Sunday 31 January 2016

Fitness Friday (on Sunday!): Brathay Half Marathon training week 4 #ThisGirlCan

As I was back at hospital with my daughter on Friday I am a bit late with my normal Friday post! A combination of work, bad weather and a poorly daughter has paid havoc with my exercise but luckily I did manage to run on a couple of days. First up on Monday I went for a long run on my own following a route I did with my running club a fortnight before:

I was pleased to do the route faster than I did with the club even if not by a lot! Nice to have a few PRs for sections of the route too. 

I didn't get out to running club due to the wild weather so I missed out on a probable 4 mile run... Instead I went out on Wednesday morning and combined a trip to the bank with a 4 km run. On the way home I did some fartleks (walk/jog/run/jog/walk) using the lampposts along the canal path:

In the evening it was junior running so a few short quick runs but not a major workout!

On Thursday I went to a Meta Fit class at the leisure centre. This is high intensity exercise with short recovery sessions. Nice way to get sweaty!

Here's hoping I can squeeze in more running next week as my marathon is getting far too close...

Thursday 28 January 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: Cumbria is Open #R2BC

Ojo's World

Its the last week of the lovely Ojo's World hosting the linky as its back to me next month! I had better be more organised to have my post ready earlier than this one.. Any way here are my reasons to be cheerful this week with a Cumbrian twist:

1) Fell Foot is open

My son and I were back at the reorganised Fell Foot parkrun which has been back for 2 weeks. Its a lot tougher on the course as you have a lot more climb but it was fabulous to be back in such a beautiful part of Cumbria even if the cafe isn't yet back in action:

2) Grateful for the NHS

With my daughter's scary hospital trip at the weekend I am very pleased that we have a national health service that is free and has such dedicated staff. Its also pleasing that the scare of appendicitis was a false alarm!

3) Close call

The river Kent got very high with the rain this week but it stayed in the river bed:

What is making you smile this week?

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Pot plants

I was looking to brighten up my front room with out going the expense of buying myself cut flowers. So I snapped up a few supermarket bargains to put on the window sill.

First up this Gerbera that was only £1 at Morrisons:

As it is in a pot I should hopefully have this bright orange bloom for quite some time (as long as I remember to water it!).

Then my major bargain in the January sales was a 50p Amaryllis from Asda. A couple of weeks of keeping it damp and hopefully getting the odd bit of sunshine it has finally sprung into life:

I can't wait to see what it turns out like. Apparently I should be able to keep it going for a few years if I follow the instructions well... Now that would be an achievement for me!

Tuesday 26 January 2016

8 top tips for when your child is in hospital

Having had an unexpected over night stay with my daughter at the Lancaster Royal Infirmary here are my top tips for surviving a similar experience! These are either the things I did right or the things I wish I couldn't do as I was caught on the hop:

1) Money

You will need some for food for you as well as car parks and possibly for hospital TV. I was lucky that my mum had £5 cash on her when she had come to our rescue and driven us to the emergency unit! I was lucky that there was a parents' room which had some microwavable porridge for my breakfast.

2) Safety cups

For health and safety hot drinks have to be drunk in lidded cups. So if you are able to take one with you it will be useful. Then you can keep yourself going but be able to sit by your child's bed. At the LRI they had a few available to buy for a donation but you might not be so lucky.

3) Headphones

We had just worked out how to get the TV working when it went into speakers off mode and the ward had run out of headphones! Entertaining a child stuck in bed whilst waiting hours for a doctor is a lot easier when the technology works..

4) Phone charger

I was caught out without my charger as we out and about when we had to dash to the hospital. My phone battery went not along after we transferred to Lancaster which left me feeling cut off. Through the bedside TV I managed to get the phone number of the bed to my mum but it costs 50p a minute to call on the phone... Luckily in the morning another mum lent me her charger so that I was able to use my phone again.

5) PJs

Sleeping on a camp bed next to my child I really wish I had a nice warm pair of PJs to keep me snug! You want to feel comfy and not worry about flashing your bits to any medical staff that may pop into the cubicle overnight!

6) Earplugs and eye cover

Wards are noisy places with some lights on all night to allow medical staff to move around safely. If like me you are a light sleeper you may want to take things with you to reduce the noise and block out the light...

7) A book

There was an awful lot of sitting around waiting and twiddling of thumbs. Having a book would have saved me from having to read Hello! magazine...

8) Wash things

The RLI has a parents' shower room so if I'd known I could have taken shower gel and a towel to freshen up in the morning. I am sure that most children's units have similar facilities.

Have you got any more tips to add?

