Monday, 17 September 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: Better late than never! #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Due to work commitments and then being ill I am very late with my reasons to be cheerful this week! Its a good job that Michelle is a kind host. There were lots of reasons for me to be cheerful:

1) Lakes Alive

We joined in with a drumming parade and then some light and music installations on Kendal Castle. Its great living in a town that embraces culture in the great outdoors:

2) Return to parkrun

I have been missing in action from our local parkrun for months due to family commitments. It was wonderful to be back (although I will be missing a few again!):

3) Proud mum

My son had his first top 3 finish in a fell race for 3 years at the Great Westmorland Trail Race. A great boost for his confidence as well as making me proud:

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Pembroke Castle

As part of our second week in Pembrokeshire we visited Pembroke Castle. Most of the group from the first week had had lots of fun there so we were keen to go ourselves. It was grey and windswept day but the courtyard of the castle was colourful and brightened up the day:

Pembroke Castle

There was plenty to do to keep us occupied including wax works depicting scenes from the castle's history:

Pembroke Castle

The castle dates back to 1093 when it was built by Arnulf de Montgomery. Since then famous residents have included William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke) and Henry Tudor the future Henry VII. The key figures are all round the castle as cutouts with information buttons:

Monday, 10 September 2018

Back to School and Starting Secondary

My son has now been at secondary school for a week so we are both getting into routines and learning the system at this school:


He came home with his 2 week timetable stuck into his planner that he must show me every day so I can check his homework:

I have written this up onto a chalkboard and hung it on the stairs so that we can both see what lessons he has each day:

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Great Westmorland Trail Race 2018

As the Great Westmorland Trail Race was part of my son's junior club championship we fired up the Sat Nav and went for a drive into the Yorkshire Dales. After an accidental detour via Kirkby Stephen we reached the village of Crosby Garrett which was the start line for the races organised by Howgill Harriers:

Once my son had registered we attempted to walk the course... After a slightly heated discussion with my son I was proved right that the juniors headed out under the railway viaduct before heading up the fell. It was a there and back again route so I found a spot to film the first race and sent my son back to the start:

To save time and marshals they combined the under 9 and under 13 races by setting the younger runners off first with an advanced start line. The turning points for the races were at different points so some of the under 9s were coming back down before all the under 13s had passed me:

Friday, 7 September 2018

Fit Before 50 #FitB4Fifty

Well I have realised that I have just over 2 years before I hit my next decade and I have still failed to get into a healthy shape! Having battled with my weight for most of my adult life and it feels that for the last 8 years I have lost the same stone repeatedly over and over again... Oops! So now I need to get it right and keep it off so that I am a lot fitter and healthier before I hit my half century. 

Obviously its not going to be a quick fix as I proved in the past that it doesn't work as it doesn't stay off. It needs to be sustained and embedded into my lifestyle to get it off and keep it off for good. This mean that I have to look at both strands of healthy living:


Most of what I have done in the past has concentrated on exercise which works until for whatever reason I stop exercising (this has been through injury, heat, the needs of my children or work pressure). Then I come unstuck as my diet is not up to scratch... Therefore I need to put a lot more effort into that strand...

My son realised yesterday that one reason I don't eat as healthily as I could because of his limited food choices. He struggles to eat things off this list. He has told me that I need to force him once a week to eat one of my more healthy meals! Wish me luck with that one... but it may be that he is mature enough to cope now.

So what do I need to do to improve my diet?

  • eat more vegetables and fruit
  • eat more whole grains
  • reduce fat and sugar intake
  • eat more fish and lean meats
  • eat less processed foods

Of course I need to carry on exercising and keeping it consistent. This needs to include both cardio and strength exercises. My son is back into cycling now so we can do that together. Running I can do various lengths of run to mix it up a bit. I also need to do core strengthening such as yoga or pilates. At the moment I can't afford classes or gym membership so it will all be done at home or for free.

