Month: September 2016

Strictly Week 1

Strictly Week 1 either sees dancers explode through and show us all that they have the flair, discipline and control to learn the many dances thrown at them over the coming weeks, and for others to demonstrate glimmers of technique that will grow and take over from the personalities to win through or simply those that aren’t natural dancers and no amount of training will get them there!

We definitely saw many dancers this year explode onto the floor for their first time with exceptional performances.

Latin was the star of the first week.  Gregg, an athlete; who sometimes struggle to let their highly trained bodies and muscles go and allow dance to take over, nailed his first dance with personality and the starting signs of gaining technique.  Others to shine were Danny who certainly fired up the floor with the snap needed in cha-cha – just loosen up the ankles and he’ll go even further.  Louise unsurprisingly pulled off a great jive with personality and flair with good kicks and flicks; it will be interesting to see her in other dances.

Judge Rinder Week 1Middle of the pack was that very memorable performance from Judge Rinder!  Who knew what lay beneath those robes!?  There is rhythm there and bags of personality, it just all needs taming and reining in and he’ll survive for several more weeks.  Melvin’s loco fell flat unfortunately but he has character to keep him in.

There’s always high expectation on gymnasts even though the skills are very different, however, take away Claudia’s back flips and split leaps and she needs to let go and let the rhythm take control, similarly Anastacia showed some promise but lacked the attack she shows in her own stage performances.

Tameka showed promise with a first Paso carried through with her acting skills but not sure how she will excel in other dances.  Laura failed to deliver other than in personality with very loose legs and control for her cha-cha.

Ballroom didn’t fair too badly either, particularly with the waltzes where you can’t rely on energy and persona to carry it off.  It was nice to give the more senior celebs the waltz in week 1 to ease them in with Ed giving a sure and steady performance but Lesley certainly needed Anton to lead and guide her around the floor.

Daisy showed great promise with her emotional waltz full of control and nice extensions.  Will Young (apart from showing off his strange wardrobe of shorts in his VT), gave a great tango with good character, the steps are all there and if he learns to add more control to every inch of his limbs he’ll go far.

Naga gave a solid performance and shows promise with good lines and extension, there is a glimmer there that she might shine, particularly in ballroom, there’s a reminiscence of Susannah Reid there.  Ore unfortunately lacked the drive and attack needed for tango but might fare better in some of the freer Latin dances.

So we’ve a very mixed bag again this year!  There are those who obviously have the talent and ability to dance and the few who won’t make it.  We prefer though to see those middle of the road dancers get to grips with steps over the coming weeks and start to excel and they are usually the dark horses to keep your eye on.

Predictions after week one?  We’ll keep those under our hats just now until we’ve seen the celebs tackle another dance in the other discipline of ballroom or Latin!

Strictly Celebs 2016



All photo credits BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing/Facebook.



Health and Fitness on the go

It always seems difficult to be healthy and active while on the go.

This week has been really hectic, it’s seemed like there are not enough hours in the day! I’ve been working, doing some home improvements and looking after a friend’s horse.

As I was dashing from one thing to another, listening to my stomach rumble, I was left wondering what on earth I was going to conjure up for dinner. I had not had time to do my weekly shop and I had a few eggs, some left over chicken, an onion, a bit of cheese and some tomatoes!

It’s times like this that it’s so tempting to call in at the take away on the way home, so what can you throw together with just a few ingredients in the fridge?

I decided to go with an old favourite…the omelette!  I love eggs, they are so versatile you can fry them, poach them, scramble them, boil them and with a few extra ingredients the list goes on and on!! Omelettes are really easy to make and all you really need is a frying pan and a spatula. The best thing is that you can put almost anything in them and they are great for using up leftovers.


What to eat

If you want a super simple and quick meal eggs are the answer! Here’s some links to some super simple, yummy egg recipes that you can use for lunch or dinner.

Pizza Omelette

Anytime Eggs

Spicy Tiffin Eggs

Muffin Frittatas

Tomato, Avocado and Egg Salad



Oh my goodness as with my fitting in time to cook it has been a challenge to find time to go to the gym and it can be so easy to let good habits like exercising or eating well slip, but there are only so many hours in the day, what should we do?

Exercise Tip 1: Plan

If you know you have a busy week ahead plan ahead, are there times when you can fit in the exercise that you like to do?  This might mean getting up a bit earlier one day or changing the day that you normally exercise or doing the activity for a shorter time, if you are meeting friends can you join them slightly later etc.

Exercise tip 2: Do what you can

Something is (almost) always better than nothing, depending on your level on mobility/fitness are things that you can do in your own home…bicep curls are an example, you can do them with no weight or with a tin of beans, wrist weights or dumbbells (hand weight).

Exercise tip 3: Do something you enjoy

It’s much easier to find the time to do ‘exercise’ if it doesn’t feel like exercise….do something you enjoy!  Wheelchair dance is a great way to meet new people and get some exercise at the same time!


