30 Days Push Up Challenge

A few months ago, in February, I set up a 5 minutes exercise routine: as many push-ups as I can in 5 minutes, every day. I wanted to see how much I can improve if I do those 5 minutes of push-ups for a month, hence my 30 Days Push-up Challenge. The results are great, I went from 81 to 116, and at the same time I learned a thing or two about how my body responds to the same workout each day.

01 /04 – 81 11/04 – 101 21/04 – 110
02/04 – 85 12/04 – 102 22/04 – 107
03/04 – 86 13/04 – 95 23/04 – 111
04/04 – 86 14/04 – 105 24/04 – none
05/04 – 90 15/04 – 104 25/04 – 107
06/04 – 94 16/04 – 106 26/04 – 109
07/04 – 93 17/04 – none 27/04 – 110
08/04 – 100 18/04 – 108 28/04 – none
09/04 – 101 19/04 – none 29/04 – 116
10/04 – 100 20/04 – 110 30/04 – 115

30 Days Push Up Challenge
My goals when I started the challenge was to do more than 100. I managed to reach that goal on 8th. So I made a new goal, to reach 110 and I reached that on 20th. I’m, obviously, very happy with the results.

Another goal was to do these push-ups every single day. I couldn’t do that, due to a few factors. I realized that doing every day push-ups meant I would solicit my body more than I should. I felt some pressure on the knees and elbows. I decided to have the Sunday off and this is why I didn’t do any push-ups on 17th and 24th.

On 19th I couldn’t do it, I was tired and my husband said it’s not a good idea. I had to agree with him, taking a challenge is not only about motivation, but I think it’s about knowing when to stop too. Being safe is paramount, so I skipped that day. One day, I can’t remember when exactly (next time I should write notes when I’m taking a similar challenge), I was able to do the push-ups with 10 minutes to spare in the day. In the morning I did 20 minutes of yoga, so the day wasn’t completely wasted.
On 28th I had a cold and quite high temperature, I took an aspirin and a paracetamol in the evening, another set of pills next morning and I was fine. As I avoid taking medication, over the counter pills have a fast effect on me. I think my immune system is better due to my diet and activity levels, but that is another discussion.

Another day I should mention is the 13th. When I’m doing the push-ups, I have the phone in front of me. I can look at the seconds and decide how much time I should spend on breaks. On 13th I’ve decided not to look at the phone and do how I feel. I did less, so having the timer on and looking at it is a motivation to push. Also I think I can better manage my breaks if I see how much time passed.

In the last 2 days I changed my approach and, as you can see, the results were better. At the beginning of the month, I was doing as many push-ups as I could, then a break and so on. I was starting with a series of 20-25 and I was doing less and less in the series as I was starting to get tired. In the last two days I’ve decided to try something else, because I’m like that, I can’t do every single day the same thing without coming up with lots of ideas. I did short series, of 10, with 10-15 seconds breaks between them. This meant I was able to do more push-ups and that was surprising for me.

The 30 Days Push Up Challenge is over and I can say I enjoyed it a lot. I want to continue doing 5 minutes of push-ups once every week, as part of another challenge, or just to keep my push-up numbers up.

After this challenge I can say that I want to try another one, a 5 or 10 minutes challenge to exercise each day, but not the same thing, to do cardio or push-ups (I love push-ups) or yoga (instead of a day off) or squats. With this approach, of 5 minutes of intense exercise, but different, it would be ok.

These are my thoughts after a 30 Days Push Up Challenge. Do you take fitness challenges? Would you like to try a push-up challenge?

#WIAW – Carbs

I feel great when I’m on a high carb diet, around 50% of my calories come from carbs. I tried low-carb diets when I was loosing weight and I was reaching the plateau. After 1-2 weeks, when the losing weight process resumed, I was going back to carbs. I am active despite having a job that involves staying for long periods of times at the laptop or in one place. My weight fluctuations had nothing to do with how many carbs I have in my diet, but with the amount of food I had and my schedule. When I stop exercising from one reason or another (mainly lack of time), I obviously put some weight back on as I didn’t adjust the calorie intake. I didn’t have lots of time to calculate and cook. I’m mentioning this because I was asked by Vapiano to take part in their campaign: Eat Pasta Run Faster. I think carbs are great and they have an undeserved bad reputation, so I joined the campaign.

I wanted to make these #WIAW updates monthly, it was a blogging goal for this year. I started with WIAW January, but for the last 2 months I wasn’t in the mood to take pictures and make the posts. I was away with work and had little time to get things organized, I remembered to take pictures after breakfast and so on. As I’m not currently on a high-intensive exercise routine, my approach to diet is relaxed and I think it had an impact too. But I thought I should make the updates, to document what I eat when I’m not exercising. So, I’ll resume the monthly updates.

My breakfast was simple, cheese grill with salad. I had a little more salad than it’s in the picture. The cheese grilles are made with olive oil instead of butter, wholemeal bread and low-fat Cheddar.

After breakfast I had an apple, bought from a local farm a couple of days ago.

For lunch I had Pasta Aglio e Olio with a glass of orange juice, natural, no added sugar. I tried it for the first time at Vapiano, when I’ve attended a blogger event and I loved the dish so much that I made it at home.

Continue reading #WIAW – Carbs

Two local farms

Last month I didn’t write a post about the local farms because I went to the ones I’ve been before, Windy Arbour Farm and Yew Tree Farm. It was a busy month and I didn’t get the chance of visiting other farms. This month I’ve been to two local farms, that are one next to the other.

The first one was Church View Farm. I went there last year to pick up the pumpkin for Halloween.


