Category Archives: Blogs

my thighs and bottom are not in good shape for lazing around a swimming pool all day

white cruise ship
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My husband and I recently retired and have booked a summer cruise to celebrate.   My only worry is that my thighs and bottom are not in good shape for lazing around a swimming pool all day!   Is there anything I can do to shift cellulite in time? Janet Poole – Bristol

Janet you are not alone!   Cellulite is a word horribly engraved on most women’s minds if not their bottoms and thighs! This stubborn “orange peel” type skin affects so many women at many stages of life, with hormones playing an important part in its formation – at puberty, during pregnancy and around the time of the menopause.

A combination of a good diet and exercise is my advice to rid you of it. A critical assessment of one’s eating habits is essential. Out go fats, refined sugar, excess salt and alcohol. In come lean meats, raw vegetables, skimmed milk and plenty of water and fresh fruit juices.  The aim is to purify your body’s system and rid it of excess toxins which encourage cellulite.

Exercise will tone and strengthen your body and massage will work on cellulite spots by breaking down the nodules of fat, improving the circulation, and helping disperse excess fluids and toxins. Use over the counter anti-cellulite preparations in massage to soften and revitalize the skin.

One exercise for bottom and thighs is to lie on your back, knees bent, shoulder width apart with arms at your sides.  Clench buttocks, pull in tum and lift pelvis up off floor transferring weight onto your shoulders.  Hold for 10 seconds, relax down, and repeat 6 times. Janet that will turn your wobble into a wiggle! Enjoy your cruise.

I am having a problem getting enough sleep

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With the short light summer nights,.  I do not want to resort to sleeping pills.  What can I do to help myself? Jacky Williams Leicester

Dear Jackie – would it help to say you’re not alone? Many of us have sleeping problems. Adults, on average need 8 hours sleep a night, but around 1 in 10 people in the UK suffer from insomnia and resort to sleeping tablets. Sleeping pills can provide a short term solution but for permanent solutions create a sleep friendly environment by making the bedroom a calm and tranquil space. Open the bedroom window a couple of hours before bedtime to keep it cool.  Light has a huge impact on sleep patterns, so keep the bedroom dark and you’ll sleep better.  Block light from windows with heavy curtains and cover up electrical items.  You could even try a sleep mask to cover your eyes.

Set your body clock by going to bed when you feel tired at a regular time even at weekends, so that you don’t toss and turn. Steer clear of alcohol before bed that nightcap may make you fall asleep faster but alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up during the night.  Have a glass of milk; dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps increase the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin.  Avoid heavy, rich foods and vigorous exercise within two-hours of bed time.

What can I do to help myself come to terms with my lonely life?

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I recently lost my husband and feel so low. We had over 50 years together; I miss him so much it’s making me feel quite unwell. My hubby did everything for me, we had a good social life and my family are concerned. What can I do to help myself come to terms with my lonely life?

Dorothy Webb – Newcastle

Dorothy I’m sorry you’re feeling unable to cope after the loss of your dear husband.

It’s quite understandable, but wellbeing is not just about our bodies, it’s about our mind and spirit too. Being active can help reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, stress and worry, so make an effort to get out there, and get talking. Talking through personal worries will often halve your problems, or at least put them into perspective.  You are blessed with family, not everyone is so fortunate and many find themselves living alone not through choice.

This can follow divorce or the death of a partner leading to isolation and depression. Social interaction can reduce the feelings of loneliness and can lift your spirit. Climbing out of the spiral of depression takes a lot of effort and self-motivation Living alone it’s important you maintain mobility and keep your body strong.

Having a positive attitude is all important and you might benefit from an exercise class at your local Sports Centre.  Classes can be social and a source of support. I you find it difficult to take part in physical activities ask your doctor or physiotherapist for their help and advice.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun

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It was the late and great Noel Coward coined the phrase only “Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” I am reminded of it whenever I see everyone raising their faces to the Sun whenever it deigns to peek through our British clouds.

My dad had reddish coloured hair, freckles and a naturally pale skin. He also loved to sit in the sun and encouraged me as a child to do the same, to be outside and active in the fresh air and sunshine.  Being sporty I was OK with that, but was disappointed and embarrassed by my constantly pink (read red) skin when I came back indoors!  Of course this was over 50 years ago when it was fashionable to have a “tan”. But like so many of my generation I’m now paying for my misdemeanours.

Scientists have established a link between skin cancers, redheads, fair skin and freckles. Redheads make up 6% of the UK population compared to a mere 1 to 2 % worldwide. Ultraviolet rays, either from sunlight, or artificially generated from sunbeds, can seriously damage one’s DNA.  Having inherited genes from my father, the fair skin and freckles in particular has put me at higher risk of skin cancer.  Nowadays we know to protect our skin with sun protection factor (SPF) and people are advised to spend time in the shade between 11 am and 3pm, to cover up and to wear a T shirt, hat and sunglasses.

Sadly none of this advice was available to my generation back in the 50’s and 60’s when a tan was desirable and fashionable. We smothered ourselves in olive or coconut oil, exposed ourselves our lily white skins, and “fried” in the midday sun.  On our hugely popular package holidays to “The Continent” little did we realise we were stacking up problems which would present themselves as skin cancers or pre-cancerous skin conditions some 30, 40 years later.

