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Mumsfit – not just for new mums!

posted by Joan Palmer


After talking to someone recently about what I did for my job, I realised that maybe not everyone knows about everything I do!  I have been doing Buggyfit since 2012 when I left a steady job as a physiotherapist working in outpatients, so I have seen many patients with joint and muscle problems of all kinds.  This helps me to answer many questions Mums have about aches and pains. 

However, since starting Buggyfit I have completed many educational courses that has allowed me to work with women of any age and life stage.  This has all been carried out through Burrell Education, where Jenny Burrell is so passionate about women’s health care you couldn’t ask for a better teacher and role model. 

Holistic Core Restore ® is a course I have been working with for 4 years now and I have helped many women reconnect with their muscles again – abdominals and pelvic floor, and have helped them to feel confident about returning to exercise.  This is a specialist course which provides you with an education for life for looking after your pelvic floor which will not only have changed during pregnancy and birth, but its behaviour can change again when you hit the perimenopause and menopause.  During the course, you have full support from me though out the 6 weeks and there is progressive homework to complete.  This is a 6 week course but the work doesn’t stop there, The Holistic Core Restore ® Heat class is an optional follow on programme where the women progress on to a weekly exercise class that involves low impact high intensity exercise, participants can come to this as long as they wish and it is a great stepping stone to returning to previous exercise of their choice. 

This is how one class participant, mum to boys in their 20’s, so definitely not a new mum, has found this 6 week course beneficial

I had major prolapse/pelvic floor repair surgery in 2017 and was looking for a class that would help me to rebuild my pelvic floor strength.  I had been advised to look for a class run by a professional physiotherapist who would understand the implications of the surgery, as I was concerned that I did not cause myself further problems by exercising inappropriately.

Joan is an excellent teacher, being very approachable, helpful and professional, and I immediately felt confident that I had found the right class.  After three sessions, I experienced noticeable improvement in my muscle control and strength.  The equipment provided is great, and easy to use at home.  I really appreciate the fact that we can contact Joan with any questions or concerns, and the Holistic Core Restore portal provides easy access to videos of the exercises.

I have also appreciated the information about healthy eating to support the development of our physical strength.  I am looking forward to trying all the suggested recipes, which look delicious and easy to prepare, as well as nutritious.  

I would have no hesitation in recommending this class.  It has been very enjoyable and helpful, and has really helped to rebuild my confidence!

Thank you again for what has been an excellent course - I am really reaping the benefits with greater strength and confidence!

If you would also like to get your body back on track with attending this course, you can see that it’s not too late to start. E mail  The next 6 week block starts on Monday 16th April 8-9pm you can book your place here

Almond, Apricot and Chocolate Chip Energy Bars

posted by Joan Palmer

Energy Bars

Taken from Women’s Running Magazine March 2018

  • 150g (5oz) medjool dates
  • 100g (31/2 oz) ready to eat apricots
  • 125g (4oz) ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 25g (1 oz) dark chocolate chips

Place the dates in a food processor with the apricots, almonds, cocoa powder and cinnamon, and process until the mixture starts to clump together.

Add the chocolate chips and pulse until it forms the consistency of stiff cookie dough.

Spread in a cling film lined tray or in a square between 2 sheets of cling film (I didn’t quite manage to cover the bottom of a 20cm square tin)

Chill for an hour until firm and cut into pieces.

Store in fridge for up to a week or in freezer up to 3 months.

The Easy-Peasy Guide To Your Pelvic Floor (And How To Look After It)

posted by Joan Palmer


The Easy-Peasy Guide To Your Pelvic Floor (And How To Look After It)

If you’re like many of the women I chat to, you fall into one of two categories: you’re unsure exactly what the pelvic floor is and why it’s so important to you, or you’re clued up on the mechanics but left wincing at the idea of keeping the area strong! Hands up who has the best intentions to do their daily exercises but often forgets?

Whichever category you fall into, this guide is going to talk you through: what your pelvic floor muscles are, why you need to look after them, and how to do it with ease:

What is the Pelvic Floor and why is it so important?

