Posts Tagged ‘Lifestyle’

Second Time Stag

Jun 07 2013

Planning a stag for the second time around can be a tricky issue as chances are you’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. There’s likely to still be excess but with a shade more sophistication this time around. A bit older and wiser, your second stag offers you the opportunity tolearn from what you enjoyed first time and shape the stag do to you and your friends.

“It’s fair to say that things have moved on a lot from the days of sitting in smoky pubs drinking all day as there is now a vast array of exciting stag do activities on offer to suit every different type of group,” says Patrick Townsley of Maximise, stag weekend specialists.

“We are getting increasing enquiries from second staggers opting for more low key, upmarket itineraries. Tried and tested outdoor pursuits, interesting excursions and R&R time with mates tend to be high on the agenda.”

To help you celebrate your upcoming nuptials in style, Maximise has compiled a selection of top second time stag do activities as well as some tips to consider when planning your second stag.

Perfect your swing on the course Second time stag golf

Sometimes, simple and relaxing is the way to go and what can be better than a weekend out on the golf course? From the classic, challenging links play of Edinburgh to the lush greens and bright sunshine of the Algarve, there is a course to suit everyone, no matter what your ability. Perhaps you could even create a tournament amongst your friends to spice things up? The likelihood is that your group will all be at different levels so consider a competition using the stableford scoring system which is more forgiving for those expecting to have the odd bad hole!

Get the adrenaline pumping in the great outdoors

Outdoor stag activities are proving increasingly popular and canyoning is perhaps the pick of the bunch due to its unique blend of climbing, walking, jumping, abseiling and swimming. The general idea is to use one (or more!) of these methods to descend down the canyon.  Couple all this energetic activity with the fact that this is done in a spectacular setting near coastlines or large rivers and this activity is a guaranteed winner with active groups.

Wet your whistle on a brewery tour

Let’s face it, there aren’t many men who’d complain about spending the day sampling fine beers.  But rather than just head to a pub all day consider a brewery tour which is a great choice if you want to enjoy a day’s drinking with the rest of your party but with a touch more refinement. All brewery tours will be supervised by a professional guide who will take your stag group on a tour of the grounds and facility of a famous brewery after which you’ll enjoy a beer tasting session with unlimited beers!

Have a flutter on the gee gee’s

Nothing beats the excitement of betting on a long shot and cheering it home as your friends wonder why they didn’t take your tip! A day at the races is always exciting although be warned, you could of course lose as much as you win. Whether you prefer classic British tracks like Aintree, Liverpool or fancy something more exotic such as Budapest race track there’s a surprisingly diverse array of courses to choose from. Your weekend day at the races includes grandstand or equivalent entry and racecard.

Put your driving skills to the test with a 4×4 experience

‘The worse the weather the better’ – that’s the wisdom when it comes to 4×4 driving. The instructors smile to themselves as the clouds roll in and the water levels begin to rise, knowing that terrible, wet conditions is exactly what makes off-roading fun and challenging. You’ll really put yourself (and your vehicle) to the test as you traverse tracks, pits, troughs, banks and a woodland trek with challenges at every turn. The only question is who will take the crown of best driver in your group?

Top tips for a second time stag

  • Make sure you book decent accommodation – just because you’re on a stag do doesn’t mean you have to slum it. You’ll really welcome having a decent night’s sleep and a good shower and breakfast so that you’ll be raring to go the next day


  • Think about your stag do first time around and others you’ve been on and learn from them – what worked well and what did people enjoy the most? Use your experience to shape your plans this time so that you have the stag do that you really want


  • No matter what you’ve got planned make sure that you have organised a great place to eat on at least one of the evenings. This will ensure that you make time for perhaps the most important part of a stag do – catching up and spending quality time with your best friends


  • Chances are your first stag do was based purely around alcohol and excess – although that’s likely to still play a part this time around you have the opportunity to base it around an experience that you and your mates really want to do so take it with both hands!


  • Keep it small and close knit – although it’s tempting to invite absolutely everyone you know as, let’s face it, it’s difficult to find time to catch up with all of your friends, you’ll find it far more rewarding if you stick to inviting your very closest friends. You’ll be able to speak to everyone properly  and will feel like you’ve spent real quality time with the whole group



Elderhood in Action!

