Wednesday, 30 April 2014

#3dates3mths Flirting with Fitness

Sponsored post



After my failure to get a date on my photography course I turned to my other big pastime to search for a potential soul mate. This of course is fitness! The rationale being that if someone was working out in the gym then they were looking after themselves and a good potential date.

So how does the local gym meet up with my search for love? Well I can either workout mid morning or go before tea time. It turns out that the gym at this time of day doesn't have too much potential date material... 

  • most of the other gym bunnies were female
  • morning gym men were mostly old enough to be my dad or grandfather
  • afternoon the males were mostly 6th former or college students and I was old enough to be their mother!

Yes they were a friendly bunch who weren't repulsed by my hot, sweaty self in lyrca and made passing conversation but just not what I am looking for...

I have also started doing some running races so maybe these might be a better place to find a date? Up in Langdale on Saturday there was time to chat to plenty of people who were mostly very friendly. It's a very sociable activity and the age range is much more varied.

Think I will need to improve how I look in my running gear (my race photo wasn't too flattering!) but I may have more chance of finding an eligible man on the running circuit than in the gym. So I haven't given up hope just yet of successfully combining fitness with flirting but its going to be a work in progress.

Thanks Just Singles for putting me up for this challenge just sorry to say that I have failed - for now! 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Time tunnel Tuesday

I was having another sort through my memorabilia boxes to organise them before they go in the loft. Slightly distracting when things from the past you had forgotten about turn up like these treasures:

My 5th form timetable which was inside my pencil tin:


Several photos from university balls with my student boyfriend:


A signed match programme from the day Swansea beat Australia and we were match stewards:



Oh and a very cute little girl from 2004:


Plenty of things to keep and relive the memories in years to come! What do you keep in your memory box?

Monday, 28 April 2014

Review: 4M Green Science - Soda Can Robug

Sponsored Post

My daughter is a budding scientist so we were very pleased to be sent a Soda Can Robug to review:

Soda Can Robug

She managed to almost entirely put it together on her own. I was needed to ensure that all the screws were tightly enough fastened. The little motor goes underneath an empty soda can:

Soda Can Robug motor

And the battery pack goes on the top:

soda can robug top view

The legs are quite spindly and we managed to bend them out of shape slightly (hence the apple to hold up the bug for the photo!). It works best on a wooden or stone floor - on a carpet or rug the legs get caught up. If you don't tighten up the screws enough the vibration of the motor sends the can out of the rings... Lesson learnt we managed to get it to trundle across the floor.

It is pretty noisy for a little gadget! I have failed miserably to video it in action I am afraid. It is a fun challenge for a junior school child to put together with a little adult help. Do watch out for the spindly legs though and get those screws as tight as possible.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Langdale St George's 10 km

Yay I managed to survive my first 10 km post injury in January! It wasn't my best ever and it wasn't all that fun but I did it:



With a severe lack of training it wasn't surprising that I struggled to get through all the 10 km and had to walk more than I did in December! I did make the mistake at the start of getting carried away by the faster runners and I managed a couple of sub 6 minute kilometres. These were way under my previous best speed but I then had not enough juice in the tank for the other 6 km:


I managed to cross the line at a good speed with a grin on my face (it helped that I knew I wasn't last!). It was good to celebrate with my son who had done the fun run earlier:


So now I have two areas to work on in training:

  1. get my stamina back up so I can keep going for a full 5 km without needing to walk
  2. get my basic pace up so that I can consistently run sub 6 minute kilometres
This means I will have to go on two different style training runs for now. One nice and steady and one with some faster sections! Hopefully the combination will work on improving my fitness and so help me reach my goals.

The next event is a 5.7 km Grasmere Gallop which I am running with my 7 year old. I have low target to beat from last year of 41 minutes and 19 seconds. Hopefully with more training I will be able to reduce this by a long way as I run 5 km in about 35 minutes or less at the moment..

If anyone has any training tips then please let me know!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Review: Box of Awesome and Box of OMG

Sponsored Post 

Back in December we were sent Mega boxes of Awesome and OMG and I was happy to receive 2 more boxes to review again! These are boxes which contain a mystery set of collectables and with the Mega boxes there is also a book. The basic boxes are free but the Mega ones cost £4.99 but contain things worth a lot more than that.

First up Box of OMG:


My daughter was a lot more impressed with this selection than the previous one! She loves books like the one included and was pleased to see another Skwooshi and a Zelf. For her this was a better box as it was less girlie!

My son had a Box of Awesome:


This one contained a couple of Skylanders collectables (his current no 1 pastime) and so was a hit in his eyes straight away! There were also some football cards and a plasticine modelling pack from Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles which he immediately wanted to play with. The book is more his age range than the previous box too and its on his to read pile.

Both boxes definitely contained items that in total are worth more than the £4.99 it would have cost. Of course with the randomness you may not like all of it!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 17 - 2014 #R2BC

Ojos World

It's been great seeing more people returning to this linky whilst its been hosted at Ojo's World this month - hope you all stick with it when it comes back to me in May! I am feeling kinda shattered after going back to work after Easter so keeping my reasons mostly to a photo edition this week:

1) Time with friends

It was one of the 3 annual get togethers with my secondary school friends this Saturday. There were 5 of us plus 3 husbands and 8 out of 9 of our kids. Plenty of conversation, wine and good food - oh and of course chocolates:


2) Easter Fun at Sizergh Castle

I already blogged here but this is a taster:


3) Four years of Blipfoto

This was my 1460th daily photo in my Blipfoto journal:


Why are you smiling this week? 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book Review and Giveaway How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

How to Catch a Star (10th Anniversary edition)How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This special edition of the book was brought out to celebrate 10 years since it was first published. My children have grown up with Oliver Jeffers and have read most of his work so it was a delight to be sent this to review.

"Once there was a boy and the boy loved stars very much" so he sets off to catch one to keep with him as a friend. Jeffers quirky illustrations and simple texts tell the story in such a delightful way. As adults we know that everything he tries is bound to fail but from a child's point of view things might just work.

I read this to my 7 year old and then discovered that my 10 year old had been listening too and her reaction was that it was 'delightful' and she came out of her room to run off with the book!

This is a must for any young child's book shelf and story you will want to share over and over again.

View all my reviews

I have another copy to give away to one lucky reader! Just use the Rafflecopter widget to enter (UK residents only I'm afraid):


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

#CountryKids Easter Eggs and Woollen Woods at Sizergh Castle

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


For my family its not Easter without an Easter Egg hunt at the National Trust! My daughter went with my parents on Saturday but as we were away my son and I had to wait until yesterday to go... Our destination was Sizergh Castle just down the road. At this time of year its a beautiful place to visit so everyone is happy. On handing over our £2 we were given a quiz sheet and a world map and told where to start the trail. My son was off like a shot:

reading the easter egg hunt sheet

this way mummy Eggsploring at Sizergh

Each clue was about countries this year and there were flags with country names on. There was a question to answer each time and we had to mark the country on the map (younger children just counted flags!). My son just about gave me time to look at the beautiful flowers whilst he wrote the answers down:

Monday, 21 April 2014

#CountryKids at Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


The last big activity we did with my family whilst they were up here was to go to Brockhole as it combines fun for children and interesting things for grown ups. With there being a surfeit of adults I even managed to get a run to the site and around it a few times:


running map at Brockhole

And no I wasn't running on the water I ran down the jetty:


Brockhole jetty

Meanwhile the children had been showing everyone around the park and walking the dog. I had spotted that there was a free cycle training event but could only persuade my daughter to give it a go:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful: Week 16 - 2014 #R2BC

Ojos World

Once again thanks to Jo for hosting this week! Have to say I am not just smiling this week but grinning from ear to ear and here is why:

1) Family Fun

Think I will need a holiday to recover from this holiday with all the days out we have had! Cycling to Wray Castle, local fun at Damson Day, an adrenalin rush on Go Ape Junior, hunting for the Gruffalo at Grizedale, hiking from Elterwater and a day at Brockhole. There has been a lot of faces looking like this this week:

smiling girl

2) Blue skies

It's been wonderful to have so many days with blue skies which has enabled a lot of this fun to go on:


3) Winning things

I know I have had some lucky wins in the past but in one day I found I out that I had one two. The best one is a week's holiday in Cornwall thanks to their tourist board! Due to restrictions on dates we have to wait until next Easter to take it but something really exciting to look forward to. Just wish I'd been able to invite more of my family but will be great for my children to spend time with their only cousin.

Then I won tickets to see the Liverpool Philarmonic just a shame I can't get there and I am asking my family if they can go instead! Hey ho hope someone makes the most of my windfall..

Why are you smiling this week?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

#CountryKids A hike from Elterwater to Cathedral Quarry

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

The good thing about having family up to visit is that you get to go and repeat some of your favourite walks! Today it was a glorious sunny one in Cumbria very different from the last time we went to Elterwater so perfect for a 3 generation plus dog walk. We were up and out fairly early in order to get a space in the National Trust car park at Elterwater. The walk (estimated 3 hour 50 minutes) starts from here with a very well looked after path:

Elterwater walk

We hadn't got very far along this section when the three children decided that throwing gravel into the river was a great way to start a walk:

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

#CountryKids On a Hunt for the Gruffalo at Grizedale

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Having thoroughly enjoyed the Stick Man trail during the winter we were keen to try out the new Gruffalo trail. For a change we were at Grizedale forest as we were going to be trying out Go Ape Junior later in the day. We were joined by a friend and her 3 year old to test it out. 

We were given the trail leaflet by a friend who had been 2 days before which saved us £2. She had also told us where the trail started so we just headed up the blue trail where we found the start of the information boards. 

welcome to the deep dark wood

The first challenge board asked the children to move like the various animals in the story. My daughter duly posed for me stomping like the Gruffalo:

stomp like a Gruffalo

To encourage little legs and keep us on track there were little signs along the way:

keep going sign

Monday, 14 April 2014

Review: Go Ape Junior at Grizedale

Sponsored Post

Today saw the opening of Go Ape Junior at Grizedale and we were amongst those lucky enough to be invited along to try it out! Having experienced the full Go Ape at Whinlatter my daughter and I were keen to try out another course. I hoped that my 7 year old would try it out but his fear of heights was too much. So it was only the 2 of us that headed up to the new course to give it a go:

Go Ape Junior Grizedale

It looked like a giant tree house! As you would expect safety is paramount and before we were allowed to ascend. Unlike the full course you are permanently attached to the safety line and it only comes off once you are back on the ground:

Saturday, 12 April 2014

#CountryKids at Damson Day

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


There has been a celebration of the local damson harvest in the Lyth valley since 1998. This is the first year that all of us have managed to go along. It was a great day out for all of us despite the weather not being as good as yesterday.

It was a day designed with the whole family in mind. My children decided straight away that they were going to have a go at archery:

have a go archery

Friday, 11 April 2014

#CountryKids Cycling to Wray Castle

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I have been struggling to get us out as a family cycling happily due to the contrasting levels of confidence and ability that a 3 year age gap makes. Having to watch one shoot off into the distance whilst the other constantly stops is a nightmare. So I was very happy to acquire a second hand tag a long yesterday to try and make cycling more enjoyable. We took advice from the Go Lakes web site on cycling in Cumbria and headed over on the ferry to the western shore of Windermere:

Waiting at Ferry Nab

It adds to the fun to take the ferry and at £4.30 for a car its cheaper than the car park! Once over the water we made use of our National Trust membership to park for free at Harrowslack. Then my daughter and I assembled my son's new mode of transport:

Tag a long on adult bike

My daughter looked very professional in her cycling gear:

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 15 #R2BC

Ojos World


Doesn't time fly so that this linky speeds around! So many folks joining back in which is fabulous to see too. Glad they have rediscovered it via my co-host at Ojo's World Here are my reasons this week:

1) Time together as a family

We had a very laid back day last Saturday and we were all very chilled out. It bodes well for the next fortnight as we enjoy our much needed Easter holidays. Hopefully lots of cheeky grins like this one:



2) Spring flowers

The daffodils are really hitting their peak at the moment. This is just one of the many beauties outside my school:


daffodil

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Workout Wednesday A Mixed Bag!

It's been a bit of a mixed week this week. I did apparently manage to do quite well for total workouts recorded on the Garmin:

mapmyrun data

That was 3 runs and 1 walk to work. I did so some more walking on the Monday that wasn't recorded and on Tuesday thanks to my kids' having activities at opposite ends of the village I clocked up a fair amount of walking (not the ideal 10,000 steps but not too bad!):

moves app data

Friday's run somehow, despite feeling not brilliant, clocked up some of my best shorter distance times:

Garmin connect data

It was also a slightly longer one for my town route as I managed to add the section around the Leisure Centre. My run back from Staveley to home on the Monday was marginally longer though not super speedy...

Today I attempted to squeeze in a quick run after I finished work early. Not sure why but I hated most of the run! Nothing really felt right... I cut it short and only did 5.5 km of which around 4 was at a run... Not good when my next event is on the 26th..

Really hope I get to run over next fortnight with my kids both at home. My son likes to run but shouldn't go too far. My daughter prefers to cycle. I am sure we can find a compromise somehow!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Where does the time go?

Tonight with my daughter I attended the first proper event on her road to secondary school. It was a road show where one of the local secondaries visited her current primary to let pupils and parents know what they have to offer. I can't believe that my daughter is old enough to be making this kind of choice! It doesn't seem all that long since she started in reception:



Now she is faced with choosing which secondary school to go in 17 months time! We live in an area where you don't have to go to your nearest secondary school as the schools all have surplus spaces due to low birth rates. This means that there really is a choice and the majority of children get the one that they want to attend.

So we have an array of taster visits, presentations and tempting visits by teachers from the secondary schools to entice pupils to apply to their school! I have to admit it would be a lost easier (and cheaper!) for her to go to our nearest school. It is only about 20 minutes to walk or 10 minutes on a bicycle to get there in the morning. If she chooses the other school children from her primary go to she would have an early start to catch a bus after 15 minute walk to the bus stop. The third option involves walking/cycling all the way across town.

But it is up to her which school she feels that she would be happiest at. The one where she can do the subjects she loves and can offer her extra curricular activities that she enjoys. If she isn't happy for 5 years at a school then she won't achieve her full potential. I know she is very bright and should do well were ever she goes. In fact she would like to take the 11+ and try for the grammar school in Lancaster but it is almost impossible for Kendal girls to get in there due to the distance.

She has until October to make the final choice. With her primary school lying between 2 secondary catchments her class mates will head in opposite directions at the end of year 6. I just hope that whatever choice she makes it will be the right one for her!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Cheats Beef Pie

I am a bit of a lazy cook these days and often lack time to do things properly! This weekend I thought I would attempt something slightly more adventurous but still cutting corners: beef pie.

Ingredients

  1. pack Schwartz slow cooker beef and ale stew mix
  2. stewing steak
  3. tin of chopped tomatoes
  4. couple of carrots sliced
  5. packet Jus Roll pastry
  6. milk to glaze
Instructions for preparing stew
  1. Brown off the meat in a pan
  2. Mix the stew mix with water
  3. Add stew mix and carrots to meat
  4. Simmer for minimum 45 minutes (an hour would have been better!)