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.

My weeks … the ones off balance.

These last few weeks were always going to be tough, as my work bestie, confidante, all round top person and job share partner for more than a decade left work on Friday. She’s been such a part of my daily life, we’ve gone through personal and professional highs and lows together and I’m not quite sure how I’ll cope without her come Monday. These last few weeks have been building up to the big goodbye and its been emotional, she’s such an amazing person loved by everybody. We were determined that we would walk out together for the last time on Friday afternoon, we always laughed we would drive out a la Thelma and Louise (obviously without the final act) but instead we walked together sobbing and hugging. The crazy thing is that whilst we won’t see each other daily, she is one of my closest friends and will always be in my life. My leaving gift to her was a print from the movie Thelma and Louise with the words ‘No matter what happens, I’m glad I came with you.’ I ended her leaving speech with this line. With a little creative thinking, we were able to hold a leaving celebration. We chose an outdoors event for Covid safety as we couldn’t risk have our whole team off! One of our local beauty attractions is holding an illuminated trail so we went there after school to do the trail and cake and hot drinks. It was beautiful and such a lovely way to spend time with our team.

Friday was quite simply the crescendo in what has been a crazy fortnight. Both my friend and I have decided to leave the company we work for, the values and ethos are not ones we can share or promote. However as the sole earner in our house, I need to stay in position until I have a new job. I did apply and have an interview for a new position this week but did not get it. It actually came as a relief, as I had misgivings at the interview, something didn’t quite sit right and I have learnt that your gut feeling is probably correct. It was quite a different role to what I am in at present and I think I need to work to my experience and strengths. I am an extremely prepared person and had spent all of last weekend preparing for the interview, pages of notes and research all neatly written and mock questions answered. I also needed to dress for an interview as I had not had one in 17.5 years. A smart outfit was more of a challenge than expected as there were no blazers in stock when I went shopping on Friday! Fortunately the Next next day delivery service came to my rescue and the outfit was sorted. I also needed a pair of court shoes as I didn’t think trainers or Converse pumps would suit the look. I had tried to buy some heels for Christmas but my foot was still swollen from the operation so I was a bit nervous about finding a suitable pair now. The manager in Clarks could not have been more helpful, bringing me so many pairs to try and we did find a pair that fitted. It is so nice to be wearing heels again. My foot has been so bad for around the past 5 years that heels were not an option, so it really is a novelty and one I intend to enjoy lots.

There has been so much going on this fortnight, parents evenings, medical appointments, ill time car break down etc.. that it has felt overwhelming and I know that I’m off kilter. I watched an episode of This Is Us last night and one of the characters talked about being off balance and that is me at present, emotionally I’m a bit all over the place whilst trying to portray the professional and parental front that everything is good. I know I’m wobbling but have simply tried to do the basics, eat healthily, keep up my running and get to bed on time which seems to have kept me on an even keel. Fortunately life has calmed for the moment and its time to look after myself.

This weekend its been lovely to have family times. We went to the local forestry commission, where the girls did the parkrun. It was a slightly different course to the one I did there in October and it was beautiful through the forest and around the lake, a one lapper! It might be my favourite parkrun course I’ve run, although the mild morning and bright sunshine helped too. We then hired bikes and cycled for the rest of the morning before a picnic. Life is all about simple pleasures.

Next week is about fresh starts and looking after myself and my little family. Sometimes you cannot avoid mad, crazy times, but its good when they finish and you can relax a little.

My week … the one with the winter sunshine.

Its been the first full week of term and we’re all getting back into the routines and rhythm of daily life. January always seems such a long month so we’ve been trying to plan something different at the weekends to give us something to look forward to.

My week has been very work focussed and my day off was spent doing a long run as part of my half marathon training and then simply pottering around at home doing some life admin. It is good to have a day like this, its been a long time since my last and my diary looks quite busy in the coming weeks too. I ran as early as I could when the children left for school, it was a rare daylight run as I generally run very early in the morning or at night so in winter these are dark runs. I took advantage of the light to do the lanes, it was a clear bright blue sky and the sunshine was melting the frosted fields, it was an absolutely stunning run. As it was my longest run for nearly 9 months, I did warm down and stretch after and it worked, there were no pain or niggles.

