Monthly Archives: July 2015

A year of 30 Day Challenges #1 – planking

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A year of 30 Day Challenges #1 – planking

Inspired by this TED talk (Here) which my sister posted on Facebook, I thought I would try a series of 30 day challenges to see if I could take some good stuff or give up some not so good stuff. 

  
I had already started a 21 a toning challenge (find it Here). I’m using 5kg hand weights, and I’m 13 days in, and it is genuinely making my arms feel stronger and more toned. They are not thinner, but my bingo wings are definitely less wobbly! Sleeveless t-shirts here I come… (Update – I did finish this challenge, and my arms look better for it. Having had a few weeks off whilst on holiday I am now going to incorporate it into my weekly routine, and do 15 reps of each x 3 once a week). 

My sister posted the TED talk after I had started the arm challenge, so I thought I’d add in a 30 day challenge to keep her company. We’re all going on holiday in August, and I’ve been dieting for a while now (lost 2.5 stone so far – thank you Slimming World!) so thought I’d add in another toning challenge. By coincidence I had already been researching planking challenges, so I decided to go with this one. 

  
Apparently some people (well the Daily Mail) think planking is bad for you. But I like this blog. I think she explains it well. Though it is funny that the photo she uses to show ‘bad’ planking is the one that is used on my 30 day challenge!

So I’m 10 days in, and up to planking for a minute. Which feels like a minor miracle as doing 20 seconds felt really hard at first.  But it does feel at the moment that the goal of five minutes is a lot farther than 21 days away! (Update- I didn’t make it – I got to 1 minute 30, but it was too hard on my back to do any longer.)

In the meantime I’m trying to think of future challenges. 

I need one for August, when I’m largely on holiday. Maybe give up TV, which won’t be too hard as I will be in France for 2 weeks. For September I thinking of giving up sugar. Not in the bonkers nothing with sugar of any form way, but in the no chocolate or cake way. I have the worlds sweetest tooth, so it will be difficult. But hoping if I do it then it will break my savoury then sweet habit. 

I stumbled across this app/site, which is fitness challenges, which might give some inspiration. Or maybe on this one, which is more generic. Or Matt Cutts site – the guy on the TED talk. So many choices!

Any ideas? Anything you’ve done to give me inspiration?

The Great Marigold Experiment

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The Great Marigold Experiment

I love marigolds, and I’m constantly buying seeds for different types to test out in the garden.  Actually, I just love growing things from seed, it’s not restricted to Marigolds!  

I find them exceptionally easy to grow from seed, and they are incredibly prolific – flowering all through summer. And they self seed like crazy. I have a whole load of plants in front of my raised bed where they self seeded from last year. 

I grow them at the edges of my raised beds, and they do a great job of attracting black fly and keeping it off the other plants. 

Apparently, Marigold is the name applied to two different plants (I just looked that up Here!), I like both and grow them together. I thought I would share a few of my favourites here. 

  
Of course there is the traditional English or Pot Marigold (calendula official is). Which is tall and gives large flower heads. This bunch has a mixture of the usual yellow ones and some lovely varieties called Sunset Buff (my favourite pot marigold) and Indian Prince.  These are tall enough to put in a normal tall vase. 

And then there is the French variety (Tagates), which tend to produce smaller, bushier plants, and flowers with shorter stems. I put them in small bases, in fact I often use Morrocan tea glasses or mini milk bottles. 

This is French honeycomb

  
And French ‘naughty marietta’ (great name!), with sunset buff in there too. There is also a red one in there that is from a mixed seed packet called marigold pots of gold. 

  
And French vanilla cream – which is very yellow!

  
Finally I have an African marigold called Kees orange. Also a Tagates, but is taller than the French variety. What a gorgeous colour. It could become my new favourite marigold. 

  
I also have a French red cherry, but no flowers on that today.  Will post some pictures soon. 

Which is your favourite?