Monster is now 10 months old, and if there is one thing I have learnt it is that you can have an agenda in mind with how you are going to teach them certain things, but you can never anticipate their agenda to learn.

I have been an IT trainer for many years, even when my sole job has not been a trainer I have still managed to incorporate it into most of my roles. I heard a very apt description of this occupation recently and that is not only is it a privilege, but also you are always informed.

Part of the job is to find out the clients’ requirements. Once this is obtained, then you can effectively cater the session to meet their needs, which not only is time effective, it can also be cost effective. However, the greatest value of all means that the client gains the knowledge they require rather than unnecessary information.

With a baby, it is different as they cannot tell you their needs, it is up to you to interpret them.

One would think that there are certain core elements to a child’s development that they naturally pick up from their surroundings, and if they are lucky enough to have numerous toys to play with. The trick is to rotate the toys so they don’t become bored, and my monster suffers greatly with that, but at the same time try and meet their needs and make it fun.

If learning is fun then they will grasp what they need to quicker and more thoroughly. One thing I have learnt with Monster is that they are fuelled by belligerence (well I actually knew that before they were born), but they are also quite ambitious and want to learn everything now. So it is my job… no purpose… to help them get where they need to be, but also include the skills that they wouldn’t necessarily gravitate towards, but that are still essential.

This is where it can get tricky, as one can become over obsessed with teaching their children things that it becomes less fun, and as a result they can then become unenthusiastic to learn.

I found myself recently doing this and not necessarily scheduling every moment, but allotting time and rotating toys in a precise way, so Monster got the overall skillset I felt they needed. They soon lost enthusiasm and found that playing with doors and shutting me out of rooms was a far more valuable education, as well as lots of fun.  I then took a step back, realised what I was doing and adopted a more laid back approach. I was surprised with myself as the approach my husband and I have taken so far has been natural and easy going, so I couldn’t understand why I felt the need to schedule Monster’s learning.

Today Monster and I played a wooden alphabet game where you place the letters back in their respective holes, and Monster gets to the point where part of the board is complete, and then they pick it up and turn it upside down. In fact Monster did that with their dinner too, so it could have been an off day, but I had to stop myself from saying ‘no you have to fill in every gap’ and then it is finished. I had to remember that Monster is a baby and when babies grasp how to do something, they want to do it again and again. Even though it is ‘old hat’ to us, it is a whole new world for them.

So with that in mind, I may not be able to verbally grasp what Monster needs, but so long as we cover the basics and try and make it as fun as possible, then I do not think we can go wrong. Overall the most valuable point of all of this is time, and this is where Monster gets the best out of me. After all that’s all children want is our time.

When writing this, I was reminded of a Star Trek Voyager episode where Seven of Nine has taken on four former Borg children…. and she schedules fun with a military precise manner.

Admittedly, that was a long title, but it should tell you what the content of this blog  refers to.

It has been a massively busy start to the year, in fact the word ‘busy’ is an understatement, but I am hoping that once all of the grunt work (so to speak), is out of the way, then it will all be worth it.

I’ll end this post with some frivolity, so you will need to wait to hear about Twerky and the Unicorn (sounds like an Icelandic pop band), unless you want to scroll down to the end but then you will miss everything in between.

No Food Limits

This is something I started last year and so far the direction is sound, it is the productivity that is lacking somewhat. The aim is to educate people to eat what they want without impacting on their health. It sounds like this has been done many times before – the over profiting organisations that in essence don’t work. If they did, they would be out of business by now. For me, I am not out to make lots of money, No Food Limits is all about the education. When you have seen people die, or have life impacting health problems, which could have been avoided if a change in eating plan had taken place, then getting rich is the last thing on your mind.

SwimFor

Since having Monster, I find that my training has reduced by quite a bit. I also made the comment on Twitter earlier on in the year that given my decades of swimming experience, why not start my own events that in the interim, only cater for me. I have organised many charity events with work in the past, I shouldn’t have too many issues trying to pull this off.