Friday 22 January 2016

Fitness Friday: Brathay Half Marathon training week 3 #ThisGirlCan

Well my cold did prevent me from running the new course at Fell Foot Parkrun last week but I did manage to complete my first ever fell race on the Sunday! First of all I supported my 9 year old in the under 12s race:

Then it was my turn to head out in the snow and mud:

Reasons to be Cheerful: Every cloud has a silver lining #R2BC

Ojo's World

Joining in a day late as its been a bonkers week! Good job its being hosted by the lovely Ojo's World...  Here are my reasons in a week that's been a bit of a whirlwind:

1) Sunshine

Its amazing the power of having that wonderful, warm glow in the sky! Its been a lift to the spirits after all the rain:

2) Snow

In contrast having enough snow to have fun without causing chaos was another reason to smile as already shown in my Country Kids post.  You can see my daughter was very pleased with being able to build a snowman and have a go at sledging:

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Review: Ravensburger My First Pets Jigsaw

Sponsored Post

After I was sent an adult jigsaw to review last month I was pleased to be offered a chance for my children to review an age appropriate jigsaw. This time it was an adorable My First Pets puzzle:

The puzzle is part of the perfect age fit range so that the size and number of pieces are suitable for the age on the box. In this case it was an 8+ puzzle so there were 200 pieces and they were bigger than for an adult jigsaw but not too big:

The puzzle had dividing lines which helped to workout where the different pets went in the puzzle:

Monday 18 January 2016

Money Monday

Last year after Christmas the coffers were well and truly empty as after being a student for more than half the year and only a bit of supply work last term not a lot of money had come in! So this year I have decided to try and save up some bits and pieces as the year goes on so that on the 1st January 2017 I have decent nest egg.

I am following two different schemes to boost my savings potential:
  1. Put in a penny to match the day of the year. So on January 1st it was 1p and on December 31st it will be £3.66 (with it being a leap year its an extra day..). This apparently should lead to over £600 by the end of the year!
  2. I am rewarding my exercise by putting in
    £1 for every run
    50 p for a gym workout or long walk
    20 p for a trip to the swimming pool with the kids
Its looking good so far and I wonder how much I will have saved up by December 31st?

Single Parent Pessimist

Saturday 16 January 2016

#CountryKids Winter Stroll at Crook

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

When the temperature gauge is reading a temperature like this there is only one thing to do...

Wrap up warm and head out for a stroll in the countryside around Crook, even if the children don't want to!:

There was plenty to investigate with frozen puddles to smash and ice to look at:

For grown ups there were stunning views across to snowy fells:

There are plenty of tempting looking paths that we could have followed:

Friday 15 January 2016

Fitness Friday: Brathay Half Marathon training week 2 #ThisGirlCan

Well my marathon training moved on quite well over this last week with a total of 20 km of running - which is as far as I have to go in one run for the half marathon! I started out with what was described as an "easy" 5 km in the program:

It was a wet and cold run and not at all fast but more comfortable than the previous week:

On Saturday my son and I headed over to Lancaster as they were launching their first Parkrun at Williamson Park:

We were rather surprised at being part of 374 runners at the start:

Thursday 14 January 2016

Reasons to be cheerful: Winter is coming #R2BC

Ojo's World

Its a good job the wonderful Jo at Ojo's World is hosting this month as I have been too busy until 9PM to write my post! Here are some of the reasons why I am smiling and too busy to post:

1) House sorting

This week I have had a busy time trying to get the house straightened and resolve some of our storage issues! First up was this funky new, metal shelving unit in my son's room: 

I also caught up on the backlog in the kitchen and lounge a little bit as things stockpiled after Christmas... Still a work in progress but plenty of reasons to smile.

2) Han Solo

My one silly extravagance with Christmas money was this Han Solo pop that sits by my bed. Here he is acting as the tooth fairy!

3) Snow!

Well on the fells there is any way as you can see from this photo I took from Morecambe prom this afternoon:

Why are you smiling this week?

Friday 8 January 2016

Fitness Friday: Brathay Half Marathon training week 1 #ThisGirlCan

I have joined in with Kate's new weight loss linky to help me with my half marathon training. A combination of ill health and the school holidays meant that I had a couple of weeks of going backwards to I have decided to start again this week! Being a bit behind means that I am paying catch up on the official training plan and I have a few extra pounds to lose... Kate wants us to kick start by answering a few questions:

What are your weight loss and healthy living goals for 2016?
I want to get my weight closer to a healthy range as at the moment I am a long way from there... I know I need to eat more vegetables and fruit whilst encouraging the children to do the same! This is what I am working from:

In an ideal world losing 1 and half stone before the half marathon would get me round a lot faster!

