Fit Fashion: Fitness Gear for him for under £50

My husband is a late convert to exercise. Like many of us he was put off sport and fitness at school. As a result it’s taken him 20 years to put on some fitness gear and get off the sofa. In fairness to him he’s remarkably sporty now. In the last couple of years he’s taken part in Born Survivor (one of those military style races where they roll you in mud and make you crawl under barbed wire). He’s taken up Kettlebells, then had to give that up due to a dodgy elbow. Now he’s joined a running group. 

We’re keen to encourage his sportiness, partly because he really enjoys it and partly because it gets him out from under our feet for a few hours a week. With Father’s Day approaching we thought that giving him some new fitness gear would be a nice supportive gesture.

We thought we’d treat him to a new pair of shorts, a couple of new tops and some running socks. But is it possible to get some decent fitness gear with a budget of just £50? 

We checked out the DW Sports website and found that we could find good quality running gear to suit budgets both large and small. We were pleased to be able to almost entirely him kit out so that he looks the part when he meets with his weekly running club.

Fitness Gear for Father's Day for under £50

The New Balance t-shirt in heather is £14 (currently reduced from £22) it is lightweight and made from moisture wicking fabric (which takes the sweat off you body and dries quickly). It also has an antimicrobial treatment which resists odours and skims the body, so it’s not too tight and is comfortable to wear.

Fitness Gear for Father's Day for under £50

It’s always good to have a couple of running tops to choose from, so we also bought this colourful Puma Core Run t-shirt in bright plasma (£12). Again this is a lightweight material, it’s moisture wicking and comfortable. It’s also very, very bright. Much brighter that it appears on the website. It may be bright, but it does make it ideal to wear when running down the road when the evening light is fading.

My husband lives in shorts for about 8 months a year, but he does have a selection of shorts he wears for exercise. With new running tops, he needs new running shorts, so we chose the Nike Dri-Fit Academy Knit Shorts (£15.99) in a lovely shade of blue and white which will go with almost anything. Again they’re made with moisture wicking fabric, Nike call it “Dri-Fit Technology”. They’re a nice length, not too short or too long. They also have an elasticated waist which makes them comfortable to exercise in.

Fitness Gear for Father's Day for under £50

Last but by no means least, we got him some new running socks. I learned long ago that normal socks are no good for running in. Not only do they wear out pretty quickly, but they often slip down your foot causing blisters and other problems. We went for a two pack of Sof Sole running socks (£7.99). Made from a Polyester material, with moisture management technology, these socks are ideal for anyone racking up the miles. These specially designed running socks minimise movement and friction. 

So for a fraction under £50 we’ve kitted him out ready for his running club. We think he looks really smart. He feels really comfortable and the small boy thinks he’s nailed his Father’s Day presents for this year. And he’s right. 

We’re really impressed with DW Sports. We ordered the products on Friday, they arrived early on Monday and delivery is free when you spend over £40. It’s all brand named products at what I felt were very reasonable prices too.

Note: We were sent these products for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. 

ParkLives Manchester: Body Conditioning in the park!

Yesterday I attended my second Walking Workout session at Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury, Manchester. I was expecting a very similar session to last week, but due to the awful storm the night before and the unusually heavy rain parts of the park were flooded or too churned up with mud to use. So instead of walking we had a body conditioning session, and I can really feel it this morning!

I arrived at the Visitor’s Centre and waited for the instructor and other participants to arrive. Despite the dramatic storm the previous night it was warm, really too warm and I knew I would be a puddle by the end of the session. The park was partly flooded and some of the paths were slippy and not ideal. We went into the Botanical Gardens and the instructor decided that instead of a cardio session that we would do some body conditioning instead. 

body conditioning

She handed round some resistance bands, and in an area shaded by a wisteria covered pergola we worked our whole bodies in a series of exercises. Some were tougher than others. We did a lot of quite intense leg work and I think every muscle in my legs is screaming at me today.

It was a tough workout and she offered suggestions for making the exercises easier or harder if need be, and encouraged us to drink lots of water and stay in the shade. It was hellish hot and I was in part glad to not be walking around in the hot sunshine.