It was decided that this weekend, we would spend some special time with a child each, I had our son, Mr S our daughter. Its nice to have this 1:1 attention and the children had the choice on what they wanted to do. Although Little Miss had a session at the farm, she then went shopping with Mr S. Little Man chose to visit one of his favourite museums, The Aviation museum. It is just a giant playground for him, its all outdoors and is a field of planes where you can climb into the cockpits of all the planes on display and be a pilot. It is also right next to the airport so you can view close up, the planes coming in and going out. Its so close you can wave to the pilots! After a morning here, we went to the neighbouring town for lunch and a little wander around the shops, although not too many shops as my son isn’t too keen! The final thing my son asked for was to visit the Smyths toy superstore on the way home which we did although he did feel he was a bit grown up for a lot of things now. It was a lovely SaM day, this is our special name for our son and mum day, perfectly finished off with a curry and all the trimmings for dinner with us all back together around the kitchen table.

Its another ordinary week next week, I need to pop over to ‘big’ town on my day off for an appointment so it’ll be nice to potter around too and see if the Spring stock is in shops yet. I do worry if it’ll be quite eerie now the big M&S has closed and there’ll sadly be no food treats to take home which has always been a thing if we were in town. We also need to plan our weekend surprise next weekend, I’m wondering if we can combine a trip out and some parkrun tourism, we’ll see what the week holds.

My week … the one with an inspiring watch

And just like that, Christmas was over and the new year began. The week did feel a little disorientating with an extra bank holiday on Monday. We hadn’t planned anything for Monday, just getting ready for the week and maybe a little walk. However, at lunchtime we got a call from the local vaccination clinic inviting the children in early for their second vaccinations and offering a spot in the afternoon. We took this invitation and headed over to the big town, it was so smooth and easy although the children were disappointed by the lack of lollipops. The clinic is next to the football stadium, so we took a walk around and popped into the shop. My son got a new calendar and I got a superb bobble hat with a rainbow pompom, I love it!

Tuesday saw the return ish to school, my son and I returned on Tuesday but due to the LFT testing, my daughter not until Friday. She has missed a surprising number of school days due to this staggered return to school over the past year and there haven’t been any lessons or work set in this period. I took her over the farm where she helps out on Thursday to give the day more focus and structure, this also freed up Saturday. As we had nothing planned, I decided to do a little parkrun tourism and visit a new parkrun in the county. The weather was wicked, rain, wind and so cold yet it turned into one of those life affirming and positive mornings. Everyone was so friendly and chatty. I saw my first ever 500 t-shirt and as an added bonus someone was completing their 500th parkrun too, that’s such commitment I also got to say the catchphrase from the With Me Now podcast, so despite the weather it was a great morning run.

I was sad to hear that when I was listening to Marathon Talk that the next episode, 600 will also be their last. Despite never having run a marathon, I’ve listened to the podcast for years and its a great pod on all things running. One of the original presenters Tom was back on guest presenting a few weeks ago and the interview this week was with one of their old regulars too. With those two featuring, its been a nice and nostalgic ending to one of the original podcasts. I’ll be sad to listen to the final podcast, I hope Tony comes back too!

A couple of weeks ago on Marathon Talk, the film the Rescue was highly recommended and I noticed it was on Disney+. Mr S and I sat down to watch it last night and were totally transfixed, it was an incredible watch on the discovery and rescue of the Thai boys stuck in a cave. It was documentary film, with real images of the time. I had a little cry at the end, its so emotional and I have such a deep respect for the deep sea cave divers whose hobby saved 13 lives.

One of my #22for22 is to write a few positive lines daily and I bought the rainbow book to do this. So far I’ve recorded 3 things daily and its telling me what I probably have always known, its the little things in life which make life sparkle, a clear and star filled sky, a good run, playing a game with my son.

A few personal highlights of 2021

2021 was a difficult year but there were highlights and you always need to shower life with sparkles. Here are some of my favourite personal and family moments of the year.

January

If one were to ‘gram’ my life in January it would have looked amazing. However, it was also one of the toughest months of my life interspersed with some brilliant events. I passed my Uni professional qualification with merit after 18 months of really hard study. We also paid off our mortgage in January, every single penny was earnt by my husband and I, no financial gifts or inheritance, just our earnings and simply paying a bit extra if we had some additional money. It is a wonderful feeling to own our house. I also got my first Covid vaccination in January, as after such a bad outbreak at my place of work, PHE helped us to get all staff vaccinated quickly. It was such an inspiring, happy vaccination clinic which took place onsite, I cried happy, relieved tears!

February, March

Lockdown, Vaccination 2 in March.

