Bargain weekend away in North Devon

I’ve just had a bargain weekend away, spending less than £140 for 3 days and 2 nights in North Devon.  Ok, ok we were camping and we did borrow a big tent and we do have a car to transport us about BUT I have included our petrol costs.

Camping

My daughters (in their 20s and paying their own share), my dog (Rufus)  and I had the most fabulous break over Bank Holiday weekend in North Devon. We chose to camp for a couple of reasons;

  1. We needed to book for the Bank Holiday weekend but didn’t want to lose too much money if we chose not to go because…
  2. We wouldn’t go if the weather was going to be bad!

So we booked 2 nights at the Little Roadway Farm campsite near Woolacombe, all in this cost us £56.

The Journey

Our bargain weekend away began very early Saturday morning, to steer clear of the Friday traffic and to avoid putting up an unknown tent at the dead of night:). We traveled from Leicestershire to Woolacombe, with a quick coffee stop at the lovely M5 Gloucester services (a family business, a farmshop and no franchises) . We’d prepared some overnight oats (in jars) for the journey, these were a nutritious travel breakfast.

We arrived at the campsite at about 10.30 as the dew was disappearing and the sun came out.  The campsite, although fully booked, was not crowded we had a choice of location on the site, which was not huge but was green, pleasant and the facilities were good. We managed to put up the tent in not much more than 30 minutes.

Bargain weekend away tent
Our pitch!

Woolacombe

All unpacked, we headed off to walk the 1.5 miles to Woolacombe for a well earned drink and some lunch. Woolacombe beach has the Trip Advisor Award for Best UK Beach 2015 and 2016 , it is a large beach, very well equipped and it was busy as the day was warming up.

Bargain weekend away walk to wool
The walk to Woolacombe

The beach may be good and dog friendly but the town itself was a bit too (tacky) seasidey 🙁 for us! Lots of buckets and spades, arcades, ice creams, crazy golf……..all the good stuff! The walk back across the fields was lovely. We chilled at the tent, basking in the glorious sunshine before changing and heading off to Ilfracombe for the evening.

Bargain weekend away Wool
The view over Woolacombe

Ilfracombe

We parked the car near the small harbour surrounded by cliffs and met Verity! the controversial Damien Hirst statue that stands at the entrance to the harbour overlooking the Bristol Channel over to South Wales. What do you think of Verity?

Bargain weekend away Verity
Verity by Damien Hirst

Before dinner we had a wander around the town and hit upon the Beer Festival, right up my street so a local ale overlooking the sea was enjoyed. We had booked into the Blacksands Bistro for dinner , a family run bistro serving homemade, locally sourced, honest food. We sat outside, so Rufus could stay with us. As it gets chilly in late August evening the chiminea was lit and blankets provided (we didn’t need the latter).

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Our table reservation at Blacksands Bistro

We ordered a cocktail whilst we perused the menu, which had some lovely choices and local produce.

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Blacksands Bistro Cocktails

I chose a trout and cous cous dish, the girls had a cured meat platter and a chicken dish, all very delicious.  Our food was fabulous; the dessert choice was limited (and expensive) so we opted for a locally made ice cream en route back to the car.

Bargain weekend away Bistro
Blacksands Bistro 🙂

Our first night’s sleep went well, I was a little chilly but not uncomfortable. We all had to get up in the night for a wee, not ideal! Rufus was a star and slept soundly. We were woken early by the cockerel and the cows on the nearby farm.

Croyde

Sunday morning – our plan for the day was to drive to Croyde for brunch, have a walk and then find a beach.  We sat outside at The Stores and feasted on avocado on toast with a side of bacon, slugged down with a good coffee.  We watched the world go by at this busy corner of this lovely village.

Bargain weekend away Croyde
Sitting outside The Stores Croyde – Sunday brunch

Later we then walked directly towards Croyde Bay, near a campsite that looked more like a festival site with tents tightly packed in. The sun was up and it was heating up, people were flocking to the beach, not dog friendly.

Bargain weekend away Croyde Bay
Croyde Bay – crowded beach

Our plan was to walk along the coastal path up to Baggy Point (National Trust), from here we could see Woolacombe beach, it was also very busy, although the end near Putsborough Sands appeared quieter. The walk was glorious with great views.