What tools are you going to use to help you succeed?

Thursday 7 January 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: Happy New Year #R2BC

Ojo's World

I have handed the reins back to the lovely Jo at Ojo's World for the month of January and you will be in capable hands! Here are my first reasons to be cheerful for 2016:

1) Furry family

As its winter our guinea pigs have moved into the kitchen to keep warm and dry. This is giving a lot more opportunity for snuggles:

2) Construction

I had lots of fun helping my son build his Christmas Lego and doing my jigsaw. I find being creative like this very fascinating: 

3) Family fun

We have been discovering some old games from our old, old house. They have been in my parents' loft for 5 1/2 years. My children kept beating me at family trivial pursuit!

4) Flowers

I treated myself to these beauties whilst shopping in Aldi:

What is making you smile this week? Please join in!

Wednesday 6 January 2016

#CountryKids Fell Running

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Now the proper winter is here the Kendal Winter League series of races has started again. Our first one was on the nearby Scout Scar:

It was a cold and increasingly wet day as my son checked out the route and worked out his tactics:

My son then joined 80 other under 12s on the start line for a 1200 metre race up the hill and back:

They were off like hares across the field! My son was 1 minute faster than last year and had a pretty fast race but wasn't in the top of the finishers (still waiting for final official results!).

Today he ran for his primary school in his first cross country competition. On a very muddy course he had to finish the race clutching a shoe in one hand:

Hopefully this mishap won't happen too often!

Monday 4 January 2016

Ravensburger Best of British - Fit 4 Nothing Gym - Puzzle Review

Sponsored Post

Regular readers will know that our family are big fans of Ravensburger puzzles so when we were offered the chance to review one of the latest additions to the Best of British range we weren't going to turn it down! The puzzle that we were sent is of the Fit 4 Nothing Gym (highly suited to a family into sport and getting fit):

The artist is Geoff Tristram who has created this quirky range of cartoons to give you a laugh as you piece the puzzle together. I decided that the best time to do the puzzle was in the lull after Christmas when we were cooped up indoors due to the weather. Once I had found myself a flat surface (not an easy feat in our house - I had to use a cardboard box!) I set to finding all the edge pieces:

Well most of the edge pieces on my first trawl through! The great thing about the softclick technology is that you know straight away if you are putting the right pieces together as they go in without a fuss. 

Once I had got the border in place it didn't take a huge amount of time to complete the puzzle. Apart from being distracted by reading the sections of the picture as they appear that is! There weren't too many tricky parts as each part of the cartoon was pretty distinctive:

We have all had a hoot reading the gym instructors names and finding all the funny bits that are all over the puzzle. All in all a fun puzzle to do and it provides lots of entertainment once it is complete too. Now please excuse me I'm off to my Topless Scything Class with Paul Darke and Dee Melza..

Friday 1 January 2016

My hopes for 2016

Please note avoidance of word resolutions as I always fail these!

I am hoping that 2016 will be both a healthy and happy one for all of my family. There are a lots of strands to helping this to happen:

1) All working together

When my children do their bit and help with chores then more gets done, I feel more relaxed and the house looks a lot better:

2) Getting organised

Despite moving in the house in June a lot of our possessions are still at my parents' as we haven't got fully organised yet. Things are starting to change with plans for new shelving etc so that every room in the house can look as neat and tidy as I got my son's floor this week:

3) Healthy and happy children

My children have shot up over the last year and have been pretty lucky health wise (apart from my son breaking his nose!). Here is hoping they continue to thrive physically and mature into the kind and generous young people they show they have the potential to be:

4) Healthier family

I have to admit that as a family our diets in 2015 were far from perfect. So I need to lead by example and encourage a higher consumption of the good stuff and discourage the naughty stuff. To kick us off I have given up booze once again for January (this time in aid of Alcohol Concern) and I am avoiding unnecessary sugar. I will not buy junk food for anyone so the children will just have to earn pocket money if they want sweets! Homemade cakes will be allowed though as I am not a complete meanie... I have even dusted off my multi layer steamer so that we have a wider range of veggies:

5) Shape up for the half marathon

There is no way I will run 13.1 miles in May within the cutoff time if I don't get into a lot better physical shape. So I got my daughter to photograph me in my lycra tonight and I've both weighed (eek!), taken body fat measurements (eek!) and used the tape measure (eek!) to record where I am now. Not posting the measurements in public but here is the embarrassing photo from today showing the starting point:

What are your hopes for 2016?