Tuesday, 22 July 2014

#CountryKids at National Trust Allan Bank in Grasmere

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

We hadn't been to the Allan Bank at Grasmere since the week it opened to the pubic in 2012. So when an acquaintance wanted to meet somewhere child friendly near Langdale I immediately suggested it as a rendezvous. Several members of my family decided to copy us too so that we had 3 generations visiting the place. 

After finding a car park space at the right end of the village we walked up the lane to the property as there is only limited disabled parking on site. My children couldn't resist climbing the rock formation to the side of the drive:

It was interesting to see how much had changed in the last 2 and a bit years! As it was gutted by fire in 2011 it has been a slow job to restore any of the rooms:

fire damaged door panels

Monday, 21 July 2014

Race for Life Lancaster 2014

Sunday was overcast but hot as my son and I headed to Lancaster University for our race for life. We knew we were in the right place with the sea of pink! It was a long walk from the car parking but we knew we were on the right track:

It was only when we turned the last corner we realised how popular this event was:

It was a buzzing atmosphere as we gathered for the warm up and the Cancer Slam dance:

Saturday, 19 July 2014

#CountryKids Nature walk on the River Kent

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

As the heavy rains decided not to show up this lunch time I took a chance and walked (scooted) my children into town to have lunch with a visiting friend. We took the slightly longer but way more scenic route along the banks of the River Kent. My daughter on her scooter was most often a distant dot than with us:

My son hadn't been too keen on the walk but by the time we got to the river he had cheered up a bit. He told our friend what he might see in the water: goosander, swans, ducks and otters! I used the convenient nature boards to engage him and get him interested in his whereabouts:

These boards are at various locations along the river and explain the fauna and flora on that particular stretch. We had seen bubbles and ripples in the water so hoped that we could find out which fish had caused them:

After lunch we strolled back along the river and enjoyed seeing the swans. One was drifting asleep on the water whilst the other was having a good look around:

My son said the swan looked like a giraffe with its long neck. This sparked a discussion about how many vertebrae giraffes and humans have and we have to check to see a) if it is the same and b) how many it is!

To see my daughter scooting across the bridge I put a video on Instagram.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Race for Life 2014

On Sunday I am running the Race for Life in Lancaster. This year for the first time I am doing it with my little boy - I only realised whilst taking part last year that younger boys (under 13) can take part. He was miffed when his big sister was allowed to run with me at Preston last year and I had told him he wasn't allowed. When I did my second event at Heaton Park he came to cheer me on but he wasn't really up to running the distance last year (nor was I!!).

So this year we have done a little bit of training - not that he is keen on non competitive running. He has also done the Grasmere Gallop with me although he hit a wall at 4km and struggled to keep going. The course is apparently partially hilly (not surprising when the university is on a hill), this should be a lot easier than the gallop which had a long ascent.

Of course this is all about raising money to fight cancer and my son is doing it for his Nanny that he never met. She died of cancer just before I married and so my children only know her through stories and photographs.

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful: The End is Nigh! #R2BC

I don't mean the end of the world but the end of term! Here in Cumbria Friday afternoon sees us breaking up for the holidays and I can't wait. No wonder it hasn't taken much to make me happy this week:

1) Tea in the park

Last Friday it was so hot I treated us all to fish and chips in the park it really was bliss to chill out in the sun at the end of a busy week:

Hoping we get more days like this in the holidays!

2) Family Bike Ride

It had been too long since we went out cycling so I took the offer of another adult willing to come with us to get us all out on our bikes. The second half of the bike ride had me smiling once my son got his confidence back:

3) Staveley Carnival

This is such an amazing event for the whole family. I've written a long post about it already but here is a taster:

Shame we have to wait 2 years for the next one!

4) Operation House

It's nice to feel at the end of the week that progress has been made in sorting the house out a bit. There are little areas that look so much better to me though its still very much a work in progress to be be completed over the summer. I even cajoled the children into starting to tidy their rooms and I am managing to slowly increase the number of chores they each do. Not a smooth ride but hopefully it will be worth it in the end..

5) Positive body image

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Workout Wednesday: back out running

It's been such a busy time I hadn't been able to run since the Herdwick 10km so it was a relief to hit the tarmac on Monday. I did my lovely cross country run from Staveley to Kendal and enjoyed just being out for a run and not on a training programme! The river was very low at Barley Weir as I started my warm up walk:

The back lane was very inviting and one day I will go for a run all the way down it to Bowston..

There was no pressure on me and I didn't push myself too hard.  I went off at a good enough pace and managed to run up my old nemesis hill though I did let myself take a short recovery walk at the top. By the time I got to Burneside I had done the route in my 3rd fastest time to day - go me. It was nice to get to the stile on the field and know that I had got to the end of the run:

It was a pretty reasonable distance after a break:

And the race results are finally in and I was 131st with 18 people after me including several younger runners!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A healthier summer

With the school holidays starting on Friday its time to knuckle down and try and get the whole family's diets a lot healthier! This half term we seem to have done a lot of rushing around and we have all eaten far too much rubbish. I need to get us all to eat a more balanced and nutritional diet without dieting. Also if I am going to be a student in September we need to all enjoy simple and inexpensive home cooked meals. 

