31 October 2015

Project 365 2015 #44

I do love the October half term break; a time to unwind, kick back and cosy up.
Here's my week 44 of Project 365 2015.

Project 365 #44

Project 365 2015 day 298 - Autumn afternoon sun // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 299 - Pumpkins and broomstick // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 300 - Avebury Manor House // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 301 - Durdle Door, Dorset // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 302 - Kennet and Avon Canal, Bradford-on-Avon // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 303 - Cinnamon & ginger pumpkin seeds // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 304 - Muddy Parkrun // 76sunflowers

Day 298
The clocks went back last night and daylight is reducing our time to play at the park. The Autumn afternoon sun looked beautiful going down on our game of rugby/football/basketball.
Day 299
A walk to town to see the dentist. On the way back we picked up pumpkins, treats and a broomstick ready for the 31st.
Day 300
An afternoon at Avebury today where we went around the Manor House and gardens for the first time. There were walled gardens aplenty and we wandered around exploring in the rain.
Day 301
A beautiful day today and we headed down to Lulworth Cove and walked along the Dorset coast path to Durdle Door. This was quality family time with some hard hills to climb but the views were well worth it.
Day 302
I had a physio assessment today in Bradford-on-Avon as I need to get my knee sorted. It was very positive and I was told to keep on running! Afterwards I had a quick walk along the Kennet and Avon canal where the barges were looking cosy with their wood burners going.
Day 303
Following the physio's advise I whizzed off for an early morning 5k then came back and roasted the pumpkin seeds with cinnamon and ginger - so moreish!
Day 304
My second, muddy, Parkrun today and I shaved 16 seconds off my PB - not that I'm competitive with myself!

x x x


24 October 2015

Project 365 2015 #43

It's the half term holiday!
That's all I need to say!

Project 365 #43

Project 365 2015 day 291 - Rugby festival // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 292 - Wrapping paper art // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 293 - Hello cows! // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 294 - Bedtime reading // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 295 - Autumn leaves // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 296 - Basketball // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 297 - Parkrun! // 76sunflowers

Day 291
Another rugby festival today for the boy - he did so well and got himself into the action a lot more.
Day 292
A bit of a lazy Monday resting my calf which pinged working out yesterday afternoon. I finally framed some handpainted paper I picked up in Glastonbury a while back.
Day 293
All good with the calf on my morning run today. Stopped and said hello to the cows en route!
Day 294
Last day of term; headed into work for a training day then tucked myself up in bed with a running book.
Day 295
First day of the holiday and I was up and out of the door for a 7:45 run before the husband went to work. It was so lovely running that time of day. Later I took the children into town to pick up a few groceries and we kicked the autumn leaves on the way.
Day 296
We all headed out to a nearby village for a throw around of the rugby ball, a kick of the football and some basketball action too. It was definitely needed after a lazy morning of board games with the children.
Day 297
I finally made it to my first parkrun and I loved it! I set myself a PB of 27:59, placed 12th female out of a field of 94 runners and came second in my age category - and no injury niggles!

20 October 2015

Changing seasons at The Courts {National Trust}

The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers

Autumn is here in all its glory as we shift, all too quickly, through the changing seasons.
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire is a favourite spot of ours where we witness the shifts of colour; from sunny green based days to the current welcoming hues of oranges, yellows, browns and reds.

The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers

Our most recent visit saw splashes of additional colour in the form of glass and steel sculptures from Jenny Pickford's SuperNature exhibition.

The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers

We wandered at a relaxed pace, with Grandma & Granddad, cherishing those moments of family time.
I watched the children studying the exhibits and garden hoping that they will never tire of days like these spent with their family.

The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers
The Courts Gardens, Holt, Wiltshire - National Trust // 76sunflowers

I daydreamed of such a space to call my own with colours adorning endless flower beds, a hidden sunken garden - only just discovered after countless visits, trees a plenty and to forever have such smiling happy children!

For now I am thankful to have such a space close to home to visit.
I am thankful for the time to relax and enjoy.
I am thankful for my family and my crazy children.
I am thankful for life.

Joining in with HDYGG...
Mammsaurus HDYGG

x x x

17 October 2015

Project 365 2015 #42

So half term is nearly upon us and I'm looking forward to some cold, bright Autumn days and cosy relaxing evenings. This week though has been all about positive work days and keeping on top of the running.

