We love walking and all too often I don’t have the right kit for my feet so I was thrilled to get these tips for choosing the right walking socks from Steve Fowler, MD of leading international sock brand Bridgedale:

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1. Pay attention to the material. Woollen socks such as Merino and Enduro Wool are soft, provide insulation and wick moisture away from your feet. Socks made from synthetics are great if your feet tend to sweat a lot because they wick moisture away better than natural fibres. Bridgedale’s unique Fusion Technology blends synthetic and natural fibres to give you the best of both worlds and ensure the highest level of performance. Avoid socks made from cotton as they will absorb moisture and takes time to dry leaving you uncomfortable.

2. Make sure your socks fit properly. Whether you’re a keen hillwalker or a casual country rambler, good socks are as important as properly fitted boots or shoes. Cheap, poorly fitting socks are not bargains, they will simply ruin your walk. The fit should be snug, but not too tight. Any bagginess or extra material at the heel or toe means it’s too big.

3. Choose cushioned walking socks to give extra protection to those areas that take the most punishment such as the ball of the foot, lace up area and Achilles. Seams should also be flat so they do not create more pressure points on your foot. Bridgedale’s unique T2 Anti-compression technology provides protection where you need it most without adding unnecessary bulk.

4. Choose the right weight. Lightweight socks are perfect for hiking in warmer weather, mid-weight socks are a good all-rounder and are ideal for a good intensity level of hiking, and heavyweight socks are intended for long-distance hiking in cold weather.

Duvet forts are fun to make with the children and the perfect rainy day activity. We built one yesterday and I was amazed how much learning there is in such a simple activity.

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Before we started, I takled to the children asking them for their thoughts and feelings about duvet forts. They were both excited and put down their tablets happily enough.

They decided that the aim was to have fun and to learn about architecture. They had great ideas on the resources we could use and where to find them. This included raiding big brother’s bedroom and collecting duvets, blankets and pillows.

My daughter told me gravity and the laws of physics would apply! She felt it was important to get the foundations right and to think ahead on what might go wrong.

My son felt the fort should be spacious and that balance would be important.

The things we learned once we started was that we could lot our imaginations go wild so we ended up with a huge fort that had inside and outside areas including a patio and a roof terrace. Yes, I do watch too much A Place in the Sun!

As ever, you learn so much when things go wrong (great life lesson right there!). The chairs we used fell over until we put their backs against walls and beds. My idea of putting a bedspread in a drawer to hold it did not work. Nor did the fan I used and it ended up falling down. What was great to see was the inventive solutions the children came up with. I smiled as my son declared himself the “foreman” whilst my daugther quietly directed operations from a supine position.

I think our key learning was that you do need something like rubber bands or pegs to hold things in place. It is also good to have entertainmnment such as music to keep you going and the kids were quick to order refreshments too.

We all giggled at how keen our Beagle Stan was to get involved jumping on our roof at one point.

If you want to build a duvet fort, these top tips from Sleepy People will really help.

Playdays and Runways

Mumsnet and Pedigree have asked us to record our nutrition journey with our pet.

My husband attended the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition this week to find out more about Pedigree products for dogs. He had a tour of the facilities followed by some talks and had the opportunity to ask questions.

We have a pet Beagle named Stan and we are keen to ensure he is looked after well. Over the next few weeks, we will be trying out a range of Pedigree products and reporting back our findings on the blog.

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I asked my husband about his day.

What were your overall impressions of the event and day in general?

“The centre surprised me in that although it is a science based facility, it is very friendly and open. It is animal and people friendly. The first principle seems to be that we do testing in laboratories before trying out on dogs. The accommodation and good ratio of handlers to dogs was pleasing to see. It was clear that feeding, grooming, exercise, socialisation and health needs are well looked after. I highly approved of the reward based methods of training.”

What did you learn about dog nutrition and behaviour?

I was aware that Pedigree was a premium brand of dog food. I learned that intensive research is carried out to ensure that the dog’s needs are met.

An example is how they take dog stomach cells and test different ingredients on the cells to see whether they inflame to make sure it isn’t going to cause an adverse reaction in a dog. Waltham recently found out that puppies need a higher level of Vitamin A in their diet and they shared it across the industry. Pedigree aim for 85% of their food to be digested and 15% to come out as waste and they can track that easily.

I was very interested in learning about oral health of dogs. Dry food is useful here because it is abrasive. However, throwing stones and sticks for dogs can damage the dog’s teeth so care needs to be taken.

Pedigree are able to test different things on different bacteria found on the dog’s teeth to see whether they will help reduce gum disease.

What interested you most about the event?

“I was impressed with the scientific research carried out. I was very interested to hear about the specific ingredients that go into dog food.”

I hadn’t realised how research goes on before the dog food is put in Stan’s bowl. Pedigree have a lot of vets working with them and specialist nutritionists. I find this very reassuring.

It was also great to hear that Sandra McCune had talked about dogs and children. Instinctively, I have always believed that dogs add to family life. It was good to hear that research backs this up. Different studies have shown that children’s mental and physical wellbeing is enhanced by having pets like dogs. Of course, I was delighted to hear the presence of dogs can improve learning too especially as we home educate and Stan likes to get involved.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have
volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not been paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. We will be compensated for assisting with filming.

Do you get confused by health headlines?

Let’s face it! Most of us take on the healthy living journey trying to incorporate exercise and to lose weight amongst a huge pile of other tasks and challenges.

We reduce fat and salt only to be told sugar is our real enemy. We went for the burn and now are told a good walk is doing us as much good.

I am no expert but I think loving your body and listening to it works well whatever the headlines are saying. Also, I always question who might be funding the “research” that fuels the headlines.

