We are surrounded by stupidity and stupid people…

Wow!! How embarrassing it’s been 3 months since my last post! That being said, this Lockdown/Un-Lockdown/Lockdown-again malarkey is very time-consuming and I have to admit that, like probably many others, I had started to lose my head a little; hence the sudden silence of my blog.

I think when I reflect back upon this time in the future I will come to realise a lot of things and admit that I’ve actually learnt quite a lot, mainly about myself but also about the people around us. I’m not just talking about those fellow beings who grace our households, such as my daughter who constantly has a constipated-like expression on her face when she really is just a hormonal grumpy pre-teenager. No, I’m taking about the strangers in society who we don’t know that live amongst us. Pre-Coronavirus I really believed that most people had common sense – even just a tiny bit. According to the dictionary, common sense is described as;

common sense

noun

good sense and sound judgement in practical matters

So why is it that when I watch the news or read articles surrounding the current pandemic we are facing do I feel utterly bemused at the lack of common sense in the people ? For example, a line must be drawn somewhere. My 11 year old daughter often asks to go to the park with her friends and I inform her that her curfew is 8.30pm. It is very simple to understand, the cut off is 30 minutes after 8 0’clock because that is the time myself and her father have deemed appropriate that she is home by. It is the time that we have decided will be the boundary for that evening of adventures with her friends; the line we have defined as the end of her play-time; finito; end of. We have permitted Emmie to go to the park independently until half past eight to enjoy herself freely and all we ask is that she returns home at the time we set. So cut the bullshit arguments and asking for 15 minutes longer, we said 8.30pm so get your arse home for 8.30pm.

Simples.

So, when we take the example of people who have decided to go on holiday and risk some likely upheaval to their holiday plans of 2020 due to Coronavirus, (you know, the worldwide pandemic killing thousands and threatening everything we know right now), why am I seeing grown adults question which frigging day the government have decided to implement deadlines to return to the UK? Why am I watching educated people moan and complain that if they had got home 24 hours earlier they would not have had to quarantine for two weeks, yet because they got back today, (after the deadline), they have to self-isolate for two weeks?

Well Karen from Somerset, (who always seems to be bloody complaining on BBC news), the deadline for people returning home from France was at 4am on Saturday morning just like Emmie’s deadline for getting in from the park was 8.30pm last night. Now, because Emmie was late and she decided to come back at 8.40pm, (only 10 minutes I know but hey-ho a deadline is a deadline Karen), she is now GROUNDED!!!!!!! There is a line Karen and that line is there for a reason.

Similarly, as a university student I have many deadlines for assignments and such like. My tutors organise these deadlines before the course starts and we keep a copy of those deadlines for the duration of the university year. It is always made very clear at the beginning of term that if I do not hand my work in on time I will be marked down and my assignment could be capped at 40% for failing to meet the deadline. Another example here of a deadline Karen – a BOUNDARY!

And, if Karen is still unable to make sense of my example situations here is another one;

My son was born at 10.30pm on the 31st August. That’s an hour and a half before the clock struck midnight and would have been the 1st September. Now, for those of you with children at school you will know that the 1st September marks the cut off date that determines which school year your child will be in. Due to Ernie being born on 31st August it meant that he would start school when he turned 4 years old. However, should I have kept my legs closed for a further 90 minutes I would have enjoyed another year at home with my son as he would have been born on the 1st September and gone to school when he was 5. Yet, this was not something I was going to take to the Headmaster at my son’s future school because I knew that the deadline date for a child’s year group was 1st September. It wasn’t a case of approaching the headmaster and saying, “Well, he’s only 90 minutes off being in the next year group Sir, can’t we just bend that cut-off point the government have set for children starting school as it doesn’t suit me?”

No, I’m not going to do that Karen because I’m not a nob head.

So for those of you maybe sunning it up on holiday in a country currently NOT on the quarantine list when you return to the UK, please wake up and smell the coffee that there’s a good chance your holiday may be interrupted or you may face a sudden rush return to the UK which could result in having to self-isolate for two weeks when you get back . It’s not a matter of give or take a couple of days – a deadline is a deadline.

A line must be drawn somewhere and if Thursday or Sunday is the winning day Boris chooses to enforce the cut-off then so be it. Are you with me Karen? Have I made that a little clearer for you to understand? I hope so, anyway I had better head off as I’ve got some paper work that needs returning to University this afternoon, the deadline is 4.30pm.