Project 365 #42

Project 365 2015 day 284 - Rugby Festival // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 285 - Hill repeats // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 286 - I Run This Body // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 287 - Bramley Apple Curd // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 288 - 5k intervals // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 289 - Steamy windows // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 290 - Art installation at The Courts // 76sunflowers

Day 284
A bit of a bleary eyed tired start to the day as I actually went out last night with some school mums - G&T, Prosecco and the local curry house was a great combination. Back to today and we took the boy to his first rugby festival. This involved nearly five hours on the touchlines which actually passed quickly with the cheering on of the two teams from his squad, bacon butties, cups of coffee and chatting with the other parents. His team won the Spirit Award which was fantastic.
Day 285
Monday has become run day. Today I did a few hill repeats which I loved but the familiar knee niggle at 4 miles soon got me down.
Day 286
I ordered this bangle as a belated birthday present to myself and love the words on it - I Run This Body. I also booked myself into a second half marathon next year!
Day 287
Back to work and a lovely homemade gift was awaiting me from one of my amazing TAs.
Day 288
An evening interval run of 5k - my fastest in a long time - and no knee trouble. I'm worried my legs are only built for short distances so not sure how I'm going to get up to the 13.1 miles for the Bath Half and Hackney Half next year.
Day 289
Home in time to cook tea tonight which resulted in steamy conservatory windows and writing on the glass from my girl.
Day 290
The husband is spending the weekend away with a friend so I took the children out to The Courts today with Grandma and Granddad. There is a lovely art installation on at the moment and we enjoyed following the trail - and gasping at the price tags!
x x x


12 October 2015

Musing on a Monday {Confidence, rugby and my boy}

My boy is seven years old; he was my baby, he is my baby, he will always be my baby.
He is my little gentleman; shy, quiet and reserved.
Maybe a little too shy, quiet and reserved.
He stands back from the crowds and watches from the side lines.
He doesn't like attention put upon him and embarrasses easily.
I worry he is missing out.
I want his confidence to grow.
And it is, albeit slowly, and an egg shaped ball is helping.

Back in the summer he started to take to the rugby ball rather than the football that he had been kicking around and shooting into the garden goal.
He started to throw and catch with his dad and stated he liked it a lot more than football.
I tentatively asked him should we look for a local rugby club to join - he said yes.

I quickly got in touch with the local town team and they invited him along to training - he could have three weeks before making up his mind if it was for him.
The husband took him along to the first session where he joined in but at the same time kept his distance from the main action.
He had a wibble about going again but a few gentle words of encouragement and the following week it was my turn to take him along.
I watched him as he trotted over to join the coaches and the other players and he was soon into the warm ups and ball drills.
Then they had a game of tag rugby.
He got the ball, he got tagged, his face wibbled, his lower lip came out, his eyes filled with tears. The coach was straight in there buoying him along.
We chatted later clarifying that getting tagged is inevitably going to happen and it is a key part of the game.
We chatted lots about the rules of the game and how the majority of the children had been playing for a few years and he had been there for two weeks.
We chatted lots about persevering.
Then, perfect timing. He came home from school and told us about that day's assembly where the head teacher had talked about Growth Mindset with the key message focussing on the words, 'I can't do it' and turning it into, 'I can't do it...yet!'
Yes! We had a saying to back up everything we had been talking about.

At the end of the third session he decided that yes he was going to commit so club fees were paid and kit purchased. The following week the coaches commented to me that his confidence was starting to show through and that the first few weeks he was like 'A deer in headlights' - which summed him up perfectly. Now that deer is starting to be a little less stunned.

Watching him yesterday, play in four matches at a rugby festival, we saw that confidence increase bit by bit through each game. In the first three matches he was still reserved; he held back from the main action, when the ball was passed to him he couldn't get it out of his hands quick enough, he didn't chase for the tags. But match four and we saw a difference; he was running for other players, he kept up more, he was involved, and then...
It had all been worth it for that moment.
That boosted his confidence no end.

He proudly collected his medal and posed with the trophy that his club had won having been nominated by the other coaches as the club demonstrating the best team spirit.

That for me was the best message and rugby, although a new sport for me to be involved in, has been a great choice for the boy.

