My week … the one with half term.

If I was to create a chart of school holidays, I’m afraid February half term would be at the bottom. The weather’s a bit grey and dreary, outside activities are subject to the changing elements and there’s no big event to celebrate. However it is also a much needed holiday and as this past half term has been tough, it was appreciated.

I feel I completed half term bingo this week. During the last half term in October, I was recovering from my operation and house bound and Christmas was all about keeping Covid safe so we could visit family. This meant that this holiday became about doing things and having fun. There have been lots of missed trips due to the pandemic over the past two years and it was good to catch up.

At the start of the week, my daughter spent two nights with her aunt, so my son and I enjoyed ten pin bowling and the cinema. I much prefer the new set up at the bowling with individual booths and balls. In addition to the bowling, we also played in the arcade, its a not a trip to an arcade without a game of air hockey. At the cinema, we saw Unchartered an Indiana Jones type film which was fun and pure escapism. En route to pick up my daughter, we stopped at a military museum for my son as this is his big interest. It was interesting although given the Russian invasion of Ukraine this week, it did make you wonder what history has taught us all about democracy. It is a very worrying time at present and one hopes that given the universal condemnation and sanctions on Russia that the conflict may be quickly resolved, however I fear not. One of the exhibits at the museum was Hitler’s desk, a strange addition to the museum but it actually made me stone cold and quite sick realising what documents could have been signed there. It was also difficult not to make comparisons between Hitler and Putin. The children have both been asking questions about Ukraine and I’ve been answering as honestly as I can, I’m impressed by their analysis and opinions of the conflict.

With us all back together on Wednesday, we went out to play crazy golf, with a pirate theme. It was great fun and I won! My son and I have an ongoing competition and my win meant I only trail 3-2 now. The children also did an inflatable session at the swimming pool. I did enjoy the inflatables as after lots of driving and doing the activities, I got a little time to myself. I had a lovely cake and coffee and sat with my new book, Rachel Again by Marian Keyes watching the children play from the café window. The book was brilliant, I finished it in tears but was really happy with the ending. There was a personal history to one of the themes in the book and whilst I was sad reading it, it actually left me with a sense of calm and peace.

On Friday, we went to the artificial ski slope for ringos, big tyres which you sit in and slide down the slopes. The ringos at the artificial ski slope were very well received and the children are now keen to return to try snow boarding too. The morning at the ski slope was stunning with bright blue skies and warm sunshine, such a change to the previous week’s storms.

Whilst there was not much time to myself this week, I genuinely treasure this busy half term because as my two are both nearly teenagers there may not be be the opportunity to have half terms like this in future years. However, I did manage to put aside a few hours to do my half marathon training long run of over 12 miles, I was relieved and now believe that I can do the half on March 20th, I’m still full of nerves though! I did my parkrun on Saturday and was privileged to meet the founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton Hewitt who was running at my local parkrun. I am quite shy but did go up and thank him, he was lovely.

Its back to school tomorrow for all three of us who are at school. I have a lot happening professionally and personally in the next few weeks but am pretty organised and ready. I do appreciate the half term week for the chance to have some fun but also plan ahead.

My week … the one with red hearts and a red storm warning.

There is a bit of a colour theme to this week’s entry, red hearts for Valentines day and a red storm warning which meant the children both got an extra day off, starting half term a day early.

It is unusual to have Valentines day in term-time, so I made sure I celebrated the school day for my two with a Valentines day themed packed lunch, heart shaped sandwiches, doodles and notes and some kisses and heart sweets as a special treat. I also treated the classes in my department to a box of hearts and kisses to give the day a little sparkle. I took the approach that Valentines day is for sharing and celebrating all types of love. Little Miss got her first real Valentines card and presents from her boyfriend (belated as he was off with Covid) The teddy is as big as she is and she also got lots of chocolate. They are very sweet together, although I am hyper vigilant! My gift to Mr S was expensive socks, he has been complaining about the holes in his socks which were bought fairly recently so he got a set of new socks, I hope the price reflects the quality. I’m still waiting for my present … TBH, after 23 Valentines day its not really a day we celebrate, we have other significant dates, Halloween (the night we first met) and our wedding anniversary.

