MeasuPro OX100 Oximeter review


MeasuPro OX100 Oximeter

The tech side of fitness is really booming at the moment. It seems like most of my friends got Fitbits for Christmas, and my Twitter feed is full of people logging their miles, minutes and personal bests.

I’m no different – I got a heart rate monitor for Christmas and am fascinated by tracking how many calories I have burned off during a workout, or what my heart rate was doing during my run.

So when MeasuPro sent me an OxiPro 100 Oximeter to test, I was really keen to see what it could do.

Disclosure: I received a MeasuPro OxiPro 100 Oximeter free of charge in return for my review, however the views expressed in this review are all my own. [Read more…]

Willard Wigan: Through the Eye of a Needle

Evolution by Willard Wigan, Photo credit Richard Badderley

‘Evolution’ Photo credit: Richard Badderley

Superlatives are used very easily these days – everything seems to be the biggest, the quickest, the best. But I can say without any doubt that the sculptures I saw at the Library of Birmingham on Tuesday night are definitely the smallest I have ever seen.

And yet they had a massive impact on me and the boys, leaving us struggling to find the words we felt did them justice. [Read more…]

Love Food Hate Waste recipe: Chicken Stir Fry


Love Food Hate Waste Chicken Stir FryIt’s that time of year again – everyone seems to be making New Year resolutions, and you’ve probably given it a bit of thought yourself. Eating more healthily, lose a bit of weight, get fitter, be greener, save some money…you know the kind of thing.

I’m definitely making an effort to get back into my healthy eating ways, which went a bit awry over the Christmas break. And of course I could do with saving a few pennies along the way!

One of the great ways to cut the cost of your food bill is to use up leftovers. According to the Love Food Hate Waste website, the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year. That’s not just bad for the environment, it’s bad for our pocket as well – the cost is around £12.5bn per year!

The Central England Cooperative challenged me to come up with a recipe using some of the most commonly wasted foods, and I was more than happy to accept the challenge.

Thanks to the Central England Cooperative for covering the cost of the ingredients for this post [Read more…]

Epiphany – time for Galette des Rois


Picture of a Galette des Rois or Kings CakeAre you feeling a little blue? In a bit of a Post-Christmas slump? The long grey days of January stretching out ahead of you?

Why not try making a Galette des Rois to brighten up the early days of January – it’s a puff pastry cake which is filled with a sweet mix of almonds and eggs, and whoever finds the charm in it is King or Queen for the day.

The Galette is traditionally eaten on 6th January, which marks Epiphany. It’s really quick and simple to make – even for me with my too-hot pastry-ruining hands.

Follow this link for my simple Galette des Rois recipe – do let me know how you get on with it.

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year 2015Happy New Year! I hope that you’ve had a wonderful time celebrating the festive season, and that you’re well rested and ready for the year ahead.

I’m not making resolutions this year, but you can be sure that I’m going to be making the most of 2015!!

I’m really looking forward to 2015, the year when I will celebrate my 40th birthday. I have spent the last few years dreading this birthday, but all of a sudden I’m really excited about turning 40 and what the next decade will bring. I’ve started making plans for this year already, with my first 10k race and of course my Reading List challenge. [Read more…]

My 2015 Reading List


2015 Reading List for SallyAkins.comLast year, I set myself a rather ambitious goal of reading 52 books in 2014, and I didn’t even get close to achieving it. Partly that was because the goal was too high, and partly because when I read a book I forgot to make a note of the name.

So, I’m challenging myself again next year, and here is my 2015 reading list. This time I have set myself a slightly lower goal of reading 40 books (for my 40th birthday, geddit?). Rather than just setting a number of books to read, I have tried to come up with a list which includes a wide variety of books. Most of them are fiction, but there are a handful of non-fiction books in there as well.

The list is a mix of some old favourites, classics that I have never got around to read and some that I haven’t read since my school/uni days. I’ve also thrown in some new fiction that I bought last year but didn’t read, as well as some books that friends have recommended. I won’t be reading them in any specific order, and I started reading the books on this list after Christmas. [Read more…]

The Rainbow Trust – 12 Ways of Christmas


Rainbow Trust 12 Ways of Christmas campaignChristmas draws ever nearer, and the excitement of the season is building. But an estimated 6000 families in England and Wales are also dealing with the stress of caring for a child who is terminally ill or has a life threatening condition.

The Rainbow Trust provides valuable support to more than a quarter of these families. This Christmas they are asking you to help give them the best Christmas possible by donating to their 12 Ways of Christmas campaign.

The Rainbow Trust supports the whole family as well as the unwell child themselves, both at home and in hospital. This includes respite support, help with organising appointments and explaining illnesses and treatment. Siblings get the support they need, helping with school attendance, providing fun and laughter, and someone to talk to.

And the Rainbow Trust also provide bereavement support for the whole family – face to face or over the phone, at any time of the day or night.

Take a look at the 12 Ways of Christmas website. Your gift could make a real difference to the family of a seriously ill child this Christmas.



In Season in December


A selection of vegetables in season in DecemberAnd so we reach December, the final month of the year – the month which has the most seasonal food, in the eyes of my family.

There is no other month when the food I cook becomes quite so important to my family. The Christmas dinner is so traditional, so sacrosanct, that any time I try to change anything I get complaints from one person or another. You would think that they would fancy a change by now, but the same requests come in year after year. [Read more…]

Don’t forget to put your clocks back

Woman in bed, and alarm clock

Don’t forget the clocks go back this weekend

For UK visitors, the clocks go back at 2am tomorrow morning. Yes, British Summer Time is over again for another year – back to dark evenings, lights on at 4pm, counting down until the nights start getting shorter again.

The question is, what will you do with your 60 extra minutes tomorrow?

[Read more…]