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We all know that moving more is good for us, but how do you go about hitting fitness targets when
you’re a novice or a busy parent trying to find a moment of free time? If you’re keen to get back into
the swing of training, or you’re on a mission to get in shape, here is a handy guide to help you increase
activity levels and embrace regular exercise. 


Getting into exercise
If you’ve never trained before, and you’ve always led a sedentary lifestyle, the prospect of
getting into exercise can be daunting. Many of us conjure up images of gyms packed with lycra-clad
athletes when we think about working out, and this can put us off. The reality is that not everyone you
see at the gym will look like they have been sculpted by Greek gods and going to the gym is not the
only way to get fit. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there are myriad activities you can try if you
don’t fancy signing up for the gym at the moment. One activity you might wish to try if you feel
uncomfortable training around others is a home workout. Exercising at home is brilliant for parents on
the go, as you can fit it in around school runs, extra-curricular activities, naps and bedtime routines.
If you do fancy giving home workouts a whirl, you can use fitness DVDs, download workouts to your
TV planner, follow sessions online or even take part in virtual classes to make new friends. 


Another option for newbies is signing up for beginner’s classes. You can choose from spinning, Pilates,
yoga, circuits, toning sessions or boxing, for example. Take a friend along for moral support if you
don’t want to go alone. Exercise classes are a great way to take time out, to meet new people and to
catch up with friends. Other activities like cycling, jogging and walking are also accessible and affordable
and they give you the flexibility to work out when you have time.


 

Making lifestyle changes
You often hear health experts extolling the virtues of exercise, and this is because being active benefits
every aspect of your health. Exercise improves your circulation, lowers blood pressure and increases
stamina, endurance and strength, but it also helps to reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, lower the risk
of anxiety and depression and lift your mood. If you’re keen to become more active, making long-term
lifestyle changes will have an incredibly positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Try and incorporate
daily exercise into your routine and make small changes, for example, leaving the car at home when you
can walk or cycle, taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator and taking a walk during your lunch hour
or in the evenings after work. Devote more time to active pursuits in your free time, and get your friends
and family involved. Play in the garden, meet friends in the park and go for bike rides or hikes at the
weekend. 



Building your fitness levels and getting more from your workouts
If you already try to exercise on a regular basis and you’re ready to step up your training, there are
several ways you can build your fitness levels and get more from your workouts. These include:


Motivation
Motivation is key when you have targets in mind or you’re eager to make changes that will benefit you
for years to come. It’s very common to start a new fitness regime or try a new activity bursting with
energy and enthusiasm and then experience a loss of motivation. Many people find that this happens at
the start of the year when their commitment to resolutions starts to wane after a few weeks. To keep
motivation levels high, remember why you started training in the first place, and keep setting realistic,
achievable goals. Reward yourself when you reach milestones and think about how you feel after a
workout, rather than dwelling on the fact that you can’t really be bothered to go out for a jog. Exercise
produces a natural high, and if you can push through and find the energy to get your body moving, you
won’t regret it. Everyone has days when they don’t feel 100% or they can’t find the enthusiasm to get up
off the couch. It’s fine to have a day off, but don’t let one day of inactivity become a week that turns into
a month or a year. 




Variety
Variety is the spice of life, they say, and this is certainly true when it comes to working out. Even the
most dedicated individuals can get bored if they do the same session over and over again. To keep
boredom at bay and inject a bit of fun into your regime, try different activities, switch between indoor
and outdoor sports and get your friends involved. If you don’t fancy doing another weights session, or
it’s warm and sunny outside, why not go for a jog, do circuits in the garden or take your bike out? You
could alternate gym sessions with classes, for example, spinning and Pilates, or try something completely
different like Latin or street dance classes, Zumba or trampolining. 




Diet and supplements
If you have ambitions to improve your fitness and you want to get the most out of every training session,
your diet is crucial. Your body needs fuel to keep it moving. Keep an eye on your calorie intake and make
sure your diet is balanced. Focus on nutrition, ensuring you consume foods from every food group and
take in all the vitamins and minerals you need. If you’re trying to lose weight, and you’re aiming to burn
more calories than you consume, it’s critical to get the numbers right. You don’t want to be running on
empty or to lose weight very quickly and then put it back on. Adjust your diet to create a healthy eating
plan that provides your body with the fuel it needs to respond to the demands of your workouts. If you
are thinking about using supplements such as fat burners, it’s beneficial to do some research first and
make sure that you understand how they work and what kinds of effects they will have on your body. If
you need advice about getting your diet right when you’re training, your doctor or a personal trainer will
be able to help.