The Pelvic Floor is a band of muscles, ligaments, tissue and nerves which support the pelvic organs such as bladder, bowel, uterus and vagina. This part of the body helps these organs to function effectively – assisting in urinate and excretion, aiding in sexual performance, and helping to stabilise connecting joints. It also helps to guide your baby’s head down the birth canal during labour. And is the muscle which helps you hold in wind when you’d rather not let it out… It’s structured a bit like an internal trampoline!

Where can I find my Pelvic Floor?

If you place your hands each side under your bottom, palm side up, and sit with your fingers underneath your sitting bones – the pelvic floor muscle spans side to side in this space.

To get an idea of the distance it spans, find your pubic bone and your coccyx – it runs from front to back.

To feel the Pelvic Floor muscles in use, stop and start the flow of a wee next time you empty your bladder. This shouldn’t be a frequent way to exercise the muscle, but it is a great way to feel it at work when you’re getting to know the muscle.

What happens to the Pelvic Floor during a woman’s life?

The Pelvic Floor is often weakened by the stress of pregnancy and childbirth, but regular exercise and attention of this area can make the damage minimal. Other reasons your pelvic floor may get weaker during your lifetime may include:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Pushing or straining to empty the bladder
  • Heavy lifting
  • Carrying too much weight
  • Hormonal changes during menopause

Avoiding these circumstances isn’t always possible. Which is why it’s so important to exercise your pelvic floor as often as possible to keep it strong throughout your life!

What are the benefits of doing Pelvic Floor Exercises?

Pelvic Floor Exercises can help you overcome a variety of pelvic floor problems. Benefits include:

  • Strengthen bladder control (removing the urgency to urinate with exercise and strenuous activity)
  • Increased sexual sensation
  • Reduce pelvic prolapse problems – helping avoid the bulging feeling and discomfort linked with mild to moderate prolapse
  • Improved bowel control and reduction in chronic constipation and likelihood of rectal prolapse


How do you do Pelvic Floor Exercises?

It’s true that pelvic floor exercises require paying attention to an intimate part of your body, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be at all embarrassing, and you don’t need to remove any items of clothing! All you need to do is focus on squeezing these important internal muscles and holding them for several seconds to help strengthen them. This can be done discreetly, anywhere and anytime.

To complete a Pelvic Floor exercise (otherwise known as a ‘Kegel’) all you need to do is:

  • Keep breathing in and out as you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles – pull them up and in as if holding in a wee.  Try to ensure you are activating the whole pelvic floor from back to front.
  • Hold for 4-5 seconds to begin with, breathing in and out as normal. With practice, extend the hold to 10-15 seconds but keep breathing.
  • If you’re tightening your abdomen muscles or buttocks – you’re trying too hard. Relax and focus on your pelvic floor only.

Looking for friendly, professional support on keeping your body fit and strong without having to take out a gym membership? Mumsfit classes are specifically tailored for women who have are looking for a new lease of health, energy, and fitness in a fun atmosphere – whether you’re stuck in the post-partum haze or approaching menopause. E mail to find out more.

Lentil and Lemon Soup

posted by Joan Palmer

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Taken from the Sunday Times 14th Jan 2018


  • 4 tbsp extra – virgin oil
  • 1 White onion finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 200g green lentils, rinsed well under cold running water
  • 1 ¼ litres of veg stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 85g spinach, tough stalks removed
  • Extra virgin oil to finish
  • 100g natural yogurt to finish
  • Method

    Heat the olive oil in a large pan and set over low heat.  Add the onion and celery with a pinch of salt and cook covered with lid on for 15 minutes, until they are soft but without colour.

    Add garlic and turmeric and cook for another few minutes.  Now add lentils and stir to coat them in the onion mixture.  Add the stock and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 mins until they are soft and tender.  While warm, season the lentils with salt, black pepper and lemon juice.

    Add the spinach and blitz to a rough texture.  Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and finish with the olive oil and a spoonful of yogurt.

    Running Can Be Fun: How to Start Running Safely This New Year

    posted by Joan Palmer

    running women

    Many people start the year with good intentions: intentions to make a change and commit to really getting fit this time. Unfortunately, everyday life has the knack of derailing good intentions like getting fit - especially when you’re trying to raise a family as well as look after yourself.

