Category Archives: Fitness and Health

Can’t Buy Me Happiness

Monday 13th February was a happy day for me and one that made me appreciate all I have with no money spent.

After a very cold weekend, Monday was glorious. I walk 2 miles to work and sometimes I am faster than the traffic. It was surprisingly quiet on the walk in.

Work is something we have to do to earn the money to live. I would actually prefer to be home doing all the things I love to do but needs must, and I don’t actually mind it really. A few more holidays might be good though. The walk home was pretty amazing though. It was such a contrast to Friday which was freezing. It made me look forward to the summer.

I have to point out that I’m not one of those people who hate winter. I get a bit grumpy if I have to take the car to work because it’s raining but let’s face it, that can happen in June too. A dark, winter’s evening when all of the family are in is okay in my books. The sunshine on Monday did make me happy though and it did make the afternoon a bit longer enabling me to go out on a run. Exercise does release those endorphins that make you feel so good. Walking back to the house, I felt as if I was in a warm country when dusk falls. There were lots of people walking dogs. Winter was forgotten for a while.

The evening was spent with one of my favourite activities, baking. I had bought some happy faces biscuit cutters and decided to try jammy dodgers. Biscuits isn’t something I specialise in but I was keen to give them a try. As mad as it sounds, I got quite excited when pressing the shapes out. I was even more excited when I had put the layers together with butter cream and jam.

I went to bed feeling very happy and to make it even better, the bed had freshly laundered bedding on. Bliss.

I will share some of my happy days in February in the next week with contrasts in the weather.

This Girl Can, Can

This is the t-shirt I wore to do my 10 mile Great South Run challenge. I had planned on buying a new t-shirt but as this was my favourite exercise t-shirt, I decided not to change it.

I actually bought two of the t-shirts from Marks and Spencer’s when they were reduced in price (and even then they were not cheap!). They were part of a campaign to get more women active. I didn’t know much about it but liked the words and thought it suited me. I was somewhat surprised, shocked,dismayed and all sorts of other things to read a recent article on the BBC news site that the campaign returns. Okay, nothing shocking with that I know but what I hadn’t realised is the previous campaign was aimed at females between 14-40 to start, or restart a sporting activity. Now the campaign was widening the age to include women in their 50 and 60s. It came as quite a shock to realise that I was in that age bracket!

At the age of 50, I am quite active. I am lucky to be able to walk to work, weather dependant, as it is only 2 miles away. I will often exercise to a DVD, go to Zumba and try to run 5k once a week (okay not so good in January). I have also been a bit obsessed with my Fitbit challenges and aim to win them. Having a bit of a rest this week as exhausted!

This girl can campaign has three targets for this year:

1 Tackling fear of judgement

I can relate to this but there are ways to overcome it. My Zumba class instructor, Lana, was a dancer and is very fit. I went along with my friend, Karen to her dance class in the beginning and it has always attracted a very mixed age group. Karen and I had tried lots of exercise classes but this is the longest we have stuck to it. Dancing doesn’t come naturally to me but the classes were fun and we both have made some great friends. When Lana became pregnant, she gave up the dance class but carried on with the very popular Zumba classes so we joined that. Again not natural at moving my bottom and stuff but it is fun. Even after 5 years, I will still opt to hide and dread it if Lana comes over to advise on a movement even though she will be helping. I think it is a fear of being looked at but really I should reap the benefits of knowledge and not be so self-conscious.

Posted by Your Time To Dance – Zumba with Lana on Sunday, 29 January 2017


I have heard people say that they can’t go to a class because they will be bigger than everyone else, that everyone will be slinky in Lycra and, if they go, they can’t get the moves. There are all sizes in our class and it doesn’t matter if you are big or slender, you can still move and have fun. We wear legging from Asda and any sort of t-shirt. Slogans are my favourite. As for the dance moves, if I can get there (it has taken me a long time) anyone can. If you are a newbie, you have to give yourself a chance.

I have a challenge to take up swimming on some level. Now I learnt how to swim at around 9 with Karen. She won’t mind me sharing this information with you but we both swim like meerkats. We don’t like being out of our depth and certainly don’t like being splashed. I have been trying to pluck up the courage to go to our local swimming pool. After doing some research, I have found a local private pool where I can go to using the pool on my own or with friends. Even the reviews are by people with the same fears as me so it has to be tried. It will be more expensive than the local swimming pool but I am willing to pay. I think this will be a This Girl Can moment!

