Get Fit While Flossing – The 4 Minute Workout

This is going to sound a little odd but, for the sake of sharing my story and, hopefully, helping out a few people along the way, I’ll suck it up.

I work out while I brush my teeth.

And that’s pretty much the only exercise I ever do.

Yup, that’s it. I, like 99% of the population (stat totally just assumed), don’t like working out. The thought of going to a gym chills me to my very core and, though I occasionally get up the motivation to do a quick jog around the block, I’m not exactly what you’d call a fitness fanatic. I’m barely even a fitness fair-weather friend.  I have the upper body strength of a (very weak) kitten.

I’m also a mother to a 9-month-old baby, so I appreciate how difficult it can be to carve out dedicated slots of time.

So what’s a gal to do? I know how important it is to keep fit but ugh, I just hate it. Know what else I hate doing that’s still important? Flossing.

So I just married my two big dislikes and BAM, now I get fit while I floss.

I don’t have a set routine, but this is what I started doing:

-+- Lunges while brushing my teeth. I can get about 30 done (15 each side). Approximate time: 2 minutes.

-+- Calf raises and butt clenches (stop laughing) while flossing. I can get about 40 done. Approximate time: 1 minute 30 seconds.

-+- Squats while rinsing with mouthwash. I can get 20 done, and I hold the last one for a count of 20. Approximate time: 30 seconds.

Feel the burn while brushing

Feel the burn while brushing

I try to switch it up sometimes so I don’t get bored (and so I can get a bit more of an all-round workout) by doing push-ups against the edge of the bath.

OK, I know it’s not groundbreaking, but there’s no point in me gushing about the benefits of a solid hour’s effort at the gym if it’s just not me. This site is all about sharing what works for ME, so that it might inspire YOU. (If you’re a gym bunny, you should’ve already stopped reading by now.)

Is it going to turn me into an Olympic athlete? – No.

Am I going to lose a bunch of weight? – No.

Am I going to have washboard abs? – No.

Am I going to increase my endurance and resistance, all while toning up? – Ever so slightly. And that’s good enough for me.

Is it better than nothing? – Definitely.

I’m certainly not advocating a sedentary lifestyle, nor am I suggesting for a second that this minuscule bit of exercise will somehow save you from heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, or any number of nasty things.

What I am saying is that if, like me, you detest working out and have made countless promises to get fit only to lose heart and motivation a month later, maybe start small like me.

As I said above, I also occasionally run (read: slowly huff and puff, with several walking breaks) around the block. I also sometimes do squats or jumping jacks if I’m waiting for something to heat in the microwave.

So if you’re really struggling to get any form of exercise, try to incorporate little things into your day. Identify small blocks of time and see if you can fit in some form of movement.

* Push-ups while waiting for your porridge to cool down

* Skipping instead of slumping up the stairs

* Running on the spot while running a bath

There are a million different ways you can incorporate some small amounts of exercise into your everyday life, no expensive gym membership required. Find a few and get cracking!

What small thing do you do to add a little energy to your day? Share with us in the comments!

If you don’t want to miss a TPBTS post, subscribe to the site by clicking the big ol’ SUBSCRIBE button at the top of the right-hand column. It’ll inject fresh content straight into your email inbox. You lucky thing.


STAR TIP! A Quick Way To Disinfect Your Cleaning Sponges

In this day and age, we’re all a lot more conscious of protecting ourselves and our family from bacteria and germs. From anti-bacterial hand soaps to antiseptic liquids, there are numerous products out there to help us. Personally, I think that a little bit of dirt is no harm for little ones – it helps build and strengthen their immune system. However, I think we can all agree that there is probably a little room for improvement in our everyday hygiene habits.

The cleaning sponge is the classic example. It’s a workhorse in the home – it cleans dishes, it mops up spills, it wipes down surfaces… And the fact that it constantly comes into contact with germs means it, too, needs to be cleaned. Of course, it’s not economical or environmentally-friendly to replace a sponge or cleaning cloth each time you use it, and we all know that the quick rinse we give it after we use it isn’t always going to be enough.



So what’s the best way to sanitise our sponges? Well, let’s take a leaf out of our body’s book – what does our body do when it’s under attack? It subjects us to extreme temperatures! We either get a fever, the shivers, or a mixture of both. That’s how all that bacteria is killed off. So we do the same with our sponges.

StarTo disinfect cleaning cloths and sponges, dampen them and pop them in the microwave on high heat for approximately one minute.

Always ensure they’re damp before you put them in – you don’t want them catching on fire in there! Then all you have to do is wring them out (be careful here – they’ll be hot) and leave them to dry fully.

