May 6 #2: An assortment of bodyweight exercises

It was a busy day, mostly on the computer, with a bit of time in the soggy garden. The grass still has many boggy sections, which reminded me of stomping across the Moors, which reminded me of this article about lovely gardens from The Guardian website. I’d like to go to Cerney House.

Even though the sun was shining and I should have gone for a run (even just to the tulips and back!), I decided to stay close to home and do 15 minutes of assorted exercises with my body weight.

Using video resources from various Instagram fitness accounts and the happy.challenges Instagram account, I mixed up mountain climbers, push-ups, squats and crunches with four sets of 15 repetitions each. Enough to get the blood flowing, for sure, but not enough for 15 minutes.

So I’m going to have to split my fitfor15in15 into two categories today – mentally fit with the book review and travelling light story (which took longer than seven minutes to write!) and physically fit with eight minutes of exercises. Cheating a bit? Perhaps!

I felt a bit cheated yesterday – two hours after eating a slice of very dense chocolate cake to finish off my lunch with Leonie, I felt quite ill. I think my body is trying to tell me to lay off the sugar! Which reminded me of this report from the Australian ABC.

Rocketing obesity is being blamed on poor diets laden with excess sugar and carbs, rather than a lack of exercise. Makes sense, although the opening line of the report made me feel dejected!

Fitfor15in15 is all about being fit in all its forms, with exercise playing the major part. Now I’m thinking I should forget shifting those pesky few kilos through exercise, and focus more attention on the role of healthier food.

Just writing it out makes me feel a bit silly, because it seems so obvious. Of course, moving everyday is beneficial for my overall health, like heart and bones, and I would never stop that. But is it time to totally cut out the crap from my diet? Could I live without chocolate cake and Berliners? Maybe, but would it be any fun? More food for thought.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Travelling Light: Toiletries and make-up

Finally! I can’t believe it’s taken me five months to write about what I take when travelling. I love to pack light – just love it! Some may look at this and think ‘that’s not light’, and I’m cool with that! Everyone’s different, so, without further ado, here’s what’s in my new toiletry bag.

It’s a three-zippered number from deuter, with a capacity of 1.2 litres, weighing 50g when empty.* Until recently, I used a single zippered lightweight case from Eagle Creek (which I can’t find on the internet), but I’m loving the organisation options of the new bag – three compartments for easy access!


The old … (pen is for size reference)


… and the new

We’re (hopefully, depending on the weather) going hiking/walking for five to six days next week from Constance to Einsiedeln in Switzerland, which is basically the first third of the Swiss Camino.

We don’t know where we’ll be staying along the way, so I have to assume that some nights may be in youth hostels or basic hotels, where no toiletries are provided.

Sample or travel sizes are your friend (most of these were free!). Here’s what I’ve packed for one week:

  • Toothbrush (very lightweight and slim)
  • Toothpaste (I have two small toothpastes 25ml and 30ml, each about a third full, so will take them both to use them up)
  • Floss (mini)

Dental things

  • Shampoo (sample/travel size, 30ml)
  • Conditioner (sample/travel size, 30ml)

Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body and face moisturiser (in orange GoToob, 60ml)
  • Deodorant (spray bottle, 30ml)

Moisturiser and spray deodorant

  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens case
  • Contact lens solution (15ml)

So I can see the pretty scenery!

  • Soap (for face and body, 40g)
  • Toner (love a refreshing spritz of toner, 10ml)
  • Perfume (a sachet and a small sample size (1.5ml) – nice for a few evenings!)

Soap, toner and perfume samples

  • Tablets (hayfever, vitamins, headache, penicillin (for tonsillitis), gastro-stop (the last two are for just-in-case moments) in a small plastic ziplock bag
  • Cotton buds
  • Toothpick
  • Bandaids
  • Hotel-size sewing kit (for dealing with (hopefully no) blisters). The past four items are all in a small ziplock bag)

Tablet bag and cotton bud bag

  • Hairbrush (foldable with a mirror inside)

Folding hairbrush

  • Foundation (sample size, 7ml)
  • Eye and cheek powder (silver duo compact)
  • Eye and cheek brush (small)
  • Eyeliner (mini)
  • Mascara (very thin, light and short)
  • Lip balm

Make-up items

When it’s all listed out, it looks like so much, but I’ll use everything (except possibly the make-up) every day.

Now it all goes into the three pockets of the washbag:

  • Back zip: Brush, make-up
  • Middle zip: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toner, moisturiser, deodorant, contact lens things, packet of tablets, packet with cotton buds etc
  • Front zip: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss

Back compartment (without the brush)


Main compartment, with ziplock bags and soap flat at the bottom


Front compartment

And this is what it looks like when it’s all zipped up. There’s still a bit of room in there, and will gain more as the tablets get taken.