2 Keeping participants from giving up sport.

This is a tough one. Since January I have been doing Hip Hop Abs DVD six days a week. The last couple of days I haven’t had the energy and I think that I have put myself through too much. I also stopped enjoying it. What you have to do is find something you enjoy doing, make time for it (don’t feel guilty for doing it – the right exercise and programme does really make you happy and fitter) and, if you feel happier doing it with someone else, find the right person so you can both encourage each other.

It is difficult to find the enthusiasm to keep going sometimes especially if you are tired and it is dark and cold. Karen and I would go to Zumba twice a week. We used to text each other in the morning and ask if the other was okay for Zumba. They don’t sound negative words but what they really mean is if you are don’t want to, I will breathe a sigh of relief and eat chocolate whilst sat in my pyjamas watching the soaps.  Last year, I became more positive with my texts. They would read “I will see you tonight for Zumba”. If Karen said she wasn’t able to go, I could have the chocolate without the guilt! We are actually both comfortable to go to the class on our own really. As Karen has a course to do on one of our normal days, we tend to only go one of the nights. Due to me feeling exhausted from walking and the DVDs, I have gone back to my first line of questions but I am pleased to say I have been once a week since the beginning of January. See, we girls can!

3 Widening the age demographic to include women in their 50s and 60s

I have just cringed again; this is me. I have the t-shirt, I wear it often and I can do it so anyone can do it. I know lots of lovely ladies in this age group who do it. They come to Zumba and are so fit. I regularly see ladies walking or running in this age group. I do think there are a lot of my age group who are taking part in regular exercise although I think that if a few more are encouraged by this campaign then it will be a huge benefit. The site has some great ideas on so go on there and find something. Karen wants us to give archery a go!

Remember, All girls can!

Have a little bit of faith and you won’t stop the feeling

Sunday 23rd October arrived and what a day. Rudely woken by Kathryn who was equally buzzing and decided she must have a shower at 5.30, I was full of anticipation about my challenge – the run.

After having a breakfast of porridge and picture taken with Kathryn (had forgiven her by then for waking me up but was I going to forgive her for the challenge!), I was ready for the off. Portsmouth is easily reached by a nice little ferry journey. On the way to catch it, the local radio was already in the spirit of the run and they played Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling which certainly got me in the mood for the run. By the time I was sat on the ferry, full of other runners, I was so excited. I was not going to be a fast runner but at 50 years old, I was so determined that I was going to do this at my own pace.


Warm up for all of us runners going over by ferry is a 25 minute beautiful walk to the starting line. The day was a little chilly but otherwise perfect conditions. Apart from doing two park runs, I had never run in an event before so hearing another runner saying she hadn’t even run a 5k race before did make me smile.

Normally a spectator; Chris having completed two runs and Kathryn doing her first one last year; it was very different for me this year. Kathryn was starting half an hour before me so I tried to see her on the starting line but with no luck. After her wave was off, the half hour went very quickly and I was soon warming up with Justin Timberlake’s song again and then it was off. With the sun shining, the run along Southsea seafront was amazing. Straight away, I had that feeling that I was going to run all the way although I had to make a quick stop because my lace had come undone. I never normally have that problem.

I had read that it was a good idea to dedicate laps to family or friends to help you complete them. I didn’t plan for all of them but being a local girl, I did have a few that I was running for. The 2nd mile was for Mum, Dad and my brother Tony as I remember going into the pub along that route with Dad when my sister was born. Ironically my Mum’s favourite song, Is this the way to Amarillo, came on just at the start of the mile so that gave me all the encouragement I needed.

The race takes you through the Historic Dockyard which was wonderful and you have so many bands playing along the way. I also managed to see family and friends and wave to them. I had a plan that I would love to get to 6 miles before I did any walking but I had already decided that was not going to happen and I was going to run all the way. More encouragement with my music came as I was approaching the 7th mile, which was the longest I had run before, when Candyman by Christina Aguilera came on. A zumba song so I had to dedicate that lap to the zumba ladies.


