The week … in which I catch up with my blog.

I can’t quite believe we’re nearly at the end of the month, its been a busy one which started with our holiday and has included a mum and son weekend, family celebrations, Euro 2020 and a running challenge.

I’ve taken today what I recently heard referred to as white space day, a day deliberately blank in your diary. It’s just what was needed and I am feeling slightly more in control now. It’s been nice to have the time to stop and chat with our neighbours, potter around town doing a few errands and to catch up on life admin.

As its been so long since I last wrote I won’t detail every week, simply some of the highlights. I love a football summer, football on the tv throughout the day, the anticipation of an England match and the hope that this year is our year! Our son has the Euro bug too, he has the sticker book, a flag in his bedroom window, a new England top and is busy filling in his wall chart after every game. I’m pleased the next game for England, the first knock out round, is on at 5pm, perfect timing on a school night. I’m someone who doesn’t watch much tv but my viewing habits are very different at tournament time, I always have a game on and I find the non England games less stressful and a little more relaxing.

Euro 2020 began on our mum and son weekend, Mr S and our daughter went to stay with my Father in law to help him with some jobs, so we had what we call SAM (Son and Mum) time. We had lots of little treats planned, crazy golf was the best. We’re both competitive so there was no allowing for age, it was a genuine contest, which sadly I lost, much to the absolute joy of my son. We also had those mini hot doughnuts made freshly to celebrate the win.

This month also has seen a little running challenge. Sometimes, I like to do something a bit different with my running, this year I am attempting to run the 874 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats and decided to try to do a RED month, that’s run at least a 5k everyday which I could also double up as a 100 mile month. This all seemed like a great idea as I was relaxing on holiday doing my early morning runs. However the reality of long, intense work days, the Euros, solo parenting for a weekend, heat waves and cold, wet days etc.. has certainly made this a challenge. Some days I’ve been out at 5am, other days at 10pm. On one day when it was just my son and I, we ran to the park and I would do one lap, play a little football, do another lap play more football, that was a toughie. However, I’m now on the last week and looking forward to the end. I’m not planning on repeating the challenge, I like my routine of 4 runs a week and I’ve missed the longer runs.

Other things we’ve done this month is to get a new bed for our son’s room. It’s one of those cabin designs so he has room to play underneath, it took a few hours to construct but amazingly no arguments as we made it up together. It does look good and we’re really pleased with it. I also had a much delayed and rearranged ophthalmology appointment due to the pandemic. My eye pressure was raised as a concern at a regular eye check. However, all is just within acceptable parameters at present, but I now will have 6 monthly checks in case further action is needed. Ive tried to not Google too much and get scared but I will make sure I get those check ups.

Now I’ve caught up, I hope it won’t be so long until my next post.

My week … the one with the hot and sunny holiday

This week was special, the perfect mix of a holiday, superb weather and everyone in excellent humour. It was a week of more firsts following the easing of restrictions and despite my initial apprehension I was able to relax and feel comfortable whilst eating out in a restaurant, watching Peter Rabbit 2 at the cinema and being in busier places. The week made me realise how careful I have been over the past year, I did what I felt comfortable with and on reflection it was very limited, however it kept us safe and now is the time to gently return to life.

There are still restrictions on daily life, but I felt on holiday that the restrictions improved the holiday, no more queues for activities with everything being booked in advance, nice numbers of people in venues, good hygiene measures etc.. Mr S had been brilliant in organising all the children’s activities in advance, so we had lots of swimming both indoor and out (the outdoor pool was so lovely and warm) climbing, pottery, Segways, football, target shooting etc.. to enjoy during the week. One of the children’s highlights was the hour we allowed them to go to the play areas on their own and ‘hang out’ with new friends, we also gave them £1 for sweets so they could go to the shop en route. Its always the little things which become the big things.

Our holiday was one of the best we have had, this did surprise me as it felt quite a casual holiday, its not our big holiday of the year but one carried over from last year. The weather was amazing and after the cold and rain of the spring, it felt so good to be wearing shorts and tshirts everyday and simply being able to be outside in the sunshine and heat all day. Sunhats and sun cream were a must wear. I suppose that after all the months of not being able to do some of the simplest activities, for example swimming, these little things were a joy. I’ve not swam in a pool for over a year and to be able plunge into pool and swim was lovely.

