Tram tracks cycling survey

Have your say on cycling alongside or across the tram tracks


Love Your Bike, the cycling advocacy campaign co-ordinated by Manchester Friends of the Earth, has launched a survey to gather the experiences of people who have cycled alongside, close to or across Metrolink tram tracks [1]

Women riding bicycles


In December 2014, Love Your Bike again raised concerns regarding the designs of Metrolink tram routes at road junctions such as Southmoor Road in Wythenshawe. [2]

In 2012, Sean Sutton (the British Cycling Head Coach at the time) described the new tram lines near to the Velodrome as ‘death traps‘. [3]

Love Your Bike is concerned that where cyclists have crashed or been injured when cycling close to/across Metrolink tracks they do not report the incident because they blame themselves for their lack of cycling experience or skill.

But Love Your Bike believes that many of these incidents may be caused by poor designs. In January 2015, Transport for London (TfL) announced a junction-by-junction safety review of the Croydon tram network following a Coroner’s report that criticised “confusing” signage and layout of cycle lanes at the junctions with the tram network and warned more cyclists could die unless action was taken. [4]

In February 2015, Love Your Bike received a response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) asking for details of the number of people who had reported crashing on/near tram tracks.

Whilst, the number of reported incidents is still quite low, there has been a three-fold increase between 2013 to 2014 in both the number of incidents reported and the number of claims submitted for injuries and/or damages. [5]

Manchester Friends of the Earth Sustainable Transport Campaigner Graeme Sherriff said:  “We have launched the survey to ask the wider community to let us know their experiences of cycling across tram tracks in Greater Manchester.  If the design of Metrolink tracks, particularly at road intersections, puts cyclists at risk, we want to highlight this problem and work for improvements.”


1. Survey:  What is your experience of cycling across Metrolink tram tracks?  See

2.  Concerns with Metrolink tram routes: Statement to Manchester Cycle Forum.  See

3. Manchester Evening News. 19 November 2012. Olympic coach Shane Sutton, badly hurt in bike crash, says tram lines around Manchester Velodrome are ‘death trap’ for cyclists.

4. Croydon tram network to be reviewed in wake of coroner Selena Lynch’s warnings over death of cyclist Roger De Klerk.  See

5. Bicycle crashes and Metrolink : A Freedom of Information Act request and response. See

6. Love Your Bike is an award winning Manchester based campaign aiming to promote cycling and help make it an even more attractive, accessible and fun way to get around. Co-ordinated by Manchester Friends of the Earth, the campaign works in partnership with other like-minded organisations.



Alison x  (your 4Manchesterwomen Editor)


Photographs: Free Digital Photos




Frozen comes to Spinningfields

Frozen on ice visits Spinningfields this Christmas



Frozen on ice


Altrincham Ice Skating Club to perform hits from the iconic film at Manchester’s premier ice rink

Opportunity for public to skate with the ‘stars of Frozen’ after the performance


At 12.30pm, on Sunday, December 14th 2014, Princess Elsa and Princess Anna from Disney film Frozen will take to the ice at Manchester Ice Rink, Spinningfields, to perform Altrincham Ice Skating Club’s Christmas Show, Fairy Tales on Ice.




The amateur skating club will be showing off their sparkling skating skills and encouraging the audience to sing-a-long with all the iconic songs from the show, such as Let It Go and Love Is An Open Door. The performance is free to attend, lasting approximately 20 minutes.


Skate with the stars


All of the film’s main characters will appear in the show and members of the public will be given the chance to ‘skate with the stars’ once the performance has finished. There will also be an opportunity to have a photograph taken with the show’s performers – including Princesses Anna and Elsa. The cast will be skating with the public after the show until 3.30pm.


Family hub


Both children and adults can warm-up post skate in the cosy, family hub next to the ice rink, which is complete with a selection of craft/board games to keep the young ones occupied until early evening.

Families wishing to stay for dinner can mix and match from the multitude of hot food vendors, designed to suit every palate. Vendors include Wood Fire and Smoke, Bangers and Bacon, Big Al’s BBQ, Crepe Chateau and Manchester Coffee Co., perfect for children!

