FitBit Versa – Review

Until Autumn last year, I hadn’t owned a Fitbit. I didn’t see a reason to own one – did I need one if I wasn’t training for something? Surely not. But when I started running regularly, I realised that my heart rate chest strap was really uncomfortable to wear for long. Suddenly, a heart rate monitor which I could wear on my wrist seemed a better idea.

Fitbit Versa.

I bought a second hand Fitbit Charge HR 2, as I was still unsure whether I would actually wear it. I found that I started to really take note of my daily steps, and would try to beat my daily steps each day. I also liked being able to see what had happened to my heart rate while I was exercising in a simple app. I was impressed – why had I not got one sooner?!

At the start of this year, I unexpectedly won a Fitbit Versa for myself and my training buddy. I had heard lots about the Fitbit Versa, but did wasn’t sure how many of the features I would actually use.  Sensibly the Fitbit Charge 2 did everything I needed it too surely?

Thoughts on Fitbit Versa.

The Fitbit Versa has a bigger face, making it easier to see, and there are more options on the screen – and it is colour! The watch face is slimmer, so it sits better on my wrist than the Charge did. It comes with two watch straps, a small and a large  – so no need to decide which one you need while you are buying it!

The screen makes it really easy to use while you are active. So if you’re on the tread mill you can switch modes or view your heart rate easily. I love being able to connect by Bluetooth headphones directly to my watch to play music. No more fiddling about with my phone!

I find that RELAX on the watch is really helpful after a busy day. It helps me to refocus my thoughts and breathing.

You can use it in the pool, and it will track your lengths. Just remember that you do need to select swimming though, and deselect it once you’re out the pool! Once out the pool I took it off and dried it while I got dressed.

I like being able to receive texts on my watch. Track my sleep – I don’t get enough! And generally the ease of seeing my steps, average heart rate, active minutes and calories burnt. I could also add my bank card to my watch, I have yet to do this, but I can see it would make paying for a coffee while out super simple.

In summary, the Fitbit Versa is a great watch which helps me to stay active. I’d thoroughly recommend one if you’re looking to keep healthy!

Garden furniture updating project.

We are lucky to have a big garden, with plenty of space. Our garden furniture is made up of bits I’ve bought from carboot sales, and it’s not beautiful but is robust. We’ve needed a new garden table for a while, but as always something else has cropped up and the garden table goes further down the list. I thought about making a garden table, in fact I started to put together the bits I needed to make a table with. ut I didn’t get much further than that. Then I noticed someone advertising a picnic bench, and realised it would be perfect for us.

It’s in need of some tlc. Sanding down to remove the old paint, and then oiling the wood. I have been debating whether to repaint it, but I think oiling the wood will get a better finish. Although until it’s been sanded down I am not sure!

There’s a couple of bits of the wood which will need replacing as there’s some damage, but it is otherwise really sturdy. I think it was probably very expensive when it was originally purchased. It’s an 8 man bench, so will easily accommodate us for family meals. I can’t wait until it’s ready!

When Is The Best Time To Take My Child To The Dentist?

Article published in partnership with MediaBuzzer

Image Source: Pexels

At what age should a child first visit the dentist? Every parent will ask themselves this question, as they wish to ensure that their child receives the best attention, and the short answer is, as soon as the first milk teeth begin to erupt. While a child’s milk teeth will eventually be replaced by the permanent set, there are still aspects of oral hygiene that should be introduced well before the permanent teeth arrive.

Below are tips that will help you in ensuring your child’s teeth get proper care. 

Adopting Good Oral Hygiene Practices

We are all creatures of habit, and regarding oral hygiene, the sooner a child begins brushing and flossing, the better. There is a very child-friendly dentist in Noosa and Noosaville, and if you make the first appointment for your child at around 3 years old, this would be an ideal time to introduce the toddler to oral hygiene. It is important to find a dentist who works with children, as they have the techniques to calm the child, and even one bad experience in the dentist’s chair could cause the child to develop a dislike that will be with them right through to adult life.