Bargain weekend away wool bay
From Baggy Point across Woolacombe Bay

We headed back down to Croyde and dropped into Blue Groove for a drink, a popular place but plenty of space at this time….everyone was on the beach!

Putsborough Sands

We decided to head for Putsborough Sands, only to find parking was £8.50!!! After a little deliberation we agreed that between us for a full afternoon on the beach it didn’t amount to much. We were right it was worth it, although it was busy and there were lots of dogs, which we didn’t mind!  We walked along the sands and found a relatively quiet spot. We’d changed into our swimming costumes in the public toilets (new and very clean) so we spread out our blanket and settled down to read, people (and dog) watch, play with Rufus and enjoy the sun.

Bargain weekend away Puts
Putsborough Sands

The sea was bracing but we all went for a swim, including Rufus., we soon got in and got used to it. More chilling and an ice cream, left us feeling exhilarated and chuffed with our day.

Back to Croyde

That evening, after a change of plan, we were short of eatery options – Bank Holiday Sunday and we hadn’t booked! We headed back to Croyde and ordered Pizza from the pop-up pizza guys from Stoned, wood fired pizza ovens and great pizzas. We ordered 3 different ones to share, bought some drinks from The Store (see our Brunch) and had a feast.

Bargain weekend away pop up pizza
Stoned pop up pizza at Croyde

Lynton and Lynmouth

After a more comfortable night, we awoke to more brilliant sunshine, great for tent packing! We began to get packed up and whilst the tent dried out we had bacon butties from the campsite store. They were excellent and a bargain. Tent dry and car packed we headed off for a morning and a cream tea “lunch” at Lynton and Lynmouth.  Lovely picturesque villages “where Exmoor meets the sea”.

Bargain weekend away the Lyns
Lynton and Lynmouth

A cream tea had been on our list of things to do on this break and we hadn’t yet achieved it, as we wanted to be heading home before 2pm we decided that it’d be our lunch. The Pavilion came highly recommended we weren’t disappointed.

Home again

We hit the road, beat all the holiday traffic and were home before 6pm. We did miss another unbelievable afternoon’s sunshine and beach opportunity but both the girls were back at work at 8am the next day.

Bargain weekend away homeward
Rufus on the journey home

A great time was had by all, a bargain weekend away and we talked of making it an annual mother and daughter trip. The weather really helped to make it, we ate at some highly recommended (Trip Advisor) places and stayed at a top notch location, all for less than £140 each. North Devon is beautiful well worth a visit and we’ll go back to explore more of it.

Thanks for reading.

Do you have any bargain break suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

For more information about me and my message click here

More family and outdoor swimming fun here

Another bargain break from earlier this year 4 days/3 nights in the Peak District for under £200!

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5 low cost ways to be healthier?

Would you like to be healthier? Do you think you can’t afford it?

Think again – you can start to improve your health with these 5 simple steps:

  1. Commit to Walking

    You don’t need to have a fancy device to count your steps or special clothes or footwear. Choose comfortable shoes and get outside!  Walk for 10 to 20 minutes a day to get you started. ‘*   Later on you could move onto more structured exercise. You may fancy having a go at running, try Couch To 5k (http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or weights. There is lots of FREE stuff online requiring little or no equipment. I started with Julia Buckley’s online gym and you can access lots of her stuff for free here

    ‘*  “Taking at least 1 brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%” From Public Health England

    Low cost health -walk
    10 minutes brisk walking daily – low cost health!

     

  2. Drink more water

    It’s cheap, healthy and calorie free! If you don’t like plain water try fizzy or add some fruit, a slice of lemon or some no-added sugar squash. We should drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count.

  3. Eat a balanced diet

    It’s not about fancy foods or “superfoods” – like kale, avocado, quinoa ( not that these aren’t good). It’s about lowering the sugar, saturated fat and salt, cutting out processed foods. A balanced diet is eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions , find some good advice here; http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx
    Do you have an Aldi nearby? They sell great quality foods at fabulous prices and are well worth checking out. https://www.aldi.co.uk/store-finder
    I’m planning a “What I eat in a day” post soon, I eat well and I am on a tight budget.

