March 15: An easy workout and the end of the Bluths

Following yesterday’s long walk, I thought I’d focus on core and arm exercises tonight. The trusty chickpea tins were put to good use again, in a variety of strength exercises and punches. I did 15 exercises for a minute each, including normal and side to side crunches, push ups and plank. A minute of plank! It’s a miracle!

My sister very kindly sent me money for my birthday to buy hand weights. She said she didn’t mind if the money was spent on something else, so I’m in two minds – buy weights or put the money towards our next holiday. She was very generous! Buying them means more stuff in the house; I’ll check out what’s on offer and let you know if I upgrade. But never fear! The chickpeas will live to tell another story either way – as my trusty assistants or a hummus dip.

Today, we finished the Arrested Development television series, starring Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett and Michael Cera. Some of the episodes were comedic gold, some were a bit rubbish, but, overall, watching 68 episodes of the Bluth family’s escapades was a worthy time investment. The way the stories all tied together was incredibly clever, and Gob’s chicken dance will stay with me for a while. I can definitely vouch for it adding to my mental fitness in 2015.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 9: The 7-Minute Workout

Quite a while ago, my friend Melissa told me about The 7-Minute Workout, so finally I’ve put it to the test (for reasons explained further below).

I’ve downloaded the app to my phone as well. The internet version I’ve linked to above makes a beep during the 30 seconds you’re doing the exercise and then goes silent to let you know when to rest, which doesn’t happen on the app.

There’s a 10 second pause between each of the 12 exercises. Within the seven minutes you do star jumps, a wall sit, push ups, abdominal crunches, step-ups onto a chair, squats, tricep dips on a chair, plank, high knees running in place, lunges, push ups with rotations and side planks. You’ll need space to rest against a wall, a stable chair or ledge to step up onto, and a stable chair or desk to lean on for the tricep dips.

Doing this workout twice, followed by a minute of leg stretches, gives you a fast and effective fitfor15in15 workout. I’m glad I had it up my sleeve as a backup (thanks Melissa!) because it wasn’t the plan for today – I thought I’d go running, but my social nature caught me out.

My neighbour (and owner of all the land and buildings here) started the ride-on mower, for the first time since autumn, so I went outside to say hello. And before you know it, I had a broom in hand and was sweeping leaves our of nooks and crannies so he could suck them up with the mower! There’s been a lot of leaves about the place since the snow’s melted, so there was plenty to do. Two hours worth of it! But I’m glad it’s done, it looks much neater now and feels a bit more like spring.

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The grass looked brown from all the leaves covering it. Pretty much all gone (til the next big wind!)

The brooms we use here are so old school and would be perfect for witches. (They’re incredibly effective and make a great Harry Potter toy for visitors with kids!) Even the local councils still use this style of broom; a classic design that still holds its own.

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My trusty steed

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A simple and effective broom which looks the part too

So I’m back from my little holiday blogging break and will be writing daily again (until the next holiday perhaps?!). If you’d like to read about our weekend in Strasbourg, with a photo gallery, please click here.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 14: Weather turns the day upside down

Pastora, Iva, Jaime and I planned to do a five-hour walk today along the winding Aare river, from Wohlen bei Bern into the city. The rain gods decided to have a hoedown, or maybe it was a rave, at 5am, and that was the end of that idea.

It rained all morning – the ground was mush, the wind was high, the seas were rough … I made that last one up.

So we turned a day of activity into a day of inactivity. We ate too much, drank a little, talked non-stop and played a board game Iva brought along. Importantly, we laughed a lot. We may not have that satisfied kind of exhaustion we were hoping to have from a long walk, but we achieved it in another form from solid rainy-day fun.

Hence, I’ve just completed 15 minutes of strength exercises before going to bed. My arms and shoulders certainly feel yesterday’s yoga efforts, so I thought I’d try five minutes of stomach crunches (arms behind the ears and elbows out of sight), five minutes of upside down cycling (lying on my back, legs in the air, peddling fast) and then five minutes of squat variations holding my trusty chick pea tins.

Not sure if the cycling achieved as much as the other exercises, other than noticing my noisy knees, but it was good to do something new.

Speaking of new, a friend, Jac, suggested my next exercise challenge should be to dance like no one is watching, and tomorrow I’m going to do just that. I might even tell you my play list.

Wishing you a wonderful day.