Health and Fitness
I try to do at least one charity run every year, and this year I’ll be doing the Race for Life again. The Race for Life is a huge nationwide event which runs every year, where women and children of all ages come together to run, jog, walk, or even dance a 5k or 10k route, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I’ve signed up to do the local 5k race on 5th July, which gives me just under two months to do some fundraising!
My fundraising target for this year is £50, but I hope to raise as much money as possible. So, if you can spare a few pounds, please sponsor me via my JustGiving page. Also, if you’re a UK taxpayer, please tick the Gift Aid box, as this will increase your donation by 25%, at no extra cost to you.
Thank you everyone! And please check back in July for my Race for Life photos!
Over the next couple of months I’ll be publishing a series of short posts about my ‘Summer Saviours’ – those absolute essentials that make summer’s little niggles that little bit easier to deal with.
Today’s post is about Superdrug‘s Buzz Off Mosquito Bite Relief, which doesn’t leave my side during the summer months. Unfortunately for me, I am really prone to insect bites at this time of year, especially as I tend to spend a lot of time outdoors in nature. Mosquitos, spiders, horseflies – you name it, they love me, and boy do their bites itch! Every time I get bitten I end up with a massive, swollen, red, itchy bite that lasts for weeks and usually scars, and up until this year I hadn’t found anything to stop the itch. I tried pretty much everything on this Wiki; ice packs, hot water, ointments, hot spoons, toothpaste, deodorant. But nothing worked, until I tried Superdrug’s little contraption…
To use the Mosquito Bite Relief, you have to press the end directly onto the bite, and press the button five times to administer five tiny zaps. It may sound painful, and it does feel slightly uncomfortable, but it’s no way near as bad as the discomfort caused by a bite, so it’s definitely worth it! And surprisingly, those little zaps are a miracle cure, as they localise the poison in the bite, and prevent the release of histamine, which causes itching. It’s best to use the Bite Relief as soon as you can after being bitten, and if you do it can even stop the swelling, and it truly works!
Superdrug’s Mosquito Bite Relief can be used on any kind of insect bite, and can treat up to 1000 bites, without the use of batteries. It’s also completely safe, non-allergenic, and free of chemicals, so is perfect for use on any skin type. I carry mine with me wherever I go, and it’s been an absolute blessing. A summer must at just £4.99, especially if you’re going travelling!
*This Superdrug Buzz Off Mosquito Bite Relief was sent to me by Superdrug for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
This morning, my fiancé and I took part in the local Sport Relief event, and ran not one, but three miles! The Sport Relief Games aim to bring the nation together to run, swim or cycle to raise money for charity, which will be spent by Comic Relief to change the lives of people living in the UK and abroad. My fiancé and I ran as a team, and together we managed to raise more than our fundraising target, which I’m very pleased about!
The run was hard work, and I did have to slow to a walk a few times (I blame my complete lack of training), and the weather was unpredictable to say the least (rain and hail followed by hot sun), but it was actually a lot of fun. In fact, the course we ran was about 3.6 miles in length, so we definitely worked hard for our sponsorship!
This was my fifth charity run and I hope to do an even longer one next time – better get training! Did you take part in a Sport Relief event this year?
About three years ago I made a couple of changes to my lifestyle (namely eating healthier and exercising more), and consequently lost three stone in weight over the healthy time span of about two years. Since then, though I don’t weigh myself obsessively, I do like to check my weight every now and then, mainly because I want to maintain my weight and make sure I’m not losing any more! So, when I was offered a set of Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales to review I happily accepted, especially as my previous set had recently broken!