It was another week on the Covid roulette, our daughter finished her 7 day testing following cases in her friendship group and our son then had to start his 7 days on the day she finished as there was a case in his class. All clear so far but I do feel its going to catch up with us one day soon. I was out with friends and one has recently had Covid whilst the other had her class all sent home because of the number of cases. Given its prevalence, I find it hard that it is has been suggested that from next week, there will be no self isolation period for Covid.

The Thursday dinner with friends was lovely, we’re still meeting in the garden summer house of a friend and its become our routine to have a meal and lots of treats. I had Thursday off work, so I prepared a veggie lasagne and the host made fresh garlic bread in their garden pizza oven, along with the lightly dressed salad, it was perfect. I love these evenings, although having gone to bed around 12.30, the 5.30 alarm call was a tough one on storm day!

The storm day was a strange one. Everybody seemed really well organised and prepared for the potential disruption and damage but we seemed to have got away quite lightly with it. The wind was incredible at times, with speeds of 90+ mph but amazingly the worse damage at work was a broken roof tile and nothing at home. The high tide was before the strongest winds so the flooding was avoided. I have travelled through the county this weekend and I did see lots of broken trees so there was damage but we were incredibly lucky.

I’ve done a lot of driving this week, nothing in our rural location is near! On Tuesday for work I had a couple of appointments in big town. One of my visits was brilliant and I ended up on the driving range playing golf with some of our students. My job is quite demanding and tough at present, so a half hour of fun was so needed. On Thursday I drove my daughter over to a medical appointment we’ve been waiting for. It was an initial session but it went well and hopefully we will have a follow up in the next month or so. We were early so stopped off at a Costa for a cheeky second breakfast, it helped calm the nerves and relax us both.

This week is finally half term, it was a long time coming. Our daughter is off to stay with her aunt for a couple of days ( and her cousin who is in her early 20s and just the height of coolness and sophistication to her) In her absence, I’ve organised a few treats for my son, with tomorrow being the cinema and bowling. Its a stay at home week as I am exhausted at work and need to be at home and simply catching up on life. We’ve big plans for the next 3 holidays so I’m appreciating the quiet nature of the week.

My week … the one with little pleasures.

An alternative title for this week’s entry would be the one with the Covid roulette! Our daughter’s friends have Covid and there is a sort of inevitability that she’ll come down with it next, we’ve been doing daily tests since Wednesday but she’s still testing negative. Whilst the restrictions seem set to be stopped soon, there does appear to be a lot of Covid in our community at present (my night out got postponed due to Covid this week) and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop in the coming months, is this finally the end?

Its been a quiet week as with the close proximity she’s been to Covid, Little Miss didn’t go to Youth Club on Wednesday and Little Man didn’t go to Scouts on Monday as he had a very late night on Sunday (he loved the football game and whole experience) and coupled with a school trip this week it just seemed too much. I was relieved he didn’t go to Scouts as their night hike took nearly an hour longer in some pretty horrible weather. Little Man is a little under the weather today, its been a long half term and I think he’s tired. However, as has become typical on the first sign of illness, his Covid test is negative too.

This week has been a bit of a home making week. I have updated our bathroom with some new, bright towels in cornflower blue and a new laundry basket, just small changes but ones which have perked up the room. I am also taking real care of my pot plants, its one of my #22for 2022, and one I’m taking pretty seriously, I’ve never bought or used plant food before, let alone researched the best plant care.

My half marathon plan went to schedule this week, with my long run of 10 miles being done on Thursday morning. I was joined by Little Miss on my Tuesday night run and enjoyed a sociable parkrun this morning. I was impressed that I was not achy the day after the long run, and with no ill effects and a feeling that I could have run further I’m feeling hopeful about the half in 5 weeks time. This week is a ‘rest’ week from long runs with my longest run being 6 miles, before a return to two weeks of high mileage.

With being in most evenings this week, I have watched more tv than normal. One evening, Mr S watched the Shane Warne film, and I watched bits too. We were actually at the match in Melbourne where he got his 700th wicket, which is featured and we did get to reminisce about an amazing holiday. I also caught up with the Marian Keyes Imagine documentary. I love Marian Keyes, she is a brilliant writer and her interviews and Twitter feed are so witty and always worth a read or listen. The follow up to Rachel’s Holiday is out next week and I have it on pre order ready to land on my Kindle on its release.

