Friday 28 February 2014

#CountryKids A twilight walk home

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

It has been such a beautiful day today that I decided to spend as much of it as possible outside after the wet stuff we have been experiencing. This meant that I walked to work so the children had to walk back home with me! It's been a while since we managed to do that.

We had a quick tea at the supermarket first so that everyone was recharged and to reduce whinging! Then with a couple of bags of shopping we headed home:

footpath sign for Beezon Rd

It was just lovely to have time to walk home before it got dark and the lovely sun set and it really set off the Iron Bridge:

Dockwray Bridge, Kendal

I wish I could have recorded the sound of the birds as they were preparing to roost. My daughter and I could have stood there for ages just listening but my son was in a hurry to get home:

taking the footpath home 

We went passed our magic tree:

interesting tree roots

The best bit for me was our oak tree at sunset:

oak tree at sunset

I do hope we get more chances to do this walk!

Thursday 27 February 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful week 9 - 2014 #R2BC

Ojos World

The lovely Jo at Ojosworld has been a super host this month and will be handing the reins back to me for March! I really hope lots of you will continue to join in and share your happy thoughts. For this week I am just joining in with everyone else! 

This week its a complete Proud Mummy edition as we had parents' evening at school tonight:

1) My boy

At his Beaver meeting this week he wrote at lovely prayer as part of his Faith badge:

A prayer written by a 7 year old boy

 I love the mix of thinking of others and himself! He came home at the end of the meeting with a haul of 5 badges that he earned before half term:

Beaver Scout badges

He is now 2/3 of way towards Chief Scout bronze award after only 13 months as fully fledged Beaver!

As for school he is doing really well. He is a keen reader (even reading on the way into school this morning):

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Workout Wednesday February 26th with added #TeamHonk

School holidays always stop me running regularly so half term I did nothing. I need a folding treadmill at home to keep it up! 

So on Monday I donned the lycra and went out on my short Kendal loop. It was hard work as my fitness levels have slipped right back. Not sure how much I ran but far from all of it! There was a surprise 3rd fastest time along the river behind County Hall which was nice.

Today I went out again despite the drizzle in the hope I would do better. It wasn't very nice running into a wet head wind along the river... and it got so wet I was soaked through my waterproof top and had to take off my specs!

Still seeing split times coming in varying from near my best 6.27 mins/km to a max of 7.08 mins/km was reassuring. Yes I still failed to run non stop but I shaved 46 seconds off Monday's time and came close to beating some personal bests:

So I really hope my fitness is back before our Team Honk leg on March 15th. I will need a boost through some sponsorship pretty please! On the day if you want to support us be at Kendal Castle at 9:30 AM as we prepare to run down to St George's church..

Team Honk 2014 blogger Relay

Tuesday 25 February 2014

#TeacherTuesday Esnart Chapomba in Malawi

This is part of a UNESCO campaign to highlight the difficulties teachers around the world face. For the first week we are hearing from Esnart Chapomba in Malawi. 

Esnart and her family

This is a transcript of an interview with her:

• I am a self-motivated person who strives to make a positive impact on other people’s lives so that they can use their knowledge to change their own lives and those of others.

• At present, I am no longer teaching full time in class but I train Complementary Basic Education (CBE) facilitators who teach out of school youths and children. These facilitators are met in their village zones/clusters.

• The schools in which facilitators teach are in the rural areas and a maximum of 60 facilitators are trained though mostly such trainings would take place at zonal level where a group of 15 facilitators are trained. CBE classes are held in borrowed premises such as school classrooms or any other community building as they only exist for three years to help school drop outs catch up with learning and those who have never been to school to learn before they go back to formal schools.

• I have been a teacher for 25 years.

• I teach adults who in turn teach children and youth of ages 9 to 17 years.

• There are about 60% males and 40% females in my class.

• My classroom is a permanent building with all facilities available. It has model teaching and learning resources that my students could learn from and make their own in their respective classrooms.

• My students are of diverse abilities and backgrounds, but I create an environment where all are given equal opportunity to learn from me and from others.


Monday 24 February 2014

Photography Workshop with Eric Pye and Colin Reynolds

When I saw via Facebook that Eric Pye was running his first ever photography workshop with Colin Reynolds, during half term I immediately booked my children in to stay with their grandparents and signed up! A chance to finally get off the auto function on my bridge camera and to learn better photography techniques.

We all met up at Green Door Studios in Kendal at the far too early for holidays time of 8 AM. It turned out that we were a very mixed group both in terms of age and experience and equipment. In fact I had borrowed my dad's tripod as its something I have't yet bought for myself. We discussed what we all wanted from the day, Eric and Colin told us what they had planned, then we jumped in their cars and headed for Swindale near Shap.  

entry to Swindale, Cumbria

The weather was not too promising as it was cold and very wet! However we had been advised to wear good waterproofs and bring umbrellas to protect our equipment so we were OK to head up the valley.