My skin damage first became evident on my shins, some 15 years ago. Basal cell carcinoma was diagnosed and treated with horrible creams (a type of local chemotherapy). More recent treatments for sun damage now presenting on my face have been more worrying.   Treatments include “freezing” but for some of the more serious sun damage, minor surgery is the suggested option. If you recognise the link between redheads, freckles, fair skin and a risk of skin cancer get your sun damage checked out.   Take my advice, cover up, use a sunscreen of at least SPF15 on the bits that you cannot cover up, and re-apply sunscreen regularly. And most importantly avoid being “out in the midday sun!”

Trim your tum – New year resolutions Post Christmas health

Baby its cold outside so time to pull out and put on your warm winter drawers! Trouble is for many of us, the drawstring, waistband or seat, of our favourite pants feels too tight for comfort after over indulgence during the festive season. It’s time for action, to take control in the battle of the bulge. None of us are perfect and most have some part of our bodies that deserves a little extra attention, the most common area of complaint being the tummy and bottom. Inactivity and all that festive food has caused many of us to pile on the pounds and too much sitting around has allowed our muscles to become slack. Now it’s time to get up off our bottoms, to be more active, and get ourselves back into better shape. Even though it is cold outside ensure you take a brisk half-hour walk 3 times a week and swim, cycle, jog, ski or garden whenever possible. Being active will make your body and complexion glow and help shift that extra weight.

For any exercise to be effective it should be done on a regular basis – little and often, so take the opportunity to exercise anytime, anywhere, home, office, house or garden. Many of us lead hectic lives that make it difficult to get to an
exercise class, or to devote time to working out, even though we’re full of good intentions. But for overall fitness a more active lifestyle must be pursued to get results. There are 3 immediate benefits to our body when we exercise – improved suppleness, strength and stamina, so try to make some form of movement part of your lifestyle. Aim to do be more active by doing something you enjoy and that fits easily into your schedule. Even a brisk walk, enough to make you puff a bit, is simple but effective exercise. Swimming and cycling are both excellent sports, and beneficial for anyone even with physical difficulties because one’s body weight is supported during movement. Whatever you exercise or weight loss plan you decide to do why not get a friend to join you, that way you will motivate one another. When you finish any exercise session or activity such as brisk walking or gardening, it is important you cool down slowly and take the opportunity to stretch out your warm muscles which will improve your flexibility. PS. Don’t forget the daily “tummy crunches” if you want to achieve/maintain a flat stomach! A few minutes of specific muscle work will help improve the shape you’re in, which for most of us goes a long way to helping us look good and feel great.


Learn to use, not abuse your body, and remember you’re never too old to start keeping yourself in good shape. For many people that starts by losing some weight which isn’t always easy but has many health benefits. Obesity is an increasing problem but it may need only a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Many doctors now believe that when it comes to your health, your waist measurement is important.

Being overweight is not only distressing but is also a major health risk, but your health could be at greater risk depending on where you store that fat. A healthy waist circumference for men is less than 94cm (37 inches), and for women it’s less than 80cm (32 inches).

Having a large amount of tummy fat (compared to fat around your bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop diabetes and heart problems. The food we eat contains calories (a measure of energy) and the number of calories we consume in our diet should balance the number of calories we expend (burn up) in our everyday lifestyle, plus a few extra calories for repair to our bodies. Most overweight people have got this balance wrong and excess weight can be blamed on excess calories. Eating more healthily and doing more physical activity is the answer. There are many commercial diets and weight loss clubs offering advice on how to stop piling the pounds, to help you lose weight and to eat more healthily. To discover for free how to lose weight for life take a look at the NHS excellent website and download the NHS weight loss plan. This 12 week diet and weight loss guide combines advice on healthier eating and physical activity with tips like cutting down on calories by making simple healthy food swaps, and increasing your daily activity levels with 10-minute workouts, how to avoid temptation in diet danger zones and how to eat well on the cheap.
Based on guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in order to lose weight, the average person should reduce their daily

Calorie intake by 600kcal. This helps you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) each week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance. For most men, this means sticking to a calorie limit of no more than 1,900kcal a day, and 1,400kcal for most women. If you do go over your limit one day simply reduce your calorie intake on the following days!

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Do we need to take supplements? Medical professionals tell us that in most cases, sticking to a healthy, varied and balanced diet will provide your body with all of the energy, vitamins and minerals you need. Specific groups of people may have special requirements, but for most of us vitamin and mineral tablets are not necessary unless they have been prescribed. Fat-soluble vitamins are: vitamin D vitamin E vitamin K but you don’t need to eat foods containing them every day. This is because your body stores them in your liver and fatty tissues for future use, however too much fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful. These vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods and animal products, such as vegetable oils, milk and dairy foods, eggs, liver, oily fish and butter.
Water-soluble vitamins – vitamin C, the B vitamins and folic acid are not stored,
your body gets rid of excess when you spend a penny. These vitamins are found in fruit, vegetables, potatoes, grains, milk and dairy foods but can be destroyed by heat, exposure to air and cooking. Essential minerals needed by our bodies include calcium and iron, found in meat, cereals (including cereal products such as bread), fish, milk and dairy foods, vegetables, fruit (especially

dried fruit) and nuts. Taking extra vitamins and minerals may seem a good addition to your diet but be aware that in tablet form they are more concentrated than in food, and more is not always better. If you’re concerned your diet is lacking in certain vitamins or minerals talk to your pharmacist or doctor.


