Self Care in the Darkness

It’s that time of year when the nights start drawing in, the weather starts getting colder, nature starts to shut down in preparation for the winter ahead. It can be a time that can affect many of us mentally, as we struggle with the relative lack of sunlight and being cooped up at home more (just as we are getting used to being allowed out again!). This can be especially true for families of children with special or additional needs, for whom survival from one day to the next can be the reality anyway. At least in the summer, there might be more options for ways to keep our children occupied and engaged.

But autumn, and even winter, can bring their own special opportunities too. Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Studies show that people living in the arctic circle are armed with a mindset linked to this that helps combat the long ‘polar night’, a bit of ‘hygge’ might come in handy for us all especially for parents of children with special or additional needs.

In the depths of winter, Tromsø in Norway gets no direct sunlight at all, and only the faint glow of indirect sunlight for a couple of hours or so a day. Yet, despite this, Tromsø’s citizens do not seem to struggle with low mood or seasonally affective disorder (SAD) in the way that might be expected. In fact, generally, the mental health of the good folk of Tromsø is in excellent shape.

So why is this? What is the secret that they share? And how can this be relevant to special needs parents? Well, it seems that there is a ‘mindset’ that people living north of the arctic circle share, and the further north you go, the stronger this mindset becomes. How people perceive and frame stressful events strongly influences how they are affected by them.

People who think about adverse situations and events as a challenge, an opportunity to learn new things and to adapt to new ways of living are likely to cope much better than people who focus on the immediate difficulties as well as negative outcomes that “might” happen in the future. How we respond affects our mental health and well-being, as well as our physical health.

So, what does this Scandinavian positivity teach us as special needs parents? Well, it’s so easy to be dominated by negative feelings, fears for the future, the mental and physical exhaustion we can often experience. But maybe if we can train ourselves to find the positives, to look for the opportunities to learn and adapt, we can find our own ‘hygge’ too. We can find that there are ways to cope with our own ‘times of winter’, those dark periods where it all seems too much. And the more we try it, the better we’ll get at it!

This isn’t to sugar-coat things or to deny the difficulties that we face, and we can’t hide from these challenges any more than the citizens of Tromsø can pretend that the sun is still rising. However, by recognising our own capacity to control our responses we may all find some hidden reserves of strength and resilience to help us face each day.

Hot chocolate anyone?

Stay strong…..

It looks like our lives will be a little different for a while. It’s helpful to implement a schedule/routine if you can. This decreases the angst for children. It sets mini goals for each day, and it also outlines shared responsibilities from family members throughout the day.

If you can, go out for a portion of the day – either on your lawn, porch, backyard, out your window, your roof, or down your street ( P.S- I know one person who ran a mile with her son in his wheelchair, while they were only permitted to move 300 m from their home, in each direction, by their local government!)

You’re probably working harder than ever to keep everyone busy and happy.

So, to make that ‘together time’ as a family- fun, productive and positive, I’m suggesting MOVEMENT.  Active movement promotes endorphin release, improves blood flow, and maintains muscle strength and flexibility.

To exercise with your little ones:

Floor time is the best exercise for your little one who is not yet walking. While your child is on the floor, get comfortable get on the floor it’s a great time to plank, superman exercises, complete straight leg raises, hip lifts or pushups.

Short arc squats-Stand with feet hips width apart. Hold your child, and slowly bend knees, squat, and return to standing while you sing or count.

Hold your child; start in a seated position on a chair. Slowly rise, and then return to sitting. Hold your tummy muscles tight.  You can use words such as UUUPPPP and DOOOOWWWNN, use inflections in your voice and have fun with it!!

Side stepping- Hold your child and take a step to the side, stop. Then take a step in the opposite direction and start from the beginning. Side to side. Put music on and have fun with it!!

Heel lifts- Sit in a comfortable chair; bend knees, feet flat on the floor. Hold your child facing you, on your lap, closer to your knees, and complete heel lifts- Point toes, push down on the floor and lift heels, return to flat feet.

Lay on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Hold your baby on your belly or trunk, march your legs in place.

Bridging- Lay on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold your baby on your belly, lower than your belly button.  Squeeze your buttocks and lift your pelvis slowly, and then return your pelvis to the floor.  Include UUUUUPP and DOOOWWWWWN, with inflections in your voice.

If your child is small enough, put them in a carrier and take a walk

Relaxation techniques… deep breathing and visualization (look it up). Lay down in a relaxed position and contracts relax different groups of muscles.

