Why you should get on your bike
Before we moved house, I used to bike to work. It took around 30 minutes and although I would often feel sluggish and have the can’t-be-bothered mentality before I started out, once I’d arrived I felt great. There’s nothing like a good bike ride to wake you up!
That feeling of being invigorated from biking before you start work is something else. I used to be cautious being out on the road on my bike, concerned about that car or van that was just a bit too close for comfort. But when I heard about the general accident contact number, I got my confidence back. The benefits of biking pushed me to get back to pedalling too. It helps to lower your blood pressure and therefore reduce stress for starters. I’d cross paths with colleagues in the corridors after locking my bike up in the secure bike shed and they’d be heading straight to get a coffee. Not me. No need with all that fresh air pumping through me! If you could bottle the ‘just biked’ feeling, you’d never look back. Once you’ve started biking and you remember that feeling, it makes getting into gear so much easier. You don’t have to go far to get kitted out either.
Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to biking after however many years of driving. First there was getting used to the saddle, which I changed to a more comfortable one. Boy do you know about it when your saddle’s too hard! Then there’s making sure your helmet’s the right fit and is actually fitted on your head properly. Not forgetting the lights of course. It’s useful to get the sort that you can easily snap on and off, making them portable and not open for the taking… talking of which, you can get kits to security mark your bike too. Very handy and good to know. The security markers are often only visible under infra-red but you can of course put a visual deterrent on your bike too. A good lock is essential for any bike owner.
You can accessorise with a pretty bell and you can even get bluetooth speakers for your bike now too… with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes!
It’s a good idea to build your bike ride into your routine if you can, that’s when it becomes a habit. And what a great habit to have. There’s no easier way to build a bike ride into your routine than pedalling to and from work! That habit loop lifts your spirits and is the perfect antidote for our busy lives, helping to keep us in top condition, mentally and physically. All in all it’s great for your wellbeing.
Why stop at the weekend? With a range of bikes for men, women, kids and also unisex, there’s really no reason not to get out and get into the fresh air!
Have you got on your bike lately? Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .
*This is a collaborative post
5 reasons to use fake grass in your garden
When we moved house a couple of years ago, as is often the case, we sorted out the inside of the house and the outside area got neglected. It was October too, so no surprises there.
Apart from sweeping the leaves away from the drain and sorting the bins out every week, we spent very little time out there.
Part of the reason is that our garden is more of a back yard and really not very pretty to be honest. To make it more inviting, we’re considering ‘prettying’ it up into a more useable space with fake grass.
Our friend has artificial grass and wishes she’d done it year ago. Her recommendation, out own research and our own common sense mean that we’re now in the first stages of our planning project.
And here are our top 5 reasons for choosing fake grass for our garden:
No more mowing!
While I never used to mind mowing the lawn as an activity in itself, there’s no denying that it took time. With our electric mower, there was always the very real danger of mowing over the electric cable too… a thought that I never used to relish!
And then of course, there was the emptying of the grass box, the disposal of the grass itself and stowing the lawn mower away. This always involved taking a jigsaw puzzle apart and putting it all back together again in our outhouse-come-shed, which could be frustrating at times because there was always something that couldn’t be shoe-horned back into place as easily!
Then there’s the edging and weeding…
I could think of a better way to spend my time than mowing a lawn, then trimming the edges and that’s even before we mention the weeding! One look inside my house will tell you that although the surfaces are generally clean, they’re not always clutter-free and it’s definitely ‘lived-in’ but I do tend to know where everything is. Yes, everything has it’s place. After that little insight into my personality, it might not surprise you that weeds drive me (or used to drive me) a little bit crazy!
No matter how hard we tried, there would invariably be a weed, or 10, spoiling our lawn! Again, I can think of better ways to spend my time. Lounging around on a weed-free lawn with my family for starters!
Safe for the pets
Since we moved house, we’ve lost a cat and gained a dog, leaving us with one of each. And so having a pet-safe garden is a priority. Which means no toxic plants and somewhere for Daisy the dog to use her energy in what we call her ‘mad half hours’! (or which she has several a day!) To be able to throw her a ball to play with and be able to easily clean up mess is another box ticked.
No more sneezing!
You may have noticed that I’ve been referring to ‘me’ a lot up to now! Family time has featured, which of course includes hubby. But the mowing always came down to me. Why? Because of pollen! Yes, hayfever always meant that I was the mower and indeed he would often struggle outside. Not with fake grass! It would benefit out 8 year old daughter too because she showed signs of hayfever for the first time last Summer. I see quality, outdoors family time on the horizon again!
