Tag Archives: Yorkshire

Mother’s Day Run #4

Continuing with my 15 races for 15 babies, race #4  took place last week on Mother’s Day. Yes that’s right. The day I should be enjoying a lie-in breakfast in bed, I decide to swap for a 6.30am alarm call. The morning after the clocks went forward. Yes I was thoroughly and utterly mad.

My solo Mother’s Day breakfast

 

I had a short jaunt over the border into Yorkshire to Keighley. With a 9am start, having to collect our timing chips from 8am onwards and a 35 min drive, the half 6 start was needed. It was odd being up on my own, at what was really 5.30, having my race staple bowl of porridge in silence.

 

Chatting with Jo and Jayne at the start

 

Thankfully it was an absolutely beautiful morning. After the previous weekend completely soaking us, the sun was really welcome. The 10k I was taking part in, is an annual event and always takes place on Mother’s Day. Last year it snowed! Typical crazy Spring weather. Whilst basking in the sun, waiting for the start, I saw my friend Jo who I hadn’t realised was running. She and her friend had run the course a couple of times so could give me the low down on what to expect. It was nice to have someone to chat with waiting for the start.

I thought it was pretty poignant that I was running for Ewan on Mother’s Day. Last year I wrote how it’s a day that can be really difficult for bereaved mothers. Thankfully I have only had 1 year of being a mother without a child to celebrate with. And that gives me every reason to be doubly thankful ever since. Although they weren’t there to watch me run (far too early to drag them from their beds and our regular Sunday morning viewing of the Lion King), I knew I’d be able to give them a huge hug after I finishing. To lose a child and not be able to do that, is a devastating feeling on any day, but on Mother’s Day in particular.

The race wasn’t the most difficult out of the 4. It also didn’t feel like the easiest, but I ended up getting my best time so far. However, there is a big ‘but’ to come with that statement. My Strave app only recorded 9.8 km. So I’m not really sure if it counts. I definitely didn’t cut any corners so either my phone is a bit dodgy, the GPS messed up or the course measurement wasn’t 100% accurate. No matter, it was a challenging but good run. Described as ‘undulating’, there was a lot of uphill, but also just as much downhill too. Some of the hills were taken by me at a crawling running pace. I was determined not to walk, but at times I was very close. A few well placed local residents with Tupperware full of jelly babies helped to keep me going in the (believe it or not) unexpected heat.

 

The last couple of kilometres were downhill, so by the time I arrived at the finish, I didn’t feel too shot at. All the female runners were given a red carnation which was a lovely touch. A goody bag with some heavenly Eat Natural Dark Chocolate and Cranberry bars (relatively healthy but delicious) helped me ignore the blister pain. But the best prize of all was seeing my beautiful family half an hour later.  No rest for the wicked though. It was off with the trainers and on with the swimming cossie. Weekend family swims don’t get postponed because of a race and it was the opportunity to try out a new pool at Keighley (which we now love).

My obligatory finish photo (complete with carnation)

There’s a 5 week gap between this race and the next, the longest so far. It’s in Lancaster and should be quite a flat one, so maybe the chance of a getting a lot nearer my 5k PB of 59 mins 50. The fundraising for SANDS is going pretty well. A huge HUGE thanks to everyone who has donated so far. I’ve set myself a target of £500 and my Justgiving page is already at £377. If you’ve just been paid and have a few pounds to spare, please head on over.

 

 

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My progress in the 4 races so far is below. Also the rest of the races to come. If you fancy joining me, or have signed up for any, give me a shout.

#15races15babies #TeamSands #run4ewan

Results so far ….

Race #1 Blackburn – 1 hr 4 mins 3 sec
Race #2 Crosby Beach – 1 hr 6 mins 11 sec
Race #3 Accrington – 1 hr 1 min 57 sec
Race #4 Keighley – 1 hr 43 sec

Races still to run …..

Lancaster 3 Bridges 10k – 30th April

Great Run Manchester Half Marathon – 28th May

Run for All Hull 10k -18th June

Run for All Leeds 10k – 9th July

Run for All York 10k – 6th August

Blackpool Air Show 10k – 13th August

Run for All Bury 10k – 17th September

Lytham Windmill 10k – 12th November

Wilmslow 10k -26th November

Longridge Pudding Run – 10th December

+ 1 Spare run (Great Run in Harrogate was cancelled)

Happy Happy Half Term

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I’ve decided a happy post is way overdue. Although the memory of half term is already fading, I wanted to share with you a couple of the fun things we got up to. Half terms are always particularly welcome for me seeing as I work in education. The first half term is always the hardest in my line of work, so by the time the break in October arrives, I am ready for some time off.

It was Dylan’s first school holiday, which was exciting for him, although given that he has absolutely LOVED his first half term at school, I think he was a tad disappointed not to be donning his uniform as normal. Thankfully the weather gods were beaming down on us for the first few days. I was off work Monday to Wednesday and the sun shone every day. No rainy day activities needed….. hurray!

Bolton Abbey

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We visited Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire, about a 30 minute journey for us. My parents brought me here a lot when I was younger, but it was our first visit with the boys. I wished we’d brought them sooner because they absolutely loved it. It is a huge estate on the banks of the River Wharfe with a ruined abbey, woods, waterfalls, open fields and picnic areas. We only explored a little bit with them so plenty of reasons to return.

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We took part in the Halloween Pumpkin walk, which was a trail through the woods counting sparkly pumpkins suspended from the trees and finding ‘coffins’ with Halloween related things inside e.g. spiders, toads, ghouls etc. There was a quiz which we had to complete and for the first time, Dylan carried the worksheet and (with our help with spellings), wrote down some of the answers. It was a real ‘wow, he is growing up’ moment. Jude had been asleep in the car so took a while to get going, but eventually perked up and loved opening all the coffin doors and running after his older brother.

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Afterwards we had a picnic by the river. Picnics definitely rate highly in the list of Dylan’s most favourite things to do. Winter picnics are often better, with no wasps or flies to spoil the fun. It was so warm that even in the shade we sat with our coats off. The colour of the trees was stunning. It reaffirmed why Autumn is my favourite season by far.

Pendle Hill

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Anyone who lives in, or has visited our beautiful corner of East Lancashire knows the local landmark hill, Pendle. We see it every day on the drive to school and Dylan loves being able to name it (although he shouts out that every other hill in the area is also Pendle, so we have a bit of work to do there). Jude went up last year in the baby carrier, but Dylan has never ventured up. A couple of his friends have climbed it, so he was keen to give it a shot.

We had decided to keep Jude in nursery for one of his scheduled days. He was in the process of moving from the baby room up to Toddlers, so we didn’t want to break his routine. After we dropped him off we drove straight to Barley, the village at the bottom of the hill.

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To be honest, I wasn’t sure if Dylan would make it to the top. But he was an absolute star. Once we got on the steps on the path up, he was like a little mountain goat. I kept asking if he wanted to rest (not that I wanted to!?!) but he kept saying he was fine. We managed to get him to stop for a bit to have a drink.
Again being another beautiful, clear day, the views were amazing. You can see for miles and miles. Dylan made it to the top of the steps all by himself. We allowed him a bit of time on Adam’s shoulders whilst we made the final short walk from the stairs to the summit. A few homemade chocolate and banana buns at the top and we were ready to go back down. One of my favourite photos taken was of Dylan trying to play hide and seek at the top. It is pretty sparse up there, but he managed to find some long grass to cover him. Pity his hat was bright red and gave him away!!

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At the bottom, we treated ourselves to a pub lunch and sat by the log stove. I thought Dylan would be wiped out for the rest of the day but he wasn’t. Me? I was ready for bed by 3pm!

I’m hoping the weather will stay nice for us at the weekends to still get out over winter. I know we can still wrap up in waterproofs and wellies, but it is much nicer when the gloomy rain gives way to winter sun. Some more wonderful memories in the bank for us and hopefully for the boys, Dylan at least, to treasure. Happy days indeed.

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Stateside and Steam Trains

This is my first Out and About post. One of the aims of writing my blog is to document (partly for me to read in years to come!) but also share the various fun things we get up to as a family. I love to write about places we visit and if we go on holiday, I’ve barely unpacked before I’m on Tripadvisor uploading photos and carefully composing my reviews.

So I am starting with our jaunt into Yorkshire last weekend. We are only 7 miles from the border so it isn’t too far or adventurous! We first paid a visit to the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam railway and then moved onto Billy Bob’s Parlour for food and play.

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam railway

This was the perfect trip out for Dylan. Like most boys aged 3, he absolutely loves trains. Any type of train really. Steam, diesel, electric, miniature, toy. He isn’t fussy. It wasn’t our first ride on the railway. We visited 18 months ago for the Santa Special. Dylan was a tad too young to fully appreciate the experience and was more interested in trying to run up and down the platform than board the train. Oh and he cried when he met Santa.

Fast forward to Sunday and he was definitely much more interested in the build-up. Typically he had fallen asleep in the car but quickly bucked up at the sight of the train yard. Aboard the train, we sat in one of the old-style carriages (with a corridor) facing each other. It wasn’t too busy so we had one to ourselves. The seats were plush and velvety. We delighted ourselves in plonking down Jude on his own (only for a few seconds, he can’t sit up yet!). He looked so adorable.

The journey from Embsay to Bolton Abbey is 15 minutes. Ok, it’s not very long. But for the attention span of a 3 year old it was perfect. Jude sat on our knees for the journey and seemed to be taking in the passing scenery with great interest. Dylan delighted in shouting out everything he could see – cows, sheep, fields, trees, rivers. Unfortunately there weren’t any tunnels (his absolute favourite) but there were a few bridges which kept him more than happy.

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Bolton Abbey is a bigger station so we got off to have a bit of a walk, look inside the ticket office and watched the engine chugging back to the other end of the train. We decided to get the same train for our return journey. Jude paid less attention on the way back as he announced his hunger and demanded feeding.

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The ticket office at Bolton Abbey

The railway is run by volunteers and all those we met were friendly and welcoming. The guard who came round to check our tickets was happy to talk to Dylan and explain what he was doing. We didn’t use the buffet car (we’d brought our own snacks) but the prices seemed very reasonable. Both stations are in great condition given that they were built in the late 1800’s. I’m not sure if they were ever in a bad state of repair, if they were then they have been lovingly restored.

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The beautiful Yorkshire countryside from Embsay Station

The visit definitely got the thumbs up from both boys (even though Jude was less aware!), and given it is only half an hour away from home, I’m sure we will make a return visit, maybe at one of their themed events.

Billy Bob’s Parlour

A confession. Billy Bob’s is one of our favourite places at the moment. This was our sixth visit of the year so far, and is unlikely to be our last! Given its proximity to Embsay station (less than 2 miles), it would have been simply rude not to have combined the two in one trip.

After our first visit last year, I wrote a Tripadvisor review giving it 5/5 and said that it managed to combine two things that rarely go together – fantastic kids play area and amazing food. Usually soft play areas are great for the little ones, but offer up the usual fair when it comes to food – sandwiches, pizza, chips and the like. Alternatively you can find a great restaurant with fab food, for both kids and adults, but there is nothing to do to keep them entertained. Billy Bob’s can do both with ease.

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Starting with the play areas. There are two – outside and indoor (the barn), so you can visit in all weathers. We have been in July and January and Dylan has had an equally good time. I’ve no idea how much all the play equipment cost (probably a lot) – it looks amazing and appeals to both boys and girls. All carefully crafted by wood there is a plane, bus, train, digger, pirate ship, ark, castle (the list is not exhaustive!). There are swings outside and a huge slide in the barn (which the children have to climb huge bales of hay to get to the top), as well as an area for mini tractors and trailers. There is a separate area in the barn for older children too. Obviously I haven’t spent much time there yet but at a quick glance there are plenty of rope swings and more hay bales. There are plenty of places for adults to sit and observe, although of course they can always get stuck in with the kids on the equipment.

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And now onto the food. Excuse me while I drool for 5 minutes. Oh the food is amazing. Adam and I are busily working our way through the American themed menu. So far we have sampled pancakes, nachos, the Coney Island hot dog, burgers, pulled pork, onion straws and our current favourite, the Brooklyn Deli-wich (New York style bagel with pastrami, pickles and a tonne of other wonderful toppings). Every time we over-order, although we are getting a little bit better. The portion sizes are huge! Dylan tends to opt for pancakes or a puppy dog off the kids menu. The boys also fill themselves up with a huge banana milkshake. I have still yet to leave room for one of the amazing sounding desserts and only once think I have managed some ice cream (the parlour is the home of the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Company).

The diner itself is what I imagine most 1950’s American eateries looked like. There are booths that fit up to 8 adults and it has also recently been extended and houses a yellow American school bus… which you can dine in! We have yet to experience the this – maybe we will tackle it when we don’t have car seats, buggies or high chairs to contend with …. that’ll be in about 3 years then! The service is super quick and always with a smile.

We often arrive early, let Dylan have a play for an hour, eat and leave time for another play before heading home. On Sunday we took a risk, didn’t book and luckily we nabbed a table for 4pm. However usually I book via the website, which is a great new-ish service they offer.

We trundled back into Lancashire, full to bursting and happy with our afternoon’s adventures. Well almost everyone was happy. Jude cried solidly for 30 minutes which was a tad traumatic for us all (mostly for him). Bless him, he just wanted a cuddle!