To look at, the Ozeri scales aren’t anything special, but the design is nice and modern, and the tempered glass top is a lot better quality than the typical white plastic sets of scales you often see. They are also slim and, though weighty, aren’t too heavy, so they’re also easy to store. The scales run on four AAA batteries, which is handy as they’re easy to get hold of, unlike my last set which used one of those flat silver batteries that aren’t always easy to find.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a set of scales is their accuracy, and these are incredibly accurate. I even tested them alongside my mum’s bathroom scales! I weighed myself three times on each to compare the readings, and on my mum’s I was given three slightly different readings, whereas on these I got the same reading every time. I think this is down to the four high precision GX sensors that the scales boast, as they can weigh up to 440lbs/200kg, in 0.2lb/0.1kg increments, so they’re extremely precise.
You can also change the units that the scales measure in, from pounds to kilograms to stone, using a small switch on the back. I personally weigh myself in stone, but it’s always handy to have the other two options there, especially if you want to weigh your suitcase before going on holiday to check you’ve not gone over your baggage allowance!
The screen on the front of the scales is a nice size, has a blue back light, and the digits are large so they’re easy to read. A bonus for anyone who doesn’t have the best eyesight. It also switches itself off automatically to help conserve battery life.
Overall, the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales are a quality set of scales and they do everything you’d want them to do. They’re robust, accurate, low maintenance, and easy to read, and are well worth the £18.95 they cost. If you’d like a set for yourself, they’re available on Amazon.
*These Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
I drink a lot of water every day, especially when I’m at work, but I really begrudge paying for bottled water when you can get it for free from the kitchen tap, especially as the bottles that bottled water comes in aren’t widely recycled, so the majority end up on landfill, littering the streets or even floating around in the ‘plastic soup’ that is our oceans! As such, I have long been on the look out for a more environmentally friendly, reusable bottle, so I was extremely pleased when I discovered Dopper on Twitter.
Dopper is a Dutch product which was invented with the aim to put a stop to the damaging effects that plastic bottles have on the environment. Dopper is a unique reusable bottle which has a zero net carbon footprint, and is BPA-free, meaning that the Dopper is free of the harmful chemical usually used in plastic production.
Dopper bottles are completely sustainable, as they can be refilled and used over and over again, and promote the drinking of free, calorie-free, thirst quenching WATER! There’s even a Dopper app so you can find out where to refill your bottle for free. The brand also contribute to water projects around the world through the Dopper Foundation, with 10% of all Dopper sales going straight into the Foundation to fund the introduction of safe, clean drinking water and facilities in countries such as Nepal.
If you want to find out more about Dopper, their work and ethos, click here.
What I love about my Dopper is that it doesn’t look like a normal bottle. It has an unusual but fashionable design which is also practical, and comes in a wide range of colours. The Dopper has a wide, flat lid which, at first, seemed a little unnecessary, until I realised why… Not only does the lid unscrew, but the white section unscrews as well, so you can use it as a drinking cup if you don’t fancy drinking straight from the bottle. An absolute genius addition to an already excellent product. Luckily, both the lid and the cup screw back on securely, so there’s no need to worry about leakage.
The Dopper holds 450ml of water, just a little less than your average bottle of water from a shop, and is the ideal size to carry with you in your bag, fit into the cup holder of your car or take with you on a run or whilst exercising. I can’t express enough how much I absolutely love my Dopper. The design is so innovative and functional, but it also looks fantastic and, most importantly, it’s so much kinder on the Earth than the bottled water you buy in shops!
In fact, I believe in Dopper so much that I have something very special to share with you… I have not one, but TWO Doppers to give away to two lucky readers – a red and an orange that both really stand out from the crowd.
To enter, all you have to do is complete as many of the tasks as you want/can on the Rafflecopter form below. The competition will run for three weeks, and will end at midnight (GMT) on 26th November. The giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and all entries will be checked. The winners will be chosen at random and announced the next day, and contacted via email, and will be given 48 hours to respond with their postal address. If no reply is received within this time, another winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
Having had minor health issues in the past, I now make a conscious effort to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible; eating well, exercising more and making sure my vital signs are tip-top. Not obsessively so, but just enough to know that I’m in good condition! An important piece of equipment in helping me check that I’m healthy is my blood pressure monitor – the new Braun ExactFit 5.