Competition
Even the least competitive people react and respond to others catching them up in a race. We are
naturally competitive beings, and in sport, having an opponent can spur us on to achieve greater things.
If you want to get more from your workouts, it’s a good idea to train with a buddy or to join classes that
involve working out with others, for example, spin sessions. If you’ve got times in front of you on a screen,
or your friend has done more sit-ups or held a plank for longer, you’ll probably find that you try and up
your game and push harder. Having a competitor can eke out that extra 5-10% that you might struggle
to find when you’re on your own. 


Rest and recovery
You might assume that the more you train, the better the results. To some extent, this is true, but you do
need to take time to relax and recover. There is such a thing as overtraining, and it can affect performance
levels and increase the risk of injuries. Take a couple of rest days each week and mix more frenetic and
fast-paced workouts with low-intensity activities to recharge your batteries. If you do a heavy weights
session or an intensive cardio workout one day, for example, go swimming, play golf, take a hike or go
to a yoga class the next. Exercise can take its toll on your muscles and joints, and you need to ensure
you recover before you train again. 


Working with a personal trainer
Some people find it difficult to motivate themselves, or they struggle to believe that they can actually
complete physical tasks or challenges. If you lack confidence, or you tend to take the easy way out,
working with a personal trainer is an excellent idea. Your trainer can design a plan that is suited to your
individual requirements and preferences, they can cheer you on and support and reassure you and they
can push you far enough out of your comfort zone to get the best results. A personal trainer can also
help you develop your fitness regime to keep building on your achievements and help you reach new
goals. 





Exercise is a magical natural tonic that improves physical and mental health. If you’re keen to be more
active, or you’re looking for ways to achieve new fitness goals, there are several steps you can take.
Start slowly if you’re a novice, make lifestyle changes and think carefully about what you want to achieve
and how you’re going to hit those targets. Have fun, try different activities, look after your body, get friends
and family involved and consider hiring a personal trainer. Whether you’re aiming to increase your steps
by 5,000 per day or you’re working towards a triathlon, these tips will help you get there. 

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When you are looking for a school for your child to attend, it can be something of a tough
process that can take up a surprising amount of time. You obviously want to make sure that you
get it right, as there are few things more important than your child’s education - but it is not always
going to be clear how you can actually make sure that you are going to do that. One thing that you
need to be aware of to start with is how to spot a good school, and that is what we are going to
focus on in this article. Here are some of the signs of a good school that you might want to look
out for, and which are likely to be important when you are making your decision.


The Atmosphere


There is a very good reason that it is always necessary to take a tour of the school. After all, you
need to actually get a feel for the place, and so does your child, and this is the only way that you
can do that before they enroll. Take that tour, and be sure to keep your senses open to how the
place feels to walk around. This is a more intuitive thing than many of the other qualities you are
looking for, but it is just as important, and it is something that you are going to find has a huge effect
on the ultimate decision you end up making, so be sure to approach it in the right way. If the school
has a good atmosphere, then that is going to bode well for your child.


The Location


Of course, you also need to make sure that you can find a school which has a good location, which
is not necessarily something that the school itself can do anything about, but will nonetheless affect
your decision greatly. As long as the location is right, not too far from home, then you will be able to
feel much more positive about it on the whole. A good first step is to simply go online and search for
what you are looking for, such as secondary school in Leicester, and see what comes up. You might
be surprised about how many options you have, and you then need to put them all on a map and
work out which location is best. That way, you can be certain of your choice.


The Results

Ultimately you need to ensure that your child is going to get a good education, and that means that
you are going to have to think about what you can do to make sure of that. One of the essential things
to look out for here is the results of the school - and it is something that is changing every year in most
cases. If you can find somewhere where the results are more static year on year, and high, then that is
certainly a good place to go.

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Whether it's raining outside or you're just looking for some fun indoor activities to do, here's a huge list of 70 activities you all as a family can do.

1. Bake a cake
2. Build an indoor den
3. Play board games
4. Play jigsaws
5. Play hide and seek
6. Finger paint
7. Make slime
8. Watch a movie
9. Have a slime bath
10. Plant some indoor flowers
11. Make your own yoghurt
11. Bake cupcakes
12. Start a diary
13. Make finger puppets
14. Make your own play-doh
15. Colouring
16. Painting
17. Decorate photo frames
18. Sing & dance to songs
19. Build a tower/castle with paper cups
20. Host your own fashion show!
21. Indoor camping
22. Indoor treasure hunt
23. Have a teddy bear picnic
24. Make your own pizza
25. Play roleplay
26. Make some pasta instruments
27. Make a scrapbook
28. Make some pancakes
29. Glitter and glue crafts
30. Pasta pictures
31. Make some fruit kebabs
32. Play a card game
33. Make paper aeroplanes
34. Write letters for loved ones
35. Paint rocks
36. Build a castle with cardboard boxes
37. Read a book
38. Make potato stamps
39. Create a photo album
40. Print some fun educational activities
41. Decorate plain t-shirts
42. Make some superhero costumes
43. Indoor obstacle course
44. Make ice lollies
45. Play with lego
46. Do a family chore
47. Write a book
48. Toilet paper roll crafts
49. Make macaroni/pasta necklaces
50. Create homemade cards for upcoming occasions
51. Finger painting
52. Play shopping
53. Listen to a podcast
54. Make a time capsule
55. Bake cookies
56. Make a picture collage to frame
57. Indoor treasure hunt
58. Look through old photo albums
59. Make a race track
60. Family indoor yoga
61. Make paper chains
62. Indoor hopscotch
63. Make a music video
64. Tissue box guitars
65. Get the kids to help cook
66. Do a puppet show
67. Make a project
68. Have a dancing competition
69. Indoor water play
70. Play family bingo