  4. Get more sleep

    Yep sleep, and sleep should cost you nothing! Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health along with increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Read my recent post on Sleep – https://www.jenafitlife.com/sleep-pillar-of-good-health/ and set yourself up to get more and better quality sleep.

  5. What do you think? Mindset

    How you think, what you think about, how you motivate yourself, how to make something a habit ………all FREE, and all have an effect on your health. Getting control of your mind will enable you to better to control your cravings, urges and motivations, all of which no doubt impact on your health! Whether it is resisting the chocolate or ice cream or finding the excuse not to take that walk. Read my recent blog on Mindset – https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/

Will you take any or all of these steps? Do you already do this or more?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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You may like to read my blog on My 4 Pillars of Good Health https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

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Body Image – How to change your view!

Body image is all about how you see yourself, this can be very different to how others see you. It is about self esteem and insecurity not vanity.

In this fast moving, visual world where the High street, social media and magazines are full of the “body beautiful” it’s easy to be unhappy about our own body shape and be dismissive/disgruntled/disenchanted/discouraged……some sort of dis’, your choice, ….and have a negative body image. “Be more critical of what you see in the media, and less critical of yourself” from BBC Radio 1 *

Let’s not go into self destruct or overdrive. Remember we are no longer 25, we (may) have some fab kids that our amazing bodies bore and health, fitness and technology knowledge has come a long way in the last 20-30 years! If we knew then what we know now perhaps……… things would be no different 🙂

Mindset

Anyway we need to learn to love our bodies: eat, drink and exercise to honour it not to be the “body beautiful” (leave that to the kids if they insist). Every body is beautiful, we have an incredible and complex set of systems that make us function and able to live! Let’s not abuse that but shift our mindset (read my thoughts here https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/) to help us make any changes and tackle our body image. *This piece has some great advice on how to rethink your body image viewpoint.

Fuel

I do believe it’s important to fuel our bodies correctly and this outweighs any crazy exercise regime, so get this right and I’m not talking any crazy diets or regimes. I’m talking proper food, simple fresh food, cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming and batch cooking can ease time constraints. The only thing you need to do, if you want or need to lose weight, is to consume less calories than you use, known as a caloric deficit.

Movement

Later you may want and find you can take a walk or join a class. Baby steps again, but remember this is to look after that Formula 1 machine (your body internally) not to reach some aesthetic goal – this (may well) will happen as a side effect of eating properly. There is a saying 80% of Abs are made in the kitchen [even if you can’t see your abs they are there!]

Talking of abs if you feel you’ve got your eating right and you’d like to work on your body and there are many reasons for this;
– reduce health risks (e.g. heart disease, diabetes)
– maintain or increase mobility
sleep better
– help your mental health

Then start slowly core exercises like Yoga or Pilates are great for improving posture and supporting a weak back. Joining an online gym to workout in your own space, reducing time commitment and any embarrassment of a public class. Starting the Couch to 5k,will get you out into the fresh air and will cost you nothing!

Wherever you are be PROUD of your body for what it has done for you in your life, and what it continues to do. Do things because you love your body (not because you don’t)

Check out this lovely article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-401943

Another great article here too

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

You may like to read my blog on My 4 Pillars of Good Health https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

This post contains an affiliate link.

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SLEEP – PILLAR OF GOOD HEALTH

I consider sleep to be one of 4 Pillars of Health, along with nutrition, mindset and movement. Read my first post on this here.

You’d probably be surprised at how important sleep is to your health and wellbeing. We’ve probably all experienced a bad night’s sleep and how that makes you feel the following day. Read about my recent sleep problems here. However regular poor sleep has serious consequences to our health.

sleep
Let sleeping dogs lie!

Sleep is not a lifestyle choice

It is a necessity, the importance of which is probably underestimated by many.  “Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesityheart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.”
Source – http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx     This piece also lists 7 ways a good night’s sleep can boost your health, including increasing your sex drive and fertility!

Thus the value of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated.

Some people may boast of only needing 4 – 5 hours sleep and others may be on their knees with only this amount of sleep. Shift patterns, family, work commitments, stress, anxiety……. may all disrupt our sleep arrangements: regularly or from time to time. Poor diet and stimulants (drugs, drink, electronics – games, phones) will all affect the quality of your sleep. Getting the right ambiance and routines can make a huge difference to our sleep quality. It is important to find a way to get good quality sleep.

