My week

There is monotony in life in lockdown, each day has its routine, home school in the morning, a walk in the afternoon or if its a work day, a long day in my office and a walk in the evening trying to get to my daily step target of 10k. This week seemed really monotonous and I think we’re all confused what we can and can’t do, the public are losing patience with the government ambiguity on decisions. We had a slight change to routines this week as Mr S is now working at home, as my work poses a risk as it is a setting with confirmed Covid 19 cases.

I wore ..

Given the Covid 19 cases, I am now in PPE at work, a mask and gloves when I leave my office and am in communal areas. In truth, I walk into my office and leave at the end of the working day, with only one comfort break. We are in lockdown and you need to keep as safe as possible. The masks look awful and make you feel quite nauseous but they are medical quality to keep us safe. We have all the cleaning materials to keep everywhere clean and the new start and end to each day is anti baccing our office. It is a horrible situation but we have young people to keep safe and we can’t leave them alone. Our staff are doing amazing things in the most challenging circumstances.

I decorated …

Well I finally decorated some stones which is on the essential list of things to do in lockdown, along with the infamous banana bread! It was a nice activity and kept us occupied on Sunday morning in the garden as the sun shined. Its the simple things which bring joy.

I got a phone call ..

Okay getting a phone call is hardly an unusual part of the week, but this was so unexpected and exciting that it merits a mention. For the past year, we have been trying to get our son a place at our local special needs school. All professionals agreed it was the best fit but there was no place available. This has led to mediation, tribunal, letters to MPs, councillors and finally after months of no school place for Sep 2020, a place was offered at our second choice.

Whilst we were delighted to get a place, we realised that given the distance from our home, we would have to move from our idyllic seaside town to make life work for all of our family, so were having to anticipate big life changes for us all. We had begun to get our heads around all of this and were starting to make tentative plans when out of the blue on Tuesday afternoon, I got a phone call offering a place at our number 1 choice. To say I was shell shocked would be an understatement and I couldn’t quite believe it until I had the confirmation email. This has meant we can relax and simply focus on settling him in the new school rather than having to make those big life changing plans. The relief is indescribable and I’m still having to reread the email to believe its true!

Next week is the last before half term and then a pause on home schooling for a week, yippee! I’m trying to plan lots of lockdown treats as we were due to be at our happy place of Butlins at half term and whilst it wont be the same, I want them to feel some holiday vibes.

Have a happy week.

May 2020

So a new month and another month full of cancelled plans. This was going to be a great month for Little Man, his school residential, cub camp and our annual trip to Butlins. Sadly none are going to happen now. We had decided that even if lockdown was relaxed that we wouldn’t go on holiday. We want to relax and have fun on holiday, be in communal areas to swim, watch shows, play and eat out, and we quickly realised that even if Butlins opened our holiday couldn’t be like normal. Fortunately, Butlins cancelled all bookings last week and we have had all our money refunded easily. At present we haven’t rearranged as we don’t know where we’ll be in the months to come. We are doubtful if our summer holiday will happen and have been honest and upfront with the children about this possibility. They seem to be okay but we have a beautiful sandy beach at the bottom of our road so a summer at home will be full of beach days, if the rules allow it. The only trip away I want to do at present is simply to see our parents.

As we start this month, we still don’t know how long we’ll be in lockdown, its been 40 days so far and Boris has spoken today about maintaining the lockdown, I’m fine with this. We’re so lucky to be in the position we are and it feels safe. I’m not sure how I’ll feel when we are free to do more, I feel like we’re in a safe, protective bubble at present and opening up will give more risk. Again, we don’t know if the children will be at school this month, I doubt it and think realistically it won’t be until September that we are back to school. This will mean Little Man’s transition to secondary school and leaving primary will be very different to his sister’s last year, the lockdown seems to be affecting him more with some of the coming of age events cancelled. He’s taking it calmly and is focusing on the positives, his attitude certainly helps us all. I think I’m more upset on the things he’s missing out on.

As we don’t have anything to look forward to this month its another month of simply being in the present, enjoying the simple things and writing lists of things to look forward to in the future. This list won’t be full of exotic holidays or expensive shopping trips, but seeing parents, going for a coffee with friends, playing football in the park or enjoying the latest film in the cinema. The pandemic has given us a new perspective on how we want our lives to be lived. I think this will be the most positive and life affirming result of the pandemic along with an even deeper love for our Nhs and our communities.

Happy May.

My week

Whilst I am still continuing ‘My Week’ I am also am writing a Coronavirus post everyday. This post is for the little sparkles, the serious stuff is on the other post.

This week has been week 3 of lockdown and I’ve also been on Easter holidays. I’ve not done much school work with the children, just finishing off some maths and a few bits and bobs. I can amuse us all without the pressure of set tasks.

I’ve read …

In Five years by Rebecca Serle. This plot was similar to something else I’ve read recently ( but I cannot find the title which is really bugging me and it’s not on my Good Reads list either!) The main character has a premonition of a new man in her life despite being engaged and happy. The story explores her life and the truth of the premonition is revealed. It was fine as a book to read in lockdown when you have the time but for me it was only 3 stars ⭐️

I’ve made …

The kitchen is my favourite place and the lockdown has seen me happily trying new recipes, baking with the children and finally having the time to make hot cross buns, which have been on my to bake list forever! I love the time and effort we are making with food, it’s my interest and a real treat. This week I made a full Chinese meal, complete with egg fried rice, mushroom rice etc.. It was all so remarkably easy that I did wonderful why we hadn’t done it before. Homemade Chinese is now being adding to our Saturday night around the world menus. In preparation for Easter I’ve been following the domestic goddess Nigella’s recipes for hot cross buns and Simnel cake. This item of special bakes on special occasions on my 20for2020 is progressing well.

I’ve listened…

It’s quite hard to find time to be alone at home. My normal podcast listening time whilst I run is no longer available as my daily exercise is now going out with the children for a walk. I’ve listened to some of my favourite pods in bed and it’s a different alternative to reading. I do need to be careful as I was laughing so much to With Me Now, I woke up Mr S!

As I said last week I’m finding the radio to be a great comfort at present. I’m more likely to listen to the radio than watch television.

I’ve decorated …

Easter has always been a special time and I love to decorate the house. I’ve made a special effort with the front window to make anyone smile as they pass it. We live at the bottom of a footpath so we have people walk past regularly. Sadly I am missing my fresh daffodils and tulips among my decorations, as they’re not considered an essential in our small supermarket.

Little Miss has been busy painting rainbows for our neighbours and it is lovely to see her work in all the neighbouring houses. One of the best things to come from this tragic situation is the sense of community. I feel so lucky to have such great neighbours.

I’ve walked …

Everyday we have had our permitted walk in the local countryside. We live minutes from big fields and to see the children running around and to feel the sun on our faces is a blessing. Even in these tough times we need to recognise and celebrate the nice times in our lockdown lives.

April

This monthly post is a preview of the month, full of plans and hopes for the coming weeks.  My diary for April 2020 was looking great.  For me April is the month where life starts to bloom after a winter’s hibernation. Our seaside town starts to fill with visitors and there is a lightness and happiness in the air.  April brings the Easter holidays and we normally go and have a break at my parents and then celebrate my Father in Law’s birthday with the wider family too.  On our family calendar we had dates for sports, the school Easter bonnet parade and the simple things like hair and nail appointments.  Then there were the plans yet to be finalised, days out at local attractions, play dates, a trip to the cinema etc..  April was going to be a lovely month. 