    Thankfully, enjoyment is a brilliant motivator. When you discover that running can be fun and safe (ie, you’re not going to do yourself damage on your first session!) then the likelihood you’ll want to keep going dramatically increases. Here’s how to make keeping fit so enjoyable it will become the highlight of your week:

    Take baby steps
    If your fitness levels are currently low, it’s crucial you go gently on yourself and build your fitness before you try to undertake a 10k jog! When you feel capable of upping your pace, it is always sensible to start gradually and build up the length and speed of your runs each session.

    If you push yourself too hard to start with, not only do you run the risk of injury, but you increase the likelihood of frustration and not wanting to try again. (There go those good intentions…)

    Warm up
    Start every run with a gentle warm-up lasting at least 5 minutes. The sort of things you might try, include: power walking, side steps, marching on the spot, knee lifts, climbing the stairs and gentle stretches.

    Make it a game
    Remember how important the fun element is? Try adding running games into your workout rather than setting out on a typical long jog. At Mumsfit, we use games which specifically work to improve your speed and form – while being straightforward and enjoyable!

    Be aware of your body
    Did you know there is a way to run ‘correctly’? To make your run more enjoyable and efficient, pay attention to your body position and relax. You want to:

    • Avoid hunching your shoulders -  this restricts the oxygen getting to your muscles.
    • Keep your arms at 90 degrees – they will then help propel you forward as they swing.
    • Relax your hands - as tight hands can lead to back and shoulder tension.
    • Keep your knees down – your knees should be lifting forward as opposed to upwards.
    • Make your hips stable, and forward – no swinging them from side to side! This reduces chance of low back or hip pain.

    Run with support
    If you really want to commit to getting fit, accountability is key. Whether you choose a close friend to chat fitness goals with or opt for professional fitness support – having someone else take your fitness seriously will increase your chances of keeping ‘at it’ even when sleep deprivation would rather have it otherwise. You’ll find encouragement goes a long way when you first start out. And what a bonus if you can keep fit and have a laugh with friends!

    Stretch to finish
    A lot of people know the importance of ‘warming up’ but aren’t aware that a ‘cool down’ period is also needed to reduce chance of post-run discomfort or injury. The aim is to lower your heart rate and get your breathing back to normal and help your muscles maintain healthy function. It’s highly recommended you finish each running session with some gentle walking and stretches – and plenty of water.

    Are you ready to start running and get fit?  

    The new Mumsfit Running Club is the perfect place to get the support you need and safely increase your overall fitness – while having fun and meeting other like-minded women. These one-hour sessions will include a simple warm-up, gentle stretching, running games and strengthening for longer runs. Each session is specifically directed to suit the group, so all abilities are welcome and tailored for.

    Find out more about our friendly running sessions now –contact Joan on 07957 308968 or e mail this class is a Buggy free and dog free zone!

    Something for your leftover pumpkin!

    posted by Joan Palmer

    Pumkin soup

    As we have just had Halloween several of you may be overloaded with Pumpkin! If you haven’t yet had the joy of carving a pumpkin out for the children, this is still a great recipe to try. This pumpkin soup is a Jamie Oliver recipe and very simple to make, great for freezing too.

    Roasted pumpkin soup recipe

    • 1.5kg edible pumpkin
    • Olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon dried chilli
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 large onion
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 stick of celery
    • 1 litre hot vegetable stock

    Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramalised at the edges.

    Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.

    When the squash is ready, add to the pan with the hot stock. Blend with a stick blender, adding a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.

    Ladle into bowls and add you favourite toppings.

    Grease a loaf tin or line with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 35-50mins

    More time for breakfast at half term?

    posted by Joan Palmer

    banana pancakes

    We’ve nearly hit half term – hooray! One of the nicest things about half term is that we don’t have to rush in the mornings and we can take a bit more time to have breakfast.

    Pancakes are a lovely thing to have for breakfast but you may not want to have the version with the flour if you are looking to lose a few pounds and look after your gut.

    Here’s a simple recipe for banana pancakes that’s just bananas and eggs! A great protein breakfast that will keep you going for longer. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

    • 1 very ripe banana
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tbsp of ground flax seed (optional)
    • ¼ tsp of pure vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp of coconut oil


    Mix together banana and eggs until smooth. Add optional ingredients if using. Heat coconut oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Scoop batter, about 1/4 cup per pancake, onto the skillet and cook until the centre starts to bubble, about 30 seconds. Flip pancakes and cook until bottoms are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes more.