Speak soon folks x x x

Sausage Snuggles & Decision Making

I don’t think I have ever felt my head as full as it is right now. Are you feeling the same? There are more questions than answers and no respite from it all. I’m beginning to think that not only are we going to be in need of therapy when we get through all this, but our pets are as well, (or maybe that’s just mine?) The dog is beginning to have withdrawals when I go from one room to the next and is becoming increasingly adamant that his position in our bed is inbetween us, head on our pillows and snuggled in as close as he can. I’m beginning to regret letting him upstairs at night…

All these positive quotes are great but in this very confusing and alien time I’m not sure where I need to “keep going” to!

During a socially distanced walk yesterday with my sister, we were recalling how we originally felt about the virus hitting the UK and whether we realistically thought it would ever impact us. I recall bosses of friends who were pregnant at the time being shitty with them taking ownership of their health and unborn child by choosing to shield themselves before the official lockdown. I never took action myself to remove my children from school before school closures were put in place, like I know other families chose to do. I conformed with society at the time and wrote it off as something so far fetched, the situation we find ourselves in now, could never possibly happen in this day and age. Yet, it did and we are here experiencing the consequences of this quite unfathomable piece of history.

I am now left with a head overloaded with information and vast amounts of decisions to make that could affect the health of both my immediate and extended family in the future. The question of the return to school, for example, I hastily returned the form to the head teacher selecting the box which stated that I was happy to send my year 6 daughter back to school as of June 1st. My reasoning behind this was not only the evidence that I had read up on about the reduced risk Covid-19 has on children, but my eagerness for Emmie to have some sort of opportunity to finish her time at primary school properly; with her class, with her friends, with normality. On reflection, that seriously is not going to be the case. What was I thinking? She would get a leavers party? The year 6 leavers church service would be going ahead? She would still get to perform in the year 6 leavers play?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I think the fundamental answer to all of those questions Sam is a big fat N-O spells NO!

The truth is, no one has any idea what the future holds right now, (even the government believe it or not!) Just as we all questioned our future back in January, when we initially heard about this strange virus in the city of Wuhan, we have no idea where the hell we are going to be in three months time, let alone by Christmas! The ground has never felt so unsteady. But, I think we know for certain, in the short-term, that in reality, Emmie is not going to be enjoying the end of her journey at primary school as she should be. Her transition to high school is going to look very different to what a usual year 6 group would experience. I find this so incredibly sad. For years I have dreaded the leavers church service as it is so frought with emotional 10 and 11 year olds along with the sobbing parents you have shared the school journey with. However, it saddens me that we will now not get that day and opportunity to say goodbye and reflect on their time at primary school.

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The thing is, when I begin to feel upset by Emmie’s situation I also feel incredibly guilty that I am upset by something, which in the grand scheme of things, is so unbelievably trival when there are others fighting for their lives or grieving for loved ones that they have lost. Balancing these emotions is difficult. Are we allowed to grieve what should have been our lives right now? I know that realistically Emmie is not as upset about her final weeks at school as I am, and is actually really excited about the prospect of starting high school. Maybe that’s the case for most kids? But, I do think a lot of what Emmie is feeling is a massive underlying anxiety about the threat she may face in going back to school and I don’t think I really considered that properly before filling out the school questionaire. For kids, their lives have been completely turned upside down in a very sudden and drastic way that will take a lot of time and reassurance to support them in returning back to normal.

A child’s everyday is very different right now

Emmie’s fear of school is very real and not for one moment a dramatic excuse for staying home and not returning on 1st June. In recent weeks she has confided in me the worries she has of contracting and dying from Covid-19. These thoughts tend to surface at night time when she is trying to get to sleep. I decided to take her with me to pick up a few bits from the shop the other day, as it dawned on me how long she had been in the safe surroundings of her home and garden, fenced off from the world. The outside is beginning to be so alien to her she seems to be getting fearful of the prospect of venturing out again. Before it got any worse I decided to take her out with me to offer some sort of reassurance and show her the new normal of being out in society. We discussed the prospect of returning to school during this short trip but she was adamant in her independant decision that she will not return to school at the beginning of June because the concern of Covid-19 is too great for her.