Guests can wind down with live acoustic performances from 5-7pm in the hub.


Buy tickets


Tickets for the day can be purchased online and it is a first come, first served basis. Once the ice-skating sessions are booked with the performers there will not be an opportunity to pay on the day.

Tickets for the day cost £7.00 for children and £9.00 for adults. Family tickets are also available to book starting at £23.00.


Manchester ice-rink at Spinningfields


The ice rink is located on The Lawns, giving the public the chance to enjoy skating under the stars.


Ice Rink at Spinningfields


Open to the public seven days a week from 10.30am until 9pm at weekends and 3.10pm until 9pm Monday – Friday, the rink will also provide a viewing platform for those who would rather spectate than skate.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Spinningfields





Insanity Workout Classes

Are you ready to dig deeper with Transform Personal Training?


The Insanity workout regime is massive in the US – and it’s taking the UK by storm.

Shaun T (Thompson) is a fitness trainer and choreographer who is best known for his Insanity and Hip Hop Abs workout DVD’s. He’s taken traditional interval training and turned it on its head. You perform long bursts of maximum-intensity exercises with short periods of rest.

We’ve got Esther Farrington on the blog today from Transform Personal Training. Esther was the first independent Manchester based PT to qualify as an Insanity instructor.


Over to you Esther ……



So you’ve tried the gym and it didn’t work!

Do you know the definition of insanity?

Psychologists say it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Not any more – let me explain Insanity!

When I first heard of Insanity I thought “really”? Why would you give such a negative connotation to an exercise regime?

And then I did the DVD and realised that the name was not attached to the regime, but the results!


OH My Days!

So my only complaint about Insanity was that it was a DVD routine only.

It’s a bit samey, it’s a bit easy to cheat and even easier to talk yourself out of even putting it on in the first place (how grubby are the windows looking in the sun shine lets clean them instead!)


1,000 calories burnt in one session


As  a recently qualified personal trainer specialising in pre and post natal and a working mum, the idea of burning 1000 calories per session is an absolute no brainer!

So I became the first independent Manchester based PT to qualify as an Insanity instructor – YAY!

As  a working Mum I absolutely appreciate the issues you have with gym membership. I only have 60 minutes and people want to talk to me when all I want to do is to get to the treadmill – NOW!

Whereas with Insanity you are with entirely like minded individuals. I’m on a mission! I need to sweat! I need to workout and I need to go home and tend to the brood without having to create a thought process.




The results are amazing. I challenge you to four weeks of classes and lets chat. Ditch the treadmill and DIG DEEP!


Take me into Insanity


So why not forget the gym, and the decision of whether to work your chest, legs, shoulders or arms – LETS DO IT ALL!

Lets be in and out in a hour (if you can carry a conversation well done you).

In the words of  Shaun T – the man himself….

“I’m not trying to hurt you – I’m trying to make you better.”


Insanity classes Manchester



Weekly Insanity workout classes in Manchester


Monday 1 – 2pm Manchester Rugby Club

Tuesdays 7 – 8pm Cheadle College

Sundays 12.30 -1.30pm Parrs Wood High School

Transform Personal Training


Contact Esther at Transform Personal Training

Tel: 07703 569645

Web: /



Twitter: EssTransformsU




Esther x


Photographs: Esther Farrington








Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Katy’s story and fundraising fashion event


We’ve got Katy joining us on the blog today, with her story of cervical cancer, how she used exercise to help her recovery and a special friendship which has been the catalyst for a fantastic fundraising event.


Over to you Katy ……

I was 12 weeks post hysterectomy when, at the start of the year, I had my first personal training session.


Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust


Last August I was diagnosed with stage 1b1 cervical cancer.

After an MRI scan and meeting with the doctors, they offered me an operation to remove my cervix but leave my womb. It means you can still conceive but cannot naturally give birth – I was so relieved and positive. They also needed to remove all my pelvic lymph nodes to check if the cancer had spread.

Two weeks after my operation, I received my results.

All my lymph nodes were clear but the operation had been unsuccessful and there was a possibility that there were cancer cells remaining. I was devastated.

