Who doesn't love watching Channel 4's Grand Designs? For me it combines two of my favourite pastimes - indulging my fantasy for picture perfect designer rooms in my house, as well as getting a glimpse into the real agony and joy of others on their quest to make their own grand design happen.

The plus of course is Kevin McCloud,  design guru and silver fox of the interiors world.   Do I need to say more?

Based on the hugely successful TV series, this year's Grand Designs Live show runs for 9 days from 29th April - 7th May at Excel London.

The show offers visitors a unique opportunity to see all the latest trends for the home including many products never seen before.

Packed with over 500 exhibitors, across seven different sections, it promises to be a show not to be missed.

What's not to like? It ticks all my boxes and if like me, you harbour dreams of a grand design project, hopefully it will tick yours too.

The good news is to help make your dreams a reality, I  am really excited to have tickets to giveaway courtesy of CLC World Resorts & Hotels, Europe's largest independent resort operator and developer who are also providing the main prize of the show ....so if you are in the middle of planning a small or grand design of your own and are in need of some inspiration or expert advice, this is the giveaway for you.

The entry requirements are really simple and please don't forget to leave a comment on my blog letting me know about your own Grand Design plans, past or present, small or large, I would love to hear about it.

Good Luck!

 

How To Enter - Rules

Leave a comment on this blog.

Follow me @motherofteensuk on Twitter

Retweet the competition pinned post on my Twitter page

Follow @clcworld on Twitter or visit their facebook page CLC World Resorts

 

Terms & Conditions

  • Competition details form part of these terms and conditions.
  • Entry is open to residents of the UK except employees (and their families) of CLC World, its printers and agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions.
  • The entrant(s) must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required.
  • Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification.
  • The competition opens at 12.00am on 20th April 2017 and ends at 12.00am on 27th April 2017. Entries that are incomplete, illegible, indecipherable, duplicated or which contain profanity will not be valid and deemed void.
  • To enter, applicants must follow the rules outlined above.
  • All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, due to computer error in transit.
  • The prizes are as stated and comprises of two tickets for Grand Designs Live (valid between the 29th April – 7th May) to be awarded to one winner. The prize is not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.
  • Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers' terms and conditions.
  • Prizes will be posted to the winner within 48 hours of them providing their postage details.
  • The winner will be contacted via Twitter on 28th April.
  • Entrants must be prepared to be able to organise their own travel to Grand Designs Live on a date between the 29th April – 7th May , in the case that they are selected to win the competition.
  • The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions at any time and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition.
  • In the event of a prize being unavailable, the promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.
  • The winner(s) agree(s) to the use of their name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Mother of Teenagers and/or CLC World, relating to any post-winning publicity.
  • Unless stated otherwise the winner(s) will be drawn at random from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material 27th April 2017.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner(s). If the winner(s) cannot be reached within 24 hours of being notified of their win, or they are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random, or in the event that the promotion is being judged, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the runner(s)-up selected by the same judges.
  • Confirmation of the prize will be made via online correspondence to the winner.
  • Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize.
  • Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered over this decision.
  • Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time

 

 

 

 

 

Tammymum New AnythingGoes badge diaryofanimperfectmum DIY Daddy Blog  rachel bustin

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With one teenager finishing last term with a hockey tour and one starting this term with a cricket tour, I am reminded of the value of sport in my teens' lives not only from the obvious perspective of benefiting from exercise, but also more universally in helping to prepare them for life beyond the playground.

Like many other parents I have stood on my fair share of pitches, but despite the sometimes untold agony of getting them up on time, the arguments about lost kit, the moaning about unfair referees and umpires plus the occasional tears at not being selected, I believe it has been worth every minute and equipped them with some valuable life lessons.

Children do not enter this world "naturally" sporty, it requires effort from us as parents to introduce them to exercise and start shaping their attitude to physical activity.   This starts as early as the toddler years with the interminable games of "catch" and trips to the playground in all weathers - albeit as an underhand means of ensuring our children are completely exhausted in time for bed.

