Tuesday, 31 May 2016

#CountryKids A weekend camping in Dent, Cumbria

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
This Bank Holiday I was invited to sell Usborne books in Dent and so I turned it into a mini camping break with my children. We arrived at Millbeck Farm on a hot and sunny afternoon:

We had booked into the basic camp site which was only £9 a night! There were portaloos in the field plus a water tap. At the farm up the track were real loos and showers. Luckily the campsite was nice and quiet as we were putting up our new tent for the first time... this was a stressful experience eventually we were able to check out our spacious new tent with our own sleeping compartments (just enough room for our new camp beds):

Then we needed to recover from our exertions so headed up the road into the village itself which was somewhere we had never bin. Its a beautiful, little village with lots of things to spot:

We were hungry and thirsty so checked out the two pubs in the village (amazing there are 2 in such a small place!). The George and Dragon didn't appear to have a beer garden so we didn't stop in there:

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: 13 reasons #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

This is Michelle's last week hosting before she hands the baton back to me for June. Please feel free to poke me on a Wednesday night to remind me to set it all up! Its been great having her back and seeing some new bloggers and old hands all on board. As for my reasons this week I said in the title 13 and its not 13 individual reasons but the number of miles I ran/walked on Sunday. Here the reasons that made me smile:

1) Finishing

Wow I actually did it!

2) Making my kids proud

Both my children told me they were proud of me - that is something that I have never heard them both say to me!

3) Crossing the line with my kids

The best bit of the 13.1 miles was my children meeting me and making me sprint finish:

I am sure other things have made me happy this week but this will live with me forever!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Brathay Half Marathon 2016

So yesterday it was the day of the Brathay Half Marathon and my first ever attempt at the distance. My training had not gone to plan but it was too late to do any more! I dragged my children out the door at 8:15 when my dad came to collect us and we headed up to Brathay for the event:

I saw lots of people I know from either running or just from being local and the atmosphere was lovely. After the marathoners had set off we were led by drummers to the starting point on the road:

A gun went off and we all set off on the 13.1 mile route... After the crowds thinned down I started using the interval feature on my watch to control my pace and preserve my stamina. I still managed to find time to chat to other runners whilst going! Its a stunning if hilly route through the Lake District countryside and the honeypot village of Hawkshead. There was plenty of support all the way. It was a relief to reach the half way turn point though after 1 hour and 15 minutes in the sun:

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Reasons to be cheerful: Camping and Proud Mum #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Thanks once again to Michelle for hosting this week. Here are the reasons for me to be smiling this week:

1) Camping fun

We have had an amazing weekend camping in Derbyshire with Single with Kids. It put smiles on all our faces. (If you want to know more I have blogged about it): 

2) Proud mum #1

My son did a school fun run this week and clocked up an impressive 9 km in an hour!! An amazing achievement at 9 years old:

3) Photos

Monday, 16 May 2016

#CountryKids Camping at Callow Top with Single With Kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

This weekend we finally got back around to going camping again after 2 years! Last year with moving house and poor weather we hadn't managed to go. So we dug out the kit, borrowed some of my parents' camping gear and headed off to Callow Top near Ashbourne for a Single With Kids camping weekend. An easy drive down meant that by 8 PM we had the tent and gazebo all set up (with a little help from some other campers) and ready for the weekend:

Eagle eyed readers will spot what it is that is missing from the above shot? I had to do a mad dash to the camp shop and plead with them not to lock up so I could by a regulator! A very helpful man used the photograph so that I could buy the right one and cook our tea (hot dogs in buns).

My son had been playing with some of the other children and my daughter had been off exploring when we were invited to the party tent to sit around the fire and the children were given marshmallows to toast:

At about 11 my son and I decided we were too tired to stay up and retired to our tent. My daughter stayed up a bit longer with some of the older children. The next morning I was up rather early as the sound of birds and sheep seemed really loud! It all looked very peaceful in our part of the camp:

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: Bluebells and Smiles #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Thanks to Michelle for hosting again this week! My life a bit bonkers so I keep forgetting which day of the week I am on so its a good job she is in charge for May.. Here my reasons for this week:

1) Parkrun

Last weekend I took a break from running and marshalled at our parkrun. As I was on the steepest part of the course it was a great opportunity to photograph everyone taking part (more pics on Flickr). This shot sums up our parkrun family to me:

2) Bluebells

Who doesn't smile when they see bluebells:

3) Family

Friday, 6 May 2016

#FitnessFriday Virtual Racing

After my long run last Friday I wanted to see how much stamina my legs had by heading to park run at Fell Foot:

It was a perfect day for running and even though my legs were tired I was slightly faster than the previous week (still 4 minutes off my PB though!).