Next week when the flood waters have receded I think the session be back to normal, part walking workout, part body conditioning. I did enjoy it and the soreness I’m feeling today is just reminding me what a lazy bones I’ve been this year. It feels good to be doing something again and I’m hoping I’ll start to see as well as feel a difference soon.

body conditioning
Not a bad view to have when you’re exercising!

ParkLives Manchester offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives Manchester website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. 

For more information on ParkLives Manchester, or to book and activity visit the website.

ParkLives Manchester: Walking Workout (Week 1)

Now the small boy has gone back to school I have a bit more time on my hands to do things for me. This week I’ve re-started the 5:2 diet, something I did last year which worked for me, but then I was poorly and never got back into it. Another thing I’m trying to do is take more exercise. I’m back swimming again, which makes me happy, and after I’d spotted the “Walking Workout” on the ParkLives website I decided to give that a go too.

The Walking Workout is a free hour long fitness session for the Over 50’s. The keen eyed amongst you will have spotted that I turned 40 on Monday, so I’m still a decade off 50. However, the class is for the Over 50’s, people new to exercise and people like me who have health problems (in my case I have chronic pain, a very bad back and funny numb legs and feet). 

The ParkLives website describes the Walking Workout as “An Instructor led Health Walk designed to improve cardiovascular fitness.”

walking workout

I booked my free place and waited by the Visitor’s Centre at Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury, Manchester for the instructor and other participants to arrive. We chatted about what the plan was for the next hour and then made a start.

We began by walking at a steady pace for five minutes, then we stopped to do some stretches and squats. Once we were warmed up we walked for a mile, alternately walking at a fast pace for one minute and a normal pace for 30 seconds. It was a very hot day and by the time we had finished our mile we had all worked up a sweat.

We walked at a moderate pace to the botanical gardens. The gardens have several sets of steep steps which we climbed three times, we then did some exercises to hone our balance and work our core muscles. It was all good, it was pretty hard work, though I’m sure the heat and humidity made it feel harder than it was.

I love walking, especially walking around Fletcher Moss Gardens which is a pretty special place anyway. Although we worked hard, I think exercising outside in a small group made it much more tolerable and interesting. Fresh air and exercise are always good for body and soul. 

walking workout

I did the Walking Workout yesterday and I definitely feel like I’ve had a workout. I’m not sore, but I can feel that some long forgotten muscles have been used, and for a few hours afterwards I was full of lovely post-exercise endorphins. I enjoyed it so much that I’m going again next week too!

ParkLives Manchester offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives Manchester website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. 

For more information on ParkLives Manchester, or to book and activity visit the website.

ParkLives Manchester – Stay and Play at the park

Last week we visited our local park – Fletcher Moss in Didsbury and took part in one of the ParkLives Manchester activities “Roaming Rangers“. We’d had a lot of fun and as soon as we got home we booked ourselves in for another activity, this time “Park Fun Stay & Play”.

We arrived in good time and we met the Stay and Play leaders down at the Bug Hotel. There is a little area which has been set aside to encourage wildlife and birds. There was a craft gazebo and some games and other activities to do, so we explored our options.

Parklives Manchester

First to fascinate the small boy and I was the giant jenga which we quickly managed to knock down, but not before the boy had shown off his excellent jenga-ing skills. After a little gentle persuasion I managed to get him to tackle the hurdles, something which he loved and wanted to do over and over and got me to do it too.  

Once we’d spent some time hurdling we were given a Nature Scavenger Hunt to do, this was lots of fun, especially in the nature reserve bit of the park. We quickly managed to find a clover, a stick, some flowers and some birds. After some hunting I found some paw prints in the mud and he found a couple of feathers. It was lots of fun wandering around, trying to find the things on the list and talking about nature.

Parklives Manchester

There was den building and lots of crafts going on, but the boy (who had hurt his leg and been to A&E that morning) was tired and not really in the mood for doing too much, so we watched the den building and decided to take inspiration from the nature crafts and maybe do some of our own at home later. 

ParkLives Manchester offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives Manchester website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. I wonder what session I’ll book us onto next week?

For more information on ParkLives Manchester, or to book and activity visit the website.

