27 February 2016

Project 366 2016 #8

Week 8 of Project 366 2016 and half term seemed so long ago.
It was back to school, back to work and back to routine.

Project 366 2016 day 52 - Local church // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 53 - De-clutter // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 54 - Lone daffodil // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 55 - Daffodils!  // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 56 - Morning moon // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 57 - Daffodils // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 58 - Blue sky morning run // 76sunflowers

Day 52
Sunday is becoming a day to go running with my girl and today she wanted to go a little further. It was a little too far and we ended up walking back home past the local church.
Day 53
The children had a teacher training day so the girl had a friend to play and they all occupied themselves. This gave me an opportunity to start having a de-clutter beginning with the Good Food magazines dating back to 2001.
Day 54
My daffodils in the garden aren't doing so good this year - this was the only one I noticed today that didn't look battered.
Day 55
And the ones I had bought from the supermarket weren't faring much better either! This sorry looking bunch summed up my back to work Wednesday quite well.
Day 56
A cold and frosty start today and while I waited for the car to defrost I spotted the moon looking rather glorious in the morning sky.
Day 57
Now this is better! I got in from work to a tidy house, shopping done, including a bottle of Prosecco, and some healthy looking daffodils bought by the husband before he went away for the weekend.
Day 58
The Grandparents popped in this morning to look after the children so I could still do my run - I love my in laws! It was cold out with a perfect blue sky and I took my charity running vest for a spin before the big day in two weeks times. It was comfy but my womanly hips made it ride up a bit!

x x x

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

22 February 2016

Musing on a Monday {Improving what we have}

Yesterday I took the girl out on a run and we headed slowly out to the village just up the road. Running that bit slower means I take in more of my surroundings and having her company is lovely. Thinking about it, it is our only time just mother and daughter that we ever get. Our route took us past one of two houses in the village that I had fallen instantly in love with many years ago, when I first pushed my girl in her pram on our first solo walk out together in the world, and I spotted the For Sale sign. My heart did a little leap of excitement! Could this be a sign? Deep down I knew this wasn't possible as any house in the village came at a premium and, even though we didn't necessarily want to live in this village, I was straight onto Rightmove as soon as we were back. Then my heart really sank. The figure staring back at me, even knowing how crazy house prices have become, still came as a shock. I did the only sensible thing any girl dreaming of a house move would do; I sulked. Not because that I couldn't afford that particular house but that it pushed our dream forever house - a cosy cottage out in the country with a bit of land for some pigs - way out of reach.

I then decided there and then that I could either carry on sulking and getting mad with the the world or shut up, be grateful for what I do have and make the most of it. Surprisingly I plumped for the latter. Approaching 40 is clearly making me grow up a bit.

So this is what I said to the husband;
"Let's accept we are here for the foreseeable, we love our little house, we may not love the on street parking but it is quiet, the neighbours are ok and we feel safe and secure. Let's look at it through fresh eyes; let's imagine we've just moved in and make some plans."

My thoughts instantly turned to the chimney breasts in the front and back rooms. The front room houses an ugly gas fire with marble surround whilst the back room has an original tile hearth but has long been bricked up, woodchipped over and modernised with a radiator. One of these rooms needs a woodburner particularly when a friend told me, "A wood burner really creates a heart in a home."

So with that I was straight back online and looking for ideas on Pinterest!
Fireplace ideas
And that is my first home goal to improve what we have; sort out the fireplaces and ultimately create a family room with cosy kitchen area, cosy seating, cosy woodburner and peace and quiet. 

x x x

Thanks to Ali for the quote!

20 February 2016

Project 366 2016 #7

Week 7 of Project 366 2016 and it's half term week.
The alarms were shut off for the week and we chilled and enjoyed the sunshine which appeared for most of the week.
Which was nice!

