Saturday, 27 February 2016

#CountryKids at Cunswick Scar Fell Race

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

It is a good job that fell runners are hardy souls as the weather conditions for races in winter are pretty miserable at lot of the time! Last Sunday we had strong winds and rain as my son and I arrived to check out the course for his latest race:

Cunswick Scar runs along between Kendal and the A591 and is partially covered by the golf club. However the route the under 12s took was mostly on the farmland lower down:

Even walking the route was hard going due to the wind and mud but the route itself wasn't too tough. They did all have to cross a stile twice at the top of the run which apparently caused queues. I was quite glad I had decided not to do the senior race:

Friday, 26 February 2016

Fitness Friday: Brathay Half Marathon training week 8 #ThisGirlCan

It's been a struggle fitting in exercise this week as I have been working full school days in Morecambe so not much free time at all! On Tuesday I went along to my Run England running group. Despite the fact I have got faster and fitter they were all much faster than me! I did my second fastest 5k of the year plus another 3k which I found a lot harder...

Hopefully it will stand me in good stead for my race on Sunday though!

The following night it was more of a recovery run as I was out with the juniors so a stop start 3k:

No more runs done but I did manage a tough MetaFit class on Thursday night. Let's just hope I can make up for it with my race this weekend...

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Reasons to be cheerful.... plenty of smiles #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

Only 12 hours later than usual to get my reasons to be cheerful post up! I enjoyed reading all your entries last week and hope more folks will join in again this week. Here are my reasons to be cheerful this week:

1) Thinking Day

I was official photographer for our district Thinking Day celebrations. Fabulous to be part of the worldwide Guiding celebrations alongside my daughter who is a Guide:

2) Time with my family

My son took this shot of my smile after our ramble last week. It shows how happy I was to be out and about with my family:

3) Proud Mummy

Saturday, 20 February 2016

#CountryKids A Ramble at School Knott, Ings

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

On Thursday my mum persuaded us to go on a hike with Kendal Ramblers from Ings. We wrapped up warm and set off in a snow storm to the meeting point. Luckily by the time we got there the snow had stopped so it was just very cold as we headed up the gated lane:

Due to the cold my daughter found icicles hanging under the bridge:

Her brother was having fun smashing puddle ice to find ones that had interesting patterns. This one gave him a huge smile:

My children enjoyed helping the walk leader find the route and get us round. They also kept nipping back to check on the back markers as it was a large group of 34 people:

Friday, 19 February 2016

Fitness Friday: Brathay Half Marathon training week 7 #ThisGirlCan

School holidays often play havoc with my fitness as I don't want to abandon my children whilst I do it! It does make me be more creative though. We did all manage to go to Parkrun together on Saturday. My daughter marshalled and took photographs whilst her brother ran to 3rd place in his age category and I was 6th in mine:

By Wednesday I was desperate for some exercise so I combined having to go to the bank with a run. Its just over a mile to the town centre so I decided to just blast it and did my fastest kilometres of the year:

That's the face of someone who smashed their target on one Strava segment:

Yesterday we had some gentle family exercise with a hike. (This will be fully blogged about tomorrow!):

Today I wanted a decent bit of exercise so I was glad to discover that the swimming pool was open to the public at the same time as the spinning class:

We all got some exercise and fun at the same time! I still haven't worked out how to get a longer run into my week though.. At least I lost another 1 1/2 pounds though to keep up the steady loss and almost half a stone this year.. Onwards and downwards!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: the February Half term edition #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

I know its not half term everywhere but it is for us in Cumbria which makes me happy as I get more time with my children! Here are the other reasons that I am smiling this week:

1) Nostalgia

After chatting on Facebook and Twitter about the various Brownie badges on my camp blanket it brought back memories of doing the Crafting badge: 

I remember making a macrame owl which was hung up in my granny's breakfast room for decades but sadly vanished when she moved to a smaller home. So I decided to order myself a macrame owl kit (Amazon affiliate) to make another one nearly 40 years after doing the first! Watch this space..

2) Monkeying around

As parents of tweens and teens will know parenting can be a real roller coaster of emotions! So the days when my daughter wants to be in my company and is full of smiles and mischief brings smiles all round:

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Recipe: Cheats Jam Tarts

Here is my cheat's recipe for easy jam tarts! All you need is some Jus-Rol pastry (remember it needs 45 minutes out of the fridge):

and some jam:

Pre-heat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4 whilst you cut out the tarts:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Tuesday Tea with Birchall Tea

I was invited by Birchall Tea to join them at the Inn on the Lake on the shores of Ullswater for a tea tasting afternoon. Now I am not a normal tea fan but when they said there would be infusions and herbal type teas to try I accepted their offer.   

