It puts up with us and, quite literally, it puts us up. Our spinal column facilitates a staggering proportion of the movements we take for granted. Without it we can’t walk or even sit up straight unassisted let alone play sports, do our jobs or complete a set of deadlifts at the gym. Our spine does a whole lot to keep us happy, mobile, healthy and active, yet all too many of us take this centrepiece of our central nervous system for granted. We warp it through hours and hours of sitting, strain it with poor posture, put it through the wringer when we exercise and often fail to listen when it’s trying to tell us something. Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can mend some of your long held bad habits in order to keep your spine happy and healthy so that you can maintain your active lifestyle even when you’re at a ripe old age.


Image by PxHere

Warm up and cool down at the gym

Your warm up and cool down are an essential part of your workout regimen. Yet so often you’ll see people (mainly dudes, let’s be honest) walk right through the door and start pounding weights without any stretching or even doing a quick stint on the treadmill. Taking the time to raise your body temperature and stretch your muscles before an anabolic workout will make your muscles more pliable and ensure that they do a better job of supporting the joints take make up your spine. Here are some great warm up exercises to protect your back pre and post-workout.

Listen to your back

Back pain is often a symptom that something is awry in your spinal column or the muscles that support it. The longer you ignore it, the more likely it is that the underlying issue will be exacerbated. Moreover, this could impact on your gait and cause you to move in a way that will cause greater damage or deterioration to your spine. See a physio, chiropractor or osteopath. The sooner you seek treatment, the more likely it is that the damage will be mitigated.

Get up and get moving at work

Our bodies were not designed to spend hours and hours sitting each and every day. Yet, not only do we spend 8-12 hours sitting at our desks at work, we typically sit when driving or getting the bus or train to work and spend a significant portion of our leisure time sitting, too. This can lead to myriad health problems and warp your posture, causing digestive health problems and even increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Try to take a break from your desk every 30 minutes even if it’s just to nip to the bathroom or grab a glass of water.

Know when to replace your mattress

Finally, conventional wisdom dictates that you should change your mattress every 7-10 years. Yet, while this is a useful guide, it’s important to know the signs that your mattress needs to be replaced. If you frequently wake up in the night, wake up stiff or sore or feel that your mattress is no longer giving you proper back support, it’s gotta go!

Confessions of a New Mummy

Cashmere is such a lovely word. I cannot remember a time when I did not know the word or that it equated to quality when it comes to fashion choices. Cashmere is one of those raw materials where the saying that you get what you pay for really applies.  Cashmere has a luxury feel and always looks super classy. With colder months coming soon, it is time to invest in ponchos, jumpers, gloves, hats and scarves.


Where does cashmere come from?

Some people are surprised when they hear cashmere comes from goats. I have known this since childhood as my mum worked in textiles. She was a huge fan of women’s cashmere jumpers and felt that it was important to invest in herself as well as her family.

Where to buy cashmere

Denner Cashmere is a shop based in Battersea, London but the good news is they also have an online store.Their cashmere is sourced from the plains of Mongolia from Kashmir goats and they actually comb the fine cashmere from their under bellies as opposed to shearing, making it ethically sourced. For more info you can visit


All the products are 100% cashmere and are so luxurious but at affordable prices. Yes they are considered purchases but well worth making in my view for a classic look.

Why is cashmere pricier than sheep wool?

The Kashmir goat produces only four ounces of the special fibre each year. It takes the yearly cashmere produce of more than two goats in order to produce a single two-ply jumper.

Not only is cashmere so much rarer than sheep wool but it has superb qualities that make it appealing. It is a lot lighter to wear and yet around 8 times better at keeping you warm. If you have ever worn cashmere you will also know how beautiful it feels on the skin and how soft it is to touch.


My cashmere choices

I absolutely love the idea of cashmere ponchos with sleeves and would adore one in striking red. I also had no idea you could have stripes on cashmere so the jumper pictured above really appeals too. Finally I would love a jumper in a really subtle colour too to style up with a brown leather skirt I have recently purchased. As soon as I asked friends what to put it with, one of my favourite friends suggested a cashmere top.

Do you wear cashmere? What do you love about it most?

Featured Dream Team Blogger


Our lives are made up of many minutes most of which just pass by without us even taking notice. That’s a mistake of course which comes home to roost when someone close to us becomes terminally ill or dies. There are also the key moments or milestones that always capture our attention. Interestingly these are often the very times when we should consider insurance cover from a company like Pure Cover to ensure we have great protection in place.


New home

When we buy or rent a home, we need to ensure it is protected as things can and do go wrong. As a debt counsellor, I was always shocked how people on very low incomes did not invest in contents insurance. When things went wrong, they were  left without essential items and without the means to replace them.


I did not take out wedding insurance and thankfully my Big  Day went without a hitch. However if you are making a big financial investment in your wedding, it is worth checking out whether wedding insurance would be a beneficial option for you.


We want  to ensure our children are kept safe and looked after well. Sometimes life will throw curveballs our way. I remember really struggling financially on many occasions as myself and my husband worked in the charity sector. This tends to mean poorly-funded short-term contracts so redundancies came out way thick and fast. I experienced depression which stopped me working for a while. It is important as a parent to check out insurances such as income protection for times when the proverbial hits the fan.


