My week .. the one in which I had my nails done.

It was a strange first week of the summer holidays. As we haven’t been to school since March 20th, there wasn’t that big difference to our day, just the relief of no home schooling. It’s a different holiday, as we’re not doing many of our favourite holiday activities due to Covid restrictions. Whilst some activities can be done many of the places have chosen not to open at present. For example our local cinema isn’t open as there are no big releases to show. It will be a holiday of simple pleasures. However we’ve kept busy and active in week 1 of the lockdown summer holidays.

I read ..

I love my Kindle deals and this week’s book, Forest Therapy is another fine example. It was a book I was just going to read by season so started with the summer rather than at the beginning. However it’s really interesting and easy to read and I’ve been motivated to finish it all this week. Much of it is what we already now but it’s written in a friendly inspiring manner and definitely encourages an outdoor life for our wellbeing.

I played ..

This week we played on the beach in some gorgeous weather. We tend to go on the beach early and stay ‘til lunchtime. There’s an unusual atmosphere on the beach this year. Normally the children make new friends and all play together, but this summer everyone is carefully social distancing and it’s little pods on the beach. I miss the more care free days but recognise how respectful and responsible everyone is being to our safety.

I cruise ship watched ..

I don’t know what the term is for a ship spotter but it’s my new little lockdown obsession. There are loads of cruise ships on the south coast at present and they often sail up and down. I’ve discovered a website which maps where the ships are and it’s been a great reference site.

I had my nails done ..

I’ve missed pretty nails, it’s a frivolous spend but one that makes me happy. I was delighted to return to the local nail bar this week. Again there are new restrictions but it’s our new normal and I loved being there, catching up on all the local news and getting pretty nails.

I had a girlie morning

On the day I had my nails done, the boys went to their favourite museum (it’s a military one and is huge so no problems with social distancing) In the morning, Little Miss and I walked for miles along the coast path to a local beauty spot and had a great time just talking and relaxing together. After, whist I had my nails done she met a friend in town and things felt a little normal again ( well after my words of caution, mask, sanitiser, stay 1m apart etc..)

I finished the big sort out ..

During lockdown I blitzed every cupboard and had bags of donations for the charity shops. However shops were unable to accept donations and it’s taken until this week to drop them off at the shops (by appointment). I do feel the house is much lighter and organised now.

I wore ..

This week face masks became compulsory in shops and takeaways. I’m not often in either of these places but have worn my mask diligently when I went to the nail bar and the Post Office. I found that the vast majority of people were obeying the rules and it was all very calm and ordered.

And finally

I need to write a few more ideas of what we can do this summer. Fortunately the weather has been good this week but if it turns our choices may become more limited with the indoor restrictions. Time to create a few craft projects!


Birthday cakes

This is my random post about birthdays as I’m not able to post on the actual dates to protect our identity.

We’ve had two lockdown birthdays this year, although one was more restricted than the other. With lockdown there was really only one theme, rainbows and my daughter was happy to embrace this for her birthday. I had brightly coloured bunting in the garden and a rainbow 🌈 happy birthday balloon garland decorating the birthday table in the kitchen. On the photo of the cake, I’ve needed to blank out her name and age which were bright fondant letters and numbers and really complemented the other decoration. I did consider baking 6 layers of rainbow cake but felt that was a lot of cake and icing. Instead I chose orange, yellow and green sponges as these looked the most natural food colourings. I was able to match citrus fruits to the sponges so we had orange, lemon and lime layers and a citrus soft cheese icing as the filling. It was delicious and one of my favourite birthday bakes.

Our second cake had a camouflage style as my son loves everything military. For the decorations I was able to get military themed balloons in shades of green and brown. I wanted to incorporate the camo theme in the sponge and made a marble cake, with one chocolate sponge mix and a lime mix. I didn’t colour the lime sponge but used lime zest to add a little colour. I was pleasantly surprised with the result. I do want the cake to have a great taste, it’s not simply about the aesthetics but the flavour too.

It did feel sad this year not being able to do our birthday treats, no big days out at the local theme park or safari park, or even local treats with friends. However, the days were special in their unique 2020 style, neighbours popped over, we FaceTimed family and just enjoyed being together and playing with the new presents, the Nintendo Switch was a big hit. To end the day, the birthday child got to have a Takeaway tea with Chinese and Pizzas as their choices.