There was so much about the day that was memorable and I don’t think I will ever forget the supporters. There was music being played from houses and people waving. The weather was amazing and normally the last few miles are tough because of the wind but that was also on my side. I carried on running and I can’t believe how quick the final mile felt. I think that was due to Wham’s Everything She Wants blaring out of speakers and knowing that I had achieved what I had come out to do. I had a huge smile on my face approaching the finish line and managed to wave to Kathryn who had been waiting some time. I crossed the line and could not believe that I had just run 10 miles. I collected my goodie bag and made my way to the exit to meet up with the family. I did feel the impact of the run here and ached in places I had never before but the feeling I had from my achievement made it all worthwhile.


The Final Countdown

Less than 24 hours to go and I will be setting out for my challenge, running 10 miles for the Great South Run.

New running shoes
Running shoes

Am I prepared? Well I am prepared in my Tina way. Tina’s way is to not to get too overwhelmed with the task in hand, read some advice but not get bogged down with it, know my limits, prepare for a few setbacks but believe in myself. This run is for me although I want to make my family proud.


One area I had set this practice into was this blog. I had always wanted to start a blog and downloaded lots of free books on how to write a blog. The word “wordpress” came up and it was another language to me. I immediately thought this was too much for me to deal with so I put it aside. It also suggested that I needed a subject I was going to write about. I didn’t consider myself a specialist in anything – just enjoyed what I liked doing. When Kathryn set me my challenges including “make blog”, I decided that I would take up the challenge and do it my way. It isn’t perfect but I am having fun doing it and enjoying doing it my way.

So big day is not far away and I am quite excited. I don’t expect any outstanding times but the achievement of finishing is my goal (I would like to look good at the end too but that might be a bit too much to expect!). I would say I don’t expect any medals but, I think if I finish, I will get one!

Since my last post on the lead up to the run, I have got used to running at different times of the day. Normally an early morning runner, I have run a few times after work. I used to find this so hard but I think that was just those little voices in my head whispering you can’t run at this time. Inspired by Kathryn, I did one run whereby I ran for 2.5 miles, walked for 10 minutes, then run for another 2.5 miles. I felt better with the 2nd part of the run so if I feel a bit weak on Sunday, I will use this method.

Kathryn's first run last year
Kathryn’s first run last year

I was also not feeling well last weekend so I had to give running a miss for a few days. I did manage a mile on Sunday but got caught in the rain. With luck, there won’t be any rain on Sunday as I don’t want to run in that.

I did my final run on Friday and made it a short run. I can’t believe that I said that – 3.4 miles was not short too me a while ago! The sun was shining for that. It was lunchtime and at a time that I will be running on Sunday. Hopefully I will feel as good as I did on that run and I will have a medal to share on here.

Good luck to everyone taking part and sorry to my family if you have to wait too long for me to finish!

Don’t Stop Believing (Thanks for making me a Fighter)

Oh dear – only two weeks to the Great South Run. The last three weeks have been a mixture of emotions – some doubts but also a lot of positive thinking.

It arrived this week

I have been very focused with eating better and my running plan. Well that is a bit of a fib about the eating better – tried a new cake recipe this week to take into work for MacMillan’s coffee morning and have made it my cake of the month and made it again. It is raspberry and assam tealoaf. Maybe raspberries in the cake count as one of my five a day.

So good - cake of the month
So good – cake of the month

I have joined the week work hustle on my fitbit with a group of other ladies. All I wanted to make sure I did was my 10,000 steps. I think I am quite active but the winner actually did 140,000 steps in the first week which made my 73,000 steps look very tame. I did come 4th out of 10 people though. Pleased to say that last week I improved and did 80,000 steps and came 3rd. I would have to give up work to win that challenge!

I did my second parkrun after my trip to Brighton. I nearly put it off as my legs ached so much from the walking the day before. Once again I felt quite exhausted but when I finished and actually saw that I had done my best times for each mile, it was understandable. I actually did the run in 34 mins 36 seconds which was 2 minutes faster than the first run. It felt great to see an improvement.