We stayed near Hastings and I was really taken by the town, parts of the old town reminded me of the Lanes in Brighton and I enjoyed pottering around. We found a wonderful family run Italian restaurant for dinner one night and it was just so good to read and choose from a menu. When on holiday, I do enjoy exploring my local area on runs and the prom was the perfect route to either Hastings or Bexhill.

With the children being older and more independent, I did get to read a few books. I listened to the audiobook Snowflake by Louise, and read All on the Board by TFL, which showed some of the quotes and comments written on the information boards at Tube stations in London, a great mirror on contemporary events. I also read the very emotional (and unputdownable) account of a doctor on the frontline in the Covid pandemic, Duty of Care by Dr Dominic Pimenta.

It was great to be back at the cinema and Peter Rabbit 2 was pretty good, I felt it was better than the original. I have read a fascinating biography of Beatrix Potter and parts of her story are interwoven into the contemporary film plot which I liked.

Its now back to school on Monday, Little Man has a great week, they are unable to do a residential this year but are having some days out at local activity centres instead, so more climbing, kayaking etc.. for him this week (and the weather forecast remains good) Its back to normal for Little Miss and I but at least we have some lovely memories from our holiday to sustain us until our next little adventure.

My week … the one with a holiday, part 1.

This week is a quick entry. We’re on holiday (yep the blog title may have given it away) and I try to limit my use of digital devices so that I can distance myself from home life ( life admin, work etc..) and just focus on my little family. I’m writing on my phone as I still need this, particularly in Covid times when everything is on an app. I also have a rare 30 minutes on my own so am not using my phone in front of the children or Mr S, sometimes it’s really important to be present and holidays are an ideal opportunity.

We came on holiday on Friday so there were some highlights to my week pre holiday and then we’ve had some great times already. It’s simply a list this week

1. Catching up with friends. I was on holiday for the full week so took the opportunity to meet up in real life with friends and it just felt wonderful. I’ve missed the catch ups in cafes, although interestingly we all preferred to be outside for our drinks this week. Perhaps there are parts of our Covid life which have changed our routines and culture and also which question if we’re really ready for the no restrictions date of June 21st.

2. A Promising Young Woman. I’ve been meaning to see this film for a few months now and a wet Monday holiday afternoon was the perfect timing. It’s one of those films which haunt you once you’ve seen it, it’s a very clever film. (I also love that it’s director and writer Emerald Fennell, the great Patsy from Call the Midwife, won an Oscar)

3. Planning a holiday. I am in my element planning holidays, from activities, suitcases and menus to the holiday haircuts and all the beauty prep. This week I’ve had lots of lists and love ticking them off.

4. The boy who was raised as a dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz. Perhaps not the most light holiday reading but an engrossing and enlightening book on childhood trauma. This came highly recommended by a colleague and I second her recommendation.

5. Things we’ve done this week on holiday that we haven’t done since pre Covid

– Gone to a indoor venue for drinks and entertainment. It felt strange to be ordering drinks via an app and not to be allowed to dance but to just be listening to live music was brilliant. Likewise the simplicity of having a drink on a bar terrace with Mr S was lovely.

– Family swimming. Again it’s all booked in advance, and you need to come ready in your swimming costume but it’s swimming together, having fun and it felt so good. There was also a tinge of regret for the missed holidays last year, as the children seem to have literally outgrown the games we used to play with them. They’re no longer the little children of olden holidays but nearly teenagers loving the new independence that a holiday brings.

– a parkrun route. I think there’s an official title for a parkrun not done on a Saturday morning on a course, freedom run? But thanks to great signage I ran the Hastings course this morning in the most beautiful weather. It won’t be long until parkrun is back and Saturdays will have that extra sparkle.

– Pottery painting and a natter. Little Miss and I had such a fantastic morning painting our pumpkin together. There was lots of discussion about colours and ideas and then when we were working on it, the conversation just flowed. We talk all the time and bedtime is a bit of a debrief of the day, but this conversation just felt different, more grown up. I know that every Halloween when we get our pumpkin out, I’ll remember the feeling of that morning.