The birthdays were different but memorable and I hope each child got to feel very special and loved on their special day in 2020.

My week … the one where we graduated from home school

This is always such an exciting week, the end of the school year and the anticipation of six weeks full of relaxed, lazy days. We always write a summer holiday bucket list, but it doesn’t seem right this year, those activities which are normally so easy to plan, are more of a logistical challenge and we still seem to be living day to day. We have a few ideas and are determined to have the best summer we can under the circumstances it just seems a little sad that it’s not our normal summer holiday.

I finished as a homeschool teacher..

This final week was a little of an anti climax. I home school two days a week, Mr S three days. On Tuesday we had rearranged our meet up with my parents, so we didn’t do any school work and there was no work left for Thursday. Little Man had an afternoon at school on Thursday, so there was some structure to our day. I was really impressed that the primary school made such an effort to get the classes together on the field in a socially distanced manner to meet up and play before the end of the year. After the emotion of last week’s goodbye this was simply a fun afternoon for Little Man, a treasure hunt and ice lollies, a perfect ending to his primary school years.

I read ..

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. This is a book when you just root for the main character, hurting and damaged, you watch her unravel and simply want to scoop her up and build her up.

I listened ..

After finishing Queenie, I started another Kindle deal of the day Broken Greek. It’s an autobiography through music, the tracks are described so poetically that I felt that I needed to listen to them as I read. I did a quick Spotify search and found the playlist curated by the author himself. It’s an eclectic mix, but a great accompaniment to the book.

I walked ..

With less school work, it was longer walks to more places around the area this week. As my children get up ridiculously early, this meant that one day we were out on a hike by 8am. We walked across the top of the hills on the other side of the bay. It’s the opposite view to the one we have from our home and it’s great to look on the town from above and afar and find all the local landmarks. It is also offers a stunning panorama of the coast.

We also enjoyed a beautiful woodland and river work at a country park halfway between our home and that of my parents. It was our first time together since February and it was so good to meet up for a socially distanced walk, picnic and chill in the park. I’ve missed seeing my parents. On our 100 mile round trip, Little Miss negotiated with her brother to sit in the front and was my mobile DJ with her playlist on Spotify.

And finally..

We’re trying really hard to be positive and not too sad about the amazing things we’re all missing this summer, no carnival, no fireworks, no music festival, no holiday ☹️ Last summer was so good. We need to remember we’re all fit and healthy and our loved ones haven’t been affected by Covid 19. Next year we are going to have the best summer ever and I’m already writing our list to do. This summer will simply be a season of simple pleasures.

My week … the one in which I had my hair done.

So after 118 days, I finally got to have my hair done this week as hairdressers reopened. We also were busy with school good byes and transitions and managed a few forest trips and picnics. I’ve no idea why forests became a theme, it was random rather than planned. Sadly, a couple of meet ups were postponed because of dismal weather but they’re rearranged and we hope they will happen in nicer weather.

I’ve made ..

On Wednesday morning, Little Man and I very carefully (and hygienically) baked apricot and ginger cookies for a socially distanced good bye with his key staff at school. We individually wrapped the cookies so they could be eaten safely and were enjoyed by all. It was a lovely occasion. Little Man has had the same TA for 7 years and I love the school so much that I worried it was going to be a tearful meet up. However we all held it together and the tears only came at home when I read the good bye cards. Its a strange situation as our son was back yeared by our request in Reception and is in Year 5 rather than Year 6, his correct year. However, he is going to a special secondary school and needs to be in his correct year of Year 7 in September, hence his transition at the end of Year 5. His class were amazing and unbeknown to us, the teacher had organised virtually for them all to write special messages, pictures etc.. to our son which were presented in his leaving book. We had always worried that our son might be teased, bullied or excluded because of his learning needs, however this amazing group of children have been wonderful to him, he has proper friendships and has been very much one of the class. He’ll say goodbye to his class mates next Thursday, but we have agreed its best to play his good bye down and just let him have fun with his friends. We live in a small town so he’ll still be seeing his friends around and will still be able to hang out with them. (When we can do simple things like that again)

I’ve also made a few picnics this week, home schooling has very much slowed down, especially at secondary. As we have decorators doing work on the exterior of our house its been good to get out as we haven’t been able to use the garden. We’ve had long walks in the forest and picnics under the shade of trees.

