Firstly, I would like to say that the great thing about these plans is that they do not berate you for minor hiccups in your weight loss journey. MuTu and ThinkingSlimmer both recognise that we are all human, and there are days when we will just need to eat cake, or some crisps, other non-diet food. There are times when we are not feeling too great, or are tired with a teething baby or have had some personal trauma that makes us feel disinclined to be follow a diet or do any exercise. And that is fine. You can take a MuTu breathe day, and if you are so tired you fall asleep without listening to your pod one night (as I did) , it’s not the end of the world.
So at this point, while we are feeling all forgiving and relaxed, maybe I shall confess to eating an inordinate amount of cake last week and regaining 2lbs. I typed that really quickly – did you notice? – in the hope that you will read it really really quickly too and, errr..overlook that little oopsie.
Moving onwards….Thinking Slimmer have continued with their motivational daily emails and apart from my blip, I am still noticing that I am eating less and stopping when full. The MuTu workout for this week is the same as last week, and I am pleased to say that I can hold a plank for a whole minute now. I can feel my stomach muscles becoming more rigid, even if they are still covered in a bit of squidgey fat. I have also found out that I have a 3 finger wide diastis recti (gap in outer tummy muscle, a common occurrence in pregnancy). This makes me feel a little ‘ew’ and explains why the sit ups and crunches I was doing previously were not having any effect on my muffin top.
So onwards and upwards, and I will try to do a two minute plank tomorrow and step up the duration of my exercises too, to make up for the weaknesses of last week. In my favour though, and despite the 2lbs gained, I have lost half an inch off my hips and another half off my waist, so I am still feeling happy that I’m heading in the right direction.
This competition was won by Beky Daly – Congratulations!
You’re lucky people, you really are, because I nearly kept this beautiful prize all for myself. When the people at Toyella contacted me, I literally clapped my hands with excitement (quietly, because baby was in bed). I love Toyella, they really are an innovative and an excellent quality brand and I would love to own just about everything that they have on their website.
But it’s you who can be the lucky one, because now the summer is here you will no doubt be wanting to play outside with your kids, and Toyella has given me a wonderful sand play set to give to one lucky person.
But this is no ordinary play set, it is part of Toyellas new Green Toys range and is 100% made from recycled plastic milk bottles! I throw away loads of these things in the recycling box, so I am vey pleased that they are ending up as good, durable playthings.
So, to enter this competition, which will end at midnight on the 5th August 2011, all you have to do is:
1) Visit the Green Toys page and leave a comment below telling me what your next favourite Green Toys product is and leave your email address in the comment so that you can be contacted if you win, and also to say that you agree to receive Toyellas newsletter.
Additional entries (leave a separate comment for each with a method of contacting you):
The winner will be picked using randomiser.org.
If we do not receive a reply from the winner within 3 days then the competition will be re-drawn.
The competition is open to anyone but we will only deliver to the UK.
Have you used Arnica gel? I was only familiar with the homoeopathic version of Arnica, pills and creams, but I tried a sample of the gel, which is made from non-homoeopathic Arnica flowers – just straight herbal stuff. It really does the trick – anything that aches or twinges, just shove it on (gently!) and it totally helps, pretty quickly.
I did a bit of digging around and found out that there are lactones in it that are extremely anti-inflammatory. So I gave some to my partner to use after a heavy day out working (he works on planting contracts, which is quite heavy duty on the muscles), and he was thoroughly impressed. He now carries it around in his jeep as well as having it handy at home! It doesn’t seem to stop being effective after a few weeks of using it, as he’s found with other topical painkillers.
Arnica seems to have been a very popular medicinal plant for many centuries, with lots of folk stories attached to it. For example, it used to be hung up on roofs as a protection against lightening! Don’t try this at home – it is not scientifically proven… On the other hand, there seems to be quite a lot of research evidence for Arnica used as a gel.
• A study of patients with osteoarthritis of the fingers found that Arnica gel was as effective as the commonly used synthetic topical painkiller, ibuprofen gel. 
