Top Tips

‘Exercise for fun’ is not an oxymoron

Fitness for fun

Exercise for fun?

As the one always picked last in PE at school, I used to be something of exercise-phobic. I associated sport with humiliation and discomfort.

But now I have become something of a fitness evangelist!

Finding something that I enjoy, feel comfortable doing and can see the benefit from has been a revelation.

And if I can…..anyone can!

My joyful gym just happens to be a local place that runs various different fitness classes. It’s really hard work, but I’ve been made so welcome and had all my tiny successes applauded (not literally, just with a ‘well done mate’) rather than ridiculed that it’s kept me going back. And I feel fitter, healthier and happier as a consequence.

It just goes to show that you just need to find your ‘thing’.

 

From this feature in this year’s Dairy Diary, we explain how….

 


 

How to exercise and have fun!

A large dose of the feel-good factor never goes amiss and one quick way to access it is to get moving. What better motivation is there to maintain suppleness and fitness levels than to have a fabulous time while you’re doing it? Give it a try!

When it comes to exercise, everyone has their likes and dislikes so choosing the right class is essential. There are plenty available and chances are at least one will suit you. Why not give several a try? You may be surprised. Your respiratory system, cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone will be all the better for it, and you’re sure to come out smiling because all that exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormones.

Aerobics, body sculpt or legs, bums and tums do it for some people. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are all excellent and self-absorbing, improving focus, balance and posture. Classes in the swimming pool help to build strength while putting less strain on your joints since the water provides both resistance and support.

You can get rid of a lot of pent-up emotion, and lose weight, with boxing training, but if letting rip in a less aggressive way is your main enjoyment factor, think about the pleasures of moving to music. Even if clubbing is out of the question, dancing isn’t! It’s fun and sociable, and while you’re gyrating as energetically as you like, you’re getting a seriously good workout.

 

Dancing for fitness

The trend of combining dance and exercise has caught on in a big way

Dance, dance, dance

The trend of combining dance and exercise has caught on in a big way. Getting fit has never been so much fun. Find a Clubbercise class near you and see if you agree. Luminous glow sticks at the ready, cue music and away you go. If you’re not fit before you go, you soon will be. There probably is a routine but under dim disco lighting, no one can see if a shape or two turns out not quite as expected.

Zumba is another where you follow an instructor as best as you can, this time to fast moving Latin rhythms.

For fans of the music of 1930s and ’40s America, swing is the one, made even better if you dress in style – swirly skirt at the ready. Swingtrain classes are billed as ‘high-intensity dance cardio workouts’, but they add ‘suitable for all levels of fitness’ – and everyone has got to start somewhere!

Swing evolved into jive and ceroc and although you need a partner for these, you may well find one at the class since it’s not unusual for people to go on their own.

You definitely need a partner for salsa, which is a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles and as flirtatious as you would like it to be.

Tap, line and ballroom dancing are all more structured – you have to concentrate so your co-ordination skills get a workout, too – and if you fancy something really different, give belly dancing a go, especially good for toning deep core, pelvic and hip muscles, or Bollywood style, blending classical Indian dance with hip hop and jazz.

So why not give it a whirl and find out what fun this exercise business really can be? Check websites for classes and availability near you.

Private workout

If you can’t make a class, or prefer not to, there’s no need to miss out. Through the NHS website (NHS Fitness Studio) you can access videos of various exercise workouts, including La Bomba (which is a combination of dance moves set to Latin American dance music, hip hop, Afrobeats and R&B), and belly dancing for beginners.

Try them out in the privacy of your own home. Invite friends round to join in, have a party and laugh yourself fit!

 

WEBSITES

areyoudancing.com

dancenearyou.co.uk

exercisemovedance.org

jazzercise.co.uk

nhs.uk

swingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

The best British gardens to see snowdrops

Snowdrops

 

Driving home earlier this week I was delighted to see a cloud of snowdrops underneath the oak trees.

