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diet tips

Top tips to help your diet work better!

Keeping in shape and eating well is important for a healthy well-being. With so many diet plan options out there, there is bound to be a plan that suits you and your lifestyle.

Alongside the diet, it’s also worth considering other areas in your day-to-day activities and if they are having a positive or negative effect on your health. For example, you could be eating a balanced diet, however, you’re not getting the right amount of sleep. This could eventually play a toll on your body and mind, which means it could affect how you feel in general.

Whether you are looking to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, we’ve put together a list of tips that you can follow no matter what diet plan you are with.

1: Cut out hidden sugars

Cut out hidden sugars

We often overlook our sugar intake on an average day. A lot of sugar is found in cakes and biscuits, which can be addictive. Once you have one biscuit, you can’t stop! Sugar doesn’t help you feel full, in fact, it just makes you want to eat more and more of it.

You don’t have to deprive yourself completely of sweet treats. Natural sweetness can be found in many fresh fruits and healthy sugars such as honey and maple syrup.

2: Stay hydrated

stay hydrated

It’s important your body is getting the right amount of water to keep itself hydrated and energized at all times. Drinking water can also help you to reduce the amount of food you eat as it can help to fill your appetite quite fast.

3: Get some sleep

get some sleep

We often forget the most important part of maintaining a healthy well being and is to get the right amount of rest our body needs to function properly. Research shows that a sleep-deprived group of people are more likely to opt for eating sugary and fatty foods rather than healthier options. When we don’t get enough sleep there is an increase of ghrelin levels in our appetite, which gives the brain the signals to eat.

4: 10k steps a day


According to the NHS Choices website, a 45-year old that weighs around 70kg can burn up to 400 calories by working 10,000 steps. It may be worth investing in a Fitbit or pedometer to track and motivate you to walk more. It’s one of the easiest exercises you can do… Plus you don’t need to join any gyms or club.

Go ahead – You’ll be amazed at the difference these simple tips can make to your mood and waistline.

Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers – The Artist

My wife Margaret and I moved to The Elms in June 2011 from a village near Doncaster.

Drawing and painting have always been a part of my life.

My father was extremely capable of drawing. Making images from memory to entertain both myself and my sister, but he was more artistic when playing football or cricket. My mother was a creative in the kitchen, baking cakes and pastries as good, if not better than some of the genii that trace out TV screens today.

woodland walk

When reviewing Pauls collection the team at The Elms office particularly liked Dukes Lane (left) as it reminded us all of John’s Woodland Walk (right). Dukes Lane is in Kimberworth, Rotherham. Duke was Paul’s mother’s maiden name, and her antecedents in the 18th century had coke ovens here. The lane joined the ‘engine pond’ to the coke ovens for cooling in the coke making process. The engine pond is behind the Colin Pub (Sir Colin Campbell) for those of a similar age to Paul.

I have drawn and painted since I can remember. As a hobbyist more than anything, but I attended Art college on Saturdays as a 12-year-old, too young to be put on the register.

Fynn brownett

The painting of the dog is of Ann’s ‘Mad Sprocker’, Fynn. Ann commissioned Paul to paint Fynn from a photograph as a surprise for her husband at Christmas.

I started in earnest in a creative way when I was made redundant from British Steel 45 years ago. I went to art school as a mature student (clothed and fed by my wife of 12 months) and studied graphic design.

Sarah wilburn

Of course many of you will recognise Sarah in her portrait.

I worked in Ad agencies, graphic design studios, ‘in-house’ studios, self-employment (free-lance, a term from the middle ages meaning a lance for hire) part-time and full-time lecturing. All the time building up an experience of artistic skills and knowledge. Because I’d always wanted to be an artist.

I then reached the default age!

This enabled me to try and make my way in the world as an artist. I have had exhibitions in this area and gone back to my roots to exhibit in ‘Open’ exhibitions, I even ‘judge’ the Artist bade for some friends at their cub’s group.

Thank you.

Paul J Rodgers


How to re-charge your happiness levels in 2018!

