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Life stories

I was incredibly honoured to be asked by Radio Cumbria to feature on the segment “life stories”. My first reaction was really? Would people find my life story that interesting?

Kevin Fernihough is so lovely and made me feel instantly relaxed when we did my interview. I had spoken with him a few times in the past when I was asked to go on the Biz quiz (reigning champ with 3 consecutive wins). I had spoken to a researcher to give a brief synopsis of my life and Kevin took it from there. Continue reading Life stories

What’s your mountain food? 

Being out on the fells is the perfect exercise to be calorie neutral. When you’ve slogged up a mountain you deserve a yummy treat. 

For me my mountain staple food is a Melton Mowbray pork pie. I don’t eat pork pies as a rule but they seem to satisfy me when on top of a mountain. Plus I don’t feel guilty for eating them as I’ve burnt the calories. 

   
 
Of course the other staple on a walk are my famous chocolate brownies. We have had them with hot custard on the top of High Street in the Far Eastern fells. 17 of us all with bowls scoffing brownies and hot custard, attracting jealous and bewildering looks from passer bys. 

What’s your favourite food/ treat on a walk? 
 

Slow roasted lamb with orzo

I’m a massive fan of the one pot, a bit of chopping followed by the oven doing the work. Perfect comfort food and leftovers freeze really well, though sometimes need a bit of water adding when reheating. 

Ingredients 

1 kg of diced lamb 

2 onions finely sliced 

4 garlic cloves crushed 

1 tbsp chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried

Good pinch of chilli flakes 

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cinnamon stick, broken in half

2 tbsp olive oil

400g can chopped tomato

1.2l hot chicken or vegetable stock

400g orzo 

freshly grated Parmesan,to serve

Method 

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Spread the lamb, wide casserole dish. Add the onions, oregano, chilli, cinnamon sticks, garlic, ground cinnamon and olive oil, then stir well. Bake, uncovered, for 45 mins, stirring halfway.

Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock, cover tightly, then return to the oven for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is very tender.

Remove the cinnamon sticks, then stir in the orzo. Cover again, then cook for a further 20 mins, stirring halfway through. The orzo should be cooked and the sauce thickened. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with crusty bread.

A tick off my fabulist – visit Amsterdam 

Going to Amsterdam has been on my to do list for quite some time. It is great it is such a short flying time and the transport system in Amsterdam makes it so easy to explore the city.An incredibly early start mean we were at the hotel by 11am, no time for duty free in the airport but I did spot a MAC shop and treat myself to a new lipstick. You can never have too many red lipsticks.  Continue reading A tick off my fabulist – visit Amsterdam 

My review of the year – October – December 2015

The final instalment, I’m exhausted writing this. Definitely lots of things packed in this year.

October

Finally a bit of good weather so a fell fix was in order. Doing Halls Fell ridge had been on the to do list all year. Ray and Stewy came along too. Though Stewy said he gets terrible vertigo, but with brownies and me holding his hand he  should be ok. Was a great scramble up and I did have a blonde moment when stood on the hill. I said are we going onto Blencathra? Gina what are you stood on!! Cue lots of laughter, in my defence it was cloudy when last there. For such a great mountain the summit marker is just a metal marker on the ground. We collected a waif on the way up called Rob. He wasn’t sure what route he was going to do so said come with us. That’s the great thing about being in the hills is kindness of strangers.   Continue reading My review of the year – October – December 2015

My review of the year – July – September 2015

Halfway through the year already, time flies when you’re having fun. 

July

My birthday month, another year older. An overdue catch up with Dave’s oldest friend Jo and her family. We met at The Plough, Lupton for the pudding club. A lovely evening and we were all sugar giddy at the end.    

 The weather was so unseasonal but did manage a couple of local walks. Had a walk up Brantfell in Bowness. A great little hill with views over Windermere.    
 
Also visited Sizergh Castle, hadn’t been for about 20 years. But having renewed our National Trust membership thought would take advantage. Had a lovely visit and had forgotten how interesting it was.    

 

My friend Jan was up in the lakes camping so called up to the Langdales and had dinner with her. 

 
My birthday, another year older more grey eyebrows! On my birthday we met the winkleys for pre dinner drinks and had a lovely dinner at The Castle Green. Great because it’s a short walk from our house.    

 
Followed by afternoon tea the following day at Holbeck Ghyll.    

   
The weather was so unpredictable, when we had planned a fell walk the weather came in. But walked along the shore of Windernere from the ferry nab. It was a lovely unexpected walk and you don’t always have to go high to get great views.    

 

Our eldest niece Lois came to stay for a long weekend. She is a delight to have. A fell fix up Fleetwith Pike, beer festival and a walk around Kirkby Lonsdale with Jo and family. 