Maybe we should be listening to what the kids are saying during the decision-making of returning to school? Their voice is as important, if not more important than our own. International law advocates that children have the freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and most importantly to have their views respected. Perhaps, in this particular decision regarding the final month of the school term, I should dutifully process Emmie’s thoughts, admire her expressed wishes and fully respect her views.

Food for thought anyway. I’ve got time to ponder this one as I haven’t got any other plans at the moment.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone.

x

Women have got it ALL wrong!

It’s been staring us in the face all this time…

After waking up in Ernie’s bed, for some unbeknown reason, I pulled up the blind and saw the male Starling that has recently set up home in an old alarm box on the side of the house. His “Mrs” was inside the box with, what I can only assume are their eggs or newly hatched babies. Old papa bird was balancing on the telegraph pole wire, chirping away when I really took notice of how stunning his feathers were. I’ve been watching this new little family since Lockdown began, when the weather picked up and we were outdoors most days. In amongst bringing stuff to the nest, they’ve obviously had their fair share of marital arguments, (like most couples do), about who’s ‘doing what’ and if they’re ‘doing it right’. It’s safe to say the way she chirps at him must be evidence of how he has messed up catastrophically on numerous occasions.

Anyway, this morning whilst looking at him close up and realising how gorgeous he was, the female flew out of the nest and joined him. I noted immediately how different she looked compared to him; a little less flamboyant shall we say. I began to think about an episode David Attenborough narrated on the bird-of-paradise, Magnificent Riflebird which looks nothing short of a drag queen, with his glittery foil-like blue plumage and it’s bizarrely choreographed dance moves in a bid to win over the female. Another example that sprang to mind is the Peacock! I mean, what the actual hell? Have you seen the female compared to the guy? She is like Cinderella before she meets her Fairy God Mother. The male however, he is like the avian version of Liberace.

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Since a young age I have always enjoyed make-up, although my daily make-up regime is probably a little bit to do with a lack of self-confidence and not feeling “pretty” enough to go bare-faced. What does rile me though, is the fact that I spend time in the morning ‘getting ready’ and like to look ‘good’ or make an ‘effort’ as I think it’s healthy when in a relationship; to take care of yourself and try to look good for your other half. I’m very much like my grandma who always used to say she wouldn’t go out “without her face on”. It’s true – I never feel completely ready for the day until I’ve done my hair and make-up. I’m not saying I go the full hog; contour, eyeshadow, false eyelashes and lipstick everyday, but enough to make me feel awake, ready, and in a position to go out and basically not look like shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried the whole bare-faced, oh naturelle’ thing on the odd occasion, but when your kids ask, “are you ok?” or, “are you unwell mummy”, (because you look like a piece of shite), you kind of give up thinking you are ‘naturally beautiful’ enough to let the world see you for real. I tried half make-up once and didn’t wear mascara. I pulled up at my mum and dad’s and mum said, “ooh Sam, are you ok? – you look really tired”. Fuck this. Off I went back home and got the old mascara out and piled it on.

I’m not saying blokes don’t try…but…

I know in recent years there’s been a huge influx in the amount of guys having their own beauty rituals and make-up now has no gender, but for centuries the woman has always been the sex that has to put on a charade for the blokes. I don’t want to go all feminist, because I started this blog post talking about bloody Starlings for goodness sake, but it made me think how much girls and women try so hard to be something else, to put on a show, enhance their features, exploit who they are for, (in the majority of cases), the opposite sex. I’m guilty for enjoying a complement being given to me and I would be distraught if someone criticised the way I look, especially if it was a time when I didn’t have my hair and make-up done. For years I’ve watched the other half or the other men in my family get up the same way every morning; go for a pee, get dressed, fiddle with their hair (or not in some cases), go to work. Yes they shave and spray their aftershave, but for most it’s a simple charade.

Emmie is starting high school this year and it is already filling me with dread the prospect of her finding fault with her looks and wanting to alter herself. Pump her lips and cheeks with filler, continually extend her eyelashes, tattoo her eyebrows, tan her skin, dye her hair, pierce her skin, starve herself, become addicted to the gym, think she’s fat, believe she is ugly, hate herself. I worry because I have considered changing parts of me before and sometimes the reason for those changes were not even to benefit me – it was for others! I find it easy writing this to fault myself for contemplating getting bigger boobs, hating my nose, thinking my body shape isn’t right; not being happy with who I am. So why can’t I practice what I preach?