You’ll be surprised to know a lot of time and research has gone into understanding what makes us humans happy and how it affects our bodies and minds. And in fact, scientific research proves that people who are happy live longer and live a much healthier life.

We experience an array of emotional highs and lows throughout our lives whether it’s a job promotion, wedding day, losing a loved one or with the birth of a child. But these are only temporary feelings and experts believe they alone are not enough to achieve true happiness in our lives.

There are many different routes you can take to boost your happiness levels in your daily lifestyle. Some of which are so simple, you’d wish you had done sooner!

Get a pet!


Research shows spending time with a pet, can be a great way to release stress and beat loneliness. And if you don’t have the space to own a pet, there are many places where you can ‘borrow’ a pet by linking with local pet owners, allowing you to take them out for walks and look after them over the weekends or when the owners are away on holiday.

Check out these Pet Borrowing websites: Pawshake, Borrowmydoggy

Retail Therapy

retail therapy

We’ve all heard of retail therapy, but did you know studies have actually proven that by looking at objects that are beautiful and functional can make a person feel excited and happy.

Of course, you don’t have to always go on a spending spree if you are feeling low, or else you will end up with financial problems instead! It’s worth considering setting aside some ‘me time’ funds, so you can spend on what makes you happy from time to time. Be it buying a book, a spa day or even a fresh haircut.

Join a group

book club

Being part of a group that share the same interest and hobbies as you is a great way to feel happier within yourself. Studies have shown that people who surround themselves with happy people are more likely to be happy themselves.
So whether it’s a sporting activity, book group or sewing class; belonging to a group that connects to you can help you help boost your happiness levels. Plus it’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

Ultimately, true happiness lies within and in your general attitude to life. Having a clear and relaxed state of mind will naturally increase your happiness levels.

Terry bartlam

Terry Bartlam shares his memories with The Last Summer Wine – 1973

Vanessa and I moved to The Elms in November 2010 from the moors in the Bronte Country.

In 1973 a new television show written by Roy Clarke was screened, it was titled The Last of the Summer Wine.

My Father watched it in the early days but at that time it was not something that grabbed my interest, it was not until the mid-80’s when I rediscovered the show and fully absorbed by the characters.

Terry and Howard

In 2000 we moved to Yorkshire not far from where the show was filmed and I took every opportunity to track down the filming of the show, which could be within a 20-mile radius of Holmfirth, it was a fantastic time seeing many of the cast in person.

 By 2004 I was well known to the crew and many of the cast allowing me plenty of photo opportunities.One day I was shocked when the director Mr Alan JW Bell asked if I would be a background artist for a brief scene in the village of Meltham, I was so shocked at the chance to be in this show, I had to speak to Mr Bell again to make sure I understood him fully, I had to wait almost a year to see myself in the episode, my part last almost ten seconds.

I appeared in two further episodes including the very last and so did my cars, which managed more airtime than me, I was devastated when the BBC announced the show would be no more, all those wonderful actors now out of work and most of an age that they would not be offered anything else.

I have kept in touch with some of the cast and crew but sadly many of them are no longer with us, I am so pleased I made to effort to track them down when filming, the chance to see so many wonderful actors including, Sir Norman Wisdom, Peter Sallis, Frank Thornton, Kathy Staff, Jean Alexandra, Ken Kitson, Burt Kwouk, Stephen Lewis, to name but a few.

Terry Bartlam and Jean Alexander

On two occasions I attended a dinner event which included many of the cast along with the talented Mr Roy Clarke, what wonderful memories, sitting down to dinner with these superb actors.

In 2002 I started a fan based website, and a few years later added a forum, which has worldwide membership, at the time there were several websites for fans, these days mine is the only one still running , I always welcome new members to the forum, to chat about what is claimed to be the longest-running comedy TV show.

Terry Bartlam – 12 Maple Avenue

elms seasons greetings

Season’s Greetings

We’ve had a lot going on this year, especially with the transformation of Birch Grove. The progress so far looks amazing!

With newly built in bedroom cupboards and brand new kitchen units, the home is really starting to take shape. When the renovations have been completed, this prime park home property will come on the market for sale, so watch this space!

