“Gym? I thought you said Gin!” – A Beets Blu Heart Monitor Review

Run, Forrest, run!

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Exercise.

I need to do more of it, but I also need more hours in the day.

I was trying to get back to playing hockey on a Saturday, but with Mr Knutts working such long/sporadic hours and the kids busy lives, I can’t get to training which is disruptive to the team and I don’t feel like I am at my best unless I am training, so this is probably going to be canned for the time being.

All is not lost though. The toddler has recently started preschool which gives me 2.5 precious hours (by the time I get home from dropping him off) three mornings a week to do ‘stuff’. Before he started preschool,  I had every intention of getting on the treadmill in the garage for half an hour when I get in on those days and then cracking on with my chores. 6 weeks in…I’ve only managed that 6 times. Pitiful eh?!

I have good intentions, I really do, but life happens. I have errands to run, I have things to write, I have housework to do, things crop up. It is easy to make excuses, I know, but I really am trying. Promise…

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The other week, the people at Beets Blu messaged me and asked if I would like to review one of their Heart rate monitors. It was like a sign from the exercise gods, telling me to get off my shapely (ahem) backside and do something, so I said yes please and decided to use it as something to spur me on to do some exercise and, amazingly, it has worked you know! These last 2 weeks I have managed 2 runs on the treadmill per week, so 4 runs in total and I actually do feel better for doing something. I also don’t feel as guilty about scoffing a wedge of cake if I have done a smidge of exercise. Win!

a beets blu heart rate monitor chest strap


A heart rate monitor is a really good way of accurately tracking your fitness progress.

The Beets Blu monitor is wireless and works by connecting to your phone/iPad via Blutooth. It’s worn as a chest strap, which I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it gives you a pretty accurate readout when exercising over a wrist one.

The monitor came in a slim box and consisted of a Heart Monitor/Battery Compartment, a chest strap and a user manual. The instructions were very clear and you can basically use the monitor with any of your favourite fitness apps. I use MapMyRun. After connecting the Heart Monitor to the chest strap, using the 2 button like clips, I then connected it to my phone using Blutooth. This was really simple and easy to do and my phone picked it up no problem.

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The instructions said you may need to dampen the conducting pads on the chest strap to get it to find a read-out so I did this and then put it on. You can adjust the chest strap to fit you by sliding a clip on the side, like you would on a rucksack strap.

I was then ready to exercise. It’s really that simple!

Now for the hard part. Actually exercising.

Urgh.

I ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill on an interval session (so I changed my speed as I ran) and left the monitor on to do it’s thing. I didn’t notice it on to be honest, Being a woman, I did think the fact it was worn as a chest strap would be awkward with a sports bra on but actually, it sat just below it and I hardly knew it was there once I was sweating profusely (and stifling a few swears because I thought I had been running for 15 minutes and apparently I was only 6 minutes in. Nightmare).

Once I had finished my workout, I sat down and had a look at the read out from the monitor on my fitness app. From what I could tell, the monitor had picked up my Heart rate really well and showed how much I had pushed myself, as well as allowing the app to break down how many calories I had burned, etc. Sadly, even after a 30 minute run, I had only burnt off enough calories to allow me half a Mars Bar and an apple, but still, it’s better than nothing isn’t it…

I also used it when I played a hockey match the other week and I had the same accurate results then too.

Then, at the weekend, Mr Knutts stole it (and sweated all over it, bleugh!) so he could use it on a bike ride. He was really impressed with its accuracy and said he also preferred it over a wrist one for exercise purposes.

For me, if I was just tracking day to day steps, a monitor on the wrist would be more preferable because I don’t like the thought of having this chest strap on all day (a bra is uncomfortable enough thanks!) but for exercise purposes, this ‘on the chest’ type of monitor is preferable for me.

If you’re looking for a stocking filler for that fitness fanatic you know (nope, that’s not me) or if you want to try one for yourself, you can find the Beets Blu Heart Rate Monitor by using this link. It retails at approximately £29.95 on Amazon.


 Do you use a heart rate monitor when exercising?

If so, which one?

(Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to collapse on the sofa. All this talk of exercise has completely exhausted me. Zzzzzzzz)


Disclosure: I was sent a Beets Blu heart Rate monitor for the purpose of this review. All words, thoughts, photos and opinions are my own.