The Braun ExactFit 5 monitor comes with everything you need to check your blood pressure and heart rate – the monitor, two arm cuffs, an owner’s manual, four AA batteries and a handy black storage pouch. The arm cuffs come in two different sizes, S-M for arms measuring 22cm to 32cm, which is the size I use, and L-XL, measuring from 32cm up to 42cm, so everyone is catered for.
The monitor itself is sleek and compact for easy storage and transportation, and is a very intelligent piece of kit. After the initial simple task of inputting the time and date, very little interference is needed, but the monitor can do so much. It has a memory function and a multiple user option, so two people can use the monitor to store up to sixty results each, whilst remembering the exact time and date of each measurement, and after seven days it can calculate your full day, morning and evening average using your most recent readings. As it takes your blood pressure reading, the monitor also measures your heart rate, and has the very useful feature of being able to detect and highlight an irregular heartbeat. Furthermore, the coloured bar indicator down the side of the screen is compliant to the World Health Organisation, and gives guidance on whether your blood pressure is normal or too high. Despite its complex abilities, however, it is easy to understand, as the on-screen information is displayed clearly, in simple terms.
The ExactFit 5 is really easy to use, as the cuff depicts exactly how to fit it, with the red section and circular symbol having to sit over your main artery. Once you’ve got the cuff right, you just press the start button and the cuff will inflate. I have used home blood pressure monitors in the past which have felt uncomfortable and taken a long time to take and display a reading, but this one is surprisingly comfortable and quick. After a reading is taken, it deflates quickly and the result is accurate and displayed immediately, unlike some less sophisticated monitors where you have to wait a while for the reading to show whilst the cuff remains tight.
Whether you want to check your blood pressure quickly every now and then, or regularly, the Braun ExactFit 5 is invaluable. I imagine I’ll find it very useful when I eventually get pregnant, and it would also be ideal for the elderly or anyone with an existing health condition that requires regular checks.
The Braun ExactFit 5 has an RRP of £99.99. For further details visit www.braunbloodpressuremonitors.co.uk. Packed full of information and advice, Braun’s new microsite includes tips on controlling your blood pressure, as well as practical videos showing you how to fit your Braun blood pressure monitor and understand your measurements. The Braun blood pressure monitors are available nationwide at selected Boots stores. Visit the microsite for further information.
*This Braun ExactFit 5 Blood Pressure Monitor was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
One of my favourite keep fit activites is walking, and I always like to track my progress using a pedometer. However, every pedometer I’ve ever used has been cumbersome, noisy, and so basic it barely even worked. That was until I recently discovered the Ozeri 4×3 Motion Digital Pedometer, which does so much more than just count your steps, and now comes with me wherever I go!
This little gadget is a lot more sophisticated than your average pedometer as rather than clicking and only working when it moves up and down, it uses a 3D Tri-Axis Sensor, meaning it can sit at any angle or position along a Y, X or Z axis, and still work. Also, it not only records your steps, but also your distance, speed, the number of calories burned and the amount of time you’ve been walking for.
There’s a set-up option on the pedometer which allows you to set the date and time, but also your weight and stride distance. Using the latter two pieces of information, the pedometer is then able to calculate how far you’ve walked and how many calories you’ve burned depending on your weight, and every single time it does so it gives the same result as the MyFitnessPal app that I use on my phone, so it’s really accurate. It’s also easy to look back through your recorded data – you just press the mode button to scroll through today’s results, or the up and down arrows to check through the last seven days.
Unlike a lot of pedometers, the 4×3 is completely silent, and comes with a detachable neck strap so you can wear it around your neck if you so desire. However, its ultra slim design means it can sit in your pocket without looking or feeling too bulky, which is how I prefer to carry mine as it’s more discreet.
The pedometer has a few other useful features too, such as a blue backlight for night viewing, a sports timer, a clock and a calendar, and it automatically goes into sleep mode if you’ve stopped walking for thirty seconds or more. This helps to save the battery life, but also prevents it registering any other movements or vibrations as steps, which is handy.
