Live Lagom a year on…

As the new #LiveLagom Ambassadors start their journey I thought it was a good opportunity to look back on mine and a chance to look to the future.

Little did I know when I signed up for the project just where it would take me…and still is taking me.

Famous for 5 minutes

As the project started to come to an end last year for me I was photographed, filmed, interviewed for a magazine and questioned about my experience on the Live Lagom project and what had changed. What fun it has been. I now feature in the new Live Lagom brochure, a You Tube video and am off for a press launch tomorrow in London. For me the project was the start I needed to change how we were living as a family…the lightbulb moment to stop buying ‘stuff’ and take stock. I’ve had and am still having such a blast.

I am far more aware of what we are buying and think more before any purchase…do we really need it…can we make do with using something else we already have…can we declutter/change the room round and do without…or can we upcycle/ make something from other ‘stuff’ we have knocking about?

Upcycle/ Recycle – A good example of this philosophy is recently we bought a new bed (the other one was knackered after 15 years and 4 house moves) this gave us chance to have a reshuffle, declutter and revamp of our bedroom without buying anything new to achieve this. We have two recesses either side of a (filled in) chimney breast that were ideal for making into hanging space for clothes. Luckily for me hubbie is really good at DIY and if I come up with a design he will do his best to build it for me 🙂 A quick check in our garage and we found panels left over from when we fitted the kitchen, MDF from a warehouse clear out and sheer curtains from one of the house moves. All we needed to buy was a hanging rail…Bargain! It looks fab and fits in well.

Learning Saturday…

A new wardrobe in 3 easy steps!

GYO – I am still growing salad leaves using the Hydroponics kit I was given as part of the project. I have grown seeds into plants, bought ‘Living Salads’ and planted them in the kit to grow on and kitchen scraps from spring onions to leeks to pak choi; they have all flourished and grown well. There is no stopping the Hydroponics and its uses. Brilliant


Pak Choi Hydroponics

Here is the Pak Choi I am growing on in the hydroponics kit.

I used the leaves for a stir fry and then ‘planted’ the root in the hydroponics basket and popped it into the hydroponics kit. Hey presto it grew. Fabulous.

I have also been experimenting with growing an avocado stone to see whether I can get any fruit to grow. It is a slow process but so far so good I have a couple of plants growing so may be in the summer I will have some growing.


I think the main message I will take away from this project is that last year was just the start of the journey and now is the real test. My attitude and outlook has definitely changed and I am trying to live a more ‘just enough’ life.


I pass on all I have learnt to my learners and anyone else that will listen and am always promoting the benefits of living a Lagom lifestyle even if it falls on deaf ears with my teens! When I go out walking now I come back with arms full of wood for the wood burner, pine cones to cover in the left overs from candles, for firelighters or foraged food (or rubbish to recycle in my bins).

I will carry on growing on my kitchen scraps, composting my food waste/ cardboard and egg boxes and using it to grow my own veggies.

Why we should all be Composting…


My kitchen window is full of ‘growing on’ kitchen scraps – celery, chives, spring onions and salad leaves


I try and buy food out of plastic containers and have been buying from my local greengrocer and butcher something I didn’t really do before; this means no plastic bags as I can pop fruit and veg straight into a hessian bag and meat into a glass bowl.

I am trying not to buy anything new this year but to shop in charity shops; if this fails and I need to replace something then I will buy new but only after I have decided whether I REALLY need it!

Thank you Hubbub and Ikea for all the help, inspiration, workshops, advice and opportunities I’ve had a ball 🙂



One finger, one thumb…keep moving!

In my job, no two days are the same and last week they definitely weren’t!

Who knew that learning about diabetes (type 2) prevention could be so much fun! If anyone mentioned diabetes or prevention of diabetes to me I would automatically think diet & exercise and not necessarily about my sedentary behaviour – more on that later.

Here we all are:(L to R) Me, Deirdre, Fiona, Karuna, Benita, Jacqui, Mark and JJ


I attended a two-day PRE-STARt training workshop @ Leicester Diabetes Centre on the General Hospital site; to learn about the programme and be able to deliver the prevention training to families in the future. The aim of the PRE-STARt programme is to promote healthier lifestyles and try to change behaviours.

PRE-STARt stands for PREvention STrategies for Adolescents at Risk of diabetes.

‘Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that leads to both micro- and macro-vascular complications…over the last few decades, the traditional profile has dramatically altered. There has been a sharp, tenfold increase seen in younger age groups, exacerbated by increasing levels of obesity and sedentary lifestyles’


When you arrive at a new place and everyone is very welcoming you know you are in for a great time and I wasn’t disappointed.

