Category Archives: Health & Fitness

online exercise classes

Online Exercise classes from home with Flex – Social Home Fitness

 

Online Exercise classes help with feeling Angry!

I woke up today feeling angry. Not a good place to be starting the day. The children were quiet and good this morning which helped, they obviously detected the anger. We did the school run without incidence or shouting (I only felt like crying on one occasion). Once the last child was dropped at school I needed to dispel the anger. The school run is a 1.5 mile walk but I extended it by doing a bit of power walking and I had managed to get in 5000 steps by 9:30. I came home wrote an email of everything I was angry about and sent to my friend of 30 years and life coach Becky. That helped to get the anger out of head.

Then I did an online exercise class with Lucia on Flex, the class was called ‘experience the light of yoga’. It was a lovely 30-minute session live with Lucia where we did some empowering yoga, some beautiful salutations (my favourite) and ended with a meditation session focusing on the self and acceptance. This class was absolutely what I needed to put pay to the anger and continue with my day in calm and peaceful way.

Flex Trial

I have been trialling the Flex online exercise classes for 5 weeks now. In January I made the decision to stop my Pilates classes that I attended. Despite being a fantastic class that was doing a lot of good it was costing quite a bit of money, £40 a month, plus I had childcare issues as well. My class was on a Monday morning which I loved from a ‘getting set up for the week’ point of view but it was also a time when Jack wasn’t in school so childcare was an extra stress I didn’t need.

The new exercise regime I chose was to use Flex. Flex is an online fitness subscription where you can view live classes at any point in time with access to a huge variety of classes. There is everything from relaxation yoga to strengthening to high impact training to dance & barre. There is also a fab section for pre-natal and post-natal classes.

You simply find the class you want to try, there has been one starting within 30 mins whenever I have looked. The class will pop up on screen live with the instructor. You can watch it on the laptop or on a smart internet enabled TV. I have been using my laptop.

Flexibility & Variety

The thing I love about is that you can try new online exercise classes that you might have heard about, like ‘Mash it Up’ which I tried on Tuesday in the privacy of your own home. Mash it up, by the way, is a dance class of African origin where you jump around to African inspired dance music. You can see if you enjoy it and if it has the desired impact that you wanted. So far, I have tried traditional Pilates (I stuck to what I knew to start off with!), I then tried some Pi-Yo a high impact combination of Pilates and yoga. I tried Mash It Up dance class and today I tried a yoga class.

Variety is so important in exercise so I love how you can do three classes in a week and mix it up. Or maybe Thursday just doesn’t feel like a strength and toning day and you want some relaxing yoga. You can choose whatever class you want.

Social Aspects

Flex are trying to encourage groups of friends to join up together and do classes at the same time, so there is a strong social presence on the website where you can share your planned classes on social media with your friends so they know what you are up to. You can invite your friends to join in with the same class. You can also chat to the instructor during the class or afterwards. I just sent Lucia a message to say thank you for the yoga class, and got a speedy reply.

Perfect for busy, time poor people

This is a perfect solution in our busy lives to fit in exercise and well-being. We all know that we need to exercise to keep ourselves healthy and this makes it so convenient for you. Just switch on the laptop, find a class, do the class and you are done. No getting the gym or village hall. You can try so many different classes that you are never going to get bored as you might do with a fitness DVD.

Free 1 month Trial offer

The first month of Flex is FREE, hurrah. There is commitment free trial where you don’t even have to put in your credit card details. This will give you a great chance to explore and work out what you want to do and when. They have a program to help you plan your classes as well where you put in your exercise preferences and time preferences, this will give you a suggested exercise plan. After the first month, your trial will end and you can opt to sign up for the subscription which is just £9.99 per month.

Sign up here now for your free trial.

I received a years subscription of Flex in return for this post.

How to deal with a weak bladder with Tena at the Savoy

A Weak Bladder?

A recent trip to the trampoline park prompted much discussion of a weak bladder on my Facebook page. I spent 30 minutes bouncing around had a wonderful time but had a slight panic about weeing. Half way through I must have lost control momentarily and had a wee moment. A little embarrassing as I was wearing pink leggings where it would have shown obviously! I quickly engaged core, dashed to loo and sorted out the situation.

A few people admitted similar experiences on my Facebook page when I posted a picture at the trampoline park. Situations like exercise, nights out drinking and lots of laughing mean loss of control and a wee moment.

A few facts for you

  • Up to half (47%) of women experience bladder weakness
  • 17% of women have confessed that the fear of bladder weakness stops them wearing their favourite underwear
  • 46% said they would like to see the topic of bladder weakness discussed more openly in public

These facts were supplied by Tena at a wonderful event at the Savoy in London where we got to try something new.13-10-16-weak-bladder-dr-hilary 13-10-16-weak-bladder-ludwigSomething new was making chocolate with the head pastry chef from Savoy, Ludwig. We sipped champagne, ate lovely canapes and chatted to Dr. Hilary of Good Morning Britain fame about all sorts. A really lovely man who you would be super lucky to have as a GP.

He is part of the Tena campaign to spread the word and get people talking about it and spreading awareness about the product that help people to cope with their bladder weakness from Tena Light pads up to Tena pants. He is also passionate about bladder weakness for men as well. Alas it’s not just ladies it affects.

1-10-16-5-frugal-things-post-3

Making Chocolate

We learnt from Ludwig how to temper chocolate, how to make truffle chocolate, how to make a chocolate flower and chocolate discs. We ate A LOT of chocolate. Emma from Mums savvy savings was there as well and she filmed this great video of us failing at our chocolate flower. Listen out for Dr. Hilary telling us we might be better off buying a Galaxy.13-10-16-weak-bladder-cocoa

Bladder Weakness

Bladder weakness is an extremely common issue particularly after pregnancy and/or being overweight. IN fact its more common than hay fever! Who remembers the NCT class or chat with the midwife telling you how important it is to do your pelvic floor exercises? And how many of you did it and how many of you are reading this post now doing your pelvic floor exercises?!