   
    
  

Lois on the summit
  

      

 

A gin catch up with Kate, time goes too quickly.  

Utter joy at discovering cheap premium gin at Wetherspoons!
 

August 

Such a wet start to the month, which didn’t bode well for Kendal Calling! Plus I was not feeling strong mentally as my councilling was tough work. It was nice catching up with the crowd we go with but the combination of biblical rain and snoring from camping neighbours really got to me. Elbow were amazing.  I don’t think I’m a camping kinda girl.   

So overjoyed for a respite in the rain
   
I had decided to get my running mojo back on track, I needed a race to aim for. So I entered the Lancaster half marathon  in November. Enough time for me to get fit again. 

  

Jake was back from his travels, missed him so much. He had an amazing time.   

I had always wanted to visit the Edinburgh Fringe festival. So squeezed in a day trip to soak up the atmosphere. The Winkleys came with us after talking about it in the pub a couple of days before. I love Edinburgh and was great just wandering round. My friend Lisa and family came  through from Glasgow, so was added bonus.  

Thirsty work this sightseeing
  

    
 My friend Kate said when we met for drinks a few weeks ago, said I’ve never been for afternoon tea. As a doer said we need to rectify this. So off we went to Lindeth Fell in Bowness. A lovely afternoon, cakes, gin and prosecco.  

    
Then my sister Sam said “I saw your pics and can we go for afternoon tea”. So we did to Lindeth Howe in Bowness. I’m so glad my sister moved to the lakes. A lovely afternoon. I nearly did drop the cake stand when trying to take a picture.   

   

Finally got to meet Jakes new boyfriend. Kieron was lovely and though biased they make such a gorgeous couple. A bit of retail therapy in Manchester and playing the tourist whilst he was here for the weekend.   

  

   
 September  

A very busy month ahead. Starting off with the Grasmere Guzzler. A beer festival at Dale Lodge hotel. Friends Hayley and John who were up for the weekend came to join us.  Jake said Hayley is my selfie compatible. Her best side is opposite to mine and our hair colours compliment. Selfie friend for life.  

   

  

Selfie compatible

The next day was off to Solihull with Stu and Paula to the Bladder cancer ball. Paula is fighting bladder cancer so a cause close to our heart. We had a brilliant time and nice to get dressed up!    

 

  
We did quite a bit of travelling as only a couple of days later we were down to St Albans for Jake’s graduation. Such a lovely day and so incredibly proud of him getting a 1st.    

 
From St Albans straight to Liverpool to fly to Ibiza. I fell in love with Ibiza when I went for my 40th. Had a brilliant time. Made even better by meeting up with Jess and Sarah who were on the island too. Braved and went to ocean beach, I embraced glitter body paint. Lots of laughs. Ibiza is the one place I feel relaxed.    

  

Nothing beats an Ibiza sunset
  
   

Holidays pass too quickly. On my return, Scott from Brathay wanted to meet me to discuss being their poster girl for the new Brathay half marathon. I was completely humbled by that. So if you fancy a challenge for the new year get entered! https://www.brathay.org.uk/Event/brathay-half-marathon-2016 

    

So proud to be running as number 1
Busy
social butterfly time. Drinks with Jody and Kaz who were up for the weekend. 

Nice to be drinking in the sunshine

Before heading to Hawkshead to stay with Si and Liz. 

   
Family time before Jake headed back down south to start his career with BA. Afternoon tea at The Belsfield in Bowness. 

   
    
   
  
Ageing is rubbish and needed to be wearing my glasses more and more. So a trip to specsavers. I must say I quite like the spexy look.   

Friends Cath and Matt were up for the weekend. Would be rude not to meet for beers. The weather was amazing for them which makes a change!   

Good weather meant a long overdue fell fix. My friend Ria was well on the way to completing her wainwrights. So she had Fellbarrow to do and tagged in Low Fell. Was such a gorgeous day and nice to be back in the hills. Stu, Gary and Ray came along too. Of course had to go to the Kirkstile for our walkers reward. 

   
  

I went slightly high maintenance. I’ve never worn lots of make up. Quite frankly it scared me and I ended up feeling like I looked like a drag queen. Having had a makeover at Benefit and being completely in love with their products, thought would have a go at the online tutorial. It was so easy to follow, though doing it before I was going for a run probably not the best planning. But I was pleased with my first attempt at the smokey eyes look.   

Last social event of the month was Ruth’s 70th birthday. Dave has known her since he was a baby. She is such a lovely lady and certainly doesn’t look or act like a 70 year old! 

