Wednesday, 6 March 2019

KISS your excuses goodbye

Photo by Minna Hamalainen on Unsplash
Keep It Simple this Spring.

No gym? No space? Limited time? No problem.  This body-weight workout can be dialled up with cardio intervals or kept simple with supersets when you’re in a hotel room, on vacation, or binge-watching GLOW in your tiny living room. All you need is a space the size of a yoga mat, and a bench, be it park, couch or coffee table for dips.

(And, of course, check with your doctor if this workout is right for you.)

Having your routine, your favourite bench in the weight room, and the time you carve out for yourself to keep personal fitness a priority? Priceless. But every so often, we are all yanked out of The Zone for a work trip, a half-term with the kids, or -- more importantly -- a series finale, and though we’re still focused on our goals and good intentions, we have no equipment, and no room to move. So, what’s a girl to do?

Keeping It Simple is always the best strategy, especially when caught out of the comfort zone of your gym. Whether you’re travelling for work and stuck in a hotel room, trying to stay fit on a picnic blanket, or fitting in a session in your tiny living room while binge watching GLOW, the SS here stands for Small Space, or maybe Sans Supplies.

This Seriously Sweet body-weight programme can be done in the space of a yoga mat (or a beach towel), and hits your major muscle groups to build dynamic strength through explosive/plyometric moves, supersets with complementary muscle groups to increase intensity, and a challenging core routine as a finisher.

It can be done as a Straightforward Strength workout, or with cardio intervals to up the calorie burn and cardiovascular effect. Either way, you’ll be back on the couch, feeling Smugly Sweaty and Self-Satisfied in under 20 minutes.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your water bottle and trainers (and maybe a towel if you don’t want to Sweat on your Stuff), and try it out.

Option 1: Kick It (Super Set) workout:

Warm up, then superset the movements by performing 10-12 repetitions of both exercises in each pairing at a steady, 2 seconds up/2 seconds down pace, then repeat, with no break in between. Take 30 seconds to review the next pair, then superset them twice each. Take another 30-second break (drink your water while reviewing!) and perform the last superset. Use the last 30-second break to take a look at the core sequence, and perform all three exercises without a break, and without a break again. Well done, you.

Option 2: Kill It (Seriously Sweaty) workout:

Start with the warm up, then perform 15 reps of the first pairing of two exercises quickly (but with good form); do them back-to-back, then a cardio interval. Rest 15 seconds and repeat. Do the next pairing, followed by the cardio interval and timed rest twice, then the third. Take a 30-second break before doing your core set twice through, with no rest. It’s quick, sweaty, and possibly fun, if you’re into that kind of thing. Dial it up: Perform the cardio intervals for a full minute instead of just 30 seconds.

OR, you can just go Straight and Simple, and run through the moves one after the other.  Twice.

Warm Up: Walking Burpees x 10 reps each leg

1 - Reverse Lunges with Knee Lift (Both Legs)
2 - Good Mornings (One Leg)

Cardio - Side Step with Squat - 30 seconds

3 - Pushups
4 - Mountain climbers (Don’t get up from your plank!)

Cardio - Jumping Jacks - 30 seconds

5 - Jump squats
6 - Triceps dips

Cardio - Side-to-Side Body-weight Lunges (just stay low and shift your weight side to side, keeping your weight back in your heels, and feeling the stretch in your inner thighs) - 30 seconds

Simply Superb Core Combo:

Russian Twists x 15 each side
Plank with Knee to Outside of Elbow x 8 each side
Side Plank x 30 seconds each side

Good job!  Now, REPEAT!

Check out form notes and full descriptions of the exercises HERE.


This post is in collaboration with other bloggers. Check out the blogs below over the next few days for some lovely spring content.

Sunday, 3 March 2019


First, let me apologize for the technical difficulties you may have experienced with my site over the last week or so.  I'm working on routing here with my new domain name (, and so far, it's not going so well.  I'm working on it, and in the meantime, still works.

But, courage!  And onwards!

So, from June 2018:

Eight months have passed, and I have now had four rejections. 

This either means that I am rocking everything and being published everywhere, or perhaps I haven't put myself out there too often.  (Ha! No one will ever know!)

The first one was very cold and perfunctory, and not unexpected.  Yes, perhaps I didn't fully research the "tone" or the "audience" before attempting my first pitch ever, that I assume was terrible.*  But that article will find a home eventually, I know.  I read it over again last week, and I stand by it; it deserves to be published, but in another publication, I suppose.  One day.

The next two were, in theory, for the same article, for which I finally got up the guts to send late at night.  I woke up abruptly the next morning, realizing that I had made an error in the title,** and submitted it again with a meant-to-be-funny little note about self-editing and whoopsie!  I don't think they really needed to reject me twice, but they probably really wanted to.  Understandable, no problem.