Project 366 2016 day 45 - Afternoon run with my girl // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 46 - Lacock horse // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 47 - Walking the Ridgeway // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 48 - Long run in the rain // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 49 - Stourhead // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 50 - Devizes // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 51 - Fast 5 miles // 76sunflowers

Day 45
Back to the routine of rugby training following water logged pitch cancellations. It was a cold day out and as she had put up with rugby I promised my girl she could come and run with me later. She managed just over a mile before returning home - I obviously carried on without her as there were 3 miles on the plan!
Day 46
A gorgeous Monday morning and first day of half term. I had to pop into work for a couple of hours then we met up with the Grandparents for a lovely walk around Lacock where we stopped and said hello to this rather handsome fellow.
Day 47
A rather lovely day of weather again today - cold, sunny and clear blue sky, just right for a walk up to the Ridgeway at Avebury where our fingers turned numb whilst eating sandwiches at the top.
Day 48
The weather turned today - just in time for this week's long run. I headed out in the cold and wet for 10.5 miles for what was meant to be a long slow run - I may need to adjust some timings!
Day 49
The sunshine returned today! My lovely friend and her girl took me and my lovely two to Stourhead today for a much needed catch up followed by a birthday slice of cake, for her, and cup of tea back at home.
Day 50
Better weather than forecast today and we all headed in to Devizes for a wander around. I had a little look up at the buildings as we walked - something I should do more often.
Day 51
The rain came back - I am so fed up with rainy Saturdays. Apologies for another trainer based photo but apart from going to Asda, watching Big Hero 6 and eating cake it was all I really did today! So chuffed at my pace though and no knee niggles - hoorah!

x x x

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

19 February 2016

Camp Bestival 2016 ~ Mission Control

Calling all space cadets!
Space is the place at Camp Bestival 2016 with a brand new Mission Control tent added to the already out of this world line up announcements.
Over to Camp Bestival ground control...

Camp Bestival 2016 ~ Mission Control // 76sunflowers

5…4…3…2…1… BLAST OFF! Exclusive to Camp Bestival, the Royal Albert Hall’s resident Education & Outreach orchestra, Albert’s Band, will take us on a musical journey to a galaxy far, far away with their Space Symphony. This promises to be the perfect family friendly introduction to some of the most famous and recognised pieces of classical music in the universe, so don’t miss it!
Our brand new space-tastic Mission Control tent will play host to a wondrous selection of celestial thrills including the award winning National Space Centre team who will be on hand presenting exciting challenges and intriguing facts to inspire all at Space Camp Lulworth, and you’ll get the chance to win a National Space Centre family pass, too. You can witness science experiments, learn about the universe and join a mission to Mars with The Science Museum. Plus, The UK Space Agency will be taking a leaf out of Tim Peake’s exercise programme with some space-themed fitness and health activities. And don’t miss the Space to Earth Challenge a special space-themed walk around Camp Bestival, where fancy dress is positively encouraged! Come and defy gravity with us. 
You can quiz the stargazing experts from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and be inspired by Explorer Dome presents ‘The Wonder of Space’, a family-friendly show produced exclusively for Camp Bestival. Featuring rocket workshops and chemistry shows with freezing fog, fire, flashes and big bangs, you can explore space, stars, life on other worlds, the ultimate fate of our sun, and the sky tonight, with added cosmology for the curious and the chance to ask questions about our place in the universe. 
There will, of course, be a host of stellar Mission Control action throughout the weekend, with OKIDO Magazine upping the intergalactic ante with giant squishy monsters, a spacey episode of Messy goes to Okido, and a huge, collaborative Space Mural. You can also send a message on a Space-Ready Postcard and work on the longest Space-Themed Bunting ever created. You could also get involved in the greatest building experience in the universe, with Brickies Lego Space Academy and their space-themed LEGO® building workshops, or enjoy Urban Astronaut; a cautionary environmental tale that combines stunning design and a unique, travelling flying machine with simple storytelling and a moving dance performance. 
Get ready for World Record Breaking Bubble Inc Shows from Samsam Bubble Man, who holds 10 Guinness World Records for Bubbleologist, and Gobbledegook Theatre’s inventive and interactive art that will surprise and delight in unexpected places as they mix up their musical Cosmic Cocktails with Dorset-based group Everyday Sunshine.
As ever, The Science Tent will be a mix of science-based performances, timetabled science, technology workshops and drop-in sessions. Be like Tim Peake and join The Rasberry Pi Foundation and Code Club in their Astro Pi Workshops. Explore comets and asteroids, learn how to cook up your own hairy star, make a CD hovercraft, and then make a human hovercraft! Launch a paper rocket, make a sound straw, and join the Silly Science Team’s Slime Workshop. We have tons to stimulate and fascinate every age group...and that includes you mums and dads!
We’ll also have woodland-based workshops aplenty as The ATE Trust presents…Woodland Warriors and Space Agents. Investigating a crashed spaceship in the Dingly Dell, ATE’s Space Agents might need your help to examine the space wreck, learn useful phrases in intergalactic languages, or to keep a lookout for strange-looking creatures. They will also be running space-themed ‘Cosmic Crafts’ workshops alongside our ever-popular woodland crafts. And there will be a Final Night Showcase and Procession in the Dell, with a special surprise planned for this year…
You can also let your little stars Blastoff to one of our Musical Mania workshops inspired by the adventures of Buzz Lightyear, or travel to the Planet Frozen, where you will learn the songs, dances and stories inspired by the smash hit Frozen.  
And, finally for now, keeping the cosmic wonder flowing, we’ll be showing rocket-fuelled entertainment with Aardman Animations’ classic A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit!
We’re still counting down to lift-off at Camp Bestival 2016, with so much more interstellar fun and games to be announced, so keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter for all the latest sub space communications.
Ticket Info:
Camp Bestival 2016 Weekend Tickets are on sale now via: Ticketline / 0844 888 4410 
Camp Bestival 2016 Weekend Ticket Prices:
Adult Weekend Ticket - £197.50*
Student Weekend Ticket - £185*
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket - £118*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket - £93*
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket - £45*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket - £15*
Babes In Arms (1 & Under) - FREE (but ticket required)*
All tickets include camping from Thursday or Friday.
*NB: please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions 
Weekly Payment Plan:
Use our 20 week payment plan to purchase your tickets meaning that an adult ticket can now be bought at a payment of around £9 per week over 19 consecutive weekly payments following your initial deposit payment. Book online via Ticketline only: select 'Camp Bestival 2016 - Weekend Payment Plan'. Once you have signed up to the payment plan, which basically means giving your agreement by ticking the bank mandate form on Ticketline’s website, they will automatically debit your card on a weekly basis. NB: Booking fees and a deposit (£27.50 per adult ticket) will be charged with your initial transaction.  More info here.
Car Parking - £20 in advance 
Campervan Ticket - £85 per vehicle - please read Campervan T&Cs before booking 
Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket - £96 (One car only per caravan/trailer tent – no exceptions). Please read Caravan/Trailer tent T&Cs here.
For further info and reviews from past Camp Bestivals take a peek here!
x x x