Here’s some relaxation techniques to try –

Start at your toes, squeeze tight, hold for 3-5 seconds and then let go.

Move up towards your ankles, point toes downward, hold for 3-5 seconds and relax.

Bend ankles and lift toes towards your head….

Push knees down and tighten your thigh muscles….

Squeeze your buttocks…..

Take deep breaths in and out… fill your belly with air and blow out …..

Squeeze your hands, make a fist and relax…

Try to squeeze shoulder blades together or push elbows down on surface, hold for 3-5 seconds…..

Squeeze shoulders up and let them fall down and relax…..

Over exaggerate mouthing vowels, open and shut eyes, make an angry face and a surprised face, squeeze lips together and then, relax.

Repeat each movement 3x and move up your body.  Include your facial muscles.

Of course, only move in pain free ranges.  Check with your doctor before you exercise if you have any condition.

Movement breaks are important for everyone! It can be therapeutic, bonding, silly, fun, musical, and most importantly – filled with LOVE!!!

Special Needs Parenting: Happy?

An introvert adolescent and the youngest of three, I spent plenty of time alone growing up. I didn’t mind.

I liked reading. I liked thinking.

I very clearly remember saying to my mum when I was about four ” but what is a human being?”

The philosophical thoughts of a preschooler are enough to make most parents shudder, but I’m not convinced my thoughts have moved along much.

The main problem of having a mind of your own is that you have no one else’s internal workings to compare it to. Your normal is the normal.

When does being a loner, a thinker, a ponderer, tip over into something pathological?

Are all introverts depressive?

In an attempt to resist over thinking this I’ll tell you how it is in the grimy recesses of my brain.

Depression to me is hard to explain and harder to admit to. It colours other people’s perspective of you.

Go to the GP and I believe a little flashing link appears on the case note screen.

”I think I’ve torn a ligament Doctor” “And how long have you been on the antidepressants Mrs. Scott?” (I exaggerate but…)

I have long felt that any bad health I experience, physical or mental is a character failing.

If only I worked harder, ran faster and was an all-round better person, I would not experience this thing.

As my excellent GP really did say “you are extraordinarily driven”

Well duh?! Through sheer force of will I can, I will, be better!

Oh dear, that definitely sounds like the workings of a depressive brain. Couple that with the fact that I think I’m probably putting it all on. A double whammy.

Also, if I’m not depressed I’m happy. I don’t really do in between. I feel things extremely intensely, or I’m depressed when I don’t really feel anything at all.

In the absolute grip of it I long, long, for it to be over.

So what is it?

An absence of feeling. An abundance of desolation. A loss of appetite for food, drink, touch, smell, life.

A deep hole which seems impossible to scale the walls of. A heavy sadness in my very bones.

An utter and total loathing of myself, and a certainty that my family, my friends and indeed the world in general, would be better off without my draining existence.

Where does it come from? I know it comes from a lack of serotonin. I know that. But how, and why, and where has my quotient gone?

Does somebody else have my measure? Is my happiness so happy I spent all my serotonin on a good day? Where does it go?

I lie some mornings in bed, sniffing the air. Is it here? Has it gone? It’s gone! I leap up! Oh. No. Still there.

On days like this I would amputate my own arm with no anaesthetic if someone told me it would make that thing, black dog, cloud, slough of despond, go away.

Sometimes I sense it creeping up on me. If there are too many hospital appointments or LA fights, I keep my wits about me and take action before it settles in.

Occasionally its stealth amazes even me. It quietly whispers into my unconscious brain “you’re worthless” So quietly that it becomes background unquestionable fact.

Most of all it lurks invisibly. People don’t see it in me, I keep it well hidden. Well would you go out in public if you felt like that?

Recently I’ve been naming and shaming. Get it out there in the light, show it up for what it is, in the hope it will burn up and fade.

Mainly at the moment I thank Big Pharma for the little white pills. They contain the right dose of my elusive serontion. I have hated them, I have resisted them, but now I welcome them.

Just now, right at the moment they help. They can’t solve my problems but they can smooth over the rough edges and help me muddle along.

Isn’t that all that any of us can really do?

Welcome to Mindfulness for Special Needs Parents

My name is Will and I am delighted to have been invited to contribute to this online community with my blog all about mindfulness.