It did make me realise that as I am a bit of a plodder, I would not be able to do 10 miles at that pace so I plan to do the run slowly. As in my “It’s Now or Never” post, I have made sure that I run three times a week and because it is so dark in the mornings, I have even changed some of the times of running during the week. I was very pleased because I did manage to do 7.5 miles on Saturday.  I had a good start to the run because the first track that came on from my running playlist was the song “When the Going Get’s Tough”!

I will not be running for any charities for this run but if anyone wants to donate, please visit my lovely daughter’s page (I say lovely but she got me into this!). She is running for St George’s Hospital for looking after her pal, Lewis. Kathryn enjoys running these races for fun but also likes to help her friends. She has been very encouraging to me and really believes that I can do this challenge. She has even posted a letter to me on her blog with her words of wisdom.

One of her tips to me is to perhaps run a few miles and then walk before running again so I am going to have a go at that this week. Also told me Ab training is a must so out comes Jillian Michaels this week!

I must remember that this girl can.


It’s Now Or Never

I have no idea how this happened but there is only 5 more weeks left until I run the Great South Run. Whilst I do run 3 days a week, I have been saying for the last month that I must get a running/healthy eating plan together. Finally I started at the beginning of the week.

Although I am very active, I had not been very good with my eating. I had avoided the scales since getting back from my holiday in June but knew things were not good as my clothes were not fitting me. I finally braved the scales on Thursday 8th September and whilst in the right range of BMI, I was 6lbs over my target weight. I hate the word diet on its own as I think this word is so negative – what I needed was a healthy eating plan. Another words, cut out on those crisps, biscuits and chocolate. Well my completed challenges, London trip and making banana muffins, in the last week didn’t help much, but on Tuesday I put that behind me and put everything into eating well and exercising for two days. Weigh in day saw a loss of 1 3/4 lb so not bad at all.

When I first started running, I did buy myself a new pair of running trainers. They have been a very good friend to me and I love them but I decided that I needed a new pair. This was the perfect time to buy a new pair and wear them in for the big event. I stayed with the same type as before but went a bit bright (okay very bright!). I love them.

New running shoes
New running shoes

I always run on my own and have never taken part in an organised run before so I needed some practice with that. My daughter was going to take part in a Parkrun so I thought I would gatecrash too. I signed up and was quite excited about it. I felt a bit nervous about it the night before and nearly didn’t go.

Parkrun’s are organised timed 5 km runs and run in public places. Our local run is along the beach. Kathryn’s boyfriend was running too and as they are both competitive, I was left on my own. I have to say I was very slow and it felt so hard. It didn’t help that the day was cold so I had put my hoodie on and needed to take that off half way through. Kathryn passed me along the route and gave me a wave of encouragement. She finished a good 13 minutes before me so was at the finishing line to encourage me to finish. In the end, I got a time of 36.43.




I am starting to have doubts that I can manage this challenge but I have told myself I am going to walk some of it. If I do, I will try again next year. I also realise that whilst I run up to 6 miles sometimes, I am only doing short runs during the week. When I first started running, I did 30 minutes running every other day so although it is darker in the mornings, I am going to set my alarm earlier and run 30 minutes Monday and Thursday this week and then maybe do another park run on Saturday.

My next blog post about this challenge is going to be more positive towards the run and hopefully I will be a little smaller!  Positive thoughts – this girl can!


On the third month of the challenge

 I have

8 ticks ✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓

for completed challenges and

6 ongoing/planning

I am 3 months through the challenge (that means I have only 9 months to go before I reach 51!) and I thought I would write a quick update on what I have achieved. My 50 things to do in my 50th year page has been updated – I have highlighted all that is done – in my favourite colour – purple and all that I have started or are ongoing are highlighted in orange.

Challenges Completed

Challenge No 1 –  Learn how to skip – harder than I remember!  I was allowed a tick when I managed 5 skips.  2 weeks after this I did 10 but by July I managed 19.  Skipping is very good for you so I will try to continue this.


Challenge No 23 – Day trip with your daughter this summer – a lovely day out to the Isle of Wight.


Challenge No 25 – Change your running route one day – a lovely run to the beach and beyond.  I love running to the beach now.  It does give a bit of purpose to the run.  I realised by doing this that my usual run of running “round the block” of the estate I live in is like my security blanket.  I knew that home wasn’t far away and that is why I stuck to it.  Since I completed, I have changed my run a few times to include some hills in too!