    If you have any favourite breakfast recipes why not pass them on and we can share them.

    Foot, ankle or knee pain post pregnancy?

    posted by Joan Palmer

    As a Buggyfit instructor, I see a lot of new mums every week. Occasionally, new mums will come to me complaining of pain in their knee, ankle or foot which has only occurred since pregnancy and beyond.

    Quite often, these pains can develop due to the changes in posture that occur during pregnancy. There are changes in posture throughout the body, but one of the areas that could be contributing to knee, ankle or foot pain is a tightness in the calf muscle due to changes in foot posture. You may have noticed that your foot has become a little wider and your toes more splayed along with a loss of the arch on the inside of your foot causing you to roll in on the foot a little more when standing still.

    The actual cause of this problem can stem from changes much further up the body which would need to be assessed and addressed to solve the problem (all of which I can help you with) but in the meantime there is something you can do to help alleviate some of the problem.

    To help alleviate the tightness in the calf muscle, you can start with some simple stretching exercises. You may have stretched your calf muscle before an exercise class, but what is important now is that to make any difference to the muscle and how you stretch it, you need to try and keep your back foot in the stretch below as straight as possible, pointing directly forward.


    With a tightness in the muscle you will be inclined to want to keep your foot turned out. You may need to stretch both sides but the foot that is at the back with the straight knee, is the one you are stretching the calf on.


    Stretch 2 (above) is a general stretch for the whole calf area where you stand on your bottom step holding on to the bannister, and let both heels drop down below the step. With both of these stretches, you need to take it to the point where you just start to feel a pull and hold it for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. It’s best to stretch when you are warm so after a bath or shower is a good option or after a walk or some exercise. Remember, the stretch may not fix things for you but it is a good starting point. To get to the bottom of any issues associated with this then please get in touch

    Get out for your free ingredient!

    posted by Joan Palmer


    What could be better than getting something for free!! You can get yourself out into the countryside and pick some blackberries.

    Not only are you getting something for free but you’ll be benefitting from some fresh air. Maybe you’ll have a good walk to get to some or even go on a bike! Whatever your mode of transport here is a recipe that can utilise your hard work and it’s sugar free! This has been taken from the Good Things magazine.

    • 50g of Blackberries
    • 10 Medjool dates
    • 50g of desiccated coconut plus extra for rolling
    • 200g of porridge oats (Use less if you like your energy balls to be a bit gooey!)
    • 1 vanilla bean scraped
    • 1 tsp of cinnamon

    In a food processor blend the oats until the consistency of flour. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined.

    Roll the mixture into 16 balls and roll each ball in desiccated coconut until fully coated.

    Place in the freezer for half an hour then then place in the fridge until serving.

    These will last 2 weeks in the fridge.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Aubergine Chocolate Brownies

    posted by Joan Palmer

    Gluten Free Banana Bread

    This recipe has been taken from ‘The clever guts diet – how to revolutionise your body from the inside out’ by Dr Michael Mosley.

    • 1 medium aubergine (200g) peeled and diced
    • 150g dark chocolate (Min 70% cocoa) broken up
    • 60g coconut oil
    • 60g soft pitted dates, diced
    • 1/2tsp salt
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 80g ground almonds
    • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C

    Steam aubergine 15-20mins until soft. When it’s ready place it in a bowl with the chocolate and coconut oil. The warm aubergine will melt the oil and chocolate.

    Add the chopped dates and salt and place in a food processor. Blitz the mixture until smooth. It should now be cool enough to add the eggs and baking powder. Blitz again for another minute or so and then mix in the ground almonds.

    Spread the mixture in a lined baking tray (I used 20cm square tin) and bake for about 20 mins. It is cooked when a knife comes out clean.

    It does say that you could make cupcakes, divide mixture in a 12 hole cupcake tray and bake for 15-20mins.