17 February 2016

Running Diary {Long slow run}

Yesterday was a glorious day here in Wiltshire with the sun shining, a clear blue sky and a nice nip in the air - a perfect day to set out on my long, slow run of 10.5 miles. However, it is half term. Don't get me wrong I love the school break - it's a holiday for me and valuable days to spend with my children. But there was a run on the training plan and it said Tuesday! However I had to chill out a little there as work and family commitments meant I had to hold back a day. Instead I took the children for a walk up the Ridgeway which kept my restless feet active.
Running Diary {Long slow run}
So, today. My rescheduled long, slow run day. I looked out of the window at 7 a.m. and the beautiful sky from yesterday had been replaced with a blanket of grey and the rain was looming. And it was cold. I grabbed a bowl of muesli and a glass of water and had breakfast in bed. I then faffed over what to wear knowing that I hate to tie things round my waist but I gambled on the running jacket. By 8:50 I was out of the door leaving the children with the husband, who had delayed his start to the day so I could get out - love him - and I was off.

I felt like I was starting off slowly but a glance at my TomTom told me otherwise with my first 3 miles clocking in at 9:13, 9:12 and 9:01 minute miles - why does it feel like I am running slower than usual but actually zooming along at a decent pace?! Mile 4 was 8:54! I carried on with a pace in the low 9 minute mile area but felt comfortable with this. As I ran the miles got eaten up and the time passed me by in a haze; I'm never quite sure where the time goes to on my long runs, it seems to just evaporate and I have phases where my mind is completely clear of any thought. I love these moments and they definitely beat what happened towards the end of my run.

At 9 miles I felt like I was breezing back home then that familiar niggle reared up in my outer thigh heading down to my knee.
My clear calm mind was long gone and was replaced with me voicing my opinion as I ran;
"F**k off, f**k off"
My new mantra was born.
Not a positive one I admit but it helped - and I checked I was out of earshot of any other crazy people out in the cold and the rain. It became quite therapeutic as I ran alongside the busy A road back home wondering what the drivers thought of me as I half ran, half grimaced myself along clearly shouting profanities as I went.