All zipped up and ready to go. Total weight 620 grams

I’m pretty happy with that total weight, just over half a kilo, and if I didn’t feel the need to pretty myself up at night, I would ditch the make-up completely.

But wait? What about sunscreen, I hear you say! I wear a wide-brimmed hat, neck scarf, long-sleeved top and pants to avoid sunburn (damn thee fair, sensitive skin!) and carry a small sample-size sunscreen, about 7ml, in the pocket on the waistband of my backpack for easy access and regular cheek and nose applications. The lip balm (which also has sunscreen in it) lives in my trousers’ pocket.

So there you have it. In a dream world, where I had 20/20 vision, my skin wasn’t dry and sensitive and I had short hair, I think my toiletry bag would look very different. Eventually, I’d like everything to be eco-friendly plant or oil-based items, but because I have these things already, and most of them were free, it would be crazy not to use them. I’d love to travel with one natural soap for everything, one oil as a face, body and hair moisturiser and bicarb soda as toothpaste and deodorant. One day! One day! (I look forward to writing that post too!)

What toiletries do you like to take when travelling? Do you use sample sizes or take the lot?

Check again soon for posts about my backpack, walking clothes, casual clothes and sundry/miscellaneous items.

* As always there are no affiliate links on this site. I’m just providing you with information and receive no perks or money from the companies and products mentioned, giving me free reign to say if I like them or not.

May 6: Catch-up photos and postponed nervousness

The big news which distracted me from writing yesterday’s post is … I have a job interview. It was supposed to be this morning, via telephone, but it has been rescheduled for next Wednesday. I’m not going to say anything more about it for fear of jinxing myself. Please cross all fingers and toes.

As a catch-up for yesterday’s simple post, here are a few drab-looking photos.


A glorious full moon from May 4


We’ve had so much rain in Bern and surrounds that the Aare river is flooded and the walking paths on both sides have disappeared


Looking towards the city from the Lorrainebrücke (bridge). The water is normally crystal clear


Grey skies in Bern at Waisenhausplatz


Markets in Waisenhausplatz


Across the tram lines from the wares in Waisenhausplatz is Bärenplatz, home of the food markets


Lovely fresh, unpackaged products


Bring your own container! Zero Waste!


At the top of Bärenplatz is the Bundeshaus (Federal Palace of Switzerland) where Parliament sits. Most people think the Swiss capital is Zürich


Looking towards the Gurten (the small hill) from the viewing platform at the Bundeshaus


The building in the distance with the spires is the Einstein Museum. He was a lecturer at the University of Bern in 1908


There are several street chess boards in the city

Monday night was the final of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to be at the Crucible Theatre in 1995 for a night and day session – amazing to be there after watching it for so many years on television. It’s always sooo quiet! Congratulations to perennial underdog Stuart Bingham on his first world title! It was a fantastic final (against Shaun Murphy) and I’m glad Bingham won because he beat my favourite player Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-final.

Yesterday was a very social day – lunch with Leonie and then drinks and dinner with Claudia (not my old German teacher Claudia, who I meet once a week, but Leo’s friend Dani’s girlfriend Claudia, who lives in Basel). In between the two catch-ups, I went to the library and finished this beautifully written, memorable book.

I was amazed to see the unusual pink and green tulip from our local tulip field in a recent post from Freda at livesimplysimplylive. I’ve never seen them before and then twice in three days! Freda’s grow in her garden. How wonderful! Must try and plant some too.

I’ll post again with some fitness stuff. This is really more of a catch-up from yesterday, where my exercise was walking around the city looking at the flooded river.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Firmin by Sam Savage


One educated rat’s musings on the harsh realities of life

Oh, wow, I loved this! A last-minute selection at the library could now possibly be one of my favourite books.

There are so many clever literary references and beautifully written thought processes in this short but weighty novel from 2006. The author, Sam Savage, has done a brilliant job relaying the angst felt by a ‘lowlife’ rat in his quest to be accepted and understood. We’ve all been through something like that at some stage, right?

Firmin, the runt, is born to a mother of dubious social standing and battles his 12 brutish siblings before going it alone. Staying in the book store where he was born has considerable benefits, because Firmin can read. He devours the shop’s contents (initially literally, then figuratively) to be a well-read rat of note, and would dearly love to have an educated conversation with the shop’s owner, Norman, or a one-on-one encounter with an actress from the nearby movie theatre, where he goes on his nightly food run. But without the ability to speak, write, type or even do sign language, he relies on his imagination.

I don’t want to write too much, because this was such a lovely surprise for me, that I’d love for it to be a surprise for you too. It might make you look at a rat differently on your next encounter. I want to say “I guarantee it will make you …” but some people could never be swayed in their hatred for vermin!

Poor Firmin!