I found the room where the training was taking place and met the other trainers who had also delivered some of the projects around Diabetes. We instantly hit it off and were laughing and joking before the session had even begun. In total there were five of us having the training with a variety of trainers and speakers coming in over the two days. They managed us very well and were very laid back whilst keeping us on task!

Jacqui (dietician specialising in diabetes and our trainer) and JJ started the session off and we all had to find out about and introduce our neighbour. Mark used to be a teacher at secondary school but now ran his own gardening business, Fiona used to be a nurse and now works as an ‘end of life’ practitioner at the General Hospital,  Bouncing Benita runs her own fitness classes and last but not least Karuna is trained in dietetics and sees clients privately. They had all delivered the Desmond diabetes programme. I was the only newby 😀

Deirdre (Lecturer in Physical Activty, Sedentary Behavioir & Health at the University of Leicester) came in to give us an overview of the programme and had been involved from the start. I first met Deidre when she came to one of my Family Learning classes in Coalville to trial a questionnaire on my parents, last year.

Deirdre explained that this study was being funded by the EU and had been developed in collaboration with four other countries across the EU including Germany, Spain (Basques country), Greece, Portugal and United Kingdom of which Leicestershire is the only area in the UK taking part.  All the countries have the same issues around diabetes and are trying to intervene and prevent it occurring in young people. The big plus with this intervention programme is it is delivered to parents and children aged 12-14 years at the same time. A whole family approach.

The aim of the PRE-STARt intervention is to promote a healthier lifestyle whilst changing behaviours to increase physical activity, reducing sitting time and improve dietary habits.

The Intervention: includes 8 sessions lasting 90 minutes with some theory and a 10 minute activity at the end.

  1. Being Healthy
  2. Moving More
  3. Getting the Balance Right
  4. Sitting Less
  5. Building a Better Breakfast
  6. Choosing Healthy Snacks and Drinks
  7. Treats and Healthier Snacks
  8. Making a Family Plan

Next in to come and give us some more information was Charlotte who is the Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Health. Charlotte spent a lot of time talking about sedentary behaviour or sitting on our bums to you and me.

We, as a race, spend far too much time on our bottoms. Sitting at a computer desk, sitting in meetings, sitting watching the T.V, sitting…sitting…sitting and that is not good for a healthy lifestyle. If we could just move around more we would be far better off – health, weight and illness prevention wise. The recommendation is to get up and have a walk round of at least 250+ steps every hour.

The families on this prevention programme will be issued with an activity monitor/watch to try and encourage them to move around more. It will monitor steps, miles, calories, sleep and remind the wearer to get up and move about every hour. Should be interesting to see the results.

I have a fitness tracker and love using it to challenge myself and others to see who can walk the furthest over the week, I am now monitoring how much time I spend sitting whilst trying to get up every hour to do a walk about. It is harder than you think!

My activity stats – BOOM!

Day 2 was all fun! fun! fun!

On arriving at the room for day two, all the activities for the programme were laid out on tables…what a bright and welcome sight. We were in for some more fun!

We started to go through the Facilitator Manual and act out the lesson plans. as you can see the Snakes and Ladders mat was used for other things!

All of the resources are bright and colourful and fun looking to engage both parents and teens.We spent the next few hours working our way through the weeks, having a go at the activities, discussing how we would deliver a specific topic and generally having a lovely time.

Each session is made up of 90 minutes which is broken down into:

  • Getting Started: 15 minutes – refresh from previous week, look at goals set and achieved and discuss any challenges people have found during the week.
  • Get Going: 55 minutes – the learning part with some discussion around healthy eating or exercise or ways to move more, building a healthier breakfast, looking at snacks, fast food, treats and drinks. This section has between one and five different activities to be looked at engaged with.
  • Let’s Go: 20 minutes – setting a goal for the coming week and 10 minutes ‘Time to be Active’ run around session doing an activity as a group.

PRE-STARt activities
We then had a few group photos taken and the obligatory selfies so we could all remember each other and use them for promoting the study.


What did I learn?

  • That being sedentary is causing us all serious health problems
  • We all need to be more active and stand up and walk around every hour
  • Have stand up meetings

Well I can’t wait for the families to get on board now so we can start the study and see if the intervention has any impact.

Want to find out more or sign your family up for the study contact Deirdre on

or call her on 0116 258 8630


#diabetes #prevention #teens #families #teenagers #training #PRE-STARt #study