Regular Check-Ups

You and your partner could always time your dental appointments with that of your child’s, which would make it a family affair, and this would ensure that the child’s teeth and gums are developing correctly. One thing to monitor is the bite action, which is important, and if the dentist notices under or overbite, he can take preventative action to cure the problem before it develops into something more serious. Twice a year would be ideal for dental check-ups, and by teaching your child how to brush and floss correctly, with the right frequency, this will soon become second nature, and that is a vital component to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Image Source: Pixabay

Dietary Advice

It is important that your child is not given a sugary diet, as too much sugar is the prime cause of tooth decay, and while it is OK to have sweet things now and then, foods and drinks with high sugar content should be avoided. Children tend to follow their parents’ behaviours, so if you make a point of brushing together every morning and evening, this will instil the best oral hygiene habits, and let’s not forget brushing after every meal. There are articles you can find online that show how to teach a child to correctly brush their teeth, and it comes complete with diagrams for easy understanding.

Preventative Dental Care

Preventative dental care is important for everyone, especially children, and should the dentist notice any minor issues, they can be treated before they become an issue. Once the milk teeth have been replaced by the permanent ones, the dentist can check that there is no misalignment before it becomes a problem, and the twice-yearly visits should be sufficient.

Once your child has gotten into a routine, oral hygiene should never be an issue, and should your child be in any discomfort at any time, make an appointment to see your dentist sooner rather than later.

Removing Toxic Things from Your Life for Improved Health

Have you ever wondered why no matter how much you diet and exercise, you still can’t seem to lose weight or improve your health? There are lots of reasons this could be happening, but one thing people tend to forget to factor in is the toxicity in their lives. From the air you breathe to the people you center yourself around there are toxic things that slowly eat away at your mental and physical health. Failure to detox or remove yourself from those things first can make your journey towards healthier living a lot more troubling. 

What are some toxic things you should remove from your life? Check out this list below: 

Smoking

Cigarettes are highly toxic and extremely addictive. Smoking eats away at almost every part of your body causing issues that range from heart disease to cancer. It reduces your ability to breathe, deprives you of your youth, and so much more. If you’re smoking it’s time to let it go. There are plenty of ways to quit smoking whether you use medications, chewing gum, patches, or vape pens, just do what it takes to remove this from your lifestyle. 

Stress

Stress is necessary at times, but when a person’s lifestyle is constantly stressing them out it can become toxic. Too much stress causes the body to go into fight or flight mode which sends stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline rushing through your body. It raises your heart rate, increases your blood pressure, dampens your mood, drains your energy, and puts you at risk for a number of mental and physical health conditions. 

Though stress is normal, you need to find ways to remove it from your life if it’s constant. Sort through issues you may be having at work or home, get organized, simplify your life, learn how to say no, and more importantly, know when to ask for help. 

Friends and Significant Others

The people you have in your life can also be toxic. They drain your energy and wear you out emotionally. There are lots of ways to describe a toxic relationship. You may have friends who are always out partying, drinking, and smoking or picking on you for imperfections like your weight. Your significant other might be verbally or physically abusive or they might be extra dependent on you or very controlling and insecure. As much as you may care about these people, they are sucking the life right out of you. Letting go might be bittersweet, but it’s worth it. Find a straightforward but neutral way to remove them from your life (unless of course, there is abuse going on then just get out of there). 

Fast and Processed Food

Burgers and fries from your favorite fast-food restaurant might taste great but it really isn’t good for your health. Most food today consumes a lot of toxic ingredients that lead to health issues down the line. They are high in salt, sugar, and other additives. They’re also genetically modified which isn’t good either. Your diet can be linked to so many health problems from weight-related issues like diabetes or high blood pressure to more serious issues like autoimmune diseases and cancer. 

It is best to start looking for recipes that provide healthy alternatives to things you enjoy eating out. If you’re a fan of burgers and fries, try a turkey or veggie burger and sweet potato or zucchini fries. Love pizza? Try wheat crust, goat cheese, and veggies. Some people even start with a green smoothie cleanse to try and adjust their pallets before starting a new diet. Drinking raw fruits and veggies for a few days can really give your body the jumpstart it needs to ditch fast and processed foods for good. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic things in your life that need to be removed. However, if you start here and continue your healthy habits like dieting and exercising, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to reach your health and fitness goals. 

Collaborative Post.

Welcoming in the Autumn months.

The sudden realisation that the summer holidays are at an end. I’m not going to pretend that I’m not a little sad. Yes, it’s hard when we aren’t in a routine and the children bicker, but there’s also more time to listen. More time to play, less haste.