Poor sleep will, initially led to short temper, inability to focus and fatigue. Poor sleep will affect your mental health, make it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, so increasing your risk of accident and injury.  Continued lack of sleep increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

This is an extract from the Mental Health Foundation Sleep Matters report (2011), well worth a read!

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/sleep-report ——

“Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.

Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Sleep Matters provides sound, evidence-based advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep. This includes simple ways to improve your ‘˜sleep hygiene’™, such as adjusting the light, noise and temperature in the bedroom and changing your eating, drinking and exercise routines, advice which can also be found in Sleep Well, our handy pocket guide to better sleep”

This leads nicely onto how to address your quality of sleep.

Firstly there is no rule of how much sleep a person needs. It varies from person to person. It is important that people find out how much sleep they need, and then do it!

This is easy! Go to bed when you’re tired and allow your body to wake you up in the morning, switch off the alarm clock. This is one to do at the weekend, or on holiday. You may sleep over 10 hours at first, if you’ve got some catching up to do. This will decrease to find your normal level in time.

I will blog soon on how to get a good quality night’s sleep.

A comfortable place to sleep!

In summary

Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health along with increasing the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.   A healthy diet and exercise can help to improve our health outcomes as can our mindset and sleep.  You should take the consequences of poor sleep seriously. Sleep then is a really important Pillar to good health.

Do you get enough sleep?

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Why Is Sleep Important?  – https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

 

Good Health Pillars
I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Mindset – What do you think?

What I mean by Mindset

By mindset I mean your approach, your way of thinking, your attitude, your mood. I touched on this in my recent post about 4 Pillars of Good Health, take a read here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

Are you able to control your mindset?

How do you manage your thoughts?

Do you choose how to behave or react?

If you can master controlling your thoughts or how you react it goes a long way to helping you move towards and achieving lots of things in life. There can be some things in life that debilitate this: alcohol, other drugs, illness…

Beat the excuse generator.

Overcome the procrastination.

Doing something regularly, irrespective of motivation, it will become a habit. Part of what you do; non-negotiable (to an extent).

Life will always get in the way – illness, work, holidays, and demands of others. BUT you must make time for yourself, it’s so important for your health and self esteem. Others will benefit from it, it is not a selfish act to take time for YOU.

Valuing yourself; put a value on your time, don’t let others devalue it or erode it.

Can you conquer your thinking?

I firmly believe conquering how and what you think will be of fantastic value to your life. I’m not suggesting it’s easy.

I don’t have any magic answer to how you do this, like most things in life you need to make the trip in short steps.

  1. Perhaps saying NO to that invitation to something you don’t want to do. Don’t say YES and then worry about how you can get out of it or regret it or worse be there/do it.
  2. Only do the things you enjoy or make life easier- obviously give & take, compromise has to exist to make relationships work but don’t be a doormat
  3. Choose to be positive and happy – why be a glass half empty when it’s still half full 🙂

    Mindset - glass half full
    Glass half full!
  4. Don’t dwell on the bad things, resolve them quickly or look for the silver lining. Always move forward, “don’t look back, that’s not the way you’re going”!
  5. Perhaps devise a positive mantra (a saying or short sentence) to utter when you need a boost or reminder. Vocalise them, write them down
    or share them on social media
  6. Perhaps sharing a goal on social media or with close friends will make you more accountable and help you work more positively towards it
  7. Start a gratefulness journal

Doctor Rupy of The Doctor’s Kitchen (Facebook) does a gratefulness exercise. Three things to be grateful for everyday [he puts them on Instagram Stories see @Doctors_Kitchen on Instagram]. Doctor Rupy has recently said that he has found many benefits to this exercise notably:

“• throughout my day I think I subconsciously look for things to be positive about
• my reaction to the inevitable negative occurrences during a day is much more mellowed and calm
• I’ve learnt to slow down a lot and appreciate the wider world around me and cherish our existence.”

