Monday, 27 July 2015

Bendy, stretchy children for summer!

Stretch out the summer hols
Buy the book here

If you have kids, you'll have noticed how they can't sit still. And how they like to use the living room as an assault course. While keeping active is to be encouraged it can be a little disconcerting when you see your little ones springboard off the sofa. Bumped heads and worse are every parents' nightmare - and a trip to A&E pretty low down on the list of ways you want to spend your summer holidays. But if you want to keep them active without any injuries, what's the solution?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Camping - the healthy holiday!

There's nothing more traditional than packing up your family car and heading off for a few nights under canvas during the school holidays. Kids and (some) adults alike love the idea of setting up a temporary camp off the beaten track - and sleeping under the stars. You can choose to go high-end with sturdy, ready-pitched accommodation featuring a decent loo and stove - or bite the bullet and pack your own tent and 'rough' it, cooking on a burner and using compost 'facilities'. And the good news is that whichever end of the scale you favour, camping is good for your health - and here's why...

Monday, 6 July 2015

Running with a buggy - the perfect combo!

One of the hardest times to look after yourself physically is when you have a baby in tow. Alongside sleep deprivation and weaning, dirty nappies and milestones it's difficult to prioritise your own needs - even though by the time your baby is nearing his or her first birthday you're probably keen to fit some me time into your life. And perhaps even hankering after a regular workout.

But if you don't want to put your child into a gym creche or other care provider while you take time out - or if that's just not feasible - you can be left with very few fitness options. Which is why running with your child is such a great idea. It's free for a start - and a great way to fit exercise around a changing timetable as your baby develops. You can go alone - or with friends - and both you and your offspring get a healthy dose of fresh air and togetherness.

So, how do you get started?

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!