Then I was off the busy road, under the subway - whose down slope made me wince even more - then it was the quiet side roads back home. Once the 10.5 miles had passed I stopped my TomTom, slowed up and walked the few hundred yards back before collapsing through my front door.

Now this is the good/frustrating bit. Once I stop the knee pain stops. Try running again though once I have stopped and oh my...there are no words!

Following a long, slow stretching session I went upstairs for a long hot bath and a cup of Earl Grey.
And coming back down the stairs was absolutely fine!
What's that about!?

I checked my TomTom afterwards and found it had not really been a long slow run at all - well not for me. I hit 10k at my usual 10k race rate and completed this run at a faster pace than my previous 8.5, 9 and 10 mile runs.
Running Diary {Long slow run} // 76sunflowers

A quick bit of maths told me that if I keep at this pace I'll finish a half in just over two hours.
Now, the competitive me wants a sub 2 hour but at what cost?

Maybe I do actually need to slow down and treat these runs as a long SLOW run!
Will I ever learn??

x x x

 photo bath 1_zpsazttsaeg.jpg

15 February 2016

A Year With My Camera {DSLR ~ ISO & Black & White}

Continuing with no. 32 on my 40 things to do before 40 list - use my DSLR properly - today I have been following Emma's tutorials; exploring ISO and Black & White.

Building on the skills from previous weeks, which looked at aperture and shutter speed, I explored adding ISO into the mix to see how higher and lower settings effected the camera's sensitivity to light.

We headed out to Lacock and took a walk out of the village where I found plenty of things to snap with crucial time to fiddle with the settings on my camera. Walking past the ford I couldn't resist playing with the shutter speed but also thought about the ISO settings.

Shutter speed with ISO as backup:

1sec / ISO100
A Year With My Camera - Shutter Speed & ISO DSLR // 76sunflowers
1/1250sec / ISO6400
A Year With My Camera - Shutter Speed & ISO DSLR // 76sunflowers

These primroses for sale caught my eye for a quick aperture shot.

f4.5 / ISO100
A Year With My Camera - Aperture & ISO // 76sunflowers

The friendly horse was a good subject to work with too. With his head easily being able to fill the frame I wanted some background too but with a small depth of field; the aperture f stops have actually stuck in my head!

f5.6 / ISO100
A Year With My Camera - Aperture & ISO // 76sunflowers

I had a mental block for the next focus of the day - Black & White.
I knew my camera had a monochrome setting but couldn't find it so instead I took some pictures with the idea of black and white in my head, then, once home, I turned to the trusted PicMonkey.
I always like applying black and white to historical artefacts and brickwork so the old bicycle outside the village bakery was a perfect subject for me.

f4.5 / 1/160secs / ISO100
A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers
PicMonkey Black and White filter + an increase in contrast.
A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers
PicMonkey Black and White focal feature
A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers
 PicMonkey Black and White focal feature + an increase in contrast
A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers

One of my many dream houses in the area is currently undergoing renovation and walking past I quickly snapped it not thinking about the settings on the camera but visualising it as a black and white piece.

f16 / 1/400secs / ISO 6400

A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers
PicMonkey Black and White filter
A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers
PicMonkey Black and White filter + increase in contrast
A Year With My Camera - Black & White DSLR // 76sunflowers

I have since found the monochrome function on the camera so will venture out again and explore using it alongside the other elements that I have built up over the last few weeks.
My confidence in my DSLR is growing bit by bit and I'm starting to look at things differently rather than with an automatic setting point and shoot mentality.
However, I'm still finding it easier to just grab the mobile phone camera and an effort is needed to take the DSLR out in the first place - definitely not a bit of kit to just slip in the back pocket!

x x x

13 February 2016

Project 366 2016 #6

Week 6 of Project 366 2016 and finally half term is upon us.

Project 366 2016 day 38 - Longleat 10k Chinese Dragon // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 39 - Rainy Monday // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 40 - 10 mile run day // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 41 - Coffee Cake // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 42 - Cold morning // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 43 - Snowdrops // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 44 - Valentines Flowers // 76sunflowers