The next step for me was a radical hysterectomy. My final results were clear and I am now cancer free.

After 10 weeks off work and 4 months with no exercise I decided I needed to get back into the swing of things but I had no idea what I could do or how I should be doing it.


Katy & Esther


I chose Esther from Transform after reading on her website that she specialised in post natal exercise, which I thought was probably a similar situation to the one I was in. It hasn’t been easy but I quickly learnt my limits and Esther pushed just enough to get the results and progress I wanted.

One day before my session, Esther told me she was going to organise a fashion show and that she wanted to donate all the money raised to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, I was truly touched.


Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust


Jo’s Trust are the only UK charity dedicated to supporting women, their friends and family affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer.

I relied a lot on Jo’s Trust throughout my diagnosis and treatment, they have a website full of information including an online forum where you can ask questions and share experiences with other members.

I’ve also joined a local Jo’s Trust support group where I can meet up with other ladies in a similar position for a cup of coffee and a chat. We meet at The Alexandra Hospital every month. Jo’s Trust are constantly working towards a future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past which means a lot to everyone affected by this awful disease.


The Fashion Show


The fashion show in aid of Jo’s Trust will take place at 7pm on Thursday 15th May at The Moor Suite, Heaton Moor. We will be holding a raffle with some amazing prizes and there will be goody bags for everyone attending.

We’ve some gorgeous clothes from Eternal Envy and Modiste, all of which will be modelled by Transform Personal Training clients. We are aiming to sell 200 tickets and have no costs associated with the event so every penny made will go directly to the charity.


Jo's Trust Fashion Event.

For tickets to the fashion show please contact Katy – 07812 119 642 or Esther – 07703 569 645. Tickets also available from Ryan Jake in Bramhall.

For more information on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust see:


Katy x


Photographs: Katy Rawlinson





Grter Manchester Marathon 2014

10,000 runners do Manchester proud


With only 54m of elevation, the Greater Manchester Marathon is the flattest – and one of the fastest in the UK. While fast times might be one runner’s goal – just completing is enough for many.

Wind the clock back two years, and I was standing on the sidelines, supporting runners completing the marathon in horrendous conditions. Rain, wind and freezing temperatures. When I heard that the weather might not be kind once more this year, I prayed for the rain to stay away. And mostly it did.


Greater Manchester Marathon


I was back in the same spot this year, cheering on runners from elite to fun. Once again I was overwhelmed by the determination, commitment and down right lunacy of the whole thing. Today I have no voice from cheering and hopefully I’ve contributed to Manchester’s fast growing reputation for the friendliest marathon with the best support.


Greater Manchester Marathon


Greater Manchester Marathon


It’s always impressive to see the elite runners speed through – but I kept my loudest shouts for the hundreds of charity runners, raising millions for good causes. My favourite of the day has to be the beer bottle.


Beer bottle running Greater Manchester Marathon

Congratulations to everyone – runners and supporters. You are all amazing!




Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Alison Staples


Other related articles:

Greater Manchester Marathon 2012





Health & Fitness Workshop

Intelligent Health & Fitness for Busy Women, including the chance to win a workshop place


I like the sound of this intelligent health and fitness for busy women. Tick, tick and tick! But more to the point what does it actually mean? Does such a thing exist?

Well apparently it does – and personal trainer Sara Perry from Renaissance4Women has the key to the door, which she’ll gladly share in her forthcoming workshop. Even better, she’s giving a place away to one lucky winner – so you too can be party to her wisdom!


Over to you Sara ……

Sara Perry Renaissance


I was going to start this blog with the following question:

Did you, like me, shed a tear or two when you watched Davina complete that gruelling 500 mile challenge for Sport Relief 2014?

But then I realised I wasn’t being entirely truthful. Really what I needed to ask was:

Did you, like me blub uncontrollably like a baby when you watched Davina complete that gruelling 500 mile challenge for Sport Relief 2014?

I hold my hands up – I was totally and utterly in awe. Gobsmacked, amazed, blown away – pick your own superlative, I can guarantee I experienced it.


What physical challenges tell you about yourself


Sporty woman with yoga matAnd then I got to thinking how much more a physical challenge like that tells you about yourself than your levels of stamina and fitness.

