Saturday 31 October 2015

#CountryKids Halloween at Fell Foot

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

With Halloween coinciding with Parkrun our normal 5k at Fell Foot turned into something a bit different today:

My son got in to the spirit of things with the top half of his kit (the zombie trousers were too long for running in!):

The weather wasn't quite as spooky as it has been as the fog had lifted early:

This was the creepiest costume as he just stood there until the run got under way:

The whole atmosphere was a lot of fun with 177 finishers about half of whom wore costumes. This young man did well to complete his first parkrun in an all in one skeleton costume:

My daughter had decided it was too cold to wear a costume whilst marshalling so went for the minimalist Halloween look of a witch's mini hat and veil combo:

After getting our treat from the communal treat bucket we headed along the lakeshore to the cafe for a well earned drink:

They had a roaring fire going in the stove which was very welcome:

There were plenty of Halloween decorations like this National Trust themed pumpkin:

Back outside we decided to make the most of the special Halloween offerings as we had travelled across the county. My son and I opted for the spooky Halloween trail which was a £1. He was given a a map and we set off to solve the cryptic clues:

The clues took us to all areas of the park and we found places we had never been before such as Discovery Cottage:

It was a lovely day for walking around hunting for clues:

The final location was in a creepy graveyard:

He earned himself a sweet treat for solving all the clues! Meanwhile big sister had been spending her birthday money on wand making including peeling the bark off the wood before blinging it up:

Then she assisted with the manufacture of a broom stick:

I think she needs a few flying lessons from Harry Potter though:

All in all a good bit of healthy Halloween family outdoor fun!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful Half Term Edition #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

A slightly later than normal reasons to be cheerful! Thank you everyone for joining in last week I think I visited you all. Here are my reasons this week's:

1) Time with my daughter

Being a single parent getting one to one time with each child can be very hard. Often my daughter gets less time as her little brother has activities such as running that I am also involved in. He is too young to be left for too long whilst I go to something with her. 

She and I are managing to sneak a few things in and on Friday she had an INSET day and he didn't. So we went down the road to K Village to try out the new Mediterranean style restaurant for lunch:

She has more sophisticated food tastes than her brother so we were able to be a bit more adventurous!

2) Family Time

Of course spending time with the wider family we have up here is very important to us. We all lead busy lives so it was great to be able to get out with my mum to go to the Wool Gathering at the weekend. Interesting to see where my 12 year old measures up to Granny as by her age I was 5 cm taller than my mum!

3) Running buddies

Running in the school holidays is so much more pleasant when I have a child willing to come along with me. This week my son came along to do some trail running by the river. Such a shame his leg was too sore to go more than 3 k!

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Reasons to be Cheerful 

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Halloween Book Review: Once Upon A Zombie - Book One: The Color of Fear

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We were sent this book to a review as it is aimed at the 8-14 age group so fits in perfectly with my family. It combines fairy tales and zombies for an intriguing combination and an exciting story.

The heroine is 14 year old Caitlin Fletcher who is adjusting to life in London after moving from America with her father and younger sister. When you are scared of everything and prone to panic attacks then teenage life is hard to deal with. Especially when your new school is full of cliques and bullies.

Halloween is her birthday but also the school ball which brings back horrible memories of a dance at her previous school. She is trying to decide which would be worse 1) not going to the biggest social event of the year and being ridiculed or 2) going and suffering a panic attack and being ridiculed. Meanwhile her sister discovers chickpeas (garbanzo beans) on the window ledge of their 10th floor flat and finger prints on the inside of the window....

Caitlin is a reporter for Unexplainable News and she is keen to investigate after watching a video report about strange goings on at various cemeteries around the world. All of which include... chickpeas (garbanzo beans):

When they realise the connection to famous authors she arranges to travel to Guildford where the author Lewis Carroll is buried. Whilst there she and her sister are taken down a magical "rabbit hole" to the land where the stories come to life. However something is terrible wrong and she has to team up with a zombified group of fairy tale princesses such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella to save them from an evil spell.

My daughter decided early on that this book was too scary for bedtime reading! It certainly has some horrible monsters and blood thirsty zombies. Caitlin and the princesses face many dangers but also help from other recognisable fairy tale characters. Can they stop the Queen of Hearts in time before she unleashes the final spell and dooms the fairy tale characters to forever be zombies?