They always bring me joy. Maybe it’s because they are one of the few plants to flower in the middle of winter?

Around the UK there are lots of gardens awash with snowdrops. Why not discover them?. I’ll certainly be visiting two: Rode Hall and Dunham Massey in Cheshire (followed by the essential tearoom visit to warm up with tea and cake!)

Of course, there are many more. Click here for a list of snowdrop-packed gardens to discover around Britain.

I planted snowdrops in my hanging baskets, they should would appear after the pansies… but no such luck yet.
Perhaps mine are late bloomers!

I should have consulted our book, Seasonal Garden Ideas.

It has lots and lots of easy projects, some of which can be undertaken in a matter of minutes.

Seasonal Garden Ideas

TAKE A LOOK HERE

 


 

Win Outdoor PlanterOr for a spring colour – no effort guaranteed – enter our competition to win a beautiful spring planter.

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Live more with less!

Live more with less

Bask in new-found space and freedom from ‘stuff’

 

Apart from a calm and clean home, decluttering has many life-enhancing advantages including more cash to spend on experiences rather than ‘stuff’ and a happier state of mind free of the compulsion to purchase more.

How should you declutter?

Tackle an area of one room at a time. Hold each item you find and ask yourself, ‘Do I love it or is it useful?’ If the answer is no then it should go. Tips on recycling and selling can be found in the Dairy Diary Live more with lessarticle.

Sort items into different boxes, each labelled with its destination e.g. charity shop, car boot sale etc.

Don’t try to declutter the whole house at once. Plan it in your diary, allocating time to each room, and give yourself a break in-between; otherwise you may just become demotivated by the whole process.

The full article can be found on page 28, Dairy Diary 2019 now available for just £8.50.

 

Dairy Diary 2019

 

 

 

#GetOrganised

Top tips for reducing food waste part 4

Top tips for reducing food waste part 4 - Freeze!

Freeze!

Almost anything can be frozen – honestly, when I first learned about what you can put in your freezer I was amazed.

At present, in my freezer I have: leftover shepherd’s pie, leftover pea soup, 2 loaves of bread, a block of cheese (buy one get one free), petits pois, fish fingers, Smiles (don’t judge – my children love them), homemade cookie dough, minced beef, chicken breasts, ice lollies.

Okay, you’re not really interested in the contents of my freezer but I thought it would be useful to show the breadth of what can be frozen.

Here’s a speedy and hopefully useful summary of what can/can’t be frozen. With all of the following, ideally freeze when they are at their freshest.

Freeze

  • Raw fish and meat – but check that they haven’t been frozen previously
  • Cooked fish and meat
  • Vegetables
  • Cooked meals – I tend to avoid rice or pasta dishes as I never think that they reheat well
  • Herbs
  • Bread
  • Stocks and sauces
  • Pies and crumbles
  • Most fruit, raw or cooked. Strawberries and raspberries though tend to go a little soggy so I would avoid freezing.
  • Almost all biscuits, bakes and cakes (unfilled and without frostings)

Don’t freeze

  • Lower fat creams and cheeses
  • Eggs
  • Yogurts
  • Jams
  • Salad stuffs, which will go mushy

Always allow to cool, pack in a suitable container and label. I never defrost in the microwave but prefer to leave overnight in the fridge.

And remember to use
what’s in the freezer!

If it’s getting full, have a ‘cheap shop’ week and use up your freezer contents rather than buying more.

Ideal for freezing leftovers, this beef recipe is pure comfort food.