Healthy eating and wheelchair exercise

Wheelchair exercise and healthy eating

For lots of people wheelchair exercise and healthy eating can be daunting or they don’t know what they ‘should’ eat to be healthy.  In this blog series I’ll give you some simple hints and tips.

Tip 1: What to eat.

  • Eat breakfast, it’s an easy meal to skip, but we can all take 5 minutes to eat! For a super simple breakfast try having some natural yoghurt with some fresh fruit.

Tip 2: How to cook.

  • Use a slow cooker, so long as you can chop some veggies/meat you can make some great tasting food. Check out the recipe idea below.


 Wheelchair users with manual chairs will do a lot of pushing motions which work the chest and shoulder muscles, this can mean that back muscles can become weaker.  Paralyzed Living shows some gym based wheelchair exercise that can help.

Many of the exercises in the video you could practice at home either using no weight or using a tin of tomatoes (or similar) instead of a dumbbell.  Make sure you listen to your body when performing any kind of exercise – it should not be painful.

Warning: Remember before you start or change your exercise program speak to your doctor.

If you’re thinking of trying something new, wheelchair dance is a great way to meet new people and get some wheelchair exercise at the same time!



Slow cookers can be used to make some super simple and super tasty meals!!  Here is one of my favourites!

Slow Cooked Chicken

What you’ll need

  • A slow cooker
  • A tin opener
  • A knife
  • A tablespoon
  • A plate
  • 2 forks
  • Measuring jug



  • 600g chicken (breast is easiest)
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 tin Kidney beans
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tbs of smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tbs mixed herbs
  • 1tbs ground cumin
  • 300ml water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Salt and pepper

How to make it

Step 1: Turn on the slow cooker, on High.

Step 2: Chop the onion (use a grater if you struggle to chop an onion) and garlic.  Measure out the water.

Step 3: Put all the ingredients (add the chicken breasts whole) in to the slow cooker and put the lid on – when adding the herbs and paprika start with 1 tbs and add more half way through cooking if desired.

Step 4: Cook for 2 hours (adjust seasoning and paprika/herbs after an hour)

Step 5: Take chicken breasts out and place on a large chopping board or plate and shred the chicken with two forks (should look a bit like pulled pork)

Step 6: Put the chicken back in the casserole dish and stir well – you can continue to cook on low heat to further develop flavour or serve it up.

Step 7: If you are preparing ahead divide into portions, allow to cool and place in containers for fridge or freezer.







Exercise and Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

For lots of people cooking is daunting and in this mini series I’m going to give you some super simple recipes for healthy eating and some top tips to make cooking easier.

Tip 1: What to eat.

  • Include protein in every meal for healthy eating. Protein isn’t just for body builders, we all need it and a lot of us don’t get enough.  Optimal sources of protein are meat, fish and dairy as they are what’s know as complete proteins, which means they have all the essential amino acids your body needs. For vegetarians there are few complete protein sources (quinoa, buckwheat and Quorn are a few examples), so eat a wide variety of foods to make sure you get in all the amino acids.
  • Protein is great not only because it’s the building blocks of our bodies, it also helps us to feel full for longer.

Tip 2: How to cook.

  • Chopping up onions can be difficult, use a grater instead and in you have difficulty using a grater you can use the grater attachment in a food processor.


Exercise doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym, the important thing is to start moving and to find something that you enjoy.

If you are just starting out then keep things simple and start with some exercises you can do at home, YouTube can be a good source of exercise ideas, this video from Physical Therapists, Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck is just one example.

If you’re thinking of trying something new, wheelchair dance is a great way to meet new people and get some exercise at the same time!

Warning: Remember before you start or change your exercise program speak to your doctor.


I said eat protein with every meal so instead of reaching for the cereal box in a morning here’s a super simple of alternative that takes a couple of minutes to make.

Scrambled egg on toast

What you’ll need:

  • A toaster (or use a grill)
  • A bowl
  • A frying pan
  • A wooden spoon
  • A fork


  • Some butter
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • A dash of water (or milk)

How to make it

Step 1: toast the bread.

Step 2: while the toast is in the toaster crack the eggs into the bowl.

Step 3: using the fork whisk the eggs up so that the white and yolk are well mixed together. Add a little salt, pepper and a dash of water (or milk) and mix.

Step 4: when the toast is done, butter it – try to avoid using margarine – or leave dry.

Step 5: put the frying pan on the hob on a medium heat, melt a nob of butter (about a teaspoon) and use the wooden spoon to spread it around the pan.

Step 6: pour the egg mix into the frying pan and stir …make sure that you hold the handle of the pan while you do this. The eggs will cook very quickly, when the get to a consistency you like then off the heat and use the wooden spoon to put the eggs top of the toast.

Tip: To make this even better add some smoked salmon on top of your cooked eggs.

Smoked salmon is a great addition because not only will it increase the protein content, which will help you feel full for longer, it also a great source of omega (check which ones) which is essential nutrient.