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Why are girls and women so fixated on what men think about them or trying to impress or be sexy for them? They should be trying to attract us – it’s human nature! Take my example of birds, females use looking as drab as they can as a weapon against the males; it is their armour against the opposite sex. According to some studies, female birds know that all the males want is sex and if they end up ‘catching on’, it is them that is left to bring the kids up, most of the time ALONE and they think, “no, I ain’t having that!” So, in a bid to avoid such a situation, they don’t make an effort for him, even using their less colourful, flamboyant image as camouflage. Females in the wild have got it spot on; they get to choose which male they want out of a few scrapping to be with her. It is the male that has to make the effort to look good and impress her, and HE is the one who has to enhance his features and show his worth to even get the slightest chance of being her partner.

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As with us girls, the stakes are high when choosing a mate aren’t they? In nature, females know that too. They have to choose their partner carefully and gamble sensibly as the investment for her is far more costly in the sense of gestating and the cost of raising their young. For the blokes, sperm is small, plentiful and can be produced in their millions, so he can take his gamble anywhere, (which he usually does!) The facts are in nature and evolution and following a good nosey on the World Wide Web I can’t believe some of the stuff I’ve found on this subject that makes me question the way human females perceive themselves in terms of the opposite sex. We should take ownership of our female abilities, our uterus and ability to carry the next generation.

Lioness’ rule the roost and bring home the bacon even though it’s widely thought Simba was the King of Pride Rock.

Female Honey bees call all the shots – only using males for reproduction!

This was my personal favourite; female ducks have clockwise spiralled vaginas to prevent insemination from unwanted suitors!!! The sharp twists and turns of the female duck foo-foo can block any nob head duck that’s not good enough for her!

I know what you’re thinking – how on earth have I managed to get on to duck’s vaginas when I started talking about female empowerment and feeling good about yourself as a woman? I hope you get my train of thought and agree there’s some substance to my argument. I think females are realising their worth more and more – long may it continue.

Rant over x

Just Another Day

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How on earth are we nearing the month of May already? For most, 2020 will be the year to forget, but it looks set to be stamped in BOLD in the history books for years to come. Even though we want it to be over I feel there’s nothing worse than wishing precious time away, especially when I spent last year wishing that away too, (but that’s another story!) As cliché as it sounds, you never really know what is around the ‘corner’, nor what lies in store for you. I vividly remember my grandad once telling me that he thought of life like constantly balancing tentatively on the edge of a sewing needle, and that you must appreciate each and every day. Again, the concept of time arises and it is the one thing you have absolutely no bloody control over. The clock keeps ticking. Unfortunately, the bastard thing ticks slowest when you’re in a HiiT class feeling like you’re going in to cardiac arrest, in contrast to when you’re on your annual holiday, (you know, the one you’ve spent the first half of the year counting down to and saved every spare penny to pay it off), that whizzes by like speedy-gonfuckingsale! One minute you’re a new parent learning the tricks of parenthood and trying to stay awake after 8pm, the next you’ve got a hormonal, eye-rolling, Tik-Tok-ing, eleven year old pre-teenager who thinks you are OLD! In fact, they think you are so old that they refer to the times of VHS as the bloody “olden-days!”

Everything was just so much slower – but it was nice!

Maybe that’s the issue? Maybe that’s why we feel like we’re all travelling at 100mph every single day; because the world around us and everything that is a part of it is evolving, moving and progressing so quickly that we are struggling to keep up. Since the new millennium the advances in technology is mind-blowing and at 35 years old there are certain things that stump me when it comes to grasping new technology. My beautiful grandparents are in their eighties and have lived through World War 2, witnessed the moon landing, watched the fall of the Berlin wall and saw the introduction of home computers. The diversity of what they have witnessed, experienced and had to learn in their lifetime is unfathomable. I am just in awe at how amazing they are at keeping up, (even if my grandma disagrees by telling me how rubbish she is at everything to do with technology, especially working her iPad).