As a mindfulness coach based here in Cambridge (UK), I work with adults and young people in a variety of settings – teaching practical skills for improving well-being, supporting better mental health and developing fitter, happier minds.

It’s a privilege to do this work of introducing people to mindfulness when I consider what a positive impact it has made to my life (more on that later) and I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the Firefly Community about your experiences with mindfulness and meditation.

Mindfulness and You

Practicing mindfulness develop a greater awareness of ourselves – our ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.

Through meditation we practice a new relationship to what we experience internally and externally – a relationship in which we have more capacity to consciously choose our response rather than react automatically fuelled by impulse.

This can have profound effects on well-being, on resilience to life’s challenges and even on the quality of our relationships – three things I know to be especially important in the everyday lives of caregivers.

Mental Health

We know that there is a growing global mental health challenge among people of all ages and backgrounds and we are increasingly seeing people open up about their need for support.

You may not be surprised to hear that a survey from the Carers UK 2014 Policy Briefing concluded that ‘the pressures of caring can take a toll on carer’s physical and mental health’.

Statistics indicate that, ‘92% said that caring has had a negative impact on their mental health, including stress and depression’.

A Tool-Kit

We all require tools for managing our minds – nobody is immune to stress, anxiety or depression – but especially for those of us with demanding responsibilities to other people this appears to be an essential, not a luxury.

From Coping to Thriving

So mindfulness is a way of training the mind to be more present, more focused and to become our ally rather than our enemy.

Yes, mindfulness has been clinically proven to help us cope with difficulties but it’s just as important to emphasise this – mindfulness enables us to engage more fully with the life we have, to wake up to our life right now, to become more effective and ultimately to thrive.

My Blog – What to Expect

Just like the mindfulness classes I teach, this blog aims to be engaging, practical and grounded in real-life – giving you the understanding and tools to implement mindfulness into your day.

So we have lots to talk about!

A few things you can expect:

– an introduction to the basics of mindfulness

  • step-by-step instructions for meditation
  • guided audio exercises to listen to and follow at home or on the move
  • mindful missions: mini ‘missions’, exercises and activities to implement into your week and notice the effect
  • online mindfulness webinar/class for members of the Firefly Community to meditate together live!

We will also discuss how mindfulness might support you with the challenges you face at home, in your relationships, in family life, at work and in the ongoing balancing act of keeping all these plates spinning!

Mindfulness and Special Needs Parenting

Some of the recurring themes arising from conversations in the online community include:

– chronic stress and anxiety

– sleep problems

– feelings of isolation

– balancing the needs of others with own needs

– finding the energy to keep going

– guilt about needing to take care of one’s own well-being too

– the need for self-compassion

– acceptance of the way things are

Everyone has their own unique experience of life, let alone parenting or indeed special needs parenting.

But all of the above (and more) are very normal experiences to go through and can certainly be supported by giving yourself the opportunity to explore a different way of being. Mindfulness can offer that.

It would be great to hear from you about so about your personal experiences so I welcome your reflections on the various topics I cover.

Let’s explore together using the blog as a space in which to share everyday experiences – how family life impacts upon our well-being, how we can breathe some clarity and calm into the day through mindfulness practice – and reflect on this journey.

You may be surprised just how many people out there resonate with your story.

Twitter: @willmindfulness

Instagram: @willmindfulness

Facebook: Will George Mindfulness


How to Start a Running Routine When You Have Kids With Special Needs

From jogging and body-weight exercises to pilates, there are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of exercise.

Running is particularly beneficial. It not only provides a full body workout but also boosts your energy and wards off stress.

Unlike other workouts, it requires no special gear.

You can go for a run anytime, anywhere.

Ready to give it a try?

Here are some simple running tips for newbies:

Set Realistic Goals

People start running for all kinds of reasons.

Some do it to lose weight or keep the pounds off.

Others see it as a way to relieve stress.

No matter your reasons, running should be on your to-do list.

This form of exercise keeps your brain sharp, promotes cardiovascular health, and boosts your mood.

Think of it as a natural antidepressant.

Determine why you want to start running.

Set realistic goals and then come up with a plan.

For instance, if you’re trying to lose the baby weight, begin with small steps.

Running is not recommended sooner than six to 12 months after giving birth.

Focus on building up your endurance and refrain from pushing yourself to extremes.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Take the time to warm up before going for a run.

Stretch your muscles and joints, do a few push-ups, or climb the stairs.

This helps prevent injuries and prepares your body for exercise.