 

Braised Beef with Stilton Scones

 

Braised Beef with Stilton Scones

Time 3 hours
Per portion: 594 Kcal, 29g fat (13.8g saturated)
Serves 4
Suitable for freezing

  • Sunflower oil 1 tbsp
  • Diced stewing beef 500g (1lb 2oz)
  • Onion 1, peeled and chopped
  • Plain flour 2 tbsp
  • Beef stock 750ml (1¼ pints)
  • Tomato purée 1 tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp
  • Hot horseradish sauce 1 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Self-raising flour 175g (6oz)
  • Butter 25g (1oz)
  • Stilton or other strong blue cheese 110g (4oz), crumbled
  • Egg 1, beaten
  • Milk 3–4 tbsp
  • Closed cup mushrooms 110g (4oz), wiped and sliced
  • Cooked frozen peas to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the beef for a few minutes. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, stirring, until the meat is browned and the onion softened.
  2. Stir in the flour, then mix in the stock, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish sauce and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring.
  3. Transfer to a casserole dish large enough to hold the stew and scone topping. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, make the topping. Put the flour, a little salt and pepper and butter into a mixing bowl and rub in the fat until you have fine crumbs. Stir in the cheese, then add nearly all the egg, keeping just enough back to glaze the top. Gradually stir in enough milk to mix to a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead very lightly then roll out on a lightly floured surface until a little smaller than the top of the casserole dish.
  5. Remove the lid, stir in the mushrooms then cut the scone topping into eight pieces. Arrange on the meat in a single layer and brush with the remaining egg.
  6. Cook, uncovered, for 20–25 minutes until the topping is well risen and golden. Spoon onto warmed plates and serve with peas, if using.

Cook’s tip
For a richer sauce, you might like to add some red wine or beer in place of some of the stock.

 


 

Fantastic Food For Less cookbookThis recipe is taken from our wonderful Fantastic Food for Less cookbook.

For more fantastic food, you can buy the book for just £5.99!!

Use the discount code DDPR and you’ll get free postage too!

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#Stilton

Top tips for reducing food waste part 3

Top tips for reducing food waste part 3

Make your fridge fabulous

One of the best ways to reduce food waste is to get organised. Obviously, shopping lists are essential, as is buying just what you need.

But an organised fridge is important too as it means that can easily find what’s in there and use up what you have.

I’ve had a complete revamp, and it really does help. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Remove everything from your fridge and throw away anything mouldy or that’s past its use-by date.
  2. Wipe inside with a solution of water and vinegar with a few drops of your favourite essential oil (I like lemon or peppermint).
  3. Move shelves up/down to make best use if the space.
  4. Add a few clear dishes or plastic tubs, which best fit your fridge. A Lazy Susan is great for jars!
  5. Decant food from bulky packaging and re-stock the fridge. Ensure that raw meat is at the bottom and cooked meat is stored above it and stack with the earliest use-by date on the top.

One of my favourite ‘fridge’ recipes is below. It’s ideal to adapt and use up any leftover veg, fish or meat.

 

Fantastic Food for Less

Chorizo Fried Rice

Time 15 minutes.
Per portion: 476 Kcal, 24g fat (11g saturated)
Serves 2

  • Butter 15g (½oz)
  • Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed
  • Mushrooms 50g (2oz), wiped and sliced
  • Microwave basmati rice 250g packet
  • Chorizo 75g (3oz), chopped
  • Egg 1, beaten
  • Frozen peas 75g (3oz)
  • Frozen sweetcorn 75g (3oz)
  • Soy sauce 1–2 tbsp
  1. Melt the butter in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the garlic and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice in the microwave according to the packet’s instructions. Add the chorizo and egg to the pan and cook until lightly scrambled.
  3. Add the peas and sweetcorn and cook for 2 minutes and then add the rice and mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes until everything is hot.
  4. Serve on warmed plates sprinkled with soy sauce.

 


Fantastic Food For Less cookbook

Fantastic cookbook with FREE delivery

This recipe is taken from our wonderful Fantastic Food for Less cookbook.

For more fantastic food, you can buy the book for just £5.99!!

Use the discount code DDPR and you’ll get free postage too!

