Fitbit activity trackers

Ok so some of you may know that in March last year I bought myself a Fitbit One activity tracker. The idea was to use it to track how may steps I took each day and to encourage me to begin to increase my activity levels. I had been going to the gym for a few months but wanted to have something that allowed me to see statistics on what i was doing each day.

I love my Fitbit One. It is inconspicuous as I clip it to my bra strap. In my day job I am supposed to be bare from the elbow down so wrist wear is not practical much of the time. I don’t use it to monitor my sleep but I do use it for counting calories, steps and stairs climbed. I have linked it to My Fitness Pal and I record my dietary intake and these 2 things have really helped me to increase my fitness levels and lose some weight. I have not missed  a day of recording my steps walked since I bought my One (except 3 days where I forgot to charge it).

Fast forward to Christmas 2014 and Fitbit announce the release of the Fitbit Charge HR and Surge. Now I am an Apple geek and am very excited about the Apple watch but the Surge looked like a strong contender in upgrading my One. So what do I do, stick to my One, upgrade to Surge or wait for Apple watch?

Sadly, I am not good at waiting but I did manage to have a really good think about what I wanted from my activity tracker. I want a device that does not need to be charged every single day. I want to see how many steps I have taken and how many flights of stairs I have managed to walk up. I want to see what this looks like from a calories point of view and use it to manage my weight. I also run a couple of times a week and I wanted to be able to use it to record my runs and the stats from these.

This discounted the Apple watch pretty much straight away. My husband practically fell over when I told him I don’t want an Apple watch. Want and need are 2 separate things and I simply don’t need an expensive watch that has to be charged every night when I have a perfectly good iPhone 5S. Also, I have no doubt that 12 months after buying the Apple watch it will be superseded by the next version and within 2 or 3 years will be obsolete. This left the Fitbit Surge or staying with my One.

The Fitbit Surge looks like it may be quite big for my skinny little wrists and I am not supposed to have wrist wear on for my day job, so something this large would be impractical. What I like about the Surge is that it has GPS tracking for my runs. I then took a look at the Charge HR. Having heart rate monitoring interests me and was what attracted me to the Surge. This means no chest strap. So now the Charge HR is in the running as a contender for me to upgrade to.

Now I really really want the coloured straps (particularly tangerine or purple) and not the black one so I decided to wait until the coloured straps have been released before making my final decision, but then (as I so frequently do) I gave up waiting.

I finally decided on the Charge HR and the reasons for this are as follows. I am serious about my fitness but have apps on my iPhone that can do the work of some of the stuff the Surge does. I have Map my Fitness that has the GPS for my runs. It also gives me my splits etc so do I really need the Surge? My iPhone always comes on runs with me for my music so I can track my running routes using Map my Fitness. I have slim wrists and I think that the Surge will simply look to silly, The Charge HR will look better and is more acceptable for work. Charging is only around every 5 days and it gives me all the data I am after. So yesterday I became the proud owner of a new Fitbit Charge HR.

First impressions: I like a lot. I like that I can see all the stuff I have become used to over the past year with my One but now I have the added interest of seeing my heart rate. It has predefined heart rate zones based on 220 beat per min minus my age and for the moment I am not changing these. I like that my calorie burn increases in response to doing activity that increases my heart rate. I haven’t worked out yet if this will impact on my recording using other apps such as Map my Fitness. I wonder if I will end up recording something twice but I will see how things go. I am going to wear my One and my Charge HR together for a couple of weeks to compare steps but I don’t anticipate much difference. I do wave my arms around quite a bit when talking so it will be interesting to see if this makes a difference.

If I was a serious serious runner then I would be more likely to invest in a chest strap for proper heart rate monitoring but for me the Charge HR should be exactly what I need. I will let you all know how I get on over the next few weeks.



Happy New Year

I hope this finds you well and recovered from the excesses of the Christmas and New Year celebrations. We had a fairly quiet Christmas and saw the New Year in with friends. Considering that I had a poor nights sleep the night before I did a sterling job of staying awake long enough to see 2015 in.

Today we went out for a while (the first proper time since Christmas I think), the weather was pretty murky and on the way home I got this picture. IMG_3172

I am really happy with this shot. It was taken on my iPhone 5S and I have simply made it black and white and blurred the edges. What do you think?

I was going to put it on my Flickr album but I have forgotten my password and thought I could log in through Google but this is being discontinued as is Facebook login and the link took me to a page in chinese or japanese and I am not sure if this is legit or not! So for the moment I think Instagram is the place for me!

Can I get instagram on my macbook? i need to go off and check that

Anyway enough for now. Happy new year to you all and see you soon


Autumn and conkers

Today I have made my Christmas cake ready for a weekly dose of brandy before I decorate it in December. I have never made one before so this is a bit of an experiment. Tony and I have bought a bottle of brandy goodness knows if it is a good one or not but the proof of the cooking is in the eating (is that right!!!!).

While the cake was in the oven cooking (3 hours can you believe) we went for a walk to the cemetery. As grim as that sounds it is a beautiful place to go for a peaceful walk. The conkers are all falling from the trees and the beauty of this place is that the local kids have not found them and trashed the trees to get them down. I took my macro lens for my iPhone with me and managed to get some lovely shots.

Conkers IMG_1781

I am trying to enjoy this time of year but I am struggling a bit at the moment. Work has presented me with some challenges of late which have significantly stressed me out. I am trying to deal with them and little things like today help me calm down and get some perspective.

Anyhoo, must go to feed the cake. Pictures to follow



Hello Kitty

#FMSPhotoaday – Negative Space ….

#FMSPhotoaday Happiness is….

#FMSPhotoaday – Shoes

For those of you who don’t know I have started doing the #FMSPhotoaday challenge. This can be found here and is really good fun. The 3 photos above are examples of what I have been taking pictures of lately. Join in guys no special equipment needed just a camera or a phone with a camera and a little bit of imagination.



Peony by Samantha Halliwell
Peony, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

I am still playing with the various photo editing apps that I have on my phone. My Peonies have bloomed and thankfully the wind has not whipped all the gorgeous petals off yet and neither have the heads all been ripped off by the school kids walking past my house.
This photo was edited in Snapseed and I REALLY REALLY like this picture.

My eldest daughter

My eldest daughter by Samantha Halliwell
My eldest daughter, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

Ok so its not the best photo in the world….but…..what a laugh doing it. I have discovered that my iPhone 4s has a “panorama” mode. Now putting aside the fact that my husband thinks I am stupid and it is panoramic not panorama…thats a TV programme (huh!!!!!), I think this is a nifty little option with a lot of potential.
Take this picture of Imogen for example, one continuous shot 3 images. Not exactly rocket science to work out how I did it, I am probably not the first nor will I be the last but it is quite funny.
There will be more.

Happy New Year to you all and best wishes for 2013.

Pictures of the day

All pictures taken by me on my iPhone 4s with a bit of cropping and some black and white effects.