Remember the long term

Sometimes you have to remember why you made a decision or why you’re trying to achieve a particular thing. It may be for a long term goal which means short term sacrifices, then refocus on the long term, be happy! Being miserable in the short term won’t make the situation any better or move any quicker. My daughter and her bf have moved in with his parents in order to be able to save money for a house deposit. This may not be an ideal situation but they have to remember the long term goal when the current situation may be tricky!

YOU have to be in control of your mindset and I really believe conquering this will enable you to conquer so much more in life.

Believe in yourself

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

mindset

 

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

 

Good Health Pillars

I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Swimming in Henleaze Lake

A family weekend catch up, when I was introduced to an outdoor swim in Bristol!

My niece and nephew live in Paris, although my nephew is moving to Warsaw with his Polish fiancee to begin a new adventure. So we don’t get to see them very often.

A weekend in late July they were in Bristol, at their Mum and Dads (my sister and Brother in Law), having narrowly escaped the horrors of the floods in Coverack, Cornwall – they were there but The Old PO in the harbour escaped any damage. Anyway my elderly father (90 in December) took no persuading to join me on a trip down to Bristol to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren (my nieces two young daughters).

Family allotment time!

We had a great journey down on Friday morning, beating the busy holiday traffic and the rain! It did however pretty much rain all day once we’d arrived. It takes a lot more than that to dampen high spirited kids.  We chilled out, gossiped, played and managed to mooch in the garden.

Do you live near to your family?
Are you close?
Do you travel for family get together’s?

Saturday was a better day weather-wise. We had a family trip to my sister’s allotment, picked various varieties of beans and raspberries. All consumed with lunch later on 🙂

The Autumn raspberries are ready in July in Bristol!

Outdoor Swim

I’d been feeling a little ‘coldy’ but when my Brother in Law suggested a trip to Henleaze Swimming Club  for an outdoor swim (I’d taken my kit and was always saying I’d never been there)…….I couldn’t refuse.

outdoor swim
Henleaze Lake, Bristol – Tranquility 🙂

Henleaze Swimming Club, established in 1919, a former quarry providing 125 metres of deep spring water, a haven in the City. It was about 20c and felt OK to get in to. I got in quickly and swam for 20 – 30 minutes. At that point I was getting chilly, you had to keep moving or freeze!

outsoor swim Henleaze Lake
Straight in! Henleaze Lake, Bristol

They don’t have any fancy facilities – heated changing rooms, fancy showers but they do have a SAUNA! A great place to thaw out and heat up. After I was dressed I tried to type a text but I had uncontrollable shivers 🙁

It’s fabulous to swim outdoors, peaceful and exhilarating, I loved the experience. I used to swim 2 – 3 mornings a week before I moved to Warwickshire, now I’m back perhaps I should introduce swimming to my schedule. I loved it – and this lake swim reminded me of that but it also was nothing like an indoor, chlorinated, laned swimming circus……..

Do you like to swim?
Any wild/outdoor swim recommendations?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

I love to have activity/fitness challenges read about some more here https://www.jenafitlife.com/fitness-challenges/

PS my cold disappeared after the outdoor swim 🙂

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OFFA’S DYKE PATH – PART 3 Kington to Llanmynech

Offa’s Dyke Path

I’m walking, in stages, Offa’s Dyke Path on the England / Wales Border. A 177 mile National Trail named after the Offa’s Dyke which is a great frontier earthwork built by Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D  http://offasdyke.org.uk/

Offa's Dyke Path Stone
Offa’s stone dated 757 AD

Part 3 was over 50 miles hiking in 4 days, including The Switchback; 14 miles of undulating walking, one of the toughest days walking I’ve done. Part 1 and 2 of this walk can be found here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/offas-dyke-path-part-1/   and  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/

Thursday 13th July Kington – Knighton

I woke early on 13th July to be at the appointed meeting place at 8am. Rufus and I were all packed for our 4 days walk of the middle section of the Offa’s Dyke Path. The weather looked like great walking weather, temperatures down to under 20c in comparison to the recent hot weeks and little or no rain forecast.

We arrived in Kington and managed to start the days hike to Knighton at 11am. 13.5 miles with 2 or 3 good climbs reaching 400m at the highest point, beginning (the highest 18 hole course in England) and ending over golf courses. For the first time the Dyke was much in evidence!

We alighted in Knighton and spent a delightful night at The George & Dragon; very comfortable with great food and beer.