My only issue with the Ozeri 4×3, and it’s a small one, is the colour. Though I like yellow, it wouldn’t be my first choice and I’d like to see a few other colour options be introduced. A purple one would be nice! But that’s only a tiny, insignificant quibble about an all-round brilliant pedometer that does what you want it to, and much, much more.
The Ozeri 4×3 Motion Digital Pedometer is available on Amazon UK and costs £15.95, which is a £16.61 saving on its RRP!
*This Ozeri 4×3 Motion Digital Pedometer was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
Evening everyone, I hope you’ve all been enjoying the Great British summer so far. I’m not usually a sun worshipper, but I’ve actually been really enjoying the hot weather this year… Probably because it’s been so long since we last had a bit of sun! Get ready for some good ol’ summer storms though (my favourite!), they’re on their way.
On a different note, I can’t quite believe it’s been more than a month since I last posted on here. I guess that just shows how busy I’ve been though, as I’m not usually one for abandoning my little blog. I’ve missed it, and I’ve missed you too! Lately my weekdays have been filled with the monotony of writing my postgraduate dissertation, which is twice as long as the undergraduate one I did two years ago. So as I’m sure you can understand, when considering the planning, supervisor meetings, intensive research and 20,000 word limit I have to reach by September, I’m left with very little free time for other forms of writing. I’m getting through it though, so hopefully I’ll be around a bit more in the near future, and things will definitely be back to normal in less than two months time.
It’s not all been hard work though, I’ve also been having a lot of weekend fun, some of which I’ll tell you about now…
30th June – Race for Life
At the end of June I ran the Race for Life in memory of my Grandad, with my sister, her best friend, and her best friend’s cousin. It was a fairly hot day and we were all expecting to walk most of it, but we surprised ourselves and ran around 4 kilometres, on and off, of the 5 kilometre distance, speed walking the rest. We all had a lot of fun and the atmosphere on the day was really lively and exciting. I managed to raise over £110 in total for Cancer Research UK, so a big thank you goes out to everyone who sponsored me.
13th July – Friend’s Wedding
Last weekend my partner and I went to our friend’s wedding reception, and it was lovely and quirky, and all outside. There was a vintage tea party in the afternoon, a curry buffet at night, pick n mix sweets to help yourself to, great music, sunny weather, huge garden games (I particularly enjoyed the big buzzer game) and brilliant company.
I didn’t get any good pictures of my outfit, but this is what I wore…
Cat Dress – H&M – £14.99
Clutch – Irregular Choice – £7.00 (from TK Maxx)
Black Suedette Shoe Boots – New Look – £15.99
20th July – Tramlines Festival
Yesterday, my dad, my partner and I headed up to Sheffield for the Tramlines Festival. The festival happens every year and is usually free, but it cost £6 this year which is still amazingly cheap. We went specifically to see two of our favourite bands – Amplifier and 65daysofstatic – but we also saw a few other bands which we enjoyed. The highlight of the day for me was 65daysofstatic’s Sleepwalk City installation at the Millennium Gallery, which involved a half hour live set accompanied by projected videos and surround sound. According to the Tramlines website, the installation explored ‘submersion, noise, and the collapse of everything’, and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Such an awe-inspiring experience that I’d love to repeat. Amplifier were as excellent as ever too, and they sang one of my favourite songs which is always a bonus.
Here are a couple of photos from the day that my dad took on his iPhone…
So that’s me! Busy, busy, but I have a backlog of products to review, a few Thrifty Finds to share with you and potentially a VIP event to attend, so keep an eye out for lots of exciting posts coming to Bewitchery soon.
What have you been doing with your summer so far?
On June 30th I will once again be running the Race for Life in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The Race for Life is a big event which runs every year, where women of all ages come together to run, jog or walk a 5k or 10k distance, and the funds raised through sponsorship go towards research to help beat all 200 types of cancer.