Et voilĂ , sanitised sponges. (Another way is to pop them in the dishwasher and let a full cycle kill off those nasty germs.) This method has been proven to reduce bacteria in sponges by 99.9%. And it’s much cheaper and kinder to Mother Nature than soaking your sponges in harsh chemicals.

The frequency with which you need to do this will obviously depend on how much action your sponges see. If you use them quite regularly, once a day should do the trick. Otherwise, every two or three days should be fine. And here’s a little bonus tip to help:

StarUse different cloths for different tasks to avoid cross-contamination.

But remember, there’s always that 0.1% that will remain no matter how careful you are, so there are only so many times you can sanitise a sponge before it just needs to be thrown away and replaced.

10 Ways To Reduce Your Heating Bill

I’m a big believer in going green. I still have lots of room for improvement, but I try to do little things around the house that make a difference. I recycle all our paper and cardboard (despite the fact that it requires taking a trip to the local bring centre which is a ten minute drive away), I turn off lights and electronic equipment when I’m done, I buy appliances that have high energy ratings, and…



I try to conserve as much heat as possible. Here’s how I do it, and how you can too:

1. The first thing is to know your aspects. What that means is knowing which part of your home, if any, gets sunlight, and which is cast in shadow or open to high winds (like, for example, if you live on a height or beside the sea). In our home, the sun rises on the side the kitchen is on, and sets on the side the sitting room is on. Now all you have to do is work that to your advantage! For example, I always leave the kitchen blinds open at night, or open them before the sun rises, so that the natural heat can get in. I then spend a lot of time in there in the morning, before moving to the sitting room later on to take advantage of the beautiful evening sun. So if the front of your house gets most of the sun, don’t spend all day sitting in a back room.



2. Make sure you have good quality curtains and blinds. I know unlined curtains are the cheaper option but, trust me, you’ll lose that money many times over through your heating bills! If you can’t afford lined curtains, or the ones you already have are unlined, consider buying some cheap fabric and lining them yourself. You don’t have to be too much of a sewing whizz to attach a lining, and the extra layer will make all the difference. Once a room is warm enough, close those curtains to keep the heat in!

3. As well as curtains and blinds, remember to keep doors closed too! Our front door isn’t the best at keeping out draughts (and buying a new one is way down the list of priorities right now) so I just make sure to keep the doors to all the rooms closed to stop that cold air from sweeping through the whole house. And what’s the point in having a warm room if you’re just going to leave the door open so all the heat can escape to rooms that aren’t in use? If your doors aren’t great, use draught-excluders.



Sometimes, though, rooms just get cold. This is when my husband would automatically reach for the heating switch, or would go about building a fire. But here’s the thing:

4. I just put on an extra jumper. Simple, but effective. I have a chunky cardigan that I keep on standby, as well as fleecy socks. Along the same lines, I also have two throws for the sofa that I can quickly and easily wrap around me. As with the curtains, the extra layer makes all the difference.



5. Failing that, why not just get up and move about a bit? Get that blood pumping. Climb the stairs and collect the dirty laundry. Get out the vacuum cleaner and give the rooms a quick going over. Go outside and beat that dusty rug. Even do a few jumping jacks! Or…

6. Go make yourself a hot meal or drink. It can be anything from soup to hot chocolate to tea to a full-on four-course dinner.



OK, so you’ve tried everything – you’ve got two jumpers and four pairs of socks on, you’ve done a hundred jumping jacks, you’ve tucked into a hot bowl of soup – but you can still see your breath in front of your face. It’s time to turn on the heating!

7. Get as efficient a heating system as you can afford. If you can get solar panels or pellet stoves (my parents have both – there are government grants available), go for it. Or make the system you already have as effective as possible. For wall-mounted heaters and radiators, install a reflective surface on the wall behind it so that heat gets bounced back into the room and not soaked up by the cold walls. And, if under a window, close the curtains or blinds to prevent it all disappearing that way. And, because heat rises, installing a shelf above a radiator (not too close – you don’t want it to burn) will help to curl the heat out into the room quicker rather than the longer length of time it takes to reach the ceiling before eventually having nowhere else to go but down to your cold toes.

8. If you have an open fire, consider burning some of the waste that would normally end up in your bin and, eventually, a landfill. (Make sure to check if it’s safe to burn first – electrical equipment, batteries, chemicals, etc. are an obvious no-no.) We’re currently burning an old chest of drawers. We were going to get rid of it anyway because some of the drawers were broken, so we’ve just re-purposed it into free fuel!



9. If your heating system allows, get yourself a timer! I don’t know how many times I made the mistake of switching on the heating “for a few minutes” and then getting completely immersed in something and only remembering when the sweat started to bead on my forehead. Timers eliminate forgetfulness, or “I’ll get up and switch it off as soon as I’m finished watching the end of this film” syndrome.

