The Benefits of cycling for mums & why I love my Whytes Fairfield bike

benefits of cycling for mums

 

**Disclaimer: The review of the Whyte’s Fairfield Women’s bike is a completely independent review and is my own experience and opinion of the bike.  However, this post does contain some affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn commission from qualifying purchases**

 

Hello everybody,

The Benefits of Cycling for mums:

One of the areas I really struggle with improving in my life is exercise and I expect this is the case for all you mums out there.

Unfortunately, the old quote “you can’t out run a bad diet” may not be completely true.  I  believe that you still need to address diet and exercise as a two pronged approach to living healthy.  There’s  increasing scientific evidence that exercise has a positive impact on gut health – regardless of whether you change your diet or not.    Exercise has also been proven to have a positive effect on mental health and general feelings of wellbeing.

When you have kids, finding ways to motivate yourself and find time to exercise becomes even more complicated.  So, here’s:

5 reasons why cycling is a great exercise for mums:-

  1. As cycling is a form of transport it can be easier to incorporate it into our everyday lives.  Cycling to work, according to a study by the British Medical Journal in 2017, significantly reduces the risk of developing and dying from cancer and heart disease.  Perhaps you can incorporate cycling to school or work as part of your everyday routine?  Or whenever you need something small from the local shop, jump on your bike rather than get into the car.
  2. Cycling can also reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke,  reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and help control weight.  It also helps to reduce stress and is a good form of relaxation – essential for us mums!
  3. It’s a great way to bond with our children.  Getting outdoors and experiencing exercise together is really important for family mental health.   Did you know children should be exercising for 60 minutes per day?  I know mine don’t achieve that, so cycling together will improve both mine and the children’s exercise levels.
  4. If your parents are fairly active, you could get them out on their bikes too.  Cycling is a great activity for grandparents as it’s a low impact exercise which is easier on joints.  I certainly find it easier on my arthritis than running.  This increases family bonding with the older generation.
  5. You can start cycling with your  children from 12 months – with them sitting in a bike seat in front or behind you. Even now as a mature grown up, I can remember sitting as a child behind my mum on her bike.  However, have someone on hand to help you when you try this for the first time.  Trying to get onto and start peddling with the extra body weight of a child balanced on your bike takes a bit of getting used to.     You can then move over to a tag-a-long, before starting the process of teaching them to ride their own bike with stabilisers – hard work but fun!

 

Tips for cycling with your kids:

  • Plan your route carefully.  Obviously try to avoid busy roads and preferably use cycle paths, tow paths or country tracks.  Also if they are very young and cycling themselves,  avoid any hills – mind you I don’t like hills either!
  • Make sure you have plenty of  snacks and drinks to keep them hydrated and motivated.  Making a purpose for your cycle ride can also be helpful – maybe cycling to the park or a playground, the shop or a local café.
  • Make sure they have appropriate clothing: in summer, hats and suncream, in winter lots of warm clothing as children chill quickly just sitting on the bike.
  • Ride in a line, with your children in the middle or if you are the only adult, cycle behind your children keeping an eye on them.  It is a bit un-nerving watching them swerve around but they will get better!

Most importantly, don’t forget cycle helmets for everyone!

For more cycling safety tips check out http://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/cycling-health-benefits/

 

Why I love my Whyte’s Fairfield Women’s bike

My lovely husband bought me a new bike for my birthday.  This is a hybrid bike i.e.  it’s designed to provide a good ride both on road and off road.  My previous bike was a rather heavy mountain bike.  As I mainly tend to cycle on lanes around my home (which all involve a steep hill) a mountain bike was always a comfortable ride but it was a really heavy and tiring climb up the hills.

It’s easy to become despondent and demotivated if you know every time you exercise it will be hard and painful!.

So, my new bike makes the whole experience much more enjoyable because it has a lighter alloy frame.  I’m not very technically minded but apparently it also has up to 27 gears provided by a Shimano gearing system which makes the up hills so much easier!

I gave the Whytes Fairfield a trial first as a mountain bike with my youngest son and a friend and her son.

The gearing was easy to master and I bumped along very smoothly.  However my bum did get a bit sore – I think that was mainly due to me being out of shape though!

 

Whyte's Fairfield Womens bike

 

I love the handle bars which are much more ergonomically designed to make it easier for my achy, arthritic hands to hold and operate the brakes.

Whyte's Fairfield handle bars

 

The seat is wide enough for a female bottom.  I love the stitching detail and the Whytes logo of a deer head.