The primary school years, however, are when it starts in earnest.  School sports days sort the wheat from the chaff on the athletics track among the children and the parents, in a bid for the unspoken but cherished title of  "most sporty family".  It is also the first time that our children are chosen for teams based on their ability and start to understand the value of healthy competition, because let's face it competitive environments are everywhere in life.

Then there is the scrum for places at local sporting clubs, some of which can involve a wait of several years for a space to come free.

Once your child has their place and has been accepted into the inner sanctum of the local sporting elite, even if they absolutely hate it, throw regular hissy fits on the field or are just down right rubbish, you stay put, resolute in the belief that as well as getting them out of the house, it is a learning ground for those all important life skills of teamwork, leadership, responsibility, discipline, coping with failure and last but not least "strategic thinking".

Yes who would have thought sport could be credited with providing our offspring with such a vast array of cognitive functions?

Surely there was an age when sport's primary purpose was enjoyment at being active, but that is certainly not the case now.  Being sporty is a badge to be worn with pride and demonstrates a prowess unattainable to any other group theatrical or musical, despite all requiring many of the same skill sets of co-operation, stamina, flexibility and dedication.

Woe betide you if are one of those parents on the sports field that dares to say the immortal words to your child that it's not about the "winning" but the "taking part". This suggests a lack of resilience and commitment and will provoke an array of reactions from eye rolling and tutting to full on ostracization.

In what other extra curricular activity does your child get exposed to such open criticism?

Despite my glibness though, I confess to being one of those parents who champions the importance of sport and fall genuinely into the camp of mums who just want my children to "take part".

As a fair weather exerciser I am not a tiger mum by any stretch of the imagination, but over the years I have carefully cajoled and manipulated my teens from an early age into sporting positions they may not naturally have gravitated towards themselves.

I signed them up for local sporting clubs before I knew if they were interested or even capable.  I offered my services when needed to serve tea and bake cakes for tournaments (admittedly under duress) and have even flown the flag of loud supporter on occasions, if sometimes for the opposing team!

Equally though I have stood and cringed on the sidelines as my children made innumerable mistakes, let down the team and themselves and of course embarrassed me!  It is all part of life's rich parenting tapestry.

But regardless of all this I gritted my teeth, rose above it and reassured them that "at least they tried their best", only to go home, drink copious glasses of wine and rant to my husband.

My husband however is the true champion, investing true blood, sweat and tears into our children's sporting lives.  He has patiently taught Teen 1 how to handle a rugby ball and coached at his local club for years. He has also spent hours of his life he will never get back teaching him how to bowl and has regularly run training sessions for Teen 2's hockey club.  This is before we even count the hours of driving,  sometimes half way across the South of England to get them to matches or to pick them up, before returning home and doing a quick turnaround to catch a plane - all whilst I just prepare lunch!

From my view on the sideline though, I think that what sport does best for children is break down barriers and open up opportunities.

Our local sports clubs are full of children from different backgrounds and with a range of abilities and the same is true at my teens' schools.  Diversity is essential to all walks of life but a love of sport unifies people in a way that nothing else can.

Sport England has launched its own series of initiatives Towards An Active Nation to increase the number of people getting active in response to the Government's own Sporting Future strategy.

Its vision is that everyone in England regardless of age, background or ability feels able to take part in sport and a significant part of this is to increase the proportion of young people (11-18) who have a positive attitude to sport and being active.

At secondary school there is no doubt that it is all far more competitive as everyone jostles for a place in the 1st and 2nd team and the chance to represent their school and perhaps earn a much coveted place on a sports tour.  It is easy for children to drop out of exercise during this period.  The challenge at this stage as Sport England recognises is to keep our children doing sport and make exercise a natural part of their life to keep them active well into the future.

Watching my own children over the years I can resolutely say that they have grown from sports shy individuals to competent young players who genuinely get a buzz from being part of a team and being active. What sport does really well is give children a sense of worth, bring them together and give them a common purpose. Your prowess in the classroom or the playground is irrelevant to what happens on the sports field.