When you’re done running, do a few more stretches to regulate your heart rate and cool down.

Start Small

Have realistic expectations for your first few weeks of exercise.

If you’re a complete beginner, start walking for 10-15 minutes a day.

Once you can walk for half an hour easily, include short running intervals into your routine.

For instance, you can walk for 15 minutes, run for two minutes, and then walk for another 10 minutes.

Maintain a speed that feels comfortable and doesn’t leave you out of breath.

As your endurance increases, run for a longer time.

Get Your Family Involved

Running is more exciting when you’re in a good company.

Encourage your spouse and kids to join you.

It’s a great activity for kids with or without special needs.

An opportunity to spend one to one time with your non-disabled children or a chance to get inclusive if your child has a physical difficulty that makes walking/jogging/running challenging.

This could mean investing in a special needs jogging buggy like Special Tomato or the X Rover, going to running tracks for a flat surface perfect for kids who struggle with uneven surfaces or use gait trainers or walking frames.

Plan running competitions with real prizes.

Later, you can even join a race or a marathon together.

This activity gives you a chance to spend more time with your family and have fun, so get everyone on board!

Do you run or do you run with your family?

We’d love to hear your story!

Special Needs Parents: Getting the Chop

I would never have associated me getting a haircut with bravery.

I have never really known what to do with my thick, heavy, sit here there and everywhere hair. It is wavy, uncontrollable and to be totally honest, completely out of my current hair maintenance skills. I am an awful hair stylist!

I wasn’t always- for years I styled my own hair, my friends’ hair and I once even styled bridesmaids hair!

Then I became ‘mammy’, time to style my hair let alone anyone else’s was something I never gave priority to.

There was always something more pressing to do like cleaning the walls, floors, toilet …with a house full of boys; hair styles become non-existent or important to me.

I decided to cut it all off… not, I personally, (I am not that daring) – I paid a professional to chop my hair right up.

Short. Not a little short, I mean short, short.

Is that brave?

The only person who asked me why I wanted it short was the hairdresser, who bless her, was a tad nervous of cutting up my shoulder length hair.

“I tie it up, every single day. I don’t know why I have it long anymore. I don’t go anywhere and I rarely have an occasion to get it put up into an up-style, let alone a valid reason to have it nice and straight or curly, so why not cut it up” I smiled at her in the mirror. “And I would like a change. If I don’t like it, it’s on me, not you and thankfully,” I smiled, “my hair will grow”.

She nodded thinking of what to say next. Then she said what every good hairdresser would and should say “Tell me, you have an idea of what style you would like?”

And like every good customer should do, I had to hand the style I figured would suit me and asked for her honest opinion.

“Oh yes, that should suit. Now, are you sure?” She smiled, scissors ready.

I gave her the thumbs up and she began to chop into my long hair.

As my thick unruly locks fell from my head, I closed my eyes. With each newly liberated piece of hair, I felt lighter. I began to relax my shoulders.

Each time she cut more of my hair, I smiled.

She probably thought it was the strangest of reactions but I really didn’t care. I enjoyed sitting on that chair feeling my hair fall all around me.

Opening my eyes to see my short hair; now that took some bravery.

I took a deep breath, I peeked through one eye.

The hairdressers laughed.

I opened both eyes fully. “OH WHAT HAVE YA DONE” I exclaimed, then I began to laugh. “I love it. I’m only messing with you”

She giggled, “What do you think? I’m going to blow dry it now for you!”

“I am so relieved that I don’t look like a boy!” I blurted out my real, genuine fear about having my hair this short.

Suddenly I saw a different version of myself in the mirror. I felt excited!

It felt liberating.

It felt like I was taking back a bit of control.

It felt like I was making a change for me and me only.

A change which for once, I controlled.

I don’t control much in my life; I can’t control the pains which cause my son to have meltdowns…

I can’t control the rate of progression my son’s syndrome take.

I can’t control or plan family day outs; as it can all change in an instance, and normally because of something I could have never seen coming, despite my years of experience with meltdowns, autism and sensory issue.

And, of course, the bottom line is; I have no control over the syndrome that is stealing my son away from me, bit by bit.

While I do think making a drastic change in any part of your life does indeed take some form of bravery; I now wonder is there something else that drives a person to do such a bold and daring thing.

It wasn’t something I ever considered before until I was the one they called brave for cutting off my hair.