10. And, finally, turn down your thermostat. Turning it down by just one degree will, no doubt, go completely unnoticed by you and your family… until you see the savings on your heating bill, of course!



Small adjustments like the ones above add up to BIG savings over time, particularly as heat is usually the most expensive utility. See which ones work for you. I don’t for one second advocate that you should be on the point of hypothermia before resorting to the heater, but try to see it as a last resort when all your other efforts have failed. Your body is, in normal circumstances, designed to regulate its own temperature. Let it try do its job properly before you intervene.



What other tips do you have for saving on your heating bills? I’d love to hear them, so leave them in the comments section below!

Star tip! How To Increase Your Water Intake

So we all know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated – it helps our organs function better, it clears up our skin and, depending on who you talk to, it flushes out toxins too. And, with me being six months’ pregnant, I find it more important than ever to drink water to keep my body and my baby happy and healthy. In short, the benefits are numerous. And the downsides? Well, you’ll initially need to use the loo a little more frequently, but don’t worry, your body will quickly adapt.

If you don’t drink your recommended eight glasses a day, fear not! It can be done. As with everything related to your diet, if you’re in any way unsure, it’s always best to check with a medical professional first. And, as with anything you’re trying to turn into a habit, it’s best to start small and gradually increase your efforts. If you currently don’t drink any water, or very little, jumping straight in with eight glasses a day is probably not a recipe for lasting success. Start with just one glass. Drink one glass a day for a week, until you get used to it (and your bladder adapts), and then increase it to two. If you increase by just one glass each week, you’ll be hitting the recommended amount in just eight short weeks.

Ideally, you should drink your first glass of water first thing in the morning, as your body hasn’t been hydrated in several hours and may even have lost a lot of fluid during the night through sweating. (Eating a healthy breakfast is also important to re-fuel your body. But that’s for another post.)

But if you’re starting from scratch, and you don’t feel that drinking a full glass first thing in the morning is right for you, then consider just a quick mouthful, followed by a few more mouthfuls during the day. I hated water when I first started drinking it, so I used to drink a small amount right before each meal. That way I was still drinking it, but quickly following it with something I actually enjoyed.

So you’ve started increasing your H2O intake, but how do you keep it up? For me, I found it easy to forget to drink a glass, or I lost track of how many I’d already downed. What you need here is a bottle! Obviously, go for a reusable one over a disposable plastic one. Here’s mine:


Reusable bottles can be picked up quite cheaply, and I got this for free when I bought our water filter! The size you buy is entirely up to you. Eight glasses is approximately two litres but, personally, I would find a two-litre bottle far too intimidating if I filled it first thing in the morning and knew I had to make my way through the entire thing. My bottle holds 500mls, so I need to drink four a day, but I find it much more manageable. Work out what’s best for you.

But, even with all that, it can still be easy to forget it – you get caught up in other things and before you know it you’re heading for bed. So here’s what to do:


ImageLeave your bottle in a place you pass frequently, and drink a quick mouthful every time you pass.


For me, that spot is the sofa in the sitting room. The corner closest to the door, to be precise. I spend a lot of my time at home in that room – the TV is there, my laptop is there, my diaries and notepads are there. But I also pass in and out quite often, between going to the bathroom, going to the kitchen to make dinner or a snack, answering the door, etc. Every time I leave or enter the sitting room, I drink a mouthful. If the bottle is close to empty the next time I go to take a mouthful, I drain it and immediately bring it to the kitchen to re-fill it.

Maybe you work at a desk. Leave your bottle on the side of your desk and take a mouthful every time you get up to do something. Maybe you’re in and out of your car all day. Leave the bottle in your car and take a mouthful every time you hop out. (Always start the day with a fresh bottle, though – don’t leave it sitting out overnight.)

So there you have it. Start small, and gradually increase. Don’t forget to give your bottle a good clean out every now and again to prevent any nasty build-up. After all, there’s no point drinking lovely clean water (it is clean, yes?) if you’re putting it into a unclean bottle. And, just because I’m feeling generous, here’s another tip:


ImageUse a cocktail stick to clean the rings on the top of the bottle and inside the cap. Just run it right along the edge, the whole way around.


One final word: your water intake will obviously depend on your lifestyle. Although eight glasses is what’s recommended for the average person, if you’re out there running several miles a day or doing a lot of exercise, you’re going to need more water than someone who sits at a desk all day. Use eight glasses as a target, but definitely add an extra glass for each few minutes of exercise you do.

And that’s it! That’s how I manage to drink two litres of water a day. (Don’t forget that your pets also need to keep hydrated, so leave fresh water out for them too.)

If you have any other tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them. Post them in the comments section below.