When I first started training with weights I spent a lot of time telling myself “I can’t”. As time went on I realised that this wasn’t true and at the pinnacle of my training I was lifting 16kg kettlebells up over my head with one arm.

As a result, not only did I become stronger in my body, but my mind became stronger too. If I could lift all that weight and achieve all those physical challenges I could do anything.

I could face up to my bullying boss, and I could start retraining to build a career I love. The possibilities were endless (and still are) and the same goes for you.


You don’t have to ‘do a Davina’


It doesn’t have to be a commitment to an ultra-challenge like Davina’s or revolve around traditional physical activities like running or cycling.

It might involve trying out a new sport you’ve never attempted before, going on a holiday that involves daily physical challenge or aiming for a personal best in something that you already enjoy. The key is to push yourself to discover what you can do as opposed to assuming you can’t.


Women riding bicycles



Then, next time you’re facing a difficult task at work, or have to tackle a difficult subject with someone just remember what you achieved when you pushed yourself and that chore will suddenly become so much easier to deal with.




In my Intelligent Health & Fitness for Busy Women workshop I’m going to be helping attendees discover how to choose exercise that plays to their personality type turning it from a chore into a pleasure along with giving you lots of nutrition and mindset advice to help them start living a fitter, healthier and happier life.

You can find out more about the workshop here.



Competition time


I’m offering one lucky 4Manchester Woman reader the chance to win a place on my workshop (value £97.00).

Saturday 12th April 2014 from 9.30am to 4.30pm at the Manchester YHA Conference Centre on Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4NB.



All you need to do is leave a comment in the box below telling us which sport you’d like to try and why to be in with a chance of winning.

Me – I’d love to have a go at belly dancing!

Good luck!


Sara x





Web site:


Twitter: @Renaissance_4W


Photographs: Free Digital Photos, British Cycling




Other articles by Sara:

TV Workout

Healthy intermittent fasting

Get in shape in the new year

Personal training for 40+ women

Holiday healthy eating

Countdown to Christmas


By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.


Competition closing date: 9pm Wednesday 9th April 2014.

Please include a * in your answer if you don’t want to receive updates from Renaissance4Women.


The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Wednesday 9th April 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.


Previous competition winners (last 6 months)


The Lounge Gallery – win a Michelle Keeling necklace (22nd September 2013). Winner Alison Ferrara.

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February 2014). Winner Laura Vitty.

Ethical African Bags – win a BagsandMore demi lune bag and scarf (3rd March 2014). Winners Sandy Hendry and Jenny Miller.

Manchester Fashion Bee – win an Essential Burt’s Bees Kit (11th March 2014). Winner Angela Norton-Kelly.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – win a Mum’s Mumisms typography print (19th March 2014). Winner Natalie Gillham.



Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Toni W.







Team Honk does Sport Relief

Bloggers across the country take part in a Lands End to John O Groats relay


Blog! Run! Honk! Repeat!

Back in the late 90′s when I was a rookie fundraiser working for Keep Britain Tidy, I sat in a meeting with my boss and the marketing team from a large multinational fast food chain as they hatched a plan ……. a four week Lands End to John O Groats litter relay to promote our flagship campaign, National Spring Clean.

The idea being that representatives from local authorities and community groups would carry a litter baton across the country, travelling between hand over points by environmentally friendly modes of transport. At the aforementioned hand over points, baton carriers would kick off a litter pick before rendezvousing at the nearest ‘golden arches’, eat a burger, have their photo taken by the local press and then rock on to the next destination.

The term ‘A Lands End to John O Groats Litter Relay’ is such a simple thing. Working it up into a feasible, fully costed plan was my job. It was before the days of internet searches and Google maps. There I was with a road atlas and a piece of string, measuring distances and crossing my fingers that it would all work out.

The Dash Against Trash Lands End to John O Groats Litter Relay nearly drove us to drink! With three routes our team was stretched to the limit.

However it was the most enormous fun! It saw me playing football with 1966 World Cup goal scorer Geoff Hurst in Leicester Square, waking through Barnet dressed as Orinoco Womble, nearly taking the top off the support minibus in a multi storey car park in Cheltenham, eating a lot of burgers and sleeping in a lot of Travelodges!