Challenge No 27 – Buy yourself some flowers.  A very pretty challenge and one I have continued and even managed to bribe my son into buying me some by picking him up so he didn’t have to pay out for a taxi! Even got him to wash the car so not bad at all.

Challenge No 37 – Buy a new lipstick – loved this challenge and even wearing it into work now.

Challenge No 40 – On a perfect summer’s day, make a picnic and eat it down the beach with your daughter.  This was so enjoyable.  I loved making the food and even made jaffa cakes – which I hadn’t realised were the Great British Bake Off’s challenge.  That in turn has lead me to try some of the other challenges.  Will share later.

IMG_20160826_165253 (1)

Challenge No 46 – In Lanzarote, buy a “Lanzarote” frame and at home print and put picture of you, your son and your daughter in it – I can look at this and remember our lovely holiday.

Challenge No 47 – Buy and use a nail varnish colour you wouldn’t normally – bright orange it was!



Challenge No 5 – Read a book every month of a genre you don’t/don’t often read – I have read three different books so far.  Looking forward to choosing 9 different reads.

Challenge No 6 – Read your daughter’s 10 favourite books – in paperback.  Why don’t the young get down with it and get a kindle!! Nice to read my daughter’s favourite books though. One down, 9 more to read.

Challenge No 8 – Host a MacMillan Tea Party – always wanted to do this and it will be great to hold it for charity. Have signed up for the coffee morning – just got to arrange and bake.


Challenge No 10 – Sign up and run the Great South Run.  Well, I am signed up but having a problem with the training especially when my alarm doesn’t go off!  It is in just under 7 weeks away so hopefully going to buy myself some new trainers and lose some weight.  I am not sure if I can run the 10 miles but the advert says you can walk if you want.  Hopefully I can do it.

Challenge No 29 – Start and complete a new sewing project – I am sew enjoying this!  I am hoping to have this finished long before my challenge comes to an end. I think that there are certain people who are doubtful I will – I will show them.

Stitching achieved in less than a month
Stitching achieved in less than a month

Challenge No 49 – Make blog – well this is something I am enjoying so much.  I am hoping that as time goes on, I will get better at my blog posts but I am having fun learning!

So at the end of 3 months, I think I am on target.  As the evenings get darker, I will hopefully start to do some of the language challenges and lots of the cooking challenges.

I am loving doing these challenges – not reading so much but finding so much to do that time just whizzes by. It is also helping me be a bit more organised.  I really don’t have time to work though!

I Will Walk Ten Thousand Steps

One of my favourite presents for my birthday (apart from the Pandora ring, bright pink skechers, the Bakedinbaking club subscription, etc) is my fitbit.  I have set up my daily step goal, try to keep active during the hours of 9am and 6pm, set exercise goals for the week and keep track on my sleep.  There is also a facility to keep a count of weight, food I am eating and water I am drinking.  I haven’t used that yet but hopefully will.

Still one of my favourite things
Still one of my favourite things

At the moment I have set up the following per day:

  1. Steps 10,000
  2. Active Minutes 30
  3. Hourly Activity goal – 250 steps each hour between 9am – 6pm
  4. Active Minutes – 30 minutes
  5. Weekly exercise goals – 15 min plus on 5 days
  6. Time Asleep goal – 7 hrs 30 mins – suggested bedtime 10.15pm wake up time 6.00

Even though I am particularly active, I do have a job which involves sitting down so I do have to make sure that I put in extra walks.  I find it very hard to achieve my goals of 250 steps each hour on the days I work as well.

Another “fun” activity with the Fitbit is the challenges which you can do with your friends.  Every week I take part in the workweek hustle and weekend warrior with my Son, Jordan.  I don’t stand a chance with the workweek hustle as Jordan works in London and he uses public transport.  I work in a village which I can only get to by driving.  Weekends can be better as I do try to include a longer run at the weekends.  One of the weekend wins I had does make me laugh.  Jordan had got back to London and was feeling quite smug as he thought he had won.  He didn’t realise I hadn’t updated my steps.  I did have to get up out of bed and walk downstairs for good measure.  He was so upset the next day when he realised and goes out to beat me now! I did only win by 145 steps so it was a good job I made the extra effort!