April

The restrictions on staying away from home were eased in the second week of the Easter holiday meaning we could stay away from home in self catering accommodation in England only. Mr S managed to find a beautiful refurbished milking parlour in the countryside near Cheddar which we could use as a base to visit our parents ( a walk with my parents, and a garden meet up with my Father in Law) It was such a simple holiday, in addition to seeing our parents we visited Cheddar and Wells, enjoyed a family bike ride along the Strawberry Line and lit the first barbecue of the year, but it was also one of the nicest holidays.

May

Mr S got his first Covid vaccination.

Half term meant another holiday, this was a postponed holiday from 2020 and in May half term, we had a caravan on a site near Hastings. There were many restrictions still in place but we got to swim for the first time in 15 months, sit in a pub, watch a show (but no dancing or singing) go to the cinema (Peter Rabbit 2) eat in a restaurant, etc… It all felt so new and exciting. Best of all it all happened in a heatwave.

June

Euros 2020, the tournament where England were brilliant and my football mad son and I loved every single minute.

My son and I also continued our crazy golf challenge which has become ‘our thing’ The year ends with the score as 3 – 1 to him, but I am improving and look forward to more challenges next year.

July

By July, things were opening up more to allow us a night out in a hotel! Things were still slightly different, we dined al fresco in a local restaurant and for breakfast there was no buffet but table service, but it was great (although I may have sprayed the room with an anti bacterial spray when we arrived) We also enjoyed the day out at Longleat, one of our family’s happy places, alongside Paultons Park, which we also visited this month.

This month also saw my parents golden wedding anniversary but such were restrictions that they were unable to make any plans for celebrating the event. We dedicated a plaque on Clevedon pier to the occasion, as its a place with happy memories.

parkrun finally returned at the end of this month and this made me exceptionally happy, normal service on a Saturday morning has finally resumed. I was at the last parkrun in March 2020 and never imagined it would take another 16 months till the restart.

August

Another postponed holiday from 2020, firstly a week in Norfolk and then a further 4 days in Kent. Norfolk was brilliant and probably my happiest day of the year was spent just the four of us on a long, warm (flat) cycle ride followed by an outdoor swim. We all loved Norfolk, the site was gorgeous and we liked exploring some of the local towns, the children especially loved the noise and buzz of Great Yarmouth.

The children and I spent a few days this month with my parents. We did a brilliant treasure hunt around Clevedon and it was just a day with all the feels. When you can’t do so much inside, its surprising how more creative you become with your ideas. Mr S didn’t come with us as he was supervising the building of a new fence, it transformed the look of our garden and made us ridiculously happy, who knew you could get so excited over a fence?

September

A return to school with no bubbles or masks (this in fact turned to be temporary as masks were back after half term)

October

After years of steroid injections and carefully considering an operation, I had my foot operation this month. The nhs were beyond stunning and all has gone really well that I’m so pleased I had it done.

My parents also celebrated their 70th and 75th birthdays respectively. My dad’s treat from us was a champagne afternoon tea in Browns in London and for my mum a lovely spa day with me. We’re keen to go back very soon, the spa was amazing

November

My daughter and I used the Inset day she had for a Christmas shopping trip in Southampton and just had the best girlie day shopping and enjoying lunch out and mocktails. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

December

Christmas has been subdued this year as Covid infections grew again and we feared new restrictions. However, we did get to spend time at our parents’ homes over the festive period which was so important to us. Again it was simple, playing games, walks and delicious food but it was all we wanted.

2021 was about keeping ourselves and others safe, I really hope that 2022 is the year in which life opens up more and looks more normal. There are parts of the year which have been surreal, I crave the ordinary.

The year that was .. 2021

This year has been a very strange one, personally I have had some real highlights, but there has been a peculiar feeling to this year, anxiety, anger, sorrow. This was supposed to be the year when the pandemic became a memory, however Covid remains the top news story and as I write this, there is a phenomenal drive on getting everyone boosted following their 2 vaccinations this year and we await news of potential new restrictions. It was relief to be able to visit my parents last week, but this was not done until we had all had negative LFTs and we only did events outside to protect and save us from a Christmas in isolation. Life is the same but different and I think we will all take a time to recover from the past 18 months, life has lost its spontaneity and plans are now only tentatively made.