I know the extreme weight of pregnancy particularly with Josh, my 2nd biggest baby caused much bladder weakness during and after pregnancy. But once I had managed to recover from the birth and lose some of the weight I was able to improve the weakness.

Things to Help

There are lots of things you can do now to improve your pelvic muscles before they start to lose their strengths or improve weaker muscles, here are a few suggestions starting with my personal favourite

  • Pilates – a great low impact core set of exercises which create an incredibly strong stomach and core. I have doing Pilates once a week since January and have noticed a huge difference in my pelvic control.
  • Drink water. You might think that drinking water will make the issue worse but the concentrated, not enough water, wee will weaken your muscles.
  • Lose some weight. The increased pressure from extra weight will put more pressure on your pelvic floor. This could be the motivation you need to shed some weight.

There is a wealth of information that can be found on the Tena website which can be found here.

This post is unpaid, however, I did receive the chocolate experience at the Savoy free of charge along with my travel expenses.

 

My Gallbladder has been removed – my post op recovery story

My Gallbladder has gone

I am now 3 days on from having my gallbladder removed so thought I would update you all on how it went and how I am feeling. So if you are reading and just about to go through the same thing I can give you some tips and advice:-). And please share with friends going through it. As I have now discovered it’s an incredibly common operation and unfortunately a result of our extravagant/over indulged lifestyles. The common reason for gall stones are the 4 F’s, Female, Forty, Fertile and Fat. I have been over weight my entire life, I am 40 next year, and am definitely fertile and femaleL

Hospital Admission

I arrived at hospital at 7am Monday morning. Hubby and the boys dropped me off in the rain at the Lister hospital. The boys were not too happy at being woken up early to drop me off but they did at least give me a kiss and waved me off. I found the admissions ward, checked in and awaited my call through to the ward.

I was called through to a seated private area where I just had to sit and chill and wait. The nurse popped in to say hello and tell me what was happening. I was checked in, given my tags, had my observations taken. We checked out all my test results from the previous Friday and everything was good to go. My low platelets (I have ITP) had risen slightly to 104, these should be 250 to 400, but they only really worry when they are less than 80. The nurse confirmed that I was second on the list for Mr Gupta, my consultant, I was after a long 4-hour operation that had to go first.

I knew I was there for a few hours. I did a little bit of work, watched some I-player programs I had downloaded and listened to a money to the masses podcast. Various people popped in whilst I waiting. I saw the anaesthetist, a student doctor, the registrar and Mr Gupta my consultant.

Everyone pretty much asked the same questions, my name, address, date of birth, any allergies, medical issues, metal in body, was I pregnant. I had a long chat to the student doctor about all things medical history/parents. That kept me amused for at least 20 minutes. And I made the anaesthetist promise to keep me alive.

Theatre time

8-9-16-gallbladder-stockingsAt 11 I was rushed into the theatre waiting area, an hour early! I say rushed I had to wait a while once in there. I was now in my theatre robe and wearing my ultra-sexy anti blood-clot stockings. I was asked the same questions again 3 times. And finally at 12 I was taken through the anaesthetic room. The anaesthetist and his nurse assistant were lovely, they put at ease just chatting about stuff. We spoke about Mrs Mummypenny and my boys. They got the cannula in with no pain and I went under general anaesthetic.

I woke up at 1:30pm in a complete state of confusion and feeling sick. I can’t really remember much of the following 3 hours but I know I stayed in recovery for a while. I felt very sick, my face was so itchy, I kept needing to wee. I had a nurse looking after me 1:1 for this whole 3 hours. She was lovely and turns out her son also plays for Cambridge academy like Dylan, such a small world.

Recovery in the aftercare ward

At 4:30 I was transferred to the main ward, again really private and I was put right next to nurse station as I think they were a bit worried about why my recovery had taken so long. I just rested, drank water, attempted a few visits to the toilet to wee and tried to stay on top of the pain.

I was talking morphine for the pain and was having to take it every 2 hours. And I tried so many times to wee but couldn’t. I wasn’t allowed to be discharged until I had no 1 weed and no 2 got the pain under control.

At 8pm hubby and the boys turned up. Monday was the first day back at school and they had just been to football training, we had tried to keep the day as normal as possible for them. When they arrived I was allowed to go out into the waiting area with them which triggered me actually going for a wee. I felt better with the pain and they were very keen to discharge me (there were no beds available for the night anyways!) so I came home.

Home time

I was bruised and sore but at home. With 4 big holes in my tummy. I say big they’re not big. I have one under my belly button, 1 top of tummy and then 2 to right of tummy. They are maybe 1/2cm each. I got home lied on sofa and didn’t move except for a wee. I slept on the sofa with my legs propped up. Hubby slept on mattress on the floor.

Tuesday was a challenging day. I realised in the morning that my pain killers were not enough. I left the hospital with paracetamol and ibuprofen. Not enough and I was in a lot of pain as the day progressed. I managed to get to speak to doctor in the afternoon who prescribed codeine, my neighbour Lucy grabbed them for me from chemist.

On Tuesday we faced the painful task of changing the dressing. I was scared to see what was underneath, but it was fine. Hubby helped peel off the dressings and put clean ones on. He has been the perfect nurse and carer. All the wounds looked fine. I cried a bit as it did hurt at that point. But then fell asleep and slept well for 8 hours.