SwimFor allows me to raise money for my own charities and swim the distances I want to swim in the desired locations. No more jelly babies in the Solent for me (it takes away the salt taste for those that don’t know).

The second event is due to take place in April 2017 and is called Swimfor2k. It was originally #swimfor2 and then we realised that this sent a completely different message.

Swimfor2k is also a little misleading in the sense that the swim distance is not 2k, it is 4k overall (2k per charity), but the idea is that next year when is says #swimfor3k, it will be 3k per charity.  Any charity can be picked, there won’t be a set charity per event, and the number of charities will not be limited. Providing the venue can cater the distance, the only requirements are to raise money for charity, swim the required distance and have a witness present to adjudicate. If you can take pictures even better but I am aware that many pools have a no photography rule.

I am hoping to open the event up next year to more people.

I can see Monster also getting into these as they get older. At present, I have limited Monster to swimming every other week as I am convinced that they are overdoing it. They get excited once they see the water and there is no stopping them. To the point where I have had to buy a float suit just to take the pressure off of my shoulders and back, but that is a different post entirely.

Kelly at swim

Dragon Realm Chronicles

I have been writing DRC for many years now and realised that I don’t have a website for the books to advertise them. Given that a few other authors have chosen to publish their books with similar names (naughty naughty), I thought it would be silly not to have the original series advertised under its very own domain, so now there is www.dragonrealmchronicles.com

The fourth book in the series is due out very soon.

drc-3

Dragon Realm Chronicles – Book 3 in the series

Here’s Twerky

‎Without further ado, my husband and I have been having great fun with Monster’s Christmas presents. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do when you have kids?!!?

‎The BeatsBelle (aka Twerky) is one of the bestselling toys on the market. The idea is to play music and dance so it gets aspiring little walkers on their feet and moving. At first glance, it does look like a twerking anime k-pop character which displays different colours on its body that could no doubt, if sped up, induce neighbourhood wise seizures.

It also has a voice recording system which replays in a chipmunk voice‎ to a beat. This feature has given my husband endless fun and as a result, Twerky has been nominated as his organisation’s new mascot.

Monster looks at Twerky awkwardly, like it doesn’t understand, but then again it’s not like they get to spend much time with the toy.

The Unicorn however is surprisingly effective, given that it was one of those 90% off Groupon jobbies. It lights up the room with effects of flashing stars and ‘z’, or the lights can be still. It has a calming baby planetarium effect which actually works. You can opt to have sound, but wisely I brought the version that did not contain sound. It has helped Monster sleep every night so far. Result!

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When re-watching the episodes of Lost in Space with Monster which has quickly become our weekend routine while eating breakfast, I have noticed some similarities between certain episodes and other shows/films.

My first comparison is IDAK and Superman.

Episode 24 of Season 2, Revolt of the Androids, IDAK is an android, who suspiciously looks like Superman. This led me to do some further research as to when the first Superman aired, and even though there has been some debate over the years, the generally accepted first and last air dates were 19 September 1952 and 28 April 1958.

The first film was released in 1978.

Of course the returning android character “Verda” is wearing skimpy gear by this point because she is more human, and a female, so I suppose that was the justification.

The Toymaker and Pinocchio’s dad

Episode 18 of Season 2, The Toymaker, gives references to the classic tale of Pinocchio. There is even reference in this episode to Will Robinson being ‘a real boy’.

The Three cloaked men and the Borg

Episode 13 of Season 2, Wreck of the Robot. Three cloaked men individuals want to seize the robot, and use the phrase “…resistance would be futile”.

Deadly games vs Hunger games

Episode 8 of Season 2, The Deadly Games of Gamma 6. This episode wasn’t based around districts offering up their young to fights in games for food, but the organiser of the deadly games managed to get the participants they want to fight to the death.

Another point I used to think of when I was younger watching the show was who played the robot in Lost in Space?

The Robot was performed by Bob May in a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was primarily dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series’ narrator and Jorge Arvizu for the Spanish dubbing. The Robot was designed by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed Forbidden Planet’s Robby the Robot.