    5 things you can do daily to look after your pelvic floor and bladder habits.

    posted by Joan Palmer

    1. Try to drink at least 1.5-2 litres of water a day.  This will help to reduce the likelihood of constipation.  Constipation is an issue with the pelvic floor as any straining motion will cause you to bear down on the pelvic floor which could over time lead to pelvic organ prolapse. 
    2. Don’t hold your breath when lifting.  If you hold your breath this will increase the pressure within the intra-abdominal cavity which causes downward pressure on the pelvic floor which again could lead to pelvic organ prolapse.  Think about how you breathe on lifting your baby/toddler, the buggy in and out of the car and those bags of groceries.
    3. Don’t hover over the toilet seat, sit down properly!  If you hover, you won’t be able to release your pelvic floor muscles correctly and that in turn will mean you can’t empty your bladder fully. It also means that your pelvic floor muscles aren’t able to work in the correct sequence and if this happens a lot they will develop bad habits. 
    4. Keep active!  By keeping active you are encouraging your muscles to work, including your pelvic floor.  If you lead a sedentary lifestyle then try to factor in some regular upright active exercise, even if it’s just walking to get your muscles back into action.  Many muscles around the abdominal and upper leg region work in conjunction with your pelvic floor so all areas will get a work out.
    5. Don’t visit the toilet ‘just in case’. Your bladder is itself a muscle so if it is continually emptying too soon the muscle isn’t being worked to its full capacity.  You can retrain the bladder to hold more urine before you need to empty it by making sure that you really need to go when you do.  You should only need to visit the toilet 5-7 times during the daytime. 

    What happened to your pelvic floor during pregnancy?

    posted by Joan Palmer

    I wonder if any of you had even given a thought to your pelvic floor before you became pregnant.  It may have become a more familiar area early on in pregnancy when there is a massive surge in hormones that make you visit the loo more!! For others it may have been later in the pregnancy when the baby is getting bigger and it seems to be squashing your bladder or even bouncing on it making your visits to the loo more frequent again. 

    It really doesn’t matter when you first became aware of it, what matters now is that if your pelvic floor is an issue for you, you can do something about it and you are not alone in having this problem. 

    For those of you that haven’t noticed any symptoms, that’s great but it is also worth being aware that your pelvic floor has been through a lot. Even for those of you that may have had a c section, you have still had all the hormonal changes of pregnancy that affect tissue quality and activity and you have still had the increasing weight of a baby sitting on the pelvic floor making it harder for it to function as every week of pregnancy goes by. 

    The pelvic floor should be treated like other parts of the body that are out of action for a while due to for example injury or inactivity.  The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that have to work together to function and therefore need to rehabbed just like any other muscle in the body.  Just because we can’t see it, we shouldn’t ignore it and just because it’s ‘down there’ we shouldn’t be embarrassed!

    As already mentioned, changes occur in the pelvic floor during pregnancy due to big surges in hormones.  Changes also occur due to big changes in posture that happen over the course of your pregnancy due to the baby growing.  Abdominal muscles stretch and weaken as do the gluteal muscles (the bottom muscles), the lower back can become very stiff as can the muscles in front of the hips.  These changes cause a change in the position of your pelvis and as a result of this, the pelvic floor ends up sitting in a relaxed position most of the time.  When muscles are in a relaxed position they are not in their optimum position to function and are therefore not working as well as they could be and hence problems develop.  Quite often these changes in posture continue post-delivery and therefore below optimum function of the pelvic floor continues.

    Other changes can occur if you have a vaginal delivery.  As you know the pelvic floor muscles will have stretched a lot, with some assistance from hormonal changes.  As a result the muscle again is not going to be able to work optimally for a while and if it is not encouraged to work, it will continue to be lazy.  If there is any tearing of the pelvic floor muscles or if you have had an episiotomy then scar tissue will have formed.  Scar tissue that isn’t managed well during its recovery, will become thickened and then make any surrounding tissue difficult to function well.

    All of these issues can be addressed and symptoms of the pelvic floor improved, with corrective posture exercise, functional corrective exercise and sometimes some soft tissue massage work on any of the muscles that changed during pregnancy.

