Thursday, 31 December 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful: 2015 Roundup #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

I can't believe 2015 is coming to an end it has been such a busy year for my family and myself. Before I hand the hosting reins back to the lovely Ojo's World here are my biggest reasons to be cheerful for the last year:

1) A new home

We moved in the summer into a new place having finally got high enough up the housing list! Having a place we can a) feel secure in and b) make our own mark with our own choice of decor has been wonderful. My children have made new friends on our estate and we are finding the community spirit lovely. Yes its been hard work moving and decorating (with more to come!) but its made us all happier.

2) Qualifying

After an academic year of blood, sweat and tears I qualified as primary school teacher. This is something I had been dreaming of for quite some time so I am very cheerful about it! Now just to try and pin down one of the rare teaching jobs in our local area as whilst I am enjoying supply teaching I would love my own class.

3) My daughter

She finished her primary school era with brilliant results and has taken to secondary school subjects like a duck to water. Not only that but after less than a term of vocal lessons she performed solo on stage singing and was amazing! Let's hope that 2016 is an even better year for her. 

4) My son

He completed his first full season as a fell runner this year with second place in his age category. There is no way that I can keep up with him at all! Not only that but he has taken changing schools in his stride and is thriving at his new one which is 4 times the size of his old one.

Wishing all my readers a Happy and Healthy 2016

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Reasons to be Cheerful 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Reasons to be cheerful: Festive edition #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

I am so excited that its Christmas tomorrow and I will be with some of my closest family. For me this is a lovely time of year which fills me with many reasons to be cheerful:

1) Strange goings on

We were Christmas shopping on Friday and Kendal town centre was buzzing with the Cumbrian market and intriguing folk like this magical lady:

2) Proud Mummy

My son did his first junior Parkrun whilst we were down south and he was 8th out of 88! He was the first boy in the 10 and under category and smashed his PBs for 1 km (by 30 seconds) and 1 mile (by 1 minute):

3) Family and Friends

We had a 580 mile road trip this weekend on our annual pre Christmas catch up. Seeing as many as possible of our close family and friends. Sunday was with my four friends from high school plus our families. Monday we caught up with my beautiful step daughter who turned 18 on Saturday:

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Reasons to be Cheerful 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful: The Force Awakens #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

Can you tell I am excited about a certain film that is out today and I'm off to see with my son later? We've had some bad things this week such as tummy bugs and a broken nose but also all this to be cheerful about:

1) Christmas is coming

The great thing about having a child at primary school is having all the fun events in the run up to Christmas. My son was the Innkeeper in his school play one night this week and did really well. Then 3 generations of us went to the parish church for carols and music which really put is in the mood for the season ahead (the fact that there was no heating due to the floods made it seem even more Christmassy as it was fffffrreeezing):

2) Running

After a cancelled event the previous week I was so happy to be able to run around Grizedale forest in the dark and snow this weekend! This was my relieved face at making it round 10k on a tough course with 16 people after me:

3) Happy mummy

Both my children have made me proud this week. My son got his club colours for 24 races this year and my daughter helped out at a tea party for senior citizens at her school. Love these two so much:

4) The simple things

We have been digging out some board games to escape from watching too much TV. This one Coronation Railway Game (affiliate link) is so simple but includes our local train stations:

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful: A wet one #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

Its hard to be cheerful when my adopted county has been hit by a major natural disaster. But what as shone through is the community spirit that has emerged from the flood waters. So my reasons to be cheerful this week is all about the things that raised our spirits when things were bad:

1) Emergency services and voluntary organisations

Our local emergency services and voluntary organisations worked tireless throughout the weekend to rescue people, livestock and property. Floods, landslides and broken bridges didn't stop them doing what they have trained to do. We even had the RNLI and International Rescue Corps travelling long distances to bring their specialist equipment and training:

2) Making Do

In the street round from our house the manhole covers had popped so the locals used their wheelie bins to stop accidents until the authorities could barricade it off properly:

3) Generosity

People and churches are donating plenty of things to help those who have lost their homes or who need something simple like ways to clean up the damage:

4) Going above and beyond

Builders such as Eddie Lord, Kieran Bland and Craig Capstick have brought their pumps to get rid of water and all at no cost to the victims. They came today to rescue our estate: 

5) Helping out

The builders working on our estate went off and got sandbags using their forklift so that residents were protected from the rising water:

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Monday, 7 December 2015

Cumbria Flood Appeal

We have suffered a major disaster here in Cumbria with homes and businesses flooded, roads damaged and bridges collapsing. The community, the emergency services and army have been amazing at getting out and helping those in trouble. So many wonderful stories of people volunteering to rescue people in their own 4x4s and boats or loaning out pumps for free. Volunteers such as mountain rescue stayed out for 48 hours getting people out of flooded properties.