We were greeted by their goose and ducks. I said “Hi” to all and they were getting close. As we didn’t have any food, we went into the shop.
I bought a few things and my husband asked if we can buy some duck food to feed their ducks. The lady was so nice, she told us we can get bread to feed them, it was in a basket near the till. I took a few slices and went to feed the ducks. It was fun and next time I’m going to make sure I have something for them.

Continue reading Two local farms

Maker Faire UK 2016

Yesterday my husband and I attended Maker Faire. It’s a fair that had over 300 crafters, coders, DIYers and garden shed inventors from UK and abroad, people who love to make stuff and who want to share their passion with others.
The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo in 2005. Last year, when it celebrated its tenth annual show there were 1,200 makers and 145,000 people in attendance. There are over 20 other Maker Faires around US, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Tokyo. Beside this, there are over 120 Mini Maker Faires organized independently in United States and around the world. The one that we attended is the main Maker Faire in the UK.

01 Maker Faire UK 2016
The 2-days event took place at the International Centre for Life, a science village in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was quite far from us, a little over 3hrs drive. I’m so glad we attended as it was a lovely show. We had fun and we also came back with some ideas for future projects.

02 Maker Faire UK 2016
One of the things I loved at the show were the 3D printers. They are not as expensive as the ones I saw before and their size makes them ideal for a home office. While my husband thinks we can send the artwork for printing, I think it’s better to have our own. I told him that we have a printer at home, so why not have a 3D printer as well.

This and the laser cutting machine were the things I wanted to buy and I’m still considering them. You might never know when you need something like that.

I made a short film with a few of the highlights of the Faire.

Continue reading Maker Faire UK 2016

How to save a tired bee

My husband found a tired and dying bee in the garden and we saved it, so I decided to make a short guide: How to save a tired bee. We acted fast and we gave her some honey. After reading on RSPB’s website, that, although obvious is not the best option as most honey is imported and can have a negative impact on them. A sugary drink made out of 2 parts sugar and 1 part water is a better alternative.

The bee my husband found was very tired, she wasn’t able to stand properly and a few times she was belly up. It was distressing to see her like that. We brought it in the kitchen and gave her honey. I covered the place with a big transparent plastic bowl, that I use for storing food. I didn’t want her to try to fly and end up on the floor.

01 How to save a tired bee

She drank some honey and was moving around in circles, turning belly up and recovering. I kept her in the kitchen for a couple of hours, checking on her. When the temperature in the conservatory wasn’t as high as it was when hubby found her, I moved her there. I kept the bowl on top as I didn’t want her to fly too soon and end up in the garden. We have a couple of insect-eating birds that come in our garden, a magpie and a common blackbird (blackbird Turdus merula) and I wanted to protect her. I’m not sure if they would eat a bee, but I didn’t want to take any chances. That was the main reason I got her in the house and I didn’t let her stay in the garden. It was hot too and I wasn’t sure it’s good for her.

02 How to save a tired bee
After moving her in the conservatory, she had another drink. Then she slept for another couple of hours.

03 How to save a tired bee

I closed the french doors to the living room, I opened both doors to the garden and I lifted the bowl. She stood there for a while. We went out with the dog for his afternoon walk. When we got home we saw that she wasn’t there, so she was able to fly. I was so happy.

So, if you find a tired bee, there are some simple steps to follow:
1. Put the bee in a safe place
2. Give her a sugary drink (1 part water and 2 parts sugar)
3. Leave her to rest for as long as she needs it
4. Make sure she can fly away when she is ready and able to do so

Bees are vital for pollination, due to loss of habitat they need our help in this kind of situation.

Garden update

A few days ago I discovered a beautiful butterfly on the dog’s bedding, my husband caught it and released it in the garden. Luckily for the butterfly, the dog was upstairs or he would have probably eaten it. There are some pictures with the butterfly at the end of this post. All the excitement of getting the butterfly out without harming him made me think I should blog more about my garden as it’s something which brings me much joy.

01 Garden update
I’ll start with the herbs. This is the rosemary I planted last year. It survived great during the winter, not that surprisingly considering the mild weather we have here. Now it has flowers and I think it looks lovely. I didn’t get the chance to read about rosemary, so I’m discovering as it goes along. In the same planter I have some garlic chives from last year. It doesn’t look as good as the rosemary, but I think I might harvest some for a pasta dish in a few weeks.
The mint from last year looked like it died, but now it’s very green and quite lush. It’s perfect to nip a few leaves for a tea or to flavour a glass of water.

02 Garden update
This is a new basil, from the supermarket. I wanted a plant from which I can harvest quickly, so I got a shop bought one and replanted it in the garden. So far it’s doing ok. The same happened with the cress and thyme.

Continue reading Garden update

Handmade vase by Rose Dickinson

A couple of years ago I bought a handmade vase by Rose Dickinson and I love it. The first vase is from her slimline collection. I wanted to buy another one for a while and I finally decided on a similar design, but a bigger one. I needed a bigger one for the flowers my husband buys me. I had a glass one, but I think it was chipped when we moved. I wanted something that was suitable with the decor, elegant and white as my husband prefers, but with a nature theme if it’s possible, as I prefer. So buying a similar vase from Rose Dickinson was obvious.

The thing that attracts me the most at her designs is the natural look and the herbal decor. For the new one, I chose a mat glaze finish as it was similar to the small one that I had and I also feel it looks better. Being made by hand in UK was an important aspect for me as well. I prefer buying local and handcrafted means it’s a little extra special.

01 Handmade vase by Rose Dickinson

I’ve decided to use both of them as they are so cute together. I think they compliment each other. I can also use them separately, the large one on the table or on the fireplace and the small one on the bookshelves. I’m delighted with them.

02 Handmade vase by Rose Dickinson

If you want to see Rose Dickinson collections, you can have a look on her website. She has different collections of vases, nature inspired. She also makes beautiful bowls and mugs.