haven’t picked up the weight again? Some are innocent, like how have you managed to keep the weight off? And others are seriously blatantly rude. This sounds like a rant. It isn’t. Not-rant over//

What to expect:

Kayla warns in her guide that you should at least have some degree of fitness when you decide to tackle her challenge. Luckily, I was a little gym fit and a little stairs fit – climbing six flights of stairs every day at work seems to help a little – and I was major into cardio – pushing myself to run at least 5 km every day {which people told me was such a bad thing to do} and then I got sick for a while and didn’t really gym as much as I used to, so I really am not in my best shape. I used to be able to do burpees with push-ups, now I can hardly do one push-up. So I hope to reach that level of fitness again.

But, yesterday was my first day of the guide and it was AWESOME! It was hard, yes, and I was out of breath and I was tired and today I am stiff, but I felt like I had achieved something already. I cannot wait to pack this challenge head on and coming out the best version of myself I have ever been. Here’s to being awesome! CHEERS!


 All other pictures is Kayla Itsines

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