The holiday chat will continue next week as we’re here until Friday. The weather so far has been stunning, I’m in shorts and tshirt for the first time this year and despite my apprehension, it’s becoming a very special holiday.

My week … the one with a first date.

Firstly a plot spoiler the first date is not mine, but more on the post title later. Its been another funny old week, the weather is awful and we would really appreciate a little spring sunshine and warmth. All my lovely summer dresses are yet to be worn this year and I’ve spent most of this week cold and in the evenings cuddling up under a blanket (we’re resisting putting the heating back on) But its been a nice week family wise , a day out with Mr S, albeit for his second vaccination, a good parents evening and a nice day out today with my daughter. I’ve also been able to create some hygge in the house, my candle subscription arrived this week, this month its a beautiful coconut and lime fragrance and I bought some fresh flowers at the market stall this afternoon to add more colour and scent to the kitchen. One of the pictures above shows a rare beautiful morning as I walked to school, its a delight to walk along the beach on a sunny morning.

The beginning of the week was a bit dull and as work is quite demanding, it was very much work, family, run and/or more work and bed. My escape has been the Archers and I listen to the day’s episode before I sleep, its a strong storyline at present and I look forward to these 15 minutes daily.

On my day off, Thursday, Mr S had organised to have his second Covid vaccination. There was a problem with his original 2nd dose date so he rearranged it to the regional hub on a day when I could accompany him too in case of any immediate side effects. This meant a trip to big town, we had planned to get the vaccination, potter around the town and enjoy lunch together. The weather did change our plans, it was horrendous and when we did a recce to check entrances for the vaccination clinic, they just invited him in to have his jab a few hours early. This meant it was hours ’til lunchtime and not the weather for pottering, so we went for a coffee in the beautiful (windswept) gardens and then headed home, via PC World to look at new laptops as our home computer needs replacing. Not quite the date day we had hoped for but it was nice to spend time with each other and we did have a nice homemade lunch.

We also had our daughter’s virtual parents evening on Thursday. I love this concept and hope it stays post Covid. The online system was flawless, we saw all the teachers from the comfort of home, no stress on whose turn it is next, nor a parent overstaying their time. We thought the teachers’ reflections were honest and true, all said how bright, friendly and chatty our daughter is but that she can be distracted when its time for written work. So, focus is a little something to work on for next year. There was a lot of talk on GCSE options, our little girl is growing up very qucikly.

This brings me very nicely to the title of the post. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing a lot about a boy in chats with my daughter, and he has now become her boyfriend. So far she’s only talking to me about him at home and I’m trying my best to strike the balance of being interested and relaxed, the ‘cool’ mum. She asked if they could meet up in a neighbouring town this weekend and as we’ve plans for the next few weekends, I agreed to this. Her school has a large catchment area as it serves a mainly rural location, so the town 20 miles away is actually near enough equal distance for them both to meet up. I drove her over, but I had very strict instructions, that whilst I was allowed to walk with her to the train station where they were meeting I wasn’t allowed to come over and talk! He was there waiting for her and I waved her off to enjoy her date. The town is based on a high street, so despite having a list of things to do and genuinely not stalking them, it was inevitable I would see them at some point. When I did, they were sitting on a wall, laughing, chatting and drinking a milkshake, all very innocent and sweet. When I met her a few hours later, she was more relaxed and did introduce me to her boyfriend and we talked together. I was able to check train times for him so I think my daughter was relieved that this was useful and not embarrassing!

Whilst my daughter was on her date, I had few hours in the town. I needed to pop to a couple of shops but I’m not a big shopping fan and had planned to walk along the quay and go to the local museum. Its been so long since I went to a museum, I just wanted to look at a few paintings and interesting things. As well as the permanent exhibits there was a new exhibition on animation, so Morph was there, happy childhood memories! For me the highlight was a painting of four women at the seaside at our local beach. There was just something about the picture, that resonated. It reminded me of some friends whom are sea swimmers. Quite often as I finish my run on weekend mornings, I stop for a chat with them as they are get ready to go in for their swim. They have this quiet excitement and thrill of going into the sea (even when its freezing cold). I felt this painting reflected this feeling too, its a different era but despite the years we’re all pretty similar.