I read …

I’m not able to settle to a book at present, there is a lot buzzing around in my mind so I’ve been reading a magazine instead, Breathe. I loved an article in it by Judith Hurrell, New Lease of Life about recycling, reusing, repurposing items. It reminded me how much I love to see friends’ younger children in favourite items my children used to wear. I only donate good quality clothes and am happy to receive too. When the children were little our neighbour gave us two beautiful wooden trikes her grandsons had outgrown and were designed to be played on in the house. The children adored these trikes and played on them so much, that I was so sad when they too outgrew them. I spoke to my neighbour and asked if she would be happy if I in turn donated them to two friends with younger children, she was delighted that they would continue to bring joy to others. I know that these trikes have been used by many different children and loved by them all, how nice it is to share the love of play.

I listened …

On my Saturday morning run (come back soon, parkrun) I listen to Sounds of the 80s from the previous night. This week’s programme celebrated the 35th anniversary of Live Aid and it really brought back the memories. I never saw Live Aid and only heard snippets of it on the day as I was on a school trip to Jersey. I do remember being on a beach and someone playing a radio and hearing Rocking All Over the World start off the day. To this day, I’ve never watched the concert, although I know some of the iconic images of the day as I had the Live Aid calendar on my bedroom wall for all of 1986. I have seen some clips and Queen will always be the performance of the day. I was interested to learn that they were one of the few groups who really took it seriously, planned and rehearsed thoroughly and therefore were able to give that performance. A lesson for us all.

I wore

Well apart from needing to wear items from every season’s wardrobe at times this week, I have been also wearing my new face mask. I have one and have worn it as needed, but it is black and looks quite sombre so as I think we’ll be needing to wear them more, I bought a pink flowery version (with filter.) I feel much more me in it.

And finally

Next week is the final week of home schooling (celebration dance, whoop, whoop) I have been pretty organised so far in returning school resources, delivering thank you cards and gifts, donating old uniforms, buying new uniforms etc.. so hopefully apart from the dreaded school shoe shop we can forget about school and simply enjoy the summer holidays. We have one cancelled meet up reorganised for next week, please be kind weather fairies and Little Man has an afternoon in school. This has been an emotional time, so I’m looking forward to the end of the school year and the time to relax (and not having to check TEAMS or Dojo)

My week – the one in which we reached 100 days in lockdown.

So this week we reached 100 days in lockdown, something that seems so surreal. I feel this week that we are beginning to look forward. The schools information was published this week and although school will be different, it looks like everyone is going back full time, which was confirmed by letters from both the children’s schools. Yesterday saw the reopening of hairdressers, pubs, cafes, cinemas, hotels etc.. although all now have very different hygiene routines with the focus on social distancing. When I went for my run at 6.30am yesterday, the local barbers, was not only open but full with customers and had a queue outside, strange times.

I have sorted

This week I have been arranging plans for the new schools. I have sorted old uniforms for donation to the PTA, ordered new uniform and started to organise the leaving gifts. This is hard, Little Man has had the same 1:1 TA for 7 years, how can you even begin to thank someone for taking care and teaching your son so much, she seems like family. On the last day pre lockdown, we both were blinking back tears as we realised this might be the last ever handover. Fortunately, we are going in to a pre-arranged socially distanced good bye with his key staff next week and I am practising holding back the tears.

I have treated myself

I have bought little for myself in the lockdown, but I kept on seeing the same sundress on my Instagram feed from Joanie Clothing and loved it, its so different to my normal ‘uniform’ I did the 24 hour wait to see if I really wanted it, but when I realised I was obsessively thinking about the dress, I treated myself as an early birthday present. The dress had arrived and it is gorgeous, the print is fantastic. I’ve tried it on and twirled around but am keeping it for its debut at a picnic this week.

I have watched ..

We have discovered the Agatha Raisin comedy crime drama in the past fortnight on Sky. It is the perfect 9pm viewing, with lots of famous cameos, its a bit like Death in Paradise but in the Cotswolds. I need light and easy viewing at present.

Next week is an exciting week, we have plans, yes entries in my diary. Little Man is visiting his new school and saying goodbye to his old staff, I’m having my hair done (it so needs it), meeting friends for an al fresco BYO meet up and seeing my parents for a socially distanced picnic. I am excited but there is a sense of feeling a little over whelmed too. Its going from 0 to 100 again and I have enjoyed the more relaxing pace of life.