If you’re following us on Facebook, you’d have seen all the latest development photos, if not, click here to view the album.

We’ve got a lot more exciting projects planned for the next year and we can’t wait to share them with you!

So from everyone at the Elms Retirement Park, we’d like to wish you all the warmest greetings for this festive period and we hope you’re looking forward to the new year as much as we are!

elms seasons greetings

See you all in 2018!

Our Retirement Village

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded the Silver Accolade!

As some of you are aware, The Elms Retirement Part participates in the annual David Bellamy Award Scheme, which is all about protecting and enhancing our wildlife and environment.

We are very proud to announce that for the 2017/18 period we have been awarded the Silver accolade!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our residents and people in the community that have supported us throughout the year, and making The Elms Retirement Park a really enjoyable and beautiful place to be in.

David Bellamy Letter Silver Award 2017


Stephen Smart

Stephen Smart – Putting life into words!

My name is Steve Smart and I moved to The Elms in May 2014 from Croydon.

I originally lived in Warwickshire for 20 years, working in the Civil Service before leaving financial security to train at one of the leading drama schools of its time in Birmingham and then moving to London in 1981 to find work as a professional actor.

Fast forward 33 years, I finally decided to leave the capital, retiring with my partner Sharon to rural Lincolnshire and The Elms in May 2014 for a more leisurely pace of life.

I’ve had a varied theatrical career, after training at the Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, my first professional paid role (while still at college) was appearing in The Importance of Being Ernest at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre which earned me £5 a performance.

It took me a year to obtain my British Actors Equity Card and I’ve proudly renewed my membership continuously since 1982 until finally retiring in 2016.

Over the years I’ve particularly enjoyed Shakespeare and have been lucky enough to perform both in London and America as well as a memorable tour across Norway (with all its beautiful stunning scenery which is a must visit location) with a production of Macbeth. West End musical credits included playing Che in Evita at The Prince Edward Theatre and Jean de Metz in Jeanne, the story of Joan of Arc at the Sadlers Wells Theatre.

Steve Smart Pantomime

For a time I was involved with the Water Rats Dinner Theatre, appearing in Godspell and Give My Regards to Broadway, before co-founding Bandwagon Productions which went on to produce 6 further musical reviews at the famous London venue.

Steve Smart pantomime

From the late 80’s I got involved in my first pantomime and was hooked, over the years I’ve performed, written, produced and directed pantomimes and from 2000 for the next 16 years appeared as Pantomime Dame every Christmas at theatres around the UK, working with names such as: Nigel Pivaro (Terry Duckworth – Coronation Street) Mike Grady and Sarah Thomas (Barry & Glenda – Last of the Summer Wine) Jack Douglas (Carry on Films) Anne Charleston (Madge – Neighbours) Anna Karen (Olive – On the Buses) Jane Asher (she of the cakes fame) Colin Baker (Dr Who) Paul Daniels & Debbie McGee in his last show before his untimely death, but perhaps the most famous of all those I’ve worked with would be Sooty (Sooty & Sweep)

Steve Smart Pantomime

Away from the acting, I’ve supported Everton FC for over 50 years and in 2010 fulfilled a lifelong ambition, playing in the blue of Everton at Goodison Park, hitting the post with a 22 yard left-footer from the edge of box with my first kick of the game, though I only managed to get near the ball 4 more times.

These days my real passion which occupies a lot of my time is tennis, whether it’s a social session or playing for one of David Lloyds more competitive mixed or men’s doubles teams.

winter fitness

Top tips for keeping fit and healthy this winter!

Did you know, Winter is the unhealthiest season of the year?

During these months, we tend to prefer staying indoors, hibernating in our favourite blankets in front of a burning fire. We’re also more likely to seek comfort from calorie-dense foods.

The idea of replacing your morning jog with an extra hours sleep can be very tempting during this time of year, but don’t let the winter blues bring you down.

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to stay fit and healthy during the colder seasons, and don’t worry… Not all of these tips require you to leave your home.

Get energised!


During the winter months, we notice our energy levels start to drop as we are not exercising as normal, so it’s important to continue staying active.