And now to the reality, everything is cancelled, we are in lockdown. Of all the things planned it is my Father in Law’s birthday which will be hardest.  He will be 88 this month and last year we had such an amazing day in Lyme Regis, in the Easter heatwave, with all the family.  It was one of those really special days, amazing weather, a delicious lunch, everybody on sparkling form, these memories do help.  My father in law lives alone and is self isolating and it just feels so sad and lonely.  He bought himself an iPad at the start of this crisis and with my brother in law’s virtual help, he has set it up so we can Face Time him every day. I’m trying to think of something special we can do for him so we’re still celebrating together (virtually)

I recognise how lucky we are that the coronavirus is simply an inconvenience at present and that none of friends and family have been infected.  There is no FOMO this month, we’re all in this together and this month is to be one of simple pleasures, walks in the countryside (5 mins walk from our front door) baking hot cross buns or playing games.  

My week

This week we are are still in lockdown but we are doing things to try and enliven the experience. Here are some of the things we’ve done this week.

I’ve read

I tried to read a magazine this week, I just needed something light. However the articles just didn’t sit right in the current situation, travel, days out, clothes shopping, all things we can’t do at present. Unless it’s a specialist magazine, I don’t think I’ll be buying one for a while.

The book I read, ‘Love, Loss and what I wore’ was recommended by Gretchen Rubin’s podcast as it’s this month’s book club choice. I loved the book, an unusual concept, an autobiography through outfits. It was surprising how much of the author’s life came through some simple descriptions. It’s inspired me to write about some of the memories I have of favourite outfits.

We made …

Little Miss took an idea we had together and made a blue ombré nhs display for her bedroom window. I think it looks great under her rainbow hearts and shows our support for our amazing nhs.

We cooked …

Meals have become a highlight of our days and the children are taking it in turns to help me make our main meal. They have helped to make a shepherds pie, rice pudding, curry etc.. all from scratch to show them how we use fresh ingredients and herbs and spices to make a proper meal.

I listened …

The radio is an important resource in these times. It does bring people together and I’ve really appreciated it in these past few weeks. I listen to all types of radio stations, local, national, music and spoken word. It’s helped balance what is happening in the world and stops a preoccupation with scrolling through social media. Radio whether national or local is a community hub and as much as I like podcasts, live radio is a comfort and necessity.

My week..

This week saw our new normal, with the children off school and Mr S and I working different hours to be able to care for them. We are both key workers and have to attend work onsite, although at present we are compressing our hours into longer days, I’m working 4 days in 3 days and Mr S, 2.5 days in 2 days. There seems to be quite high expectations of what we are to do with the children on our ‘school days. ’ I prefer a more relaxed approach, starting the day with a long nature walk, returning home for the core tasks and then more practical, fun activities in the afternoon.

I read ..

I’m preferring to read in the evenings rather than watch television, it’s a perfect distraction. I’ve read two books this week, Call me by your name by Andre Aciman and Never Greener by Ruth Jones. I was a little disappointed that the hype about Call me did not live up to the reality for me. I simply didn’t root for the main characters, they weren’t particularly nice and I didn’t find their romance authentic. However the characters and relationships were so much better in Never Greener. I love Ruth Jones’ tv work and her story was of the relationship dilemmas that people may face, do you go back to a former love, unrequited love etc.. was one the reader could relate to. The ending was perfect and you felt that every character got the right result.

I watched

I finally got to see Rocketman this week and loved it. I love a musical and could see this on the stage. Some of theatrical styles, eg through a door to a new scene, music to cross over scenes etc.. were in the film and I appreciated this, it felt original. The costumes were amazing and it was a film which I liked on so many different levels.

I made

It’s not so much about me making recipes this week but foods the children have enjoyed making with me. On Tuesday we made fresh pancakes on our return from our walk and on Thursday Little Miss made a delicious ginger cake with citrus icing. I’m keen to encourage a wider range of recipes and today, Little Miss and I made a chestnut and mushroom flan from scratch for tea, delicious! In this lockdown, it’s been nice to have more time to prep meals and enjoy around the table.

We have also made rainbows for our windows this week, this is part of a national project to add a little sunshine to our local neighbourhood.

I heard …

On Thursday evening, we went into the garden at 8pm to clap and cheer our nhs. The sound was incredible, I never expected it to be so noisy and emotional. It’s interesting to see the ways in which communities are still trying to be together and show appreciation.

So now it’s week 2 of lockdown. We’ve done our first week and I know what to expect and have made some minor changes to the routine. Let’s see what week 2 brings ….

Coronavirus Diary

I thought it might be interesting in years to come to have written a daily diary of this period. (Hey, I might to get to share it with my grandchildren for their history projects) I’m only planning a sentence or two a day.

Saturday 21st March

After the most intense and challenging week at work, the weekend is our chance to relax before our new normal starts on Monday. Sadly there was no parkrun today, I went out on a run at 7am, carefully ‘social distancing’ myself. The only people I saw from afar were the elderly walking down or back from the supermarket. Later on, I popped very quickly into town, the shops had lines on the floor where you were to wait to be served and limits on numbers in shops. It was eerie and I was back home quickly after getting the goods I needed.

Sunday 22nd March

I know that in our family we all need time outside to help us feel us. We live so close to the countryside that it’s a few minutes from our front door to miles and miles of fields and coastline. We started our day with a long walk. Again we were trying to socially distance ourselves from anyone else. This worked well and when we saw others it was a wave and shout of good morning from a good distance. However I was taken by the reaction of an elderly lady we saw as we entered a new field. She sprinted away from us, at least 25 metres. We could sense her anxiety, her face was covered by a scarf and she looked frightened, rather than follow the path she was on we took the opposite direction to help her. It showed how anxious and frightened some people are of the Coronavirus, I hope she had someone at home to reassure her. The streets seemed very quiet today and after the walk we stayed at home. I am enjoying the time to do some of the little jobs I’ve been meaning to do for ages and it’s nice to take time on preparing fresh meals from scratch. As it’s Mother’s Day, we FaceTimed my mum who was enjoying time in the garden. So far so good until she added that she and dad were thinking about garden projects and were planning a trip to the garden centre tomorrow, words were said and a compromise that they should order their gardening goods online!

Sunday morning walk, no one in sight.

Tuesday 24th March

Today was our first day in ‘lockdown.’ However as we have been following government advice since the weekend it didn’t seem too different. Mr S was at work today and I was at home with the children. Given the nature of my work, I was checking in virtually during the day so I’m up to date when I go in tomorrow. We started the day with our one allowed exercise session and walked into the fields behind our house, through the woods and up to the coastal path. It was a stunning morning and the walk did so much for our physical and mental health. We came home and made fresh pancakes, it’s important to add those little sparkles to our days in isolation. We then did some school work and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the garden. The afternoon went quickly with some more school work, in fairness it’s a good mix of a few quiet focused academic tasks and lots of creative things to do too. We had a family game and then the children played in the garden whilst I did washing, got tea ready etc.. Today didn’t feel too bad, we were regularly what’s apping my parents and a few friends so we got the social interaction. However I’m very conscious that this is early days and there will be very many days like this to come, one walk and the day at home. Im all for taking the wins and today was one of the good days.

Wednesday 25th March

Work day today and another long day as I’m compressing my four days work into three. I’ve noticed how much more desk based I am this week as I can no longer visit classes. Our students and staff are allocated groups and bases to minimise the threat of infection and staff cannot visit unless they are in the team. I miss our students and our daily interaction, although we’re ringing up and hearing lots of good stories.

This evening I went for a walk alone. It’s strange for people only to have one opportunity a day to exercise. Normally, Little Miss would have joined me but had gone out with Mr S and her brother this morning. I also realised that I won’t be able to do my normal runs as I need to use that exercise time for family outings.