Next week is a bonus week’s holiday for me, though I have some work to do so I can relax and enjoy the second week when we are away on a caravan holiday in West Sussex. I also have plans to meet with friends, have my hair done and simply potter. Its a week I always look forward to, although I’m trying to relax my expectations, in previous years I’ve tried to do too much, sometimes its okay to have an empty diary.

Have a happy week.

My week … the one with more rain.

It’s a quick catch-up this week as it’s already Monday night and I’ve not written yet. I think its quite hard to write when everything seems so dull. It’s also been a week where I’ve learnt of some really tough times that friends and acquaintances are facing, they’re not my stories to share but I’ve hugged my little family that little bit tighter his week.

The highlight of my week was a night out with friends. It was rearranged from last weekend due to storms but rain was still forecast. However we were all keen to meet and agreed to simply come weather ready. Fortunately my friend has a shelter and a fire pit in her garden and we survived the night by being totally distracted by the weather with such good company. It was a real feel good evening, I’ve missed the face to face contact with friends.

There are always walks in lockdown and these continued this week. I tried to add a bit of variety by taking some photos of the colours we saw. It was a nice little project to contrast the very grey skies. I also added a little more colour by having a manicure, I really like the varnish, I can’t remember the name but it’s a shade of taupe and looks lovely. It’s an unusual choice for me as I normally choose pastels.

I’ve continued to watch This Is Us on Amazon. It’s such a good series and Mr S and I do make an effort to sit down and watch it together. I’m also reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. It’s a book I’ve read reviews and articles on for a long time and it is as good as predicted.

Today, May 17th indoor activities reopened. When I picked up my son from Scouts it was great to see the warmth of the lights on in the pubs and restaurants open. Perhaps normality is finally returning.

My week … the cold, wet and windy one.

I feel a bit of a fraud writing about a lousy weather week when the sun is finally streaming through the window. However, it was a vile weather week and its difficult not to feel a bit fed up when the only activities we can do at present are outside and so weather dependent. I had a night out on Saturday planned and then postponed because of the rain and heavy winds, fingers crossed for our rearranged date next week. With Mr S decorating our kitchen this weekend, I had planned activities outdoors for the children and I over the weekend. Whilst Sunday was great, Saturday was so depressing and by the time we got home we were all so wet and miserable 😦 To add to frustration with the weather, our fence was destroyed by the storms on Monday night, so another job to add to the to do list.

However this post is about the sparkles of the week and there were a few highlights.

Firstly, was the finale of Line of Duty. Some reviews criticised the ending, expecting a big stand off, but I felt the ending was true to the story. The bad cop, H. was not some big evil mastermind, but just a member of the team, always in the background, lazy, seemingly a bit incompetent, uninterested in work etc.. The motive was financial not power driven and it made arguments for corruption in public office today, rather touché given current scandals in government.

I also finished Three Women this week and what a book. There are three stories in the story and each shows the impact of early life experiences on later life. I finished the book just wanting to hug the women. For me the most disturbing part is that these stories are true. I was able to look up the teacher at the centre of one of the stories online and shivered to think he is still teaching in his community. Its a harrowing book, but so worth a read.

Although Saturday was a wash out, the children and I went to our local monkey sanctuary on Sunday and had a fabulous day out. The animals were so engaging and animated and we spent a lot of time just looking and reacting to them. There are also some great play areas so we were kept busy for the whole day. Strangely we needed to wear masks throughout the park as monkeys can contract Covid too. It was so good to have a nearly normal day out.

I am so pleased with my newly decorated kitchen, I have always loved my kitchen it is my favourite room in my house. Our cupboards are a beautiful pale sage green colour and previously we had apricot coloured walls, however this weekend, we changed to a lilac paint and it looks amazing. I’m hoping to purchase a few new accessories to complement the changed colour scheme.

And finally, I’m hoping this week will be sunnier to give us a chance to do a few more things. Its our last week until further restrictions are relaxed and the future is beginning to look a little more ‘normal’ It is strange to feel that we are slowly coming out of this pandemic. I’m genuinely not sure how I’m feeling but looking forward to lots with a little apprehension.