My sister Freya and I have decided to run the course together, and will be completing the 5k track in memory of those we have lost to cancer, and in celebration of those who have overcome it. The day is always a lot of fun, full of music, colour, fancy dress and positivity, and I am really looking forward to taking part. I am absolutely determined to run most if not all of the track (rather than walking it), so I am hoping to get a bit of training in before the big day!
My fundraising target for this year is £100, so if you can spare a few pennies and would like to sponsor me, you can do so via my online fundraising page. It’s safe to use and all money goes directly to Cancer Research UK, and can be Gift Aided too. Thank you so much in advance!
It has been a few weeks now since the London Olympics finished, and the incredible event that is the Paralympics is slowly coming to a close. For me, the last month and a half has been the most important time of sport I have ever experienced, as it has truly made an impression on me, and inspired and encouraged me to become more active and take part in more sport.
Up until a few years ago I was rarely interested in sport. With Athletics as the exception, I dreaded and loathed doing PE at school. I didn’t support any teams, and watching a game of sport was my idea of hell. Over the last few years, thanks to my partner, I have started to enjoy watching some sports, namely rugby (my city is home to the Leicester Tigers, one of the best rugby teams in the UK) and the UFC, but even through my sport-hating childhood I always had a soft spot for the Olympics. I remember spending hour after hour watching various events, but once the games were over they soon disappeared from my consciousness and I carried on as normal. This year was different, however.
With the 2012 Olympics being held in London I really felt the buzz of the lead up to the games. I went to see the Olympic and Paralympic Torches being carried through Leicester (which I blogged about here), and once the Olympics began the country felt so positive and a nice place to be. Team GB performed amazingly well and I was glued to the screen every day, shouting my support and feeling so proud. I felt part of something big and I didn’t want it to end. And it didn’t! When the Paralympic games began last week I couldn’t wait to see how well our Paralympians would do, and so far they have been outstanding! Every single British Olympian and Paralympian has inspired me with their performance, and it is because of them that I am writing this post, because without that inspiration I wouldn’t have been encouraged to be more active and to keep fit!
I recently posted about reaching my weight loss target, which involved healthy eating and some good old-fashioned exercise, but I wanted to do something more than just walk everywhere. I learnt to enjoy exercise more on my journey to change my lifestyle, but since reaching my target I felt I was lacking a goal. As a result, and thanks to the Olympics, I started to look for activties where I could set myself goals to visibly and physically improve and hopefully become good at something, and here’s what I’m starting with…
A new swimming pool recently opened at the university I used to attend. I taught myself to swim in the sea when I was 4 or 5, and have always preferred swimming in the sea to pools. I thought I’d give the new pool a try though, and as it happens it is lovely. It’s clean and modern and doesn’t smell too strongly of chlorine, and its a pleasure to swim in. I’ve been a few times now since it opened and I have already seen my swimming improve. I have cut a few seconds off of the time it takes me to swim a length, and I have noticed that my body is starting to tone up.
2. Aqua Aerobics
I will be going to my first ever Aqua Aerobics class on Friday afternoon with my mum. I’ve been wanting to try a water fitness class for a while, so I decided to take the plunge (excuse the pun) and book a place. The class is 45 minutes long and will involve a lot of splashing about to music, I imagine. I’m hoping it will be a lot of fun!
I haven’t actually started jogging properly yet, but I now have all the kit to do so (I didn’t even own a pair of jogging bottoms up until a month or two ago), and I have every intention of going jogging at least once a week. If I don’t, force me to. It must happen!
4. To Be Continued…
That’s right! I don’t know what I want to try next, but I am going to look for another sport or fitness class to try out, so watch this space.
This is what I’ve done so far to keep the Olympic spirit alive. I’m determined to make the legacy of these wonderful games last and carry on keeping fit, trying new sports and being active, and I hope you will join me on my mission to do so! In fact, I plan on updating my blog with my fitness ventures every couple of months, so if you see me slacking give me a nudge.
Has the Olympics inspired you to try any new sports, or to keep fit?