Thursday 26th March

My day off and normally my day to potter, run, and meet up with friends for coffee or lunch. I miss these simple pleasures. Today we had a very hilly walk but the signs of springs were everywhere to distract from the inclines and the views were amazing. We saw a few people on the walk but everyone seemed to be adhering to the guidelines. There was some more school work to be done, mainly some maths online for both the children. Once this had been done it was time to bake a ginger cake and play in the garden. Watching the children in the garden, I was able to message some family and friends to check in and make sure everyone is okay. Following a ‘chat’ with a neighbour I left an emergency pack on her doorstep, books!

Shortly at 8pm Little Miss and I are going into the garden to clap our NHS. We can see our cottage hospital from our garden so will be cheering so they hear us!

Friday 27th March

Well I totally underestimated the support for the applause for the nhs at 8pm last night. I was happy to go out out and wondered how many others would be doing it too. All our neighbours were out or hanging out their windows, there were cheers, clapping, whooping and pots and pans. The sound was amazing and it was the most incredibly moving and emotional moment. It gave us the sense of community and belonging in this period of isolation.

Today it was a work day for me, it’s been a week where I’ve done things I never knew of before this week. Today I was issuing key worker letters for our staff to show to the police for travel. Two of our staff got stopped on their way to work so it was needed. My week has been full of new tasks, it’s been a tough, long week and a very different time.

Saturday 28th March

Parkrun day 🙁 There are so many things you begin to miss (excluding family, hugging etc..) and parkrun is definitely one for me, as well as going to my favourite cafe, pottering around town, popping out when you fancy . I didn’t run today as I have only one opportunity for exercise and I took Little Man for a long walk up to the nature reserve. I did get an ‘again’ but I’m only exercising where we can walk to from our house. We did go a different way and saw some great sculptures which brightened the journey. Today as we were both at home Mr S and I decided to have some 1:1 with a child. It’s quite difficult only having your sibling to play with and quality adult company seemed to help today.

Mr S and Little Miss spent a lot of today gardening and it feels like spring is arriving, we can choose the veggies in our patch and think about our pots.

Mr S was far braver than I and gave Little Man a much needed haircut. Our neighbour is a hairdresser and the clippers were left and returned to the garden gates, a no man’a land in these strange times!

Sunday 29th March

The clocks went forward today but it didn’t seem like our normal welcome to BST apart from being in the garden there’s little immediate benefit to the longer days. Our day started with our new normal, a long morning walk. The rest of today was some household tasks and more time in the kitchen. I helped Little Man bake some cakes and then Little Miss and I made a chestnut and mushroom flan from scratch for tea. An unexpected bonus of this lockdown is more of a focus and time on preparing meals.

Monday 30th March

The start of week 2 and I’m feeling more familiar with our new routines. It was a work day today and the first in the past 10 days which wasn’t solely focused on Coronavirus, staffing and plans. These still feature heavily but I did a little of my role today. I was able to do my exercise alone today as Mr S and the children had been for a walk during the day. It was my first evening trail run of the year, a little cold and windy and I have a dull ache in my Achilles but it felt brilliant!

Tuesday 31st March

I’m definitely in the rhythm of life now. A simple routine today, school work in the morning, a long walk in the afternoon and teaching Little Miss how to make shepherd’s pie for tea.

We did get to think about life outside Lockdown today when we finally got a place for Little Man at a special school for September. It was emotional writing to his teacher and Headteacher to pass on the news. Nobody is quite sure if the children will go back this academic year and it seems he may already have had his last day at primary school. 😢

Wednesday 1st April

There was a general agreement that today was not a day for April fools. In fairness Little Man did get me as I was trying to leave for work as he was urging me to look in the garden because something had happened. When I looked he was so happy to shout out April fools and I was genuinely caught out.

These last few days has been really grim with the death figures increasing to around 500 deaths a day due to the Coronavirus in the UK. It’s even worse in other countries. You read heartbreaking stories about the dead and fear for your own family and friends. For my own mental health I’m trying to minimise my time on social media and news websites, only checking in briefly.

As it’s the first of the month, we turned the page on the calendar and saw all the lovely things we had planned for April. I felt sad and took it down, the only calendar we have up now is on my bureau which is simply for reference. I live by my diary yet haven’t opened it for days now, there’s nothing to note down, life is so strange.

Thursday 2nd April

Another day of home schooling and a long local walk. I downloaded a new app today so we can now take a photo of a plant and use the app to identify it. This added a little something to the walk and got us interested in the nature we could see. The children were definitely keen to find different flowers to identify.

It was clap for keyworkers tonight and this is quickly becoming a highlight of our week. All the neighbours were out and the sound louder and more eclectic than last week, there were lots of musical instruments and various kitchen utensils being used to make a noise.

Friday 3rd April

This was another ordinary lockdown day but one which should have been special. It was the last day of term so it should have been the Easter bonnet parade and egg hunts at the primary school. Instead it was a home schooling day although we did non uniform!

It didn’t feel like the end of term at work, no buzz of exciting plans just the prospect of lockdown. Whilst I am officially off for the next two weeks, I know if staffing becomes difficult it’s likely I’ll be called in.

Normally I have a list of ideas of our school holiday, days out, visits to family and a plan drafted out, for this holiday I have none of this. It’ll be a time for different plans, I’m thinking home made hot cross buns, Easter crafts, simple pleasures.

Saturday 4th April

With two weeks holiday I was keen to do some sorting and organising today and in the absence of days out to plan my kitchen became the focus. It was therapeutic cleaning and de cluttering my cupboards. I lit my favourite candle and played some great music, in lockdown you’ve got to appreciate the little things. We split up for our exercise today with the boys out this morning when Little Miss had her Zoom class and the girls went out after tea. I was lucky to meet a friend by chance on our walk (she does live v close by) and it was great to catch up, complying with the 2m rule.

Sunday 5th April

One of the advantages of this diary is that I can still identify the day and date, lockdown has a strange effect on time. Much of the same today, a long walk in the spring sunshine, Mr and Little Miss S gardening, Little Man playing indoors and I finished the kitchen, not only is it sparkling but I’ve decluttered lots and rearranged some cupboards.

This evening the Queen spoke to the nation. It was a careful and appropriate speech which touched many.

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.” – The Queen.

Monday 6th April

When I started to write today’s entry it was going to be quite an uneventful day, a coastal walk and pottering around the house. However the news has broken in the last few minutes that the PM, Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in hospital after being admitted on Sunday with the Coronavirus. This is frightening and my prayers and best wishes are with him and his family.

Tuesday 7th April

As the days go on, the number of Covid 19 deaths have risen dramatically and the victims are not simply numbers but become people with family and friends. The situation seems more scary and real, many front line workers have died and questions are being asked about their protective equipment and working conditions. The news is so worrying and yet our days are filled with a sun filled walk and pottering around the house, it’s a truly surreal experience.

Wednesday 8th April

This afternoon I took little Man out for a walk away from our usual haunt of the local nature reserve and across the downs, through to the lookout and along the beach. It was another surreal walk, a sunny and warm school holiday afternoon on which normally town would be full of locals and visitors but the beach and roads were deserted. The shops were all closed, the food shops here are only opening 9-12pm. It was so eerie and like a ghost town with non food shops having removed their normal window displays replacing them with a handwritten note promising they’ll be back. I worry for these small businesses, we’re starting the season this week and the success of the summer season affects all aspects of our community.

At home there was more gardening and baking today. Little Miss made cherry scones, the recipe handed down by my Scottish granny to me and the one thing I strongly remember making with her. I wonder what memories the children will have of this time. I hope it’s of long sunny walks in the fields, baking, gardening and just bring the four of us.

Thursday 9th April

Mr S was at work today so it was a lazy day at home pottering around with a long , sunny walk in the fields after lunch.

The neighbours have been appreciating Little Miss’ rainbows and asked her to paint more for them so we did that today and she delivered them in plastic bags hung on their gates. She left lovely little notes. The rainbows were all displayed in the neighbours’ windows when we came out for the clap for our key workers at 8pm. It’s a wonderfully moving part of our week, I came out with bells tonight, we’re all trying to make as much noise as we can to show our love and respect.