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But do you know what impression I get from the older generation? Acceptance. They accept that life is unsteady and how quick things can change, sometimes in the blink of an eye, and with that there is an element of appreciation and of being grateful for being here. It is such a shame that in the prime of my life I do not realise it because I’ve not experienced enough of it yet. And just when you do learn; appreciating the sun on your face, the sound of the birds in the morning, the voices of your family, the presence of those you love – it’s too late. I should be grabbing each day by the balls but I don’t, or I didn’t before Lockdown anyway. My day consisted like any other working parent; usually in four phases. Phase 1: early start, clean pee up round the toilet from penis #2, get kids up, make breakfast, locate school shoes, locate reading book, locate school bag, get in the car, get out of the car, locate PE kit, drive to school, drop off, battle morning traffic to work. Phase 2: try to be an proper adult, get through work, finish work. Phase 3: battle traffic to collect the kids, battle traffic to get home, arrive home. Phase 4: trip over all the shit that’s left in the doorway of the house from the kids, put the shit away, start tea, plead for a bit of help from the kids, argue with the youngest about eating all his tea, clean up, clean up, clean up, put a bath on, battle for bedtime commences….

You get the drift!!

What I’m trying to say is there was never any time, never an opportunity to sit and take stock of everything around you or appreciate the moment. Today I put the beanbag on the lawn when the sun came out and just sat there for what was probably the first time I have allowed myself to do something like that without constantly thinking, “I need to do this” or “I need to be getting on with that”. Usually, I don’t have the time to just sit and relax in the garden because there’s always something else to do or be done. But at the moment, even though time is flying by it feels like it’s also standing still and we have some decent “time” on our hands. For us in my household, we are all well at the moment and following the social distancing rules of Lockdown. However, I feel incredible sorrow for those who are presently battling Covid-19, another health issue or are a family member to someone who is. For you, on a personal level I sympathise greatly as the recurring days of waiting for news, waiting for progress and waiting for it to be over is agonising. Time slows to a standstill whilst the outside world continues, unaware of your pain and that desperation to help the one you love is unbearable.

“Time is an illusion”

– Albert Einstein

I think old Albert is bloody right, time is an illusion. To some time is in abundance, you’re overwhelmed with time. Take kids for example, their day is a empty void waiting to be filled with imagination, awe and wonder. For many, it is thought that adults have to provide that awe and wonder but you’ll find that if you just leave kids ‘be’, they will find something as simple as a stick to occupy their crazy-ass minds. Proof of this would be yesterday when Ernie came downstairs dressed up as a banana with a police uniform over the top. Although I didn’t understand who he was trying to tell me he was, he was absolutely certain about the character he was trying to portray in his imaginary game. Unfortunately, as an adult I see time as a weekly diary filled to the brim with things to do, appointments, work or clubs, ferrying the kids from one destination to another, squeezing enough time to make a home-cooked tea or walk the dog. But yes, Einstein’s theory of time being an illusion could be right. We make time in to what we want it to be, we make ourselves busy, some of us are bored, many are waiting, others are having a whale of a time, but the clock still ticks; fast for some, slow for others.

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What I’m trying to say is that time is what we make it. You really don’t know how valuable time is until you are faced with it being taken from you. Only then do you even begin to appreciate those tiny, (what used to be insignificant) things like the sun on your face or birdsong. Things will go back to normal, the fast-paced days of balancing work and childcare will recommence and you will forget to take a step back and just appreciate a bit of time. I really hope for as long as I can I remember what Lockdown feels like for me that I try and home in to my “Lockdown Life” once in a while when reality kicks in. You can manage not going to the supermarket every couple of days for those little bits you think that you need. You don’t need to spend weekends shopping or visiting special places to entertain the kids. It could be the case that by allowing kids to become bored once in a while is good for their self-regulation, (yes I did just say that – let the kids get bored!) Why should we be providing constant opportunities to occupy them? Let them use their imagination, let them find their own resources.

It’s another day tomorrow and another the day after that, but it’s the chance for opportunity, adventure and most of all it’s TIME. Time to think, time to love, time to see, hear and feel. Time that for some they simply do not have. Anyway of enough of the deep stuff, I need to go and separate World War 3 in the conservatory between a leather-clad Ernest and his sister!!!