Sport encourages children to move outside their comfort zone and mix with others they would maybe not normally interact with.  In this ever changing and reactive world this is surely a good thing, irrespective of ability.

So as I drove my eldest and his mates to their first pre-season training cricket match and listened to their "bants" I was reminded of identical circumstances this time last year.  My husband away on business and a car full of jesting teenage boys with their "that's so jokes" comments,  looking forward to a season's cricket amidst the pressure of their exams.

It reminded me that actually the real value of sport to our children is not the cognitive strategic skills they come away with but the comaraderie, the genuine enjoyment, the escapism from the pressure of performing in the classroom and most importantly of all, the memories of when they got it wrong as well as right, which are truly irreplaceable.  After all life is built on memories, they stay with us forever and hold us all together.

 

What do you think about the role of sport for our children?  Does sport play a big part in your lives?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this article please give it a share. 

 

 

 

Tammymum diaryofanimperfectmum Mummy Times Two Pink Pear Bear

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You would think that the woman pioneering a change in attitudes towards the way women dress in midlife has herself passed that milestone.  The reality, however, is that Jacynth Bassett, is a 24 year old Cambridge law graduate, who inspired by her mother's style frustrations has made it her mission to tackle ageist attitudes in the UK fashion industry.

The first step was a blog offering women top style tips and inspiration, as well as a forum for discussion on age-prejudice in fashion. Overwhelmed by the response from women all echoing the same frustrations at the typically dowdy designs targeting the older woman, the-Bias-Cut.com was born in March 2016. It is a multi-label online boutique of limited collections, featuring modern and stylish items from a range of contemporary labels and designers for the 40+woman. Jacynth has a discerning eye and all pieces are chosen for the quality of their craftsmanship and attention to detail.

At the heart of Jacynth's business is the ethos that "Ageism is Never in Style". It is her belief that there should not be any hard and fast rules on what women can wear over a certain age.  A passion for style and a desire to wear beautiful clothes and look good in them, transcends generations and is just as important in your midlife years as your teens.  The secret in Jacynth's opinon lies in reflecting the best version of yourself today and personally speaking I couldn't agree more.

I am far from being a fashionista, but I have always loved clothes.  As I have aged my attitude to buying clothes hasn't changed extensively, I know what I like and still get a thrill from finding that must have item, but it is less about being on trend and more about evolving my style. If I see something I love I will buy it based on whether it makes me look and feel good irrespective of my age, after all who doesn't want to continue to look fabulous? But it is natural for everyone to step back and question their style choices at some stage and as I passed that all important Fabulous Fifty marker earlier this year I asked Jacynth if she would share her thoughts on style at 50.

Jacynth Bassett, the-Bias-Cut.com

“How To Look Good At 50.”  “What Women Shouldn’t Wear Over 50.”  “Ageless Style At 50.”  We’ve all seen variations of these titles – which usually end up being click bate leading to some patronising, insulting or, at best, hilarious article dictating how to dress correctly (whatever that means) at 50.

Of course the underlying message of those articles is that there is a right and a wrong way to dress at 50. Now if you are dedicated to following the latest trends, granted there are looks that are in and looks that are out. If, however, you just want to look your stylishly best, then there is no strict formula to adhere to. Ultimately you can wear whatever  you want - the key is to make sure you feel good and are comfortable in it.

So why do all these articles exist? Well, if they are to be believed, when the clock strikes midnight on your 50th birthday, suddenly your fairy tale princess life ends and you’re left with – or even looking like - a pumpkin and with that it means you suddenly need to re-evaluate your style and fashion decisions.

Now I’m not a scientist, but I’m pretty sure when you turn 50 you don’t instantly end up with 20 more wrinkles, grey hairs, hot flushes and a bigger middle. You might become more aware of the signs of aging, but they haven’t just appeared overnight. The only real potential sudden shift is psychological: hitting the 50 mile stone might make you feel different, but you won’t look any different . Yes, with time your hormones are going to change, as is your body, your appearance and your lifestyle, but that will happen gradually.