Friday 10th April

Today is Good Friday and the start of Easter in lockdown. I made hot cross buns today, I’ve always meant to do it before but for the first time I had the time and patience this year. I enjoyed the process and mini project and whilst they were tasty I’ll stick to our local bakery next year, they do the best!

It’s been a family day, gardening, a long walk and a game together. Frustration lived up to its name today! Lockdown is strange but the family time is special and will be remembered.

Saturday 11th April

Another baking day today, this time a Simnel cake for tomorrow’s tea. This lockdown is all about time, the time we now have to do all the little things we’ve always been meaning to do. This evening I set up all the resources needed for tomorrow’s Easter egg hunt, it’s a lovely feeling of being prepared and ready.

Sunday 12th April, Easter Sunday

I’ve done a separate post on Easter Sunday but today was one I’ll cherish forever. There were no distractions it was a day for family. We enjoyed our long walk in the morning and after an Easter roast played in the garden for the afternoon. There was that moment that I’ll always remember, the children had finished their egg hunt and were sat sorting their treats, Mr S and I had just laughed our way through an egg and spoon race and we were all sat on the grass with the sun on our faces enjoying a drink, pure and simple happy times.

In national news, the prime minister Boris Johnson was released from hospital today but the numbers of dead has passed 10000. It’s hard to marry the happy, quiet family time we’re enjoying with the heart wrenching stories in the news. Life is surreal.

Monday 13th April

In lockdown, bank holidays don’t quite seem so special. It was what is developing into our little routine, Mr S and Little Miss were gardening whilst I was tidying up a cupboard. I won’t have any cupboards to sort soon but it has been so therapeutic. I’ve got rid of so much and it makes me feel lighter. In the afternoon it was another sunny walk, I can’t believe how good the weather has been and then home with time to relax.

Tuesday 14th April

Whilst I’m on holiday, Mr S is back at work as a key worker and the children and I just had an incredibly lazy day, or as lazy as it gets in our house, our daily walk is a must for our mental health. It was a day of a few household jobs and Wii U games. We started a newspaper for the grandparents, The Lockdown Times, Little Miss is doing baking, gardening and music sections and Little Man is focusing on a Minecraft hints article, Garden games and film reviews.

Wednesday 15th April

Our newspaper was finished today and rather than email it , we addressed the envelopes and posted them as a surprise to the grandparents. Mr S was off today so more gardening and tidying before a long walk. We will find out tomorrow if the lockdown is to continue, the general consensus is it will carry on, so more of this for probably another 3 weeks.

Thursday 16th April

Today was my first day of wobbles. It was a grey day and overcast and this morning the children just seemed to niggle and fight each other. There was a lot of talk on the lockdown on the news too and finally this evening another 3 weeks has been confirmed. I’m prepared for the children not being back in school until September and the talk about it being much, much sooner did throw me a little.

The walk was key to us all and after a few more words we settled into a nice rhythm. This was really helped by bumping into a good friend on the beach, the children skimmed stones and we had a quick catch up with our 2 metre rule (the irony is that we share a small office and I’m not sure our desks are that far apart!) As we walked on I met another two friends and then caught up with another by text later, this helped lift my mood loads.

It was the clap for carers tonight, again it was enthusiastically observed and the highlight was a saxophone solo of Somewhere over the Rainbow 🌈 to end it.

Friday 17th April

Today is my Father in law’s birthday and it was a difficult day as we should all be together for a family celebration this weekend. We sang happy birthday via Facetime and all chatted to him, but it felt sad that he spent his 88th birthday alone. There were lots of people contacting him and it took a while to get through to him this morning. He has a great support network around him but today the distance seemed far.

It was the first really wet and miserable day of the lockdown and although we eventually got out at about 4pm, it was one of those long, long days which just needed to be got through.

Saturday 18th April

I was thankful for no rain today and a routine of sorts with Little Miss doing her Zoom drama this morning. The boys used this time for their walk and I took down the Easter decorations and cleaned some windows, the glamour of lockdown life. After lunch Little Miss and I went for our long walk and I took up a parkrun challenge to spell out the name of my parkrun in letters found on the journey in photos. I’m pleased with it but I cant share as it gives big clues to our location. I bumped into a couple of friends on our walk (its a small town) and was grateful for the social interaction.

Sunday 19th April

Today was a day when Little Man needed a long walk and the chance to have 1:1 time with a parent. Something appeared to be troubling him and during the walk, he asked lots of questions about school and his new school which he’ll be transferring to in September. Whilst I was able to reassure, there are so many questions I couldn’t ask, am I going to go back and say good bye to my friends, when can I see my new school, but gave the best answers I could. I do worry about the effect of the lockdown on our children and their mental health. All i can do is listen, get outside, do fun activities (we made ginger biscuits on our return) and help my children feel safe and secure.

This evening I watched the Together at Home programme, clips of artists singing their songs with presentations in between. It did feel a bit like a public health broadcast but I appreciated the ordinary people recognised and the celebration of all the keyworkers.

Monday 20th April

Whilst I was back to work today, Mr S was home schooling for the first day of a new virtual school system. I think there were a few teething problems and it may have got a bit stressful! Little Miss and Mr S had been so pre occupied with it that when I got home they hadn’t been out for a walk, so it was an evening walk for us all and the chance to breathe and put the day into perspective. Through my work today I had been reviewing the new BBC home learning and national academy resources, they’re great and I’ll be using them with Little Man. We still have no idea when schools will reopen, I’m planning for September but we will see how the lockdown progresses.

Tuesday 21st April

So it was my turn to experience the virtual school today and it was as hellish as Mr S had experienced, slow, crashing etc. We took a much needed walk to keep us sane. The daily walk is our highlight, I don’t know what we would do without it. In the afternoon we were able to do some work and Little Miss wrote an amusing piece on why all children need a mobile phone. I managed to keep the children busy for an hour so I could watch a webinar on SEN children during this period. I am so worried about our most vulnerable, I fear more children will be affected by poverty, abuse and neglect than by the virus.

Wednesday 22nd April

A work day for me today and new experiences in holding virtual meetings. We tried telephone conferencing today, my first meeting with three participants was fine but the other meeting had nine participants and was a bit hectic. I’m looking into new possibilities. No-one had heard of Zoom before the crisis and now its a household name!

Thursday 23rd April

Home schooling today and the niggles seem to have been resolved on the virtual school so it was much easier to do. It was a Science day today, what do organisms need to live and an extension activity, is a virus a living thing? The children and teacher met for an online session and it was funny, the children chatting away, teacher banter and the odd science related comment, it was just what Little Miss needed. In this time, Little Man and I learnt about St George and he made a Lego tableau of the story, which showed all the major characters. I was his helper whom he enjoyed ‘directing.’ In the afternoon we went on an adventure walk. We are going to the same country park everyday, so I’m trying more ways to make it fun. Today we went on the cliff path which is quite challenging and walking shoes and stick were needed, the views are incredible and the children relished the rugged paths.

Friday 24th April

Today is pay day and I am very grateful that I got my monthly pay as normal and that we don’t have the financial pressures others are feeling. I feel we live in this little bubble at the moment, where life is different and a little inconvenient, but we are so lucky to not to have to worry about money, health or our safety.

It was work for me and home schooling for Mr S with lots of fun experiments today, Little Miss dissected a carrot and did an experiment with celery and food colourings. Science is definitely the most fun lesson on the home school timetable.

Saturday 25th April

Today was a dark day as the number of recorded Covid 19 deaths reached 20000, a figure once considered a ‘good result’ and yet we are still in lockdown with deaths not dramatically falling. These aren’t numbers, these are parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, friends whose lives cannot be mourned traditionally, as only a few people are allowed at each funeral all observing social distancing. Its heartbreaking.