• A study in patients suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knees found that 3 out of 4 experienced an improvement in their condition after using Arnica gel. 
• A study of patients with rheumatic complaints in at least one body site found that average pain measurements decreased by 50% over 3 weeks of using Arnica gel, with 43% being able to reduce other pain medication. 
• A preparation of Arnica flowers was found to be more effective in the treatment of muscle ache when applied externally than placebo. 
 Widrig R et al. Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study. Rheumatol Int. 2007; 27: 585-591.
 Knüsel O et al. Arnica montana gel in osteoarthritis of the knee: an open, multicentre clinical trial. Advances in Therapy. 2002; 19 (5): 209-218.
 Knüsel O et al. AtroMed®-Gel bei rheumatischen Beschwerden am Bewegungsapparat. Sonderdruck Aus Ars Medici 13 2006: 1-3.
 Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Arnica. In: Herbal Medicines. 3rd ed. Great Britain: Pharmaceutical Press; 2007: 64-66.
Here’s the exciting bit – AVogel have 50, yes, FIFTY Sports Packs to give away to the first people to tweet this article. Click the button below to be entered into this very generous and exciting draw:
This post was guest written by A Vogel
Hooray! Well the good news is that I am a whole three pounds lighter! Not bad for the first week and only four more to my target. What’s more, my BMI is finally in the healthy range at last, at 25! I am very happy with this.
I have definitely noticed changes in my eating habits. I am realising when I feel full, and am not polishing off my sons leftovers as well as my own (well, not every meal). When you are helping another person to eat, it is easy to forget about enjoying your own meal, and the tendency is to just shovel it down so that you can pay attention to your child.
I have listened to the drop a dress size slimpod and the chillpod every night, but I have not listened to the making exercise easy pod because I don’t regularly have a definite nap time at midday every day, so from last night I have added that to my pre-sleep playlist. I think I am also a little bit more chilled out too, which is definitely a good thing. And I think I’m falling a little bit in love with the man with the soothing voice, even if he does send me off to sleep sometimes. Although it seems the easiest thing in the world just to listen to something before you go to sleep, in reality there are nights when I have had to force myself, because it has gotten late and I really just want to go straight to sleep. I am going to have to be stricter with myself about internet-off and pods-on time.
I have done my MuTu exercises daily, well, almost-daily because I think I may have missed Saturday in a haze of over-tiredness. Week two of the programme introduces some interval training to get my heart rate up and to start to make me strong. I did definitely perspire! Some of the exercises involve skipping, so I have modified these to suit myself because I have a clicky knee that hurts if I jump on it, and also my ceilings are low and its been rainy and also..oh yeah..i’m a pretty rubbish skipper and keep tripping over the skipping rope. When the weather is nicer I may attempt to skip but for now my skipping is replaced by jogging round the living room and hallway, an activity which my son and dog seem to find entertaining also; picture me, followed by dog and small boy. It is a pain having to run upstairs and change into your sports bra too, if you find a window of opportunity for exercise, and I can jog clutching my chest to keep it still a lot easier than skip.
It’s amazing how long a minute feels when one is in the plank position, but I have a strange liking for an exercise called the gecko. The video demonstrations are very clear and easy to understand and quite relaxing to watch and Wendy makes it all look very easy, with none of the red-faced huffy-puffy-omgisaminuteup-iness that I so glamorously add to the exercises. With all this physical stuff, let’s see if i can lose another lb this week. fingers crossed!
When I opened the parcel from Peter Rabbit Organics, I was immediately taken with the handy size of these juices. In 150ml packets, they are the perfect size for my one and a half year old, and small enough to be carried in his changing bag without adding too much extra weight for me. We all love Peter Rabbit, he brings back memories from my own childhood, so the packaging was instantly visually appealing to me – they look like a good quality brand. Containing real 100% organic fruit juice, they are diluted so that they are positively good for my little boy.