Jack asked the other day why I liked the series so much given how bad the props and storyline were, and I replied, it was something I used to watch as a child hence why I now have the DVD boxset. The storylines can be cheesy, and very dated family (woman in the home) type, the props were also dated, but the special effects that we have nowadays where note available back then. It was something unique at the time because the storyline hasn’t really been performed before. The closest cousin was Star Trek, the original series.

Lost in Space was just good clean fun and in a world where so many classics have been remade into either a watered down version, or updated to contain gratuitous violence, I would like Monster to see something like this to know that there is something silly and fun that they can watch.

I think Helen Mirren’s gift of expression said it all on The Graham Norton Show recently:

“At this time of celebration and togetherness, we have the chance to reflect on the year gone by. And I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a big pile of sh*t.”

Firstly Merry belated Christmas, happy holidays and best wishes for, what was, the festive period.

In readiness for the new year, I thought a recap of 2016 was in order. For me, this year has been amazing, good and bad.

In that order, this year I gave birth to Monster, I still maintained the swimming (I swam 24 miles for Heart Research UK), got back to my pre-birth weight in six days, went back to work with minimal issues, the new ventures seem to be going well and my partner and I are stronger than ever. Perhaps some of the above may sound superficial in places but all of it by far outweighs the bad. For me, the bad involves more vehicle issues, we had finally and perhaps inevitably say goodbye to the Transporter after a long court case with a mechanic that failed us, another mechanic has damaged our other vehicle due to substandard work, a few opportunities were missed and sharing in the sadness, like many others, of 2016 taking many what are now legendary celebrities.

I say legendary, as you technically need to be deceased to be legendary, prior to this they were living legends I suppose.‎

‎However just when we thought we were clear of this, 2016 took several more recently (George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Liz Smith and author of Watership Down Richard Adams). We have also just found out that a day after Carrie Fisher’s death, her mother also passed away, Singing in the Rain actress Debbie Reynolds.

Being a lifetime fan of George Michael I found the news really upsetting, and rejoined the many notions of eeriness about how many people have died this year and who was going to be next. We have a few more days left of 2016 so fingers crossed that is it.

Many, nearly half of the UK (well those who voted anyway), would also say that the ‘bad’ involves Brexit. My view on this is that we don’t know until we get there. ‎I like new opportunities and I think the unexpected scares a lot.

To finish off on a good note, I will share something that happened this week. I was on annual leave and I have come to realise that there is no such thing as a break with a child, but Monster has a very good nature and goes to bed by 8.30pm so can’t complain. Monster and I were out for a walk in our local park, (it’s that local it backs onto our garden) and we were stood by the massive lake and the family of swans approached. I never get too close but the mother swan always brings the signets (who are now the same size as her) to see me, even more so since Monster came along. We know that the signets are scheduled to leave the lake soon, so we try and enjoy them as much as we can, even though if history repeats itself again, there will be a new herd (or bevy?) in the new year.

A mother and her two young children approached and stood on one of the jetties with half a loaf of bread. Of course every bird in the lake came over at quick pace. Geese, ducks (of various species), swans, seagulls and many others, it was like an Alfred Hitchcock film.

One of the more adolescent geese jumped up onto the jetty and pinched virtually a whole piece of bread out of one of the children’s hands. As surprised by this as the child, it then knew it would be the centre of attention and began running with a promptly formed regimented line of other birds following in its wake. It then ran towards Monster and I, who were on the other jetty, it was sensible for us to stand still as this line of birds proceeded to circle us in an erratic fashion following the lead who was frantically trying to navigate a stable course and eat the bread at the same time, of course the seagulls, who I feel have bread pinching in their blueprints swooped in from above and I’m still standing there clutching Monster waiting for them all to run off. Monster is laughing hysterically by this point at the entertainment and when the coast was reasonably clear, ‎I put Monster back in their pushchair and quickly, but calmly, walked back home.