Wednesday was a good day, regular taking of painkillers meant that I was comfortable all day and even had a couple8-9-16-gallbladder-repair-food of friends Cathy & Marianne bringing flowers, gifts, digestion friendly food, warming autumnal soup.

8-9-16-gallbladder-flowers

It’s now Thursday and I have had another good night sleep. I am in much less pain and am going to reduce the painkillers a bit today. The new problem today is that I am constipated. Codeine and Morphine are known to cause constipation. So far no amount of aloe vera, movicol or prune juice has been successful in getting things moving.

Overall everything was fine and I feel okay

Overall I am feeling okay. The first 2 days were tough but that is to be expected after a major operation. I have had a piece of my body removed! I am looking forward to life without the gallbladder pain and not worrying about any new type of food I try through fear of what it may do to my stomach.

I am off to the UK personal finance bloggers SHOMO awards on Saturday. I am shortlisted for 3 awards so I am absolutely attending. Today I feel fine, life just gets back to normal. Next week will be okay to start walking around and I am to go see my GP just to check everything is okay before exercising again. I’ll start with light pilates;-)

I’ll report back again in a few weeks with a report on any further pain, how I can cope with food, what’s happened to things like my weight and when I can exercise again!

Gall Bladder Removal Operation is Booked

Gall Bladder Removal

Yesterday was one of those days. It started with a short to-do list of big time-consuming things. I managed to get most of it done hurrah. We then spent a fun hour at my local trampoline park where I got a phone call from my gall bladder consultant’s assistant asking if I could go into hospital on Monday to have the operation to have my gall bladder removed. Okay, wow that’s like 4 days’ notice. I replied to her in a panic, oh I’d better check with my husband…then I thought no Lynn, there will never be a good time just book it in.

Now I am on a mission to reorganise the whole of next week, get practical and not think too much about the fact that I am going into to hospital to have a general anesthetic and part of my body removed.

The Facts

My consultant is a lovely man. I liked him a lot from our original consultation. He was fair and considered and answered my firing squad of 30 questions very well. Before the appointment I wasn’t sure if I should have the operation. I was scared about complications and a potential 6 weeks off work. He assured me that he had done this key-hole operation 600 times and he has only ever had complications with 3 people, I liked that statistic. The complications included being severely overweight, I am alright at the moment;-)

This is the man who will be doing my surgery on Monday. Recovery time is 7 to 10 days. I am hoping for quicker. As after 6 days I want to be going to my personal finance SHOMO awards. I promise to listen to my body and only go if I am feeling up for it, and I certainly won’t be using the tube. I’ll give Uber a go:-)

The Fear

2-9-16 Gall Bladder Operation no FearBest to face facts and face the fear. And this maybe sounds irrational but I am scared of going under and dying. So I am thinking ‘OMG I need to call people to let them know I am having an operation, but then my human side of my brain takes over and looks at the facts and the probabilities and realises that this is very unlikely to happen. I did this when I had my C-section that was booked in with 14 hours’ notice. I called my sister and she cried down the phone, I ended up reassuring her that it would be okay, when all the time I was freaking out about dying!

I am truly worried about things going wrong, like being opened up, or losing blood (I have low platelets, ITP, so I could bleed a lot). I worry about needing several week’s recovery time, and not being about to work. If I can’t work I can’t generate income and then I can’t pay the mortgage and I have no insurance for this illness or loss of work/income.

The Reality

2-9-16 Gall Bladder Operation FearThe reality is that I will most likely be fine. I can put my last few questions to rest later when I go see the doctors for my pre-op assessment. This will make me feel better.

I need this operation. I have the fear every time I eat something remotely fatty. I have had painful episodes that are unbearable, and I don’t want another situation of 6 hours of pain in a Las Vegas hotel room not knowing what to do. Or 4 hours in A&E being checked out and dosed up with painkillers then sent on my way when the pain subsides.

So many people have told me I will feel better after the operation so I am going for it. I’ll let you know how I feel afterwards. I probably wont be moving much for a few days so I will writing a lot:-)

Gravity Force Trampoline Park – St. Albans

Gravity Force Trampoline Park

I have seen these parks pop up all over the country and have been really keen to see them in real life and try them out. So how cool is it that two have opened within a week both local to me in Hertfordshire and I get to review both for Mrs Mummypenny. This week I review the new Gravity Force Trampoline park in between St. Albans and Hatfield.

Launch Day Fun

Last week I was invited along with buddy Anita and our 4 boys (8,7,6 &5) to the launch day to experience the brand new park. It looked spotless and huge. Everywhere you looked there was trampoline after trampoline. Apparently 200 in total. There were a lot of mats where you jump from one to the next, dodgeball, basketball, sponge pit jumps, trampolines on wall, trampoline runs. Basically I have never seen so many trampolines and all in my favourite colour purple:-)

23-8-16 Gravity Force Trampoline dodgeball and basketball 23-8-16 Gravity Force Trampoline wide shot

So the boys went mental as soon as we got there and bolted off to give everything a try. Anita and I got a drink and chilled in the coffee shop overlooking the trampoline park, we know how to live;-). We chatted and tried to keep an eye on the boys, which actually we managed to do. The viewing gallery has a great view overlooking the whole park. They spent a lot of time in the dodgeball area, working as a team to take down the other children. They then moved to the trampoline runs. We wondered down to do some filming.

They loved the sponge pit jumps where you can jump off a ledge onto a trampoline then flip into a huge sponge pit. Take a look at the video where I managed to get them all in quick succession jumping in.

Us grown up didn’t have a go. The boys were having such a great time so we didn’t feel the need to, I definitely will next time;-) But only if I wear a decent sports bra and some sporty clothes.