At the first point of interest Eric and Colin told us to look around and see what caught our eye. Then as we started to take shots they gave us advice on how better to frame it and use the aperture and focal settings to experiment. These were some of the photos I took there:

Saturday 22 February 2014

Lego Coastguard - the Movie

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The nice people at Carcraft have challenged a few bloggers to get creative with a Lego set and make our own movies! We were sent the Coastguard 4x4 with speed boat. My son and I (well mostly I) had fun making it yesterday:

Lego City Coastguard 4x4 and Speed Boat

This morning my daughter got up far too early to start making the movie with her little brother. 105 photos later she had a pretty good little show but it wasn't quite right.. 

Still from Lego Coastguard Movie

So I was roped in to be the camera woman once we had downloaded the official Lego Movie Maker app. This allows you to do stop motion capture and add sound effects on top! So we spent an hour taking various action shots and then 30 minutes putting voices and music on the top. All 3 of us are voice talents so see if you can work out which one is which..

Friday 21 February 2014

M&S ‘Kids Shwop Boutique’ for Oxfam

Abbey Clancy, Rochelle Humes and Peaches Geldof come together to support fashion boutique for charity

m&s Kids Shwop Boutique for Oxfam

•     Shwop Boutique to sell the best childrenswear items donated to Shwopping campaign
•     A host of celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Abbey Clancy, Rochelle Humes, Peaches Geldof, Alex Gerrad, Zoe Ball and Mel Giedroyc from GBBO have donated items that will be sold
•     All money raised go to charity partner Oxfam as part of their Mother Appeal initiative
•     Over 1,000 shwopped childrenswear clothing will be on sale over three days

Shwop Boutique

  Marks & Spencer, Marble Arch, 458 Oxford Street. London. W1C 1AP
When:  Thursday 6th - Saturday 8th March 2014 - 8am – 9pm
Entry:   Free with a shwopped item of clothing

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is set to open its first-ever childrenswear pop-up store when a three-day Kids Shwop Boutique opens to the public this March in aid of Oxfam’s Mother Appeal.

Open from Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th March at the retailer’s Marble Arch store, the one-off secondhand store will sell the best childrenswear items donated to M&S and Oxfam’s sustainable fashion initiative, Shwopping by the UK public and a host of celebrity donations.

All proceeds raised from the Kids Shwop Boutique will go towards Oxfam’s Mother Appeal campaign – which is being supported by M&S - that aims to raise £10 million for projects that help mothers around the world lift themselves and their families out of poverty for good.

Shwoppers will be able to pick up once loved childrenswear items from Britain’s top style icons and celebrity mums including Abbey Clancy, Peaches Geldof, Alex Gerrard, Zoe Ball, Rochelle Humes, Sarah Story, Mel Giedroyc and Shwopping ambassador Joanna Lumley. And, thanks to the UK government, every pound raised for the appeal will be doubled. *

Each celebrity-donated item will include personal words of wisdom stitched into the fabric of the item allowing advice to be passed onto the new owner.

Entry to the Kids Shwop Boutique is free, but visitors will have to shwop - hand over an unwanted item of kids clothing, using old or unused clothes as their ticket to the exclusive sale.

M&S has asked the public to donate childrenswear items to support the Oxfam campaign through its joint Love, Mum initiative. All other items of clothing donated will also go towards the appeal.

The public can show their support by Shwopping items in any M&S store add their words of wisdom on social media mentioning @shwopping and the hashtag #LoveMum.

M&S and Oxfam’s Shwopping collaboration urges shoppers to donate - or ‘shwop’ - an unwanted item of clothing that will go on to be re-sold, re-used or recycled by Oxfam, cutting waste while raising much-needed funds for the charity.

Since its launch in April 2012, Oxfam has received 6.9 million items of clothing thanks to Shwopping, worth £4.5 million for the charity. All money raised by Shwopping is used to support Oxfam’s projects around the world working to alleviate poverty.

For more information on Marks & Spencer and Oxfam’s Kids Shwop Boutique visit

For further information on Shwopping visit

Review: Nothing But and Fru Snax

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If you like me you are trying to lose weight then coming across healthy snacks is a bonus. There are some new ones coming onto the market and I was lucky enough to be asked to try Nothing But and Fru Snax. The idea is that vegetables and fruit have been freeze dried to preserve them and have had nothing added.

First up Nothing But:

Nothing But Mange Tout and Red Pepper

The first packet of these I munched on and wasn't too impressed as they just tasted a bit like cardboard. The second one I sucked a bit first and it added moisture and they had a lot more flavour and texture. 