    If you are concerned that your pelvic floor isn’t working as it should be then please get in touch at

    You could also come along to a relaxed and informal evening that I am running with a Specialist women’s health physiotherapist at The Strand in Cheltenham Wednesday 12th July 7.45pm and find out all there is to know about looking after your pelvic floor.  If you would like to come along then book a ticket here

    Is there a tasty and healthy alternative to a bacon butty?

    posted by Joan Palmer

    This morning I took my girls to the Lido for the sunrise swim. Both girls are great swimmers and love the Lido so that wasn’t a problem but the early start was more of an issue. How did I get around this? I mentioned that we could have one of the Lido’s great bacon butties after the swim and then they were well up for it and I had no problem getting them out of bed at some ridiculous time in the morning!! We even stopped to pick up one of their friends.

    There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a Lido butty every now and again but if I ate these on a regular basis, I know I would start to feel it round my middle! Here are the girls enjoying their well-deserved butty after the sunrise swim.

    Bacon Butty

    But is there a tasty, healthier option that wouldn’t matter if I ate it more regularly? I happened to find this recipe on the Merrymakers website and they look pretty good although I have yet to try one.

    Merrymaker Cheese and Bacon low carb bread rolls

    Bacon Butty


    • 1 cauliflower cut into small florets then blended or grated (should be around 2½ - 3 cups)
    • 3 eggs whisked
    • 1 cup grated good quality cheese
    • 1 tbs. chia seeds
    • 1 tbs. coconut flour
    • ½ tsp. baking powder (gluten free)
    • pinch of salt


    • 2 rashes (slices) of bacon chopped
    • 1.Extra cheese, however much you want!


    1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
    2. Use a food processor or blender to whiz the cauliflower, but don't turn it into mush.
    3. Use a tea towel to squeeze out excess liquid (super important, do not skip this step!).
    4. In a bowl add the cauliflower, egg, cheese, chia seeds, coconut flour, salt, baking powder and mix super well.
    5. It shouldn't be too soggy, if it is, add another tablespoon of coconut flour.
    6. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to form 6 balls. Pop them onto the baking tray and flatten.
    7. Top with chopped bacon and extra cheese.
    8. Cook for 25 minutes, check and cook for another 5 minutes.
    9. And now eat!


    1. The trick to this delish rolls is to squeeze out the liquid in the cauliflower. Just want to remind you... AGAIN! hehe! Enjoy!

    Give it a go and let me know what you think.

    The Berry Love Tonic!

    posted by Joan Palmer

    Love Berry Tonic

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for a healthy alternative to ice cream. One of the ingredients was raspberries which is great as they are now in season and readily available. Now we are into June, Wimbledon season is fast approaching, strawberries are very abundant in the supermarkets or you could go and pick your own. Here is a recipe to take advantage of both raspberries and strawberries. The recipe is taken from one of Jason Vale’s books - over 100 delicious juices and smoothies. If you haven’t heard of Jason Vale, he is the guru of juicing.

    • ½ fresh medium pineapple
    • 1 handful of raspberries
    • 1 handful of strawberries
    • 4 ice cubes

    Juice the pineapple and pour into the blender. Add the raspberries, strawberries and ice. Blend until creamy and smooth.

    So why is it the love tonic? Along with many other nutrients, one of the main minerals found in these berries is zinc. Zinc is a key mineral to help boost libido. Enjoy your juice and have fun!!

    A healthy ice cream alternative!

    posted by Joan Palmer

    Iec cream

    Hot weather has arrived, and this means that when I pick up my girls from school, one of their first questions will be, ‘can we have an ice cream when we get home please?’

    We are off to Weymouth next week for half term, there are going to be ice creams selling on every corner and I am sure my family will be consuming many of them!

    It is a nice treat to have an ice cream when you are feeling hot, but with it containing plenty of sugar, is there a healthy alternative?

    I have recently been introduced to the Merrymaker Sisters ( and they do have a very simple recipe for a healthy alternative so I thought I would share it with you.

    Banana Raspberry Nice Cream (serves 2)


    1 frozen banana (slice a ripe banana into a ziplock bag and place in freezer)

    1 cup frozen raspberries

    ½ cup raw cashews

    ¼ cup coconut milk

    1tsp 100% vanilla extract


    Place cashews, milk and vanilla into a blender and whizz until smooth (this may take several minutes). Add banana and raspberries and whizz again until smooth. Place in bowls and serve with toppings of chopped strawberries, chopped nuts or raw chocolate. Enjoy!