Moderate exercising can help to strengthen your immune system, thus reducing the risk of any colds or coughs. It can also help you feel more energetic, making it easier getting out of your bed on cold and dull mornings.

NHS LiveWell has put together 10-minute workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Eat well

healthy eating

It’s important to maintain a healthy diet throughout the year, regardless of what season we are in.

Of course, there is no harm in the odd indulging treat every now and then but you should fill your diet with healthy fruit and seasonal vegetables. Filled with chunks of vegetables and meat, winter stews and casseroles are perfect for the colder weathers. 

Also try switching cold breakfasts to comforting porridge, which is also a healthy alternative to keep you going during the day.

Check out these simple winter recipes you can try this month!

Keep warm


If you’re starting a new exercise regime, it’s important to not overdo it.

Ensure to start off with a quick warm up before each exercise to prepare your muscles. This can include a brisk walk or a jog, just to get our muscles ready for action!

It’s best to start off with a 10-minute workout, then gradually build up the time once you begin to feel more comfortable.

If you do decide to brave the cold and take your exercising outdoors, then be sure to wrap up warm with multiple layers to keep the heat in.

Have fun!

Most importantly, choose an activity you enjoy. There are many different activities you can do from workouts; yoga or swimming, so there’s bound to be something you can try.

Now give it a go and battle your winter blues this year!

Steve Vaughan reunion at Koeigsluteer am Germany

Read all about Steve’s life experiences!

Hi ! I’m Steve Vaughan and I live over on Poplar Drive. I’ve been here for just over three and a half years now, and am very much enjoying life here with you lot. I have been told to write this – so with all humility ……………….

I was born and raised in Hampshire, in a little railway town called Eastleigh, near Southampton. My Dad raised the four of us on his own, in a small terrace house opposite the fire station. Leaving the County Secondary School at fifteen, I signed on for early entry into the Army, it was that or the railway.

I became a young soldier at the Army Apprentices College Harrogate in September 1970. It took them just fourteen weeks to make me lose three stone and gain three inches in height, turning me into the hunk I still am today.

Training to be a Radio Telegraphist, I did very well at the morse, ( had a Dan Dare Radio Station when I was 10 ! it had the morse on it ), so was selected along with some others for different training in the second year, for that of a Special Telegraphist. This is a bloke, who takes high-speed morse onto an (in those days), typewriter.

An intercept operator if you will, locate and utilise enemy frequencies, identify and locate their units, inform higher echelons of their doings!

From Harrogate, it was to Woodhouse Eaves, 224 Signal Squadron, a little camp just outside of Loughborough, where they made us go even higher with the speeds and also earn how to analyse what we had taken. For readers in the know, our test speeds were 23 – 25 – 23 wpm.

Except for a two-year period in the eighties where I became a temporary civilian, I spent the next twenty-seven years in many parts of the world, a lot of it is beautiful, isolated, woodland, practicing my trade.

Expanding my skills with Russian voice procedure, German voice procedure, Serbo-Croat, and Non-Voice procedures. (printers etc.). Radio direction finding, (D.F.) Radio finger printing (R.F.P.) and a few other odds and ends that all helped with what we were doing. By now and until the end of my service I was called an “Operator Electronic Warfare”, (amongst other things).

They standardised everyone with new titles but that’s the one we kept. Sounds better than “Telecommunications Operator Linguist” (ToOL). Sigh. Will I be dragged off and shot for telling you these things? No, I have consulted those who know, and I am now apparently so old, everything I know has been written about so many times, we are now all classed as dinosaurs from the cold war, it’s all old hat.

Steve Vaughan playing christmas carols with niece

Also, when at school, two other passions were ignited, one was music by trumpet, and the other music by singing. Trumpet wise, I continued into Harrogate, becoming the solo trumpet of the college band. Then, after many years in the cold, only playing the Last Post at Remembrance ceremonies, and the odd tune in our “Soap Box” nights, I finally got to serve near a band I could play in and became the third cornet for the RAF Waddington band, and the Mareham Le Fen Silver Victory Band, later to become their Eb bass player for some years. Bill the regular moved somewhere else !!!