The last one, which I received last night, hurt.  I had polished a piece, bounced off a few friends (and my live-in critic, which I've never done before), and sent it out to a publication that I was sure would like it.  It was, I felt, perfect, and actually guaranteed to be included in their spring issue. 

But, no. 

It was a very formal, obviously-sent-to-everyone email, and despite the "after careful consideration" bit, was kind of soul-crushing.


The editor added a short sentence after the stock response, called me by name, and encouraged me to try again.  And he took the time (even if it was only 15 seconds) to tell me so.  It was completely unnecessary, but a kindness that I really needed.

There's a quote I've always liked about determination. It defines it as "the will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy times and get up off the floor saying, ”Here comes number seventy-one!””

Geez, I've got a ways to go.  So... here comes number five!

* Note to self:  go back and read the pitch and learn from it, you idiot.
** Not unlike the editing job I applied for with a resume in which I spelled "newlsetter" correctly, but just missed spelling "newsletter."  I didn't get the job.

Friday, 1 March 2019

#MarchBloggerCountdown Starts TODAY!

All month, the very wise and wordy MaybeMissMolly will be showcasing and linking to the work of several other bloggers, myself included!  She has challenged us all to publish a post on some aspect of spring, from our own perspectives, and there should be some great reads.

So, watch this space (and Twitter, too): I'll be linking to their stories, articles, listicles, and whatever else they may present.

This should be a great month!

Update:  Today's post is from Earth to Connie.  Check it out! 

Thursday, 28 February 2019


Some languages seem to have embraced the magic of single, compound-noun words.*

For example, in German (should I know how to speak German, that is), I could claim that several people have exhibited Freundschaftsbezeugung ("demonstration of friendship") for me, even though I am Dreikäsehoch ("three cheeses high").**

In Welsh, I could take a train from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch ("St. Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave").

And in Iceland, I'm sure I would help look for vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúraútidyralyklakippuhringur, ("a keychain ring for the outdoor key of road workers shed in a moor called Vaðlaheiði"), should it go missing.

So, surely, someone could have come up with a better phrase than Kauf einer neuen Anlage / prynu planhigyn newydd / kaup á nýju álverinu ("purchase of a new plant") to capture the complicated feelings of I'm-so-happy-with-your-lush-greenness-and-full-of-hope-that-you-will-transform-my-living-space-but-already-feel-guilty-that-you-are-going-to-wither-and-die-but-maybe-you-won't-even-though-I'm-repotting-you-into-the-Pot-of-Death***-which-has-already-claimed-too-many-victims-to-count.  

Willkommen in Ihrem neuen Zuhause, sterben Sie jetzt!
("Welcome to your new home, now die!")

* If I have misspelled a word or phrase in your language, please blame wikipedia.
** SO much more dignified than three apples high.
*** New pot, same outcome.  Sigh.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019


v. to adult; the act of acting smugly responsible

Today was another long day, in which I accomplished attempted so much.  Chris is away this week, so I'm juggling the home/family/dog/work/ME-stuff alone, and really trying hard not to just be lazy as a backlash to the 2-week half-term that somehow happened to me again

Today, I think I rocked it, but one thing stood out more than any other.  Can you spot it?

Kids:  Up on time, fed, brushed, clothed, sent to school (although Ailsa's sports uniform was still damp from the wash, it was clean)
Me:  Healthy breakfast, glass of water, took my vitamins
Dog: 10-minute walk around block

Me:  4.75-mile run (speed day with my running group), then a lovely, leisurely coffee/tea

Dog:  20 minutes each way to the dog park in beautiful weather with Maya, his favourite doggie playmate, and a good, long, very active romp
Me:  Great conversation with Maya's "mom"

Me:  Shower.  Lunched on leftover chicken and grapes.  Prepared dinner: tried out a new slow cooker recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Honey Balsamic Glaze

Work:  Blog/Twitter/Insta, research for new article, sorted out details of new contracts

Kids:  Home from school, snack (popcorn!) and drink, supervise homework, make cheesy noodles, add with corn and tenderloin to thermii*, pack up juice boxes, forks, and swimming gear

Kids:  Into pool at required times for lessons (punctual for once!), out, dried and dressed again
Me:  30-minute weight workout while smallest has lesson

Me:  Drive home
Kids:  Eat warm dinner in backseat

Kids:  Swim gear hung to dry, jammified, brushed, washed, stories and bed x 3
Dog:  Quick outing

Me:  Dinner (reheated version of thermii), kitchen cleanup, snack prepared for tomorrow

Work:  Boot camp planned, more research and outlining, this post

The gaps in the timing were lost to reading hilarious threads on WhatsApp, I think. 

I am now heading to bed (I swear I'll get there by 11 tonight!), and I feel like a mature, responsible person...not for my exercise-, children-, food-, work- or dog-management, but because I took my vitamins.  (I am slightly disgruntled, however, that my "big accomplishment" was pretty much over by 8:05.  I should have gone back to bed to savour the feeling.)


* one thermos/many thermii

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