Whyte's Fairfield bike seat

 

So, as you can see, having a bike can be great fun, especially with the kids.  If you do decide to get a bike go to a reputable bike shop, who will make sure the bike is the right size for you and will be able to advise you on all the technical bits!

Remember you can get out cycling anytime you want, in anyway you want.  Cycling provides a great family activity, or you can buddy up with a friend to help motivate you both.  I would especially recommend finding a route with a coffee stop half way round, so you can have a quick pit stop and make it a more sociable way of getting your exercise in.

My last tip:-

Treat yourself to some nice gear – you will feel more motivated when you put stuff on that makes you feel good.  A sloppy old t’shirt and baggy jog pants don’t motivate you in the same way.

 

 

Here’s to sunny days, cycling through the countryside to lovely tea gardens and cafes!!

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6 Healthy eating holiday tips and this week’s meal plan

6 healthy eating holiday tips

6 Healthy eating holiday tips

I absolutely love holidays.  They’re a great time to relax, enjoy time with loved ones, explore new places and enjoy food!!!

When on holiday though,  the last thing you want to do is restrict what you eat and drink.   However, I believe that by making a few simple little tweaks here and there to your food choices you can still stay on track with your healthy goals.  Here’s my 6 holiday tips:-

1. Enjoy Breakfast

If you are staying in a half board or bed and breakfast hotel then make the most of the breakfast on offer.  You’ve got the whole of the rest of the day to burn this food off, plus you’ve paid for it up front!

If you are self catering, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast to start the day off right – lots of fresh fruit, yogurts, eggs and maybe a croissant or two!

2. Eat a light lunch

If you’ve eaten a big breakfast, then only eat a very light lunch.  A salad, or some fresh fruit should keep you going.  Obviously, children will need more – mine are always starving no matter how big a breakfast they’ve had.

3. Do some exercise

Try to do some exercise.  Get out and explore your holiday destination by walking as much as possible.  Use the pool or sea to set yourself a swimming challenge each day.  Spend time playing with the kids – tag, table tennis, cricket or tennis if available.

4. Keep track of your drinks

It’s easy whilst on holiday to drink more beer, cocktails, wine and even sugary, fizzy drinks.  Whilst, it’s important to enjoy your holiday, these extra calories do add up.  Just try to alternative your drinks with lots of water.  Tea and coffee is also fine but preferably without any added sugar.

5. Listen to your body

When your body says it’s FULL – stop eating!

Yes, I know there are lots of temptations to carrying on eating but you really will feel better for listening to your body.  Filling up on the “all you can eat” buffet before bed will affect your sleep as your body thinks it needs to digest all that food instead of resting.

6. When eating out try some healthy swaps like the ones in this chart:-

 

 

If you want some more ideas about changing and making new habits check out this post HERE

This week’s meal plan:-

  • Cumin and garlic fish with salsa and creamy potato bake
  • Mexican chilli chicken and rice
  • Satay pork and oven baked turmeric rice
  • Quiche and salad
  • Sweet chilli chicken stir fry with noodles
  • Thai turkey burgers and salad

 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and if you are off on holiday soon, have a great time!.  I will be having a little break from the meal plan posts whilst I’m on my holidays.

Don’t forget to sign up for my regular newsletter for updates and recipes from this site.

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My school morning routine and this week’s meal plan

My School Morning Routinemy school morning routine

One of the biggest obstacles to eating healthy is usually time.  Many families in the UK sacrifice breakfast because they say they just don’t have time.

Dutch kids are some of the happiest in the world and research has concluded that one of the reasons is because they have a family breakfast together.

Now, I don’t want this blog post to come across as smug and righteous but I do believe that 1) kids need breakfast and 2) if you stick to a routine you can find time.  Ironically, I hate routines but once you have kids you just have to start adopting them, otherwise nothing gets done.

Getting six people ready in the mornings has become a bit of a military exercise in our house, so I thought I would share with you what we do.  Hopefully our routine may help you work out a plan for your mornings.

6.oo am – Our alarm goes off

6.10 am – We are lucky that usually only one of us has to leave the house to do the school run so that person hops in the shower.  The other parent will then go downstairs to let the dog and cats out for a pee, give the dog breakfast, lay the table for breakfast, probably empty the dishwasher from the night before, make a cup of tea!

6.30 – 7.00 am – We enjoy a cup of tea in bed!  If we both have to leave the house though, the other parent will jump in the shower during this time.

7.00 am – Wake the kids up and get their breakfast orders!  Hubby and I then get breakfast ready.  Mealtimes in our crazy house can often resemble a café with 6 different orders.  Usually there are combinations of eggs (boiled/scrambled), toast, fruit, yogurt, granola, cereal and COFFEE!!!

