Wednesday 29 May 2013

cherry blossom

the cherry blossom has finally arrived.

as has the pink carpet of tulips.

I heard one of the gardeners saying they were 5 weeks late this year,

there doesn't seem to be as many as last year, but it is still a glorious sight.


Tuesday 28 May 2013

sewing news.

There is something insanely satifying about turning a pile of scraps into something new,

choosing the eyes to match each fish might just be the best bit of all.

and turning even tinier scraps into teeny pictures is even more fun,

almost addictive.

Saturday 25 May 2013

finding solace in sparkly things.

the last few weeks have been interesting.

the car broke down dramatically. AGAIN. this time on the brow of a hill, so that it required the company of two police cars whilst the car was loaded onto a tow truck, and driven to the garage - who announced a unbelievably large repair bill. We applied the "three strikes and you're out" rule, and have changed the car.......

meanwhile a valve burst on the hot water tank and we had water dripping through the ceiling.

I wrote a "to do" list, and once it reached two pages of A4 I got a bit overwhelmed and went for a cup of tea instead, and got out my colouring pencils and drew a picture of a mermaid outfit.

Then I started to collect lots of sparkly things. In times of stress you can never have too many sparkly things. This week things have been much calmer. The sun shone today and all is well. It is the start of half term and if things start to get a bit hairy again at least I the start of a mermaid outfit. And a new quote to live by.

"life isn't about learning to weather the storm, it's about learning how to dance in the rain"

do you have a favourite quote or saying? I could do with some spares. just in case......

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Tuesday 21 May 2013

asics gel cumulus trainers

Since registering interest for my upcoming marathon I've walked 452 miles in training, lost 1 1/2 stones, and worn out a pair of trainers. When were offering the chance of pair of trainers to review via Britmums I jumped at the chance.
When I went into our tiny local sports shop they had about 12 pairs of trainers. had 888 pairs in the women's section. Oh boy. How on earth can you choose from that many? But once you've filtered for activity, and size which are the obvious place to start it gets easier. Then you can filter for price, brand, colour, feature and most importantly type. This is where you can choose the trainers that are most suitable to your own feet. There is plenty of advice on the site how to choose the right shoes for you, and you get to have fun making footprints whilst you do it!
Power walking requires a certain type of trainer, and none of the shoe companies make the perfect one, so I sat with my list of requirements - supportive fabric eg. goretex, wide toe box - plenty of wriggle room for those toes, supportive flexible sole and came up with the selection of asics lady gel cumulus 14
which ticked all of my requirements, and had many more including gel cushioning, memory foam for comfort and my personal favourite - go faster stripes! - technically these are described as 3M reflectives - for running in low light, but I'm calling them go faster stripes and that's final.
I also personally really liked them as they aren't pink. I don't mind pink, but I just don't like that the sports companies assume women want pink and therefore it's almost impossible to find a pair of women's trainers without pink on somewhere.....
So I ordered a pair, a size larger as recommended for power walking (extra toe wriggle room) and was very excited when they came, and hugely disappointed to find that after all my deliberations they didn't fit..... too narrow.  At this point I rang customer service, and got some very helpful advice, discussed the comparisons with another brand, and the operator went and found out all of the information I asked, and very helpfully suggested I tried a man's pair which would come up with a wider fit. I was also emailed a size comparison chart as a women's 8 is not the same as a man's 8 if you consider the European sizing (42/42.5) to help choose the perfect replacement. have a 14 day no quibble returns / and or replacement policy, but as is often the case whenever you shop online you are liable for the return postage. I was fortunate to have a courier collect my shoes, but out of interest I took the parcel to the post office to get a quote, and it would cost £5.25 to return them second class postage, however if you wanted to have insurance as recommended by the returns policy the easiest way would be to return them recorded delivery at a cost of £8.25. The prices on the site are very competitive and there are some very good reductions to be found amongst all the ranges, which don't just include shoes but a good range of clothing and other products. The risk of having to return something is always there when you buy online, and for me the convenience of online shopping outweighs the risk.
My replacement pair asics gel cumulus have so far been a joy to wear. After a few short walks in them I was unsure whether it was a good idea to wear them for the 26.2 mile walk we had planned last week, long distances in new trainers is not the wisest decision, so I started out in them, and was prepared to change into my old worn out pair after 12 miles. After 12 miles they were still really comfortable so I kept them on, and didn't get a single blister.
 Fingers/toes/arms and legs crossed that this continues!
disclosure; I wasn't paid to write this post, but I did receive a pair of trainers. Since I had been saving up to buy some new trainers myself I have added my savings to my fund raising.
What's the most unusual thing you've ever bought online?