Offa's Dyke Path view to the Black mountains
The first time climb out of Knighton looking across to the Black Mountains

Friday 14th July – Knighton to Mellington Hall

Another good 14 miles but this day incorporated The Switchback, a series of steep undulations – WOW possibly the hardest days walking I’ve ever done – I hate downhill’s this was really tough on my toes. I believe they are now bruised and toenails will be lost, in the making of this blog post no other animals were harmed! In fact Rufus relish’s a good days walk, does 3 to 4 times the miles we do, despite being the oldest in the pack at over 70! (10 years old in doggy terms)

Montgomery from Offa's Dyke Path
Looking down on Montgomery

Again today afforded the best Dyke walking, much of it atop the Dyke itself through rolling woods and farmland with no breaks in the uphill’s and downhill’s.

Offa's Dyke Path half way point
Yay – we’re halfway! But today is a toughie Knighton to Mellington Hall; The Switchback

The best view came at the Cwm-Sinaham (406m) pop over to my Instagram to see a 360 degree video (https://www.instagram.com/jenafitlife/?hl=en). Although the highest point on the Dyke itself was Llanfair Hill (432m) just a little further along the path. We’ve already done the highest point on the trail in the Black Mountains, Hatterrall Ridge (703m) ((Part 2 of my Offa’s Dyke Path walk).

This day ended at the beautiful Mellington Hall where I had a bath, BLISS! (bath’s being a B & B rarity, but so welcome after a hard days walk).  Great beer and Fish & Chips were consumed followed by an early night…….well that was the plan but the boy’s got locked out of their room (broken lock) and were popping in and out of my room whilst the drama ensued and a Man with Ladder came to the rescue.

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Mellington Hall – upmarket B & B for a night

Saturday 15th July – Mellington Hall to Buttington Cross

Mellington Hall on Offa's Dyke Path
Rufus checking out of Mellington Hall

A shorter, much flatter day, 13 miles with just one serious climb to Beacon Ring. This meant a steep climb downhill to Buttington where on advice from Andy (Andy’s Twitter account), who recently walked the entire path raising funds for Midland Air Ambulance , we headed for The Green Dragon, a pint and a phone call for a taxi to our B&B; Severn Farm in Welshpool.

The best B&B yet, wonderful hosts Joyce and Alun were so welcoming and immediately booked a table for us at a restaurant in town and offered to take us back to the trail in the morning. Service 🙂

Sunday 16th July – Welshpool to Llanmynech

Our last day, it’s all over so quickly but my bruised feet (due to adding gel insoles to my boots and then not having enough room for my toes – BIG MISTAKE) were not unhappy about this. Our 10 miles to Llanmynech were flat, canal paths and riverside. My twitcher pals were convinced they’d spot a Kingfisher today (check out the list of birds which were spotted at the bottom of this post).

Breidden Hills - Offa's Dyke Path
Breidden Hills, quarrying underway. The boys are down by the river looking for an elusive Kingfisher!

After some towpath walking the path goes along the top of the Tir-y-mynach Embankment following the course of the River Severn, from here you view the Breidden Hills which are in part industrialised with quarrying. The route continues along the abandoned Montgomery Canal it was a very pleasant walk and along this stretch were swans nesting.

Montgomery Canal / Offa's Dyke Path swans
Swans and cygnets on the Montgomery Canal stretch of Offa’s Dyke Path approaching Llanmynech

Apart from water and an apple we had no refreshments and were very disappointed to find The Golden Lion at Four Crosses was shut. So onward to Llanmynech where everywhere had stopped serving food 🙁 a pint and a packet of peanuts were lunch and dinner! Here we awaited our taxi to return us to Kington and the car for the trip back home – happy, dry, tired but accomplished.