We usually eat breakfast together around 7.15/7.20am, assuming the kids have fallen out of bed.

7.30 am The two younger kids get dressed into their school uniform.  I pack their school lunches, school bags and games bags ready to leave.  (I usually prepare their packed lunch and sort out their uniform and PE stuff the night before).

7.40am  Everyone’s in the car and off to school!

Once everyone’s gone this gives the remaining parent time to tidy up breakfast and maybe sneak in some exercise!

Obviously our routine probably won’t work for you but once you find one that fits your lifestyle it does make life easier in the mornings.

Some other tips that might work for your routine: lay the breakfast table the night before, prepare a takeaway breakfast to eat on your commute or when you get to work.  Getting teenage kids to eat breakfast is usually impossible so I try to provide them with some snacks to take with them to eat at break-time, which is when they’ve usually woken up sufficiently enough to feel hungry.

I hope you find this insight into our routine helpful.  Do you already have a morning routine that incorporates breakfast?  I’d love to know what your routine is – tell me in the comments below, on Facebook or on Instagram.

This week’s meal plan:-

  1. BBQ marinated chicken fillets and BBQ corn on the cob, courgettes, tomatoes and roasted baby potatoes
  2. Paprika pork steaks, Portobello mushrooms, sweet potato wedges and pineapple coleslaw.
  3. Curried turkey and vegetable pie with salad
  4. Creamy chicken and tomato pasta
  5. Spicy beef burgers with salad

 

I hope you have a super week.  Why not sign up to the New Leaf Newsletter here to get regular updates, recipes and articles.

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6 life lessons learnt from an A-ha concert and this week’s meal plan

6 life lessons from an A-ha concert and this week's meal plan

 

Hello Everybody,

Are you intrigued?  What life lessons could I possibly learn from an A-ha concert?

6 life lessons learnt from an A-ha concert

Well, I love people watching, so standing for five hours surrounded by a crowd of people gave me an opportunity to observe life and come to these six conclusions:-

Life lesson No 1 – Be present

It’s important to be present in the moment.  It’s easy to get distracted taking photos and/or videos when you’re experiencing an event.  Yes, photos are a great reminder of an event, but if you’re not careful you can end up spending all of your time viewing life through a small screen, instead of taking in the wider sights and sounds.

When I was travelling in my younger years I was always astounded by the tourists who would arrive at a beauty spot, jump out of their vehicles, take some photos and then leave again.  In my experience you will gain so much more by stopping, sitting or standing, breathing deeply and taking in the atmosphere of a place or activity.  Make time to really absorb what you are doing.

Life Lesson No 2 – Make time for fun

With our busy, stressful lives it’s easy to forget to have fun.  As a mum of four kids, days and evenings easily become swallowed up by chores – stuff that needs doing but isn’t fun at all.  It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of just doing mundane stuff.  Make time to book in some regular activities doing things you really enjoy!  I know I need to work on this one a bit more!

Life Lesson No 3 – Make time for music

I’d forgotten how much joy music can bring.  Seeing three bands from  my youth brought back strong memories of my younger self.

Whilst it’s good to move with the times and explore new music, playing music from your past reminds you of the things you used to enjoy.  This will help with point 2 above so that you can find activities to reinvigorate your sense of fun.

Music is also a powerful way to influence your mood.  If you’re feeling low or need some motivation, then playing music that you associate with happy times can help boost and invigorate.  Likewise, you could choose music that reflects your mood and how you feel.  It’s okay sometimes to  be quiet, reflective or a little sad – you don’t have to (and it’s usually not possible) to be happy all the time.  Just be wary of staying in that mood for too long.

Life lesson No 4 – Look after yourself

I’m always struggling to fit enough exercise into my life and I know this is a common problem for most people.  I also know how important exercise is as a preventive medicine.

Lack of exercise is the fourth leading cause of disease.  Guidelines suggest we should get 30 minutes of moderate intensity (being able to talk but not sing) five times per week or 150 minutes per week  (source: http://www.theirishbalance.com

After seeing the band and in particular Morten Harket, who at age 58 looks fantastic, I’ve been motivated to try much harder to do more exercise.

Eating healthy, exercising, not smoking or drinking can have amazing anti-aging effects!

Life lesson No 5 – Be aware of your surroundings

On a slightly darker note, I have a word of caution for ladies (and possibly men too).  Be aware of others around you.