Team Honk for Comic Relief


On the basis of The Dash Against Trash I think I know more than most just how hard it is to organise a Lands End to John O Groats relay.

But while back in the day – access to the world wide web would have required the services of a giant arachnid! Fifteen years later things couldn’t be more different. The power of the internet and social media is enormous – we often only hear the bad things. Well here’s something really good!


Team Honk logo


Two years ago, a pair of bloggers Annie (Mammasaurus) and Tanya (Mummy Barrow) approached Comic Relief to launch some blogger fundraising. Later that year they (plus Penny @ A Residence) were invited to go to Ghana with Comic Relief to help to live blog and tweet the charity’s 25th birthday celebrations. Team Honk was formed!

This growing group of bloggers has continued to support Comic Relief. Last year they undertook all manner of fundraising challenges – blogging and spreading the word as they went. But of course this year it’s all about the sport!



Team Honk does Sport Relief


3,000 miles, 200 bloggers, 12th January – 23rd March 2014!


team honk relay route

The Team Honk Lands End to John O Groats relay (by any means) started in Cornwall on 12th January 2014.

When I say ‘by any means’ I’m not joking! Here are some images so far from Honkers!




North West Team Honk Relay Itinerary (7th – 10th March)


Late on Friday 7th March the baton will be received from Bradford in Ashton under Lyne. Adam from Gaming Daddy of Two will scoot the baton to Stockport Air Raid shelters and Sara aka @missesg28 will collect it from Stockport Air Raid Shelters and Cycle to Old Bedians RUFC.

On the morning of Saturday 8th Feb, Amanda Walsh from Life with ASD and me will walk from Old Bedians RUFC to Chorlton Water Park passing the baton to Emma from The Cheshire Wife who will walk from Chorlton water park to Sale water park to hand over to Charlie from Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking. A collection of bloggers will meet Charlie at Deansgate dressed in various forms of fancy dress to take it across the city involving a pub crawl.

On Sunday 9th March the baton leaves Prestwich at 8am to head to Giant’s Seat with Jennifer from My Mummies Pennies along a family walking a nature trail. Arriving around 9.30am at Giant’s Seat the baton will then be cycled to Moses Gate Country Park by Heather from Not From Lapland and children.

Once at Moses Gate Country Park, Ian’s Explorer Scouts will do something crazy until 11am when Pippa from Red Rose Mummy and Simone from Sims Life continue the journey to Atherton Railway Station. At 12.30 pm the baton will arrive at Atherton Railway Station to pass on to Lisa from HollyBobbs who will walk into Wigan town centre (8 miles) where she will pass to Wendy from Daisies and Pie  who will pram walk to Standish and pass to Ruth from Ruth Writes, who will walk to Burscough ( 9 miles). Ruth will pass the baton to Leanne from Second Time Mummy at Burscough Wharf.

On Monday 10th March at 9am, Leanne from Second Time Mummy and her husband Chris will travel 15 miles from Burscough to Leyland Train Station by bike dressed in onesies, where they will pass the baton to Angela from This Is Life at 11am at Leyland Train Station. Angela will drive to Capitol Centre with a Sport Relief/Team Honk decorated car passing it to Kelly from Preston Precious and Victoria to arrive at 12:00pm at Deepdale Football Museum.

To get involved with the Manchester leg or offer local support please join the Machester Team Honkers Facebook Group here.



Support Team Honk


We all know about the amazingly good work that Comic Relief and Sport Relief does. At time of writing (24th February 2014) Team Honk were well on their way to smashing their £20,000 target – which I suspect will be revised pretty smartish!


Team Honk target


There are a multitude of ways to get involved!

Check out the Team Honk route here – give them a cheer and pop a few quid in their bucket.

Pop over to the Manchester Team Honk’s giving page and make an online donation.

Or you can donate £5 by texting HONK to 70005. Costs £5 + standard network message rate. Terms & Conditions can be found here.