Thursday 20 February 2014

Reasons to be cheerful week 8 - 2014

Ojos World

The lovely Jo at Ojo's world is hosting for February so please go and say hi! Now in a wee where I could possibly have won awards for being the world's worst mum its time to focus on the positives:

1) Me time

This is something that in school holidays I get very little of so having an entire day to myself on a photography course was bliss:

Swindale, Cumbria
Swindale, Cumbria

2) Family day out

Yesterday we had a day trip to Bristol for an event. Whilst there we squeezed in a short visit to SS Great Britain and were so lucky to time it just when they had an original document on display in the archives at lunch time! Fascinating when you have mariner ancestors. We must go back to see more of the ship herself sometime though:

SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain

3) Children in harmony

Like most siblings I never know whether my children will get on like a house on fire or try and kill each other! Luckily yesterday they opted for the being best of buddies whilst at Aardman Animations:

Playing Pigby's Fair
Playing Pigby's Fair

Wednesday 19 February 2014

#PigbyAndFriends my daughter's clay creation

This is what my daughter made with Enty the Aardman Animations Head of Modelling:

More info to follow but I only just got home!

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Smiggle - where a smile meets a giggle

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The highly successful Australian stationery brand Smiggle are finally arriving in the UK at the Westfield shopping centre on Thursday 20th of March. To celebrate they sent my children a pack of their gorgeous goodies and asked them to be creative:

Smiggle stationery

It's all such lovely stuff my children got stuck in straight away! These are some of my 10 year olds creations:

Smiggle stencil art
She used the supplied stencils to create this one

Pumpin people drawing
An early/late Halloween celebration?
a drawing of 4 children
Free drawing

Her little brother opted for the scratch book:

At 7 he isn't quite as creative as his big sister but he did manage this big rocket:

We are going on a long car journey tomorrow so I will be making sure they take plenty of Smiggle stuff to keep them amused! Probably just as well for my bank balance that none of the new UK stores are opening anywhere near us as its all lovely stuff. Wonder if they will head north once the stores in Westfield, Reading, Brighton and Kingston are open?

Family Fever

Monday 17 February 2014

#CountryKids Taking the long way home

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Yesterday after church we had to pop into town to buy some bits and pieces and afterwards as it was nice the children asked to go for a walk! So we headed across the market square and down one of Kendal's most picturesque streets Branthwaite Brow:

Branthwaite Brow, Kendal

This street is home to one of my daughter's favourite shops the Famous 1657 Chocolate House. Unfortunately for her it was closed:

famous 1657 chocolate house, Kendal

Then it was down to Miller Bridge to cross over the river where apparently the only direction is South: 

South sign on Miller Bridge, Kendal

Saturday 15 February 2014

#CountryKids On an Expedition

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Whilst tidying up my daughter discovered the Explorer set I gave her last Christmas so she of course it had to be put to use straight away:

junior explorer
Explorer set for action
With me being busy doing house work the expedition was just with her brother across the back field to see what they could find whilst I observed from the kitchen:

kitchen window view

Off they trekked across the grass and mounted the rock:

boy on a rock

There was obviously plenty to explore as they were gone for ages!

junior explorers

My son tired of their adventure first and headed back home:

boy walking in field

A little while later his sister followed:

girl walking in field

It reminded me of the parts of my childhood when we had a field near our house where we had our own adventures! We are lucky to be able to do these things here...

Friday 14 February 2014

#3Dates3Mths Valentine's Day Update

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Well its been just about 3 weeks since I signed up for the Just Singles 3 Dates in 3 Months Challenge and with it being Valentines Day I thought I was due for an update! I have been trying out the Just Singles web site for the last couple of weeks.

Its a challenge in itself to set up a profile that will attract the right sort of attention! That is to come across looking and sounding my best without appearing desperate or coming across as tarty... oh and being honest...

So I settled on describing myself as voluptuous as it sounds better than large! Also being not far off 5 ft 9 I went for the upper height as I am definitely more that way than 5 ft 5. Choosing a photograph was tough as I hate many of the photos of me so finding one that I liked was hard work. In the end I went for this one:

It does make me look extra sporty! I just need to work on getting a full length flattering shot..

So what is the choice like of available single males? What's great is that you can filter your search by all sorts of factors:
  • height
  • distance away
  • smoker
  • drinker
  • marital status
  • kids
So you only see the people that you are interested in. You can also block messages coming in from people outside your chosen criteria - so in may case that's no to smokers and blokes a lot shorter than me or ones living too far away..

It's interesting looking at people's profile pics and extra photos. You get an instant impression on some who seem to only include pics with them holding a pint or posing in a sports car (is it really theirs?). If you like the look of someone and what they have said about themselves then you can send a wink or a private message... then wait to see what happens!

I've had a couple of contrasting experiences so far. The first was a bloke who misinterpreted me trying to be nice, swore at me, blocked me, then unblocked me and gave me his mobile number. That gave me a chance to block him in return! 

Then the much nicer guy who chatted back and forth for a while before suggesting meeting for coffee. He didn't know what I meant by voluptuous and I'm not sure he liked my definition of size 14-16.. I have to dig out a photo to show him so maybe this one:

So no date confirmed yet but its been interesting so far...

If you fancy trying out Single Parent dating then I am now an affiliate so you can follow this link. Or for general dating there is the main site...