Wednesday 15 May 2013

for Anna

some sheepies

for Anna
just because.
all together now. baaaaaaaaaaaa.

Sunday 12 May 2013


Are you ready for another walk? It's a figure of eight route today and I've got a map for you this time so you know where we're going.
Starting near the bottom at Druridge Bay we're heading south to Cresswell.

Here is a fantastic ice cream shop, and ice cream coloured houses. It's cold and blustery though, so it's not really ice cream weather.
At Cresswell turn round and breathe a sigh of relief that the wind is now longer blowing in your face, and walk back along the beach. Past where we started from there's a much better view of Coquet Island than last time I was on this beach, apparently the puffins have started nesting, must get boat trip booked soon.
I Love puffins.

Approaching Warkworth now, and there's a cricket match on the green.
No time to stop though, keep going, for every mile walked you can have a jelly baby.
Past Warkworth Castle, ignoring the grey skies, we have a bubble of protection you see.
It will not rain.

Now we walk along the river for a while and then we're back to the beach, and then it's time to turn round and head back to the start, although first L needed a little feet up time....

At 22 miles there's a shop, time for another drink. Note to self - after a day of eating jelly babies (and a cereal bar, a peanut butter sandwich, a banana, handfuls of almonds and dried apricots....) whilst a lucozade sport drink might seem like a very good idea, they should come with a health and safety warning. Firstly you will get covered in bright pink frothy bubbles as you try and decant it into your sports bottle, and 20 minutes later the sugar high you experience will leave you laughing uncontrollably until you can't walk and your sides hurt....  The energy provided will get you back to the car however, even if you aren't allowed the last miles jelly baby as apparently you've had quite enough sugar.............
Oh boy, that water is icy cold, but it is the perfect solution for hot tired feet.

Want to see how far we went?
26.2 miles.
Why you might ask? Very good question. Well it's to prove we can.
In four weeks time I'll be doing it again, in Edinburgh at midnight, when you are all tucked up fast asleep.
ok, remember to stretch really well after your walk, and you probably deserve a nice cup of tea and a hot bath.
so that's what I did this weekend, what did you get up to?

Tuesday 7 May 2013

fancy a stroll?

Fancy coming for another stroll? You'll need to pack some snacks, we're going for a long one.
Not on the coast path this time, no we're making three circular walks that pivot from a central point, which has comfort facilities and tea.
So uphill first we go, stop to look back and down and take a deep breath.

Loop back and sit out a hail storm.  6.5 miles so far.
Sulk for a while when you realize the camera battery has died.......
Walk round the river path, past the graffiti and back to the central point again. 12 miles.
Resolve the camera issue and set off again, the longest loop is ahead of us, and there's new territory to explore.

Enter Hulne Park, part of Northumberland Estates, with a series of footpaths to follow, we're on the blue path today,  up the hill we go.

Through woodland, and with views of the Cheviots, 

across pastures and riverbanks,

then back through the woods where we are being watched.
They blend in so beautifully but it's worth trying to spot them. 

beep. L's phone app tells us we've walked the required distance. Shame I made a slight route planning error and we're still two miles from home. Time to call upon  some positive mental attitude, striding up the last hill we are chanting "we're doing it, we're getting up the hill" when we're spotted by a friend. 
She thinks we're mad.
She could be right.
22 miles.
do your feet hurt? 
I've worn out my trainers, time for a new pair......