So what these “Style At 50” articles all seem to be missing is that the reason a woman’s style may change at 50 is because of the emotional differences to a woman in her 40's. It’s all very well saying ‘you should now wear this and avoid that’, but it means nothing if there’s no sensitive rationale and understanding behind it. Ultimately clothes and style are just a reflection of who you are inside.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with my own guidelines (not rules) on style over 50.

1. If you feel now is the time to broaden your style horizons – do it!

A year ago a lady said to me “when I was in my late 30's, I lost my confidence; I had kids and started taking less care in my appearance. Now in my 50's I feel I need to get back to my real self.”

Even if you haven’t felt like this, it’s quite likely you know someone who has. Whatever path your life has taken, there has probably been a point where you started to feel less confident in your appearance, but on turning 50, it’s a great point to evaluate your life so far, think about where you want it to go next, and take control. The same applies to your style. If you’re ready to change and prove that you aren’t invisible and can look gorgeous – go for it. If you want to try a particular style, do! Because it’s time to forget all that mutton dressed as lamb rubbish and remember that confidence is the true essence of style. So whatever you’re wearing, if you’re doing it with pride, then that’s the true beauty that will shine through.

2.Only give your wardrobe a total overhaul if your body is currently changing

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to buy a garment that’s too big or small and say you will eventually fit into it. It never works because we all put on and lose weight differently, so your body is unlikely to change in a way you expect. One of the most common things that happens with menopause is putting on weight around the middle. So you might go from a size 10 to a size 14 – but that doesn’t mean you’re slightly larger all over. Your boobs and middle might get bigger, whilst your hips and thighs stay the same.

This means you’ll need to start shopping for a different shape, not just general size. A new cut might suit you for the first time, whilst ones you used to always wear are no longer flattering. And you may need to find new shops too – because designers’ and high street brands’ lack of understanding and catering to different body shapes is still a huge issue. But don’t let this dampen your spirits: slowly there are more brands taking notice, and at the-Bias-Cut.com we even curate collections specifically with different bodies in mind.

3. Encourage yourself to step out of your safe zone

Having founded an online boutique where the majority of my customers are over 50, there is one comment I hear more than nearly anything else “I only wear navy as it makes me feel safe.”  Now I have nothing against the colour navy, I have a lot of it in my wardrobe and it is very flattering, even more so than black as we age because it doesn’t drain the skin as much. But if you’re wearing navy to feel safe – then there’s a problem. Yes, it’s important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, but as is feeling beautiful, gorgeous and sexy and dressing to feel safe is not that.

So, if next time you feel yourself drawn to navy (or any other colour that makes you feel safe), honestly consider whether you’re picking it for healthy reasons and if you’re not, then it’s time to give yourself a bit of love and care and tell yourself that you can wear something else.

It might take baby steps at first. For example, I often suggest to my most nervous customer to go for a piece that features a predominantly navy print, but also features other colours. This pushes them outside their comfort zone, without throwing them completely in at the deep end. Then when they start to receive compliments for how great they look and believe it too, they tend to come back ready to be a little more experimental.

4. If she can wear that then why can’t you?!

One of the other most common phrases I hear is “Well X can wear that but I couldn’t!”. Now that person may be a different shape, age, height or colouring to you – but that doesn’t’ mean you can only look one way to pull off an outfit. If you admire what someone else is wearing, give it a go yourself! You might need a slightly different cut or colour, but let it inspire you to try new things. Don’t shut yourself off before even giving it a go. If it doesn’t work – what’s the worst that can happen? You take it off and that’s that.

5. No trend or look is off limits – it’s all in the detail

On doing some research of articles that say ‘what not to wear after 50’ – one of the most common rules is: if you wore a look when it was trendy the first time round, then you shouldn’t wear it again.

Well, given ‘trends’ are being recycled more now than ever, that pretty much rules you out of a lot of styles. Goodbye ripped jeans, farewell pussy blouses and adios punk rock spikes.  So unless you’re willing to spend the rest of your life walking around in a sack (because that’s one look that will never be a trend), it’s time to put that rule firmly in the bin.