July 2020

July is my favourite month of the year, its a month of birthdays, including mine, the end of the school year, a local music festival, carnival and just all things nice. This year it will look different, there is no carnival or music festival and we will be celebrating the other events in 2020 style.

However for the first time since lockdown we have a few things planned to look forward to. This week we are meeting my parents half way from our homes for a socially distanced picnic (please weather fairies be kind) and I am also meeting friends with BYO drinks for a meet up on the quay. I also have a colour and hair cut booked with my neighbour. Its not just me who has plans, Little Man has two diary entries, a visit after school hours to his new school for September and then his class are going to meet up following social distancing rules for a final good bye on the school field. I will definitely be celebrating the end of the school year even more enthusiastically this year. Home schooling has had its highs and lows but it’ll be remembered generally as a positive experience, although hopefully never to be repeated.

July, lets shine this month.

#20 for 2020 : An update

Last week on her podcast, Gretchen Ruben was discussing reviewing #20for2020. When we all wrote our lists we had no idea what was to follow in the year and some may no longer be possible. I am going to do my 6 month check below and see where I’m up to and what I still would like to try and achieve this year.

  1. Read for pleasure, 15 minutes a day. With the exception of a couple of days when I was ill in bed with a migraine and not able to read, I have completed this task everyday (Go me!) Lockdown has given me more time to read.
  2. Resize my wedding and engagement rings. Done.
  3. Complete my University course.  It is no longer possible to have graduated by the end of this year as I can’t do my action research as planned because of lockdown. However our course has been extended and my assignments are now due in early January. Whilst I won’t have my results by December 31st I still aim to have completed everything so I can enjoy Christmas with no worries.
  4.  Run a 10k race. I had a 10k race booked which was sadly cancelled because of Covid 19. Whilst there may not be an organised 10k race, I plan to do a virtual race and time it.
  5. Run a parkrun PB. parkrun is currently suspended :(. I was 3 seconds short of my PB on a wet, muddy and windy run in January, so given my PB was on a dry, warm day I think I could do this if parkrun restarts this year.
  6. Have a no spend month. I managed this in January and then with lockdown it seems most months this year have been little or no spend months. Its certainly made me consider our consumer society.
  7. Enjoy live music. I feel so sad that this won’t happen this year. Nothing beats live music.  
  8.  Plan a special 10 year famiversary.  This will still be celebrated but I’m not sure what our celebrations will look like or what we will be able to do later this summer.
  9. Have a rainbow of nail colours. Another activity I was doing so well on and then lockdown stopped it. At present there is no reopening date for nail salons. Here’s hoping I have pretty nails again.
  10. Visit the fashion museum. This was closed until the spring and never got to reopen as the lockdown was put in place. Its still on my list to try and do this year.
  11. Wear colourful running kit and smile. I did buy a lovely pair of peach coloured trainers but no new running kit yet, I’m in my old favourites until I can shop again. I’m determined to have festive running leggings this Christmas.
  12. Special bakes for Valentines, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Well lockdown has been perfect for this task, ticks all round so far.  
  13. Review every film watched.  I can’t believe that I haven’t been to the cinema this year, I miss our local Indie cinema and really hope it can survive. On My week posts I have written about all films I’ve seen on television this year.
  14. Get the correct school place for Little Man. Yes, yes, yes, we’re so happy after the challenge of getting a special school place that we finally got a place in our first choice. It means we won’t have to move and will make life easier for us all.  
  15. Complete a photo a week challenge.  I started this but do have some catching up to do!  
  16. Finish the 50 parkruns milestone.  This is no longer possible, but I’ll get there as soon as I can when parkrun reopens.  
  17. Take Little Man to London. This isn’t going to happen this year with Covid 19 but another to add to next year’s list.
  18. Plan each season’s style. I’ve gone through all my clothes and felt very carefully about what I need and how I want to look. I feel my style is developing.  
  19. Take a flower arranging class. Again, this is unlikely to be possible ‘live’ but I’m looking into online courses.  
  20. No sweets or chocolate. So far, so good!

Despite Covid 19, I still think that I can adapt many of these activities and enjoy them in a different way. I look forward to the end of year round up and smashing some of these tasks.