My week … the one with a return to the 90s and a Covid scare

As I write this its Bank Holiday Sunday and the countdown to the Line of Duty finale is on. I’m writing this as a distraction, all week I’ve been following #lineofdutyfinale tweets full of memes and theories and I can’t wait until 9pm to find out the conclusion of the police series. As well as the anticipation of the finale, its been a nice day. We had an impromptu barbecue at lunchtime as it was sunny and we had the time. It was lovely to all be in the garden and having a lazy, relaxed lunch. We then went on a walk and found that the new woodland trail had opened (its been taped off for a few weeks) so lots of fun was had by all.

This week was a little strange, unusually I didn’t have a day off as I had lots to fit in both work and personally, so I had shorter working days but was in for all five. This did throw me a bit and the type of work I was doing was different too. I also had steroid injection so this makes me feel a bit wobbly and then to add to all the confusion we had a call that Little Miss’ Covid bubble had burst at school and that she needed to self isolate for 10 days from Thursday. Practically, with Mr S at home this was fine but there was the emotional fallout of being housebound for the time and then that I had to postpone Little Man’s outdoors playdate. Whilst this would have been within the rules, morally I thought it wrong. They were friends from his old school and if our daughter and as a consequence our son unknowingly had Covid and passed it onto a different group of people I would have felt dreadful. I was extremely relieved (but not overly surprised) that the PCR test on Friday came from as negative and plans were all back on again. I had looked at the data on Thursday and the rate is so low now in our county, that the positive case did seem an anomaly.

On Saturday, I supervised Little Man and his friends on the much anticipated (cancelled and rearranged) play date. My son’s post lockdown wish was to invite these two friends round to our house and to play Lego with them. Whilst we can’t do this yet, he was happy with a trip to the park to play as an alternative. It was an easy play date to supervise, I looked after the drinks, snacks, jumpers, scooters, helmets etc.. and got to read lots of Three Women. What a book, I cannot believe it is a non fiction title (I wish it wasn’t) I will write a full review when I have finished but I think it is going to be one of those unforgettable books which you share with all your friends so you can talk about it.

Three Women wasn’t my only read this week as I borrowed from school an easy read Shakespeare version of the Tempest, my daughter’s latest set text. I needed a quick read as I didn’t have had the headspace to read it properly. I did A level English Lit but the Tempest wasn’t either on this course or my English GCSE. I have to admit I prefer the tragedies rather than the more lighter plays, but at least I can help my daughter with her work now.

On our shopping trip last week, I bought a pair of combat trousers in a camo print. They are so comfy and a great alternative to jeans which I find a bit heavy in the nicer weather. I did feel a bit like a member of a 90s girl band wearing them and a black vest, however given my age this was layered under a t-shirt. My daughter really liked the look and I got a rare nod of fashion approval!

This week I’m hoping for a quieter, less frantic week, I like my routine and order. Have a good week.

My week the on when I went to the shops and salon

Although restrictions lifted on April 12th, with being away and then getting ready for the new term, we didn’t do many of the new allowed activities. However this week with our routines back in place, it was time to reintroduce the ‘normal’ back into our daily lives. For me this has meant a trip to the nail bar, a hair appointment and a return to my ‘natural!’ colour and a potter around shops. All are still done under the Covid restrictions, so lots of mask wearing, hand washing and space, but it did feel good to be doing something fun and frivolous in life. For the children, Little Man returned to Real Life Scouts (as opposed to Zoom), swimming and football training and Little Miss got to go shopping with a friend.

The week started with a great night of tv viewing, I don’t watch much tv but Call the Midwife and then Line of Duty is quality Sunday night viewing. I love the late night messaging between friends discussing the plot of Line of Duty, although the twists and turns make it difficult to sleep! I even listened to a Line of Duty podcast on my walk to work on Monday trying to get hints of what is to come.

With the exception of Sunday night, I’ve been reading a lot this week. I was up to the early hours of Tuesday morning finishing off Mhairi McFarlane’s If I Never Met You. I had put my Kindle down around 11pm but after tossing and turning I simply couldn’t sleep knowing the book was just sat there next to me waiting to be finished. It was a perfect chick lit read, with some decent characters whom you really rooted for. I’ve also nearly finished Catlin Moran’s How to be a Woman. I’m a huge fan and the essays are a mix of humour, heartbreak and the ordinariness of our lives in a charming way.

