• How to keep running beyond January when you have family commitments

  • Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic at The Victoria and Albert Museum

    winnie the pooh
  • #SPIDEYPARTY to Celebrate the Home Entertainment Release of Spider-man: Homecoming

  • Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid- The Getaway

How to keep running beyond January when you have family commitments

One of the reasons that this blog has been quiet for a while is that alongside my job and the daily trails of looking after three children I have been doing a lot of running again. Without seeming evangelical about it running is such a brilliant way to deal with the daily stresses of everyday life, it provides me a bit of me time and feels like the only thing I do entirely for myself. A couple of years ago I ran the Cancer Research Race for Life 10km and so this is the distance I’m working with at the moment. I’ve entered several 10km races both virtual and organised and i’m looking forward to creating some new personal bests.

Maintaining motivation is one of the biggest challenges for any sort of exercise and I must admit the only way I’ve managed to do this is by literally bribing myself with the odd new bit of kit here and there. I was absolutely thrilled when JD Williams offered to provide me with a selection of their JD Williams Activewear kit. JD Williams has been on my radar for a while as I’ve read quite a lot in the press about their ethos which is around championing and celebrating confidence and style at any age. This is the perfect ethos for me as i’m finding that in my forties its actually quite hard to find suitable running kit that doesn’t look frumpy, gimicky, suitable for teenagers or is just out of my price range.

Sweatshirt

I selected several items from the range and I’ve been absolutely thrilled with my choices. I’ve been out running in all of the kit and its great. I’d love to show you lots of pictures of me running along looking glam, but frankly I don’t have any. I generally look a bedraggled mess and unlike many of these fitness bloggers I don’t have someone taking photos as I run along. So you’ll have to make do with these 2 shots!

I absolutely love this kit, its top quality and so reasonably priced. JD Williams is my new go to place for sports kit, i’m going to have to treat myself to some of their fashion next! Click the links to find the sweatshirt , running jacket and leggings.

But onto my top tips- how do you manage to keep up running after that initial burst of January enthusiasm when you’re also juggling family commitments?

Running Jacket and Leggings

An an extra hour in your day

I’ve found the only solution to genuinely finding time for yourself to workout (without putting the kids into childcare) is to get up early and go for it. As soon as I wake up I get up and go, If I give myself time to think about it I wont go. I’m back before the rest of the house has finished breakfast.

Goal Setting

I don’t have a personal trainer or even a plan of action for my runs. I started C 2 5K ages ago but didn’t get along with it. I work on the basis of mentally looking at distances and pushing myself a bit further (or faster) each time. For example, try to run to a landmark like a bench or a lamp post and then next time try to run to the one just past it. I’m now setting myself distance goals using my Runkeeper and have signed up for some Virtual Runner challenges which works for me.

Motivation

In order to keep motivated I set myself little challenges and reward myself with a new top or leggings or something nice to eat.

Get the Family Involved

I often go for shorter runs with my 9 year old daughter. Her enthusiasm is infectious and we always have a fun time. I feel as if i’m setting her a good example and we are both getting fit, what can be a better incentive.

Disclosure: I was gifted the JD Williams kit for this post

Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic at The Victoria and Albert Museum

winnie the poohThis blog has enabled me to have some fabulous experiences and in many ways it has changed our lives as a family and for that I will be very grateful. However, one of the biggest treats has been the chance to visit an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum before everybody else. As a museum curator I used to work across the road at The Natural History Museum and I’d dream of visiting the galleries at the V & A without the usual crowds of people. I never thought in a million years that I’d have the chance, but this week I did and what an absolute delight it was!

 

winnie the pooh

The children can enjoy a slide!

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Go camping in the V & A!

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Play Pooh Sticks

Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic is a completely ground breaking exhibition for the museum as it is the first time that they have attempted a family friendly exhibition. Complete with a slide, a table set for tea (or drawing), a river to pretend playing pooh sticks and some doors only suitable for kids you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Discover Children’s Story Centre rather than at the rather adult surroundings of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Recently the museum has really upped its game in terms of the staging of its exhibitions and this exhibition was jaw droppingly stunning, a real visual feast. It really is something that I could only aspire to with the exhibitions I (rarely) stage myself.

winnie the pooh

There really is something for all age groups in this exhibition, after all who doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh? The exhibition starts with an array of Pooh related objects, some familiar like Cath Kidston’s collaboration dress some not so and more historic. You can also have a look at the teddy bears which were the inspiration for Pooh himself.

winnie the pooh

A door for little vistors

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I loved all the child friendly activities and specially written child friendly labels

Winnie the Pooh

For me, the joy of the exhibition was the chance to actually see some of the original illustrations created by E. H. Shepard, along with A. A. Milne’s family photographs and some of the original printers proof’s. There is a real thrill to seeing the originals of illustrations you are so familiar with and which are part of treasured childhood memories.