If you’re trying to cut costs it would be a wise idea to look at the amount you’re spending on gas and electricity each month, because these energy bills are often some of your biggest monthly outgoings.

Switch suppliers
If you’ve been on the same tariff with the same supplier for some time there’s a very good chance you could find a better deal if you shop around. Compare gas and electricity tariffs through a site like quotezone.co.uk and you could start saving a decent amount on your energy bills each month.

Turn off the lights
One of the easiest ways that you and your family can save on your gas and electricity costs is by making sure that you and all your family remember to turn the lights off when leaving a room. Young kids are known to leave lights on and this is something which you should teach them not to do. It might also be useful to tell them about the harm that this is doing to the environment to sway them to stop leaving the lights on.

Set wash days
Another great way to cut down on energy costs is to stick to one day for washing clothes. When you set days for washings to be done, you will be able to do bigger washing at the one time rather than do smaller washes more often.

Make sure you and your family sort out the clothes that need to be washed and set a day where all clothes can be put in the washing machine. You should consider washing clothes at a lower temperature so you can save more money when you wash clothes.

Save Water
Another way that you and your family can save on gas and energy bills is by making sure that you and your family save water when possible. There are many ways that water can be saved including by turning the tap off when brushing your teeth, not overfilling your bath or by taking less time in the shower.

Discuss With Your Family
Overall, there are a lot of ways that you and your family can save on gas and energy bills and in this article, we discussed some of the ways that this can be done. Make sure you read this article and discuss with your family so you can start saving today.

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I remember when Hatchimals first came out, they were so popular with my girls and they still are, especially for my nearly 8 year old. She got so excited when she received this pack of Hatchimals Collegtibles to review. These Hatchimals Colleggtibles Series 6 carton contains 12 small Hatchimal eggs that are ready for you to hatch to see what's inside.

As you can see there is a lot to collect and that's what makes it exciting. In fact there are 100 Hatchimal characters to collect. Elliw loved hatching her eggs to see who she would get. Within in the pack, when you open the lid you will find two out-of-egg characters. Once you've hatched all your royal eggs you can lift the tray and keep all their accessories there and then store your characters back in the case for you to take around with you.

Which egg will you hatch?
Do your kids still like Hatchimals?






We were kindly gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, images and opinions are our own.

As a Mum of three, I'm a big fan of LeapFrog products, and I always find their product very fun but educational for kids too. We were gifted the LeapFrog LeapStart to review and Freddie, my youngest, is the ideal age for it as the LeapStart is recommended from 2 years upwards. The first thing I liked about the LeapStart is how it has a handle that's handy for the little ones to carry around when they take them out and about.

LeapStart is an interactive learning system that helps children to count, learn to read and problem solve all through having lots of fun. The stylus that comes with the LeapStart helps your child get a proper writing grip, and it's suitable for kids of all ages. It also reads the invisible dots on every page, which then asks questions, sets challenges, sings, jokes, and so much more.

LeapStart is a great educational item to help your child learn new skills but also having fun at the same time. There are over 25 books that are sold separately that equal to over 400 activities. It's a great way to get your child's imagination going.








We were kindly gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, opinions and images are our own.
All three of my children have loved reading books and still do. My youngest two especially loves their bedtime stories, and my eldest prefers to read a book on her own. My youngest, who is three and a half years old, especially loves storytime, to be exciting. When we received the LeapFrog LeapStory to review, he was super excited, and I was interested in trying something new too.

The first thing he loved was the classic LeapFrog dog on the top. The product itself looks fun, and he couldn't wait to get it started. The LeapStory has 80+ stories, songs and poems, which is an excellent variety for a bedtime story. You are also able to download up to 20 more songs, stories and poems for free too. Not only does the LeapStory tell a story, but it also has a projecting light with images and animations to make that bedtime story extra fun for the little ones.


There's a feature on LeapStory to make bedtime stories that extra special by recording your own voice. You can record your own voice telling your little one a bedtime story, and you can play it back as many times as you want.

This LeapFrog LeapStory has been great for bedtime, and my son especially loves the playback of me reading his bedtime story.




We were kindly gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, opinions and images are our own.