The year started badly as my work had a big outbreak of Covid. We were at work onsite everyday and I was one of those trained to do the testing (in full PPE) I witnessed the double lines and needing to break it to staff that they needed to do a PCR as their LFT was positive was horrible. Our students were also separated from family and their level of disability meant that some were unable to understand what was happening, why they couldn’t see parents, do their favourite things or that they were ill and needed to stay in their homes, this was heart breaking. Sadly some of our most vulnerable and staff and students contracted Covid and the worry was immense, it was in my thoughts 24 hours, 7 days a week. I was emotionally fragile by the end of the outbreak with a level of cleanliness which probably bordered on obsessive. I also feel that the effects of this period will haunt me for a long time, there was never any time to pause and recover, the next outbreak was only ever a few months away. If I feel like this I cannot imagine how our doctors and nurses are, they are the true heroes of this year, I have never been prouder of our NHS and did have a little cry each time I was given my vaccination. I have remained very cautious throughout the year, even as the restrictions lessened, I continued to wear a mask in shops and on the one occasion I went on a train. I have avoided indoor events and pubs and restaurants if they didn’t have outdoor seating areas. Socialising with friends has changed, we now tend to get a takeaway coffee and walk and talk or share a meal in a friend’s garden around an open fire. Life has changed during the pandemic, priorities are different and values strengthened, perhaps there is no normal to return to and now is the time to develop our own path forward.

Away from Covid, there were many news stories which made me so angry, how the issues which we campaigned against as teenagers are still in the news in 2021, and worse still how we seem to have regressed in addressing and countering racism and misogyny. Society seems more splintered and divided this year, the consequences of Brexit continue and this year saw shortages and a petrol crisis, at times this was a really grim year. Best not to get me started on the government..

All the major events were affected by Covid and we had many of the big sporting events postponed from 2020 this year, the Olympics and Euros. Both gave special memories, England reaching the final of the Euros remains their best performance in my lifetime. However, it was the way in which the team behaved, and the values they shared that lasts, a team which promotes an inclusive and fair society is one to cherish. The Olympics were fun and new sports were discovered, although an Olympics without crowds was a spooky experience to view, lets hope for a raucous and loud Olympics In Paris.

Initially I though 2021 was going to be a transition year ‘back to normal’ it wasn’t as Covid continued to affect daily life, from lockdowns, significant international travel restrictions to a return to even more restrictions by the end of the year . My hope is that 2022 will be the transition period and life will be filled with more sparkles in the coming year.

A Christmas Run

Last night when my daughter was at youth club I took the opportunity to run around this very festive village. I’m only adding one photo here but I have a reel of beautiful images, the sky was so dark, speckled with stars and the decorations are amazing.

It is a small village so for a 5k run you have to do a few repetitions of the main road and take every little side road to make the miles. The lights were everywhere, pubs, hotels, shops, homes and at every turn you found more. I was wrapped up but after the storm earlier in the week it was a mild evening and perfect winter running conditions. To fully embrace the mood, I also had a Christmas playlist. Sometimes runs are hard but other times when you can add a little sparkle, they raise the spirit and warm the soul.

My week … the one with my operation

So after many years of steroid injections and considering the options, I had my foot operation this week. I will never quite know what caused the problem, it could have been a work related injury or rheumatoid arthritis. However as the steroid injections became less effective, I chose to have the operation as hopefully it will improve the pain and give me more movement in my foot. At present, my big toe is pretty redundant as it cannot move and I have been a walking advert for Converse pumps in the past few years as pumps, trainers and fit flops have been the only footwear I can fit into. I am sure people must think I’m trying to be on trend in my smart work clothes topped off with a pair of pumps when the reality is that I can’t wear anything else. I am so excited to go shoe shopping for actual shoes. I do have my eyes on some patent Doc Martens and maybe a little heel for Christmas sparkle.

This week has again reminded me of what a treasure our nhs is. To be honest I didn’t think I could love or respect it even more prior to this week but again I’ve been blown away by the care and professionalism of its staff. I have an amazing consultant, who is the most efficient person I know, he is always to time and is clear, succinct and understanding. When I explained my worries about needing time off work, he allowed me to organise the operation within my two week holiday to minimise disruption. I had the operation at a cottage hospital rather than one of the big county hospitals and much preferred this as there was a homely feel and such personalised care. The Covid protocols were strong and very much in evidence, I did feel safe. As the operation was under local anaesthetic and the morning surgery planned so effectively, I was admitted at 7.45am and discharged by 11.15, it was all so smooth and relaxed. I have two appointments in the coming weeks to check and redress the wound.