Jan 09 2013

The Men Beyond 50 project champions ‘Giving Back’ and ‘Speaking Out’ by older men. Learning from elders (men and women ebbs together) is one of the main ways this can happen and here is one of the most inspiring and practical projects we have seen:

                                                                   The Amazings !

The Amazings project offers “classes, course and wisdom from elders with amazing lifetime experience”.

The website is beautifully put together and features course programmes (from 4-10 sessions) given by about 40 different older men and women in the London area. Some of the courses are activities, some are about passing on skills and stories to inspire others, the main areas being Art, DIY, Craft, Health, Music, Activities, Culture.  It also has short videos showcasing all the elders and profile pages so we can get a good idea what is involved before deciding to sign up. There is a feedback ‘Wishlist’ page, and a ‘Forum’ community page.

The Amazings. Remember the name, and visit the website. We are adding it to MB50 Partners, and I am sure we will be featuring the courses and activities of the elders regularly here!



Weight Reduction Programme

Nov 28 2012


Start the weight reduction programme on the diary date you have chosen, and keep exercising regularly throughout the six week period. Remember successfully losing weight requires combining both eating less and being more active.

Weigh yourself on your diary a start date, and record both your weight and waist and measurements on that day. Also diary to measure your weight on a weekly basis for the next six weeks.

Have a target of 4 to 5 kg for the six weeks (nb do not do ‘crash diets’!), and regularly remind everyone (family, friends and neighbours) what you are doing to lose weight and enlist their support. Use their help for encouragement and to stay committed.

MEASURING (plus Recording, and Calculating):

Like taking on ‘flat pack’ home furniture assembly, before you start you need to make sure you have the right tools, and that you follow the instructions. It is the same for losing weight, but thankfully the instructions are quite simple. All you need is:

a.) Bathroom scales. Weigh yourself today and write it down.

Now diary to repeat this on a weekly basis for the next six weeks

b.) Tape measure. Measure and record your waist size

– at belly button level

– at hips (at widest part of buttocks)

Ask “Do I need to lose weight?” Answer this by checking the following measurements. The  waist to hip ratio compares your size at belly button/ your size at widest part of buttocks. This calculation gives a very reliable measure of whether you are overweight:

– Quick calculation: Waist (at belly button)  37” inches / 104 cm or over = “Yes I need to lose weight!”

– Waist to Hip Ratio calculation Waist to hip ratio 0.95 or over = “Yes I need to lose weight!”

If you want help doing the calculation, there are several quick online calculators you can enter your data into: (or)

 TOOLKITS: Check out the Weightloss Planning Toolkit, Healthy Eating Toolkit, and follow the ‘5 A DAY’ Toolkit fruit and vegetable programme. You will lose weight steadily if you eat a little less than you are used to, and systematically cut out all the following foods for the six weeks:

  • All dairy except for fat free milk and yoghurts.
  • All biscuits, cakes, puddings, chocolate, nuts and fatty snacks.
  •  All alcohol for the six weeks (you will feel much better for the break)

If you are hungry between meals eat fruit (and dried fruit) for snacks. If there is time, keep a food diary recording your main meals and other food and drink intake. Being honest and scrupulous about the foods you can and cannot eat over the six week is vital.

As well as being careful with what you eat you need to think about mealtimes, and your eating and drinking habits:

  • Eat regular meals. This is very important. Aim to have 20% of your daily food at breakfast, 50% at lunch, and 20% at dinner. This leaves 10% extra – fit this in where and whenever you usually feel hungry!
  • Experiment consciously having smaller helpings for each meal. If you get used to eating less at each meal, it can become a new habit, which will help keep your weight down on an ongoing basis.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid all sweet or sugared drinks, but have a bottle of  (room temperature) water with you at all times. Thirst can mimic hunger, especially when there is the desire to snack between meals, so always keep well hydrated.

Review the programme weekly. This means measuring yourself on the bathroom scales on the planned weekly date in your diary. Your aim is to achieve c 0.5 – 1.0 kg loss / week. Do not expect your weight loss to be even; some weeks will show more, some less. Always be kind and caring to yourselves about your progress (or lack of it) and try not to get discouraged if you have a bad week. Refer back to the list of weight loss reasons you wrote down, reminding yourself what you are trying to do. Stay committed and keep going!

At the end of the six weeks repeat the Waist to Hip Ratio calculation, measuring your waist and hip measurement, and calculating the ratio. You now need to consciously decide what to do next. If you want to continue losing weight at this point, then a final target of losing between 5 and 10kg altogether is a very good target. Good Luck!