Buy

 

 

 

#lovefoodhatewaste

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#chorizo

#delicious

Top tips for reducing food waste part 2

Make your own compost

When I come to put out the bin for its fortnightly collection, I’ve noticed that our black rubbish bin is now only half full. Yay!

 

What it does contain a lot of, however, is fruit and vegetable peelings. And while my children would love me to bring home a peeling-loving guinea pig or rabbit, I think an easier option is a compost bin.

I’ve seen quite a few on sale cheap or even free on Gumtree and Facebook, but none are close to where I live. Our local authority recommend www.getcomposting.com, which seems pretty cheap – especially as I shouldn’t have to buy compost ever again.

Their top tips on composting are as follows:

  • Find the right site – Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny site on bare soil. If you have to put your compost bin on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs ensure there’s a layer of paper and twigs or existing compost on the bottom so the worms and other creatures can colonise. Choose a place where you can easily add ingredients to the bin and get the compost out.
  • Add the right ingredients – Have a container available such as a kitchen caddy or old ice cream tub so that you can collect items for your compost bin from all over the house. Fill your kitchen caddy or container with everything from vegetable and fruit peelings to teabags, toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes and eggshells. Take care not to compost cooked food, meat or fish.
  • Fill it up – Empty your kitchen caddy along with your garden waste into your compost bin. A 50/50 mix of greens and browns (see below) is the perfect recipe for good compost.
  • Wait a while – It takes between nine and twelve months for your compost to become ready for use, so now all you need to do is wait and let nature do the work. Keep on adding greens and browns to top up your compost.
  • Ready for use – Once your compost has turned into a crumbly, dark material, resembling thick, moist soil and gives off an earthy, fresh aroma, you know it’s ready to use.
  • Removing the compost – Lift the bin slightly or open the hatch at the bottom and scoop out the fresh compost with a garden fork, spade or trowel.
  • Use it – Don’t worry if your compost looks a little lumpy with twigs and bits of eggshells – this is perfectly normal. Use it to enrich borders and vegetable patches, plant up patio containers or feed the lawn.

So now, I’m all prepared to make my own
compost and reduce our contribution to
landfill in the process.

If your fruit, veg and salad are not quite compost-ready then use it in this scrummy recipe (mix and match what you have).

Pittas are in the method, but you could use wraps or other bread if it needs using up.

 

Falafel Pittas with Fruity Crunchy Salad

 

Falafel Pittas with Fruity Crunchy Salad

Time 20 minutes.
Per portion: 554 Kcal, 24g fat (3.2g saturated)
Serves 2
Suitable for vegetarians

  • Falafel about 200g (7oz)
  • Pitta bread 2
  • Crème fraîche 3 tbsp
  • Milk 1 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Red or white cabbage 50g (2oz), shredded
  • Dessert apple 1 small, peeled and chopped
  • Ready-to-eat dried apricots 25g (1oz), chopped
  • Raisins 15g (½oz)
  • Little gem lettuce 1, shredded
  • Tomato 1, sliced
  1. Preheat the oven and warm the falafel according to the packet’s instructions.
  2. Place the pitta bread in the oven during the last 3 minutes of cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salad. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the crème fraîche and milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage, apple, apricots and raisins and mix well.
  4. Split open each pitta and fill with the lettuce and tomato and some of the fruity salad, then top with the falafel.
  5. Serve with the remaining fruity salad.

Cook’s tips
Make the salad quickly by popping the ingredients into a food processor and pulsing it a few times – add the cabbage first, then add any leftover dried fruit. Use any leftover crème fraîche to make a dip for crudités by mixing with herbs and grated cheese.

 


 

Fantastic Food For Less cookbookThis recipe is taken from our wonderful Fantastic Food for Less cookbook.
For more fantastic food, you can buy the book for just £5.99!!

FREE DELIVERY
Use the discount code DDPR and you’ll get free postage too!

ORDER NOW

 

#lovefoodhatewaste

#reducefoodwaste

#compost

#recipeoftheweek

#tripletested

 

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