We were standing throughout the concert in one area, as were most people.  There were couples, groups of friends and families.  Near us were two men who spent the whole evening getting drunk and chatting up any ladies who were there without men.  They spent a considerable part of the evening chatting up two girls in particular.

One girl went off to get drinks, leaving the other girl to keep their place.  Shortly after, one of the men chatting them up disappeared as well.  A good 20 minutes or so passed and I could see that the girl waiting was beginning to become concerned that her friend hadn’t returned.  Eventually she did appear, drinks in hand, followed shortly after by the man.

Now, most likely nothing happened but there was a risk that by splitting up the girls had made themselves vulnerable to a possible danger from these drunken men.

Probably, the girls and men were just looking for some fun, but be careful not let the pursuit of fun impair your judgement of others.

Life lesson No 6 – I’m getting old!

Lastly, standing (and dancing) for five hours didn’t help the arthritis in my knees.  Oh the joys of getting older, but I’m on a mission now to do more exercise with Morten as my muse!

 

Do you enjoy people watching?  Has it taught you any important life lessons.  Let me know on my Facebook Page or on  Instagram

 

This week’s meal plan:

  • Crumbed chicken, boiled new potatoes and coleslaw
  • BBQ honey pork steaks and curried rice salad
  • Salmon and asparagus parcels, Jacket Potatoes and salad
  • BBQ sausages marinated in a BBQ sauce with salad and flatbreads
  • Sweet and sour chicken with rice
  • Spagetti Carbonara

 

Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Don’t forget to sign up for my free Newsletter here to get regular updates, news and tips.

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6 simple tips for a healthier grocery shop and this week’s meal plan

6 simple tips for a healthier grocery shop and this week's meal plan

6 Simple tips for a healthier grocery shop

As I’ve mentioned before, most supermarkets are set up intentionally to make you buy as much unhealthy food as possible.  These foods are made from low grade ingredients that provide retailers with the greatest profit.  So here are my 6 simple tips to help make your grocery shop healthier.

1. Always take a shopping list and stick to it

A shopping list works best if you’ve already planned the meals you’re going to cook.  You can then ensure you include on your list all the ingredients you need for these meals.  This method will help you save time and money.  It will also help to stop you buying ‘ready meals’ and foods that distract you from your healthy eating goals.

Keep your list somewhere handy in the kitchen so that you can add items to the list when you use something up.

(for more tips see 1 quick step to healthier eating)

Check out these great shopping and meal planner pads to help keep you organised.

2. Never shop on an empty stomach

If you’re starving then everything in the cake aisle will be screaming your name!

When you shop with a full stomach, research shows you are much less likely to make poor food choices and you’ll buy less food overall.

3. Don’t be afraid to skip aisles

If you’re trying to eliminate certain foods from your life such as cakes, sweets and chocolate, then avoid these aisles.  Willpower is a limited resource so if you are not near these items you won’t need to rely on your willpower to resist them.  The same principle works in the home too – don’t have food items in your house that you are trying to avoid.  If they are not accessible it’s a lot easier to avoid them.

4. Start your shopping in the fruit and vegetable aisles

Seeing and smelling healthy fruit and vegetables will put you in the right mind-set to fill your trolley with good stuff.  Then, when you carry on shopping you will be less tempted to pile in unhealthy foods.  There will also be less room for unhealthy stuff!.

5. Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season

Firstly, seasonable fruits and vegetables are much cheaper so you can load up with more.  Plus, they are usually fresher which means they are more nutritious and better quality.

6. Remember to check the nutrition labels on any packaged foods

The traffic light system on food packets in the UK is a helpful tool that displays calories, fats, sugars and salt levels, but not all food producers follow this system.  This means that you have to carefully study the nutrition labels.  It can be really time consuming and not always possible when you have children in tow.  If you can’t check the labels whilst shopping, spend some time checking them when you are at home with more time.  When I do this and realise a product isn’t as healthy as I thought, then I just make a mental note to not buy that item again.

See my rant about labels in ‘a rant about misleading food packaging’

 

I hope you find these tips helpful.  Let me know if you have any other helpful tips you’d like to share.

This week’s meal plan:-

  • BBQ duck with tomato, avocado and mint salad and boiled  Jersey new potatoes
  • Salmon steaks with mushroom and leeks, salad and caramelised rice
  • Chicken enchiladas with salad
  • Turkey burgers with satay sauce and pear and prosciutto salad
  • Gammon steaks with pineapple, potato wedges and vegies
  • BBQ five spice pork steaks and salad

I hope you have a super week.

Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page here or you can link up with me on Instagram here.

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