Follow Team Honk:

Twitter – @team_honk #teamhonkrelay

Facebook –

Website –



Get involved with Sport Relief


As with all things in life, there is more than one way to skin a cat! If you’re not directly Honking you can still get involved with Sport Relief.


Sport Relief


The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.


The Olympic legacy was to inspire a generation. This is the first post-Olympic Sport Relief. Let’s hope it’s biggest and best one yet!

Good luck Honkers and to everyone taking part in Sport Relief!



Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Team Honk, Sport Relief




TV Workout!

How to combine exercise and telly!


Personal trainer Sara Perry from Renaissance 4 Women is a genius when it comes to fitting exercise into your daily routine. So when I challenged her to combine a spot of fitness with a guilty pleasure we both share (watching The Real Housewives of Orange County), she was more than up to it!


Over to you Sara ……

Sara Perry Renaissance


It’s true to say that the way we move and act affects the way we think and feel.

A while back I was really struggling to get off the sofa (especially when Real Housewives was on).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still addicted to Real Housewives (please don’t judge me too harshly) but I no longer curl up under a blanket to watch it (well only occasionally).

Now, when the familiar music starts I use it as a cue get off my bum and start squatting.

Yep – you read that right, for the first 10 minutes of Real Housewives I squat like a loon.

The Real Housewives of Orange County

During the adverts (I know the timings to a tee) I get myself a drink and then in the next 10 minute block I lunge.

I do as many as I can, forward, backward and laterally, resting when I need to but making sure I get my heart rate up and my muscles burning.

More adverts and a loo break and then it’s push up time.


Now, while I admit this does mean I end up listening more than watching, it’s ok because the best drama usually happens after this 10 minute block.

And that’s when I finally sit down on the sofa with a brew (made during the last ad break) and relax while the scandal unfolds on screen.

This change in my actions has made a massive difference to my mood and positively impacts on my productivity and emotion in the period before, during and after the programme.

It also means I make sure I get a workout in without feeling like it’s intruding on my day. And that is one of the keys to making fitness a part of your life. Unless you’re a gym bunny who loves exercise you need to find ways of incorporating it in your day.

I look at some simple ways to do this on my Intelligent Fitness For Busy Women workshop.  Signup to receive priority notification of the details along with an amazing EXCLUSIVE early bird offer here.

For more information about The Real Housewives of Orange County click here.


Sara x

Photographs: Renaissance 4 Women, Wikipedia


Other articles by Sara:

Healthy intermittent fasting

Get in shape in the new year

Personal training for 40+ women

Holiday healthy eating

Countdown to Christmas









Bootcamp in the Snow!

Work up a sweat at Chill Factore


Snow and boot camp!! When the invitation came through to visit this new exercise class the comedy value was too enormous to resist!

Unfortunately I was shampooing a poodle on the proposed date, so asked one of our regular guest bloggers – Charlie (she’s training for the London Marathon) to pop on an extra vest and try it out.


Over to you Charlie ……



I’ve done a lot of things when it comes to exercise!

Running, gym classes, spin, weights, circuits.

I’ve even tried a little ice skating and Cross Fit.

But Chill Factore are offering something a little bit different, that even I thought twice about before agreeing to. Bootcamp in the snow.


And it’s exactly what it sounds like. A full hour of bootcamp or circuit style exercises in the snow, at an ambient temperature of around -2°C. The lower temperature means that you burn more calories (read more about that here).

Ever curious, I set off to find out what this fitness session was really like.

I have to admit, I’ve never been to Chill Factore before, despite living almost on it’s doorstep. Perhaps that’s the reason, familiarity and knowing it’s ‘just there’ mean it’s the last place you stop by.


Chill Factore


I didn’t realise it has it’s own restaurant, a gelato bar, pub and coffee shop – let alone the various sports shops on site. Just turning up was a bit of a revelation.

After heading to the reception desk and collecting my ticket, it was time to get kitted up. You can, of course, do the session in your own gear – but included in the price of your ticket is a pair of ski pants, a jacket and a pair of snow boots – the latter essential for running about in the snow.

Trying on a couple of pants for size (I have a rather curvy figure which means that I did have one or two issues with the unisex nature of the ski pants) I was soon kitted up and headed out onto the snow.