Happy Friday folks x

Weather and WIFI

Thank goodness for the decent weather…

It really is like being on a roller coaster, this whole lockdown business isn’t it? Yesterday, I was walking around the house very smug with my organised school work print outs, snapping photos of the kids doing their activities and the entire (home) school timetable running perfectly. I even pre-made some cookie dough as a treat for when they had finished their work god damn it. I was on fire!!!! Yet, today is a complete different ball game and I just feel a bit crap if I’m honest. Although, some of that may be to do with the three people and a dog in the bed when I awoke from my beauty sleep this morning. I really am worried that Buddy, (the sausage dog), isn’t going to cope when things return to normal. He is absolutely loving everyone constantly being at home and he has become my shadow, to the point where I cannot even pee on my own without the kids AND the dog present!!!

I got up late again this morning too which didn’t set me off in good stead. The alarm was set for 7.30am, but I snoozed for 10, then 10 again, then 10 again and the next thing it was 9.40am. Woops! So much for school starting at 8.45am. After trying to navigate my way out of my own bed, under the son and over the dog, I did actually manage a whole pee to myself. The sun was shining again and before getting my dressing gown on I stood in the hallway just taking in the beautiful uninterrupted blue sky. I think it looks amazing without any aeroplane trails scraped across it. Don’t you agree? I’ve begun to think I may even miss lockdown when this is all over.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Anyways, it soon looked like today was not going to run like yesterday as Ernie was not up for school work at all, which he very kindly told me, dressed in his bright orange pyjamas, pink lipstick stained round his mouth from yesterdays dressing up charade, and a large straw sunhat, (which he appears to be constantly wearing at the moment). Emmie had already made herself some breakfast before I had got up, (half the contents of the Nutella jar still around her mouth), and started her school work. I could feel that I had already kind of lost control of the schedule for today by not being up and organised, and it irritated me. Funny how those tiny things can get to you so much at the moment. In all fairness though, the day went OK, (not to plan – but OK). I have had to hand over the entirety of the maths work to Si because it just frustrates me so much that I cannot do it, and just by looking at some of the questions gets me into such a pickle I feel I’m the one at school again. I bloody hate maths.

My forte is history and today’s English topic for Ernie was on Pompeii, (my favourite – god I got so excited), so we watched back to back clips on YouTube of what it would have been like when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Little did I know that Ernie’s joint enthusiasm for history was a sheer plot to get out of the English session. After over an hour of watching eruption clips, I realised all he was trying to do was exploit my eagerness of the subject by continually asking for more footage, whilst simultaneously pretending to be intrigued in the topic so it would eat in to his “writing time”. Basically he screwed me over, wasting time so he didn’t have to bloody write as much.

Tosser.

I had started thinking I may finally have someone in my family who’s a history geek like me and will trek round museums for hours on end. But no…

Like I said… tosser.

I recovered from my setback with some lovely chill time listening to Emmie read in the garden, and came to the conclusion that two very important elements have supported the success of our lockdown so far (in my household anyhow!) The weather and the WIFI. With Britain set to sizzle this week, I am beginning to realise how much this settled, glorious weather has been our absolute saviour, (even though it’s not helped my drinking habits!) Just imagine what lockdown would have been like if we had another Beast from the East during all of this.

Not even worth thinking about mate!

The second huge lockdown lifesaver is the WIFI. Following a turbulent start to lockdown with our WIFI connection, it seems that the majority of other PlusNet users have sacked off working from home or home-schooling their kids as the connection seems much better now. I really nearly lost my shit when the WIFI went dodgy in the first week of the kids being at home, (most of all because I couldn’t Google the maths answers). But seriously, everything you seem do in life requires an online connection and that becomes even more apparent when you are locked in your own home and require it almost constantly! Anyway, tomorrow we are having a day off the school work as the weather is supposed to be fabulous and the kids have done so well this week. My alarm is set for 7.30am, so fingers crossed I can peel myself out of bed to make the most of another lovely lockdown day.

Night folks x

Brave the Shave!

…it is time!