Paw Patrol is a massive hit in our household and has been for a good few years now. My second child absolutely loved it and now my youngest, Freddie, is obsessed with Paw Patrol. So I'm sure you can just imagine how excited he was when he received the fab Paw Patrol Mobile Pit Stop to review. He was extra pleased when he saw that a Chase figure and his vehicle came along with the Mobile Pit Stop too.

It was pretty easy to unpack from its box, and something that's always a bonus with kids toys is that the 3 LR44 batteries are included. Which means the little ones can go play with the toy straight away without having the fuss of waiting around for us parents to find the screwdriver and spare batteries.



Freddie has had tonnes of fun with the Mobile Pit Stop and still has a lot of fun playing with it now too. Chase's vehicle can access the back of the Pit Stop by you lowering the back ramp. Where his vehicle can get a quick refuel ready to get back into the race. When you push the two tyre-shaped buttons on the top of the Pit Stop, it activates a sound. Then you push the transformation button where the side panel will flip open. Then finally by pressing the yellow button, it launches the race car to continue with the race.

There are tonnes of fun to be had with the Paw Patrol Pit Stop. It retails at £39.99, which is a reasonable price.





We were gifted this item. However, all opinions and words are our own.
We’ve already touched on the importance of exercise for your family, as well as the importance
of self-care as a mum. So, how can you combine the two?

Almost everyone knows that getting regular exercise can help to give you more energy, keep you in
shape (especially if you need your strength to run after multiple little ones!), and make you feel good.
But, what you do before and after a good workout is often just as important as the exercise, itself!

If you don’t take the right steps to care for yourself after exercising, your recovery time will be longer,
and you won’t be able to work out as frequently. You might also burn out faster which can lead you to
not want to exercise as much. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle that can easily be prevented with a
few post-workout tips for all body types and all fitness levels. 


Eat and Drink the Right Things

When you exercise, your body loses a lot of things it needs to function properly. The most important
thing you should do after a workout is replenishing your fluids. In fact, you should start drinking plenty
of water before your workout. About two hours beforehand, drink 15-20 ounces of water so you can
stay hydrated through your routine, and keep drinking throughout. Save your “heavy guzzling” for
when you’re done so you don’t get a cramp while you’re exercising. 

It’s also important to replenish your body with healthy food. While it can be tempting to reach for your
little one’s leftover macaroni and cheese in the refrigerator, opt for something that will repair your
muscles and speed up your recovery within 60 minutes of your workout. Something with a good bit
of protein and a few carbohydrates is perfect. Some tasty post-workout snack ideas include: 

  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter or almond butter

  • Pita and hummus

  • Low-fat chocolate milk

  • Protein shake with a banana

  • Small apple and cheddar cheese


Move and Stretch

One of the worst things you can do after a workout is to suddenly stop. Don’t finish your workout and
then sit down. That can contribute to muscle aches and can make the next time you exercise even
harder. If you have an issue like arthritis, an arthritic gel can help with some of the pain, but you can
reduce inflammation and irritation even more by performing a proper “cool down.” 

When you’re done working out, slow down your heart rate gradually by walking, shaking out your
muscles, etc. This will help to improve circulation and repair your muscles faster. 

After your heart rate has come down, don’t forget to stretch! Gentle stretching will help your muscles
to recover, and it will feel great!

Get More Sleep

You might find it hard to get as much sleep as you’d like to when you’re a parent, but it’s really crucial
to your overall health and wellbeing. 

Not only will getting enough sleep give you more energy throughout the day, but it is the best way to
repair your muscles quickly. Sleep is when your body produces Growth Hormone, which is necessary
for tissue repair. So, if you’re working out regularly and not getting enough sleep, you might feel more
pain and ache in your muscles. Do what you can to form a healthy sleep routine, and try getting an
extra hour or two every night. 

Don’t Overdo It

Exercising on your own or as a family can feel great and it has so many benefits. But, it’s important
not to overdo it. You can, indeed, have “too much of a good thing.” 

As a parent, it’s easy to burn out quickly if you’re pushing yourself too hard. While setting fitness goals
and working hard to achieve them is a great motivational tool, you also need to be realistic. Consider
the time you have, the goals you’re setting, and why you want to accomplish them. 

On top of being good for you, exercise should also be enjoyable. The more you do enjoy it, the more
likely you are to stick with it and make it a part of your lifestyle, rather than just something you’re doing
to lose weight or gain muscle. When you’re constantly pushing yourself harder and harder, you’re less
likely fo find enjoyment in what you’re doing. 

Plus, when you show your children how much fun exercise can be, you’re more likely to get them
interested as well, making fitness a priority for the whole family!

So, be sure to take care of yourself on your health and fitness journey and keep these tips in mind for
your post-workout routine. When you do, you’ll feel better and be able to perform better, in the long run. 
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