Making the move to slide from valves for a change and because there was no one else for the seat, means I am now the lead trombone in the Lincolnshire Hospitals Brass Band, which not only starred in this year’s fantastic charity day at the White Swan but is making a return appearance next year, September folks, take note !

The other thing was the singing, loved it, me first serious choir was the Mulheim an der Ruhr Police Choir. A huge German male voice choir, who between beers turned out superb performances. In Germany, these choirs were once as prolific as the Welsh pit choirs were at one time. Then the Horncastle Choral Society, The Gainsborough Choral Society, The Spa Singers (Woodhall), and finally, The City of Lincoln Male Voice Choir.

Who knows, maybe in the future we might start something up here at the Elms? ???? I left the Army in 1997, and have been a lorry and coach driver since. (Cab happy and love it), My present part time, and probably “Twilight” job is that of a runway sweeper. In my little sweeper lorry, early every morning at RAF Barkston Heath, by RAF Cranwell.

Steve V reunion at Koeigsluteer am Germany

I go to many reunions, where I meet up with old comrades, and drink lots of beer, (under protest ), at one reunion, they make me sing “Rule Britannia” in front of a couple of hundred Germans, they join in, more to drown me out than with any gusto for the song.

I sorted through a great many park home parks before I found the Elms, and am damn glad to say I wasn’t wrong. I’ve met and made so many good friends and neighbours here, and am part of a genuinely caring community. Gold dust! The lovely ladies in reception are more like family members than workers, and the lads working around the park always find time for a cheery wave. I like it here.

Thanks for reading, mines a Carling xxx ???? (fewer calories than a Black Sheep, but half as tasty)

Cheers, Happy Retirement!

Steve Vaughan



Why Autumn is the best season of the year!

It’s that time of the year again when the trees begin to shed their weight and we find ourselves spending more time with our fireplaces at home. Not forgetting the obvious reminders from supermarkets displaying festive delicacies such as pumpkins lattes and caramel apples.

But what is it about this season that creates a warm inviting atmosphere that we all love.

We’ve listed some of our favourite moments; see if you agree with any!

Bye, bye summer… Hello, autumn!

The autumnal weather allows us to take a break from the humid summer months, as it greets us with a refreshing cool breeze towards the end of the day.
Autumn is also much calmer than other seasons, not too cold, not too hot – just perfect. Bear in mind, it can get rather chilly in the evenings, so if you’re planning on going for a walk, make sure you wrap up warm!

Seasonal colours

It’s safe to say there is something truly amazing about watching autumnal leaves as they fall gently to the grounds.
And as you go out for your daily walk to enjoy the crisp air and leaves crunching under your feet, you’ll also notice the leaves changing colours to beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow.

Pumkins galore!


If you’re a pumpkin fan then this is your season. There’s so much you can do with them, from baking sweet pumpkin pies, or if you prefer savory then you’ll love some creamy pumpkin and lentil soup. They’re also perfect for carving your jack o lantern in time for the annual Halloween party.
Top tip:
To keep your pumpkin fresher for longer, wrap it up really tight with plastic wrap and keep it in a very cool place, preferably a refrigerator.

Trick or treat?

Autumn is full of around the world holidays such as Thanksgiving and Halloween. Halloween is a great chance to enjoy time with the family by dressing up for themed parties and events, or you can stay at home and enjoy the cheesy marathon Halloween movies. There’s so much to do – the possibilities are endless!

See what events are on this Halloween in Lincolnshire.


Halloween Ghost Bus Tour of Lincoln
Prepare to be spooked on Halloween weekend, by taking an adventure into a haunted Lincoln open-top bus tour, complete with a local ghost expert.

Date: 28th October 2017 to 29th October 2017
Time: 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Location: Lincoln

More information here

Halloween at Cogglesford
Visit the 18th Century watermill in Sleaford to join in with the ghostly fun and activities!

Date: 31st October 2017
Time: 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Location: Sleaford

More information here

Victorian Night of Fear 

Enjoy a night of fear in the Victorian underworld this Halloween at Lincoln Castle.

Date: 31st October 2017
Time: 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Location: Lincoln

More information here