Its the final school week before half term and it feels like such a long half term. Monday is Valentines day so I have a surprise for the children in their lunch boxes and a special treat for our children at school too. Its not a day I generally celebrate but to add a little sparkle to people’s lives in a grey and dreary month seems a worthwhile task.

#22for2022

Since 2018, I have been following Gretchen Rubin’s #18fror2018, #19for2019 etc.. a list of things to achieve during the year as detailed on her podcast, Happier. I have never achieved all my goals and would never put myself under pressure to do so, its a fun list, of things I would like to do and gives a nice focus to the year. I do have a hand written copy in my notebook which has lots of detail, writing in different colours and doodles but as it includes more personal information I have not photographed it and am simply noting down my list here. This year, following suggestions on the pod I have organised the list into themes.

Home

  • Fill our home with more fresh flowers.
  • Create an indoor plant sanctuary.
  • Sparkle with more Christmas lights
  • Do a weekly power hour of fadmin (family admin)

Style

  • Wear pretty shoes (after a successful foot operation, I want to wear more than Converse pumps and trainers!)
  • Try a different style or item of clothing which I would never normally wear.

Visits

  • Visit different gardens and delight in multi sensory experiences.
  • Go to the Fashion museum.
  • Run at 5 different parkrun venues.
  • Be a tourist in London with my son. (a Covid casualty for the past two years)
  • Relax at the spa on as many occasions as possible!

Community

  • Use independent businesses where possible.
  • Do something for others.

Wellbeing

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Only scroll on social media for 30 minutes a day.
  • Secure a new job.
  • Earn the parkrun red t-shirt. (Finally, after a 16 month Covid pause and a 2 month post op recovery)
  • Run a half marathon.
  • Celebrate the little things every day by writing a line a day.

Miscellaneous

  • Print off and bind my blog entries from 2014.
  • Discover a new podcast.
  • Have fun ( after the past few Covid years, we need fun and lots of it!)

My week .. the one with a virtual win.

Its been so good to have a quieter week and a little more time to think, breathe and relax. It was a week of simple pleasures and one which I think has helped me to rebalance after recent busy and challenging times.

My highlight this week was completing the virtual Lands End to John O’Groats running challenge. I had planned to run the 874 miles in one calendar year (and was on target) but my operation meant I had 8 weeks of no running and then had to return slowly and carefully. The company organising the challenge were very sympathetic and I was given those 8 weeks back to complete the challenge which I have now done in 50 weeks, thus achieving it within the year. I am proud that I managed to complete the challenge, I’ve never done anything like it before and am now onto my next one, the South West coastal path. Although this too is a virtual challenge, I will be able to combine it with some real life running too as I live on part of the route. Its nice to have a little running challenge which isn’t a race or run every day month challenge.

As I have had some time in the evenings, I have been catching up on my reading as I have several unfinished books at present. I did finish Make Time this week, an engaging read, but I felt it would be have been more effective as a long article or short book. It is written in a nice, friendly style and contains good advice. I’ve been reading and sipping my herbal teas in the evenings. My Pukka advent calendar has made me a huge Pukka fan and the evening ritual of a herbal cup of tea when everything has been done, is one I am continuing with relish this year. I discovered the Love blend a couple of weeks ago and its made it to my number 1 tea slot!

On Saturday afternoon, my son and I went to our local cinema to see the new Spiderman movie. They have started doing matinees and its so easy to walk the 5 minutes into town and enjoy a film. I’m not a big super hero fan, that’s my son’s speciality, but I really enjoyed the film especially the bit (spoiler alert) when the three spidermen reunited. It was genuinely touching. It reminded me of my early teaching years when Tobey McGuire was the preferred pin up of my pupils and I got to learn lots about him. I used to teach French and German and it was always a task to describe people and their hobbies / job etc.. Tobey was a popular choice. It was interesting to read after, that he no longer acts and hasn’t done for more than 10 years. It was also quite scary to think those pupils who introduced me to Tobey McGuire are now in their 30s!

Despite it being quiet, lots still happened in family life. My daughter went ice skating with the youth club, that was a very late night and some tired peeps the next morning which was a school day. I accompanied my son to Scouts, it was quite a fun night watching them complete the Lego challenge, but it was a cold night outside and took me a while to thaw after! I also got up to date with life admin this week, cards ordered for the coming month, hair and nails done. I like weeks like this when I feel organised and in control.