We all need time outdoors. A dose of fresh air and topping up vitamin D is essential for our physical and mental health. There’s little more inviting as the weather gets warmer than stepping out onto grass with barefeet. Bonus points if I can do in my dressing gown with a decaf! Personally, it’s what I really miss during Autumn and Winter.
Creating a zen-space is so important to me and with that comes barefeet; with that comes meditation and with that comes a happier me! The hippy-at-heart in me loves going barefoot. And that’s another thing about artificial grass. There are different softeness levels (and different wearability levels too). Now to decide which variety to choose!
What do you like to do in your garden? I’d love to know! Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .
*This is a collaborative post
Review of ChoconChoc melt and make
chocolate egg heads
For a chocoholic, this is the ultimate heaven isn’t it? Layers of chocolate all melted together to make a chocolate egg! Yum!
We tried out a pack that came with full instructions, a mould, a cute little chef’s hat. decorations and, importantly the belgian chocolate drops.
I could have eaten these quite easily on their own but ‘luckily’ our 8 yo daughter was there to keep me on the straight and narrow…
So we started off melting the chocolate and because it was good quality, it was a smooth operation. We then followed the instructions and added a layer to the moulds.
When I read the instructions, I thought it sounded a bit complicated, long-winded and far too techy for a chocoholic mum and her eager 8 yo. Layering, leaving to cool, layering again and again… I was a bit sceptical at how our egg would turn out.
At the risk of sounding like a cliche, I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, we’re not going to be chocolatiers anytime soon but the layers actually worked! We had made our own chocolate egg. Very impressive… er so impressive that we broke a bit off to try and ended up devouring the whole lot before my camera had a look-in! Now that’s a testimonial to the taste of the chocolate. I don’t ‘do’ cheap, tacky chocolate. Life’s too short and I’d rather have good quality stuff that melts in your mouth and leaves you licking the inside of your mouth deliciously.
On that basis alone, I’d highly recommend the chocolate egg kit as a fun activity. It goes great with a decaf. Oh and wine too! It’s often the case that with kits containing sweets or foodie things, that you don’t quite get enough, or ‘just’ enough to do the job properly. In this case, we got generous helpings and even had enough to stick with tradition and lick the bowl. I say ‘we’ but you know that never happens when you’ve got an 8 yo in tow!
At £12 a kit, this is really good value and I’d highly recommend doing this.
You can visit ChoconChoc’s website and follow them on facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and you tube .
What about you? Have you tried making your own chocolate eggs? Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere.
*I was gifted this item for the purposes of this review but all views are my own.
Review of Owl Hot Water Bottle
You know when you just want to get snuggly and cosy? If your home is anything like mine, you’ll be all snuggly in one room, off you go to bed and you get into your cold bed! Well, not anymore! Our old hot water bottle had been well-loved, well-used and become unsafe because the rubber had perished.
Enter stage left, this cute owl hot water bottle from The Hot Water Bottle Shop! I mean, just look at it, begging to be cuddled and snuggled!
What I love about it
What I particularly love about this cover is that it’s quirky. It’s not just any old cover you might get from your local chemist or from a hardware store. It’s inviting, it’s easy to open, easy to slide your water bottle inside and easy to do up again.
This one has a button which might appear fiddly but it’s not. It not only keeps your hot water bottle ‘hot’ but it keeps is secure too. Over the years I’ve found that some covers stretch and you wake up stuck to a hot water bottle that’s now tepid and has left an imprint in your thigh! Not so snuggly!
What about the price?
At £18.99, this is very good value in my opinion. The cover is well made and has stood the test over several months in my clutches and through the Beast from the East (if you’re reading this in ‘archive mode’, do you remember that storm?!). You really can’t get a better test than that!
As the product description says, this: uses an ultra-modern, thermoplastic rubberless design which does not only make it easy-to-use and comfortable but eco-sustainable too. This product is made from 80% renewable materials, is PVC free, recyclable and unlike may other hot water bottle odourless.
Not only is the bottle odourless, but you can freshen up the washable cover too. Win, win!
What about you? Have you snuggled up with your hot water bottle lately? Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere.
*I was gifted this item for the purposes of this review but all views are my own.
What to do when your own writing bores you
One of the most painful experiences as a writer, especially one who considers themselves to still be learning, is re-reading your own work. It’s a necessary task, but it should be done after you’ve had time away from your work. But here’s a question: what if you read your writing only to find that, above all else, it’s simply boring? If you find that you’re not as inspired or passionate as you aimed to be, what can you do?
How to have a wonder-filled family adventure
What is wonder? Is it being amazed at something? Is it being in awe? Is it experiencing something for the first time? Is it doing something or going somewhere you’ve been before?