On Saturday, I took Little Miss to the ‘big’ town to meet a friend and do some shopping. Both children asked for the most simple things when lockdown ended, Little Miss was to go shopping with friends and Little Man to have two friends around to play (still waiting to be allowed to do this one, as they want to be inside for Lego) When I took Little Miss over to big town, I stayed to potter around the shops. I got to spend time browsing in a bookshop and finally spent my Christmas book tokens. There is just something lovely about being in a bookshop, its the smell, the displays, the anticipation of a new story. I got a couple of books which have been on my to read list and am looking forward to starting them soon. It was a strange experience shopping, apart from Primark, it was surprisingly quiet in the shops, although lots of people were milling outside, whether just walking or having a drink or meal. When you are wearing mask, have to maintain a social distance and can’t try on items, it does take away some of the fun of shopping. Stock was limited and it did make me think that online shopping for the big stores is easier and more efficient. However on Thursday I did a little bit of shopping in our home town, which was such a nicer experience and I will always try to buy locally first.

As the weather has improved this week, I’ve been wearing more spring like clothes and love my new blue and white linen maxi skirt. White is a brave colour for me to wear, I’m mucky, but with a blue top its becoming my favourite go to outfit.

Finally this week, I received the first of a 3 month subscription to Iggy Candles, fulfilling my #21for 2021 to burn more candles. The candle has the most beautiful smell, peony and blush suede and if every candle is as good as this one, I will definitely be extending the subscription. Its a simple sensory pleasure to watch a candle burn.

There are no big plans next week, just a week back to the new normal. Have a good week.

My week … the one with a holiday.

This feels a bit like a school writing project, what I did on my holiday but its so lovely to be able to write a post about a holiday. The government Covid restrictions eased on Monday which meant that we were allowed to stay away from home in England if in self catering accommodation and in our household bubble. At present no hotels or bed and breakfasts are allowed to open. Mr S had been able to book a property for 4 nights as soon as the road map was published, which we could use as a base to visit our parents and to give us a few days to simply do something a bit different than the stay at home message we’ve had for most of the past year.

We stayed in a small hamlet near Wells in Somerset. Our accommodation was beautiful, it was on an old farm building, the milking parlour, which had been renovated to such a high standard. It was the best self catering accommodation I have stayed in, full of everything you might need and more and in immaculate condition. The wood burner feature in the lounge was stunning, but with such good weather we never needed to use it. The ceilings were so high and the beams gave a very cosy feeling. The property also had an adjoining games room, where we enjoyed table tennis and table football in the evenings. The children loved the large trampoline in what wasn’t really a garden but a meadow and they had lots of room to roam and run safely. In addition to the meadow, we had a patio where we managed our first barbecue of the year, toasting marshmallows over a barbecue is always going to be a fun thing to do.

When we arrived we went straight to Wells as we had a food collection organised. We had the time to walk around Wells and it was such a beautiful city. We stopped at a café in the square and it all felt very relaxed and open with the tables laid out across the plaza. The square was full of people meeting up and there was such a lovely atmosphere and buzz on the first day of shops and outdoor cafes, restaurants and pubs reopening. There are some unexpected effects of the government guidelines and this shift to outdoor living is nice (but yes, you need the good weather) I am still to work out the correct clothing for this new outdoor life, in the good weather we’ve had you want to be wearing spring colours and styles but also need the warmth of winter layers.

One of my favourite activities of our holiday was hiring bikes in Cheddar and cycling the old railway line, the Strawberry Line. I was impressed by the children as some parts were on road (through the picture perfect village of Axbridge) and they coped really well and safely. We did around 12 miles in total and it was a beautiful way to explore the countryside and enjoy a gorgeous, blue sky day before returning home with freshly locally grown strawberries.

We met up with my parents at Cheddar reservoir and walked its perimeter, I am discovering with outdoor meet ups that by walking and talking, everyone feels a little warmer than simply sitting with a flask of tea. We walked the reservoir and then did stop for a little cake and cup of tea. By walking people get individual time with each other and its nice to share conversations after that you didn’t hear at the time. Unfortunately, by the time our visit ended I was feeling really, really rough, I knew I had a migraine coming on and despite the painkillers I couldn’t shake it off and then ended up in bed for the next 24 hours, with excruciating pain and vomiting, not the best day of my holiday. On the day I stayed in the cottage, Mr S and the children continued with their booked trip to Wild, a wildlife park near Bristol and enjoyed seeing all the animals. I do like giraffes so my daughter did send me a photo of one so I didn’t miss out.

