Saturday, 27 October 2012

Body image: strong and real

I hope you will afford me some narcissism on this one in the aim of the greater good. Of course, I see that blogging itself is probably a narcissistic activity, but this subject, that of weight, self image and wellness is one I feel strongly about. I am also very much still on my personal journey with it and see that so many others are too.

So, my relationship with body image and weight goes like this - in my teenage years I thought I was fat. I was tiny, 8 stone 7, 26" waist, curvy and with that irritating teenage ability to eat and drink ad infinitum without the carnage of cellulite erupting before the night is even over.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Today I am absolutely delighted to welcome the lovely Kate Neary to guest blog for me on Dex Diva. Kate is an endo warrior too, and also has to contend with Crohn's disease. Kate tells her story of dealing with life one day at a time, and I am grateful to her for sharing her story with us. Over to you, Kate....

After years of being in incredible pain, being bounced between doctors in my home country (US) and the one where I lived (England), it was one afternoon in a sterile medical office that changed my entire life.  I was looking at images of my intestines riddled with ulcers and I was overcome with relief.  Odd, I know but I was elated.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Go play outside

I don't know about you, but I LOVE Autumn. I am in the UK, and the golden hues and bright sunny days with that certain Autumn chill  just make me smile. I find it hard to resist toast and loads of jam this time of year (not helpful for endo at all), so I have been making lots of seasonal soups to get that hearty Autumn food feeling.
As the nights draw in, it can be so easy to miss out on the daylight;  in Summer, if we are sofa bound in the daytime we know we still have an evening ahead to make the most of and get some fresh air. When Autumn and Winter kick in, I often find I need to re-jig my day to get those all important times of fresh air and some daylight.

Getting outside has so many benefits for body and soul. If your pain is not letting you go out and exercise, just take a mooch in the outside air for half an hour or so - if you move as much as you can whenever you can it benefits our bodies.

Getting outside earths us, connects us to the outside world and nature, and nourishes the soul as well as body. On Saturday I managed a 10 mile bike ride and revelled in the mud splashing around me and being in the woods. On Sunday I was in more pain so made do with an equally soul heartening pootle on the plot at Farm Club.

Set yourself a challenge to go play outside every day, and post me your Autumn pics!

(don't forget, check out Project Endo for endometriosis support and daily emails).

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Classroom Acoustics hold back education?

Terrifyingly, the Mini Divas will start school next year. Yup. Scary stuff. As a parent I am really intrigued by this latest study revealing how much classroom acoustics can affect learning. For example,  a quarter of UK schools don’t bother to comply with a building regulation that ensures our children can hear their teacher in the classrooms... it doesn’t sound like much, but actually classroom acoustics have a really huge impact on the rate of a child’s learning.


Just check out the infographic above for some of the disturbing facts. Ecophon UK has conducted a study that reveals the extent of the problem and I am working with them in a Twitter Q&A next week.

For children to gain the most from education, they need an optimum environment to learn. This is the minimum that should be provided to schoolchildren.The reality, however, is that an alarming number of schools are not designed with acoustics in mind.

Children are missing out on their education, teachers are suffering serious health  problems and student/teacher relationships are suffering. This infographic from the guys at Echofon details some of the more striking figures and statistics around this issue, such as:

• A 10db increase in noise causes an average 5% drop in SATs scores at Key Stage 1,  7% at Key Stage 2
• 34% of parents of deaf or hearing impaired children are concerned that school  acoustics aren't up to scratch
• 80% of teachers report vocal strain and other throat problems. Compare this with 5% of the general population

On October 16th at 1pm, I’ll be holding a Twitter Q&A with the guys over at Ecophon, who have produced this research. Do you have something you want to ask them about  how a child’s education is put at risk because of poor acoustics? Just tweet it to me at  @DexDiva with the hashtag #AcousticMatters - let’s clear up the queries and bring this issue into the public eye together!

Twitter: @EcophonUK


Monday, 8 October 2012

The sanity checklist

sanity checklist

Hey Diva Readers,

As you have probably noticed I have been blogging much less recently. I have been on Twitter much less. In fact, everything has been much less.

Cycling love

It's official. Thanks to my training for Cycletta this Autumn, I have rediscovered my love of cycling.

When I lived in London and commuted fom Hackney to Queens Park I invested in Steve, my trusty Specialized steed who took me along the canal and back every day to work. I loved it, and spent weekends in Epping forest getting muddy doing the trails ( ok the easy ones, but still). I loved Steve and getting outside.

Fast forward to working from home and being a mum of young twins and it's easy to let things we enjoy slip. My journey with Team Bangs 2 last Autumn re-ignited my exercise routine and I was super thrilled to complete my first ever half marathon.

With Cycletta in the mix this year I am now addicted to being outdoors exercising every day if I possibly can. I have even set myself some new goals, including a century ride ( 100 miles in one day), and completing the Coast to Coast  sea to sea cycle route.

I love running and riding for different reasons; running I see as a personal challenge, the miles I put under my legs are hard work but I love the accomplishment. Riding I love getting from a to b, seeing the countryside in a new way and i in stops for tea (and often cake). Yesterday Miles and I grabbed an hour to cycle around Graffham Water - things are incredibly stressful right now as we nurse my lovely Grandad in his final days, and just for that hour I felt like a kid, cycling with the wind in my hair and the water beside me. Exercise and fresh air are healing, I have no doubt about it.

I even heard myself say yesterday " I would much rather have a hybrid bike than an iPad" .

Now, there's progress.

You will find me tracking my rides and runs on Endomondo if you are also a member.