The trick to looking modern and current is through detail and styling. If you’re keen to wear a style that’s very ‘on-trend’, try to find a variation that includes subtle modern aspects, rather than one that could have come directly from the past. Or keep it subtle with a piece that nods to a trend, but isn’t a full out extreme version of it.

Alternatively, if you want to go full retro with one piece, make sure to pair it with accessories or clothes that are clean, crisp and clearly from a different era. In other words, don’t pair it with the same pieces that you did in the past. That way, rather than looking like you’ve just stepped out of a time machine, you look fresh, cool and effortless.

So remember: if you start to listen to your feelings and your body, rather than those stupid articles, then you will find the right style for you and continue to be the best version of yourself today. Your style will change over the next 10 years, but it should only do so when the time is right for you.

Jacynth's approach to fashion and championing style at every age is inspirational and refreshing and she truly does practice what she preaches, featuring real life "non-models" of various shapes, ages and sizes (including her mum) to show off her carefully curated clothing ranges which can all be seen at https://the-bias-cut.com/.

But it's not just about curating beautiful collections, it is fundamentally about changing attitudes and Jacynth has many strings to her bow. She regularly speaks on panels and podcasts, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and most recently she has been appointed as Fashion Advisor for one of the UK's largest women's forums, the Menopause Room https://www.facebook.com/themenopauseroom/.

Blazing a trail through the heart of the UK fashion industry, Jacynth is unquestionably a young woman on a mission and something tells me that we will be hearing a lot more about her in the future.

Did you find Jacynth's guidelines useful? What is your approach to fashion?  I would love to hear your views.

 

 

Reflectionsfromme Motherhood: The Real Deal Diary of an imperfect mum

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"Why?"  is a question commonly associated with the toddler years.  Most parents tire very easily of this period and the endless "why" questions, particularly as each answer is quickly met by yet another "why" question, but as our children progress to adulthood that is exactly what we want them to start asking again.

Why?  Because quite simply it is a sign of an inquiring mind and that is in turn symbolic of an individual capable of independent learning. So why is that important?

Well it demonstrates a natural curiosity, a passion for learning, a tendency for self-motivation and examination as well as an ability for critical thinking. All of which are valuable commodities to have in the work environment to which our children will strive to place themselves.

By asking "why", life becomes a journey of exploration and adventure and not one of passive acceptance.

My husband is a huge advocate of an inquiring mind and regularly bandies it around the house when referring to interns or junior employees who have impressed him at work.  He cares not for qualifications without an inquiring mind and is constantly reminding our teens of its added value.

It is fair to say the inquiring mind divides our household.  Our son is all about numbers, not for him the world of  "whys and what ifs", to him that hints at a world of unknown and unproven theories, which goes against the certainity of the numerical calculations he loves.

Our daughter on the other hand is cut from her father's cloth and questions everything.  No stone is left unturned in her quest to know more than there is to know and to think outside the box.

The value of an inquiring mind was never more apparent for us than last week.  It was a week of parents' evenings.  The first for our daughter, was focused on her making her GCSE choices and many of her teachers applauded her passion for inquiry and debate which according to them, ensures she always brings something else to the table other than text book learning.

The second for our son, was the last prior to his A'levels this summer.  Whilst his mock results showed his prowess in Maths and Economics, he is languishing slightly with Geography, his lack of natural inquiry held up by his teachers as the Achilles heal of his learning.  He, however, would argue that inquiring mind aside, his dexterity with statistics represents the ultimate in critical thinking, as it teaches how to criticize the way we habitually think.

So how can we help our youngsters to develop an inquiring mind?  Well encouraging a love of reading is the most obvious go to solution, as well as encouraging healthy discussion of subjects at home.  But that aside, there are those that argue teaching philosophy is the answer to ensuring our youngsters respond to life and its problems with an inquisitive mind, but how?