As its Saturday and we’re both home it was gardening and housework. Little Man and I walked along the beach and saw some beautiful art all celebrating our nhs and offering messages of hope.

Sunday 26th April

After a working week and chore day on Saturday, today was our family day. We started with a long walk on a beautiful sunny morning in the country park, a baking session for the girls, the most delicious banana bread and then us all playing cricket and football in the garden. Its these moments I’ll remember and cherish, when there was no distraction and we just got to be together.

Monday 27th April

A working day and a day setting up virtual conferencing for our school. Its surprising how many new skills are being quickly developed at this time. Now my working days are long, I’m up and out of the house much earlier than before and then have a few hours at home in the evening which also needs to include my daily exercise. I was so pleased to see the adaptation of Normal People today. Its the sort of series which would have been hidden away on BBC 3 but given the lack of programmes has been promoted to BBC1. The book is stunning and I loved the first two episodes so much that I may have to download more episodes tonight, which is unusual for me.

Tuesday 28th April

In a previous life I was a MFL teacher so was delighted that French was on today’s home learning. It was a good day on home learning with art, drama, music, making it more fun and relaxed, with lots of laughter. Little Man also had a maths project which involved measuring us all, height and arm spans, so more giggling here too. I was pleased for the light relief on a wet and grey day. We did go out for a short walk but not our normal mileage because of the rain.

Wednesday 29th April

As a work day it was a similar routine so I thought I would do today’s entry on an idea from Gretchen Rubin’s podcast which is about writing Covid 19 lists. So here’s my list of the vocabulary of the pandemic. Covid-19, social distancing, hand sanitiser, lockdown, Zoom, #clapforcarers, self isolation, essential workers, Work From Home (WFH) PPE, quarantine, furlogh, flatten the curve, contact tracing.

Thursday 30th April

Its been a good week on home schooling so after making a 3d model of animal and plant cells we had time this afternoon for a few little projects. As I didn’t have any plasticine at home, I looked for an alternative and we used spices, with star anise as the nucleus, I titled it the Spice Cells, I hope the teacher smiles at this pun! We did two little projects this afternoon, the first was the post box challenge, where you try to find different insignias on your local post boxes. I was a bit disappointed that our local post box had none on but I’ve since found out that this is actually rare, so a little bonus. The second project was millionaires shortbread. Our friend emailed the recipe and the children and I made it this afternoon, she then joined us on video call to enjoy a cup of tea and the cake. Such a simple but inspired idea.

Friday 1st May

So its now a new month and the third in which we will have spent some of the month in lockdown. It was a work day and a bit dull, so time for another Coronavirus list and this time what people panic bought. Since being snowed in when the children were young, I’ve been pretty good at keeping a stock of essentials especially during the winter, so we were okay. When you live a 50 mile round trip from a big supermarket, you do tend to be a bit more organised. Country wide, people were panic buying and causing shortages of toilet paper, anti bac soap, tinned tomatoes, pasta, flour, yeast. Nearly 40 days in and even in our small town, its easy to get all the essential food we need in shops now, although the prices have definitely risen and we may not have all the nice little extras.

Saturday 2nd May

Today is day 40 of lockdown and it was our usual routine, Little Miss doing drama via Zoom whilst the boys went out and I tidied and then Little Miss on a walk in the afternoon. I felt sad on our walk today, we saw my friend walking with her twin babies. These babies are gorgeous and when we meet up I get cuddles, smiles and love to play them, touch is natural. As I saw them approach, I had to remind Little Miss not to go near them and stay the 2 m rule apart. We stopped and chatted and the babies were so alert and interested, it felt so sad not to give a little tickle. Its the simple things which are the hardest.

Sunday 3rd May

Again back in our normal Sunday routine, a long family walk and then gardening and pottering in the afternoon. Its funny the things we have time for now, Little Man and I made a sponge so we could create ice cream sandwiches for pudding tonight. Normally it wouldn’t have been worth the time and effort but we have that time now and it was fun to do. We also made Lego bases together, lockdown has certainly created extra family moments.

Monday 4th May and Tuesday 5th May

Two days in one entry, but I was ill in bed on these two days with a bad migraine. I needed to use the new e-consult service with my gp to get my anti-sickness medication, but it worked effectively and I got what I needed quickly. Everyone is so focused on Covid, I was surprised to get ill with something that wasn’t it. I don’t know why as I suffer migraines and given its patterns, knew one was due soon.

Wednesday 6th May

I returned to work today but was still a little fragile. All the rumour about moving out of lockdown is getting overwhelming and seems to contradict itself. Boris is giving an address on Sunday and we’ll have to wait ’til then, however many commentators have opinions. Personally I’m all for keeping the lockdown, the numbers of deaths are still high and the worrying aspect is the number of cases in care homes. I would nto want to send the children back to school in the coming weeks.

Thursday 7th May

Today, the coronavirus became a little too real in my life and I need to respect others by not giving details and possibly not writing entries for a few days. All I can say its such a silent virus and people look and feel well with it. Its indiscriminate and you can’t predict who will be affected. The lockdown seems even more important now.

Sunday 10th May

After booking my test last night, I went to one of the regional centres today for a Covid 19 test. It was a surreal experience although not quite as ‘protected’ as I had imagined. I thought staff would be in full body protection, plastic visors etc.. but in reality it was a flimsy apron, gloves and face mask. The tests were uncomfortable, a swab is taking from the back of your throat, making you want to gag and the stick goes up high in your nose, which was the most painful. I was in and out in minutes and there was plenty of capacity. Now I have a 48 hour wait for the results.

Monday 11th May

Despite my test yesterday, I was at work today, I don’t have any symptoms and am locked away in an office. Our work place has really locked down now and I saw no one apart from the colleague with whom I share an office. I didn’t go to any communal areas and spent the day on the phone or on Zoom calls. Its an intense way of working, I miss the informal meetings, popping into other rooms, chatting in the kitchen. My step count has dropped dramatically and I miss the contact with my work colleagues and our young people.

Tuesday 12th May

I got my test result, nice and early today, a negative result which was a relief to us all. However as my work place now has confirmed Covid 19 cases, Mr S was sent home from his work at the police for the risk he posed. He’s on full pay and will start to work from home once they can source a laptop for him. This has mucked up my routines a little, he was at a bit of a loss what to do today, I’m entertaining two children, I can’t do an adult too! He went to the tip which has reopened so it was a useful day and he did join us on our long walk today.

Wednesday 13th May

Work day and we have new supplies of PPE. They look quite scary, they are medical supplies and the face masks cover a lot of your face, when I breathe in the mask, I feel quite nauseous. I wear the mask and gloves when I am not in our office, although again I am confined to the office at present. My brain feels frazzled from the screen time and constant phone calls. Today was the first day when lockdown has been slackened slightly, we can now go out for exercise on more than one occasion. This is what I have missed the most, as I haven’t been able to do my normal running and this is my biggest de stressor. I still have a niggling injury and am keen to see my sports physio but no news on this yet, or hairdressers, my hair is beyond crazy!

Thursday 14th May

Mr S now has a work laptop so was working from home, this meant an even longer walk this afternoon with a little picnic stop to give him a little peace and quiet. I sat down to do some shopping for the children today, they are growing so fast in lockdown and online is our only option. Personally apart from a few essentials, like moisturiser and leggings, I have lost my desire to shop and haven’t brought any new clothes or accessories in this period. I did start to make some birthday purchases too, I think that its likely we’ll have at least one lockdown birthday, so I ordered some balloons and bunting and browsed some cake toppers. We have gone for a rainbow theme as it sums up this year and semms appropriate for a lockdown birthday.