I am feeling so lucky that our house was untouched by the floods and that I only lost books, jigsaw puzzles and paperwork in my parents' flooded garage. Others have lost almost everything and are homeless just before Christmas. This video is a taste of what I witnessed from Saturday through to Monday:

These photos from Hovershotz show the extent of the flooding on the other side of Kendal which was the worst hit:

Now as the water subsides and we count the cost and clean up a fund has been set up to raise money to help pay for repairs and to replace lost property. If you would like to make a donation however small then please go to Cumbria 2015 Flood Appeal

If you want to offer equipment/food please email If you want to volunteer your time call Cumbria CVS on 01768 800350

Friday, 4 December 2015

Blue Peter Book Awards 2016 - Shortlist #BPBA

Yesterday saw the announcement of the shortlist for the Blue Peter Book Awards for 2016. This highly prized award has been running since 2000 and the judges had a tough time whittling down the entries. These are the four people who have faced this challenge:

  • Angelica Bell - TV Presenter and blogger
  • Pamela Butchart - Author and previous winner
  • Jim Sells - National Literacy Trust Programme Manager
  • Ewan Vinnicombe - Blue Peter Editor
These are the books that are now up for vote by 200 school children from 10 schools across the UK:

Best Story

The Astounding Broccoli Boy written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and illustrated by Steven Lenton (Pan Macmillan)

Rory Rooney is unremarkable in almost everything, apart from his capacity to attract the attention of the school bully. But when he suddenly and spectacularly turns green, he becomes a superhero!

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair written by Lara Williamson (Usborne)

Becket Rumsey decides to investigate the reasons behind the strange actions of some of the adults in his life.  With the help of his brother Billy and his pet snail Brian he uncovers some difficult truths and some beautiful ones.

The Nowhere Emporium written by Ross MacKenzie(Kelpies) 

Daniel is constantly picked on by Spud Harper and his gang of bullies. However, his life changes forever when he stumbles upon The Nowhere Emporium, which has mysteriously arrived in Glasgow.

Best Book with Facts

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful: December already! #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

I am back to hosting this month after the lovely Jo at Ojo's World took care of us last week. Looking forward to hosting over the festive season. Here are my reasons this week's:

1) Proud Mummy #1

My daughter is here modelling her robot costume she has made for a drama assessment. This week she has sung solo for the first time on stage and she was amazing! She has also volunteered to help at a tea party for senior citizens at her school. So proud of her.

2) Proud Mummy #2

This is my son with his trophy for coming second in his club's under 9s fell running championship! So that perseverance and having a go can pay off as it was his first season.

3) Proud of Me!

On Friday I headed up to Carlisle for my graduation ceremony for my PGCE. The icing on the cake after all the hard work! We had to walk about half a mile through the city in our hats and gowns before a service in the cathedral. I even got to shake hands with the Archbishop of York!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

ParkLives from Coca-Cola and Partners

Sponsored Post

Like many people I was very aware that Coca-Cola is involved in sport and sporting events through their sponsorship of global events such as the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup and the Rugby World Cup. In fact I won a trip to the London Olympics by writing this post about being an outdoor sporty family.

What I wasn't aware of until I went to the seminar before Blogfest was that they started working at the community grassroots level of sport with the launch of ParkLives in 2014 in partnership with local councils and sports charities. They wanted to piggy back on the success of the London 2012 Olympics to get people active in their own communities.

In 2014 they set up events in Birmingham, Newham and Newcastle which were so successful that they set up events this year in Glasgow, Manchester and Nottingham. This video gives a taste of what has being going on:

The great thing seems to be that there is something for all ages and its all free. For example today in Birmingham the programme included:
  • Nordic Walking
  • A led walk
  • Tai Chi
  • Zumba
  • Family Fun
As a runner I am pleased to see that all the parks offer a range of running classes to suit all abilities:
  • walk to run
  • couch to 5 k
  • active running
  • 5k to 10k groups
I now need to work on persuading my local council to work in partnership with Coca-Cola to get ParkLives up here in Cumbria!