Happy New Year and wishing all a prosperous 2017.

Several months ago we saw what looked like photo campaigns pop up in social media of each member of the band, standing in front of various structures holding cards with the hashtag #thishouseisnotforsale. From this we knew that a new album must be on the horizon.

As soon as the new album was released I purchased it as I have done with every other album ever created by this iconic band (yes, I have been a fan that long). This time however it was also to my relief. Where I felt the previous album “Burning Bridges” was insinuating perhaps a break or finale for this band, and with the exit of Richie Sambora the flagship song “Burning Bridges” did leave a lot of us wondering. According to our friends at Wikipedia who sourced an interview with Jon Bon Jovi, the reason behind Burning Bridges was the band concluding their 32-year relationship with Mercury Records, and its parent label Universal Music Group. The reasons for leaving the label are described in the lyrics of “Burning Bridges”. Jon Bon Jovi was quoted to say: “This hits it right in the head and tells you what happened. Listen to the lyrics because it explains exactly what happened. And that’s that.”

So the guys are back with the new album ‘This House Is Not for Sale’. It is the thirteenth studio album by Bon Jovi and it was released on 4 November 2016, by Island Records.

As with many other Bon Jovi tracks, these are also based around a theme. This time it was to do with the home, new beginnings and if you listen there are a lot of symbolic and personal references by the band.

In previous years we have witnessed the band deliver songs aimed at particular points in time such as “Work For The Working Man”, which was to do with the government and economy status in the US at that time. The new album has a fresh stance while at the same time taking us back to the rhythm, instrumental compositions and storytelling lyrics we have grown up with. I hate to say it, but with this album you don’t actually notice Richie Sambora’s absence, but it was very apparent with Burning Bridges as seemingly there were a few incomplete songs, but this is a new beginning.

My person favourites from this new album are:

  • Roller Coaster‎ – This has the powerful beats of Bounce, It’s My Life and Have a Nice Day. It will certainly get you moving and will definitely put a smile on your face.
  • The Devil’s in the Temple – This is cleverly crafted, and some of the lyrics will make you laugh. It has a similar beat to Someday I’ll be Saturday Night.
  • B‎orn again Tomorrow – This is due to be released soon and is very upbeat with the unique melody composition that only Bon Jovi can deliver. You will find yourself foot tapping and singing along to this.
  • Scars on this Guitar – not as heart string clenching as Always (my all-time personal favourite), ‎but tells a very personal story and is sung with a lot of meaning, not saying that the other tracks aren’t sung with meaning, but you can tell by the tone of this one that every lyric has been born from true events.
  • ‎Knockout – the power of Livin’ on a Prayer and It’s my Life, this one will really get you going especially if you are having a bad day and need some release at the gym.

My not so favourite track is ‘Labour of Love’, even though it has a story I can relate to (currently in the middle of a house project), it does become a tad monotonous in places but you can’t love them all – wait this is Bon Jovi of course you can!

Every song has a hidden meaning which is clearly personal to each band member, like any good author(s) these songs will not only relate to everyone on a personal level, as well as giving everyone ample enough chill-out time, but also they leave you thinking about them afterwards.

Another excellent and highly recommended album, by a band that has proven time and time again their determination to succeed no matter what is thrown their way. The last few years have seen a lot of changes, but the quality of the music and the originality tracks still keep coming and we hope they do for many years to come.

All we need now is just to see them back in the UK!

The new album can be purchased from Amazon and all good retailers.

http://www.wansfilm.net/streaming/last-man-standing-livestream-teil-1.htm

Sourced from Bing.com and Wansfilm.net

Warning, this is a rather long article. Grab a drink and a comfortable chair!

A typical Monday, not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting the beginning of the week to start and hearing the wonderful words from Jack “I think I have a cold coming”.
Jack, my other half, is one of the reasons why my immune system takes a beating every now and then.

Jack is a carrier. Where he gets a few sniffles, I get a variation of the black death. It seems that our little Monster also shares my invulnerability, and for the last week we have both been fighting off a fever, congestion, aches and pains, chills, dizziness and more while Jack blew his nose once and just carried on.

