Hula hoop for health

my weighted hula hoop from Argos

I have arthritis, I don’t say it often as I try to ignore it, but it’s a big health issue. Wanting to exercise I get so envious of runners because it’s the one thing I would do if I was able.

So on a positive search for something I can do I’ve discovered hula hooping.

Using a weighted hula hoop 10 minutes a day can make a difference to your fitness level and your waist. My hoop is from Argos and cost about £15.

Hooping isn’t a new thing. Not only did we all do it as kids there is evidence the Greeks & Egyptians had hoops. As an excellent form of exercise it helps you to burn calories & tone the muscles of your core for a slim and strong waist. You need to hula hoop for at least 10 minutes at a time every day to get the benefit and 30 minutes is equal to a good aerobic workout.

I’ve done some research looking up all the good factors and health benefits of hula hooping:

It’s a stress buster and produces those feel good endorphins in the brain
Improves balance & posture
Can improve focus & concentration
Good for heart health as it can reduce blood pressure
Burn 210 calories in half an hour
Fat in the waist is difficult to eliminate but regular hula hooping can do it.
Tones your core muscles
Improves joint health
Tones arms & legs

That’s everything I would want in a workout and arthritis shouldn’t stop me, although 30 minutes in one session is probably a bit long for me.

So I’ve started on 10 minutes a day hoping to build up if I can. At first it may hurt but this doesn’t last long. I know some people have bruising initially but I haven’t. I can already feel my stomach muscles working hard to keep the hoop up and I can continually hoop for the whole 10 minutes.

Don’t be put off if the hoop keeps dropping, you really will find your technique if you persist. I set a timer for 10 minutes and it flies by. Put your favourite music on or stand watching TV,  or maybe watch hula hooping on YouTube for encouragement.

Here’s a snippet of me and my hula hoop..

I’m hoping to tone my waist and eventually drop a jeans size, I’ll let you know how I get on.


A beginner deciding to bite the Bullet Journal

Being secretary of a boat club and on the committee of the local Women’s Institute I need a good notebook. I’ve decided to try using a Bullet Journal in hope I can keep track of my tasks and events.

At every boat club meeting I scribble notes on the back of the previous months minutes. I put a reminder in my phone for events but I never really look at the notes when I get back home. I’m hoping a bullet journal will encourage me to review my notes, add anything relevant and ideas I’ve had.

A quick conversation I had with another club member resulted in us having two great fundraising ideas. Although I remember our conversation if I have it listed in a journal I can follow it up and keep it ongoing.

Keeping track of a month with the WI definitely needs a planner. Our WI is very busy. Besides our monthly meeting we have book groups, coffee mornings, day trips and nights out. Members can attend as much or as little as they want. In fact if you’re looking for something to do, your local WI is a good place to start, for women of all ages.

Now, I think just looking at bullet journals can be confusing so I got some advice from Hayley as I’d read a post about it on her blog, Hayley from Home. What I learnt was you can have any combination of reminders or notes as you need, It’s whatever suits you and can be as simple or fancy as you like.

Pinterest is always a source of inspiration


Starting with an index seems to be an essential, as are numbered pages. Both help you find exactly what you need without scrabbling through your journal. I’ve bought a cheap simple grid notebook to start with so I might need to add numbered pages or at least coloured tags to identify sections. Add to-do lists, breaking items down from a month, a week, a day. Mark off completed tasks and carry over what is ongoing.

I love this ‘days of the week’ washi tape, much neater than my handwriting.


There are lots of embellishments and decorations you can add too, which can be quite therapeutic. These are from Paper Robin Books on Etsy

I think i’m going to add mindful and kindness quotes to my pages. A daily reminder to not rush through the day without taking time to show kindness and caring, even to yourself.

mindfulness quotes

Of course you can just keep it simple. Here bullet journal creator Ryder Carroll shows a plain but effective style. This journal is all about getting things done as you work through your to-do list.