At the launch party there were lots of very clever gymnast people, flipping about showing us all how trampolining is done. There was a free runner who was super talented and Anton from X-factor. That was a bit random??

The Cost

It’s going to cost you £9.95 per child age 5 and over for 1 hour of bouncing, this is more than enough time! You are also going to need special socks (£2) so make sure you keep them if you buy them first time around or from another park. This is not the cheapest of activity but it is a lot of fun and the children are going to be grateful for the experience, Josh claimed its his second favourite activity in the UK after football. They will be so tired out that 7pm bedtime should be fine;-) For the tot’s session it half the price at £5 per child and £5 per adult, and the adults have to accompany the tot.

Age Range

There are 2 age groups that can visit. The under 5’s can go to gravity tots first hour of the day every day. Then aged 5 and older can go to Gravity Jump. This is nice to split up the ages as it can get quite full on with the older children. I know Jack would love to come along with his little 3-year-old friends.

Other Activities

There is keep fit for grown up on a Sunday morning at 9am. I am absolutely giving that a try as I have heard 10 minutes of trampolining is the equivalent of 30 minutes running calorie wise.

There are also birthday parties. These cost £16.95 per child with a minimum of number of 10 children. This includes a party leader, food, drink.

Overall I was really impressed with the trampoline park and will return with the boys. I love an activity where they have brilliant fun and there is some tiring activity involved. This ticks the boxes.

Bouncing mad at Air Space Trampoline Park Stevenage

Air Space Trampoline Park in Stevenage

A huge thank you to Sam Buckley, who reviewed the brand new Air Space trampoline park in Stevenage for Mrs Mummypenny whilst we were on holiday. As you will see and read, she done a fantastic job and had a great time at the launch day. Over to Sam.

19-8-16 Air space trampoline Stevenage familyIndoor trampoline parks are popping up everywhere, and I really wanted to know what all the fuss was about.   I was expecting a good fun hour for the 8 and 5 year old, and I could leisurely have a cup of tea (and possibly cake) and watch them have fun.

On Arrival

As you walk in to reception, you have to fill in a couple of forms.  The friendly staff make sure you have read the safety notices, as well as signing to confirm you’ve read them for yourself and any children you have with you – they also ask you for your age, yep, even mum’s!

More about safety

We all get a pair of bright Orange socks, and taken through to the safety video (yes, I know I’m going to sit down and have a cup of tea, but I’ve picked up the socks just in case I change my mind). It’s only a couple of minutes long, and it’s a repeat of what I’d just read at reception, but to be fair, I’d already forgotten that, so this wasn’t such a bad idea.

The 8 year old is sort of listening….and the 5 year old is more interested in her slush puppy, so in terms of the impact of the actual video, I’m not sure if anything was really taken in, but I can tell that these guys really are serious about keeping you safe and following the rules.  The scariest part was when we were tested with a couple of questions at the end.  I really should pay more attention!

So what’s it all about?

There are a number of sections within the huge warehouse of trampolines – including:

  • Basketball – A strip of trampoline leading to a basketball hoop (only one of these, so not sure what it will be like when busy)
  • Dodgeball/volleyball – this is a netted off area, and the only space where you can end up being on the same trampoline as others
  • A performance wall with trampolines – more of a place for the older kids to learn techniques and tricks
  • Air bag space – two strips of trampoline leading to a huge airbag.
  • The main trampoline section – with over 50 trampolines – as well as wall trampolines.

Now that’s a lot of bouncing!

19-8-16 Air space trampoline Stevenage small trampolines19-8-16 Air space trampoline stevenage long bounce

Both the 8 and 5 year old were excited, but a little reluctant at first and wanted to just try the main trampolines – building their confidence through different bounces.  After a while they warmed up and started bouncing against the walls and seeing how fast they could bounce.

Favourites

19-8-16 Air Space trampoline Stevenage crash matThey both loved the long trampoline at first – seeing how quickly they could bounce.  However once they both mastered the air bags, this was the definite favourite – even after the actual bounce, trying to crawl off the airbag was half the fun.

The performance wall was a little much for them, so they ignored that, maybe next time….

Other bits…

They have lockers within the toilet areas and near the trampolines, so no worries about storing your stuff, and they also have a balcony area, so if you really do want just a cup of tea, you can watch from up there and keep an eye on things.

No under 5’s allowed

I’d seen on Facebook that there was some criticism about 5-year-olds not being allowed to take part, and I did think that was a little unfair. However, after seeing how boisterous it can get, and how serious they are about safety, I can see why they would want to err on the side of caution – my 5-year-old is on the smaller side, and she did struggle with the wide gaps between each trampoline.

Is it for grown-ups?

I loved it, although I was a lot more cautious than the kids and I ended up taking longer to try the different stages long after either of mine did (I seem to get scared of more things as I get older…) However one surprise was, 10 minutes trampoline is the same as a 30 minute run!  They are going to start exercise classes soon, and will be around 45-60 minutes long – I’ll be keeping an eye out for sure. Just a word of warning to mummies…try and practice those pelvic floor muscles before you go!

What’s the verdict?

You only get an hour entrance on the trampolines, but this really does tire the kids out, and they have a huge amount of fun.  The staff are friendly, encouraging and they’re there to help you keep safe but also to have fun.  If you want to wear the kids out this summer, Air Space really will help you out. The cost is £9.95 per child for an hour. This initially feels like a lot of money until you compare it to places like 360 play which are very similarly priced.

Next time, I’ll make sure I’m in my sports gear, hair tied back and Tena lady ready!

