Brought up by the sea makes me a very lucky girl.  The beach is where I spent all my free time.  I would leave the house at 7 or 8 in the morning and be down there most of the day.  Whether it be alone or with my friends, I could always be found by the sea.27-6-4

Now a grown-up, not much has changed.  If I have free time, that is where I head.  When the weather turns, my first thought is how it will be by the coast.  We should go, we will be missing out on amazing things.  The clouds are better. The air is better.  The storms are way better.  When I was little, that was the most exciting part of living within walking distance of the beach.  We would watch the dark clouds roll in  and within minutes trek down to the sea to watch the waves reach over the walls and onto the road, soaking on-lookers and cars.  To feel the spray hitting my cheeks.  None of this ” oh it’s too cold” or “we’ll get wet”………That was the whole point.  Feeling those things does something to your soul.27-6-2

We have to drive to the beach now.  But we still go regularly. And we always go to ‘our’ beach, because everyone I speak to has their own bit of coast, their favourite spot, and it’s beyond my comprehension that it’s different to where I go………I mean, my spot is the best! (say us all).  And my girls seem to get it too.  They love rock pooling with me……..Mr H walks the perimeter while I, closely followed by my shadow or my children, trace my steps from one safe rock to another, checking each pool for something alive, turning stones, poking with sticks.  Mostly silent too, like we are all completely in the moment, something there is not enough of in this fast and crazy world we live in.  Walking along the shore to the sound of the waves ebbing to and fro, almost like each time the wave goes out it takes away some of my stresses and restores me with each wave that comes in. I really do believe the sea has healing powers, the smell, the sound……they both do things to your soul that nothing else can.

So I urge you all.  Go for a drive and find a stretch of coast and walk and take it all in. Breathe it deep into your soul and you will feel the magic happen and you will never want to let it go.





Helen R: I am not a fan of Fitbits. Never have been. I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. So on Saturday, at a family barbecue, I found myself looking at my niece’s Fitbit and exclaiming –

I hate Fitbits. Hate them with a passion. Why anyone would choose to buy one and wear one is beyond me!

Which was probably a bit rude (so I then had to message her later to apologise for my outburst…). Therefore, in a far more measured way, let me explain why I hate Fitbits.

  1. I am not motivated by statistics: I do not need to know how many steps I have walked to know if I have done enough exercise that day. When I run, I do the best I can on that day and do not push myself to keep attaining that elusive personal best.
  2. The statistics seem unreliable: Now that would drive me really mad. If you’re going to rely on statistics to motivate you, then at least you have to be sure they’re accurate. I go out running with people wearing Fitbits. They all do the same run at the same speed – and get completely different results! What is the point of that?
  3. People end up cheating: Walking in circles around the bedroom; taking credit when the Fitbit tells you you’ve been on a bike ride when you have not; even just lifting your arm up and down for ten minutes while not even leaving your chair…what is the point?
  4. I’d rather spend the money on something else: like six months gym membership or a series of yoga sessions. Actually on exercise.
  5. I’d rather wear pretty things: and not an ugly piece of plastic that does not match my clothing. I’d rather wear bracelets and watches and not something that looks like an electronic tag.
  6. They’re just a fad: an expensive fad. And if something becomes the must-have thing, it makes me not want it all the more.
  7. They encourage comparison and competition: Both of which I hate. With a passion. I believe in self-motivation. About encouraging each other, yes. But not discouraging ourselves and setting ourselves up for failure every time we exercise.
  8. They’re too prescriptive: Your Fitbit doesn’t know you. It cannot know what makes you tick and what is best for you as an individual. There’s a’one size fits all’ approach that doesn’t take into account any personal details that actually affect what exercise we need that day and how well we will ‘perform’.
  9. They draw attention to your fitness plan: It’s like ‘Look at me! I have a Fitbit! I’m fit. I’m healthy. How guilty do you feel now?’ I don’t need that. I want people to look at my face and my posture and my health and know that I exercise – actually, I’m not even sure I want that. I just want to feel good and maybe even look good as a result.
  10. I’m just not a fan of gadgets: Life is short enough without another gadget to deal with. I can’t get my head round using one. I don’t want to. I don’t even use my phone to record runs etc. When I run, I don’t even take a phone. Or a watch. I am free from all that.27-6a

So that’s me. Enough said. Probably more than enough said. I’ll never mention Fitbits again. Now it’s over to you, Helen H…

Helen H: I am a fan.  Not as passionately as Helen R isn’t. I don’t really understand how she can be so against it but hey ho.  I don’t have a like for like argument.

Yes I fell into the trap, followed the trend and I don’t have an issue with that.  I didn’t buy something I didn’t really want or need.  I bought it because it fitted and matched the needs I had.  I don’t do much exercise. I don’t go to the gym so am aware that my fitness levels are quite low.  I do however walk to and from school everyday and now I can see how far that is. And while I’m sure there are people who cheat to get their numbers up, I never have. I’m really not that bothered.  Surely sitting in a coffee shop having coffee and cake after the gym is the same thing? What’s the point?

One of my main reasons for getting it was to check my sleep patterns.  I am quite a restless sleeper and I like being able to see the difference in my sleep and how it reflects on the following day.  I also quite like being able to see what my heart was up to while I was treking up that big hill or cycling that 10 miles.

I don’t live my life by my fitbit, I don’t compete with myself.  It is simply there. It goes with me everyday and every now and then I check it to see what’s what. I do not shout about what I have or haven’t done and I don’t compare with anyone else.  I do not feel governed by it and I do not need other people to like it or agree with me.

The number of people who say to me ‘I’m not creative’…

It’s not true!

Everyone is creative in their own way.

Tidying out a drawer this morning, I came across this handwritten list – no idea where I got it from, sorry.

How to be a creative:-

  • Helen on beachlearn to watch tadpoles
  • refuse to be ‘responsible’
  • cultivate moods
  • drink sunsets
  • laugh a lot
  • stamp out conformity
  • read everything
  • amaze yourself
  • giggle with children
  • be ridiculous
  • listen to older people
  • drive away fear
  • study something in nature for an hour
  • play with everything
  • entertain your inner child
  • spend two hours in a library for fun

All sounds pretty good to me!

My party planning is coming along brilliantly and it’s all getting very exciting.12-6a

Today I made my Blackberry Schnapps.  Here’s how I did it just in case you’d like to make some.

You will need:

1 litre of plain Schnapps, I get this from Tesco.

1 large punnet of Blackberries (you can choose any fruit you like).

12-6a-23 or 4 dessert spoons of caster sugar.

A large air tight jar, I get mine from Ikea.

That’s it, that’s all you need and it’s really simple.

So here’s how:

Put the fruit into the jar along with the caster sugar.

Pour in the Schnapps.

Close the jar.

Give it a good shake.

Then leave it in a cool, dark place.  The longer you leave it the better the taste.  I would suggest anything from about 2 weeks to 6 months.

Once you are ready to drink it, simply strain the fruit and pour into a bottle of your choice.

Then enjoy!