Well philosophy is by definition the love of wisdom which through its teaching of analysis and debate teaches children how to think,  which in turn creates and nurtures thoughtful minds.

Ireland is leading the way in this regard.  Its president Michael D Higgins has previously said that ‘The teaching of philosophy is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to empower children’ and  as a nation is already exploring reforms to establish philosophy for children as a subject within primary schools.

Meantime, in the UK, a network of philosophers and teachers is still lobbying hard for a GCSE equivalent and this was the subject of a conference earlier last week

In an interview with Professor Angie Hobbs. Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, on the Today programme, John Humphries challenged the current teaching method with emphasis on A'levels, which in his opinion do little more than "teach to the test" with students simply learning bits of things and regurgitating them rather than actually thinking for themselves.

This is exacerbated by the fact that our children inhabit an age where googling questions is commonplace.  The obvious problem with all of this is that it encourages an environment of laziness and acceptance, whereas we need young people prepared to buck the trend of acceptance and ask questions, to discuss possibilities and make informed choices as a result.

Learning and regurgitating information is the polar opposite to thinking and will soon be a thing of the past as academics lobby to force our youngsters down a road of valuable inquiry.

Everyone has an opinion on something but very few people can effectively explain or defend their opinion without resorting to what they "feel" and this is the territory of emotions and irrational rather than rational thought.

Thus, by using the disciplines of philosophy and  encouraging our youngsters to push the boundaries of natural thought and to question the status quo without resorting to the comfort of the online search engine or how they "feel", the aim is that we will raise a generation of young people for the future with the capacity to respond to problems with inquisitive minds.

Philosophy is not a universal interest and "thinking" and the desire to understand beyond the obvious don't come naturally to everyone. Whether philosophy is the tool that will facilitate this process is yet to be seen, in the meantime it makes for an interesting debate.

 

 

One Messy Mama Reflectionsfromme Mummuddlingthrough Diary of an imperfect mumMummy Times Two Tammymum

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A "fair weather" exerciser is the term used by a friend recently to describe my attitude to my fitness regime.  In my defence I have to say she was recalling my university years more than three decades ago when a hangover or a piece of chocolate cake would normally be sufficient excuse not to join her for a game of female rugby or a wet and windy run around campus.

Exercise like everything else you develop a passion for in life is generally something that is nurtured.  As children my parents always took my sister and I on long walks and encouraged us to pursue a variety of sports, which we did, some with more success than others.  To be honest though I am not sure that I actually really "enjoyed" them in the sense that I would wake with a burning passion to go and exercise. I loathed hockey and netball in equal measure, however, I did excel at swimming and as a teenager competed at county level.  I do however, think I fell into it by accident rather than intent.

Then on starting work I decided I needed a stress release and took up running with my flat mate at the time and that was my first proper foray into something I loved.  I enjoyed the escapism, the euphoria of pushing my body to the limit and ultimately the way it made me feel and look.  It became an addiction.   Every day, morning or night.

After children I fell out of love with exercise again, simply because time was more pressured.  Also I noticed my needs had changed.  My knees were really suffering from pounding the streets and I wanted something calmer that focused more on toning and strengthening. After an unsuccessful encounter with Yoga I fell in with Pilates and more recently Barrecore.   But what about my heart and my aerobic fitness?  I consider myself relatively active.  I walk a lot and can run for a bus in an emergency but I don't push myself aerobically beyond those boundaries.

  • Live In Fitness

As I approached my 50th birthday I took stock of my exercise regime as part of my Fabulous Fifty resolutions and decided to revisit it.  A newcomer to Instagram over Christmas I searched #fitnessat50 and came across the feed for Clare La Terriere aka @Clare_pilatesandposes.  Six weeks away from my 50th I was determined to hit the ground running to be the best 50 year old I could be so there was no time like the present, I contacted Clare and we booked in some sessions at her London flat.

Clare is a woman in her fifties and a mother of three grown up children, but looking at her posts she puts the majority of the younger fitness instagrammers to shame with her energy and her incredible abs and I can confirm having since met her that she is just as awe-inspiring in real life!