To see exactly what its all about check out this YouTube video. And to book tickets click here

One last thank you to Sam Buckley for writing this review and attending the opening day of Air Space trampoline park with her children. We have both received tickets to Air Space free of charge for our families. 

Eating Clean – My Health, Gall bladder & Wellbeing

Eating Clean Journey

It’s another early morning in Spain. Today I have been awoken at 6am by 2 hungry children who fell asleep before eating their dinner last night. I thought I would write today about my eating clean journey since my last health update post, I wrote at the end of June about my gall bladder diagnosis and my plan. Here is that blog. From then until the end of Aug I went for it big time with clean eating and the results were amazing. I want to share with you what I did as it may help you. The health effects have been really incredible.

Eating Clean

My mentor has been guiding me. When I was pregnant with Jack I met Helena on my mama baby bliss pregnancy yoga classes. An incredibly calming and caring influence then who helped so much when pregnant. I can put a lot of my pleasant third pregnancy down to her. She also helped after Jack was born with diet/colic/what to eat when breastfeeding etc. We have kept in touch over the years via Facebook and I attend her super-yoga class whenever I can every few months or so.

Helena is one of these multi-talented people who can sort out the bigger picture, mind, body and spirit. I contacted her as soon as I got the gall bladder diagnosis to get her advice. We had a very powerful skype session the morning before I went off to a spa weekend.

Nutrition

The advice here was quite simple. Eat clean for 6 weeks. And start with an extreme detox for the first week. This meant no to the big 7. No dairy, no gluten, no alcohol, no red meat, no acid, no caffeine, no sugar. A lot of no’s there. And most people’s reaction is ‘wow I could never do that’. But there was something in me, fear of ill health maybe that made me think, I can do this. I can eat clean for 6 weeks and make myself better.

It might be simpler to say what I could eat in week 1. Fish, chicken, turkey, brown rice, rice noodles, green veg, pears, blueberries, papaya, green tea (30 second dip of bag only), water, lemon, lime. I could cope with that. I also had a few vitamins etc. to buy, mostly to take down inflammation of the internal organs, gall bladder, liver, kidneys etc. I had milk thistle, pro-biotics, magnesium, turmeric and aloe vera.

Week 1 was of course a super busy week with 2 business lunches, a wedding, children’s party and bbq. As I have now found though, if you are friendly and have a chat to chef or a nice waiter, restaurants will do anything for you. Or just take an emergency supply of what you can eat. I was mostly fine that week with food. The wedding was particularly hard. The buffet killed me, I love a buffet, and all I could eat was veg sticks and the salmon from inside the bagels. I was on water all day. As people got more and more drunk I was more and more desperate to leave.

Week 1 Side Effects

So I lost 7 lbs in the first week!! Not that one should obsess about weight, but I do. My no 1 goal of #40thingsb440 was to get my weight under 11 stone by March 29th 2017. My skin was glowing. My sleep was deep and refreshing. My energy levels in the morning were incredible. My body changed, I developed a waist. The internal organs swelling went down.

But I was lacking energy in afternoon/evenings. I went to bed early. Exercise was too much that week. I was snappy and irritable. I had sugar withdrawal headaches. They say it’s harder to withdraw from sugar than it is from cocaine. I can believe that! I was slightly desperate for sugar, I got the kick from pear juice and coconut water. And I was desperate for savoury like bread, which I don’t eat anyways! I got constipated as I ate too much white meat. Upping the aloe vera cured that. And stopped eating meat. Helena was on hand on Facebook messenger whenever I had a question for the 6-week period.

Week 2 onwards

There was myriad of events to navigate. Christmas in July with Aldi, they found me gluten free. I tasted the wine and spittoon it thanks Mistress of Wine. A pizza night with bloggers reviewing an app, I drank green tea. Any PR events with food I pre-warned the agency and they got me special gluten & dairy free alternative food. Lovely lovely people.

I slowly introduced new food, humus, avocado, tomatoes, apples. But I was very strict to stay away from alcohol, red meat, eggs. I did have the odd Americano. And I did occasionally try a bit of sugar. I had an Oreo ice-cream on a really hot 30-degree day when I was in London for meetings. It made me poo a lot. I liked this after the constipation issues.

Let’s talk Poo

I talk about poo a lot, with my friends, with my boys, with Helena. We all poo so let’s talk about it! I have always had problems with digestion, constipation, piles, fissures. You name it I’ve had it. Anyways this eating clean should in theory mean your digestion is sorted out and pooing should come naturally every day. It didn’t for me. I would maybe go for 5 days without a poo. Maybe I wasn’t eating enough? No Jack eats anything and does the biggest poos in the world. So I had a colonic done.

You know what I had a very old blockage right at top of my colon under my right boob. It took ages to come out in the colonic and we saw it some out. Old, dirty, blocking poo. That colonic removed 2 lbs of waste from my body! I highly recommend them for a clean out. I felt lighter afterwards and just well clean. I was a bit emotional the next couple of days, angry mostly, apparently the psychological effects of colonic are great. A physical blockage removal is also a psychological one.

Exercise

I have been doing Pilates every week and I have had 3 personal training sessions, all with Victoria Wells. The PT sessions have killed me but in a good way. I am stronger, fitter, more flexible and able to lift more weight and do more repetitions. My stomach fat is reducing. It’s still there and I will always have the nasty loose skin. Good underwear sorts that out.

6 weeks later

29th July marked the start of our official summer holiday. We started with a festival and camping in the UK, then 2 weeks in Spain. I had my first drink at the festival, an Aspalls organic cider. It went down okay. I felt very lightheaded. I ate a rib eye steak brioche bun. This tasted like heaven. I ate a huge slice of chocolate cake which made me feel sick and then gave me the worst ever sugar hangover the following day. It was like the worst migraine ever and it went on and on for days. Lesson learnt, eating that much sugar is not worth it.

