Days 15 – 16 #5ways2wellbeing and a guest blog post from Richard Chester

Day 15 was spent at a local dementia conference packed full of research, projects and questions for the future. I have to say I was shattered by the end so decided to TAKE NOTICE and relax with some good food, a film and a cuddle from the bears.

Day 16 and I have come across two great items on the internet for KEEP LEARNING. If you listen to the fantabulous Chris Evans on Radio 2 as well, you’ll know he’s been promoting First Aid awareness most of this week. I’ve just downloaded the free British Red Cross First Aid app to my phone for quick reference.

The second is this great little animation called ‘The Distracted Mind’ about why our brains just can’t cope with using our phones and driving.

Last, but by no means least a guest blog post by Richard Chester explaining just how he works the #5ways2wellbeing into his already packed schedule. Just as Richard says, I hope this spurs you on with your own 2014 challenges

Enjoy … and get involved by using the #5ways2wellbeing hashtag on Twitter and telling us what you’re up to.

100920163041_H B4Marathon Photo 13

My name is Richard Chester and I am the Head of Patient Experience at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, my role involves a lot of sitting down in meetings with patients and carers or at a computer writing reports, I also spend a lot of time in my car driving.

I enjoy setting myself active challenges and then training to achieve them, I don’t enjoy training for the sake of keeping fit!

In doing these challenges I am able to raise money for The Laura Centre a local charity which helps people to deal with family bereavement and continue with their own life after the death of someone close.

Previous challenges I have done include, running in relay the A470 from Llandudno to Cardiff, the Scotland Coast to Coast challenge and the London Marathon twice.

 Apart from keeping active and helping raise money for charity the amazing thing from these challenges has been to take notice of the beautiful countryside and in the case of the Marathon the wonderful atmosphere that goes with it.

My next challenges are to run the 68 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in two days this summer, train for Lands’ End to John O’Groats for next week and in the long term complete the Marathon des Sable a 158 mile run across the Sahara in six days.

Set yourself a challenge in 2014 and go for it.   

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Days 13 – 14 #5ways2wellbeing

Day 13 #5ways2wellbeing was a KEEP LEARNING day for me. Always on the hunt for new tasty recipes, I tried my hand at blueberry muffins for breakfast and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Day 13


Day 14 – a bit of all #5ways2wellbeing

I’ve been looking forward to this day for a good few months. All the preparation, planning and funding talks were worth it.

Beauty and Utility Arts have received Leicestershire County Council ‘Hi 5’ funding to run a four week intergenerational project with participatory artist Lisa Pidgeon and film maker Trevor Cobbe. The project will work with EMH Homes Prior Park and Lewis Charlton School, Ashby de la Zouch. The theme will be the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW1, linking in with a Lewis Charlton’s 2014 focus.

We will be using reminiscence objects, images and poetry to stimulate discussion and participants will work together to produce two wall hangings; one for Lewis Charlton and one for Prior Park.

Today we spent our time getting to know each other – our names and favourite activities and sharing them with the group.  



We started our discussions about WW1 with some poetry, read out loud by two group members. The first was a pro war poem by Leicester born Jessie Pope called ‘Who’s for the Game?‘ which makes war and fighting sound like an unmissable opportunity. The second poem, the well known ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen is a response based on the realities of being a soldier on the front line. 

Participants from Prior Park talked about their own families being involved in The Great War and the stories and objects passed down to them. We then compared some of life today with back then, thinking about the computer games played by B against the 16 year old boy in 1914 with no prior knowledge of fighting. 

Towards the end of the session we started thinking about all the animals that helped during the war; horses, pigeons, dogs and most surprisingly the elephants and camels mentioned in a previous post.

Lisa showed the group the Paul Nash inspired background she’d prepared and next week we’ll be getting our fingers busy, drawing and sewing – can’t wait.



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Days 9 – 12 #5ways2wellbeing


I walk past this building most days I walk into work and it always catches my eye, particularly the AD 1911.

Day 9

Up until now, the only thing I knew was that it was bound to link in with Hinckley’s well known hosiery industry history and many of the other original factories that still stand – often derlict, but protected.

This factory was the three storey Puffer’s Unique Hosiery Works, constructed in 1911, which stands at the corner of Neal’s Yard and Druid Street. Through an Egyptian styled cart entrance on Druid Street, a cobbled jitty connects through a glazed roofed courtyard to a similar entrance on Bond Street. The elevations of the factory consist of large steel windows divided by brick pilasters. It also has a partial basement.

Here’s a link to a 360 degree peak inside …

Day 10 – GIVE

I went to see Lisa Pidgeon today to talk through our new intergenerational project, starting next week. Lisa introduced me to Rochelle, a Nutrition & Lifestyle Health Coach, mentioned in her latest #5ways2wellbeing update and as part of my own experience, finding out more about food with Rochelle, I tried these cocoa nibs. I didn’t like them in the end, but know Lisa’s family love them!