    Try out this mid-afternoon energy snack!

    posted by Joan Palmer


    I found this recipe on and it was a big hit with the latest Holistic Core Restore® class participants. It’s very easy to make and you don’t need a big quantity to stop those afternoon hunger pangs!

    Let me know what you think.


    1/2 cup almonds

    1/2 cup cashews

    1 ½ cup Medjool dates, pitted (It is best to soak these for a few hours first)

    Zest and juice from 3 key limes

    1/2 cup unsweetened coconut


    Add the almonds and cashews to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped (but do not pulse too long, you do not want the nuts to turn into a paste). Add the dates, lime juice and zest. Pulse until the dates are finely chopped and the mixture starts to clump. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in coconut to coat outside of the balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


    Are you sitting comfortably?

    posted by Joan Palmer


    I talked about this subject in a New Year newsletter, but as it was the topic we discussed at a recent Holistic Core Restore® class, I thought I would highlight it again, particularly as I was reminded once more of its importance whilst attending the latest Burrell Education Woman on Fire event earlier this month.

    We are talking about the position that we sit to poop in! If you ever have problems with passing a bowel movement or have any issues with pelvic floor weakness then read on!

    I wonder if you have ever considered the position you sit on the loo. You may have thought about it a little more after initially giving birth, as it may have been a bit more difficult to poop then. I still remember taking an hour to pass my first one after having my youngest daughter, because I had suffered a 3rd degree tear! The reason we are considering this is due to the impact it will be having on our pelvic floor.

    Changes in posture, extra weight sitting on the pelvic floor during pregnancy, and then the trauma of giving birth will all have taken its toll on the pelvic floor, so sitting the wrong way on the loo to poo will not be helping this already difficult situation.

    The optimum position to poop in is squatting. This is not something we do in this country to go to the loo, and the design of the modern toilet is not promoting this position. However, you can adapt how you sit on the modern toilet to still encourage relaxation of the pelvic floor which occurs in the squat position and therefore encourages the action of a bowel movement without strain on the pelvic floor, which if occurring regularly, can worsen or initiate pelvic floor problems of incontinence.

    The picture above shows how just by adding a small stool under the feet to raise your knees up so they are higher than the hips and then leaning forward onto the thighs with a nice straight back will take you more in to a squat position. Give it a try with a children’s stool that they stand on to clean their teeth.

    Of course what you put into your body is going to have an impact on how it comes out, but that is a subject on its own and I will talk about that next time; in the meantime think about your position.

    If you are having issues with the pelvic floor and would like to know more how you can help look after your pelvic health and about signing up for the Holistic Core Restore® classes, you can read about them at and e mail to find out more information about the next 6 week block of classes.

    My favourite exercise – because it really works!

    posted by Joan Palmer


    There are so many great exercises that we can do for our legs to build up strength around your back, pelvis and hips, but it’s great when you find one that really works well for you and you can notice a difference from doing it. When time is precious you need something to be as effective as possible.

    The exercise I find very effective in building up strength and has been very helpful to my own leg strength is ‘The Bridge’. During my physio career I have taught this exercise on so many occasions and it often surprises people that they have difficulty doing a simple lift of their bottom. More recently I was attending a strength for runners’ class and was amazed that despite many people being able to run very fast they couldn’t manage a simple bridge exercise.

    So if you are looking to start getting strong again around the back and legs, this is a good place to start and if you are already exercising, this is a great exercise to supplement what you are doing.

    In the pictures below you can see three levels of work that you can progress through.

    Initially a simple lift of the bottom. Make sure your arms are across your chest so you are not using them to push off from the floor. Once you are good at doing up to 15 really good lifts, pushing the bottom right up in the air you can initially add a pulsing at the top of the movement so you can really feel your bottom working. You could also add a resistance band across the hips and pull down on it while you push up against it.

    Once you have become efficient on doing the simple format you can progress on. In the second picture I have one leg in the air which means you only have one leg to push up through from the floor so this is harder. You will probably find one leg is stronger than the other one. If you find this quite difficult then do stick to doing the exercise on 2 legs for longer. If you progress too quickly you will end up compensating using other muscles instead of the ones you want to use and you won’t notice an improvement.

