Monday, 29 June 2015

Steal this from your kids!

'And then Mummy said to me,
don't go anywhere near my bendy rollers...'
As a parent you'd be forgiven for thinking that you no longer have any possessions that are truly your own. Nothing is sacred, be it your Chanel nail varnish, your high heels or your expensive shampoo. But seems it cuts both ways - and one of the upsides of having littlies in your life is the access to a whole new world of toiletries and bathroom goodies. And many of them might just find a place in your gym bag...

Water babies - and their mums...

If you have a child that suffers from repeated ear infections but enjoys swimming, you have probably already discovered SwimSeal. These protective ear drops coat the outer ear canal and prevent trapped water from causing pain. You pop a few drops in each ear before exposure to water and a barrier is formed (added Tea Tree oil also acts as an anti fungal and antibacterial agent too). Since adults can use them too, it's perfect if you swim regularly and suffer from these types of problems (particularly if you've got a cold coming on - which is pretty much all the time if you have a young kiddo!!!).

Monday, 22 June 2015

Event review - Henley-on-Thames Triathlon

There's a first time for everything, and this weekend saw me tackle the rite of passage that is the mark of many a middle-aged mum these days - the Triathlon. For those that don't know (do you live under a rock or something?), a triathlon is a 'multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines'. In practice this usually means a swim, followed by a cycle and then a run - changing clothes and equipment in a crazy we're-late-for-school-type panic in between. With no desire to get up at the crack of dawn on a weekend - and being the sort that likes to check out the route properly beforehand - I like to 'go local' for events and thought the Henley-on-Thames Triathlon was perfect. So what went down on the day?

Monday, 8 June 2015

How to train SMART when you cycle

One of the hardest parts of taking up a new sport is knowing where and how to start. You're not sure how to get - and keep - going - or even what to wear. Which is how I happened across cyclewear brand Fat Lad At the Back. The company produce a range of bike clothing specially designed to fit the average-sized UK man and women (the female range is Fat Lass At The Back) - not some super sleek athlete (or model) that has a natural affinity with lycra and elastane!

This is little old me, testing out the
Galavantin' short sleeve jersey - with the cleverly-designed
 graduated colour way from Fat Lass At The Back!
The label is produced in Italy and created to make the wearer, whatever their size, feel comfortable and confident in their workout gear. The the 'lasses' clobber for example, has been designed to complement the shape of a typical women with a one-of-a-kind outline to flatter female curves. Instead of leading you to wonder if you are  S-, M- or L-sized,  the sizing is based on the hips, bust and waist (you know, like, um regular clothes are!!!). 

And as for how to start - and make some headway with - your new interest in two wheels, Fat Lad At the Back also has the answer! The company has teamed up with Better Cycling (a company that offers cycle coaching, fitness training, mentoring and bike fit to all levels of cyclist). And Mike Wilson, Better Cycling's Head Coach says that to gain the most benefit from training it must be structured,. He even has a great little acronym for how he recommends you train. It goes like this!

Monday, 1 June 2015

(Swim) suit up!

After a somewhat unnerving re-enactment of the infamous Babs Windsor bikini scene in Carry on Camping in the pool recently, I decided it was high time I got a 'proper' costume. I usually just wear one of the mix and match bikinis I already own, since shelling out for something that ultimately gets eaten alive by chlorine seemed extravagant. And maybe such a move even amounted to taking my swimming seriously? But I'll be honest, a bikini designed primarily for poolside posing or sunbathing on a beach  isn't really a suitable option for lengths (and lengths!) of front crawl. So while Sam Cam may be wowing everyone with her bikini bod in Ibiza - I'll be working on mine in the pool - but looking just as cool...

Make a splash!

Thankfully, the swimwear market seems to have moved on since I last needed a practical one piece (y' know - 30 odd years ago...). And I was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable prices too. The first I trialled was the Lima swimsuit (SRP £25.99) from Aqua Sphere, which has an additional bust lining for support and 'modesty' (no one wants to be accused of smuggling peanuts - am I right?!). It looks and feels properly sporty, with a racer back, high cut legs and flattering go faster stripes that draw the eye in. I felt far more professional from the minute I had it on - and in the water it allows for lots of shoulder movement while still feeling very much 'on' (a feeling I was lacking with the bikini approach to fitness laps). Despite being engineered with chlorine-resistant, breathable fabric it's still very smooth and soft - and dries fast. I've worn it - and rinsed it - a couple of times now and there's no change in the fit (soggy bottoms just aren't wanted any where are they?). It's great to go to the pool and - at least - look like I know what I'm doing!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Glitter in the garden

There's nothing like a bit of fresh air to wear the kids out over the holidays. But sometimes you need a break from rushing around and just want to stay home. This needn't mean your kids must be cooped up indoors though. Try these tips to keep fidgety fingers busy on those relaxed days.

1. Use garden-themed crafts 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Do you have a drinking problem?

This? Oh this is just me hanging out with England rugby player Danny Cipriani earlier today. Danny wanted to discuss his diet and training with me - and in particular how a milk intolerance has affected his performance in the past. In the interests of clarity, I guess I should confess a few things. Danny didn't invite just me for 'elevenses' (I guess he's shy?) - and in fact the invite came via The a2 Milk Company.

Danny and a2 have teamed up to spread the message about the 'Welcome Back to Milk' campaign. Seems there's a lot of misinformation in the 'free from' arena. Allergies and intolerances have got all jumbled up and there's a right scrum (see what I did there?!) about what we can and can't, should and shouldn't eat and drink. So let's 'try' and break it down (ok, I'll stop now).

Monday, 18 May 2015

Safety tips for novice cyclists

The upside of my running injury (groan, am I still on about that?), is that I was forced to look for alternative cardio activities. One of my options was to learn swim better, with goggles on and head down in the water, working on my bi-lateral breathing. Now I'm in the pool a couple of times a week, regularly getting through 50 lengths and on the verge of upgrading my beach bikini to an actual proper swimsuit (only because I had a Babs Windsor 'Carry on Camping' moment the other day - eek!). Soon I might even look like a real swimmer. 

Another option was to get on my bike and try out some road cycling - which is very much de rigueur round these parts - in fact the local A road is full of MAMILs on a sunny day. I should make it quite clear that prior to the Victoria Pendleton hybrid I bought last summer with a view to keeping up with the kids, I hadn't owned a bike since I was 12 - and my only biking experience during that time was cycling between wineries in Australia. This experience only served to prove that I was far more familiar with sinking a few cheeky glasses than calculating cadence! Time to ditch my deeper understanding of the grape and get grappling with gears...