I have now decreed that Jack is to move out of the house for 3-5 days if I hear the words “I think I am coming down with a cold,” or something similar again. Where he moves to, I really don’t care!

So back to Monday, my train was delayed, again, and my Bluetooth headset decided to remind me after every verse of the music I was listening to that its battery was low which was really getting on my last nerve.

As I had not had much sleep due to poor Monster up most of the night coughing, spluttering and I don’t want to mention what else (Monsters always want their mums when they are ill), I had spent what little sleep I managed to get on the futon cuddled up with my ill child. So it was inevitable that I was going to get ill. Sure enough I did.

This has been the second illness in the last two months, and it really has to stop. There has clearly been a knock to my immune system.

Monster is nearly eight months old, and one thing I quickly noticed following the birth is that my immune system was not as strong as it was before and during the pregnancy. One thing I should have done was continue to take my pregnancy tablets as they contain vitamins C and D (which you need to break down vitamin C) and of course folic acid. I still take my once a day Spatone iron supplements but clearly that is not enough. So off to Holland and Barrett I went.

I decided to purchase the Vitabiotics Immunace Tablets.

Below is the product information for each tablet. Unless you know what you are looking for, this information is not very useful, so please find below some explanations as to what each vitamin, mineral and amino acid means.

With the explanation of the amino acid the other explanations have been sourced from NHS Choices.

Vitamin A (800mcg) – This helps the immune system, vision in dim light, keeping skin and the linings of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy. It can be found in cheese, eggs, oily fish, fortified low-fat spreads, milk and yoghurt.

Vitamin D (10mcg) – This is needed to break down Vitamin C, so if you are taking vitamin C, make sure you take D as well. We also gain our vitamin D from sunlight. The following foods contain Vitamin D: oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks, cheese, fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.

Vitamin E (40mg) – You should be able to get all of the Vitamin E you need from your normal daily diet. It can be found in nuts, seeds and wheat germ which can be found in most cereals, or cereal based products.

Vitamin C (150mg) – the popular one that most will turn to when they are feeling under the weather. It is important to realise that Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body so 40mg needs to be in everyone’s daily eating plan. Vitamin C is found in the following: oranges and orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) (18mg) – Like many of the other B vitamins, Thiamin helps keep the nervous system healthy and works alongside the other B vitamins to ensure this happens as well as to help break down and release energy from food. Foods rich in Thiamin are: vegetables – such as peas, fresh and dried fruit, eggs, wholegrain breads, some fortified breakfast cereals and liver.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) (6mg) – As above, Riboflavin also deals with keeping the skin and eyes healthy. Food and drink rich in Riboflavin are: milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and rice. Bear in mind that UV light can destroy riboflavin, so ideally these foods should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) (27mg) – Good sources of niacin include: meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs and milk.

Vitamin B6 (10mg) – This allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food, it also helps to form haemoglobin – the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body. Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of foods, such as: pork, poultry (such as chicken or turkey), fish, bread, whole cereals – such as oatmeal, wheat germ and brown rice, eggs, vegetables, soya beans, peanuts, milk, potatoes and some fortified breakfast cereals.

Folic Acid (500mcg) – Most will think of pregnancy when they hear this vitamin. Folic acid, known as folate in its natural form, works together with vitamin B12 to form healthy red blood cells and helps to reduce the risk of central nervous system defects, such as spina bifida, in unborn babies. It can be found in: broccoli, brussels sprouts, liver, spinach, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and fortified breakfast cereals.

I will say at this point, I ate a lot of spinach during my pregnancy and my Monster may have been small in size when born, but the force they could put behind a kick left me battered and bruised for days. Monster has kept the strength and the muscles. Spinach is awesome.

Vitamin B12 (14mcg) – This is important when taking high amounts of folic acid as it makes red blood cells and keeps the nervous system healthy, it also releases energy from the food we eat and it processes the folic acid. Good sources include: meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals.