The answer is, surely all of the above?
To have our wonder-filled family adventure, we chose to visit one of our favourite places. Why is Ferry Meadows one of our favourite places?
Diary of a bookworm
I came across this fun post from Jo Tracey and thought I’d join in. I absolutely love getting absorbed in a book, sometimes ‘lost’ in a book and I do my utmost to read a bit of my current book every day. I’ve recently rekindled this habit and I love it!
So here we go:
Do you have a specific place for reading?
Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Do you eat or drink whilst reading?
Music or TV whilst reading?
One book at a time or several?
Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?
Read out loud or silently?
Break the spine or keep it like new?
Do you write in books?
What books are you reading now?
What is your all-time favourite book?
Give up or read on if you don’t enjoy the book?
Would you lend your books?
Simple ways to improve your health today
It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, or what your occupation is, your health should always be a top priority. But most of us are a bit guilty of letting our wellbeing slide from time-to-time. That being said, read on for some of the simple ways you can give your health a boost today:
Say goodbye to at least one item in your life that contains toxic chemicals
You may be shocked by just how many things in your life contain toxic chemicals. They includes everything from air fresheners to bed sheets. Get rid of one of these things and replace it with something natural instead. This is something you should make a habit of doing every few months or so.
Deep breathe for at least five minutes
Throughout the day, you should make sure you take the chance to deep breathe for at least five minutes. Why? Well, there have been numerous studies which have shown that deep breathing can help to lower stress hormone levels. This means that you’ll feel better, get a better night’s sleep, and you’ll be less anxious too.
Drink more water
You probably expected this to be on the list, but the importance of drinking more water should never be ignored. Your body needs water for almost everything you do. If you’re dehydrated, this could be the cause of headaches, aches and pains, and a number of other symptoms.
Have one veggie night per week
A lot of people eat far too much meat, red meat especially. So, why not have a veggie night once a week? Not only is this good for your health, but it will be good for your bank balance too.
Sign up to an online pharmacy
These days, you can easily order your prescriptions and medications over the internet through an online pharmacy. This can help you to boost your health because it ensures you never have delays with your medication. If you’re someone who often doesn’t take their recommended course of tablets because you can’t get to the doctors in time for a repeat prescription, then this is definitely a good suggestion for you. Because your medication will be delivered to your door with the click of a button.
Do something nice for someone every day
You’ll be surprised how good this makes you feel, and how much of a positive impact this has on your health. It’s all about mental wellbeing.
Incorporate some movement into your commute
If you haven’t got an active job, this is especially important. Sitting at a computer all day can be bad for your health. One way to combat this is by incorporating some movement into your commute. If you can walk or bike to work, you should give this a go. If not, start parking your car further away from your place of work so that you have to walk there and back. You should also start using the stairs instead of the lift whenever you can.
Start meal planning
You’ll find it much easier to eat healthily if you plan your meals. At the start of every week, make a plan of what you’re going to cook for tea every night, as well as what you’re going to make for your lunches every day. Not only will this help you to eat better, but you’ll save money too. Make sure you include some healthy snacks in your work food. This will stop you from going to the vending machine whenever you’re bored or you have an energy slump.
Keep a journal
Last but not least, keeping a journal is good for your mental health. You should write down your thoughts. It doesn’t need to be a long entry; all it takes is every evening writing down a few happy points from your day. This will help you to articulate your thoughts so that they don’t wear you down. After all, it can be hard to sleep if you’ve got lots on your mind.
So there you are: some of the best ways to give your health a boost. The suggestions that have been provided are really simple and easy, so there’s no excuse not to give yourself a bit of TLC.
What do you do for self-care? I’d love to know! Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .
*This is a collaborative post
Rethinking diet and health in the modern day
So what is healthy? Well, if you were asked that question you would likely say: to eat appropriately, to exercise and to get check-ups at your local GP. And you’d be right! Taking the appropriate steps to live this way is a little more tricky, but completely and totally worth it.
It’s also worth knowing the benefit of developing a keen sense of awareness on new information about health. Discoveries are being made all the time, and new habits and fitness trends are less of a ‘flavour of the week!’ and more compounding in their evidence. The prevalence of online information is perfect for this sort of enquiry, as the possibility of researching more and more into the science behind certain ‘fad diets’ allows for a deeper and more wholesome understanding of the marketing behind it.
There have been many health discoveries in the last 10 years. If you work and have the usual responsibilities that come with life, it can be difficult to try and keep up with them all. How do you know which will work better and what’s realistic to include in your diet?