I would have called my friends brave for chopping off their hair too; but now, now I wonder if its bravery mixed or diluted with something else?

For me, it was definitely control diluted with bravery with a dash of stubbornness thrown in.

It has been four weeks since I cut my hair.

I have no clue if I will keep it this short or not, yet.

I do know now that having short hair takes more time in the morning than I could ever have possibly imagined, or maybe it could be that just I am that crap at styling?! (That’s a strong possibility)

I am also discovering the styling products that are out there which helps maintain short crazy wild hair.

And that cutting my hair really didn’t make it any less ‘wild’.

Oh well… it’s only hair!

Whole 30 for the Special Needs Parent

When it comes to food there are a host of issues, problems and challenges that come along with that for a special needs parent.

The universal theme is we simply don’t really have the time to adequately take care of ourselves, which includes our diet.

You’ll hear countless people preach, “You have to make time for yourself.”  This is not that blog.

I’m neither here to scold you or tell you how you need to treat yourself better.

It goes without saying we know we come last, and you know what?  We’re okay with that, because we know our children need and deserve to come first.

But in the back of our minds, especially as our children grow and get bigger, we have this little imaginary birdie that sits on our shoulder that says you’re not getting any younger and you’ve got to give your body a little tender loving care in order to go the distance for your child with special needs.

For some we’re inspired to dust off the elliptical and treadmill that has sat in the basement for over ten years that you contemplated selling in a garage sale.

For others it means trying to balance a better diet because you know there is no way you have extra time to exercise beyond lifting our children’s heavy adapted medical equipment.

No matter what route we decide to take towards preserving and bettering our bodies for the sake of our special needs children the point is we’re all exploring our options.

The really great thing about social media is that it often puts things in your field of vision that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, so my personal interest in self-preservation and health had nothing to do with the turn of a new year.

Perhaps an unwanted birthday milestone was headed my way that made me realize that I needed to start giving thought to things I really hadn’t before.

My strength, my continued endurance, both my physical and mental health – as special needs parenting can take its toll on both.

I was seeking clarity in my thoughts; calmness in the continual special needs storms, peace, comfort, and personal empowerment.

I wanted to start to attempt to achieve my personal physical best for my child.

This had nothing to do with being overweight or underweight, or measuring myself up against the hottest twenty something in a magazine.  Just being the best me.

Like anyone I am sure I could have stood to lose five to ten pounds of lingering baby weight (who are really kidding?.. I mean stress weight) but that that wasn’t at all my primary reason for searching out ways to find my personal physical best that I could be.

As I was touring through social media some long time friends had started a new diet plan called Whole 30.

Thanks Tim and Sarah… (as you deserve honorable mention).

I was intrigued.  Tim and Sarah were making these Facebook live videos.  I was reeled in with how happy and healthy they were looking.  In fact, they kind of glowed and I’m not even exaggerating.

They documented their entire 30 days – they made it appear not completely easy but absolutely doable.

And it looked like a diet that a special needs mom with a heavy load on her shoulders could easily do. And let’s face it. We all need easy or at least easier…

I bought the book and researched the rules.  There were lots of guidelines and for a brief second I thought this could be the impossible mission to be successful at.

But then I remembered that we’re full of beating the odds in families like ours.  A diet plan wouldn’t be any different.

In the beginning you might be a lot like me.  You might think it’s cost prohibitive, or you might think clean eating is going to be complicated and time consuming to plan menus and grocery shop for, you might be worried that you’ll be a raging lunatic without your chocolate and sugar in your coffee.

But after you get all those things out of your head, you’ll realize that even the most time-deprived special needs parent can do it.

So what is Whole 30 exactly?  It’s a diet plan that excludes potentially inflammatory foods and beverages from your diet.

This means no sugars or sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and beverages, baked goods, and junk foods that we all love to swipe off the shelves in pre-packaged containers.

It is eating three clean meals a day with simply as the name suggests; whole foods. Ingredients such as fresh berries and fruit, eggs, vegetables, and meat proteins, and approved nuts and oils and ghee.

In the beginning the big picture feels a lot more complicated than it turns out to be. You’ll quickly find that finding ways to eat a bit simpler isn’t as hard as you dreamed it would be.

The hardest part for me was probably condiments and coping with the fact that I’d have to give up creamer in my coffee.

But, I quickly found creative Whole 30 approved ways around that with different products that had never been on my field of vision before like grain free granola, NutPods, Red Barn almond milk and last but not least Tessamae’s line of amazing condiments.