I have always taken out pet insurance and I am so pleased. There was the infamous occasion where my just toddling son threw our puppy down the stairs. He did not realise what he was doing and the noise the pup made on landing was horrendous and  haunts me still. His back leg was broken and the vet bills ran into thousands but was fortunately covered by insurance.

Other important insurances

It is good to take time to check out your insurance requirements. I can save so much hassle in the long run so please do check out travel, health and  funeral insurance plans too.

Avoid the horror stories that not taking out insurance can bring and check out some policies today. Check out an infographic which guides you through life’s journey one insurance step at a time.

Pink Pear Bear

Looking after your health when travelling is essential whether the purpose of your trip if for business or pleasure. It is never nice to be poorly but when you are overseas, everything can seem that much more daunting and scary particularly if there are language barriers to contend with. Let’s look at how you can take care of yourself and your family when travelling in Europe.

Take medication with you

If you are on medication for an ailment already, taking some with you may be essential and will certainly make things simpler for you. You might also want to pack some generic medicines such as painkillers and travel sickness pills. Check out the rules and regulations around this course of action well in advance as they will be different depending on which country you are visiting.


An EHIC lets you get state healthcare in other EEA countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.

If you have one already check it is in date before you travel. If you don’t apply for one quickly and do not pay for one. You can find out more with this Guide to EHIC which you can find online.

Travel Insurance

Be aware that the EHIC should never be seen as an alternative to travel insurance. Do you really want to forego the protection that travel insurance can give to repatriate you if there was serious health incident whilst you are overseas? Travel insurance can also protect you in the event of missed flights and lost or stolen property. There are plenty of horror stories about what can happen when travel insurance is not in place.

Language skills

Ideally learn the language of the country you are visiting. This will always enhance your trip in so many ways from communicating with officials to making friends with the locals. There are good online courses available with apps like Babbel or Duolingo which can either get you going from scratch or improve you current levels of a particular language. If that seems too daunting, do consider a good phrase book. If you know the words and sentences you are likely to need, make the effort to learn those. It can speed things up which always helps when there is a mild or serous health concern.

Ask for help

Forget about the stiff upper lip and ask for assistance when you need it. Some people should help anyway such as your travel company or your accommodation provider. Do not be scared of approaching someone and asking for support. Most people are kind and only too happy to help in an emergency.

What are your tips for looking after your health when travelling in Europe?






This week has seen the 1st anniversary of my brother Michael’s death. I had prepared for it. I have lost people before and I felt I had come to terms with this particular one partly because my brother lived such a full life and because he made such an impact whilst he was here.

I had a little wobble in the bar one night last week when Freddie Mercury was on the television singing “The Show Must Go On!” I should explain that my brother was often mistaken for Freddie Mercury and lived in the same area of London. I am a huge Queen fan and can cry for Freddie in his own right but I guess from now on, such tears will be added to by grief for our Michael.

Then yesterday it was the 9th anniversary of my Mum’s death. After such a long time, I was not expecting to be knocked sideways by the day. I started feeling irritable on Sunday evening leading to a row with my husband. He ended up throwing a remote control at me. It hit me which I do not think was his intention but that led to fitful sleep so yesterday was a difficult day in so many ways.

Dates do not matter much to my husband. He would happily avoid Christmas, birthdays and does not really see the point in marking the date when special people passed away. My own family always made a fuss about dates. When Mum was terminally ill, she insisted on Dad writing down all the key dates so he could keep up with things once she was gone. I am not saying my husband is wrong as such. We just see things very differently.

So I was in a woe in me mode yesterday. I felt so down and if it were possible would have cuddled up with a duvet all day. Of course, you can’t do that when you have children, pets and work to contend with.

I can’t really remember the details of the day. Lowlights included the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door and a dress not fitting. It was just a very dark one altogether where I tried to shift my mood and just couldn’t. Having said that, it is amazing what will pull you out of a low mood. Yesterday afternoon, my son was telling me about his views on the book her is reading at the moment which is the Adrian Mole one. He was laughing how he had misread the title as “Dairy” instead of “Diary” and how this has fuelled his imagination of what the secret dairy looked like and what went on there. This was the first light moment in the day and I started to emerge as the dark clouds dispersed a bit. He then went on to analyse the book much as myself or my Mum would do. People really do live on in their children and grandchildren.

Then out of the blue my 17 year old son suggested not getting a takeaway last night but waiting until today when there are special offers on. He never budgets so this was a turn up for the books and again cheered my soul a little.

As for my 14 year old daughter, she stroked and hugged me again and again very aware of my feelings yesterday.

So the children survived me not being there properly for them yesterday. I guess another point is that we did not have to contend with any back to school hassle now that we home educate.

Today I have worked out that I was naïve to think I could just glide through two important anniversaries. I love my brother and Mum so of course I mourn them. That does not make me pathetic or weak, just very human.

In the evening, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I asked my husband to light a candle for my Mum. He did two so we had one for Mum and one for Michael. I am good Catholic girl after all and lighting a candle always brings comfort.

When Mum died, I lit a candle. Not long after my toddler son who was asleep on the sofa suddenly did a big giggly belly laugh in his sleep. He had not done this before and he has not done it since. I thought it was Mum telling me to lighten up a bit and today I can do that again.

Cuddle Fairy

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Twin Mummy and Daddy