Because the packets are quite small, he was able to finish most of it on one go which was a relief, because he loves to have a play with his drinks when they are finished, and this involves taking out the straw and putting it back in a few times and then tipping the remainder of the contents all over the floor/himself/whoever is nearby. I tried the drinks and they are a lovely flavour too, and not too strong, so will not be harmful for his tiny teeth. We tried the pear, blackcurrant and apple, and apple and grape and my favourite was the blackcurrant and apple, though my son polished them all off with equal gusto.
At around 55p from Sainsburys, Asda, Ocado, Toys r us and Waitrose, to name a few, I think they are a good and reasonably priced drink that I will buy in the future. The juices also come in larger sizes for when your child grows.
Disclaimer: The product was sent for free. I was not obliged to write this post and the opinions expressed are all my own.
Most members of the public in Hinckley and surrounding communities will be aware of the imposing new building on Upper Bond Street which was opened in 2000 to house the Magistrates Courts, replacing the listed building attached to the Police Station, and the closed Victorian Courtroom in Market Bosworth. How many are aware, however, of the long history of Magistrates, also known as Justices of the Peace, an office which was created in 1361 by Edward 111 and is 650 years old this year?
In medieval times law and order in towns like Hinckley was enforced by beadles, salaried officials, or petty constables. They were local dignitaries, tradesmen or shopkeepers who were unpaid and served for a year at a time. From 1252 beadles and constables would organise Night Watch made up of teams of local residents, and if a “hue and cry” was raised, everyone had to join in! In Leicestershire most buildings would be wood and thatch, and in addition to law enforcement a large part of the Night Watch’s duty was to look out for fires. The Black Death in 1348 devastated communities and led to a breakdown in law and order, leading to harsh punishments and lack of confidence in the delivery of justice.
The Justice of the Peace Act of 1361 introduced the concept of centrally-administrated justice in England and ended the old system of law enforcement. A Statute of 1363 ordered that courts were held in main towns four times a year, known as the Quarter Sessions. Justices of the Peace (JPs) were chosen by monarchs, rather than local residents, and would typically be “one Lord and with him three or four of the most worthy in the County” to keep the peace and to pursue, arrest and punish offenders. As to their qualifications, they were at first directed to be “of the best reputation, and most worthy men of the county, of the most sufficient knights, esquires, and gentlemen of the law”. They tended to be affluent, powerful members of their communities and were chosen more for their local importance than their qualifications and abilities.
There was no such thing as equal opportunities in 1361, so less well off people would not have been appointed, and certainly no women – that did not change till the 20thcentury. Only men were able to be appointed Justices of the Peace until 1919 when Parliament passed the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which allowed women to be created JPs, act as members of juries, and train as solicitors and barristers. Within thirty years, nearly a quarter of JPs were women, and at the present time numbers of men and women are roughly equal.
In Henry VI’s time, it was considered undesirable that men of lower rank had crept into the Magistracy, and an income qualification of £20 was introduced. In George II’s reign this was increased to £100 to stop ordinary people being appointed and resulted in the Magistracy being exclusive and unrepresentative. In modern times every effort is made to recruit JPs who have a wide range of experience and reflect the communities they serve.
The system set up in 1361 developed over the centuries, with JPs taking responsibility for Poor Law administration, turnpike roads, and a wide range of administrative duties. Until the changes of the Industrial Revolution the population was made up of largely rural communities interspersed with market towns and very few cities. Punishments were handed out by the Justices of the Peace in what would now seem to us to be a very arbitrary way. People with no money would not be able to afford lawyers in court and may not always have felt they were dealt with fairly.
The most serious offences were sent to the Assize Courts to be dealt with by Judge and jury, but JPs had wide ranging powers including sentencing offenders to hanging, transportation, whipping, the stocks, fines and imprisonment.