ParkLives Manchester – Free Activities for Kids

Whilst I was searching online for things to do with my five year old over the summer (preferably free things to do), I happened upon the ParkLives website which is a partnership between Coca-Cola Great Britain and Manchester City Council.

ParkLives offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and it is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

I had a look at what was on in my local park, Fletcher Moss in Didsbury and found there were a few weekly activities to keep us entertained over the school holidays. Plus when the boy goes back to school I can take part in some of their free exercise classes – perfect!


There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. I booked us in for a “Roaming Rangers” session on what was a very lovely sunny day to spend wandering around the park.

On arrival two lovely ladies gave us a map, a checklist and some basic instructions for an afternoon or orienteering. There were 14 checkpoints around the park and we had to find them all and wrote down what we found at each one. Some were easier to spot than others and I wasn’t sure if he would be able to hold his concentration long enough to find them all, but I was wrong.


He was in charge of map reading, which in practice meant he held onto the map and would point at the next number we needed, whilst I read the map and pointed us in the right direction. The trail was quite long, I was wearing a Fitbit and I think we covered around 3k which is quite far if you have little legs.

There were lots of families out enjoying the sunshine and following the trail, plus there were a couple of other fitness groups on walks and doing other exercises around the park, it was lovely to see and everyone was friendly and looked like they were enjoying themselves.


All of the activities are designed to get people moving and our “Roaming Rangers” session certainly did that. Although it was a pretty long walk (especially if you factor in the walk to and from the park) the small boy loved it all. He couldn’t wait to find the next checkpoint and to tick it off the list, in fact he was quite disappointed that we finished it and he wanted to do it again. 

If you’re looking from some free family fun over the school holidays (and beyond) then it’s well worth checking out the ParkLives website to see what’s available in your area. I’ve made a promise to myself to do something active with me and the boy for the next four weeks, so keep an eye out to see what we get up to next week!

For more information on ParkLives, or to book and activity visit the website.

Health & Fitness – Squat Challenge March 2016

I’ve become a bit frustrated with myself of late, I need to exercise but it’s hard to find the time and the inclination. I live with chronic pain and like most people I have good and bad days, so it can be hard for me to absolutely commit to doing Pilates every Thursday, or to go swimming each Monday, because I never really know how good, or not so good I’ll feel. That’s at least one of my excuses, so I’m sticking to it.

I’ve decided to set myself a squat challenge for March. I’ve seen these kind of challenges before and they’re pretty much designed for reasonably fit and healthy people, not for slightly wonky people like me who make a noise when they stand up. Now I’m no fitness instructor, I have no qualifications (consider this a disclaimer of sorts), but I know from various Pilates and Yoga classes, and from my rehab physios that doing squats is pretty good for me and my condition, which is basically a ruined spine, nerve damage and constant pain. Yay me.

Even though I can’t always feel my legs, I feel happier when they are feeling strong, so I know that squats will help this, as well as helping to give me buns of steel.

Why do squats?

A quick search of the internet throws up many many good reasons for including squatting in your daily exercise regime, these include –

  • Buns of steel – you get a nice toned bum!
  • Squatting can work your lower body, helping to strengthen your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, lower back (yay) and even your abs and as a result squatting will help you burn fat.
  • Squatting helps to strengthen your muscles, joints and ligaments and improved the flexibility in your ankles, knees, hips and back .
  • Improves core strength and stability.
  • Squats can also (apparently) help to combat cellulite and firm up your thighs.

I’ve created this Squat Challenge for me to do in March, it starts off super-easy. I’m pretty sure I can do 10 squats with no trouble at all, but the thought of doing 70 squats in a day sounds like it might hurt, but by slowly increasing the number of squats I do each day seems to me to be more doable. I’m not going to pressure myself to do them all in one go, I might break them up into sets of 10 or so and do them each time I go in the kitchen. I’ve printed off my Squat Challenge calendar so I’ll just stick that to the fridge and cross them off as I do them.

squat challenge

If you’re not sure how to to do squat correctly then the video below is great and gives tips for people like me how have mobility and stability issues. I always make sure I’m near something I can grab should I lose my balance, and like she says in the video, you can always add weights to help make things more challenging once you’ve got the posture right.