Simply summer.

I am holding onto the simplicity of summer, making plans for days with no plans! Taking advantage of days when the weather is still mild, and embracing walks after school. Little things which I enjoyed sharing with them over the summer, like Friday night films are here to stay!

Autumn Walks

Autumn is approaching rapidly, I can see it as the days are already shorter and the trees appear to be changing colours already. But still the grass is lush, and there are flowers still blooming. After school walks are either holding onto summer, or welcoming in autumn, depending on which way you look at them. I think perhaps they are a bit of both.

The fields are harvested, and as we walk we can clearly see deer grazing in the fields. We try to walk quietly to offer us the best chance of seeing wildlife. I never tire of seeing birds of prey soaring overhead, and deer bounding across fields.

This year there seem to be lots of cobnuts growing, I wonder if it was the warm summer that has produced such a crop, or is it a sign of a cold winter to come?

Autumn Apples

Autumn means lots of apples. We have a few recipes which we love, apple crumble, and apple cake being firm favourites. I’m always happy to bake in autumn, and experiment with recipes a little. There’s something lovely about homemade cake after long Autumn walks! I’ve started to bake tray bakes more often, at the moment. Apple cake works well as a tray bake and are easy to cut and store for packed lunches over the week – if they last that long! I still have yet to invest in an apple press, but I keep looking at them! One day I will invest in one, and make cider!

Back to school Safety

Back to school, and there are so many things to think about! It’s such a busy time of year, especially if you have a child starting school for the first time or a new school!

School Bags

There is so much to remember when the children are going back to school. P.E. kits, books, pencil cases, snacks, water bottles and lunch boxes. I try to make sure my children take responsibility for their own bags. This I hope means they will continue to look after things once they get to school with them! We have a system where school bags live on a shelf by the front door and are packed the night before school to prevent panic on school mornings. Lunch bags get packed in the morning, I have started to plan packed lunches so I don’t waste time every morning trying to decide what to include.

Travel to school safely.

Walking to school is a great time to remind children about road safety. If you have a child who is a reluctant walker, you may consider getting them to scoot to school instead. If you’re going to get your child to scoot to school you’ll need to check scooter is in safe working order and that they have a safety helmet.

We live several miles from school, so we drive to school. It’s always important to double check car safety, especially seats. Check they are fitted correctly, and the car seat laws. You may find it is time to shop for a booster seat for your child. We found some good booster seats here.

I also double check our basic car safety. Checking the tyres, oil levels and windscreen wash. If you drive to school you want to ensure that the car is safe and it’s important not to ignore warning lights or strange engine noises.

I aim to get everyone out of the house 10 minutes before we need to leave. This gives me time to check seatbelts and also make sure everyone has the things they need. Hopefully meaning our back to school will be calm and well organised.

Family swim – Just keep swimming!

Summer for our family has to include a trip to the beach! There’s something about a paddle or swim in the sea which makes me feel like I’ve had a great summer! I seem to have passed the love of the seaside onto my children. They all love spending the day on a beach, especially if we get a swim too!

This summer there has been lots of swimming. It’s the first year when we have swam almost daily during the ummer. We have utilised a local pool and indulged in swimming in the sea too. It has been wonderful, and I will miss watching the children grow in confidence with every swim. It’s made me realise that we need to swim more all year round.

I don’t just mean swimming lessons, although to be honest I am tempted to improve my technique with a couple of lessons too! (I’m feeling inspired by Sink or Swim) I really mean more hours as a family in the pool, and I wonder whether buying a swimming season ticket would encourage us to go more frequently throughout the year? It’s such a fun way to keep fit and a great life skill too. I just hope we just keep swimming all winter!

Awesome Bloss’ems Review

Collectable dolls are hugely popular with my daughter and her friends. She was delighted to receive two Awesome Bloss’ems to review from Spin Master Toys. Awesome Bloss’ems are a toy which allow you to ‘grow’ a doll from a ‘seed’.

The outer packaging resembles a plant pot. Opening it up there’s a packet of brightly coloured ‘soil’ and the ‘seed’.

The seed needs to have a plastic tab removed, and then it is as easy as add the play soil and use the mini leaf to add water. Do protect your surfaces as it can get messy! Once enough water has been added, the doll will pop up – literally!