Following the surgery, I had strict instructions for recovery. I had known of these in advance and had prepared a bedroom in our dining room and organised lots, although I didn’t really think I would need it all. However, I may have been a little blasé on how I felt I would recover, I saw the instruction for 48 hour bed rest and reckoned I would be fine to be just sitting on the sofa with my foot elevated. I very quickly realised that bed rest definitely meant bed rest, the pain was strong and I could not put any weight on my foot. When I went to the bathroom which is next to the dining room, I was on sticks, hopping on my good leg and wincing with the pain. I’m also conscious of taking painkillers but again quickly understood they were prescribed for good reason and have been taking them as instructed. Tuesday night was bad for the pain, as the anaesthetic wore off and the medication didn’t quite hit the spot, however it has been much more manageable since. Mr S has been a superstar and allowed me to solely focus on getting better, he has done everything and is ready to help in anyway he can. Unfortunately by Saturday he had caught our son’s cold (not Covid we’ve done lots of tests) so this is a very lazy weekend with lots of screen time.

With the enforced rest, I have watched lots of films and read books and magazines this week. To date, its been 6 films, 1 six part series, Modern Love and 2 1/2 books. There’s been a strong New York theme in the series and films, only strengthening my desire to visit the city. Its number 1 on my bucket list and I may have idly passed my time looking up the cost of a city break. One firm action from watching Brittany Runs A Marathon was to sign up to a local half marathon next March. I have also entered the London marathon ballot, but I’ve done that many times without success. However, a half is real and doable, and I hope will show the success of my operation. As well as Brittany Runs A Marathon, other favourite films have been Another day in the Neighbourhood and The Muppets Haunted Mansion. The series Modern Love is something I listened to originally on the radio, then as a podcast and now am watching as a tv series. Its based on the New York Times column Modern Love and each episode is an individual love story. It is not conventional love stories but essays of relationships between others. The most moving in the current series was of a resident and a door man and was not romantic love but a deep, protective relationship. The actors in the series are all really well known and there’s even a cameo from Ed Sheeran. There is a lovely sequence in the final episode where all the characters feature and brings the series together. I’m looking forward to series 2 next week as my rest continues.

This week I have felt very blessed to have such kind and thoughtful family and friends, I have received flowers, cakes and cards and lots of get well messages. Mr S and the children have been wonderful but as half term approaches I think the coming week may be more challenging (and noisier) as we’re all home together and I cannot take on my normal role. Its only one week and I’m sure that there will be many treats in the coming months to compensate for the different half term.

My week … the one with a boost

This week felt quite different to previous weeks, I was in a different routine to normal and it gave a different vibe to the week. Also for someone who is such a planner, there were a couple of really nice unexpected and unplanned moments to the week.

My week was different as due to work commitments, I had a different day off, Tuesday. This is also food delivery day and I ordered lots of lovely fresh ingredients and made a family chinese feast. It just felt so random to be having such a nice meal on Tuesday night. Even with homework and all the daily chores, a special meal definitely lifted the mood.

This week’s title, a boost can be applied to a few events this week. I had my Covid booster this week as in January PHE designated all at my place of work as social care workers. This time the gp did not come to our place of work and we had to go to our local vaccination hub in the next town. It was a blast, it was busy but there were so many familiar faces and it was a fun and life affirming trip. It was the first time that I had got to witness all the volunteers and work in a vaccination hub and I was again genuinely moved to tears over what an amazing nhs service we have. The process was also so simple and efficient, I booked on Tuesday and had my jab on Wednesday. Fortunately I had no ill effect and was able to attend a real life work conference the next day. This sounds more normal than it really was, the content was excellent but we had to sit at individual work desks and maintain a social distance, I felt like I was a student back in an exam hall.

Another little boost was a PB in parkrun. I wasn’t supposed to be at parkrun today but Little Miss’ farm trip got postponed last night so we decided to travel across the county to a forestry commission site where I could run and then do a family bike ride and picnic. It was a perfect autumn morning and we all left happy and with that good tired feeling from being active and outside. Not only did I get a new shiny PB by 30 seconds, it was a a new parkrun for me, so a new letter for the alphabet challenge and a new number for stopwatch bingo. Its my last parkrun for a while, i have my Covid test at 9am next Saturday and I’m not sure how long my post op recovery will take. I’m pencilling in a December parkrun, but will strictly adhere to medical advice.