Like I said, I’m no health and fitness expert, but I’ve devised this Squat Challenge just for me and my physical limitations and needs,  but you’re welcome to join me during March in my quest for buns of steel. Who’s in?

You can download my FREE Squat Challenge Calendar here.

Review: Plus size fitness wear from Miss Matahari

I was sent a pair of Miss Matahari Capri running tights  for review purposes, all images and opinions are my own.

A wise man once said “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration” and boy he was not wrong.  I have a chunk of weight to lose for medical reasons and because of the state of my back I’m very limited in the kinds of exercise I can do and how much I can do. It’s also very dispiriting to stand at the bottom of what looks like an impossible mountain, stare up at the top and wonder how you will ever get there. I’m pretty determined but it’s still hard.

I got chatting online to Natasha a PT and running coach who created the Miss Matahari range of exercise clothing. Natasha was very encouraging and pointed me in the direction of some inspirational stories on her website. They are stories of ordinary women who had achieved extraordinary things in their lives. Reading how they’d overcome illness and serious injury gave me hope that I could too.

Quite rightly Natasha was frustrated that many fitness brands appeal to the slimmer end of the market and don’t cater for plus size fitness fanatics. She explained to me that she spent two years developing the of the fit of her clothes to flatter as many body types as possible; enhancing the parts we love whilst helping to disguise the bits we don’t. The biggest selling sizes are S and XS (which cover sizes 8 – 12), but sizes go up to XL and XXL.

I am unable to run or do anything with bounce or impact, so walking and swimming are my exercise of choice. I am lucky and live by the river, so when it’s dry I often take myself off for a good walk. Usually I’d wear some cheap leggings and a t-shirt and hoodie with a pair of walking trainers or boots. Natasha suggested I might like to try the Athena Capri Tights in plain black for walking in.

Miss Matahari

These are running or workout capri tights. They have a flattering high waistband these can be worn up or rolled down. If like me you’ve got a muffin top you can keep it safely tucked away. They have a small back pocket just big enough for your gym membership card or for taking a bit of money out with you. Natasha has carefully selected the right fabric; so it does everything it’s supposed to and smooths any cellulite you might have.

I opted for the XL size. I’m a funny shape, my top is bigger than my bottom and I have comparatively slim legs. I usually wear a size 18 trouser, but with an elasticated waist. A size 18 is usually still baggy on my thigh but any smaller and they’re uncomfortable on the waist. Natasha told me Miss Matahari would comfortably fit at least one size above due to the stretchy fabric. I reckon the XL could fit a 22/24 with a bit of wriggling.

The material is really soft inside and quite warm. I gave it the ultimate test by wearing my Capri running tights for a very cold and blowy walk on the beach in February and I was surprisingly cosy. These lovely black Capri running tights are water repellent, breathable and boast “superior moisture management”. They are very obviously incredibly good quality and well-designed running tights. They are wrinkle resistant and designed for enhanced comfort and softness.

Miss Matahari

But enough of the science, how did they feel? As I mentioned they kept me warm on the beach. The fabric hugged me in all the right places so I felt supported. The support was actually the thing that I love the best. There’s minimal jiggle without feeling like you’ve poured yourself into something industrial. The Capri running tights showed me off by enhancing my nice bits and actually made me feel quite sexy. I’m pretty sure my bum doesn’t usually look as good as that!

I loved wearing them, they made me feel great. I walked further than usual that day too and they made me want to put them on and go out in them again and again. They have a reflective strip which runs around the leg which is useful if you’re out on a dark evening. The logo is discreetly located near the back pocket and is made up of 100% black Swarovski crystals; a little touch of glamour and sparkle.

Miss Matahari

After my walk I met up with the boys and went for lunch. We accidentally ended up somewhere a little bit smart. I was worried about looking scruffy when I walked through the door; but actually the only things that gave it away as exercise gear were the fact that they were Capri pants in February and the quite discrete reflective strip above the knee. I think I got away with it.

It’s never occurred to me before that looking good and wearing things that will support me and make me feel good while I’m exercising can help to motivate me. It’s especially good to find really great performance wear which is designed for big girls too.