If anyone has any tips or wants to keep me on track then please shout! I am also up for working with brands as a partnership to get me in shape.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: Back to School #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

The host for this month is the lovely Michelle who started this linky so many years ago! She is in charge for the rest of the month so please do pop over to her blog. I look forward to reading and sharing your posts but meanwhile here are my reasons to be cheerful this week:

1) Weekend away with my daughter

It has been such a manic summer with various family members going in different combinations for a range of breaks. With my daughter now working part time it took until this last weekend for her and I to get away for her bridge weekend. We had 5 hours each way in the car together to sing and chat, watch out we are going to be doing a mum/daughter YouTube channel! We also caught up with her half sister on the way back as she is at Coventry University.

cards mini bridge

2) Back to School Memories

My Timehop threw up some ancient photos of my brother and I heading off for new schools. Sharing photos on social media may be a new thing but my mum was good at capturing the moment on film back in the 1970s. How can our knobbly knees not raise a smile:

1970s school uniform

3) Off to Secondary

My son has had his first few days at Secondary school and so far so good! This is his third day and he finally remembered his new spectacles so he can read from the back of the classroom. Someone has commented that he looks like a young Michael Caine:

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Heatherton World of Activities

The biggest day out on our trip to Pembrokeshire was to Heatherton World of Activities. We had enjoyed this trip last year and had wished that we could do more, we also needed to budget for going with both groups of holiday makers! It proved to be an incentive to get my son out of bed for 2 weeks on the trot to do car boot sales to raised enough money for our credits - you pay to play. We were able to buy a decent amount of shared credits and this is some of the fun that we had:

8 Track Slot Racing

This is so much more fun when you have a group to race against so perfect on our break. Even I got to have a go, although I swear I always get the slowest car!

Bumper Boats

I really need to have a go on these next year as my son and the other children had a wonderful time crashing into each other!

Mini Landrovers

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Junior Bridge Weekend

My daughter was invited to a training weekend with the English Bridge Union. As it was down in Hertfordshire I went down with her to act as chauffeur and keep her company. We arrived just in time for tea and she made friends with 3 other teenagers whilst queuing for our hot dogs & chips! Then it was time for her first training session:

Then there was a tournament followed by Speed Ball Bridge until after midnight! The girls were sharing one lodge, the boys in another and a few of us parents squeezed into scout sized bunks in a third lodge:


At least I had the triple layer of bunks to myself and I could make use of my ancient Guide blanket:

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful. Last week of the holidays #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Its the last Thursday in August so my last time hosting until October. I will be handing back to Michelle for September. The school holidays are racing to their finish and we have managed to pack quite a lot in. Here are a few things that have made me happy this week:

1) Kendal Museum

We went to the museum whilst friends were visiting. It was the first time for 4 years my son had stood next to the polar bear. What a difference:

2) Race photos

The official race photos from Grasmere Sports included this awesome one of my son's sprint for the line. He finished one second behind the boy in front:

3) Scottish Dancing

I went to the U3A country dancing class with my mum and my daughter. It always brings a smile on my face to have a go at Scottish dancing. Roll on November when we are going to a whole evening of it!

4) Peekaboo

I had fun tickling our neighbours' German Shepherd through the gate. He is a big softie to anyone he considers pack (which includes us and our guinea pigs!) but woe betide a stranger:

Monday, 27 August 2018

Grasmere Sports 2018

I once again volunteered to help at Grasmere Sports and was put on the fell running registration. It wasn't the best of weather for an outdoor sporting contest:

We set ourselves up with all the numbers for each of the categories:

We then spent most of the day registering anyone brave enough to come out in the cold and rain! My dad brought my son up and he took part in various sports. Unfortunately for him in the wrestling he came up against one of the regular wrestlers in round 1 so didn't last long... He also needed dry socks as they wrestle with no shoes on....

Next he participated in the fell race as it was part of his club championships. It wasn't wonderful conditions to run or spectate in:

Friday, 24 August 2018

Camping at Sykeside, Brothers' Water

When a friend from Buckinghamshire said they were coming up to the Lakes this summer I knew it was a good opportunity to show off my adopted county. I suggested camping for the night and then sent a few potential sites to her from From these she chose Sykeside near Brothers Water. It was a wet and misty drive up into the mountains from Kendal and I was beginning to think camping had been a bad option! Then as we descended Kirkstone Pass the vista opened up and it just looked stunning:

Brothers Water

Before pitching our tent we fortified ourselves with chips at the Brotherswater Inn. It was a good job we did as pitching the big tent in strong winds and drizzles was a testing experience... probably didn't help that I hadn't remembered to bring all the pegs so I had to buy more. The ones from the shop were more up to scratch for the hard ground any way! It was worth it for a view like this:


Once we were set up we headed across the fields for the short walk to Brothers Water:

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: Home Sweet Home #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Its a miracle I am ready in time to host Reasons to be Cheerful this week! No need for Michelle to dash to the rescue - thanks for last week. I look forward to seeing what is making everyone smile this week: grab the badge, link up and share the love.