From the 14th to 17th centuries it was unusual to imprison people convicted of committing serious crime as many offences were punishable by death. Common punishments for lesser offences included whipping, public humiliation and branding with hot irons. However, petty criminals, vagrants, prostitutes and the destitute were often locked up in bridewells (named after the Bridewell prison in London), or small lock-ups which were often housed in barns, alehouses or outbuildings. Occupants of these buildings could also include parents of illegitimate children, fathers refusing to support their families or servants running away. Bridewell inmates were forced to work, which in this area this would probably mean spinning or weaving. Justices of the Peace could sentence anyone they considered to be “idle” to a stint in a bridewell to “learn the virtues of hard work”. During the 1600s the Stuarts regarded loyal JPs as “ the King’s eyes and ears in the country”.
To begin with, JPs often conducted business from their own homes. Later they would meet in public buildings in their communities, as justice was a very local matter. The Dixie public house in Market Bosworth was one of the locations where Magistrates Courts were held, having the convenient facility of cellars to lock up offenders safely.
From the early 19th century as the workload of the courts increased, Parliament was pressed to take action to reform the operation of the judicial system. Much of the administrative work formerly done by JPs was transferred to a developing Local Government system. Magistrates Courts became more like the ones we see today, and many new Courts were built. Market Bosworth Court, which is now used as a schoolroom, was a good example of a small Victorian courthouse. Until its closure in the 1990s, the imposing portrait of Queen Victoria used to hang at the back of the Court, sternly watching the proceedings.
Offences dealt with by the JPs have changed over the years. From Tudor times the Poor Laws ruled that people who had no work or money were the responsibility of the Parish where they were born. Records show that workers from other areas who found themselves unemployed in Hinckley were frequently sent back to their places of origin by the Magistrates. This was particularly prevalent in times of economic recession. Offences such as poaching, which are hardly ever seen today, were common in previous centuries when unemployment benefits and support for poor people were non-existent apart from charitable provision. Heavy fines were the usual sentence. Court records before World War 1 contain cases of petty theft by domestic servants – a job description rarely seen nowadays. Current court lists contain a large number of motoring offences, whereas court lists from Market Bosworth Court in 1953 reveal a proliferation of youths being fined from 5 shillings (25p) to 20 shillings (£1) for riding bicycles with no lights or defective construction. In 1917 betting was against the law, and a Desford man running an illegal betting business was fined £10, a considerable sum in those days, or a month in prison if he failed to pay. Up to the 1960s youths who were convicted of offences such as theft were likely to be sent to approved schools – institutions which no longer exist.
During the early decades of the 20th century the Justices of the Peace, who were part-time and untrained, came under increasing criticism as being amateurish and often unsuited for the task of dispensing justice. A Royal Commission on JPs reported in 1948. Though it strongly defended the position of the JP within the judicial system, it recognised that the administration of Magistrates’ Courts needed to be modernised. This led to the introduction of training for Magistrates and the introduction of barristers acting as full-time Clerks who could advise JPs in legal aspects of their work
People wishing to become Justices of the Peace in the 21st Century need to undergo a rigorous selection procedure, and to demonstrate analytical and judicial skills and a lack of bias, as well as an understanding of their communities and a clean criminal record. All Magistrates undergo comprehensive ongoing training and have performance appraisals. On appointment by the Lord Lieutenant, Magistrates all swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and the Judicial Oath “To do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Realm without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
Adult courts are open to members of the public aged over 14 who wish to visit and see how justice is administered on behalf of the community. Justices of the Peace have served their communities continuously since 1361 to the present day, and this year sees their 650th anniversary.
As a celebration of the contribution Justices of the Peace have made in this country, a travelling exhibition will be on display in Hinckley library from 18th July to 12th August. It will then go to Market Harborough Museum from 16th September to 31st October, and Charnwood Museum, Loughborough from 11th< November to 24th December. Admission is free and all are welcome to visit us.
I think it is time to make the announcement that I have been waiting to make all week. I am immensely proud, honoured and dead chuffed to have been asked to review the Mutu System and Thinking Slimmer. Previously, these programmes had been operating separately, but a clever someone somewhere decided that it would b a good idea if they were performed alongside each other.