I am absolutely 100% in love with my Miss Matahari Capri Pants. I know I’ll get lots of use out of them this summer. These Miss Matahari Capri running tights cost £85; which I’ll admit is considerably more than the cheap supermarket leggings I’d usually wear. But I’m converted. I know pulling these on before a walk will make me exercise with a bit more determination and a bit more motivation; and make my bum look pretty darn good too.

I know I will be buying another pair of these running tights in a few months; hopefully in a smaller size. I’d like to be like one of those inspirational women on the website and if a pair of exceptionally good running tights can help me; then so much the better.

Miss Matahari

How accurate is my Fitbit?

A couple of weeks ago I got the news that my spine was pretty much crumbling and I needed to lose weight to slow down the deterioration. I’ve pretty radically changed my diet, but I am limited in the kinds of exercise I can do. I decided to buy a Fitbit Charge. I wanted to get a baseline of my current (in)activity and use it to build on that. I’ve worn my Fitbit, an activity tracking device for just over a week now, but just how accurate is my Fitbit?

My activity tracking device is a Fitbit Charge. I paid for it myself and it cost £99.99. I needed a new watch anyway so I thought the Fitbit Charge would be a good multi-tasker as it comes with a watch and measures your step count, kilometres walked, estimated calories burned and flights of stairs climbed. You sync it with your phone or tablet (mine is linked to my iPad) and the app tells you how you’re getting on. If you wear it overnight it also measures the quality of your sleep and has a vibrating alarm which you can set to wake you up. I have a four year old so I have no need for any kind of alarm ever.

how accurate is my fitbit

Quite quickly I noticed a number of accuracy issues, here’s a bit of a breakdown;

  • Before bed I’d check my step count and then check it again when I woke up, most mornings I noted that I’d ‘walked’ around a hundred steps in my sleep without leaving the bed.
  • When I blow dried my hair I ‘walked’ another 100 or so steps, so I started taking the Fitbit off when I was getting ready.
  • About a third of the time when I climbed the stairs it didn’t register that I had done, so that wasn’t included in my daily activity.
  • I walked around a museum for three hours and it registered only about 1000 steps which I think was a gross underestimation.

So I think my Fitbit isn’t as accurate as I’d hoped it would be. Additionally when it tracks my sleep I think that it is very inaccurate. The sleep tracker tells you how long you slept for, if you woke during the night and how restless you were. For a few nights I’ve been concerned that it wasn’t accurately measuring my sleep, generally when I knew I’d had a terrible night and it told me I’d had a good 7 hours.

how accurate is my fitbit
My terrible nights sleep where I was active for half an hour which was recorded as ‘restless’ not as awake.

Last night the small boy wet the bed at 4am so I got up to deal with it, changed him and the bed and put him back to sleep, pausing to nip to the loo myself. I checked the time using the Fitbit (you have to press a button), before falling back into my bed exhausted. I was surprised this morning when I checked the sleep tracker that it told me I’d had a fairly good night and I’d only been a bit restless around 4am.

I then found this article on the BBC website about activity trackers being inaccurate, it makes for interesting reading. Essentially activity trackers generally aren’t that accurate, but the manufacturers are suggesting that we use them to monitor patterns of activity and sleep behaviours, and that variations in algorithms and the physical characteristics of the individual wearing the device, like height and gait, as well as wearing position, can result in accuracy differences.

That makes perfect sense to me, I need to stop obsessing that it’s inaccurate but use it to motivate me to do better. There are days I know I will be walking more, so mentally I set a step target to hit that day, the Fitbit will help me achieve that, even if it’s not strictly accurate. It all adds up and it all helps towards my ultimate goal of health and well-being.

So would I recommend the Fitbit Charge? Well yes, the app is a little buggy and as I’ve mentioned it’s not 100% accurate, but if you’re after a ball-park figure of what your activity level is it’s a good piece of kit. I think it’ll do the job for me, which is basically to motivate me to move around a bit more.

Do you have a Fitbit or other activity tracker? How are you finding it?