Winnie the Pooh

Carefully chosen quotes from the book highlighted around the gallery left me felt inspired to re-read the stories again with my youngest child. In fact, the whole space was a real delight to be within.

winnie the pooh

Sadly, my children were at school during my visit to the exhibition otherwise I know for sure that they would have loved it. I know what we are going to be doing this holiday…

There are loads of family friendly events and activities to go alongside the exhibition and you can find out more here: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/winnie-the-pooh-exploring-a-classic

 

#SPIDEYPARTY to Celebrate the Home Entertainment Release of Spider-man: Homecoming

We had a brilliant time on Saturday night hosting a kids Spider-Man: Homecoming party to celebrate the release of the movie. We put on the DVD, sorted out lots of snacks and the kids dressed up as Spider-man!

Thanks to Hasbro for this truly fabulous Spider-man: Homecoming Spider Sight Mask. The mask features moving eyes that are activated when the wearer opens their mask. We love it here and have been fighting over it ever since. Check out my husbands Instagram:

Spider-Man #hasbro

A post shared by Alex Walsh (@daddacool) on

The eldest is also wearing probably the best Spider-man costume we’ve come across, it was given to us by Rubies and i’m really impressed with the quality. They are definitely the  go to dressing up brand for us going forwards.

So, what did we think of the film? By making Spiderman younger than in the previous films this film is different to the other Marvel films because for the first time Spider-man is a proper school boy super hero. Following on from his appearance in Captain America Civil War this movie charts his rise as Marvel’s youngest and most exciting super hero. Tom Holland is brilliant as Spider-man, managing to be a proper high school geek which enables the kids watching the film someone to associate with.  It all works spectacularly well and my boys absolutely loved him.

Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark provides much of the humour for the film. Some of this is lost on the kids, but as adults we enjoyed it.

spider-man

Tom Holland is Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.

There is a great moral theme contained within the film for kids and thats the one of not being taken seriously by adults. There is a running joke where Spider-man is waiting for a call to action from Tony Stark and he doesn’t do various things because of this. In the end he goes out on his own mission, with its own consequences. This provided us with something to talk about after watching the film.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

For once the baddie,  the Vulture, is quite nuanced, he isn’t a typical bad guy. Instead he starts out trying to protect his family and his livelihood but makes some bad decisions which leads to him becoming the bad guy.

Spider-man: Homecoming is a great movie, we all enjoyed it a lot and we’re looking forward to the next movie featuring him! You can get hold of a copy at all the usual outlets in DVD, Blu-ray or digital download. Why not have your own party and tweet us using #SPIDEYPARTY so we can see how you get on.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

Disclosure: We were provided with the DVD, costumes, masks and other items for our party. This hasn’t influenced my review.

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid- The Getaway

One of the absolute best series of books i’ve found for reluctant readers is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. My eldest who needs serious pushing to read anything has read his way through them all and Fifi (now 8) is working her way through them at speed. This week they were incredibly lucky to be gifted some copies of the book (one each!) prior to the official release.

Fifi loved it so much she read it during the course of one evening and and early morning. The reluctant reader took a bit longer but did it! That means they’ve both read a whole book this week (and more). I’m thrilled by this, there isn’t anything better than seeing your children enjoying a book. Rather than me tell you all about the story and how good it is I’ll leave it this time to Fifi:

You can find out all about the Wimpy Kid book series here: https://www.penguin.co.uk/puffin/worlds/wimpy-kid/

Film Review: Paddington 2

We were lucky enough to attend and advance screening of Paddington 2 and we all came away feeling cheered and uplifted. Paddington 2 is the prefect anecdote to this gloomy November weather with its ups, downs, laughs, mild peril and story of friendship.

One of the things we loved about the first Paddington movie was its use of London and in particular the Natural History Museum. This movie made good use of lots of familiar landmarks and as a born and bred Londoner it was lots of fun spotting all the places we knew and recognised. I wont spoil it by telling you.

In the movie Paddington gets arrested and ends up in prison. He turns the experience around in only the way that Paddington can revolutionising the prison dining experience. Meanwhile Paddington’s family are trying to work out who did the crime. Its a brilliant story which works on many levels and entertained us as adults and the children- something many childrens films fail to do. I go as far as saying Paddington 2 is this years must see children’s film, its brilliant and we loved it!

I’ve posted a bit more information about the film below including the social media information should you want to join in the chat.

ABOUT THE FILM
A Heyday Films and STUDIOCANAL production, Paddington’s return to the big screen is helmed by BAFTA nominated director Paul King (PADDINGTON, COME FLY WITH ME, THE MIGHTY BOOSH) written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby (PADDINGTON, YONDERLAND and MINDHORN).

Paddington 2 is produced by multi award-winning David Heyman (producer of all eight of the HARRY POTTER films, GRAVITY, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM).
 #PADDINGTON2