So from someone who usually just has a reminder in my phone I have my plan. Start by making a month calendar and a list of things I want to get done. I will have a separate week section for daily notes and once I get used to it I can add embellishments.

It’s going to be a challenge but I’m taking my book to tonights meeting, and notes will be written!

Do you like the idea of a bullet journal as a to-do list?


Easy christmas craft decorations

Making decorations for your christmas tree is a fun craft for children and adults alike.

This year, for our Old Town Bloom community garden in the town centre, we got together with Hazlehurst Artists to make ornaments to decorate the space. It was great fun and there were lots of easy but effective designs to try.

Using white modelling clay and wooden letter punches we cut out designs and stamped names or words onto the clay, they can be painted or rubbed with a gilt paste to give a sheen. These will be hung from the tree.  I’m definitely making more things like this for our home.

stamped clay heart christmas decoration

And lolly sticks, how useful are they? Glued together, sprinkled with glitter and embellishments added, simple but effective.

lolly stick reindeer craft

lolly stick christmas rudolph

Paper cone Angels!  Craft paper, polystyrene balls and a bit of netting.

paper cone angel craft

Adding pipe cleaner hair was a genius idea from one of the parents.

paper cone Angel ready for the tree

Little birds from pinecones, with felt beaks and wobbly eyes.

birds made out of pine cones

A new addition, although not as easy to make, were our christmas boots based on a lovely German tradition.

Each year, something peculiar happens on the eve of December 5: Children across Germany each leave a single boot outside their doorsteps, which is then magically filled overnight with chocolate and sweets.

christmas boot decoration

We had a lovely morning with children and adults crafting together and making ornaments ready for Santa’s visit to the garden.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and going furniture shopping with glitter in your hair brightens up everyone’s day doesn’t it.

Will you try some easy inexpensive christmas crafts for your tree?

Keep your dog feeling secure around the sound of fireworks

Ralf under the table away from fireworks

Is your dog afraid of loud noises?

Luckily Ralf doesn’t seem too bothered by them, but as we have quite a few firework displays in our area we will be home with him on Bonfire night just to keep him reassured.

Here are some tips for keeping your dog feeling safe and secure around the sound of fireworks:

Keep your dog indoors with windows and doors closed and with human companionship.

Leave internal doors open so your pets don’t feel trapped.

Drawing curtains can act as soundproofing and muffle loud outdoor noise.

Provide background noise such as the TV, radio or other music — start this in advance of the fireworks starting.

Ensure your dog has access to a place where he can go and settle if he’s distressed, his bed or a den.

Offer other alternatives to his bed such as under a table with a blanket or somewhere to hide that’s a comfort to your pet.

Feed him a good meal well before the fireworks are due to start.

Have treats handy while the fireworks are going off as this may distract him and help to settle him down.

Praise your pet as this can help reassure him.

Comfort your pet if he is acting scared, but don’t over cuddle him.

We hope you have a fun time and enjoy the fireworks safely.



The teen tests Logitech G433 gaming headset

When my teenager said he needed new headphones for his PS4 I had no idea what to get. So when Maplin offered a Logitech headset to review it was perfect timing and he was thrilled to try them.

logitech G433 headset


We received the G433. A wired set with easy set up that has a variety of attachments to fit all your main systems, from listening to music to playing games. A case is included, ideal for keeping everything together.

logitech G433 accessories

If you use the headset on a pc you can have the added advantage of surround sound, on all other devices it’s stereo. Ours were used on a PS4, playing Need for Speed and FIFA 17.

The headset & microphone are ideal for in-game chat, the boom mic transmits a clear sound and is removable when you don’t need it. Really light weight ear pads are flexible & comfortable to wear, and cancel out most background noise. A choice of ear pad covers are included, in a light mesh or velour for your comfort choice.

Trying the G433 headset

From a parents point of view they are not the cheapest headset, they are in the mid price range. They seem good value to me as they come with attachments to fit phones and laptops so the whole family can use them not just gamers. I watched him during set up and it’s just plug in and go, so easy I might use them when watching a film on my laptop.



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