Pantothenic Acid (20mg) – this helps release energy from the food we eat and can be found in virtually all meat and vegetable foods, including: chicken, beef, potatoes, porridge, tomatoes, kidney, eggs, broccoli, wholegrains – such as brown rice and wholemeal bread.

Vitamin K (70mcg) – Vitamin K has several important functions a main one is that it is needed for blood clotting, which means it helps wounds to heal properly – this is the reason why babies are injected with it at birth. A woman cannot produce it from her milk so formula fed babies have the advantage here as it is in formula milk. There’s some evidence that vitamin K is also needed to help keep bones healthy. Good sources of vitamin K can be found in green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and spinach, vegetable oils and cereal grains.

Betacarotene (3mg) – This gives yellow and orange fruit and vegetables their colour. It also turns into vitamin A once in the body, so it can perform the same functions in the body as vitamin A. Good sources of betacarotene include yellow and green (leafy) vegetables – such as spinach, carrots and red peppers, yellow fruit – such as mango, melon and apricots.

Iron (8mg) – this is an essential mineral, with several important roles in the body i.e. it helps to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Good sources of iron: liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit – such as dried apricots, wholegrains – such as brown rice, fortified breakfast cereals, soybean flour, most dark-green leafy vegetables – such as watercress and curly kale.

Magnesium (50mg) – This is a mineral that, among other things helps turn the food we eat into energy, helps to make sure the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones that are important for bone health, work normally. Good sources of magnesium include: green leafy vegetables – such as spinach, nuts, brown rice, bread (especially wholegrain), fish, meat and dairy foods.

Zinc (15mg) – This is a trace element that helps to make new cells and enzymes helps us process carbohydrate, fat and protein in food and helps with the healing of wounds. Zinc is found widely in the environment but good food sources of zinc include: meat, shellfish, dairy foods (such as cheese), bread and cereal products (such as wheat germ).

Iodine (200mcg) – This helps to make the thyroid hormones to keep cells and the metabolic rate healthy. Iodine is a trace element found in seawater, rocks and some types of soil. Good food sources include sea fish and shellfish. Iodine can also be found in plant foods, such as cereals and grains, but the levels vary, depending on the amount of iodine in the soil where the plants are grown.

Copper (0.5mg) – This is a trace element that has several important functions, some of which is to help produce red and white blood cells, and trigger the release of iron to form haemoglobin – the substance that carries oxygen around the body is thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system and strong bones. Good sources of copper include: nuts, shellfish and offal.

Manganese (4mg) – This is a trace element that helps make and activate some of the enzymes in the body. Good sources of manganese include: tea, bread, nuts, cereals and green vegetables (such as peas and runner beans).

Selenium (Yeast Free) (180mcg) – Anyone remember Evolution the film? Well not only does this get rid of pesky aliens but also Selenium is a trace element that plays an important role in our immune system’s function and in reproduction. It also helps to prevent damage to cells and tissues. Selenium is found widely in the environment. Good food sources include: brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs.

Chromium (100mcg) – Chromium is a trace element thought to influence how the hormone insulin behaves in the body. This means chromium may affect the amount of energy we get from food.

Good sources of chromium. Chromium is found widely in the environment, in air, water and soil, and in plants and animals. Good food sources of chromium include: meat, wholegrains (such as wholemeal bread and whole oats), lentils, broccoli, potatoes and spices.

Cystine (40mg) – Cysteine is an amino acid, a building block of proteins that are used throughout the body. When taken as a supplement, it is usually in the form of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)

L-Carnitine (30mg) – Carnitine is an amino acid derivative and nutrient involved in lipid metabolism in mammals and other eukaryotes.

Bioflavonoids (30mg) – Bioflavonoids are a group of naturally occurring plant compounds, which act primarily as plant pigments and antioxidants. They exhibit a host of biological activities, most notably for their powerful antioxidant properties. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and many vegetables, are also excellent sources of bioflavonoids.