Now in the beginning perhaps a few more dollars went to replacing things like traditional Heinz ketchup in the refrigerator and dumping all those sugar cubes in the trash…

but I had faith that I was headed towards an improved me that would be healthier and stronger to go the distance so that I could take care of my child with special needs for as long as humanly possible.

Thirty-days goes by so quickly. The first few days admittedly were not a bowl of cherries. I still craved things.

I still wanted a piece of my child’s Valentine’s Day candy, I still wanted my Starbucks indulgent coffee and ached for a cherry danish and a Lamar’s chocolate donut.

But my body and brain started to forget what I thought I was missing and after a full week I no longer wished or wanted any of it, even if it was within arm’s reach.

I started to notice I slept better, when my child was sleeping I was able to sleep.  Something, I haven’t been able to do in maybe years.

After he fell asleep even for brief moments of time throughout the night I would stay up contemplating all that could go wrong if I so much as blinked in the night, or going over all the day’s prior special needs difficulties and problems that I was unable to fix.

I noticed my skin get brighter, my dark under eye circles were starting to diminish, I felt like I actually had more energy, and I was able to manage those special needs roller coaster moods a tad easier.

Of course the tears still happen, as they will for most all special needs parents, it was easier to come out of those tears for an equal amount of smiles.

My aches and pains were significantly less, and my muscles felt as if they rebounded slightly faster from all that special needs lifting. And at the end of thirty days I had extra bonus of an eleven pound weight loss.

While my physical appearance didn’t likely look tremendously different since weight loss wasn’t the primary focus, I felt different.  I felt better.

It was as if I had detoxed all the bad foods and habits from my system.

After thirty days the decision is really yours to decide what foods you felt best eliminating from your diet.

You can chose to continue on, adapt to a more Paleo style way of eating, or re-introduce things like sugars and dairy again should you chose.

For me, I’ve found while I can handle the occasional treat, that my body now completely rejects most of what I gave up for thirty days.

And I feel sluggish both inside and out if I try to go back to bad eating habits.

But whether you chose to give Whole 30 a try for yourself or chose a different food plan that you feel is a better fit – the truth of the matter is food has a lot to do with our personal health so that we can continue to be strong in all the ways we need to be for our children with special needs.

So do some light research for yourself, find a food plan or diet that you think best matches your needs and lifestyle, try something new and different even if just for 30 days to see if you notice any changes in how you feel.

You may be pleasantly surprised at what a small change in diet can do.

Do I Really Need a Fitbit..?

In recent years, there have been very humbling moments that we got to witness in our lives, how technology has enabled humanity to reach its full potential.

It almost feels like the efforts of all those struggling to make this technology possible would be in vain, if we don’t take the opportunity for them to enrich our lives.

The Fitbit is a wireless bracelet that captures the daily physical activity of a person, including such things as steps, distance, calories, sleep quality and more.

Fitbit can do this by taking advantage of the accelerometer technology, which monitors progress in the speed of your movement.

To be fair, no specific health claims have been made, but this kind of device is known to improve cardiovascular health, reducing blood pressure.

Think of it as your virtual fitness partner, as it can constantly record your activities even while you sleep.

Unlike other fitness watches, it was designed with style in mind. A narrow band that is not too large, and it fits comfortably on your wrist.

Why Do You Need a Fitbit?

The device is very innovative when combined with a corresponding app on your smartphone. The list of useful features is as follows:

–  You can enter your food intake with caloric value of the particular food item,

– The caloric intake of food during the day can be used to map the calories burned throughout the day, even without exercise.

– Together with the calorie counting base, it also interprets your daily movements such as walking, steps, running, etc.

– Along with the data capture for physical activity, it also records rests throughout the day.

Needless to say, the device is highly efficient for obtaining valuable information about your daily routine, which can be shown on a variety of graphs showing your performance over time.

How Does Fitbit Work?

What if you had a way to track all those steps you climb to work every day, miles you covered on your daily run, the food you eat, and even how well you sleep?

Fitbit has created a way for the user to do all these things and more.

Set Fitness Goals

Fitbit gives you the opportunity to set fitness goals every day.

The Led panel displays on the front of the bracelet light up which shows you your progress in relation to the day’s goals.