Day 38
It was off to Longleat today for my 10k race! I went alone as the children didn't want to get up and leave the house at 7:45 on a Sunday morning - and I don't blame them - but I had a fabulous time. I beat the hills, finished in 56:34 and got a lovely medal at the end. The estate was opening up later for Chinese New Year and that meant we ran past a rather impressive dragon.
Day 39
Storm Imogen landed today. When did storms suddenly become personified? Is it to make them more bearable? Give them a name and we won't mind them so much dumping their rain, wind and general havoc upon us? Luckily I didn't have much to do today and following a quick trip into town I could keep warm and dry inside and watch the rain against the window pane.
Day 40
Much better weather today thank you very much. Cold with a hint of sunshine for my 10 mile run but Imogen had left her mark; a 100 yard stretch of my run alongside the river was flooded and my trainers got in a right old state!
Day 41
Back to work and the start of a bad few days of cake and sugar consumption! My planning morning was fuelled by coffee cake.
Day 42
What a beautiful morning today; freezing cold and misty. I snapped this whilst waiting for the lovely husband to scrape my car.
Day 43
Tidying up my classroom and outdoor area this morning I noticed the lovely snowdrops in our walled garden and realised that I am now ready for Spring. Half term now so I know it is just around the corner.
Day 44
A good fast 5 mile run this morning then later a rare few hours out with just the husband ending up in my favourite local village pub. He also brought me these lovely flowers yesterday.

x x x

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky


8 February 2016

Running Diary {Longleat 10k}

Running Diary {Longleat 10k} // 76sunflowers

The Longleat 10k had been looming on my half marathon training plan for a while and I was looking forward to it - although with some trepidation once word of the hills had spread online and was confirmed by a running friend in the real world. Due to this I started to look upon it as a training run, rather than any attempt to set any 10k PB, so I went along yesterday in quite a relaxed manner just looking forward to running in a crowd with the only target being conquering those hills.

I gave myself a good half an hour to get there, having checked the route online, and was hoping to meet my running friend at 8:15. However, the traffic entering the event was heaving and I was stuck for a mile in a slow moving line that resulted in me parking up at 8:55 with the race due to start at 9:00. I made a mad dash to the toilets, pulled on my running vest, called my friend to say I'd see her if I see her, wrestled my phone into its armband, yanked my buff over my ears - it was chilly out - and shot over to the start line where, thankfully, they held off the start for about ten minutes. I had planned on putting myself midway in the sub 10 minute mile and sub 9 minute mile start area but nobody really knew where these were so I moved down away from the front as I didn't want to hold up the fast runners. Then we were off.


6 February 2016

Project 366 2016 #5

Week 5 of Project 366 for 2016 and we head into February.
The sun made some appearances which is always nice!

Project 366 2016 day 31 - Ginger Stem Cookies // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 32 - Longleat 10k race number // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 33 - Rainbow on my 10 mile run // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 34 - Lego war // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 35 - Spring pots // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 36 - Tea and cookies // 76sunflowers
Project 366 2016 day 37 - Longleat 10k kit // 76sunflowers


4 February 2016

40 things to do before 40 {10 mile run & a letter to New Zealand}

With only seven and a bit months until the big four zero hits me I have made a headlong start on my 40 things to do before 40 list. The DSLR has been out weekly and I have explored aperture and shutter speed but I don't feel I am quite ready to tick off no. 32 on the list.
However, I can tick off numbers 2 and 21 - Run 10 miles and Write a letter to New Zealand - with a double whammy achieved on Tuesday this week.
Go me!

Run 10 miles {40 things to do before 40} // 76sunflowers

3 February 2016

Better Extreme Trampoline Park ~ Swindon Link Centre {Review}

Better Extreme Trampoline Park ~ Swindon Link Centre {Review} // 76sunflowers

On Saturday we were invited to review the new Better Extreme Trampoline Park, at the Swindon Link Centre, before it officially opened this week.
Better Extreme is part of GLL, a not-for-profit social enterprise scheme whose key objectives include getting more people active - and the trampoline park is definitely a great way to do this for people of all ages.
Swindon, although only 40 minutes drive from us, is rarely ventured to but it has a lot to offer families. Placed within the Link Centre, which itself has an ice rink, swimming pool, library and coffee shop on site, the trampoline park has state-of-the-art equipment including a main court with foam pits, extreme dodgeball area, basketball, fidget ladder, slack line and performance walls.
Upon arrival we received our funky trampolining socks - which the children were excited about as you get to keep them!

Better Extreme Trampoline Park ~ Swindon Link Centre {Review} // 76sunflowers

We were then taken to the large locker area to store our bags and jewellery safely - £1 returnable lockers - before watching the all important safety film. Then it was off to explore.
© 76 sunflowers

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