Fortunately, by the final day, I was feeling a lot better and after packing up we drove through to my Father in law’s garden for a picnic lunch and a quick trip to the park for the children. He has shielded for the best part of the year and lives alone so it was so good to see him looking so well and relaxed. He has had his double vaccination now and is beginning to venture out a little more with friends. Our visit was the day before his birthday and it did feel that we were able to celebrate this year. It was a different celebration to our previous big family get togethers but at least he had family with him this year, as last year’s birthday had been hard for us all.

Its surprising how refreshed you can feel with just a few days away from home, doing something different. it was the first time the children have stayed in a rural self catering accommodation, they’re used to resorts and holiday parks, but seemed to enjoy the ability to just run around and play. Our next holiday is back to a resort with pools and activities but I think this break was just right for the restrictions we are under.

My week … the one with lots of walks

This week has seemed really long and sometimes times a bit tedious, I know I’m not fun mum when my reply to what are we doing today is always we’re going out for a walk. Its simply one of the things that we can do in lockdown and we do try to mix up the routes. Interestingly, the toughest and longest walk was also one of the highlights of the week and thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. We had a rare warm, sunny morning which definitely lifted everyone’s spirits and of course we had a little snack stop so were fuelled by Easter chocolate. We did have a day this week when both children had planned activities, Little Miss went to the farm and Little Man had a football tournament. I took our daughter to the farm and after the farm, we drove to the nearest town for a walk and picnic along the river. Although cold, it was bright and we were dressed up warmly to enjoy being outside, however only 20 miles away the boys had snow and hail. There was strange weather this week, sometimes it was lovely, other days bitterly cold and grey.

I have been feeling a bit bleurgh this week, just a cold which I can’t seem to shift (I’ve done my LFT tests twice as required for work and it isn’t Covid) Its not stopped me doing anything but I have enjoyed a few afternoons on the sofa whilst the children played Nintendo which is so unlike me. I’ve watched a couple of films and my favourite was Military Wives, it was a film I wanted to see on release but it came out just as lockdown 1 started so I never got to see it at the cinema. It was a lovely, feel good film and the perfect tonic. In the evenings, Mr S and I have been watching This Is Us, season 1. It is brilliant, how did I miss this when it was first released in 2016? We could be watching it for a while as we’ve got 5 seasons to watch and at one per evening (and for the last few nights we haven’t watched any as its the Masters golf) that’s a tv commitment! By my calculations, 81 episodes at approx. 5 a week is 4 months viewing sorted.

As well as the films and series, I’ve had a little extra time for reading too. I read Gretchen Rubin’s Outer Order, Indoor Calm. Its not an instruction manual but offers some good observations on clutter and order with some really useful tips. After all this time in lockdown, my house is pretty well organised and clutter free at present. However I did sort some of the children’s clothes out this week to get ready for the spring and summer. They’ve both had a bit of a growth spurt so I need to buy a few extras this summer. I think with last year’s lockdown, I got the most out of the previous summers clothes, which may explain why some of my daughter’s shorts now look indecent! I also read Tracey Thorn’s book on growing up in suburbia in the 70s and 80s, much rings true in the book and its an entertaining read.

Nationally the news this week has been the death of the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99. I was in my neighbours garden (its the only way we can see people) with the radio on in the kitchen when we heard the national anthem and the news, its funny how those ‘where were you’ moments stay with you. The BBC radio stations went to rolling news and sombre, respectful music and normal programmes were suspended on the national tv channels for news and tribute programmes. For me, his legacy will be the Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme which I participated in as a teenager, it was a fun programme and a positive experience (and on one of our camps, the boy I fancied kissed me!)

Next week sees our first holiday for 603 days (yes I worked it out) After 3 holidays being postponed due to Covid restrictions, we are finally away to a cottage in Somerset. Its our base so we can visit our parents, outside and at a social distance, and just enjoy a few more activities as the next stage of the road map is introduced.

Here’s to a happy week.