Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2013

It's often interesting to see what people actually read on my blog. Here my posts from this year that had the most visitors:

  1. Change4Life be food smart
  2. Tonka Town Fire Station
  3. National Trust 50 things before 11 3/4 at Wray Castle (helps being linked on castle web site!)
  4. Quick reads review and giveaway
  5. Tree Fu Tom magic sapstone belt
  6. Easter gift ideas
  7. Blingles glimmer glam styler
  8. Early spring day at Whinlatter
  9. Butlins ambassadors being entertained at Bognor Regis
  10. Recipe for ratatouille and soup (my Pintrest success story)
So it looks like people are interested in healthy eating, toys, 50 things with the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and Butlins! Wonder what 2014 will bring..

Challenge 2014

Oh dear I just looked at last year's resolutions. Let's just say it doesn't look good...

1) Carry on getting in shape and actually lose some weight

Well this one isn't a complete white wash. I have actually dropped nearly a dress size though the scales haven't shifted very much.

2) Learn to knit

Nothing to see here...

3) Sort the house out

Well I did get my son's room looking a lot better when I swapped all the kids' storage around. He does now mostly have floorspace to play on! My daughter's room has been a work in progress since we started converting it to a tween room. Hopefully it won't be long until her's is finished.

As for the rest I sort it and it goes backwards... Oops need to do better!

4) Read another 100 books

Well this doesn't appear to have succeeded this year. Apparently I have only read 69! I am sure I did better than that but maybe reading 500 page books isn't the best way to go about it..

So how about 2014 is it the same old same old or something new?

1) Carry on getting in shape

I am ignoring the scales as I agree with Thinking Slimmer that its the size you are not the weight you are that counts. So my challenge is to get this belt off the loosest notch:

Added to this I've signed up to LETJOG14 to see if I can keep on running and do the equivalent of Land's End to John O'Groats over the course of the year.. I couldn't even run for 5 minutes this time last year so I am amazed I am even contemplating it!

2) Operation House

I need to just keep on trying! Small steps at a time so that I can happily have friends round... Need to get children trying harder to put things away to help me though!

3) Family Time

We have such lovely games and toys in this house we need to make sure we spend more time playing with them. So its going to be less TV and more time having fun together.

What are hopes for 2014? These are some of the weight loss slimpods that have been helping me:

Monday, 30 December 2013

#CountryKids Walking with Guinea Pigs in 2D

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My daughter asked for reins to take her guinea pig for walks from Santa. So one appeared for Christmas and as she failed to get the harness on on Boxing Day I had to take over. This was just a short indoor trial but today we managed to use it outside:

Guinea pig on lead
Ready to 'walk'

guarding guinea pigs from cats
Guarding guinea pigs from cats

guinea pig checking out garden rake
Checking out the garden rake

cat on the prowl

walking a guinea pig on a lead
'Walking' the guinea pig

guinea pig hiding

On guard duty
Guinea pig guard

post walk cuddle with guinea pig
Cuddling guinea pig

cat watching guinea pigs
Uh oh!

You can look but not eat!

So not a very long walk but a bit of fun! A little drama at the end when the other guinea pig briefly went on the run and we had to catch it before it became lunch...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful: A Happy Christmas

Ojos World

I really can't top Jo's post for cheerfulness but we had such a wonderful Christmas I have many reasons to be cheerful. I am also back hosting in January so watch this space!

knitted nativity set

1) Remote Family & Friends

The one thing about having spent 25 years living in the home counties is that most of my family and school friends are still down there. So a bit like the wise men the weekend before Christmas we pack up Christmas gifts and make the trek down south. 

My son and I exceeded our record for numbers seen in the weekend this year with a total of 20! Catching up with my brother and his family, my step daughter and my children's cousins was lovely if brief. Then a Sunday lunch with 16 of us based on friendships going back 30 years.

Check out my place name!

2) A Family Christmas

There were 11 of us for the main event on Christmas Day with extended family staying altogether. It was so relaxed being with everyone and my children had plenty of attention as everyone else was grown up. My daughter was put in charge of handing out the presents:

3) The joy of children

One of the greatest joys about being a parent is watching your child's face when they open up their gifts. My children were so excited by receiving the Lego they had asked for:

Plus a few surprises:

4) Festive Family Fun

I have already written about our lovely Boxing Day walk which all added to a very Happy Christmas. It was topped off by a trip to see Hansel and Gretel at the Brewery. Going to the Christmas production there has been a tradition for the last 6 years! This year it was an international theatre company New International Encounter and the production was partly in Norwegian. Here is a snippet:

5) Operation Tween Bedroom

Now we are back its all systems go to try and get my daughter's bedroom fully up to tween mode! We are using to Christmas money to complete the furnishings and fittings and its great to see books coming back down from the loft to compliment the new ones she was given for Christmas:

So why are you smiling?