Health Update: Weight Loss or Wheelchair

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post for a week now. You may remember a couple of weeks ago I had an MRI scan, well the results are in and it’s not the news I’d hoped for but it was the news I was expecting. My quite ruined back is absolutely ruined, my dodgy disc has now vanished, leaving bone rubbing on bone and I have multiple disc bulges.

I’ve been referred for pain management, physio and told to think very careful about my next surgical option which is getting my spine fused. In the meantime I need to lose some weight to take the pressure off and to help get me fit for surgery. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve spent much of the past week crying. I will not feel sorry for myself now, I have a project to focus on. Losing weight.

I’ve done it before. In 2013 I lost about a stone and a half, mainly through starving myself and walking miles, but starving myself isn’t a sensible option. Nor can I walk for miles, I just don’t have the time these days. So what am I going to do?

I’ve logged back in to ‘My Fitness Pal’ which is an app where you diarise your food and exercise each day. I’m aiming to eat around 1300 calories a day to begin with and its already starting to have a positive effect. I’ve lost a couple of pounds in just under a week. I’m feeling positive about that. I’m trying not to drink, or drink as much. I went to the pub with a friend and drank diet coke and survived. It’s doable.

We’re going away for half term and I’m not going to deny myself nice food and drink, but it will be in moderation, I’d just like to get a bit of a head start on losing weight before I go.

As for exercise, well I am quite limited in what I can do. I spent Monday morning helping out at school and both of my legs have been numb ever since, I know resting will help the feeling come back, it’s just stuff from inside my discs pressing on some nerves. It’s weird, it’s worrying but it’s kind of normal for me.

I can walk, so when I can I will. I can swim, so I know I must make an effort to get down to the local pool during their ridiculously restrictive swimming times. And I’ve just bought myself a Fitbit which should help me get an idea about my current level of (in)activity and hopefully help motivate me to improve.

I think long term it’s going to be about making small changes, keeping moving, drinking less, making better choices about what I eat. It’s a long journey, a lifetime journey but if I want to stay out of a wheelchair and on my feet then it needs to be done. Wish me luck.

Weight loss

What are my Five Favourite Things?

Here are my Five Favourite Things so you can get to know a little bit more about me. I have decided not to include family or friends in this because that absolutely goes without saying. These are my five favourite things…

1. Music. I love music and listen to it all the time, it can equally bring my mood up and down. Key moments in my life are happily soundtracked on my iPod and just hearing a song again can trigger memories. I am a confirmed indie kid and my favourite bands are currently James, The Wonder Stuff, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, The Stone Roses and The Charlatans.

2. Exercise. I’m a real endorphin junkie. My physiotherapist described me as someone who binge exercises. It’s true, I’ve already spoken in a previous post of my love for dance, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, running, walking and swimming. I can’t do nearly as much as I’d like, but I make a point of walking every day to the point where the lovely happy endorphins kick in.

3. Writing. I love writing, crafting and twisting words into sentences. I’m really loving blogging at the moment and I’ve started writing the odd piece for publication. It’s a lost love, as a teenager I was a very keen writer and had lots of things published, I studied journalism at university and worked briefly as a journalist before I lost confidence in my writing abilities. I love that I’m writing again and hope I don’t lose my mojo any time soon.

4. Devon. We are incredibly lucky that we have access to a family cottage in North Devon so we frequently nip down for a holiday. Whatever the weather it’s always stunning. The cottage is near a cove and at night you can hear the waves crashing against the rocks. It is so peaceful. We love the ready access to beaches, great pubs, even the garden is lovely. It has it’s own orchard and that’s great to explore. It’s the only place where we all can completely relax. No TV, no Internet, very patchy mobile phone signals. Almost completely cut off from the world and that means 100% family time.

What are my Five Favourite Things?

5. Twitter. I am a Twitter addict, I’d check it every minute if I could. Over the past year it has been my saviour, my best friend, my source of distraction and solace and it’s been my enemy. I love it for keeping my mind off the physical pain of my operations and recovery. Twitter can be wonderful but I sometimes forget that reality is different to Twitter and that trips me up. It is one of my favourite things, but it can have it’s dark side.

Those are my favourite things. Simple things really, but the best things often are.