With this, you can challenge yourself and be more active

Track Key Metrics

With Fitbit, you can track things such as; steps taken, miles or kilometers covered, calorie burn, and your sleeping habits

Silent Alarm

In addition to monitoring the quality of your sleep, Fitbit has an integrated alarm that gently vibrates to wake you up.


Since the Fitbit is designed to be used during the day and night, its water-resistant design  means there is no point worrying yourself about getting it wet.

Wireless Sync

Following your fitness progress is easy with Fitbit.

The device automatically sends the data to a PC, Mac or iOS device … without cables!

Mobile App

Fitbit has some great free tools you can use to record and track key trends. The mobile app will help you take your workouts to the next level.

Use the app for tracking workouts, scan barcodes of food, route maps, calorie count, listen to music and much more.

Is the Fitbit Flex Right For You?

Fitbit is a great tool for anyone looking for that extra bit of motivation to stay active.

Due to all the useful features described above, you can have your virtual fitness partner and put yourself on the right track for a healthy and happy lifestyle.

My Top 5 Beauty Hacks for the Special Needs Mum on the Go

Our appearance has slipped way down in the list of priorities with makeup becoming a thing for rare nights out only.

Grey hairs are sneaking through at a rate faster than we can possibly make it to the hair salon, and those unruly eyebrows seem to have a mind of their own!

Here I’d like to share with you a few short cuts that you might find helpful, to save yourself time and feel slightly more confident about stepping out of the house!

Batiste Dry Shampoo

Gone are the days when I could spare half an hour of my own time to shampoo, condition, blow-dry, and style my hair.

These days it is more a case of sticking a beanie hat on top of my greasy, lank mop and hoping I don’t bump into someone I know.  Then I discovered Batiste dry shampoo.

This product actually prolongs the time between washes, and leaves your hair with a fresh aroma and some refreshed vitality and bounce.

When your hair is ‘on the turn’ and about to cry out for a wash, simply spray Batiste into the roots and massage in with fingertips.

This 30 second procedure will buy you another day or two before you need to wash your hair.  Best of all, unlike your standard dry shampoo, this product comes in a range of colours.

As a brunette, I use the ‘dark and deep brown’ variety, and unlike other dry shampoos, this does not leave your scalp looking like you’ve doused yourself in talc.

The only slight downside is the brown powder that remains under your fingernails and round the rim of the bath or shower after you’ve washed it off.

W7 Cover Up

I am finding that those evil little grey hairs seem to be showing up more and more these days; perhaps it is the stress and anxiety, or simply a sign of my age!

I am finding that I have to get my hair dyed more and more frequently, but the reality is that I simply do not have two hours to sit in a salon every two months!

This product is no miracle cure for grey hairs but it does provide you with some temporary respite from those pesky little intruders.

You simply apply it like a blusher to your roots, and it takes just a few seconds and no skill whatsoever.

The product is available in a range of colours and I have found that it lasts overnight without staining the pillow or your scalp.  I found it online at Amazon.


My favourite phrase at the moment is: “To be honest I’m just winging it, life, eyebrows, everything”.  It just about sums me up!

I’ve got about fifteen thousand things that take priority over plucking, or pencilling-on my eyebrows every morning.

On the rare days that I do attempt this task, I seem to abominably fail in the art of symmetry or precision.

However, with a bit of practice and half an hour set aside one evening, this product can save you considerable time!

Wunderbrow is a revolutionary ‘permafix’ gel that contains hair fibres specially treated with pigments that fasten onto skin and hair.  It will stay put for a few days, or until you decide to remove it.

It claims to only take 2 minutes to apply although it took me slightly longer the first few times, but once you’ve nailed the technique it’s relatively easy.

Carmex Lip Balm

Gone are the days when I meandered down the beauty aisles of Boots looking for my perfect shade of lip gloss.  These days I prefer just to have moist and healthy lips.

I simply cannot leave the house without my Carmex and it is by far my preferred brand of lip balm.

Available in a range of aromas, and in tubes, sticks and pots, you are spoiled for choice.

Boots No. 7 Primer

I have to say that the one cosmetic that I could not live without is foundation.  It works wonders at disguising the dark circles and blemishes on my face.

However, foundation often does not last the day.  I have found a brilliant product that fixes this problem!

Boots No. 7 Primer works as a base layer below your foundation and goes a long way towards keeping your foundation in place throughout the day.

It is easy to apply, and only requires a small amount so the tube lasts a long time.

It adds just a matter of seconds to your morning routine but can buy you a few extra hours of flawless radiance.