Monday, 30 December 2013

love parkrun

It's been two whole weeks since I attended my 100th parkrun (keeping up with my blog hasn't been a priority lately) but I couldn't miss sharing my love of parkrun. parkrun is a free, weekly, 5km timed run and with 236 events (and rising) in the UK (344 globally) there might just be one near you.

One hundred parkruns is a milestone that many obsessive parkrunner's aspire to as it means entry in to the 100 club and receipt of the black 100 club t-shirt and jacket.
Miss Chaela Boo: love parkrun
I attended my first parkrun in April 2011 and joined the 50 club in August 2012. My red 50 club t-shirt is my favourite piece of running kit. I had my sights on achieving my 100th run by the end of this year and I did it! Just!

parkrun is great way to get into (or back into) running and keeps me ticking over, with no races to prepare for the past few months I have become a very lazy runner but I haven't stopped parkrunning. For me, it is the ONLY way to start the weekend (or even the New Year as some parkrun locations put on extra evens for Christmas and new Year). The friendly atmosphere, sense of community and post-run high is terribly addictive and a hot chocolate in the cafe afterwards is a social occasion not to be missed.

As well as running, parkrun is great way to get into volunteering. All events are run by volunteers with just a handful of employed staff at head office getting results and news out to runners each week. My first time volunteering at parkrun was little nervy and I felt a bit silly standing on a corner clapping as the runners went by, with the occasional and slightly sheepish 'well done'. parkrun has turned me into a shouting maniac and I now love yelling at runners as they go by.
Miss Chaela Boo: love parkrun
 When I arrived for my 100th run on Saturday I was met by my Cambridge parkrun buddies and presented with a pink sash. Katie had also put in a word with Jen who was run directing that day so I got a shout out at the start of the run. Katie, Neil, Mark and Stef ran all the way with me and we had a good chat and giggle all the way around. I don't think I've ever had so much fun while running. Thanks to everyone who made the morning so special, it was a real treat.
Miss Chaela Boo: love parkrun
Lots of people are nervous about attending their first parkrun and with over 300 runners attending at Cambridge each week I know it can seem daunting but for me parkrun is the safest place in world to run. I have made some fabulous friends through parkrun and I love the sense of community. parkrun is not a race, all runners are equal and all achievements are celebrated; whether is the the first time you finish the run without walking or your 100th run.

Thanks to Mark for documenting the occasion, all photo's in this post are his. Mark is a Blipper and wrote a piece for his Blip which you can find here.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts by Kirstie Allsopp

Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
Kirstie's Christmas Crafts is a must have if you love to go all out for the festive season. It's stuffed with ideas for handmade gifts, decorating your home and even what to eat on the big day. 

The book is broken down into the following handy sections:
  • Deck the Halls - covers the tree and decorations for a festive home. The needle felted robin is adorable, I especially like the use real feathers as he looks really smart with such a flamboyant tail. When I eventually get around to making this little guy, I'll probably go for adding a ribbon as he looks a little like he's been impaled on a stick.
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
  • Seasons Greetings - includes ideas for cards and tags as well as tips for wrapping; the tutorial for wrapping circular presents will come in very handy. 
  • The Christmas Table - lovely ideas for table settings and a handy checklist of everything you need for the table (I do love lists!). I also love the idea of the dining chair decorations made from bunches of fresh herbs. Mmm fragrant!
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
  • Perfect Presents - lovely ideas for handmade Christmas gifts including bath creamers and a very smart upcycled coat for a dogalog. 
  • Edible Gifts - Limoncello!! Say no more. 
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
  • Food and Drink - I wasn't expecting to find a food and drink section in a craft book and while the recipes do look scrummy they are entirely non-vegan apart from one of the cocktails. 
  • Children's Christmas Crafts - crafty fun stuff for the everyone. The glitter baubles are amazing!
Miss Chaela Boo - Book Review: Kirstie's Christmas Crafts
Overall there is a good mix of simple and straightforward craft ideas, like the classic golden pasta Christmas card, as well as more advanced techniques for experienced crafters such as making your own marbled wrapping papers. The book is a great guide to Christmas crafting and especially useful if you are hosting Christmas for the first time.  It's also a the kind of book that any craft lover would like to receive at Christmas; perfect for settling down with after a massive Christmas dinner.

I have a copy of Kirstie's book to give away to one lucky lucky reader. Use the handy widget below to submit your entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***This is not a sponsored post. All images in this post are taken from the book Kirstie's Christmas Crafts***