Monday, 15 December 2014

Xmas craft - a great way to countdown to Christmas!

When the weather outside is frightful, why not have a day indoors making delightful Christmas crafts with your kids? It's the perfect way to pass the time in the upcoming school holidays - when the countdown to the big day dominates every conversation!

Get making with little wooden houses that can easily become home to lost teeth or found treasures. Decorate with paint, pens, stickers or gems. Give them to best friends or keep them for yourself.

They make a perfect stocking filler too - if you can sneak them past your kids! (I failed!)

If you've got some presents to wrap harness your helpers! Start out with some plain brown parcel paper and let them personalise it with self-inking stamps - you could even add some sparkly stickers.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Swimming: A change is as good as a rest!

Recently I picked up an Achilles injury and had to face the fact that the high-impact workouts that I normally enjoy (such as running and Body Combat classes) would have to be put on hold until I was back to full strength. The easiest thing to do would have been to throw a massive strop and give up altogether - busying myself with the multitude of Christmassy responsibilities I currently have on my Things To Do List. And don't think I wasn't tempted! Instead though I headed off for a gym assessment and got myself a new little workout using a stationary bike and rower for fat-burning, with lots of free weight routines to cover the strength and toning side of things too.

I also determined that it was high time I improved my swimming. In what was a watershed moment over the summer, I realised my six year old can swim better than me. Admittedly, she's been putting in the work. She's swum at least once a week, every week from being a baby! Even when we go on our holidays there's no let up as we usually head off to the beaches in Cornwall, and have also dallied with Centerparcs and Ibiza. Both my girls are fully equipped for the water with an array of cozzies, wetsuits, goggles and even aqua shoes. In fact my older daughter wanted a full length wetsuit for Christmas, so she can go open water swimming in the river just like Daddy! She's eight.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas CAN be healthy!

If you've spent the whole year being healthy then the festive period can prove a bit of a shock to the system - and derail your fitness journey completely. But everyone deserves a little break - and it's not all bad. Here's my way of looking at it...

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Festive fare

Now I'm not going to lie to you, mince pies are not a health food. They contain sugar and fat. And they taste good too. Moderation is of course the key (now, where did I put it?) But not all Christmas nibbles need be sent to the naughty step. How about nuts? Full of protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals they are a powerhouse of nourishment. My personal fave, almonds, are high in vitamin E, which is great for your skin, while within its own skin you'll find heart-protecting flavonoids. Meanwhile Brazils are rich in the mineral selenium, which aids thyroid function and supports immunity, and walnuts are rich in omega-3, which can help prevent heart disease and stroke, and also contain cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Then there's the traditional turkey, which like all meat, is a a rich source of protein (plus white meat like poultry typically has less fat that dark meat, cook skinless for an even lower fat option). It is also a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus and contains vitamin B6 and niacin, essential for producing energy. Turkey also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which helps to strengthen the immune system, and selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism. Winner, winner Christmas dinner.