    Finally, the third picture shows me with both feet up on a bench. You could use the bottom of the stairs or even a gym ball to rest your legs on instead, whatever you use, because you have your legs up you will have to work harder to push your bottom up in the air demanding more work on the legs and requiring more stability around the hips. Again, if you are wobbling around when doing this exercise move back a step for a bit longer.


    Raising money for Children with Cancer

    posted by Joan Palmer

    Child Cancer

    Many of you already know that I am taking part in the London Marathon this year and I am raising money for Children with Cancer.  I am now asking if you can help me to raise some money by sponsoring me to take on the 26.2 miles that I will be enduring on 23rd April.

    I know many of you are runners and have many events under your belt.  I have previously done 3 half marathons all getting better each time but I am by no means a fast runner and I certainly didn’t think that one day I would actually enter a marathon.  

    I took up running when I turned 40 and I didn’t take on small events initially, I went straight in for a Half Marathon with a friend who also hadn’t run before.  We thought that if we are going to do an event we might as well do a decent distance!  Since this time we have run regularly, mostly at 6am even on the dark cold mornings of winter.  Prior to this I had always kept myself fit but was more of a team player and worked out at the gym.

    Last April I sat watching the London Marathon with my daughter Miriam who told me that I should do that next year in an encouraging tone.  My thoughts have always been that I could never face running another half marathon right after finishing one but I was encouraged by Miriam’s confidence in my ability so I applied for a place and manged to secure one by running for Children with Cancer.

    I have been training hard every week and have more than doubled my normal weekly running distance and so far have run up to 16 miles in one go.  I am on schedule to manage a couple of 20 mile runs before the event and have been swimming and working out with kettlebells regularly.

    Completing any running event has been a big achievement for me as running was always a no go area for me when I was younger - I suffered badly with asthma.  I remember having many Fridays off school when I was 12 because I was still made to do Cross Country every Thursday at school which resulted in an attack and I spent Friday recovering.  You would have thought they would have cottoned on to what was happening but thankfully now medication is much better in helping to control the symptoms.  As a result of these bad times with my chest, a lot of changes occurred within my lungs and as a result I now suffer with a chronic chest condition – Bronchiectasis.  This has had effects on what I can do over the last few years.   Medication is now very good at managing this so I am now able to run without having a day off afterwards!!

    Please help me to achieve this big ambition by sponsoring me to help raise money for Children with Cancer, I’m sure you will agree it is a very worthwhile cause.

    My giving page is

    Thanks for your support.

    Five great reasons to come along to Buggyfit

    posted by Joan Palmer

    Gluten Free Banana Bread
    1. The biggest reason when you are a new mum, is that you get an hour of ‘me’ time!! On having your baby, everything and everyone is focussed on the baby, now it’s time for you to do something for yourself while your baby is safely with you in their buggy. Start early on giving yourself some time to do something for you as it can be quite difficult to fit it in!
    2. Fresh air! Even if you have had a poor night’s sleep you will feel so much better for getting up and out into the fresh air – so many mums at my classes tell me this. Many studies have also shown that babies who go out in the fresh air will sleep better – it’s a win win situation for you.
    3. You know you will be returning to exercise post pregnancy and birth in a safe and gradual manner. You will complete a full health questionnaire to pick up any complications that may inhibit your return to exercise and I will perform a tummy muscle check to make sure you are doing the correct exercise at the right stage of your post-natal recovery. All exercises are given with an easier option so you don’t need to be concerned about your level of fitness before starting the class. Come along and get fitter and stronger with every session.
    4. You will get a release of endorphins with a session of exercise. Endorphins are your natural feel good hormones and when you are a new mum finding your way with new situations you could do with a few of these. Your workout will also mean that you are getting stronger in all the areas that will have weakened through your changing pregnancy posture. Unless you work on these areas of change they will remain weak and you will then be more susceptible to developing aches and pains through a lack of muscle strength and good posture.
    5. A social outing. An opportunity to have a chat and make new friends going though similar things in life as you and with the same interest as you to get back in shape. You know the saying, ‘A problem shared......’ You may be at an exercise session but there is always time for a chat!

    Come along and join us Monday, Wednesday and Friday meeting for 10.30 in front of the Pump Rooms at Pittville Park. There is plenty of free parking behind. E mail for any other details.

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