IMG_7810_web

Clare started her fitness journey aged 28, tired, depressed, plump and pregnant and apart from a period due to injury has never looked back, "I did it for my head, not my heart and I still do, everything else is a bonus" says Clare.

A fully qualified Personal Trainer and Pilates teacher, the turning point for Clare was discovering HIIT, a way of exercising that doesn't take a lot of time and requires minimal space and equipment.  HIIT involves short bursts of hard intense exercise followed by rest which forces your body to work anaerobically and thus burn fat and not muscle.  Clare's fitness levels went through the roof after taking it up and she now boasts a resting heart rate of 52, which for the uneducated is on a par to most Olympic athletes. Not bad for a woman in her fifties!

Age is not a barrier for fitness in Clare's opinion,  she says the biggest challenge facing women in their 50's is actually starting if you have never done it before.  Most of the women she sees want to shed a few pounds but haven't a clue how to start and quite simply don't want to go to the gym and be intimidated, so she teaches them how to exercise and reach their goals at home.  This provided the inspiration for Live in Fitness, a residential fitness programme, Clare runs from her home in North Norfolk providing clients with a bespoke exercise regime and advice on a healthy eating programme.

  • Working Out With Clare

The morning of my first meeting with Clare I was nervous.  I am guilty of using my age as an excuse for those things which are outside of my comfort zone and HIIT is definitely in that category.  I shouldn't have worried, Clare is a bundle of energy and was quick to put me at my ease as we chatted about all things fitness and 50 related.

Clare firmly believes that "Being 50 doesn't define us anymore, 50 is the new 40"  and her mantra is that nothing is impossible as long as you have the confidence and that is why she is there to say "Yes, you can actually do this, go for it!" 

After the warm-up, Clare took me through a sequence of 4 different exercises repeated 3 times so that the total routine only took 12 minutes.  I say "only".  It is hard, there are no two ways about it, but with Clare's natural exuberance and passion for exercise and gentle words of support  I made it to the end with maybe just a few co-ordination and balance issues.  This routine was then followed by some Pilates exercises and some stretching.

Despite having practised Pilates for more than 10 years, Clare also gave me some top tips for ensuring my core is always fully engaged (ribs down) and introduced me to a truly effective plank hold that knocks socks off the fully extended version.IMG_7795_web

The day after my first session I am not exaggerating when I say couldn't walk, bend or sit.  Barrecore involves a lot of focus on strengthening and toning the legs so I was genuinely surprised to wake the next day feeling like I had run the London marathon without any training.  Clare texted me to see how I was feeling, literally as unbeknown to her I was trying with great difficulty to pour myself into a David Bowie style jumpsuit for a party.  Needless to say I didn't manage much dancing that night!

The next week Clare was less forgiving and pushed me harder with another set of exercises, reminding me that it was me not her that was supposed to be out of breath and sweating but all in her naturally good-humoured way of course.

Clare's devotion to fitness and client satisfaction is unquestionable.  She was careful to make sure that I knew how to correctly carry out all the exercises she had shown me over the two sessions, making sure I recorded her on my phone at the end for my future reference.  Clare has kept in touch since and encourages her clients to contact her if they ever need further advice and support.

Since seeing Clare the biggest battle for me has been motivation which as my dear friend would say is evidence of my fair weather approach.  I also thrive on having people around me experiencing the same pain I am,  BUT to keep me focused at home I switch on Clare's recordings either from our session or on instagram and immediately am transported back to her flat and her warm words of encouragement to get my heart rate up.  Clare is full of wise words but on discussing tackling fitness as a 50 year old the words that ring truer than most are "Being 50 is not an issue.  It's the not taking responsibility for your own body that is the problem."   

Details of Clare's courses can be found on her website www.liveinfitness.co.uk.  You can also follow her on youtube and Instagram @Clare_pilatesandposes.

 

NB: All views in this piece are my own, if you do contact Clare please let her know you read about her here.  Thanks. 

 

 

 

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