Kids activity idea: Capture the flag (from Percy Jackson)

“At the end of the day, a kid should have dirty feet, messy hair and a smile on their face”.

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All kids love to be outdoors. I know some of my best childhood memories are of long summer days spent playing outside in the street, or over the common, near my parents house. We had no time limit during the school holidays, we just had to be back before it got dark, and we always did as we were told. Fresh air, exploring, making memories.

Sadly, it is impossible where we live to give our children that much freedom. I don’t feel safe letting them be quite as ‘free range’ as we were, but I still think that getting outside and doing some physical activity every day is very important.

We make sure that every few weeks, we meet up with a group of close friends and we do a good old family walk together. We explore our local area and the kids have a bit of freedom to run about and burn off some energy. These get together’s are fast becoming some of our favourite times, the kids – and the grown ups, especially if there is a pub involved! – truly love it.

On one of our walks that we went on this weekend, I asked the kids if they would mind playing a game I have been asked to test out. They all jumped at the chance and were super enthusiastic which was awesome so I set about explaining the rules to them.


The game is called Capture the Flag, and is based on a game played in the movies, and books, of the Percy Jackson series.

If you’re not familiar with the Percy Jackson series, you can find out about them more, here.

The basic jist is that the books/movies are based on the characters and stories of Greek Mythology, and Percy is a Demi-God – meaning he is the son of a mortal woman called Sally and a Greek God, Poseidon.

He struggles at school but soon realises that there is more to him than meets the eye…and so begins Percy’s adventures.

My eldest is absolutely obsessed with Percy Jackson so he couldn’t wait to get started on playing the game with his friends!!!

I also love the stories and I think it is great that my eldest already knows so much about Greek Mythology at such a young age, it really helps capture the imagination and makes for some pretty creative writing by him from time to time, as well as some interesting Ancient Greek lands in Minecraft being built!


 Rules and the aim of the Game

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Capture the Flag is a game played with 2 teams.

Each team has a flag which they hide in their area, or land as my kids liked to call it.

The basic aim of the game is to capture your enemy teams flag by performing a raid into their land to get it, without being caught.

The place we chose to have our game of Capture the Flag was our local wetlands centre. It had wide open spaces, suitable for the kids to run around safely, and a path across the field which acted as a very good boundary line between the two lands. We had made a couple of flags at home before we went by using some old windmill sticks and some coloured craft tissue paper, one Green and one Pink. This would be a really good craft activity for a rainy summer holiday afternoon if you were at a loss for ideas!

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 After explaining the rules to the kids, they were rearing to go and decided, of their own accord, to split into a boys team and a girls team…kids! They stuck their flags in the ground and placed a bag down a little way from their flags to act as a prison. If you get tagged whilst in your enemy’s area, you are sent to prison and you have to wait for another team member to come along and set you free by tapping your hand before you can join the game again.

After a countdown, it was game on and the kids were off!

Giggling, hysteria, happiness, heckling parents on the sidelines, it was wonderful to watch!

The kids spurred each other on, they helped each other out, they came up with game plans and had a whale of a time.

We played 3 games and, I am very sad to report, the smelly boys won all 3 games!!!! The cheeky monkeys!

They were all left laughing with rosy cheeks and sweaty brows. A perfect way to burn off some energy on a rare sunny afternoon!

 The kids verdict on the game was that it was, “Super fun!”. I think that means they enjoyed it!

For me, their faces in the photos say it all…


 If you would like to have a go at playing the game, you can do so by using the rules in this post.

It would be a great game for birthday parties, for schools to use in PE, as a warm up exercise at sports clubs or just for a large group of friends to play together, like ours did.


You can also buy the new book in the Percy Jackson series, The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo – Book 1)  here! It’s sure to be another good one, full of action and adventure, and I know my 8 year old lad is desperate to read it.


 Do let me know if you have a go at this game, I’d love to hear what you and your kids thought about it!

Gems.x




Air Drums…

That awkward moment you’re in the garage exercising on the turbo trainer, headphones in, music blasting, have just nailed your high intensity sector workout and are playing air drums along to a rock song and your husband has been standing there watching the whole time…well that.
(Please don’t think for minute this is a regular occurrence – exercising – it’s a rarity and I’m only doing it so I can eat 15 Ferrero Rocher later on…)