Friday 15th May

Another work and walk day, so today I’m sharing the card I made online featuring a few things from my lockdown life which I would like to remember.

Saturday 16th May

This is the first weekend when you can travel more freely and one which our town was worried about for the number of tourists wanting to pop to the beach. Little Man and I went for a walk this morning and town was busier with people but not excessively. I’ve taken to either myself or the children wearing a local club top on our walks showing our town’s name to show we’re local!

This afternoon, we decided to have a drive over to see Little Man’s new school. In the midst of all this, we have been fighting for a special school place and this week got a place at our number 1 choice. As Little Man hasn’t seen it, we took him over to see the school. We felt this was safe as we were simply driving to the school and seeing it from outside, we would not be mixing with others. The roads were so busy, it was like a normal Saturday, definitely not what I expected in lockdown. It feels like people are bored and the vague rules do not help to clarify expectations.

Sunday 17th May

It is the monotony of days which is so draining, all those little jobs which you wish to do are pretty much done now and each day is about little jobs, a daily walk and mealtimes. Meals are planned simply to bring variety and an opportunity to try new things in the kitchen and the food is much healthier and interesting because meals are such an important part of the day.

Monday 18th May

Another really tough day at work. Whilst our current outbreak of Covid 19 is scary what is bringing the most workload is the technical advances in this short period. As soon as video conferencing was introduced I taught myself Teams and Zoom to enable me to have the skills to do my work, however I am needing to do a lot of tutoring with others, including external agencies. We have also introduced a skeleton staff at school and a few of those working from home need us to help from the main site. It means that work is beyond busy and I left feeling really rather ill tonight.

Tuesday and Wednesday 19th and 20th May

Unsurprisingly after Monday, I was really sick with a migraine and vomiting for 48 hours. The stress in this period of the threat of Covid 19, home schooling, work etc.. is a toxic combination.

Thursday 21st May

I felt slightly better today and was able to help the children catch up and finish their home schooling for this half term. Science was a fun activity in making a robotic hand using card, straws, wool and pasta, although it was Little Miss’ homework, Little Man joined in too. It was educational and even if it doesn’t quite fit in with his curriculum Little Man got to learn something new too. It was a beautiful day and we took a long walk in the fields, stopping to play in the afternoon.

Friday 22nd May

Yeah, I made it to half term and I am now on 2 weeks holiday, it will be a relief to leave work for a little while as its been an intense period. Today felt like a bank holiday at work, having been inundated with external calls and emails at the beginning of the week, there was very little communication today, I think everyone ahs started the bank holiday weekend early.

Saturday 23rd May

This is a tough weekend, as we should be going to our family’s happy place, Butlins where we go annually for a little holiday. The weather looks fantastic and it would have been a perfect week, however we are at home and feeling a little sad. Its not like we can make up for it by doing special things here as everywhere is closed. As I’ve said before its the monotony of lockdown which makes life so tedious.

Sunday 24th May

I don’t think I have ever been as incandescent in rage at a government as I am tonight following a press conference from the Prime Minister regarding his political adviser who broke lockdown as featured in several newspapers today. He travelled 260 miles to stay with family and the PM has backed him. Given the very strong guidelines that all the public must follow, the reaction has been of fury, relatives dying alone as people were obeying guidelines and then the knowledge that the PM has allowed his friends to do as they wanted. It was the arrogance of the PM in the news conference, no humility, arguing for one person rather than the nation needs, it just felt like the biggest ‘f*7k you’ to the nation and now not many people believe that lockdown can continue.

Monday 25th May

Bank holiday Monday, that’s the 4th bank holiday in lockdown and none has felt like one. Mr S and Little Miss have been painting the garden fence today and Little Man and I have played Lego, baked cheese and olive scones and went on a long walk. Sadly given yesterday’s news, the town was full today and from afar social distancing looked difficult in places. We used little alleyways and open spaces to avoid the crowds but it didn’t feel nice. Once we know the new rules then I’ll feel happier to be around others in a controlled manner, everything just seems a mess now.

Tuesday 26th May

This is such a tough week, we should be on holiday and we’re not. The perfect weather seems to be teasing us with what ifs … We’ve had the pool out today and there have been lots of laughs and water games, but its just not holiday.

Wednesday 27th May

I had to go for my latest Covid test today, we have to keep ourselves regularly tested to stop the spread of the virus at work. Since our outbreak 3 weeks ago, we have managed to contain it well onsite but we still need to be alert and very careful. The testing site was empty today, I was the only ‘customer’ and its huge. The test was much gentler today, the throat makes you want to gag, but the nose test was much better, the swab wasn’t as invasive as it had been last time when it was bruised and sore to touch for a few days after.

Thursday 28th May

Today was the 10th and final clap for carers at 8pm. After the misadventures of the PM’s special advisor it was becoming political and much better to finish on a high. Its been a weekly highlight, we’re all out in our gardens and the sound across the town has been heart warming and emotional. A neighbouring saxophonist has been playing a selection of tunes after the clapping and its given such a sense of community and belonging. I’ll miss this special time, but agree it was a good time to stop.

Friday 29th May

There are days when there really isn’t much to report on Covid 19. Its another day in lockdown, a walk, playing with the children and staying at home. It is the monotony which gets to you!

Saturday 30th May

In lockdown, early morning is my favourite time of the day, the roads and beach are quiet and you can appreciate the calm and peace. I’m not going to town during the peak times because of the number of day trippers so 7am is a perfect time to run and relax along the beach.

Sunday 31st May

Covid 19 lists – Things I miss

My parents, catching up with friends (yep I know we can now meet up 2m away outside but we’re all with our children too, which complicates matter) local indie coffee shops, pottering in town, browsing the library, the cinema, spontaneity, choices.

Monday 1st June

Its June and we’re still in lockdown! This is normally a great week for me, the children are back at school and I get an extra week of holidays to catch up with friends, get organised for the summer ( lots of birthdays and special events are coming up ) and relax. But not this year. Its back to the home schooling today as the new normal continues.

Tuesday 2nd Jnue

I need all my years’ experience and creativity to engage my son in learning at present. He’s into Cowboys and Indians so I’ve taken this as a medium for his learning. We’ve learnt totem poles and how they express a story and also about the symbols painted on horses. Its also an ideal opportunity to redress history and look at the Native Americans and how they were persecuted by the white settlers. I’m pleased that the narrative of my son’s cowboy games have changed as we have learnt the history.

Wednesday 3rd June

I am so lacking in inspiration for a daily log, as little is happening. All the to do jobs have been completed and our conversation today was choosing a new colour for the house to be painted.

Thursday 4th June

After suffering from a few migraines in the lockdown, I have been trying to be more healthier, now we can leave the house more than once a day I’m able to return to more regular exercise and I’m ensuring that I’m taking a break from the computer when I’m working etc.. This week I’ve been getting up with Mr S at 5 to fit in a quick 30 min run around the block before he leaves for work. Its been a great mood booster and has started the day positively. With the nausea caused by my migraines, long work hours, limited access to shops etc.. I’m somebody who has lost weight in this time, although its not a diet I would recommend.

Friday 5th June

I caught up with friends on Whatsapp today, we’re all finding lockdown hard but remain positive for our families. We all have different demands, things that we are fine about, others that we’re struggling with, its good to have a medium where we can be ourselves and support each other.

Saturday 6th June

With Mr S and Little Man out this morning to collect a few things, I plugged into my podcasts and did a thorough house clean whilst Little Miss was in her room doing Zoom drama. It was a great feeling, amused by the podcasts and able to have a sparkling home (albeit temporarily) The girls walked into town this afternoon, it was quite fresh and breezy so there weren’t many day trippers today which made it quieter and more relaxing. We got the tester for our house walls, the excitement!