Since I have been on holiday I have eaten mostly clean. I have had a gin and tonic most days, maybe a couple. Spanish measures are a lot bigger than UK. I’ve avoided sugar mostly but I have eaten crisps and some pastries. I have been eating fresh baguette most days. I have eaten fish most days, salad and fruit every day, tons of water. So I’m doing good.

The booze is an interesting one. I didn’t miss it at all. And was quite proud of the fact that I was clean for 5 and a bit weeks. But it also got me thinking about how reliant I was on booze for a good night out/to relax/to celebrate/to forget. Alcohol was my coping mechanism, a socially acceptable thing. I would binge drink terribly, from the age of 15 to 39. 24 years of constant destruction of my liver, kidneys and gall bladder. Binging would be 2 bottles of wine and a few shots. I would lose my memory, do really stupid things, get into trouble, embarrass myself. I keep having flashbacks to terrible things I have done when drunk. I am known by my friends to be a bad influence for drinking. Alcoholic?? I don’t know if I was an alcoholic, hopefully not as I have got rid of the monkey relatively easily. But I definitely had an issue.

I weighed myself on 29th July and I have got to 10 stone 11 lbs. This is a 13 lbs weight loss from the beginning of clean eating. 13 lbs in 38 days, not bad:-)

These are pictures before eating clean.

13-8-16 Eating clean before13-8-16 Eating clean early picture

And these are during then after eating clean.

13-8-16 Eating clean mid picture 13-8-16 Eatiing clean after shot

I am pretty chuffed with the after picture take earlier today. I posted on Instagram, its pretty popular:-)

Contact details of Helena and Victoria

I was helped by Helena Bingham, a nutritionist and yoga guru. Her website is here. All contact details are available on there. She offers many services over skype or on the phone.

Victoria ‘at Future Fit’ Wells can be contacted by going to her Facebook page. She specialises in PT, Pilates and swimming coaching and covers Hertfordshire.

Please mention me if you speak to either of them, we would all like to know about any recommendations and where they came from:-)

Gall bladder Thoughts

I am still not 100% sure what to do about this. I have had no pain since eating clean. But it could come back with the introduction of anything fatty? Who knows. I spoke to my NHS consultant about the operation who explained the risks of having the operation and risks of not having it. They tip slightly in the favour of having it. I am stuck a bit between the devil and the deep blue sea. No op=pain forever. Have the op = pain with op. 1-2 weeks rest. Either way I will be eating clean for the rest of my life. But thats really not a bad thing. Look at me, healthy, fit, balanced.

Mobile Phone – How to get a cheap deal & contract

Mobile Phone Contracts

I used to work in the world of mobile phones. I spent 5 years working for EE until June 2015 in various roles working with the retail shops, call centres and website looking after all sorts of products from pay monthly contracts, pay as you go contracts, mobile phone, free sim cards to go-pro cameras and broadband. When I first started in 2010 I had PAYG Nokia talk & text only phone and when I left 5 years later I was a technology expert with the best Samsung phone and tablet. I learnt a lot about phones, and also how much money mobile phone companies make out of mobile phone contracts! EE makes a lot of money girls and boys.

Life without a mobile phone? No thank you!

I would struggle without my phone. Its goes everywhere with me, even to the toilet sometimes! My business revolves around my website, email, social media so there are forever emails to reply to, people to chat to, social comments to reply to. Sometimes I enjoy queuing for things as it gives me time to go through social media and clean it up.

10-8-16 Mobile phone steps & sleepMy phone monitors my step count (not a great day on 8th Aug!), my sleep, my weight, my mental health, gives me personal finance tips, health coach tips, makes me laugh, makes me cry, holds my books, gets me to places via google maps. I feel very lost when battery is low, so I invested in a super battery pack that hold 2 phones worth of charge..LOL. Thanks EE Moorgate for helping in my hour of need. A dead battery when I needed to find an office in old street for a meeting. Battery pack sorted. Brilliant customer service.

A Great deal – and cheapest way to pay for mobile phone

I know a good deal when I see it in the mobile world and I know the cheapest way to get a decent phone;-). Those £45/50 a month contracts on the latest iPhone or Samsung are expensive peeps. Think about it. It’s a 24 month contract where you are spending say £45 each month, that is £1080. An iPhone does not cost EE that much money. No where near.

A much better and cheaper way of getting your phone if you want it brand new is to buy it outright on Amazon maybe or Ebay if you wanted second hand. Then get an EE Mobile SIM only contract. EE have a fabulous deal at the moment for a 12 month SIMO plan which is £19.99 per month (reduced from £34.99 which seems very steep!) including a ton 16 GB of data. Unlimited calls and texts. Now I am a heavy user of data and use my 10GB limit every month so 16GB is an amazing deal. This is only around for a short time. Only available until next Tues 16th Aug. Be quick snap it up:-)

Need a new phone?

Its nice to get a new phone but it not essential. Why not buy one from a mate, or check out Ebay. Hubby sold his iPhone 5S last week for £100 to a mate. Lots of people will have a handset lying in a drawer somewhere still working perfectly. Although I don’t advocate this, you should be selling them on Music Magpie and getting yourself some extra cash!!! I sold my used Samsung S4 on there last year and got £80. Bargain. Here is the link to them, also useful for selling CD’s, DVD’s, tablets, books, all sorts of stuff you have hanging around.
Music Magpie

If you want a brand new phone, check out trusty Amazon. I have just done a quick search and have found these options. iPhone 6S, iPhone 5S, Samsung S7 and S6. Massive difference in price for phones that all do the same thing!