1) Holiday memories

After a fortnight in Wales I have so many happy memories to look back on:

It is however wonderful to back home and close to my family again.

2) Bejewelled

How could the sight of a rose like this not make you smile:

3) Happy Cat

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Pembrokeshire Beaches

One of the reasons that Single With Kids run a holiday to Stackpole is its proximity to wonderful beaches. Over a fortnight we had plenty of adventures and fun on them with our guests. We always start with Broad Haven South:

Its a beautiful spot with big enough waves for body boarding and plenty of sand for getting creative:

With plenty of other holiday makers the children (and adults) had fun damming the stream:

Sunday, 19 August 2018

A day at the British Museum

Last Saturday my son and I had time to kill in London before going to a friend's house. I dragged him into the British Museum as it was one of my favourite museums at his age! He had been there as a toddler and was OK but as a tween he was not at all impressed...

The lady on the family desk did her best to persuade him by talking about Night at the Museum and Indiana Jones but he was not convinced! She gave us one of the children's trails but he was not at all interested... He did want to see the Crystal Skull from Indiana 4 but that was it..

However I wanted to see more so insisted that we looked at the other must see items: 

As you can see it was pretty crowded especially in the famous parts. We did manage to find a few more of the must see items, which includes the Crystal Skull:

Then I attempted to take him on the Anglo Saxon trail. He was really not interested and I barely had time to snatch a few photos as he whizzed through the exhibits:

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: Single with Kids in Pembroke

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

I have just come back from 2 weeks just outside Pembroke at the National Trust's Stackpole Centre as  co-ordinator for Single with Kids. The Internet there turned out not to be up to blogging so thank you at Michelle for coming to the rescue this week and hosting. Two weeks in a beautiful spot with nearly 100 people (not all at once!) has given us many reasons to be cheerful:

1) Tenby

Beaches, history and arcades - classic British seaside fun.

2) Barafundle Bay

Remote, clean and with wonderful sand.

3) Pembroke Castle

Friday, 17 August 2018

Schleich Eldrador Creatures

Sponsored Post

My son was sent one of the new Schleich Eldrador Creatures to review. These are a new range of lava, stone, ice and water creatures for ages 7-12:
From the four worlds of Eldrador, the lava world has managed to get hold of the super weapon. This provides the hot-headed creatures with an evil power that they can use to rule the other worlds of water, stone and ice. Only by seizing the super weapon can the others manage to save their own worlds. But this is not so easy! The weapon is stuck in lava rock deep inside the lava world and is being watched over by the red-hot fire lion! So they can possess this power themselves and put a stop to the lava world, the best and strongest warriors from the water, stone and ice worlds are entering the battle to regain their worlds. A fiery pursuit of the super weapon ignites – and grips all of Eldrador. The frost monster – not generally a fan of hot temperatures – is the first to make it into the depths of the lava temple. Will he manage to knock the fire lion out cold?
The one he was sent was the Monster Kraken (£13.99):

He blinds enemies with jet-black ink, fights them with his long harpoon, and with his strong tentacles, can even hold several opponents at bay at the same time: the kraken is a real super fighter! He is not only as quick as lightning under water, but is also super quiet when attacking on land – as he is practically walking on tiptoes. This makes him more dangerous as he is more unpredictable. 
The kraken is a real super fighter – he has several tricks up his sleeve to hold back his opponents. With his strong tentacles, he can take on several opponents at once, he can squirt jet-black ink into their faces, and using his harpoon, he can keep uninvited guests at bay – even those from the air! But anyone who thinks that he is only as quick as lightning under water is most definitely wrong. The kraken can also fight his opponents on land! But how does he do this? He can not only move extremely fast on his tentacles, but is also super quiet – as if on tiptoes – and hardly leaves a trace. No one is safe from him anywhere...His only weakness is that the monster kraken needs water after an hour at the latest, otherwise he is at risk of drying out.
We have reviewed plenty of Schleich models including dinosaurs, Smurfs, elves and knights. The common theme with all of them is the high quality and attention to detail. They are definitely not a toy that breaks after a couple of plays!