As it was the school holidays I had to take my children with me and we took the only current route from Kendal to Ullswater which doesn't take you on the M6! This took us up and over Kirkstone Pass and I can't remember the last time I went this way and the children had no memory of its curves and steep slopes. We paused part way down for a windy photo stop:

Brotherswater from Kirkstone

View up Kirkstone

Monday, 15 February 2016

Usborne Books on Periscope

One of the many strings to my bow is selling Usborne books on an ad-hoc basis. Today whilst I am running an at home sale I've had a go at Periscoping about some of the fabulous books I currently have in stock. As a novice to Periscope I am still learning so any constructive criticism or tips welcome...

I had to abandon ship as my son came hurtling in the door with his mates in tow! So this second video is a lot longer:

If you would like more information on any of these books then please just ask!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Guide Blanket nostalgia

My daughter is off to Guide camp next month and as part of it will be sewing more badges on to their camp blankets and talking about the badges on them. When I mentioned I still had mine the leader suggested that my daughter brings it along with her. So I dug it out of the vacuum bag in which it has been stored for years:

Over the years I had sewn all these badges on and I still have some in a box waiting to be added! I obviously had stuck to some sort of plan as to where they were sewn as they are all in certain places. 

My Brownie badges must have been the first ones sewn on when I first got the blanket. I was in 3 different packs from moving house and did plenty of activity badges:

Then I moved on to Guides during the early 1980s and the 75th anniversary of the Guides Association:

I then moved up to Rangers and more adventures whilst at the same time being in the Red Cross to do my Duke of Edinburgh's award and First Aid qualifications:

Saturday, 13 February 2016

#CountryKids Out and About in Kendal

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My son and I took the long slow route into town today starting with a trip up and down the canal bridge:

Following the route of the old Lancaster Canal makes for a safe and peaceful route. It is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists although today it was pretty quiet:

Friday, 12 February 2016

Fitness Friday: Brathay Half Marathon training week 6 #ThisGirlCan

I kicked off this week's training with a pace session at Fell Foot Parkrun (blog post here). The new course provides some great hill work for fitness:

Next time I aim to get up cafe hill twice at a run and build from there! I definitely need to reduce the time gap between my son and I as he was 10 minutes faster than me...

As I am trying to do some form of exercise every day this month I went swimming with my son on Sunday. Of the hour in the pool I am not sure how much was actually swimming apart from 4 lengths at the beginning! We did do diving, floating and other aquatic bits of fun though.

Monday was the only day that I definitely had time for the long run as this takes me over an hour. Typically the weather was cold and very, very wet but I planned a longer route than last week and set off. On the fly I adjusted it which made it longer but also reduced the climbs. As a sign of improved fitness I ran the whole length of Valley Drive for a new PR! There was an enforced walk as the verge was a bog to get to the summit but the rest of the run was Jeffed with 5 minutes of running and 30 seconds of walking. Got me to my first 10 k of the year in the same time as my last one last year:

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: the winning edition #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

Thanks for joining in last week, technical hitches meant that the linky tool had to change part way through the week! Here are the reasons I am cheerful this week:

1) Winning things

Its been a while since I won something so I was surprised to get an email from Wilkinson Cameras to say I won one of the 12 prizes from their recent competition. Very chuffed to have won a proper camera as my prize was a DSLR:

Now to learn how to use it! First attempt on Flickr just using Intelligent Auto mode.

2) Quality time with my boy

My daughter was away on a school residential this weekend so I had time with just my boy:

3) Kendal flood recovery

One of the worst aftermaths of the storms in December has been the damage to Cumbria's transport infrastructure. In Kendal the damage to one of the 2 bridges that allowed two-way traffic across the river has caused gridlock and chaos. We are all so relieved that the temporary fix has finally been successful this week (story on Westmorland Gazette). Lots more work to be done in the county but this was a good news story!

Why are you smiling this week? Please link your posts and grab the badge...

Reasons to be Cheerful 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Boredom bashing with board games

I am the first to admit that as a family we spend far too much time on technology or watching TV! So sometimes I insist that its a sit down with some of our favourite board games. Last night my son and I had a go at a selection of our favourites:

What games do you like to play?

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Kendal's Abbott Hall Park

On my way back from getting my hair cut on Tuesday I wandered along the edge of Abbott Hall Park and paused to take a few photos. Before you get into the actual park there is a very ornate plaque commemorating the opening of the Public Pleasure Grounds back in 1897:

Abbott Hall Park

The park is lovely piece of community space that is overlooked by the castle from the other side of the river:
Abbott Hall Park

It is a much used space and includes a playground, bowling green and the grassland. In summer months the space is often used for events such as Mintfest. The park is bordered on one side by Blind Beck:

Blind Beck, Abbott Hall Park

At many times of the year the beck is completely dry but not at the moment with our torrential rain!