Sunday 7th June

Little Man had a little wobble today, we had walked to the park and played football but on his return he got hysterical, wanting us to call the doctor as his body felt funny. We cooled him, he had too many layers on and took him to bed with Calpol. An hour later he was absolutely fine and back to his normal self. He has taken the messages on Coronavirus vey seriously and his anxiety is building around it. This afternoon we played Monopoly together, we have been playing more family games and its a good way to spend time together. Tea was salad with the rocket and radishes home grown and picked this afternoon. We also got our first ripe strawberry today.

Monday 8th June

Back to school and my new normal hours of 7 – 4.30, 3 times a week are continuing this half term. In my attempt to not look at a screen for all of these 9.5 hours, I did go for a walk at lunchtime. We got details today of the primary school’s virtual sports day. Sports day is one of those events I’m really going to miss and it was going to be our last 😦 at the primary school. Last year’s sports day was our daughter’s final one at primary school and it was the best of all her years, with both Mr S and I present. They organised it differently and we have amazing photos of her and her brother doing races together, it was a warm, sunny day with such a friendly atmosphere. We have happy memories so its a good one to end on, but not one of us could have predicted that there would be no sports day in 2020 due to a lockdown and no school for nearly 6 months.

Tuesday 9th June

A day of home learning and some quite challenging physics, it might have been 30 years since I did GCSE physics but I was grateful that I could remember a few concepts. The Science work includes practicals so today we made a model of an ear and investigated sonar waves. It was a demanding day and we didn’t get to go on our work until late today. The upside is that I’m hoping for a school free day on Thursday.

Wednesday 10th June

So today we got our latest update from the PM and a few new guidelines. The highlights were single people or single parents with children under the age of 18 can now partner with a different household to become a bubble, this means they may go inside and stay the night at this different home. As welcome as this is, it has zero effect for us as we are a 2 parent family and my parents, a couple. However in other news we can now go to a safari park, zoo or drive in cinema, none of which were high on our easing of lockdown wish list. Everything seems such a hotch potch of rules, with no clear logic or information. Although I’m having a good week, back with a routine of work and home, I’m aware that lots of people are really struggling, its the lack of a date for further freedoms and the need to take everything day by day.

Thursday 11th June

Today I got to take the children somewhere different for our walk, a trip to the garage to pick up my car from its MOT and service. Whilst there is an option to delay the MOT I didn’t want a lack of annual service to affect my warranty and service history, so as the garage was open I booked it as normal. It was a miserable day today so much of it was spent indoors pottering around. I also had to wait for the delivery of our new Nintendo Switch, a joint birthday treat for the children as they have had so many special things cancelled this year. When we decided on this I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to locate one in lockdown, its the new digital device and was in high demand. After weeks of signing up for alerts and refreshing web pages frequently bookmarked on my phone, I finally got one this week, just in time for the first birthday of lockdown.

Friday 12th June

I am developing new skills in lockdown and today was my first pre recorded assembly for our students at work. It was different, no audience reaction or participation and a juggle to talk, sign and move slides but I did it and hopefully it will make our school community feel a little more connected.

Saturday 13th June

I was a very happy girl today as I got my first lockdown takeaway coffee from my favourite indie café and sat on the beach wall with little man to enjoy it and look out to sea. It was so good to do something normal, a chat with the café owner and then to sit down with a lovely drink, its the simple things which make your day. The shops will be reopening from Monday and suddenly the empty windows have been replaced by windows brimming full of new stock, it just makes town look a little more lively and a promise of normality.

Sunday 14th June

Although the sun is now shining and its warm and bright, this morning was a bit dull and I took the children to the local park with their scooters. Its so sad to see the children’s playground and the outdoor gym equipment all locked up and covered. Its all overgrown now and looked neglected and unloved, yet the children at the park all were looking over, wanting to go in. Life seems to be going back to normal and then something will hit you and you realise that’s there is still a long way to go.

Monday 15th June

Today was a big day, non essential shops could re open, cue pictures of queues outside shops on the tv news. In reality, the shops only had 40% of the normal number of shoppers in comparison to a normal Monday in June. I rarely go to big town for the high street shops and have no intention of doing so at present. Its more logistics, I am either working or am with the children, who definitely do not do shopping. For the moment, I will continue to make any necessary purchases online. More shops in our town have begun to open but it is very much on a reduced days and hours, many are mornings only.

Tuesday 16th june

Today was hard with the daily home school. Normally its ok but today was tough and sometimes we don’t mention these days when its an argument to get started, stay focused and just complete something, anything.

Wednesday 17th June

More normal today with the football premier league returning albeit with no crowds and very strict rules and regulations. The silent stadiums are weird and it doesn’t seem quite right, however it gives us something live to watch.

Thursday 18th June

Although its supposed to be more open, our town was a ghost town when we went down at 3pm, normal will take a long time to happen.

Saturday 20th June

A day of celebrations in our house today and a few tweaks to our new normal day. However it felt nice to be more creative and take time to focus on what we wanted to do together.

Sunday 21st June

Fathers day and more celebrations. I was really pleased with the card I created for Mr S, showing him in different lockdown dad guises with the children. I am so grateful to Mr S for being such a supportive husband and dad in this period. Its definitely made us stronger as a couple and family.

I sent my Dad a parody card of Boris Johnson, I know he would appreciate the bumbling Boris image.

Tuesday 23rd June

Some days you just have to go with the flow. The heatwave is not predicted until later this week but we woke up to bright sunshine so we grabbed our beach stuff and walked down to spend the morning on the beach and in the sea. Wild swimming was amazing with the feeling of being immersed in the water. It was definitely a beach school day as we saw lots of local families on the beach too, not all learning is done online.

Wednesday 24th June

The predicted heatwave arrived today and the locals’ worries were realised. It was crazy busy, no social distancing, roads blocked in the county, with some colleagues taking 2.5 hours to do what is a 40 min journey home. The images from Bournemouth were even worse. Needless to say we stayed hidden away.

Thursday 25th June

The heatwave continued but Mr S had put up the paddling pool yesterday so we stayed at home apart from our walk in the nearby fields. Home leaning today included some experiments which could all be done in the garden and included water, so a lot of fun was had by all.

Friday 26th June

One of the nice things has been the time sent with the children. Tonight my daughter joined me on my evening walk and it was lovely to simply walk and talk.

Sunday 27th June

More country walks in a different area today, we have explored so much of our area in this period. I think there is a greater appreciation of our natural world and I hope it is one which we will continue post lockdown.

Wednesday 1st July

July how did we get to July and 100 days of lockdown! During lockdown I have been working my 4 days in 3 and today was asked if I would like to continue this. As our family routines are changing with the school changes, this came at a perfect time and I’m looking forward to my extra day off in September. There are some silver linings to this pandemic.

Thursday 2nd July

Here is Little Miss’ Art homework, her interpretation of the Coronavirus. I’m not an art therapist but take comfort that is not too a scary image.

Friday July 3rd

Today my lovely new sundress arrived and got me thinking about things I have needed to buy in lockdown, away from the food deliveries. All my shopping has been done online. I have bought a few items of clothing for the children whom both have had growth spurts, walking sandals to replace my worn out 18 year old pair, trainers as my others had lost their support and cushioning, leggings a daily essential, make up and moisturiser, kettle descaler and shower limescale remover spray. Every item has been used lots and was much needed. Lockdown has definitely changed my spending habits, no impulse buys and has made me consider how I use money.

Saturday July 4th

Today is what the tabloids have described as independence day as under strict social distancing rules, pubs, hairdressers, hotels, cinemas and other places can reopen. It was predicted that the country would be a drunken mess, but the bad weather dampened many visits to the pub. When I was in town at lunch time, the pubs were quiet. In one local pub, I only saw one old man drinking his pint alone in the pub. This image really affected me, he looked such a sweet old man, like someone’s granddad who had been looking forward to his first pint and he was all alone. It reminded me that pubs are for everyone and are part of our community, for many the visit may simply be for company.