I loved this spread in the festival magazine particularly the words...

Musing on a Monday {Confidence, rugby and my boy} // 76sunflowers

And the line...
But he will always be my superstar.

Musing on a Monday {Confidence, rugby and my boy} // 76sunflowers

x x x

10 October 2015

Project 365 2015 #41

Roll on half term is my general view this week.

Project 365 #41

Project 365 2015 day 277 - Garden flowers // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 278 - Poorly Elena Dr Martens // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 279 - Autumn tress // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 280 - Autumn leaves in the garden // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 281 - 5k on the TomTom Runner // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 282 - Sloe gin & candles // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 283 - Bath view // 76sunflowers

Day 277
Another Sunday another morning stood on the rugby pitch touchline. We picked up a friend on the way home so my girl had something to look forward to. They spent the afternoon in the garden making potions and picking flowers.
Day 278
A soaking wet Monday and the realisation my favourite Dr Martens boots have had it. They no longer make the Elena style and I don't have the spare pennies for a new pair as I need some new runners soon!
Day 279
An up and down 5 mile run today with knee niggles at 4 miles. I stopped off in the nearby field on my mope back home to see some Autumn shades on the trees.
Day 280
After work I was home in time to see the boys playing rugby in the back garden and noticed the grass was turning into a blanket of Autumn leaves.
Day 281
Pushed myself out for a 5k intervals run tonight to clear the stress of Thursday at work. It was a running through treacle feeling but no niggles so had to be happy.
Day 282
The husband was out so I had the lounge and TV to myself. Once the tedious Friday evening laundry and cleaning chores were done I poured myself a good measure of sloe gin and lit some candles.
Day 283
A bit of a rubbish Saturday; tired, fed up and snapping at the wrong people. I'm off out later to see some friends for a much needed catch up - or vent!

x x x

5 October 2015

Musing on a Monday {Internet Friends}

It's time I did some musing.
I haven't written a Musing on a Monday post for nearly two years but today it's back and I'm talking friends.
Internet friends.
Internet Friends // 76sunflowers
First I must apologise if the above GIF makes your eyes go doolally but whilst searching through Pinterest for an inspirational quote about what I wanted to write about today it caught my eye - and sums it all up.
As with any good tale let's go to the beginning.
Four years ago I upgraded my brick mobile for a smartphone and my life changed. I entered the addictive world of swashy swashy swiping screens - and Twitter.
Then I started a blog.
I would lose contact with my husband for days on end as I got caught up in the world of posts, linkys, tweets and the people living in my phone.
My husband didn't understand it all at first - I'm not sure he still fully gets it now but I know he appreciated the Beef Jerky from the Blog On Winchester goody bag so he puts up with it. 
When I first opened up Twitter and chose my, now completely different, username the app threw lots of suggestions at me whom I eagerly started to follow then waited for them to reciprocate. Beyond doing the obvious thing of hooking me up with all the SAHMs, as I was back then, and those users with similar names the algorithms and mechanics of such social media platforms baffle me.
But it made some great links.
I started following someone in Cornwall whose pink cup of tea avatar caught my eye. She was, I don't think she'll mind me saying, a few years older than me with a daughter and son who I would avidly read about whilst seeing my two a few years down the line retelling similar stories. We would chat online and follow each other's blog and I would joke about popping in to see her in Cornwall - for many reasons it sadly never happened.
We eventually met up at a small blogging conference in Bristol where we said hello and had the briefest of chats over a cuppa - obviously.
Life then threw up a whole load of challenges which resulted in her moving to a town just a few miles up the road from me. Despite the closeness in distance we didn't see each other again until another blogging conference in Cardiff. Since then I have had the pleasure of cuppas and lunch at her house and I have finally met her dogs - one of which is sneeze friendly so therefore my favourite, but don't tell the others.
Some people in my life don't get how I have friends that I have met online yet probably wouldn't see meeting a new partner online as odd. Why is a friendship viewed differently? The internet, and Twitter is a great example, gives you an opportunity to suss people out. Yes, lots have a fa├žade but many tweet their true personality. I seem to be a reasonable judge of character so go with my instincts too. Meeting at blogging conferences is a great way to confirm your instincts that yes in fact these people are perfectly harmless and actually quite nice. We all have family forced on us but it doesn't mean we are friends with them. We all have neighbours within touching distance but you're not always going to bond with them. Work colleagues have a huge range of personalities and they don't always gel with mine. So online friends are kind of amazing. You can basically pick out the good ones!
Following Blog on Winchester I had the pleasure of meeting my internet friend's lovely family. I popped in for an evening cuppa and was met with a smiley husband watching the rugby, a trio of crazy dogs, a shy quiet teenage boy with his headphones on immersed in his love of 70s music on his laptop - he quietly said hello and smiled and I completely got his shy ways - and a newly blonde teenage daughter who tried to educate me in ten minutes on how teenagers use Facebook. I felt relaxed with them all - which is a huge thing for me as teenagers usually intimidate me and I'm normally completely crap with new people - but I felt I knew them all already.
But then they already 'knew' me via the online life of my lovely internet friend.
x x x