Blind Beck, Abbott Hall Park

Information from the Kendal Civic Society plaque:

Blindbeck. This stream, probably called 'blind' because its source is hidden in the rock fissures of Kendal Fell, was formerly the boundary between the borough of Kendal and the township of Kirkland. Kirkland, on church land since the Norman conquest, had its own court and regulations. Traders whose goods did not meet Kendal's market standards or who could not afford the fees of the Kendal guilds set up their businesses here. Kirkland thus developed a separate character from Kendal,still recognisable today.

On the bridge over the beck someone created a flagstone with the 3 blind mice upon it:

Monday, 8 February 2016

Money Monday 2

After my Money Monday post last month here is one for February. I have already said that in January my penny and running pot had topped up to nearly £20. It is still creeping up as I am maintaining the exercise and keeping track of the days of the year. I have decided to use it towards my first mummy treat of the year a proper haircut: 

As my work is as a supply teacher my income varies from week to week which makes it hard to budget as I have no idea what I will be earning in the future! The only regular amounts are my tax credits which have to cover the basics. My rent and council tax also fluctuate as some weeks I earn too much for assistance and other weeks get no income at all... I am therefore trying to find ways to make sure that my money lasts the whole month:

  • 5% of any income is going into my long term savings for annual costs and big items.
  • Another 5% is going into my short term savings to make sure that there is money for regular bills.
  • I have a credit card with a small limit just for things like petrol and I make sure that each time money comes in I pay a bit off each week rather than wait until the end of the month.
  • Using the text message service from my building society for which I have set a low balance alert and it warns me if I don't have enough in the current account for a direct debit.

Have you got any other tips to help me make my irregular income last out the whole month?

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Swimming Sunday

With big sister away my son decided that he would love to go swimming with me today. We live 5 minutes from the pool so we ought to go a lot more than we do! Last night he had a couple of friends around for a "sleep" over so it took me until lunch time to wake him up to get there..

Of course before going we had the usual palaver of getting ourselves ready. I am not sure how the goggles vanish after previous swims but we can never seem to find them when we want to go! Luckily we found his pair in time to get to the pool for the last of the general swim session.

With my son being 9 he now has to head into the male changing room on his own so we have to meet in the water. He was diving to the bottom of the deep end picking up hoops so I squeezed in 4 lengths in the Medium speed lane. After a couple of these I noticed I had left my bra on under my swimming costume... oops! 

Then I was throwing the hoops for my son to dive to the bottom for. He just loves being under the water. If I had got my goggles on I would have joined him as I love .

After that I decided to work on his diving technique. I can dive fairly well but I have found it hard to pass on the technique to my children. They have both been able to dive in from seated but not standing up. A dad was on a similar mission and he used a hoop to get his children to dive straight. My son finally mastered diving from standing with lovely straight legs, he was so pleased with himself. Its lovely to see my children mastering these skills.

We spent the rest of the session trying out floating, catching balls and tricks like swimming under each others legs. I am so glad he loves being in the water as much as I do.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

#CountryKids at Fell Foot Parkrun

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our local Parkrun at Fell Foot was effected by Storm Desmond so they have had to create a temporary course that just uses the pathways and avoids the temporary bogs and damaging waterlogged grass. It does mean that we get to run along the shore of Windermere 4 times as we go around the course now:

My son helped me warm up before the briefing before the event. Being a regular fell runner he knows how to get our heart rates raised and to do dynamic stretches (especially important on a cold day!). Then I located another regular runner with a similar time to him to run the course with (being under 11 he *has* to be with arms length of an adult for all the race) as I am far too slow... Then is was time for the Run Director to give out course and safety information:

Parkruns are perfect for all ages and today the age range was right from age 4 to over 80 (plus one baby in a back carrier and one toddler in a buggy!). The temporary course makes it a lot more sociable as you loop around several times and pass runners at varying points (or in my case are passed - including by my son!):

It is great to see how all the different ages and abilities support each other and encourage runners who are struggling. I received a shout of "Run Mummy Run" from a lady from my Facebook running group! For some children it is the first time they have ever attempted to run 3 miles but they receive encouragement from their parents, other runners and the perennially cheerful marshals. As an adult its great to be told "you are doing great" as well.

My son helped me on my last lap as he had finished his run in his second fastest ever time! He makes for a fabulous running coach and I even managed a sprint finish up the last hill. It turned out he was 23rd overall and 2nd in his age category (the other boy was 1 year older) whilst I was much further down the field in 74th place (although I was 26th female!). 

When my phone had recovered from the cold I took this snap of us being pleased with our times:

I can certainly recommend Parkruns as a perfect way to combine outdoor fun and fitness together for families!