Price comparison over the 12 months

Its nice to see the savings over a 12 month or 24 month period. Lets compare

iPhone 5S

I don’t need a new model iPhone I am happy to get a new iPhone 5S.

Cost of phone is £265. plus SIMO £19.99 * 12 = £239.88. Total cost of £504.88. This is £42.07 per month for 12 months or

£265 for phone + SIMO £19.99 * 24 = £479.76 = £744.76 = £31.03 for 24 months.

Samsung S7

Phone cost is £510.36. plus SIMO £19.99 * 12 = £239.88. Total cost of £750.24 = £62.52 per month for 1 year.

Or £510.36 + SIMO £19.99 * 24 = £479.76 cost of phone = £990.12  = £41.26 per month. Compared to a PAYM plan on EE website with is 50.99 per month (slightly more data 20GB) with £29.99 upfront for the phone = total cost of £1254 over 2 years. £263 more expensive.

So there you have it. A Sim only plan and a slightly older phone model is the way forward. Or even buy a brand a new phone outright with the SIMO plan and you still save money. Plus the phone is worth maybe £100-200 at the end of the 2 years or whenever you are done. Simple money saving from Mrs Mummypenny.

A reminder of the EE SIMO deal again is EE Mobile SIM only contract. Click on the highlighted word to be zipped through to the EE website to sign up.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be paid a small commission if you decide to buy a new SIMO contract or any of the phones from Amazon. Thank you.

 

Gallstones & Gallbladder Update – #Eatclean plan

GallBladder Panic

Last week I posted in a bit of a panic about being advised to have my gallbladder removed. I have taken some further advice from a trusted expert and friend and we have come up with a plan, I love a plan!

I met Helena during my third pregnancy she was my wonderful calming yoga guru and helped to make my third pregnancy amazing. Those of you reading this who worked with me at EE in 2012 will know I was motivated, happy and well, all through my pregnancy. A very different story to pregnancy 1 & 2.

Helena and I have stayed in touch over the years as she holds a super yoga class in Letchworth every couple of months and she helps with my nutrition whenever I need it. Last time she helped was after Jack was born and he would not stop crying. I suspected it was because of my diet and what I was feeding him through my breast milk. We changed a few things in my diet and the crying stopped!

Assessing the Problem

We arranged a Skype chat last Saturday morning as I wasn’t 100% happy with the diagnosis of gallbladder removal from the doctor. I filled in a very long health questionnaire, which started off the healing process as it made me realise what the issues were.

We spoke at length about my medical issues and eating issues, what has potentially caused the problems. We dealt with that with some tears. And then moved on to how to sort out my problems.

I have always had a bad relationship with food. I have addressed many of the issues through my hypnotherapy treatment with Heather Hall so the binge eating issues left me 1 year ago. This didn’t deal with the binge alcohol issues I had. I have spent the past 25 years’ binge eating and drinking, generally treating my body badly. Now my body is saying no more. It cannot cope any longer. I am extremely lucky that it’s just the gallbladder that has given up.

My Lifestyle and my Dedication

We talked about balance and the fact that I don’t have much balance in life. Much of what I do is all or nothing, summer is everything, winter is nothing from a mental health point of view. Drinking was all or nothing, Thursday nights were a classic night for lots of wine & cocktails, particularly with the amount of social events and networking I do with Mrs Mummypenny. My old job at EE involved lots of overnight stays and lots of drinking. My best friend drinks a lot.

We talked about how serious I was about sorting out my diet. I am deadly serious. I say deadly because let’s be honest I am afraid of dying. My mum died when she was just 58, when I was 16. This was too early and the consequences on my life of losing my mum at 16 were huge. So I really want to do everything I can to be around for my children as long as possible.

I am scared of having my gallbladder removed. It’s an operation, key hole I know, but I have low platelets so there is increased risk for me. Maybe a 20-30% chance of the operation not going to plan and me being opened up. If this happened, it would be 6 weeks of full rest. I can’t take 6 weeks off Mrs Mummypenny at the moment. And I don’t have private health care or insurance to cover my lost earnings.

The biology comes into play as well. We have a gallbladder for a reason, otherwise why include it in our make-up. Its processes the fat we consume, so without it your body is unable to process fat properly and it becomes more reliant on the liver and kidneys. We can survive without a gallbladder, but we live better with one.

So yes I am serious and I am doing this. So last Saturday was my last drink. I had a glass of prosecco and a small bottle or organic cider. So very restrained for me. From Sunday I was eating clean. Eating clean for 5 weeks until 1st August.

Eating Clean

3-7-16 GallBladder eat clean healthy chicken, leeks, rice noodlesWeek 1 was the hard-core week. The detox. All I was allowed was chicken and fish, preferably steamed. Brown rice, rice noodles, green veg, papaya, pear and blueberries. Drinks allowed were water, green tea, coconut water for sweet cravings and pear juice from the farm (no sugar, additives etc.). So that meant no booze, sugar, gluten, dairy, red meat, caffeine (except green tea). To the left is chicke, leek, corgette & rice noodles. It was yummy..I promise. The peri peri spices added the zing.

I spent quite a lot of money on supplements to help with my constipation issues, inflammation issues. So I am also taking things like aloe vera, probiotics and milk thistle. The lovely peeps at Natural Health in Welwyn Garden City were most helpful.

Week 1 was hard mainly because I had 1 business lunch, 1 wedding, 1 barbeque party. The food choice was quite easy3-7-16 GallBladder eat clean healthy wedding food as I could get fish or chicken at all of these events. I explained what I was doing and all places were extremely accommodating. So the Hermitage in Hitchin and Friern Manor in Brentwood, thank you for helping me out and giving me lovely food. This picture shows my food on the left and hubbies food on the right.