Information is good but all too often busy mums can find that headlines just tell them they are doing things wrong again and sometimes at a time when their self-esteem is at a low ebb anyway.

We are all in this together with the Blogging to Jogging linky. I love reading your posts and learning that so many of us struggle with the same issues. Let’s keep on inspiring one another on our healthy living journeys.

The Rules

Blog about healthy living in a way that you see fit. It might be some exercise you did, a healthy food choice, a lifestyle change or a recipe. It is important to link back to this post so that we can all inspire one another as we move forwards positively.

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Generate your button code

Very simply, please comment on at least two other posts and more if you’d like to and grab the badge for your own post, linking one post per week. Tweet me (@kateonthinice) once you’ve linked and please use the #BloggingToJogging tag so that I can find your posts easily to RT them and you can also use the Twitter hashtag on Instagram if you have any relevant photos. Please also link back to this post!

I am so looking forward to reading your talks of health, fitness and well-being. I promise to comment on each post and to promote via my social media networks.

Please display the #bloggingtojogging badge on your post and it would also be cool if we can start engaging on Twitter and Facebook about our healthy living using #bloggingtojogging.

What’s your take on health headlines? Do they help or hinder us?

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Writing matters! I am a writer and when you think about it, most of us are. Consider all the writing you did at school or work. Think about all the notes you have sent to your child’s school. If you juggle many tasks, perhaps you rely on the power of the to do list.

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This year’s National Stationery Week aims to keep Britain writing. Here’s an A-Z of why writing really matters:

A is for: Archives. Handwritten documents and notes have been passed down through centuries to permanently record some of history’s most important events – not just consigned to a virtual trash bin.

B is for: Beauty. A hastily-drawn up email will never capture the sheer beauty of a handwritten letter

C is for: Caring. Handwritten notes, letter and cards are the most personal form of communication. Think love letters and cards that are treasured for decades. A handwritten letter shows courtesy and etiquette. Emails declaring ‘I love you’ just don’t cut it in the same way

D is for: Diaries. Imagine pouring out your innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions and keeping it stored in a computer file to treasure for all time. Doesn’t have the same ring does it?

E is for: Education. The dawn of the computer era is upon us but when schools, colleges and universities set a project they’ll still expect it to be completed in legible handwriting. It’s up there with reading and ‘rithmetic.

F is for: Failsafe. There’s no need to rely on computer batteries or storage space. Handwriting can be enjoyed anywhere, at any time, without the need to rely on technology.

G is for: Generations. If something ain’t broke then don’t fix it! Generations upon generations have used handwriting to get their message across. It’s just as important now as it ever has been in the past.

H is for: History. We know so much about the rich past of the world we live in purely down to handwritten documents passed down over time. There were no emails when the Magna Carta was drawn up…

I is for: Imagination. Crafting a handwritten letter stimulates the brain and imagination, and is proven to heighten the feel-good factor

J is for: Jargon. Can you remember the most important documents of all time being littered with LOLs, ROFLs or L8Rs? No, neither can we! Handwriting encourages the correct use of language

K is for: Knowledge. They say that knowledge is power. And it is proven that the brain takes in far more information when it is being written down

L is for: Learning. Evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep. Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information.

M is for: Memory. Handwriting enhances brain activity and memory, helping to keep the mind sharp

N is for: Nostalgia. Ever dug out old school notebooks, diaries and cards from years gone by to relive happy memories from the past? Threads of text messages and emails just don’t provide the same sense of nostalgia

O is for: Opulent. It’s not just artists that get to go wild with creativity. Beautiful handwriting can bring a page to life

P is for: Pen and pencil – the instruments that bring our thoughts and emotions to life on the page. You know how the famous saying goes – the pen is mightier than the sword!

Q is for: Quill. Let’s take a moment to step back in time! The quill was used to write with ink before the invention of the dip pen. Shakespeare’s world-famous plays would have been written down using a quill – and the literary masterpieces have certainly stood the test of time

R is for: Romance. Great love stories tend not to be rooted in the foundation of a text message or email! Think instead of soldiers in battle taking hope from letters sent from their loved ones back home or cards filled with soppy scribblings and cherished for years

S is for: Signature. Even if you’re never intending to become a scribe, everyone should practice their signature. Some of the most memorable moments in history have come from people signing on the dotted line…Think treaties, marriages, births, autographs – or even football contracts

T is for: Text Messages. Let’s face it, texts are a handy way of quick communication. But they’ll never beat a carefully-crafted handwritten message

U is for: Unique. Nobody wants to follow the crowd so handwriting is a perfect tool to express personality and individuality. Every person’s handwriting is unique

V is for: Vision. Our vision is for writing by hand to co-exist in perfect harmony with technology in this digital age

W is for: Writing. Because writing by hand really does matter!

X is for: X Factor. Handwritten notes just have that extra little something that makes them super special!

Y is for: You. Just like fashion sense and choice of hairstyles, handwriting says a lot about who you are

Z is for: Zeal. With handwriting proven to stimulate the mind and imagination, sitting down to write a letter will produce a feel-good factor. It’s a fact!

The importance of handwriting is being highlighted as part of National Stationery Week – as we launch a campaign to ensure Britain keeps writing!

A number of states in the US have removed cursive handwriting from the curriculum and then reintroduced it and Finland is also removing it in favour of teaching typing skills. MPs, celebrities, teachers, youngsters and parents alike are now joining forces to make sure the UK continues to prioritise handwriting as an important skill.

Handwriting is part of our daily lives and while modern technology has transformed the way we communicate, the skill of handwriting remains important in education, employment and everyday life.