One of our regulars was celebrating her 50th parkrun and her friend made this fabulous video of his run (can you spot me…):

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: Sunshine and Showers #R2BC

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

I am really pleased that the original founder of Reasons to be Cheerful is back to co-host with me again. Welcome back Michelle! Here my reasons for this week:

1) Little victories

My children both had friends over this weekend to camp out in the garden to test out the tent before our first camping trip later this month. Afterwards for the first time since I bought the tent 2 years ago I got ALL yes ALL of it back in the bag from which it came. It was a good feeling!

2) The route less travelled

In memory of a friend's daughter who tragically died as a baby I am attempting to walk a mile every day this month. My friend is raising money for the Lullaby Trust in her daughter's name. We are trying to mix up where we walk and at the weekend took the other side of the river route home after a trip to the cinema. Its great to have time to chat and contemplate as well as discover new things such as the T'crack in Kirkland.

3) Running away

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

#CountryKids Grizedale Earth Hour Stargazing #weloveforests

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Back in March my family were invited to attend a Stargazing event at Grizedale Forest to coincide with Earth Hour. The event was hosted by Robert Ince who has an impressive bio:
a well-known amateur astronomer and professional scientist. He was the resident astronomer and manager of the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory (SDSO) in the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park (GFDSP). 
Robert is working with the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Forestry Commission to develop astronomy tourism, provide astronomy outreach events and to increase light pollution awareness in the North of England.
Robert also wrote a weekly column in the Scottish national newspaper the Daily Record and has had articles and astronomical images published in amateur astronomical magazines.
Robert is the lead astronomer, part of a wider group of amateur astronomers known as the "Starmakers"
My son is a keen scientist so I was pleased to be able to take him along and introduce him to astronomy. Unfortunately his big sister was not well enough to join us so it was just he and I that wrapped up warm and headed up to Grizedale at dusk: 

Because the event took place at night I don't really have any decent photographs to share!

Robert started us off with a presentation indoors giving us an introductory talk on our own galaxy and its place in the wider universe. He pitched it really well so that both my son and I found it informative and interesting. 

By now it was fully dark outside (although the moon was incredibly bright) so we all went out onto the terrace to see what we could see. Robert explained the various constellations that were visible to the naked eye and he was full of fascinating facts.

Then the most exciting part of the evening was to actually look at the moon through Robert's telescope. My son was fascinated by the features he could see on the surface of the moon even though to the naked eye it wasn't all that clear. Even the grown ups were very excited by it all!

Robert also assisted us in trying to take our first astrophotographs through the view finder. Don't think I did a very good job:

Robert then adjusted his telescope so that we could see Jupiter. It was incredible to be able to see the red spot (which is apparently a storm that has been raging for at least 186 years). My photographic attempt at this was even worse than the moon so I deleted it! 

Overall my son rates the event as "4.5 stars out of 5" and his favourite part was "seeing the mini Stonehenge on the moon". I would certainly recommend this for anyone who would like to learn more about astronomy and with Grizedale being one of the truly dark places in England it was the perfect spot for it. Think I need to dig out my ex-husband's telescope from the attic and head up there again!

Here is video by Robert of stars at Grizedale: 

Grizedale_stars_h264-420_1080p_23.976_HQ from Robert Ince on Vimeo.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

#CountryKids Tarn Hows and Glen Mary

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Today my son and I headed up to Tarn Hows to complete our virtual race for Help for Heroes in honour of Captain Seath. The Tarn has a circular route around it that we would need to complete two laps of for the challenge. I hadn't been up to the Tarn before and in fact ended up parking at Glen Mary car park. From there we took the bridle way and road up the hill to the proper Tarn Hows car park. It was good warm up:

It was a relief to reach the Tarn Hows proper car park:

We checked over the map so that my son knew where we were going, he is far too fast to run alongside me! The miles without stiles route was a circular one around the Tarn so we basically just had to decide whether to go clockwise to anticlockwise. He chose the latter and shot off… I took it more steadily and paused to take photos as I went: