Running through the town dressed as Santa

Every year in our home town, hundreds of people gather together at the local football ground dressed in Santa outfits and run in the boroughs annual Santathon. Young and old, people run or walk 5k to raise money for St Francis Hospice. A local independent charity who provide care and support to individuals with a life-limiting illness, as well as their carers and family members.

Last year the eldest boy and Dad ran and we supported them, they were the first male and boy child over the finish line. This year the eldest wasn’t very well due to a having sickness bug a couple of days earlier so he didn’t run, but instead the two youngest, Dad and I ran. I had been out to the shops over the weekend to buy some festive outfits. Dad wanted to go in a sexy santa outfit and Oliver a Reindeer. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, buying a santa outfit. I visited all the pound shops and superstores, but no where sold the outfits only santa hats. After traipsing round the shops for an hour I eventually found a store that sold a female and boys outfit.

The event was taking place on Sunday at 11am. Up and dressed, we arrived at 10.30 to register and pay our entry fee. All payments going to charity and any that they received on the day were going to be double by Barclays bank.

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posing before the race
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all ready to run

My boys looked so cute!

As time was nearing to the start of the race we was all called outside into the football stadium and gathered in the terrace for a little warm up by the Mayor and Diags from Towie. Dad and Joseph were down at the front with the other fast runners. Oliver and I were towards the back.

It took a while for us to get out of the stadium as there were so many of us but as we exited the gates and the crowds of santas began to filter out, Oliver saw a gap and began to run. I couldn’t keep up with him. He is used to running a 2k but this was his first 5k run, so I explained to him that it was longer and that if he wanted to stop he just had to tell me. That wasn’t going to stop him, he was in the running mood and just kept on running. We slowed our pace and enjoyed running along. Cars were bibbing us and people were waving, it was such a lovely, happy moment. Oliver held my hand and we ran together.

I felt so proud of my little man running along the streets, he didn’t stop once! We had to slow at some points to get passed other santas or because cars were parked on the pavement and there were no room but his little legs just kept on running. Just like Forest Gump!

As we neared the finish, Daddy (who had already finished) came to help us along

IMG_20151213_123038My little man was so proud of himself when he crossed the finish line. He was presented with a medal and he ran off to find his brothers to show them.

DSC_3073_optDaddy was the first male over the finish line so he was awarded a trophy

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We all had a fun day, there were lots of laughter and brilliant achievements. Joseph ran it in just over 22 minutes and Oliver just over 34. I’m so proud of my boys!

Can’t wait until next year when we can all run as a family again. Hopefully the eldest won’t be ill and he can join in too.

 

 

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A budding young athlete

The sun was shining, the air was crisp and cold and the sky was clear of any rain clouds. It was the boroughs London mini marathon trials for children aged 11-17.

The London Mini Marathon runs on the same day as the London Marathon, on the last 3 miles of the route finishing in the same place, at the end of The Mall.

Each London borough, region and home nation has a team manager who is responsible for selecting a team to take part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon. Teams are made up of 48 runners per London borough and 36 runners per region / home nation. Boys and girls race in three age categories – Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17. There are six races in total.

My eldest Jak was lucky enough to land a place in last years mini marathon, he had just turned 11 and was beginning to become interested in running. He hadn’t entered any running races before except for the local organised Parkrun. Read about his experience of the day here.

He hasn’t been running as much recently and has pretty much given up on the sport, he attends a training session on a Thursday evening down at our local athletics track but even that is as and when, but his heart doesn’t seem to be in it. I sometimes feel like I am pushing him too much into it, but I have asked him if he enjoys it ans if he wants to give it up. He just tells me that he still enjoys running but just needs something to look forward to, something to work towards, a goal.

Yesterday morning he woke up, got dressed into his running clothes and waited for his Dad to take him down to the park where the borough trials were being held. Registration was at 9:30 and the race was due to start at 11:00. He had been suffering with a sore throat for a few days and woke up feeling a bit husky and with a heavy chest, I gave him some medicine and hoped that it would ease as the morning went on. As the two youngest weren’t very well, I couldn’t go down to support him, but I gave him a big hug as he left the house. He knew if the boys were well enough that I would be there cheering him on.

The first eight children from each age and gender category get through to represent the borough, the race is just under 3 miles. It starts with a 300 metre run around the running track and then off into the park for two laps and then in to the track for a final 100 metre to the finish line. Jak came fourth in his age category with a time of 16:10

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He was happy with his time although he did say he could definitely do better.

All of the children that got through were presented with a letter by the Mayor

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The training now begins! He is to attend a weekly training session where not only will he be able to improve on his race training but also to get to know his team mates from the boroughs team.

He will be raising money for the Mayor’s Appeal which is Teenager Cancer Trust.

I am hoping now that my son has something to look forward to with his running, that he will fall back in love with the sport.

I will keep you updated with his progress 🙂

http://www.coombemill.com/blog/category/Country-Kids.aspx

 

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The Gingerbread house that Mummy built!

Over the past few days I have been working hard in the kitchen creating a gingerbread house for the boys to devour. I must admit it wasn’t as easy as i initially thought it would be! It’s easy to look at something on the web or in a book and say ‘I can do that!’ but I may say i hit a bit of trouble when my house fell down and crumbled.

My first attempt was abysmal, I baked the gingerbread too thick and although it tasted lush it was more of a cake texture than it was a biscuit and it fell down as it wasn’t sturdy enough. I tried to keep it together by using books and cocktail sticks to keep it up, but it didn’t bear well and collapsed.

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On my second attempt I added treacle to the recipe and rolled out the dough thinly (about a £1 coin), this seemed to work!

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RECIPE:

250g butter (stork)

200g muscovado sugar (i used dark and light)

620g plain flour

4 tbsp golden syrup

2 tbsp treacle

3 tsp ground ginger

2tsp bicarbonate of soda

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven at 200c

Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle in a pan over a low heat. Set aside to cool

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a bowl.

Add in the melted butter and combine until a stiff dough texture

Leave wrapped up in cling film in the fridge over night

There are many templates out there that you can download and print off, take a look at shelter recipe. I found it easier to just judge it by myself, just by drawing onto some baking paper. You will have to trim off the edges once baked anyway.

Make sure that you do 2 of each template; 2 sides, 2 roofs and a front and back (front will be the same size as the back but will have a door and windows cut out.

You will also need:

Royal Icing-for piping, sticking and decoration

A selection of sweets – Giant chocolate buttons for the roof, chocolate fingers for the sides, jelly beans, skittles, strawberry laces.

When you are ready to cook your gingerbread templates, place a couple of boiled sweets in the window areas, these will melt in the oven and give the windows a colourful window look to them.

Once all of the house pieces were cooked I left them over night as they become crisper and more solid. Before erecting the house, I piped icing onto a board where i wanted the side and front of the house to be. I then placed the pieces together by holding onto them for a minute or so, the icing hardens quickly. Build the house up, piece by piece making sure that each piece is stuck together with the icing. The roof was the last piece to go on.

Each sweet/chocolate needs to be stuck in place onto the biscuit with the icing.

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Have fun with your decoration, get creative and go as mad as you want!

My boys couldn’t wait to pull it apart and taste it, on the other hand i sat back and cried as my first gingerbread house was attacked and pulled down like a lion attacking a gazelle, my boys were certainly hungry for the sweet taste of gingerbread!

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Oh the sweet taste!
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Just one lick mum, please
Within seconds it was being devoured
Within seconds it was being devoured

I am very pleased at how my house turned out and can’t wait to make another one, I found it quite therapeutic and really enjoyed baking and creating it.

I was invited along by Tribal media to build a gingerbread house and enter it into Shelters : The great gingerbread house sale More info here Why don’t you join in to?

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Shelters Gingerbread House Sale

BAKE IT, BUILD IT, SELL IT

This Christmas Day, thousands of children in Britain will wake up homeless. You can make a difference. All you have to do is bake, build and sell a delicious gingerbread house to raise money for Shelter. Parents up and down the country are being asked to gather their little ones to put their baking expertise to the test creating gingerbread houses, which are then being sold at their schools/clubs/nurseries.

Shelter are asking for help from you to raise awareness of the homelessness by creating a gingerbread masterpiece, inspiring others and raising money for the charity by selling it on, auctioning it, holding a gingerbread house party or just by voting for your favourite creation on the shelter website

Shelter will even provide the recipe and templates to help you. Get your school involved for a chance to win for the school.

Once you have created your gingerbread house, just upload it on to the website for a chance to win some prizes. The prizes are given out in 4 categories: The under 11’s, The under 11’s class, The over 12’s and the Over 12’s class.

Here is our entry

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About Shelter:

4 million families could be one paycheck away from losing their homes. In the UK, it is reported that a family lose their home every 11 minutes. Shelter is a charity that campaign for housing rights and against homelessness. They provide practical housing advice and support online, in person and over the phone – from dealing with mortgage arrears through to helping people find a place to stay. Most importantly, they
campaign to tackle the root causes of the housing crisis, which affecting more families each and every day. Last year alone, not only did they manage to re-home those unfortunate enough to find themselves on the streets, they managed to get legislation signed off that will impact masses of families throughout the UK. For example, they secured concessions to bedroom tax for foster carers and families of armed forces personnel and severely disabled children. They also won legislation giving renters the right to complain when things go wrong, not to mention the eviction of rogue landlords. When things go wrong, it’s easy to bury your head in the sand. Shelter exists to provide specialist, free, confidential advice and solutions to keep families from ending up on the streets.

To donate to the charity Shelter please visit their page here  http://www.shelter.org.uk/gingerbreadhouse

No payment has been received for this post, this is my entry into the competition

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