Mutu is an exercise system that is designed for the Mummy Tummy, addressing core strength as well as food . The programme lasts twelve weeks and each week you receive an email directing you to a web page and video explaining and demonstrating what your tasks are for the week. The website is very easy to use and beautifully designed and contains lots of interesting and supporting information. I discovered, after reading the initial manual, that the sit ups and crunches that I had been doing my actually have made the gap in my tummy muscles worse, but MuTu will help my abdomen and pelvic floor become strong once again.
Thinking Slimmer is a weight loss programme that I have heard great things about on twitter, with people losing impressive amounts of weight, so I was very eager to hear more. You listen to a ten minute or so Slim Pod every night, before you go to sleep, for 21 consecutive days, to begin with, a part of a 42 day programme. Which pod you listen to is your choice – there are a good selection to choose from on the website and can be bought individually or in packages. I chose ‘Drop a dress size’, ‘Making fitness fun and easy’, and ‘Chillpod’, because I suffer from anxiety, and I’d really like to be a nice calm ambient kind of person. Every day, an email is received containing useful and motivational information to help you think your way through becoming slimmer.
As well as this, @mutusystem and @thinkingslimmer are on twitter and facebook, so that you can chat to them and others that are following the programme and receive help and support.
I will blog weekly and tweet daily about my journey through these programmes and will start with my initial reactions, on day two of the programmes.
I have identified my key muscle areas that I will be strengthening and have discovered that I have a gap in my tummy muscles, caused by pregnancy. The first set of exercises look easy enough, and can be completed in a short space of time. Mummy lying on the floor wiggling her legs about is a great new game for Cub, so he sat on my tummy to provide some resistance for me. Very thoughtful. Despite the exercises feeling easy to do, the next day I could definitely feel a small ache in my waistline, providing me with reassurance that something is working.
I have decided to listen to Drop a dress size followed be Chillpod every night before bed, and Making fitness fun and easy and Chillpod while Cub sleeps, in the middle of the day (two Chillpods – I know – I have been very tense recently!).
The manual advises to pick three goals and to make them public, to increase my success. So, my three goals are:
- To do the MuTu exercises daily
- To lose half a stone and fit into all my size 12 jeans comfortably.
- To be a nice calm relaxed person
and I will achieve them by the end of the August.
Yikes! It’s out there now, for all to see!
I listened to my first pods on Friday night and I was amazed to say that yesterday, even after a paltry six and a half hours sleep, I was much calmer than usual. If I don’t sleep well I am usually racked with lethargy and a quivering nervous wreck but I felt a little core of calm in my belly. Today the feeling has continued and increased, even though I am again pretty tired. I also had a buzz of energy yesterday, and cleaned the house (even the walls and skirting boards), played with my son and took him and my dog on a very long walk to the playground and back (in my HotPants, which lived up to their name).
I have not noticed a difference in my appetite yet but this may take time, as they say (my words not theirs), that slowly, slowy, catchy monkey.
If you would like to find out more, the web pages are here:
As children, Im sure we have all had imaginary friends and who better to share a cosy bedtime story with than Ping and Pong, Lucy's Grandfather clock-dwelling friends.
Today, Lucy is going to spend the day with her Grandad on his allotment, but not without her pocket pals, Ping and Pong. Together they will have a wonderful adventure and learn all about bees, and seeds and how vegetables grow.
Written by Amy Trevaskus, this book is wonderfully illustrated in a unique style by Alison Heath. The delicate and detailed illustrations bring the story to life and my one and a half year old was fascinated by them, pointing to the different elements and asking me what they were. He loves nature and people and he loves looking at the pictures while i condense the story for him. He is a bit young to appreciate such a volume of words at the moment so i read the story to him over the course of a few days. It is a magical yet remarkably educational tale that is easy to understand and to read, and will be enjoyed by this family together as my son grows up.
I look forward to reading the rest of the series, and feel sure that they will become a childrens classic. If you want to buy this book, it is on offer along with Ping and Pong Splash plus a free book bag at http://pingandpongbooks.webs.com/apps/webstore/products/show/2330306
and can also be bought at amazonDisclaimer: The product was sent for free. I was not obliged to write this post and the opinions expressed are all my own.