Friday, 27 December 2013

#CountryKids A Boxing Day Walk

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Christmas chicken

We are very lucky to have local family who live in an even more idyllic spot than we do and that can accommodate us for Christmas. The fact that the weather on Boxing Day was lovely in the morning meant that a few of us were able to go and work off some of the Christmas excess:

Roses in bloom at Christmas

My children had both received Christmas hats too so this was a chance to give an outing to Mr Tiger:

Tiger Hat

and Miss Bunny (alongside Miss Wolf):

animal hats

The country lanes were almost deserted and there were just a few puddles to negotiate or circumnavigate. Along the way we acted out the Lord of the Rings and had to sneak past fields of orcs (sheep) and wargs (cows)! It kept the children happy for our little outing. 

There were plenty of intriguing footpath signs to follow on day when we all have proper footwear on:

public footpath sign

Of course with grown up cousins around my daughter took a chance to take it easy:

piggy back ride

She did then help to rescue an exercise ball that had been blown into the beck before it did any harm to the local wildlife:

ball rescue

This little section of footpath was nicely tucked away although the beck itself was close to over flowing after all the rain:

footpath gate

This area used to be a hive of wood turning just like the village of Staveley close by. You can still see the evidence of the mills along the beck:

mill drainage

old mill race

A great way to clear out the cobwebs and drag the children away from their new toys!

Monday, 23 December 2013

#TeamHonk Sport Relief Bloggers Relay

I signed up to help in the Team Honk Sport Relief Bloggers' Relay which is trying to get a baton from Land's End to John O' Groats to celebrate 25 years of Comic Relief. The catch is no petrol vehicles allowed... At the minute I am just about on my own to get the baton from Kendal to Darlington between the 13th and 15th of March which is 65 miles.

So I am looking for people to come and take part to work out how we can manage it. Not sure I can walk or run that far but could possible cycle in company on the Saturday...


If you can help in any way with getting that baton across the Pennines then please let me - I don't want to let Team Honk down...

Friday, 20 December 2013

#CountryKids Sheep on the school run

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

One of the things I love about this time of year is that the farmer brings his ewes down to the field nearest my children's school. Its lovely to see them close up and I can't wait until the lambs arrive in spring. We will then have to allow extra time to stop and look at them gambolling. Until then we just enjoy getting nearer to the sheep:

field of sheep

field of sheep

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful: It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas #R2BC

Ojos World

Well my children broke up from school yesterday and I only have tomorrow to get through so it's nearly properly Christmas! So here are my reasons to be cheerful this week:

1) Proud Mummy

This week a couple of reasons to be proud of my son. First of all running his first race:

mother and son runners

Then 2 days later he made his debut singing with his school (to hear them go here):

Staveley Choral Society

I am sorry I missed hearing my daughter in the school Christingle as her class had learnt Silent Night in Polish! It's great that my children are happy to perform in front of an audience.

2) Me time

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Workout Wednesday Week 4: Langdale Christmas Pudding

The day came this Saturday that I have been training for and the 10 km Langdale Christmas Pudding Race. I've already written about my son's fun run so time to do my race.. 

First up it was like a monsoon as we prepared to start so we were soaked before we even got going. I made a rookie mistake of starting at the back and got held up by really slow runners. Eventually I got to race speed and enjoyed the outward leg to Elterwater. My lack of hill training showed on way back as I really struggled on all the ups. Still I ran 7.1 km of the total:

My Moves Langdale

I just about managed a sprint finish whilst being encouraged by son and dad and the official photographer from Athletes in Action:

last 0.5 km run

This was my relieved but happy face:

Our reward for finishing a t-shirt (very useful when you are cold and wet!) and a Christmas pudding:

holding my prizes

Pleased with not being last as there were 50 people after me and a few that didn't make it. I also had some good times with 1 hour 5 minutes in total:

Strava efforts

So who is joining me in April to try and beat the 1 hour mark?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A beautiful day in south Cumbria

a frosty field
A frosty start

sheep grazing in morning sun
sheep grazing in morning sun

a tranquil River Kent
a tranquil River Kent

our mighty oak now leafless
our mighty oak now leafless

Kendal parish church stained glass
Kendal parish church stained glass

Kendal parish church stained glass
Kendal parish church stained glass