The Monster Kraken definitely matched previous toys for the paintwork and small details:

My son is now 11 and he is into action and adventure so these creatures are perfect for him. The fact that the arms move and the weapon can be switched around was a winner with him:

He may say he is too old for toys but playing with the Kraken and creating sets turned out to be a lot of fun. Schleich are brilliant at developing these playsets to spark the imagination and add to the play.

My son now has his eye on the Hellhound (£9.99) to make the story telling more fun! When he does grow out of them they are good enough to look at to keep as part of our model collection too.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Reasons to be cheerful: Off grid! #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

I am in deepest darkest Wales with rubbish Internet so haven’t been able to create a proper post! I will get online properly soon... meanwhile please link up and share the reasons to Be cheerful love!

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Thursday, 2 August 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: History, Friends and Science #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

It's August which means I am back in charge of the happiest linky around for the next month! Thanks Michelle for hosting in July. Looking forward to linkers old and new joining in this week. Here are my reasons to be cheerful for this week:

1) History

I had a flying visit to the British Museum on Saturday. Being a history buff means that I love getting close to items such as the Sutton Hoo helmet:

2) Back to Chesham

This is where I had my first flat, met my now ex husband and lived for about 5 years. It was lovely to be back there for a couple of nights:

3) Friends

We were down to catch up with my old High School friends and their families. Celebrating over 30 years of friendship with conversation, wine, good food and cake:

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Ambleside Sports 2018

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

On Thursday my son and I headed up to Ambleside for the annual Ambleside Sports. We have been twice before in 2014 and 2015 but have been away for the last couple of years as it is always the last Thursday in July. The fell race was part of the club championships but there was plenty of other stuff going on as well.

We watched some cycling and the start of the gruelling 9 mile Rydal Round before he had a Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling competition. Unfortunately he came across the eventually champion in round 1 so that was game over... Then he lined up with his team mates for the under 12's fell race (photo by Woodentops):

It was a there and back again race up quite a steep hill:

He had an awesome sprint finish:

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Three Musketeers at Williamson Park

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

It is nearly 2 years since we went to see The Hobbit at Williamson Park. Last week my daughter and I went along to this year's promenade performance by The Dukes Theatre. This year's production is The Three Musketeers and we followed the signs to the first scene:

We were there in plenty of time for my daughter to get us front row seats:

We had eaten on the way but had time to eat our dessert whilst waiting for the play to start. It was a lovely sunny evening:

Friday, 27 July 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: Cakes, Butterflies and Coming Last! #R2BC #BeMoreWitWitWoo

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

I am day late joining in with Michelle as we were out all day yesterday at Ambleside Sports! That will be a video and a blogpost so watch this space... Meanwhile here are this week's reasons:

1) Home Baking

Sometimes its the simplest things that make us happy. I love rustling up a simple batch of cupcakes using our tried and tested recipe. This time I used butter and they were so tasty they were gone in a day:

2) Butterflies

I am so pleased with my bee and butterfly friendly garden. Seeing these beautiful creatures flitting about is a delight to behold. There have been a few varieties too as I tracked for the Butterfly Count:

3) Guinea Pigs

As I am constantly putting the boys out on the grass I am enjoying spending more time with them. This time it was Splodge who posed beautifully:

4) Outdoor Theatre

I had a lovely evening just with my daughter at Williamson Park for the Duke's Theatre promenade production of The Three Musketeers. Plenty of laughs as well as sword fights with some stunning backdrops:

5) Being more Wit Wit Woo

I was blown away by the likes and comments when I joined with Swim Suit Saturday to celebrate the life of Kate Sutton:

I embraced this attitude by actually taking part in the mums' race yesterday. I knew I would be last but just went for it... and yes I was about a metre behind everyone else. My celebration was probably a prize winner though! And look I got this as an award for taking part: