My 2017 To Do List

I am not calling it a bucket list, as I do not want to tick things off of a list prior to kicking the bucket. This is a list of things that I hope to achieve during the year of 2017. Last year I was diagnosed with an illness that has me realise that you need to live for the day. Do what you want and don’t let others stop you from enjoying life.

There are many things that I have not done in the past due to being worried what I would look like or what would others think. I may sound like a cat having a fight when i sing but this year I plan on letting other shear my beautiful voice and not give a damn on what they think or say behind my back

This year I plan on being a year for firsts. I plan on enjoying myself and gaining more confidence daily.

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Top of my list is to Kick Cancers Ass! I will keep fighting for as long as i breathe for the sake of my boys. It’s important to keep my immune system strong and to live a healthy lifestyle. That’s where taking up jogging and entering races comes into it. I want to think about my fitness as well as eating well.

The holidays abroad and to the UK are already booked. We have a holiday to Malta, that we stay in my brothers apartment and the holiday in the UK is to a Haven site that we like to go to. It’s down on the south coast, near to Hastings, called Combe Haven. The children love this site and the location is beautiful.

I am not very good when it comes to entering the sea. It’s the fish swimming around my body and touching me that freaks me out. The thought of even putting a toe in the sea where there is fish swimming makes me cringe. I just don’t like the feel of it. So I would like to overcome my fear and swim with my boys this summer in the sea and try to forget that there are little slimy critters that will swim by. I also would like to join in on the boys fun and jump into the sea from the rocks in Malta. My boys love doing this and Malta has many beautiful places that offer people the chance to do so.

I have no confidence what so ever when it comes to driving the car, so I aim to spend more time behind the wheel and less time on my feet and riding public transport.

By camping I mean in a tent and not glamping that we did last year. Even if it means putting a tent up in the garden and sleeping under the stars there, then that is what we will do. We can light a fire out there and toast some nice big marshmallows for our evening treat.

I enjoy cycling and love my bicycle. It’s a folding bike so handy for me to get on the tube into London. I’ve never entered a cycling race before and it’s something that I have thought a lot of since the summer. I don’t think I could manage a long distance race but I do rather fancy a the London to southend one. Although that is quite far.

This year will hopefully see us move home to a bigger house. We have sold and bought a new home bit just awaiting all the paperwork to got through. I am looking forward to keeping it minimal and uncluttered, unlike our home is now. If all runs smoothly we shall have 4 bedrooms, a bedroom each for the boys and a bigger garden. We have so many plans for the new home, including building a conservatory, a porch and removing the current garage and replacing it with a new brick building for the boys to have as a playroom. 

What will this year bring you?

So you have a ‘to do list’? 

Thank you for reading. Pop a comment below and say hi ūüôā

 

 

Our mystical short break to Lee Valley

We found a little haven within the suburbs of London, a new favourite place for the boys and I to visit.  Lee Valley Regional Park is a 10,000-acre, 26 miles long park, much of it green spaces, running through the northeast of Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire. It is made up of a diverse mix of countryside areas, urban green spaces, heritage sites, country parks, nature reserves and lakes and riverside trails, as well as leading sports centres and camping sites.

We have visited Lee valley before but I never knew it was as beautiful as it is. We fell in love with the pure nature of it, the river lea runs through the whole length of the Valley. Starting at Stratford, heading north through Enfield, Waltham Abbey and up towards Stanstead Abbotts. There is a heavy emphasis of wildlife and natural habitats. We loved cycling along the river watching out for otters and birds.

The park has beautiful scenery and is so peaceful.

Not only does the regional park have rivers, lakes, green spaces and 2012  sporting venues but it is also home to a few camp sites.

We booked into the Lee Valley Campsite based in Ponders End. We wasn’t sure what to expect as you couldn’t get more urban than Enfield. As we arrived we looked around and listened. It was hard to believe that this little campsite was on the edge of the A10, North Circular and within a short distance of the M25. It was quiet. It was beautiful. The site has a shower and wc block, outdoor play area, and lots of pitches for caravans and tents. Next door is a cinema and an athletics centre. We had booked to stay in one of the campsites wooden cabins.

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How beautiful and mystical is the cabin? We felt like we had walked into a Lord of the Rings/ Harry Potter film set.

The cabin came equipped with a fridge, electric, a couple of chairs, table, beds, kettle and even some tea and coffee to refresh you after your journey. There is also wifi throughout the campsite.

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The shower and toilet blocks need a code to get in so only holiday makers can enter, it gives you that little piece of mind that if your children go off to the toilet and they will be safe inside from random passers by. The wood cabins are ideal for a family of 4, there is double bunk red and a small camp bed. They are situated under trees at the back of the campsite and just behind the trees is a golf course.

As soon as had arrived the boys were off exploring the site, playing in the park and running around on the grass, exploring the edge of the golf course (looking for pokemon) and just generally enjoying the little freedom that they get when on holiday. They loved going off to the tap to collect water and didn’t even grumble when asked to take the rubbish over to the bins. One thing that was missing was a little BBQ. As we travelled by bicycle, we had limited space to carry one. It would have been nice to sit on the veranda cooking up a few veggie burgers and some vegetable kebabs in the early evening, watching the children run around. The site is clean and the staff are very helpful.

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The River Lea was about 10 minute walk away. We decided to take a walk and look around.

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The boys helping out on the locks
The boys helping out on the locks

After an early evening walk we took to our camp beds and chatted away, enjoying each others company.

The next morning we was up and ready for a fun day by the river. With our back packs on, full of food and water we was ready to go off and explore the area. The boys were looking forward to cycling along the river.

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The river bank is wide enough for two bicycles to be alongside each other but when others passed by we had to go into single file. I told the younger boys to cycle as close as they can to the bushes so that they was not near the river. DSC_5210-opt

There were plenty of places along the river that you can sit down and enjoy the peace and nature around you. We found a cute little park near Enfield Lock where we sat down and had a snack.

We made our way through a country park towards Waltham Abbey. What a beautiful town. Here we explored the Abbey Gardens and the White Water Centre

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We had been out for a good few hours and was beginning to get a little tired so we headed back towards the campsite along the River Lea Navigation. But not before stopping for a little cool down by the river eating an ice cream

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We had booked for two nights. So another night under the stars in our little cabin. The boys were full of excitement and had so much fun sleeping in the cabin. It was hard to get them to sleep as they were full of energy, even after there long cycle ride that day.

The boys were up early ready for another day by the river. First though, they wanted to try out the athletics track. For just £3 children under 16 can enjoy the indoor and outdoor track all day long. My eldest was in his element. The boys love to run and being so close to this activity was amazing. They spent about an hour and a half running around the track and getting agood training session in before they were ready to get back onto their bikes and explore the regional park again.

This time we went a little further than the day before, heading past the white water centre, pass Cheshunt and onto the Lee Valley Farms. Even though it was a very active day it was ever so relaxing. With so much peaceful water around it was hard not to feel relaxed.

We cycled, we looked, we listened, we rested, we enjoyed the surroundings and each others company.

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We found a perfect place to sit and rest, whilst the children played. Just near to Cheshunt station is a little park called Pindar. A place where children can explore the natural play area. The boys enjoyed climbing the natural wooden areas and playing football in the wide open space. There is even a dog agility course nearby so our four little legged family members don’t miss out on the fun.

We had so much fun. I thought that it would be hard to cycle through the park alongside the river with the boys but it was perfect. I made sure that I run through the dangers of the river first and dropped some cycling rules too. The boys listened and behaved well.

We managed to cycle about 30 miles over a couple of days. We laughed, we rested, we enjoyed.

We even managed to find two geocaches and we would have found more if I had a back up charger for the phone. There are tons of geo caches hidden along the river and surrounding areas, mostly at the locks.

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Found at Ponders End Lock
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Found at Valley Farms

We have definitely found our little favourite place in London. We have even gone back for a day out after we came back. This time we went in the car and drove to Broxbourne to take to the water this time. We hired out a motor boat for the hour and steered our way along the river, the sun was shining , it was perfect.

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Without a doubt we would absolutley recomend a visit to the River Lee Regional Park but also beyond any doubt a stay in the camp site. We have made some magical memories as a family.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning to Ride a Bike

Over the past couple of weeks, my son Oliver who is 2 has been learning to ride his bike with stabilisers. Oliver is quite small for his age, with little legs so it has only been lately that he has been able to reach the pedals.

Oliver has a balance bike and also a scuttle bug which he is very good on, but as he has grown his legs are just a little too big to be running along and pushing himself so we dug out his older brothers first bike for him to have a go on.

The bike is very special, it was bought 9 ¬†years ago for his eldest brother Jak for his first bike and then it was passed down to Joseph, who also learnt to ride on it and now it is Oliver’s turn to learn to ride on the same bike. It’s lasted well throughout the years as we have looked after it, it has very little rust and still looks new. We have lowered down the handle bars and seat as far down as it can go so that Oliver’s feet can now reach the pedals as they go all the way round.

At first Oliver turned the pedals with his feet backwards but he soon learnt that it wasn’t going to get anywhere by doing that so with a bit of guidance on how to push the pedal he was off, slowly, very slowly but he was definitely making ground.

 

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First time

Last weekend I took him on his bike to the local shop which is only about 5 minutes walk away, it took us about 20 minutes to get there and back but we made it with only one little accident, and after a little magic kiss on the knee he was soon back on and riding his bike.

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Oliver does tend to not look where he his going as he is concentrating on pushing the pedals with his feet, he keeps looking down and not forward but he is learning fast. He understands that he needs to turn the handle bars when he is close to a hedge and also not to go near to kerb. As he cycles along he says to himself ¬†‘Ooh there is a fence there, must turn away, I have to turn my bike’ Bless him!

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Are you teaching your child to ride a bike? How are you getting on?

Thank you for reading my post ūüôā

 

Precious time with the children

Not a day goes by that I don’t spend time with my boys whether it’s reading books together, walking to the shops or playing in the garden, but with having three very active boys it’s not often that I get to spend quality time with each one individually.

I went to work as a Teaching Assistant in Primary school when my youngest Oliver was 1 years old, so I have missed out on us spending time together whilst the oldest two are at school.

Twice a week the oldest two attend a local athletics club for an hour and a half which gives Oliver and I some quality time together. Until recently we have spent it sitting inside the hall watching through the huge, wide windows at the boys running by, some days we would read books together and others we would walk to the local shop for a drink but for the past couple of weeks the weather has been hotting up and the sun has been going down later giving Oliver and I the perfect weather to get out and about in the park.

Last Thursday I promised Oliver that we would go for a ride on the bikes around the park which is next to the running stadium. We all cycled to the stadium together and once the older two boys were settled in, Oliver and I went off for a bike ride around the park. I have a cute little commuters bike which has been set up with a child seat on the back.

The sun was shining so we had packed up a few little snacks to eat by the lake and some bread to feed the ducks down by the pond. We cycled around the perimeter of the park first, talking to each other about the trees and the ducks, which Oliver waved at as we passed.

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Oliver wanted to feed the ducks before a spot to eat so we walked down towards the waters edge and began throwing in some of the bread, it wasn’t long before we were throwing in the whole loaf of bread and running away in the opposite direction as the ducks must have either very hungry or very greedy as they started to come up really close and began snatching the bread from our hands (It was actually quite scary!)

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After we had escaped the mad ducks we found a little spot away from the lake and sat down to eat our snacks. Oliver kept talking about how the ducks were scary and that he wasn’t going to go back towards the lake in case they pinched his crisps.

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I let him have a little play in the play area where he chose to play on his favourite apparatus, the swing

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I loved watching Oliver run around the grass enjoying himself but the best part of our time together was the conversations we had whilst cycling along, he told me bout how many birds he could see, he talked about other children who were playing tin the park, we talked about his big brothers and how much he loved them, he pointed out and asked why people were laying on the ground (sunbathing) and the best bit was when we were cycling down a hill and he told me to go faster and faster because he liked to feel the wind on his face.

I liked that I could give him all of my attention, I didn’t see a little boy who is forever arguing with his brothers over a toy, instead I saw a little boy with manners, I heard laughter and I watched him enjoying his play. It was a pleasure to be in his company.

I really enjoyed our hour in the park and am looking forward to this week where we will be doing again, here’s hoping the weather stays nice for us :-)cyclong

 

 

The worlds loudest Cycle Horn – Hornit

Attention all you cyclist out there

  • Do you commute to work on your bicycle or just enjoy cycling on the road?
  • Have you ever had a car/lorry/bus cut you up or pull out in front of you because they can not see you?
  • Do you wish you could warn others of your presence?

Well I may have the answer to all of your cycle safety questions, Hornit the worlds loudest cycle horn.

“With over 17,000 cycle accidents in the UK every year, and the countless near misses, Hornits focus is primarily on cycle safety. It is easy to gloss over the detrimental impact of every single accident, but you can rest assured that each and every one one, particularly the serious accidents, has grim consequences for everyone involved. If the Hornit prevents just one cyclist from being injured, seriously injured or killed it will have been worth it.”

The Hornit

The Hornit makes cycling on the road much safer, it aids you, the cyclist to be more visible to drivers or even pedestrians who haven’t seen you. The Hornit comes complete with a handle bar mount and trigger. There are two sound settings, the road mode and park mode.

  • The road mode has a piercing sound of 140 decibels, to be used when vehicles are the main danger
  • The park mode has a lower pitched sound where pedestrians are the main danger

The Hornit is not waterproof as it has a battery compartment but it has an ingress protection rating of IP44 which means it is splash proof and if mounted the correct way as per the instructions it will continue to work normally in rainy conditions. The Hornit can be removed when you are parking up your bike and leaving it unattended which is ideal when leaving it in a busy area such as London.

What comes in the packet:

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Hornit dB140

Handle Bar Mount

Trigger

2AAA Batteries

Instructions Manual

I received an email asking me if we would like to test out the Hornit and as Paul (the OH) commutes every day into London for his work then i thought that it would be great to give it a go. I was very impressed with the design of the Hornit, it is sleek and smooth, well tailored and neatly tailored.

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It fits perfectly on the bikes handlebars and doesn’t look out of place, the product is small, 97mm, and is in no way an obstruction to the way that you cycle.

Paul has had a few incidents in the City where he has come close to having an accident with other vehicles mainly, buses and pedestrians as they don’t see him, for very different reasons.

If your looking for a fail safe device that can be heard in the most extreme conditions then the Hornit does the job.  Being on two wheels whilst creating zero engine noise can be frustrating in a busy city with pedestrians constantly looking with their ears rather than their eyes when they cross the road. With a friendly peep of the Hornits trigger the hassle of not  losing too much speed with having to slowly pass somebody who does not know you are coming is a pleasure and much safer for both parties.

However on the other end of the spectrum you can still be heard if you are caught in the unfortunate position of being to close to a large vehicle maneuvering at a junction.

Paul says “I cycle 22 miles across London every week day i have used the Hornit for over 100 miles now and feel much safer with it rather than without it. I hate cluttering my handlebars or adding extra weight to my bike as pedaling the most economical way possible is important too. The Hornit is light weight and well made design is honestly not a hindrance and i would be happy to use it on a 100 mile sportive”

“With its impressive looks sleek design and effectiveness even the super cool couriers are intrigued and envious”

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The Hornit is available online for £34.99 which includes free standard delivery to the UK from www.thehornit.com

We was sent The Hornit for review purposes only, no cash payment has been recieved, opinions are of our own.

Mark Warner Active Family Challenge Week 1 – Go For A Spin!

We have recently been set a challenge by Mark Warner Holidays who specialise in active family holidays, their packages provide superb childcare with kids clubs for all ages and free evening creche service. Chalet hotels in ski resorts are hand picked for their location and charm and the fabulous beach resorts are in gorgeous locations chosen for the superb water sports and tennis facilities.

Whilst on a family holiday it is easy to find the time to enjoy a range of pursuits¬†especially¬†at Mark Warner where you get to try out windsurfing, swimming, tennis or cycling but it can be tough once back at home to make the time to stay active, which is why Mark Warner have launched ‘May Active Family Month’ to encourage families to enjoy getting active together.

The challenge is a big one! We as a family are to participate in a weekly activity which is set by Mark Warner, throughout the month of May there will be a new challenge set for us to spend an hour doing, this week is Go For A Spin!!

Going for a spin could mean many exciting fun things depending on how you want to interpret it! Rollerskating, cycling, scooting, skateboarding, spinning in circles until you get dizzy, bowling a ball in cricket, kicking a football or even zorbing!

On Bank holiday monday the sun was shining so we set of to the park where Daddy was meeting his running group for his weekly training session, whilst Daddy was spinning his legs faster and faster like the road runner with his pals the boys and I had fun in the play area. I had never noticed before how many apparatus in the park actually spun around until that morning:

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They also spun around and around the roundabout and spun on balance plates that were on one of the climbing frames, after an hour at the park the sun was getting warmer and the sky as blue as the sea so we decided to hit the bikes and go for a cycle ride.

As a family of five with three boys under the age of 10 it isn’t easy to go out for a bike ride with all of us on our own bikes trying to think of safety and speed! Joseph is really good on his bike and has ridden a bike without stabilisers for two years now but he can still be a bit wobbly and he does forget to use his brakes choosing to his feet most of the time, Oliver is only 21 months old and although he is a little whizz on his scuttlebug it isn’t ideal for him to be on a family cycle ride on his own, we wouldn’t get very far! Daddy is a keen cyclist often entering cycling events one of which will be the Prudential RideLondon 100 this summer and he commutes into London everyday clocking up 100 miles on his two wheels. Jak takes after his dad and loves to ride his bike too, he is a very active young lad and enjoys taking part in many sports and then there is me! Well i am not a very sporty person but i do try to keep up with the rest of them, I like to enjoy a cycle ride taking in sights around me . I do get that sense of achievement after going out on the bike although my bottom and legs ache the next day it does feel good! Cycling is a fun exercise and a great way to get around and the whole family can participate.

Back at home Daddy got to work checking and pumping up the tyres and setting together our mode of transport. We have two bikes for all 5 of us! We have a very special bike that the boys call a ‘Golden Bike’ it is a trailor bike with a difference! Daddy rides on the main bike which has a tag along attached to it at the back for Jak to ride on and Joseph sits on a seat that is on the cross-bar of the main bike,¬†in between¬†Daddy and the handle bars. Although Jak does have the stamina to keep up with us on a bike ride it gives us a peace of mind that he is attached safely, also the tag along has pedals so he is still using his legs and keeping active. Oliver has a baby seat attached to the back of my fold up bike.