It’s not trivial to care about how you look but it pays to know the shape you’re in when it comes to shopping for clothes, particularly at this time of the year when most of us are carrying those few extra pounds! Choosing what to wear has never been easier and choice is limitless. Unlike previous generations we are no longer bound by convention and are free to wear whatever we want, and with no need to conform can express our personalities. However, you can avoid costly mistakes by first taking a long hard look at yourself in a full length mirror and being honest about those bulges! Chances are that after indulging many of us fall into one of two shapes. For simplicity I term them – the Apple and the Pear shape! The Apple being full and rounded both top and bottom, the Pear being smaller on top and heavier on the tum and bum. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” that apply to both shapes to help disguise that large tum.
First some “do’s”
• Choose skirts and trousers with side not front fastening.
• Vertical stripes or effects create a long look
• Jackets need to be long enough to cover the bottom
• Long fitted skirts or coats flaring at hemline are flattering
• Small prints are more slimming
• Slim fitted skirts narrow at hem look lovely with ¾ length jackets
• Long tunic tops with trousers or skirt in one colour create elongated effect
• Sarongs can be flattering, as can Palazzo pants and flared trousers
• Vertical stripes worn with high calf boots give an illusion of height
• Long with flippy hemline look good worn with high heeled calf length boots or formally with high court shoes or dainty high sandals

Now some “don’ts to avoid disasters!
• Fussy detail or turn ups on trousers and sandals or shoes with ankle straps or lacing. Both make legs look shorter and bottoms bigger!
• Bias cut garments, too clingy and unkind to bulges
• Short jackets stopping at widest part of hips will emphasise them
• A line skirts are unflattering to tums and bums
• Net, frills, fuss and gathers, large prints and horizontal stripes look larger
• Skin tight drainpipe jeans with front zips and pockets emphasises tum
• High waisted trousers will push up rolls of overflowing fat
• Low waisted hipsters let it all hang out!
• Belts, buckles and buttons will emphasise tum
• Gathers and baggy pants may be comfortable but hardly flattering!

puffy eyes

woman s left eye

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Hi Diana I have been very busy lately with lots of late nights and I haven’t been getting enough rest.  My problem is it shows around my eyes which look puffy and have dark circles under them!  What can I do to brighten them up!

Lucy Craig… Glasgow

Well Lucy I have a several homemade remedies to help with your puffy eyes.

Either you can apply cold, damp used tea bags to each eye, or slices of cucumber, or cotton pads soaked in witch hazel, or simply 2 cold teaspoons (all kept in fridge).  Give yourself time off, lie back, apply and relax for a soothing 10 mins.  All the above can work wonders!

With regard to the dark circles, they may indicate an excess of alcohol, cigarettes or coffee?  If that’s the case cut back!  In the meantime, try applying thin slices of potato or taking a brisk walk will get the lymphatic drainage system going to clear away the toxin build up, the cause of dark circles. Matt concealer helps disguise dark circles if all else fails!  If you have under eye bags you can again kick start the lymphatic drainage by tapping along lower eye socket with your fingertips – working from the inside to outer corner of your eyes.

Lucy you’ll soon be bright eyed and bushy tailed again!

How can I stop panicking and getting angry?

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I know I am fortunate to have a busy life and shouldn’t complain but I find myself getting stressed out. My friends are losing patience and I know I need to get a grip. How can I stop panicking and getting angry, its irritating my friends?

Ruth Stein    Watford

Stress is an instinctive reaction for self-survival which automatically switches your body to a state of red alert.   So Ruth when you feel fear and your senses sharpen hormones flood into your bloodstream.   You breathe more deeply, your heart rate soars and your muscles tense ready for action.   Some stress is an essential part of everyday life and helps keep us out of danger.   For example we need to be alert when we cross the road.   But sometimes we all feel we can’t cope with our stress, even simple things make us “blow a fuse”.   Know the difference because this is distress and is detrimental to your health.   Pent-up feelings push up blood pressure and put a strain on the whole body including the heart.   So learn not to panic and find ways to reduce your stress levels

To be happy and productive you need to manage your life, have a positive action plan and take control.   Create a routine, set yourself realistic goals, and learn to prioritise and focus.    Don’t say yes to everything you are asked to do, you are only human, so guard your time jealously.

Ruth make a list of things that cause you stress and consciously try to relax and tackle the source of the problem wherever possible.  Gentle rhythmic cycling, jogging or swimming reduces tension; helps release pent up energy and encourages deep refreshing sleep.   Yoga, body conditioning classes and relaxation techniques are also helpful.