This week was my dad’s 75th birthday and whilst I did not see him as he was celebrating in London with mum, I’ve received some lovely photos of the trip, including the champagne afternoon tea I had arranged. I had such a lovely thank you message from my dad and in my reply I mused that life needs to be filled with little delights.

In my reading this week, I finished Clare Chambers Small Pleasures. Initially I really liked it and was drawn into the mystery but I felt the conclusion trivialised a really serious sexual assault and neatly used it to wrap a part of the story. Its ending has bothered me a lot over the last few days, I feel uncomfortable how a sexual crime was accepted. I know its fiction but if we allow this in fiction, will we accept it in real life too?

Our weekend has been a bit topsy turvy as Sunday is normally reserved as family day and Saturday as jobs day. This week its the other way around and Little Miss and I are off to the shops tomorrow. Again with my imminent operation, its my last trip for a while so I am being very organised, Halloween treats, craft activities for half term, cards and presents for upcoming birthdays are all on my shopping list. I am a woman on a mission tomorrow!

My week … the one with the Biscoff

This was an ordinary week with sunshine! Every September I have a little challenge on how long I can stay wearing my shorts and flip flops. The challenge was easily met this week, so can I now make it to the final weekend of the month?

Its been a week of school, work and the full start of clubs. Scouts restarted for Little Man although for Covid safety reasons they are trying to keep the sessions outdoors as much as possible. Little Miss started a youth club too. For someone usually so confident she was nervous. Its in a neighbouring village but is a more age appropriate than the closest one which is for 10 – 14 years. Despite her nerves she really enjoyed it and the first question when she got back in the car was if she could go again next week.

For the first time this term, I had a work-free day on my non working Thursday. On the first week back I did a full day in school and the second, half a day so it was nice to have a proper Thursday off. I went for a lovely run, had my nails done and met a friend for coffee. It felt very relaxing and reminded me that I need that time for me. Weekends are busy and reserved for family time.

I did have a delightful surprise when I got home on Friday. The local supermarket had donated unsold bouquets of flowers to my son’s special school and the children had sorted the wilted and blossoming flowers and then created their own posies to go home. My son was so proud of his choices and I think it is my favourite bunch of flowers ever, there was so much thought and love gone into the task.

As we start back into the homework routines, Little Miss and I are back into our reading routine. She has to do 20 minutes a night so we sit together on the sofa and read our books. I feel that I need to take the time to be a role model so that reading is not just homework but a time to be valued and cherished. I’m just finishing The Frequency of Us by Keith Stuart. Its a love story and thriller and I’m curious to see how it ends, of course I have my theories but I’m interested to see how the author concludes it.

Saturday remains my favourite day of the week and it was parkrun day this week, Little Miss and I tend to alternate between the farm and parkrun on Saturdays. It was my 30th run and finally Mr S and Little Man came along too to see a parkrun. It was a stunning morning, and the girls ran well whilst the boys walked the course. Some parkrun news which I’ve been hearing from a number of sources was confirmed and its made me v excited. After the run we had drinks in the beautiful walled garden in the sunshine, some days are just perfect for their simplicity.

Saturday is also my kitchen afternoon. I had planned a simple pasta dish using our fresh, home grown tomatoes and peppers (we still have lots of supplies) so focused on a fancy dessert, Biscoff cheesecake. Now, before this week Little Man did not like Biscoff (us girls are addicted to it) so I was really surprised to read in his planner that they had been taste testing different toppings for toast and his favourite was Biscoff! I tested this further the next day by doing his packed lunch with one half of a sandwich with chocolate spread and the other half with Biscoff. Biscoff was the winner again. Although a little confused, I now have lots of opportunities to make Biscoff flavoured foods. My daughter and I had a Biscoff ice cream in the summer, it may be up there in the best ever ice cream flavours …

The other Saturday highlight was the return of Strictly, it makes me happy and is the escapism I need every week in the autumn, it feels that the countdown to Christmas is now on. There have been a few interesting dramas this week but I’ve recorded and kept them for the period of recuperation following my operation next month. I have to rest up with no weight on one foot so I’m preparing with books and films ready to watch. I am particularly looking forward to Help with Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham, which has received rave reviews.

Its a normal week next week, with the bonus of an evening out. I’m meeting friends for dinner on Tuesday. Its a garden house meet up as we’re all still cautious of Covid (cases have rocketed in our town in the past week) and I’m doing a slow cooker veggie chilli (its a school day so prep time is minimal) and yes its a perfect recipe to use up our home grown tomatoes, peppers and chillis. Here’s to a good week.