4 October 2015

Blog On Win ~ Thou shalt not compare thy blog to bigger and better ones

Yesterday I went to a small blogging conference run by Blog On at Winchester Science Centre.
This size of event I can cope with - other bigger conferences, although attended by me in the past, now scare me. Blog On Win though was like a warm, squishy Great Aunty welcoming me in with a huge squeeze.
I prefer smaller numbers of people. The numbers taking part did not scare me off with 70 bloggers and 10 speakers in attendance. Some of these bloggers and speakers were the big ones - you know the ones; everyone knows them, everyone recognises their logo, everyone wants their blog design and everyone wants their skills - and we got a snippet of those skills from them through discussion, hands on workshops - the photography with Annie was great - and just listening to them speak.

One of the big name bloggers there was The Unmumsy Mum who spoke hilariously about breaking the blogging rules.
Yes, some believe there are rules.
And I used to follow them.
Back in the distant days of 2011, when I started blogging, I did it all; the linkies, the tweeting, the klouting, the scoring, the interacting, the communication, the regular posting, the conferences. You name it I probably dabbled with it.
It became a little bit overwhelming. Actually it became a huge bit overwhelming.
But back to The Unmumsy Mum.
She spoke sense - a lot of sense.
She breaks the rules - more to the point she doesn't really know what the rules are let alone tries to follow them.
Here's some examples:
  • She still writes on a Blogger platform - I have lost count of the times bloggers have told me I should get my arse off the less professional Blogger and onto Squarespace or Wordpress or something more whizzy and slick. Heck, she even has a blogspot.co.uk URL.
  • She doesn't care about the Tots 100 - she didn't even know it was.
  • Her blog design is shite* and she doesn't have fancy buttons for all the social media platforms - but she doesn't need those as....
  • She's not even on Pinterest.
She's one hell of a rule breaker and I kind of like that.
Actually the but needs to be more effective.
None of that matters because she has 282,470 Facebook page followers.
And a book deal.
Hold on a second....
To compare, I have 68.
But you know what? I'm ok with that.
I love my little blog.
I love that it is still running on Blogger.
I love that I can just take part in Project 365 and post nothing else for months at a time because it is mine.
I love that when I have something to say I can just type out the words and put it out there.
I love that my blog is mine.

x x x

* Disclaimer - she says so herself. See...right here in this blog post on her **shite Blogger designed blog
** Disclaimer 2 - I'm just kidding, it's not shite at all, her blog is flipping fantastic.

3 October 2015

Project 365 2015 #40

What a lovely sunny Autumn week we have had.

Project 365 #40

Project 365 2015 day 270 - Apples and blackberries // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 271 - Apples and blackberry pie // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 272 - Autumn run // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 273 - Autumn leaves // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 274 - Star Wars PJs // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 275 - Running in the dark // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 276 - Floral photography at Blog on Win // 76sunflowers

Day 270
A day of baking with the foraged goodies from yesterday's haul.
Day 271
Apple and blackberry pie for a rare pudding tonight.
Day 272
A lovely Autumn run through the park in town today.
Day 273
Autumn leaves in the garden catching the sun this afternoon after work.
Day 274
Lazy photo of Star Wars PJs following a late Parents Evening at work.
Day 275
Evening running in the dark - long running tights and reflective trainers are very much needed now.
Day 276
A lovely day at Blog on Win where some floral photography took place.

x x x

© 76 sunflowers

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