My son is the fussiest eater of the two and is reluctant to eat his food groups mixed together. This has made it hard to serve up stews and casseroles. So one challenge is to try and get him to branch out more and be adventurous. Not an easy one as he is pretty stubborn and would rather go hungry than eat something he doesn't like! Hopefully as he gets older this will peter out...

My daughter will eat a wider variety of foods but will suddenly announce one day that she no longer eats something she used to love. The most recent one of these is chicken! I think if she had her way she would eat bolognaise, lasagne and cheesy pasta in rotation... 

I would love for them to eat more vegetables than they have been doing. In the summer salads are so quick and easy but only one child eats cucumber and no other salad vegetables are liked. For myself I rustled up a 3 colour salad today but my children would never eat it:

Monday, 14 July 2014

#CountryKids at Staveley Carnival 2014

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

This weekend was the biannual Staveley Carnival. The carnival celebrates creativity and reclaiming the streets from motorised vehicles. After weeks of preparation the day turned out to be hot and sunny as we arrived at the recreation ground which was full of 1000s of people there to celebrate and enjoy the atmosphere. 

With a tight budget after the weekend before my children were told to choose their one fairground ride with care. They both opted for the tiger inflatable and had a lot of fun for the 5 minutes allowed:

Into the tiger's mouth

Leaping through the ring

It was an energetic 5 minute and I think they chose wisely in the use of the money! Then it was time to take up position to watch the carnival parade which loops its way through the village. It first of all heads over the river Gowan:

Staveley Carnival 2014

Saturday, 12 July 2014

#CountryKids Family bike ride

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I am struggling to get my son bike confident so today I was very pleased to have another adult along to help us out on a bike ride. We hadn't been out for 2 months so he was not at all happy about getting on his tag-a-long. Every bend, bump and slope was an excuse to get off. Having a child scream "I am going to die" as you sedately go down a hill on a main road is rather distracting! Some other lovely cyclists even tried to reassure him but it didn't seem to work... so it was a relief to get to Kendal weir (a whole 2 km) and have a rest:

Stramongate bridge, Kendal

Friday, 11 July 2014

#CountryKids After school tea in the park

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

It's been another stunning sunny day up here in Cumbria and when I got in the car after work it had an unbelievable number on the temperature gauge:

So I went home, grabbed my shorts and a picnic rug before collecting the kids from school. We bought a take out from the chippy and headed for the river in Staveley park. Once we had eaten the children didn't take long before getting in the water. Apparently it was still rather cold in there!

Meanwhile I laid down and enjoyed my Kindle with a lovely view:

Staveley recreation ground

Eventually they grew tired of the water and headed back to the playground on the other side of the park. It was lovely watching them help each other on the basket swing:

What a lovely relaxing way to round of our week and get us in the mood for the carnival on Sunday:

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Reasons to be cheerful: running, family fun and good news #R2BC

Thank you everyone that joined in last week with my experiment with the new style link up! We will see how it goes for the rest of the month.. Meanwhile here are my reasons to be cheerful this week:

1) Herdwick 10km

I amazed myself by completing the Herdwick 10 km on Saturday despite all the illness and problems in the week leading up to it! I may have not been the fastest ever but it even some how was my 2nd fastest recorded 10 km run (my previous goes on this route only came up as 9.9!).  It was such a lovely laid back event too with so many friendly participants and supporters. I am still waiting to find out where I finished in the field - hope it beats my 191st from April..

2) Family fun

We all had such a great time at the Langdale Gala on Sunday in glorious weather. There was something for all of us and it was a photographers dream! 

3) Teacher training

Yesterday I passed my interview for teacher training so now I just need to pass the literacy and numeracy tests to prove I am intelligent enough. There will be a lot of practice tests in the next week as it is a one attempt only exam... Exciting to be on the verge of a new and momentous career...

Short one from me as I am shattered after all of the above! Please link up and grab the code/badge if you want:

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Last of his generation

Today was the funeral of my last great uncle Arnold Spencer Jones. I only me him a few times as he lived in Cape Town, South Africa. The youngest of 5 and the last survivor of his generation:



Monday, 7 July 2014

#CountryKids at Langdale Gala

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Running in the Herdwick 10 km gave me free entry into the Langdale Gala yesterday so I dragged 2 protesting children into the car for another trip up until the beautiful valley:

Langdales from Elterwater

As soon as they saw the bouncy castles etc they were much happier and threw themselves into the fun:

The event was officially opened by a parade led by the Staveley Kookaburra all stars:

Kookaburra All Stars