Facing the 2020s: a job for the elders? Creative simplicity or dismal austerity is a CHOICE!

Feb 24 2012

Most people I talk to, even the alert ones, are in denial or despair about the future.  I’ve been terrified, but I’m starting to feel hopeful.  Many of the threats could be blessings: all it needs is a rapid, radical, miraculous shift of attitude by most people…

The future I’m on about is the medium term: the 2020s and decades beyond.  Try to read this without denial or despair.  The challenges include: peak oil, climate change, crop failures, debt crises, economic contraction and lots more.  The potential blessing is a move to a more local, more sociable, less materialistic way of life.

A few months ago, I wrote a list of the crucial questions for the next twenty years: not only the challenges, but also responses to them which could maintain a fair quality of life.  Although many of these challenges are global, my questions focus on the UK, to keep the scope manageable.

In January 2012, I approached two of the leading UK organisations already exploring these issues, to ask what answers are currently available, what research they are planning, and how I could help.  It’s important that none of us feel useless or irrelevant in this situation.  I’m not an expert in global sustainability, but I do have some relevant local experience (see, and I have some funds in a charitable trust which could help pay for some of this work.

The response from both New Economics Foundation and the Transition Movement was rapid and positive, and in February I’ve had promising initial meetings at senior level with both organisations.

These meetings show that some useful data already exists, but there are major gaps.  For example, NEF tell me there are no good UK forecasts through the 2020s and 2030s for economic and social trends, especially taking account of commodity shortages (oil, precious metals, etc), and the global debt crises.

Based on these meetings, I am now exploring with NEF and Transition a joint research project, which may also involve other organisations or individuals.  The 3 phases of this are currently envisioned as:

  1. A UK forecast through the 2020s of the economic and other impacts of major global trends, including scenarios for the social pressures, eg unemployment, arising from them.
  2. Gathering relevant successful responses to these economic, environmental and social pressures, from the UK and elsewhere, including local Transition Towns.  Highlight issues where responses cannot be identified, and seek to create responses.
  3. Explore how the knowledge, skills and desire to use these responses could be encouraged in local communities around the UK, and among policy-makers.

If you’d like further progress reports, subscribe to this blog.  If you have relevant skills or funds which could help this project, please contact me.

Back to work: Drag or Delight?

Jan 05 2012

Find yourself or lose yourself in the daily task

As we start the new year, you may be going back to a regular job, or not. Either scenario may leave you happy or blue. January seems a good time to reflect on how work fits into your life.

I observe men of all ages talking a lot about work, but in a very selective way. They talk about what they’re doing, maybe moan about the boss, but rarely say what work really means to them. I believe that’s because work is so important, so personal, so bound up with their sense of self, that it’s too sensitive to talk about.

In the 1990s I led many weekend workshops on the theme Find Your Gift in Work: most of those taking part were men, aged 30 to 60 plus. These groups gave a safe place and structures to explore how work and life can fit, and I feel honoured to have shared so many men’s journeys.

You won’t be surprised that there’s a whole chapter about work in my forthcoming book for men beyond 50: here are a few highlights:

  • Know what’s holding you back. Do you have doubts or beliefs that limit you in your work? For example, some men believe they should not earn more or succeed more than their fathers…
  • Are you re-creating your childhood family at work? I was amazed in my workshops to see how often this happens. For example, were you bullied as a child by your father? Was the family always arguing? Did you have a habitual role, such as the joker or the scapegoat? Any echoes in your current work??
  • Reduce your financial needs. Maturing men can feel trapped or pressured about work because of money needs. Cut back on your needs, and free up your choices!
  • Understand about human sustainability. I believe that environmental depletion and pollution has close parallels in human work: this is fully explained in my only published book, The Natural Advantage: Renewing Yourself. If your work is exhausting you, you need a systemic view of the problem and how to change it.
  • Believe you can fulfil your passion. First you need the courage to discover your vision, then you need patience and intelligence to make your dream practical. You don’t have to jump off a cliff, you will find the right steps…

Whether you’re in work or out of work this January, if you’re unhappy about the situation, believe you can change it for the better before this year is out. And if looking within doesn’t give you the clues, look around you: notice what issues concern or excite you, and explore how you could make a difference.