Have you walked this route?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

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Read my post on avoiding blisters! Which I managed to mess up on this walk 🙁

How I deal with my blisters from long walks

Birds spotted on the Kington to Llanmynech stretch July 13th – 16th 2017
Different birds from the previous stretch are marked *

Wheatear
Yellow Hammer
Chiff Chaff
Black Bird
Song thrush *
Goldfinch
Sky Lark
Swallow
Housemartin *
Swift *
Wren
House Sparrow *
Dunnock
Long tailed tit
Coal tit
Great tit
Blue tit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail *
Nuthatch
Stonechat
Starling *
Robin
Green Woodpecker *
Spotted Woodpecker

Buzzard
Kestrel
Peregrine
Red Kite

Wood Pigeon
Magpie

Carrion Crow *
Jackdaw *
Rook *
Raven

Pheasant
Red legged Partridge *

Mute Swan and cygnets *

Offa's Dyke Path
Swans & Cygnets on the Montgomery Canal.
Photo. courtesy of Mark Godfrey

Heron
Moorhen *
Mallard *

Cormorant *

4 Pillars for Good Health

I believe there are four pillars for good health. We all know that regular exercise will help us to have a healthier heart, reduce health risks and help our mobility (have a read of my Functional Fitness blog) but doing it is another matter. However there are three other things which are equally important, in my opinion, to good health and a happier life. They are what we eat, what we think and quality sleep.

Good Health Pillar 1 – Let’s start with what we eat.

Understanding the value of what we put into our bodies (nutritionally) might influence what we do eat. I’m not a Dietitian or Nutritionist but there is lots of advice and information “out there”, and it doesn’t have to be complicated, cool or the latest fad or super food.  Take a look at these websites     http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/healthy-eating/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx  and http://nicsnutrition.com/about-me/

You may be better placed spending your time looking in to this than paying out for something like Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Aloe C9 Cleanse, Joe Wicks (The Body Coach),  Lighter Life or the like.  These may help with support and motivation (see my thoughts on mindset below) but really developing your understanding of the basics of a good diet will give you lifelong sustainable skills not short term restrictive plans.

You have to look at what you are nourishing your body with as a long term life change; rebel against the modern society of quick fixes – they don’t exist and only send you into a spiral of despair when the results don’t come or are not sustained. Only YOU can lift yourself out of this cycle and YOU CAN. Take responsibility. Take control.

pillars of good health -food
Preparing coleslaw!

You need to develop a new and good relationship with food, it is not a crutch for your emotional state (if anything it fuels that cycle). Food is the fuel that makes our brilliant bodies work properly. It is the petrol for our car, and our car is the very top model, the very best, most exquisite, a fantastic feat of engineering – we should and will be very proud of it. But we need to look after it, putting the right fuel in will go a long way to getting it to run in Formula 1 condition.

Discovering what good food is and beginning to understand the detrimental effects foods can have on your body. Like those containing too much sugar or processed foods containing many additives (chemicals) to make them taste good or keep longer. You can then change the balance and variety of foods you consume, this will have amazing results on your well-being. Just give it a go! 

Good food is not an expensive or time consuming option. Aldi and other supermarkets sell fabulous products at great prices, and nutritious meals can be put together in minutes. Look here for inspiration; https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/15-minute-meal

 

pillars of good health - food
Eggs – a great food!

Good Health Pillar 2 – Mindset

I know it is a “chicken & egg” situation, I believe having the right mindset is imperative to getting your head around eating well. You will find that as your body adjusts to this new fuel you will feel energised and motivated perhaps to tweak your foods even more or get out for a walk, swim or cycle. One will support the other and you will gradually feel happier, healthier and motivated to carry on this journey.

You need to be committed to make changes – whatever your motivation

  • health scares; breathlessness, racing heart, joint pains
  • aesthetic reason “nothing fits” , I’m not going to buy the next size up
  • social reasons; you want to join friends on that hiking/cycling/beach holiday
  • family reasons; I can’t play with the grandchildren or help my ageing parents

The reason will be personal to you, the solution will be personal to you and the resolution yours alone.

Good Health Pillars

I have written blogs previously on mindset and sleep, and often write about fitness and will be writing more about these pillars of health shortly, so sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Do you have any advice on food choices?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Read more about sleep and health here; http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx

SIgn up for Julia Buckley’s online gym here http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

This post contains an affiliate link.

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

Update 22/8/17 further blogs posts

on sleep; https://www.jenafitlife.com/sleep-pillar-of-good-health/  and mindset; https://www.jenafitlife.com/mindset/

I was feeling sorry for myself, do you ever feel a little down?