Day 10

Day 11 – BE ACTIVE

A great afternoon spent at Burbage Common woods with friends on a stick hunt. I about had to carry my dogs home, but I think from the look on Betty’s face, she enjoyed it 🙂

Day 11


I have been doing a bit of design research today and this came up – a project working with prisoners looking at prison cell design. I really support the fact that your environment plays a huge part in many areas of life and can see the benefits to this exploring a project like this – the writer does acknowledge there is a degree of window dressing in these pictures that wouldn’t be acceptable in prisons, but I’d say it’s a great conversation starter..





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Day 8 #5ways2wellbeing – Rob Gee’s guest blog post

Our second guest blog post is one to make you smile – Rob Gee, poet, comedian and psychiatric nurse giving in to his softer side.

On his email, it’s saved as a ‘wellbeing based cat blog’, so I’m sticking with that!


I’m living with two kittens through no fault of my own. A mate found them in an alley when they were a week old and my undeniably better half insisted we take them in. To make sure I had absolutely no room for manoeuvre, the RSPCA immunised them, gave them a medical, chipped them and presented us with, wait for it, castration vouchers. So it’s happy days on Planet Gee.

I’ve always liked cats and dogs equally. To their credit, cats are much lower maintenance than dogs, although they’re less than impressive in the event of a break in. These kittens though, have helped me address all five ways of improving my wellbeing. Here’s how:

1. GIVE. The great thing about giving a home to two moggies who were abandoned is that you have a very low bar for improvement. Even when the place is a tip and I’m listening to death metal in my underpants, it’s still better than the kennel. I tell myself that to mitigate the withering look they give me. It’s also made my family happy and that’s worth its weight in gold.

2. TAKE NOTICE. Most cats make up for a lifetime of being fat, pompous and unsociable by being comedy pets in their first six months. It’s Laurel & Hardy, WWF, Formula One and Grand Theft Auto all at the same time. They’ve come into my life just when I was in danger of taking things seriously, and for that I’m grateful.

3. BE ACTIVE. There are those that would argue that dogs are better for keeping you active, but they’re wrong. I picked up the fallen Christmas tree countless times during the festive period and all the overturned plants have been re-potted. I’ve been very busy.

4. KEEP LEARNING. I’ve been finding out loads about cats and what makes them tick, as well as the difference between “clumping” and “non-clumping” cat litter. It’s a joy.

5. CONNECT. This works on several levels. Firstly, other cat owners now see me as a fellow human being. Secondly, these particular cats are great at connecting with people: when we have guests over, they unerringly sit on the person who least wants attention from them. Third, and most important, is the quality time: apparently cat owners live longer due to the time we spend relaxing and connecting with our pets.

So I’ve discovered that having cats might actually be good for me. And whenever they knock a plant over, I gaze at the castration vouchers and feel a deep sense of happiness.

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Days 6 and 7 #5ways2wellbeing – KEEP LEARNING and CONNECT


I absolutely love our intergenerational work, and if things go to plan we’ll be doing a lot more of it in 2014. At the moment we have two new projects about to start (more details soon) in North West Leicestershire and the first is themed around WW1, so I’ve been reading poetry, looking at artwork and researching some of the animals that played their own part in the conflict.

How about this one … an Indian elephant helping out in Sheffield as a result of a horse shortage – many were sent to the Western Front.

WW One War Elephant

Or …

In America, one of the most decorated animals is a dog named Sgt. Stubby, who served in 17 World War I battles and was awarded several medals.

Dog Wearing Military Medals


A lovely, working lunch with a friend setting the world to rights and making plans.



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Days 4 and 5 #5ways2wellbeing – BE ACTIVE, KEEP LEARNING and TAKE NOTICE

I’ve managed to record three of the five ways to wellbeing this weekend and here’s the proof.



Day 4It’s impossible to take a photo in my house without a greyhound getting in it some way, and the little green lump at the bottom of this one is our Sid ‘not vicious’ Brown having a snooze under his blanket.

The trainers represent my attempt over the last couple of months to get out jogging and I’ve finally downloaded Couch to 5k to help things along. I’ll give these blog posts a little more detail than the Twitter and Facebook pages so you can see any links.

To be honest, I need something to work towards, so I’m looking at mud runs for the Spring – any recommendations for ones happening in the Midlands would be great!

The chair is a reminder I need to TAKE NOTICE of my back and sit properly. I’m quite bad at this and my back let me know in November – ouch! As I spend a lot of time at work, I’ve been reading this NHS article on how to sit correctly. I’ve also been looking at kneeling chairs – has anybody else got one? (image courtesy of



I’ve found a way to keep track of all the blogs I like to follow in one place. I know there are lots of versions of this out there, but suits me well.

See you all next week,




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Day 3 #5ways2wellbeing – KEEP LEARNING

For day three of our #5ways2wellbeing project I’ll be researching and ordering pumpkin and squash seeds for the garden. Yum.


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