I read this book to myself first and couldn't put it down so read right to the end in one go I found it so gripping. There are plenty of heart in the mouth moments and close calls. If your tween/teen loves a little bit of horror then this could be a good book for them. Its certainly a great twist on the traditional fairy tales.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Brathay Half Marathon

So today thanks to my son not believing I can run 13.1 miles I signed up to the inaugural Brathay Half Marathon! Only after I had paid did I discover what the elevation is:

Eek! So I have downloaded a half marathon training programme and now to steadily build up from being able to run 6 miles (I have 2 x 10k races in December) to reach 13.1 miles by May 22nd..

Any tips or advice is welcome!

Saturday 24 October 2015

#CountryKids at Kendal Wool Gathering

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

When the rain finally stopped we headed out to K Village to the annual Kendal Wool Gathering. After a glorious September and most of October it was strange having wet and grey clouds:

One of the first things that caught our eyes was this CitizenCairn made at last year's Mintfest to celebrate Kendal's shoe making heritage: 

There were plenty of tempting stalls showcasing everything wool related and demonstrations of spinning etc. My daughter was happy to browse these but little brother wanted to get outside to see the livestock. It was great to meet so many different breeds and learn something about them all. The cutest were the world's smallest sheep the Ouessant from Brittany:

Ouessant sheep

There were some more familiar looking breeds as well that were happy to pose for the camera:

This happy and massive Texel ram enjoyed being hand fed and petted:

Texel sheep

Of course no Cumbrian wool festival could be without our iconic Herdwicks:


To entertain and educate there were several animal jigsaws to show which products come from each part of the animal. My son spent quite a while doing every one:

Then we could tuck into a freshly BBQ'd lamb or beefburger or a cumberland sausage. My daughter decided it wasn't a good thing to eat a meat product in the same tent as the kinds of animals they were made from! Instead she went off to cuddle a chick:


Thursday 22 October 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful: Autumnal edition #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful

Thanks everyone for joining in last week I hope I have visited you all!. I find that sharing little happy things can really lift the mood whatever may have happened in the week. Here are my reasons this week's:

1) Autumnal walks

This is my favourite time of year and until today its been fabulous to walk or run around in the sunshine and enjoy the almost magical look that autumn brings the trees:

2) 2000 Blips

My blipfoto journal racked up its 2000th photograph this week. I used the photograph from Fell Foot Parkrun's birthday celebrations and received so many stars and hearts I hit the popular page:

The Parkrun is even using my shot as its Facebook profile pic!

3) Birthday camp out sleepover

My daughter and 4 of her friends successfully camped out in the garden for her 12th birthday celebrations! Not much sleep had but a lot of fun:

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Saturday 17 October 2015

Happy 1st anniversary Fell Foot Parkrun

Today marked the 1st anniversary of Fell Foot Parkrun. We had taken part in the inaugural event and have taken part in 12 runs there (me), 11 for my son and my daughter has run a couple but prefers to volunteer. Today she had signed up to marshal so we were down at the lakeshore bright and early for 8:30:

Windermere, Fell Foot, Cumbria

Not surprisingly the turnout was bigger than the average 130 with 221 runners taking part. As usual there were all ages from the stalwart octogenarians to tiddlers in buggies. After the presentation of the parkrunners of the year award and a burst of happy birthday we all headed off on a newly extended route (apparently we have been 34m off the 5k for the previous 49 events!). We were serenaded by Dalton Town band as we took part:

My son had once again found a responsible adult to run with at his pace as there is no way I can keep up! I would only briefly see him again until the finish... Meanwhile I was carried along with a fast moving middle group to run the first couple of kilometres at above my usual pace. For a change I didn't manage to find someone to run alongside and chat to so just plodded along. I was pleasantly surprised to finish with my 3rd fastest time on the course only a minute off my PB - the daily runs are paying off! I was greeted at the finish by my son tucking into a slice of birthday cake courtesy of the National Trust:

He had well and truly earned his cake with a new PB of 24:31 and 1st place for boys 10 and under. His age grading is so close to 70% now too. My friend broke her own PB trying to keep up with him!

After the race was over there was a chance for more official photos of the team behind our Parkrun plus Conrad and John who were jointly awarded the first director's award:

My daughter had loved being a marshal once again even though she had a croaky voice and sore hands by the end! She well and truly earned her slice of birthday cake:

We look forward to many more years of running Parkrun at Fell Foot!