There I was walking Rufus on a glorious Monday morning (there’s the rub 🙁 ) feeling a little sorry for myself. Why? The sun was out and warm, at 8.15! I was in the countryside with my best friend (my dog), the cattle had said hello – all my favourite things.  A good day lay ahead, I’m my own boss, I was planning to include a workout, a trip to the gym with my youngest daughter and a catch up chat with my sister before her holiday.

Good Mooorning - feeling sorry for myself
The cattle say Good Moooorning!

So why was I feeling sorry for myself? Well before my walk I’d scrolled through my Instagram feed and viewed gorgeous blue seas and beaches, hen parties with lots of friends and pic’s of couples kissing……it made me feel a little lonesome, and perhaps a little sad.
Do you ever feel like this?

It’s at times like these that I have to shake myself, perhaps remind myself why I’m here (in this situation), how I got here * and what that really means to me**.  I’m not going to say this is easy to do but it brings me perspective and makes me count my blessings not my inadequacies or losses. It’s at times like these I have to “force” myself into a happier space.

** So what does it mean to me: freedom, control, choice, independence…… I may not be able to control all the circumstances life throws at me but I can control and choose how I experience them.

So my advice is:

  • Don’t dwell on the past; the should’ve been or could’ve been
  • What is, what is; live it or make plans to change it
  • Perhaps pick on an uplifting mantra for times like this, and when your thoughts stray use it
  • Build a brighter future and when I analyse what that really means to me ….. It is actually where I am and what I am currently working on and building. I’ve had it all (the multiple friends, the kissing) and it’s probably only the sea that I’m missing in this moment!

I believe the bottom line is I can choose how I’m feeling on the whole. Sometimes I need to remind myself to choose happiness and to be positive.

Rufus as I'm feeling sorry for myself
Rufus waiting as I jotted my “feeling sorry for myself” thoughts!

 

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” Henry Miller

Do you have any tips or tricks for picking yourself up out of a bad time?

* Check out these blog posts to read about my new life and link further to how that came about  http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-waters-part-1/ and http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-water-part-2/

Read more about making changes in your life here https://www.jenafitlife.com/make-a-change/

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Do you know what Functional Fitness is?

What is functional fitness?

Functional fitness means to me being able to handle real-life physically, be that digging the garden, changing the bed sheets or walking the dog or whatever your regular activities are.

Walking the dog!

As we get older it’s easy to get less mobile as joints stiffen up, aches & pains manifest themselves and moving gets more difficult. BUT it is for these reasons that it is really important to keep moving, to ensure you can get up off the floor or lift your grandchildren (or children) out of the highchair or car seat.

Whatever age you are, are you functionally fit?

Can you climb the stairs without gasping for breath? Can you get yourself in and out of a chair? Can you get into the bath? Or carry your shopping into the house? The list goes on ………

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then its time to take some action. It’s not too late to address your functional fitness – start slowly; walk a little every day, join a class – Pilates is great. Get advice at your Doctors and have a look here at the NHS website for lots of health and fitness advice.

You may be attending a gym and able to lift weights or pull weights but does that translate to functional fitness? The gym machine workout isolates muscle groups, it doesn’t teach muscle groups to work together as they are required to do in real life activities. A good starting point might not be the gym machines but doing exercises in which you have to control and balance your own body weight.

Workout at home  – no-one can see you or judge you.

You can gain confidence, mobility and doing bodyweight exercises will help your functional fitness. Join an online gym, I have been working out at home with this great online gym for a few years now, it is second to none. There are many FREE workouts but for only £6.50 per month you can access 4 and 12 week training programmes, over 200.workouts and a supportive online community. Bargain!

Being fitter will result in so many health benefits, you may be surprised to hear that your mental health and sleep are very likely to improve. What’s not to love about doing some physical exercise on a daily basis?

Functional fitness is important for your independence and long term health. Regular strengthening exercises and using the right technique can make the world of difference and give you the freedom you deserve, so take action NOW.

functional fitness
Bringing the 20kg chick food in

 

Let me know; Are you Functionally Fit?

More information

MIND.org Fitness & Mental Health

mentalhealth.org Fitness & Mental Health

webmd.com working-out-for-real-life-functions

Thanks for reading.

Jen

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Read my blog on Fitness Challenges here

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!