Bootcamp in the snow


The trainer, Gary Novak, soon had us all warming up on the snow. From star jumps to holding plank and side plank, our ski gear soon got very warm and we were very red faced, despite the temperature around us.

Once our cheeks were rosy, he set up the circuits – polar bear wrestling, snow angels, press ups in the snow and punching the penguin were all on the agenda.

Penguin boxing!

Paired up, we were given one minute on each exercise, 20 seconds to move to the next station – there were seven stations in all.

Whilst this sounds like hard work, I can honestly say it was a lot of fun. Running about on the snow, pushing a tyre with your partner seated in it, using boxing gloves to punch a foam penguin on the nose – there was laughter, sweating (and maybe a little swearing). I absolutely loved it.

If you fancy something a bit different, or just something where you can laugh just as much as you exercise, this is by far the class for you. A great group and a great trainer, mean it’s a whole heap of fun and before you know it, your hour is up and it’s time to head home.

Just try not to stop off at the Hot Choc Hut on the way home.

For more information about Bootcamp in the Snow visit

(cost = £8.00 or book six sessions and pay just £40.00)


Charlie x


Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the Manchester WI.


Other articles by Charlie:

Felt Christmas tree decorations

How to jazz up an old jumper

Rorschach Print T-Shirt

Easy Fabric Brooch Turotial



Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show








Healthy Intermittent Fasting

A FAST way to lose weight?


Intermittent fasting seems to be all the rage for weight loss at the moment. But what’s it all about? We asked our regular health and fitness blogger Sara Perry from Renaissance4Women for a bit of advice …… and in the process she’s offering an exclusive deal to 4Manchester Women readers. Blue Monday – what Blue Monday!


Over to you Sara ……

Sara Perry Renaissance


It became big news this time last year and we’re still as keen on it today.

Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about intermittent fasting (IF).

If you haven’t heard of it (and goodness knows how you’ve managed that), IF is the process of minimising or cutting out your food intake for a number of days (usually 2 or 3) every week.

Now, I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of the 5:2 or 4:3 diet or other Fasting diets, there’s enough stuff out there on those already.


What I am going to share with you is how I use fasting to help my weight loss / maintenance efforts.

Because the truth is, I fast every single day.

Between the hours of about 7.30 at night (when I have my dinner) and 8.00 the next morning I don’t eat a thing, therefore I fast.

Because that’s exactly what a fast is – a break from food.


Combining fasting with sleep


And what’s so good about my daily fast is that I combine it with sleep which not only makes it a lot flipping easier, but also means I get all of the fat loss benefits of sleep too.


Woman sleeping


This natural way of fasting, coupled with good quality sleep  gives your body and brain a chance to rest, repair and restore which helps you function effectively both on a practical level i.e. at work or at home and on a cellular level i.e. having in-sync  hormones that give you energy, effectively burn fat and help you lose weight.


eat less CRAP


Combine this daily fast with eating less CR*P and more FOOD

This means I no longer “go on” or “fail at” a diet.

Instead I have a simple recipe for fitness, health and happiness all day every day.

I use simple principles like this in my Way of Life Online (click here) and Face to Face (click here) Coaching Plans.




Exclusive Offer


And at the moment  I’m offering 4Manchester Women readers a really great deal.

Sign up and start a 10 week Face to Face Plan before February 29th 2014 and you’ll receive a further PT session absolutely free!

What’s more you’ll get a free E Cookbook packed with simple to follow fat loss recipes.

Not got time to commit to face to face coaching? 

That’s cool. Sign up and start your 8 week Online Plan before February 29th 2014 you’ll receive £10.00 towards your first week’s shopping bill plus a free E Cookbook.

So what are you waiting for?

Give me a call on 07515 702500 or email info@renaissance4women quoting WOLP4MCRW to receive your bonuses and start your journey to a fitter, healthier and happier life today.


Sara x





Web site:


Twitter: @Renaissance_4W


Photographs: PlanetChopstick on Flickr




Other articles by Sara:

Get in shape in the new year

Personal training for 40+ women

Holiday healthy eating

Countdown to Christmas






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