I didn’t miss the booze at all, but I did struggle seeing nice food. The buffet was hard at the wedding in the evening, all I could eat was chicken skewers and the salmon from inside the bagels!! I just wanted to go home at that point!

So I am now on day 8 of #eatclean and I am doing great. I am going to weigh myself tomorrow to see if I have hit 1) target from #40thingsb440. Week 2 onwards means I don’t have to be so strict. I can slowly introduce healthy stuff from the week 1 banned list. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a nice bit of pork from Trussells my local butchers.

The aim of this healthy eating plan is to repair my gallbladder and reduce the size of the gallstones until they disappear. Healthy balanced eating for the rest of my life should mean no further complaints.

Negative side effects

  • I am tired…and am needing to go to bed at 9pm/10pm.
  • I got a few mouth ulcers from day 4 to 6.
  • I got headaches for 2 nights. Cured with going to sleep.
  • I ended up eating too much chicken which has caused constipation again!

Positive side effects

  • I had been constipated for 6 days prior to changing my foods, that was all cleared out. 3lbs weight loss after 3 days;-)
  • My skin feels more alive.
  • I am getting solid 7-8 hours’ sleep a night.
  • Weight loss to be confirmed!

So there you have it, let me know your thoughts. Do you eat clean and or detox? Can you share any tips with me? Have you avoided the gallbladder removal operation? If you are interested in learning more about #eatclean drop me an email lynn@mrsmummypenny.co.uk. I post my journey on Instagram and Twitter so please give me a follow @mrsmummypennyuk.

This is post 3/7 in my week of blog posts to celebrate my 1 year of leaving EE and launching Mrs Mummypenny.

This also marks day 3 of my giveaway. Prize 3 in the bundle is a box stacked with beauty products from Chanel to Clinique to No 17. There is something for everyone in a rather pretty box too.

3-7-16 Gallbladder eat clean healthy beauty box prize

T’s and C’s

  • The competition is run by Mrs Mummypenny Ltd.
  • It closes on Sunday 10th July at 9pm.
  • To be entered into the competition leave a comment on this post, or on my Facebook page, or tweet with the #day3MMP1year or on Instagram using the same #day3MMP1year.
  • The prize is in my possession and will be posted during week of 11/7/16.
  • I will choose one winner at random using excel rand function and will contact you on Sunday 10th July.
  • If I receive no reply I will move to the next winner in the list.
gallstones

Gallstones – Now I need my Gallbladder removed.

What Has Caused my Gallstones?

This week after 3 years of symptoms, tests, operations booked, operations cancelled, A&E visits and a lot more pain, my doctor has told me my gallstones mean I need to have my gallbladder removed. I tried to argue it, I asked did my C-section cause it, did my pregnancies cause it?

Um no gallstones are common is women, who are getting older who are over-weight (FFF female, forty, fat). Oh my word. I am not even 40, but yep definitely female and yep I have been overweight my entire life. A sudden sense of impending age and me not looking after my health hits me hard.

The Pain & Diagnosis

Around 3 years ago I ended up in A&E. I had the worst stomach cramps, equivalent to 8cm dilated labour pains but constant. At least contractions come and go. And just to let you know I have a VERY low pain threshold.

Eventually the pain stopped after about 6 hours and off I toddled to maybe 5 different consultations, scans, tests to investigate the problem. I was working at EE then, and I had private health care so everything was done very quickly. Eventually the doctors worked out I had small gallstones and this was the cause of the pain.

I was booked in for the gall bladder removal April 2014. The date they gave me clashed with a big holiday and I had 25-6-16 gallstonesbiologyjust got a new job at work. The operation was 6 weeks off work and holiday cancellation, so I postponed it.

And you know what the pain stopped. Through the whole of 2014 and 2015 I was fine. In 2015 I left EE, lost 2 ½ stone of weight and then the pain started again with a vengeance.

An Attack

A memorable attack was on holiday in Las Vegas this year in April. I had a raging hangover on day 2 of the holiday and all I needed was caffeine and food. I had a breakfast burrito with eggs and strong coffee with cream. This made me feel very full but better.

We headed out that morning to a very exciting helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon. We flew to the skyline walkway and gave myself a panic attack walking over a glass bottomed bridge 1000 ft. over the Grand Canyon.

25-6-16 gallstoneattackWe arrive back at the heliport at lunchtime and the pain started. Crippling cramps. I downed a litre of water, no effect. I walked around, I rubbed and rubbed the pain. No effect. I took paracetamol, Nexium, no effect. I went to the juice bar in our hotel and showed them my stomach, now distended to 6-month pregnant look. They advised ginger and beetroot. No effect. All I could do was moan, cry and lie in bed in Las Vegas of all places. A little pain filled sleep helped.

Dinner that night was one the nicest steak restaurants in the world. I felt slightly better 7 hours later, the long walk from Aria to Palazzo helped. But I couldn’t drink and I couldn’t eat much. My $70 steak ended up being eaten by hubby.

Pain Management

So when back in the UK I went back to the doctors and told him I couldn’t cope. I had had 3 attacks in the space of 1 month. Blood tests were done to check it wasn’t something more sinister, all was fine…taking us up to the appointment on Thursday. Gall bladder to be removed.

Since then everything I eat is causing pain from porridge made with semi-skimmed milk to a gluten free fruit & nut bars to red wine to fruit smoothies. This is not good so this morning I have a meeting with my yoga guru and nutritionist friend Helena to help me out.

I will be waiting at least 3-months for this operation (no more private health-care now I am self-employed) so I have to know what to eat without causing me pain. I’ll let you know how I get on.