Thursday, 10 August 2017

Health campaigns that are here to help

#oursquad #sgwadni #thisgirlcan TeamUp ActiveGirls Us Girls RFU
#OurSquad - getting fit in Wales
Women's sport is having a moment. England's female team have just won the Cricket World Cup and female rugby and football teams are finally getting some of the media attention they deserve. Just a year ago UK women picked up medals for sports as diverse as hockey, triathlon, boxing, athletics, sailing and taekwondo at the Rio Olympics. But it's not just our top athletes that are getting all the attention - there's increasing support to be found for the average girl and woman that wants to get and stay active in both individual and team sports.

Take a look at these initiatives designed to help you get you off that sofa and into some sweats, whoever and wherever you are. Which one is your perfect match?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Snack attack

eating, snacking, ethical
Snacking looks set to stay
I was recently sent some rather tasty nibbles courtesy of Chika's. As I tucked in and, as is my habit, read all the nutritional info on the packet, I got to wondering about the concept of snacking. It's the norm now - for both adults and kids. For starters, my Insta feed is full of fitness fans logging demanding workouts and the 'fuel' that gets them there, and my children have a designated 'fruit snack' time at school. Is that a bad thing, or just the way we roll in 2017?

It's certainly fair to say, the idea of three meals a day sat around the family table together has had it's time. Juggling work with school commitments and extra-curricular activities plus making meetings and meeting deadlines has shortened the time we get to enjoy gathering en mass to - literally - break bread. Instead we're grabbing food on the go - and the habit of snacking looks like something we're not going to give up anytime soon. But do we need snacks - and are all snacks the same?

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Wargrave Wellness highlights

I've certainly felt spoilt lately - fantastic summer weather, a local kids triathlon using our fabulous school pool and a two-week festival in the village next door incorporating comedy, music and theatre (to name but a few!).

And as part of the Wargrave Festival 2017, I went along to the Wellness Night - which promised a fabulous evening of pampering, shopping and Prosecco, well who was I to pass on that!

It was a great evening, held on the village green in front of a church that dates back to the 12th century. As well as the opportunity for some treatments and mentoring, there were live demos of hair and make up, advice from experts in everything from nutrition to dentistry and the chance to shop for wellness products, treats and trinkets. Of course, steeped in history as this traditional village is, the world is now a global marketplace, making it easy to share the gems I discovered in the breezy marquee with everyone, everywhere...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

How 10 minutes of mindfulness can transform your day...

meditation, mindfulness, stress, anxiety
Focus on your breath
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The most common thing I discuss with friends when I catch up with them, is how quickly the days go past. And parents seem particularly time-poor, squishing in sports day and parents evening alongside work and other responsibilities. Those little things in life seem to pile up - and you feel you'll never fit everything into the 24 hours that make up a day. Before you know it, you're booking next year's summer holiday and discussing Christmas plans. In July.

But, Surrey-based author and mentor Tom Evans has a solution for those of us living in fear of our 'things-to-do' lists. 'It might sound counter-intuitive at first but the best way to get more done each day is spend at least ten minutes meditating at the start of each day', says Tom. And here's why...

Monday, 5 June 2017

'Chemo Stories' - Real-life stories from - and for - cancer patients

cancer, breast cancer, chemotherapy, survivor
Ali was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago -
and now wants to give something back. 
There's an old saying that 'everyone has a book inside of them', and that is often most true of those that have been through a life-changing experience.

In this case, that person is Henley writer Ali S, who has conceived a book of short, true stories about chemotherapy, drawn from both her own experiences in 2014 and those of others she has contacted. 

Her book is designed to be given away freely to those that need it via hospitals, cancer care units, charities and libraries.

A positive focus 


Ali hopes that the book will bring comfort or reassurance to cancer patients who are currently having treatment, expecting their chemotherapy to start and those that have had chemotherapy.  The stories will be candid and honest (because chemo is brutal, Ali explains) but also focus on the positive things that people can do to help themselves and each other. 

And to realise her dream of getting those free copies to everyone that needs them, Ali has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help her write, publish and distribute the book. She's set a target of raising £12,000, with £3,390 already pledged. Perhaps you'd like to add to that sum before her campaign ends on the 16th June?

To find out more about the ‘Friendly Book of Short True Chemotherapy Stories’ campaign, visit the crowdfunding page - and share this info with as many others as you can. 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Better bedtimes for you and baby!

Sleep, insomnia, bedtime routine
Don't let lack of sleep ruin your days
Pic courtesy of Sweet Dream Babies
If you watched The Truth About...Sleep last week, you'll be aware that the UK is one of the most sleep-deprived countries in the world. And this couldn't be more true than for parents of young children. In fact, a recent survey of 500 mums by Sweet Dream Babies has revealed that a lack of sleep affects 91 per cent of mums and takes its toll on three out of four relationships. Focussing on mums that have had a baby in the last five years, the research showed that of the 500 participants, 88 per cent of mums reported that their baby has had sleep difficulties in the past five years, 75 per cent said lack of sleep has affected their relationship and 27 per cent stated they don't want more children partly because of sleep difficulties.

Baby and Child Sleep Consultant, Samantha Bell, has been working with parents for over 20 years. She says the findings are concerning, but not unexpected - and that lack of sleep can have a a huge impact on parental relationships and physical and mental well-being. The NHS agrees that, alongside bad moods and lack of focus, sleep deprivation can also have profound consequences on your physical health - putting you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it can shorten your life expectancy too.

So - can you fix it?

Monday, 8 May 2017

Mum meets multi-sport!

multisport, duathlon, triathlon, fitness
Friendly and affordable - Go Tri Reading
Since the London Olympics, triathlon has enjoyed significant growth in Great Britain - with events increasing by 63 per cent from 2012 to 2016. And that applies across the board in terms of gender and age too - making the option of entering such an event a possibility for both you and your kids. 

And now multi-sport events are being made all the more accessible to first timers through the GO TRI initiative backed by Triathlon England

The nationwide GO TRI events and training sessions are a cheap and fun way to access triathlon for the first time. The distances covered are designed for beginners - and often you'll have all the kit you need already. You can try a duathlon (combining cycling and running), a triathlon (with a swim, cycle and run) or an aquathlon (a swim/run combo), all of which take place against a continuously running clock.  To find an event close to you, search here

So I tried out my local Go TRI duathlon recently - and didn't come last...