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I packed up a small lunch in a ruck sack for us with extra water as it was a hot day and our helmets and we was ready for our day out in the City. We decided to go to London and have a leisurely Sight Seeing cycle ride down the Embankment and Southbank. The Southbank is located to the south of the River Thames, it is very cultural and is a significant place for tourists. It stretches along the river and has become a district for entertainment and arts, Take a spin on the London eye, visit the Sea Life Aquarium, watch the skaters in the undercroft and enjoy the views from the river bank. The Embankment runs along adjacent to the Southbank and has a much wider pavement and is a lot less busier making it easier to cycle along. The views of the Thames is beautiful, watching the boats go by and taking in the sights of all the top attractions , The Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, The Shard and The London Eye.

We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed being together, we laughed, we smiled, we saw lots of interesting things and we also stayed fit.

Please watch the video below of our day out on the Bikes.

What will you be doing this weekend? Why not take to your bikes as a family and enjoy the sights near you!

Next week is ‘Active Playtime’ Please join in with us ūüôā

Hope you enjoyed reading my post and hopefully it has inspired you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. This post is a part of our entry into Mark Warners Active Family Challenge.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


 

Spring Carnival
Motivational Monday

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Olympics inspire the Boys

Inspiring a Nation

Over the past fortnight we have been glued to the television screen watching the Olympics. The boys favourite has been the athletics and cycling, Joseph has loved watching the gymnastics and Jak¬†has screamed with delight when Mo raced over the finish line in not one but two olympics races, the 10,000m and 5,000m. The boys have been walking around doing the mobot¬†to everyone. We wasn’t one of the lucky ones to get tickets which wasn’t due to not trying so we took to joining everyone else and joined the crowds on the streets of London and Hyde Park to watch the Mens Triathlon. Jak¬†and Joseph were ecstatic as they watched the Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonathon cross the finishing line to¬†the rapturous¬†screams of the crowds. Jak¬†has always been a fan of running, swimming and cycling as it is something that his dad does every day, he enjoys going out for a run with his Dad a round the block where we live. Although the boys dad enters triathlon races i¬†do believe that with thanks to the success of the Brownlee brothers they have inspired Jak¬†to ask me to get him into a triathlon club. He has spent hours trawling¬†the internet trying to find a local club that he could join or even an event he could enter¬† but much to his disappointment¬†he hasn’t found one just yet. So until he can find one in the meantime he has come up with his very own idea of setting up a triathlon by himself at home, Jak¬†is lucky to have a 24ft¬†swimming pool in his garden so he has been swimming around the pool and practising his laps. He wants to invite his friends around the house so they can all enter and join in on the fun. he has decided on them doing 4 laps of the pool followed by one lap of the block on his bicycle and one lap running. He has even talked about getting the transition right and talked about making sure that they all have their bicycles ready outside the house along with their trainers and socks set out ready for them to put them on.

In Jak’s¬†school report his teacher wrote that there is nothing that Jak¬†can not achieve if he sets his mind to it and i¬†believe this too, Jak¬†is very strong minded, loyal and passionate young boy and if he starts something he always likes to see it through. I have myself looked into finding an event for him to enter and also tried to find a club but there isn’t one locally but i¬†will not give up as it is something that i¬†believe he will enjoy doing and will definitely take pleasure in participating in. Jak¬†has also been to the local library and taken out books to read on techniques of running and sports psychology and talked about it for days. While watching the last day of the olympics i¬†was explaining to the boys that they was very lucky to have been part of such an amazing event and that they probably would never get to see an olympic event in person ever again unless they travel to other countries to watch them and Jak¬†replied that i¬†was wrong and that he would be in the games himself as an athlete and i¬†would get to watch him in person compete in races, this brought a tear to my eyes as i saw the hunger in his face. The weekend just gone saw the boys Dad enter his second Triathlon and they were just as excited to cheer him on as they was Team GB. They was over the moon when the saw Daddy come into view nearing the finish line, full of proudness they jumped all over him, Jak now wants to be alongside his Dad and take part too.

Here is Jak practising his own Triathlon in our garden and here is to Jak and his future.

 

First the swim

 

Next up the cycle ride

 

Finishing his run

Thank you for reading my post ūüôā