A few weeks ago I had a very busy week at work and I didn’t achieve my steps two days. I only went to zumba one day and didn’t go running at all.  By the weekend I was so tired.  I decided that it would be a good idea to have a week of making sure I met my 10,000 steps and to see what activities I need to do to accomplish it.

3 walks – 3,000
5,900 House
1,338 other
4,731 House
3 walks – 12,350
2 walks – 
2 walks – 5,000
1,000 house 
2 walks-6,700
Normally I work Monday to Thursday but this week I swapped to Tuesday to Friday.   The table shows that my count for work is low.  I try to do some exercise in the mornings before going to work but this week I opted to stay in bed.  It did mean that I had to push myself after work to get in the extra steps.  Not too much of a problem on zumba day but Thursday I found that I was 1,000 under and it became dark at 9pm so I thought I would have a little game with myself and see how long it would take to get to 1,000 steps.  I cleared the dinner table (late dinner that night) and took the plates one by one to the kitchen, emptied bins (one by one again), went up and down the stairs around 5 times and swept the bathroom and kitchen.  All in all it took me 40 minutes.  Next day I thought I would walk for the same amount of time.  I did 5,000 steps in that time.


A lunch time walk along the beach
A lunch time walk along the beach

Although last week, I didn’t do any DVDs, I had previously found that the Gillian Michaels DVD I do only uses 900 steps for a 20 minute routine.  Walking 10 minutes uses 1,000 steps.  Whilst I could think I would rather walk, the DVD is quite a punishing routine and one that I know if I do regularly, my body shape will improve (well only if I stop baking!).  I do think that I will continue to do everything I can to do the 10,000 steps but I also recognise that it is important to do the exercises that aren’t going to have too much of an impact because they are just as important.

The other lesson is to make sure I get up early to do some of those steps in so that I am not trying to gain the 10,000 in the last hour of the day so I can sit down and make progress on my cross stitch challenge!
Day 2 of my stitching
Day 2 of my stitching

Keep on Running

As previously mentioned in my About Page, I started running three years ago.  I started slowly by following the couch25k programme.  I must admit that whilst I built myself up to run for 30 minutes, I rarely achieved the 5k.  After running a lot in May, I have pushed myself to go further which is a good thing as there are a few running challenges to complete.  Today I managed a tick on Challenge 25 – Change your running route one day.


Not very adventurous, I normally run round the block a few times.  I change the direction and that is when I am being daring.  I also keep to quite a flat surface and do not cross busy roads.  After joining the Strava community, I try to sign up for a monthly challenge and this month was completing 10k.  I thought I would combine this with changing the route.  So first thing I had to do was to turn right instead of left, cross the road at the traffic lights and head towards the sea.  It was very pleasant and I was soon at what I thought was half way.  Quick look at my phone and I had only run 1.8 miles.  Knowing I wanted to achieve 6.2 miles I thought rather than go back the same way, I would change my route again to make it longer.  I found out the reason I stick to the same route.  If I ever got tired, I was not far away from home.  2 miles from home feeling I could not run any further did not seem fun to me.  I realised that this was psychological and I had to overcome it.

One of the things that helps me with my running is my music.  I always start with a walk to George Micheal’s version of Feeling Good.  Then I go onto my running play list which has a mixture of songs that I love.  I was really needing something to keep me running when Tony Christie’s Is this the Way to Amarillo came on.  Just the inspiration I needed.  One of my Mum’s favourites so I felt she was spurring me on. On the home straight, I was further inspired by Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger, Aston Merryfield’s Get Stupid and the one that kept me going to the end was Keep on Running by The Spencer Davis Group.


I was overjoyed at managing to actually clock up 6.5 miles and overcome some fears along the way.  Not forgetting the most important – another challenge ticked off.

I have set myself further goals now – I will change my route once a week.  Now just trying to find the courage to sign up for the Great South Run.  Actually running it will mean another tick.  Both my Husband, Chris and Daughter, Kathryn have run it.  They are both competitive – I would be happy to do it in 2 hours.
I wouldn’t run now if I hadn’t starting running with the couch25k so would highly recommend it to anyone starting.  If I had started trying to run without this programme, I would have given up.

Now I must keep on running.