Whilst the pubs were quiet, hairdressers and barbers were doing a roaring trade. When I went running at 6.3oam, the barbers was full with a queue outside, unbelievable scenes! Little Miss has finished some pebbles for our hairdresser neighbour’s hygiene table, for the masks, sanitiser, thermometer etc.. I am so looking forward to my colour and cut this week.

Sunday 5th July

Happy birthday NHS! Although the clap for carers on a Thursday evening has now stopped, today we were all asked to stop at 5pm and clap the NHS. It was again beautifully done and the local musician played Happy Birthday. I love these moments of collective appreciation.

This afternoon we went to the park and the play park had reopened, cue whizzing on the zip wire, climbing, balancing, swinging etc.. and lots of hand sanitizing. it was so good to be out playing as normal. The locked playground has been a sad sight in lockdown.

Tuesday 7th July

It was another walk and picnic today and it made me think about the items I have used most in lockdown. So another lockdown list, my most used items in lockdown

My rucksack – perfect for our daily walks

Chilly bottles for keeping drinks cool

Walking sandals

Running shoes

Hair bands to keep my crazy hair controlled

SPF and moisturiser

Sanitizer

Mask

Wednesday 8th July

It was appointment day at the hairdressers and a whole new experience! I had to sanitise my hands as I arrived, have my temperature taken and wear a mask, whilst my hairdresser wore a visor and mask. My hairdresser is a friend so its still a lovely experience but just a little functional now.

Thursday 9th July

My new face mask and filters arrived today. I have a couple of medical PPE face masks for work and a black version for everyday wear. I find the black it a bit severe, so I wanted something a little more me. I now have a pink floral mask, which seems to give me a gentler look. Its strange how a face mask has suddenly become a fashion accessory. At present they are only mandatory on public transport and at the hairdresser but it seems that scientific advice is changing and they may become compulsory in shops. I have hardly been in any shops but I will slip one on if I do and I made sure I wore plastic gloves when I filled up with petrol (the first time in 4 months!)

Saturday 11th July

One of the best things from lockdown has been my gardening squad of Little Miss and Mr S cultivating a little allotment. We have had herbs, tomatoes, carrots, strawberries all fresh to the table and today we had home grown marrow for tea. I love that we’ve had the time and interest in growing our own food. My little gardening squad have even bigger plans for next year!

My week… I tried to understand Covid 19

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Spring flowers to lighten the mood

I try to do a post each week on the simple pleasures I have enjoyed entitled ‘This week..’  Life is very different at present and over the past two weeks, I have been focusing on looking after my family and trying to make sense of all that is happening in the world.  In a crisis, I am practical and calm.

I work on the SMT of a special school which will remain open and I’ve been contributing to our planning at work.  At times the amount of information we have been processing has been intense but we end this week with a strong plan for the coming weeks.  I have also been able to organise Mr S and my part time working hours so that we will be working our contracted number of hours and looking after our children ourselves, despite both being on the key worker list.  I’m quite excited at being teacher mum, I have schedules ready, little projects etc.. I genuinely love being a teacher and teaching my own children is going to be fun! (If I say this enough times, I’m convincing myself,  I won’t need to resort to my behaviour management skills)  Mr S is job sharing with me, I hope he’s as good as my last job share partner. Ten years later we still work together but its leading our department now not just one class!

I want to focus on just a few little things I’ve done to show that even in times of crisis, there are little rays of sunshine.  So this week ….

I have run …

On Saturday, I went to our local parkrun.  There was a quiet resignation that this was our last meeting for a time but there was such a lovely feeling of community and strength.  When the parkrun was introduced, there was a cheer, which seemed to be a thank you to everybody and at the end, quiet acknowledgements that we would see each again when it was possible.  I also managed to run my last miles of the 100 miles of winter challenge this week.  That was a tough challenge, we have had such bad weather and storms and my running was severely limited in February.  However with frequent runs in the past fortnight, I ran my miles with 5 days to spare, yippee!

I have watched …

The daily government briefings at 5pm have become part of our routine.  It does add a war time feel to proceedings.  I was still at work on Wednesday waiting for the school closure announcement and my colleague and I were huddled around the screen, watching and trying to work out what it meant for us.  There is definitely a sense of community in these uncertain times.

I have supported …

The Coronavirus crisis has the potential to destroy our local community and this week, I made a conscious effort to further support local businesses ( I can always manage another coffee!)  I always go to a local cafe for lunch with my friend on Wednesday, they are an amazing independent business but can now only offer takeaways.  We had our takeaway soup and bread on Wednesday and I returned the next day to buy a takeaway coffee simply to show my support.  I will do this as much as I can.  I love this cafe, it can’t shut, its such a little hub for us all. I also continued with my nail appointment, there were stringent hygiene measures in place but if we don’t support our local businesses our town will become a ghost town.  Our local businesses have also come up with some great initiatives to support the vulnerable people in our community, shops working together, cafes making meals on wheels, whilst we are collecting for the food bank at work and I have spoken to all our neighbours to ensure that everyone has the support they need.  This is our time to be show our community spirit.

Next week is the start of our new normal.  Realistically I don’t think the children will return to school until September.  After a fortnight of speculation and planning, it will be good to start our new routines and learn to embrace the new normal.  It is a time of change and challenge, I trust that as a community, local, national and global we will emerge stronger, wiser and kinder.

Welcome March

I’m not quite sure what to expect this month. It’s one of those rare months when there’s no school holidays so it’s a month of routines. At school there is an eco theme this month, our town is participating in a tree planting project and a tree is being planted for every child in the town. There are eco days in both schools to celebrate this project and the children and members of the community are working together on the planting.

It’s March so it’s World Book day. There are special book events planned at the primary school and I think I’ve got the costume sorted for Little Man. I’m taking it’s not a thing at secondary unless Little Miss has forgotten to pass on the message (Can you believe that she twice forgot to pass on the message that I had won the ice cream prize, large tubs of amazing local, artisan ice cream in the school raffle) I have collected my prize now and we are so enjoying the ice cream”!

There are no big events this month but I would like to spend lots of our free time outside. After the incessant storms and rain in February we need to get some sunshine on our faces. I need to run 30 miles by the 22nd to achieve my 100mile winter challenge. The storms seriously affected my mileage in February.

Our other big theme this month is the continuing battle for a special school place. The local authority have to put in their evidence to Tribunal during the month and then we need to add ours too. This is such a stressful time.

It’s unusual to have such a quiet month but months rarely stay quiet and I’m sure the dairy will be filled up quickly. However at present it’s a month which we will flow as needs be.

Welcome February

I’m looking forward to February, the days are getting longer and there’s little glimpses of spring. It’s a busy month in the Sparkles household, with lots of visitors, Little Miss’ big school production and the half term holiday to look forward .

Later this month, my uni results for module 1 are due and I’m busy planning and starting my action research project. No doubt there will be developments in our quest to find Little Man a special school place. January saw us at mediation with the local authority but after their failure to resolve the issue then it’s on to tribunal which might be this month. When I started my uni course I never realised I was going to be living some of the legal aspects we’ve been taught. It’s been handy to have the full knowledge!

I need to up my running this month to meet the 100 mile winter challenge. I did this in the summer but the weather and dark mornings are making this very much a challenge. I’m also keen to do the parkrun on leap day as it’s a special with a theme!

It’s the month of love with Valentine’s Day, it’s a bittersweet day, a day to celebrate love in all its forms but there’s a personal sadness to the date. February also features pancake day, which is always fun as we all try to toss our pancakes and create lots of delicious fillings.

Happy February everyone x