The dolls are surprisingly small considering the size of the pot they are grown in. But they are detailed, and scented! We got one doll which we decided smelt like cupcakes!

We also grew a rare doll!

My daughter likes the fact she could create a little play set using the plastic packaging. The leaf doubles up as a hammock for the doll to sleep in. We like that the dolls are not named, as this meant they could have a unique name given to them.

I do find the amount of plastic which is single use e.g. the plastic based play soil which will go straight in the bin, really quite frustrating.

They are fun to ‘grow’ and the fact they are small is quite good as they take up limited space! Of course, the most exciting thing is not knowing which doll you will grow! There are 26 dolls to collect, including some rare dolls, and even a super rare one with a real diamond tiara! I think if we found that doll I may be tempted to keep her for myself!

There’s an augmented reality app which goes with the dolls, and is free to download. It’s fun to play with, and an easy way to keep track of the dolls you have grown so far. I think we all enjoyed playing with the app!

How Green is Your Kitchen?

Keeping my kitchen clean and hygienic is a top priority. Our kitchen is essentially the hub of our home. We cook, eat and craft in the kitchen. People are constantly coming in and out! So I like to keep things clean, and where possible tidy. (I’m less good at tidy, but I try!). I try to keep things in our home as eco-friendly as possible. But it is sometimes hard to avoid plastic or harsh chemicals. Recently though, I think I’ve started to find a balance.

Switch out kitchen sponges!

Kitchen sponges are generally made of plastic and they come wrapped in plastic too. I’ve switched to none sponges from Tabitha Eve. They are a plastic free alternative to your traditional kitchen sponge. They look pretty and work well, oh…and you can wash them and reuse them!

A greener cleaner?

So, lots of people make their own cleaning products. I have tried with various degrees of success. I love using natural ingredients for cleaning my oven, it’s cheap doesn’t smell and works well. But, I prefer a shop bought cleaner for cleaning surfaces. I started using Method a few years ago, as they had greener credentials and most products could be re-filled. Now, I seem to be struggling to find the refills, and I’m frustrated with the number of plastic containers I’m ending up putting into ‘recycling’. So I may need to rethink again.

Laundry

I used to use Method as I liked the refills. Since struggling to find the refills I’ve been searching for a replacement. This is difficult as the children have sensitive skin, so some products don’t work for us. I tried a laundry egg, I wanted to love it, but it just didn’t work for us at all. So, we are going to try Smol. Smol has green credentials, but is it green enough? I’m not sure – watch this space!

Kitchen towels.

I’ve never been keen on kitchen paper. Yes it is easy to use, but it has always seemed odd to me to spend money on something non essential that we just throw away. I use old tea towels to mop up spills or do anything I may use kitchen roll for. (NB: The cleaning tea towels are kept separate to my normal tea towels and get hot washed separately too.)

So, that’s how green my kitchen is so far, how green is yours?

*some items previously gifted*

Grow your own herbs.

Collaborative post.

I am lucky enough to have a great garden, and I love to grow my own fruit and vegetables. This year I’ve not grown as much as I would like, as with a young baby last year I struggled with the preparation. So I’m carefully planning what I need to plant over the winter months for crops next year.

Even with my limited growing this year, we had plenty of fruits, I was delighted with my blueberry crop!

If you have a limited garden space, or just a windowsill, you can still grow your own! Herbs are easy to grow, and they can be grown on a kitchen windowsill or a container outside. The joy of growing your own herbs is they taste so much better freshly picked. It saves money and avoids single-use plastic on buying freshly cut herbs at the supermarket.

Trago have produced a great guide of when to plant and harvest your herb garden. A little bit of effort to plant herbs can provide months of herbs for your kitchen!

Growing your own herbs is a great way to start gardening, and an ideal way to encourage children to get involved too. My children love growing herbs to use on homemade pizzas! It has really helped my fussy eater to want to try eating a few new things!

If you’re lucky enough to get a bumper crop of herbs, you can easily freeze herbs to store them for use at a later date. I like to freeze them in olive oil in an icecube tray! You could also dry herbs out, or make infused oils if you are limited on freezer space.

I think that herbs smell beautiful, and if you’re looking for an easy to grow, fragrant way to fill a garden or container growing your own herbs is a great choice. Do you grow your own herbs?