  

To be continued………
 

My review of the year – April – July 2015

April was all about preparation for the up coming London marathon.  It was a difficult month as it was this month that I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.  Hard admitting you have a problem and then trying to deal with it.  My last long run was a battle of wills between my head and my body.  But I did it.  I love the London marathon and the atmosphere. It sucks you back. I love the feeling of crossing tower bridge and the wall of cheers which greets you. Plus getting the bling and the sense of achievement. This year was better as with a bit more planning got to see my family and friends more. The poster which Matt and Amanda had made for me to spot them at 30k mark was so funny. I was incredible proud to be part of the Brathay trust team and raised nearly £5000 for them. 

  
    
 Though completely exhausted, before heading home managed to visit the National Portrait gallery which has been on my to do list for awhile.   

Afterwards, went to Paternoister chop house for lunch. It’s the restaurant they use in the “first dates” tv programme. I had tweeted them to see if they offered  discount for marathon medal wearers. They said we will look after you and that they did. It was the first celebratory drink I had as couldn’t face one when I had finished running. A great meal and the staff were amazing.    

 At last our framed wainwright finishers certificate was ready. I was glad I took my friends advice and had it done professionally. Love it and has pride of place in my kitchen.   

May

The start of the month saw a trip to Sussex to stay with Tanya and Paul. Tanya was 8 months pregnant at the time and hoped that Rundle junior wouldn’t make an appearance. A nice relaxing stay and lovely stroll in Ashdown forest, didn’t see Winnie the Pooh though.    

   
A test of my fear came when i was asked to try out the new indoor via feratta at Kendal climbing wall. It was a testing scary at times experience but I loved it. Well maybe not the caving section where I had a panic attack. Steph our instructor was amazing and calm and coaxed me out. The 20m free fall at the end was a definite leap of fear.    

 A very overdue meet up with Hayley. We had followed each other for ages on Twitter and finally met for lunch. A definite friend for life as hit it off immediately. I was in awe of her selfie skills!   
Keswick mountain festival was here again and this year decided to stay up. It’s a great location for a mountain festival. I did the aerial zip wire which was fun. Also got to finally meet up with Jonny for a beer.

  
   

Having seen it lots of times, I finally walked up the Hoad in Ulverston. I had nothing to do in my lunchbreak so thought let’s do it. Maybe doing it in heels was not my brightest idea but it’s do able! 

  
It was time for my lovely friend Stu to climb his final wainwright Yewbarrow. Was a blowy day and cold considering it was May. A great walk and another member of the 214 club. Though did leave celebratory brownies in the car! 

   
 A walk round the shores of Kewick ticked another thing off my to visit list. I had often wondered where about the hands sculpture was on the shores of Keswick and this day I found them. They were created to celebrate the centenary of the National trust.   

Having had a photo workshop with Mark earlier in the year, I hadn’t put into practice what I’d learnt. Mark and Irene were up in the lakes so met for a drink and a refresher lesson. I hadn’t forgotten as much as I thought.   

The month ended with an afternoon treat at the Midland hotel in Morecambe. The Midland is an iconic Art Deco hotel which was bought back to life a few years ago. We went with our good friends the Winkleys. A lovely afternoon and the sun shone.    

    
 

June

Started as we meant to go on this month. Not sure my liver was ready. First up was an overdue Carlisle piss up with the Twitteratti. Had a fun afternoon in the pubs and then back to the David’s.    

 The next day Paula and I hit the shops and my love affair with Benefit began. I’m now officially high maintenance after my make over. Nicola was fab and I loved my enhanced look.    

 Perfect having your makeup already done before meeting Hayley and John for dinner.   

My adopted Twitter ma and pa were down on holiday so had a nice dinner and catch up with them.   

Having run the London marathon for Brathay trust, they invited me for lunch and see what happens the money I raised. They do such amazing work and are proud to be involved with them. There was a disadvantaged family there on a break, the look of sheer joy on the little boys face made it all worth while.  

   
Holidays were here and off to Turkey for 12 days. A relaxing time with friends. What happens on holiday stays on holiday unless you share on social media hehe.    

   

Straight back from my holiday and was down to London to visit our green coffee supplier to taste some new coffees. The silver lining was I got to meet my brother in law for a late lunch before heading home.    

   
I was invited to the launch of the Indy coffee book northern edition. Great to meet fellow coffee people and had the best homemade pizza ever.   

A brief trip to Glasgow to see my best friend Lisa and her family. I may be a bad influence on her daughter Holly as regards to selfies! It’s my duty as her surrogate aunt.    

    
The month ended with a family dinner to wish Jake our youngest Bon voyage as he was off on his travels.    

 

Next instalment coming soon…..