For more information on the quantities a human needs per day as well as the differences between minerals and vitamins please visit the No Food Limits website.

Given that several of the nutrients listed above contain milk or some form of diary, I was then of the mind that perhaps my years of drinking just skimmed milk may mean I am lacking something. Therefore I propose to not only take the vitamins above, but also look into other ways to bridge the potential lactose lack.

Some further information regarding the Immune System

The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. One of the important cells involved are white blood cells, also called leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.

The folks at Harvard Medical School state that to maintain a healthy immune system you must do the following:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Control your blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

You can still do all of the above and get ill, it is inevitable in life like taxes, and the government, but by following a healthy eating plan and looking after yourself, you may be able to avoid getting ill too often.

Last weekend was been a mixture of hot and cold in the pools.

Friday began with Monster swimming. This usually takes place on a Sunday but we had family plans (i.e. rare occasion that we all have the same days off together), and so Monster and I went for a Friday swim instead.

We got into the children’s pool, and there was another couple with a young baby, and a man with his son who was of toddler age. Both soon departed, which meant that Monster and I had the pool to ourselves.

From the minute Monster’s feet touch the water they are moving. For 7 months old Monster is an exceptional swimmer but is also very ambitious so I can see me having to instil some fear into them when they are older (it is usually the other way around), and with every session they get stronger.

It seems that cold water does not faze them either. Being a long distance and cold water swimmer I have always been aware of what the cold can do to the body. The cold can sneak up on you and before you know it, you have a draft or worse a strain of hypothermia, so I am continuously checking both of our temperatures while we swim. When we take breaks, what looks like a mother and child cuddle is really a temperature check and a transfer of heat over to Monster from myself. Like I said Monster gets very ambitious and then forgets to tell me if they get cold.

We had been swimming for over 30 minutes when a lady and her two children got into the pool. The eldest was around toddler age and the baby was around Monster’s age, perhaps a tad younger. From the minute they entered the pool the children cried due to the temperature of the water. I agreed with their mother that it was colder than usual but there was only us in the pool so 30 degrees is then much cooler.

Luckily Monster is not the type to react to upset children and mimic the mood, far from it, they seem to take it as a challenge and act the complete opposite, along the lines of ‘look at me, I’m so well behaved’.

The lady’s mother also entered the pool and proceeded to quiz the lifeguard on the temperature. She also said she expected it from the main pool as it was ‘freezing in there’, I didn’t like mention that I sweat under my swim cap when I swim in the main pool.

They left the pool within 10 minutes of getting in and I did sympathise, but I also wondered was it really the cold or was it the toddler crying and causing a fuss that then made the baby cry and then they were at the point of no return. It’s very hard to regulate your body temperature when you are cold, it is even harder trying to explain that to young children as they will not have the patience to wait to warm up, nor will they see the logic in moving around to keep warm if they have got upset.

I proceeded to also leave the pool with Monster as we had been in there long enough, and that is normally the only time Monster will cause a fuss. No pleasing some, but it did make me think, is my child abnormal? Am I also abnormal with regards to feeling the cold. More research wouldn’t go a miss on this one I think.

On the other end of the scales, I was swimming at my usual haunt over the weekend, Charlton Lido, and to my surprise found that they were also having questionable temperatures.

At this time of year swimming outside is perfect. The colder the weather the quieter the lido, only this time there were people in the lido, more in fact than in previous Novembers. It was down to the water temperature.

In the fear that my resistance to the cold had weakened during my Monster carrying months, I wore a rash vest. Big mistake. I had only got 100m when the vest came off and spent the rest of the hour at poolside. The water was uncomfortably warm and the whole idea of being in a lido is that you get the outdoor experience.

I tweeted after that swim:

capture

To my joy there was a temperature issue. I haven’t been back since due to schedules but hopefully it should be fixed now.

When training is concerned lane etiquette from everyone is key. If you don’t know what to do in a swim lane find out, as not only does it make the swim more enjoyable for everyone but also this elevates the risk of injury.