Oh my giddy-goddy lockdown the image of the Bald Eagle is very fitting for today’s topic. I am hoping many of you have found yourself in the same boat as me during this period of odd goings-on. Basically, I thought it was time for a tidy up, (you know where). I’d had a new gadget bought for Christmas, but haven’t been able to put it to use recently as my “normal” beauty regime has completely gone out of the window. So, prior to getting in the shower last night I was confronted with not only my new #Lockdown body image starring back at me in the mirror, but a monstrosity of a bush that has been utterly forgotten over the last month or so. I am really crap at gardening, (outdoors not my lady garden), but I must admit my garden (outdoors), is presently tidier than my undercarriage. I closed the bathroom door in case the kids caught me straddling the toilet to ensure my shavings went down successfully. I always worry when I’m doing this because if they did catch me it would look like the scene from Mrs Doubtfire when Robin Williams is taking a ‘man’ pee stood up but wearing his Mrs Doubtfire costume. His son completely freaks out screaming, “he’s a she-she, she’s a he-he”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMKPnnLzoAg

You get my drift.

Anyway, I started hacking away on my bikini line without the guard on my shaver to get more precision, but as I pulled away I caught the body of the bush which left a mark like I was trying to shave some sort of artwork in to the area. I tried to rectify the mistake only to give myself a Mohawk which looked utterly inappropriate and ridiculous. After another couple of minutes I appeared to have a Billy Goat’s Gruff look going on as the only hair that remained was a goatee right down at the bottom. Again, looked horrendous so I went back to work with the shaver. Finally, when I had to admit there was nothing left to work with and the damage was done, I decided I’d have to go for the pre-pubescent, Bald Eagle, extremely-tidy-lady-garden look. Don’t worry, you can safely continue to scroll down and read on, I haven’t attached a clip of the finished product today, I thought the eagle and shavings would give you a clear enough picture!

Safe to say I’m not looking forward to the regrowth over the next few days!

The thing is, no matter what you do to your lady-garden, that area is never really going to be attractive is it? Until I got food poisoning from mussels a while ago, I used to absolutely love them, (the mussels not the lady-garden). I was borderline obsessed with Moules Mariniere, so much so that if I was in France on holiday I would overdose on as many servings of them as I possibly could. The day I had moules for lunch AND dinner was the beginning of the end of my fetish with the shellfish. Being sick through your legs whilst your arse was throwing up at the other end as well is a memory I will never forget. It got so bad I even hallucinated about a giant clam coming for me in between throwing up and shitting myself. Unfortunately, since that day I have been rather wary of the French’s culinary delight. In addition to this, it was at this point that my other half decided to tell me the reason he does not care for mussels is the simple fact that they look like a fanny.

Wonderful. Just wonderful, my newly shaved lady-garden looks even more like a clam now thanks to my overzelous hacking.

Anyway, enjoy the beautiful sunshine folks, wherever you are in lockdown today and don’t let the image of my lady-garden put you off your Moules Mariniere!

x

Home Schooling (Take2) Begins…

I’ve found myself printing off mammoth amounts of home schooling resources this afternoon in preparation for tomorrow and week 3 of teaching from home. Apart from the great communication and tools provided by my children’s school and their teachers, I have also been using http://www.twinkl.co.uk who are just amazing in offering some fantastic activities and curriculum resources for you to get your teeth in to.

If you’re like me, you’ll find that as your child leaves KS1 you are no longer a pro -genius at their homework or know all the answers in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Your child will get to a stage where they do not believe mummy “knows everything” anymore. They will look at you in disgust and shock; disbelief you cannot answer their questions and have to stoop as low as Google for the answers. In fact, on a personal level, it becomes very clear how shocking you have become at mathematics in the years since you left school. Apparently, long addition is now worked out using number lines according to Ernie and not by stacking the numbers on top of each other like we used to do. Moreover, I am NOT doing it correctly. Then to top it off (whoop-de-doo), just as lockdown began Emmie started my all time favourite maths topic (NOT), ratios which completely knocked me for six before the Easter break began. BUT (ha, ha, ha evil witch laugh), this is the fabulous thing about http://www.twinkl.co.uk – you get an answer sheet with every worksheet you download so you cannot go wrong, AND more importantly you don’t look like a complete arse in front of your 11 year old know-it-all!

Remember, it’s ok not to be perfect at home-schooling like those on Facebook, who constantly update you with their curriculum progress of 62 million activities covered in one day!

Twinkl is a regular tool used amongst school settings, but for parents at home (especially at the moment in lockdown), you can sign up and access some of their fabulous FREE resources. Alternatively, for a monthly fee you can subscribe and pay for whole site access all year round. I must start practising what I preach but it’s so important to remember that everyone is doing the very best they can with the situation we have got. The amount of collaboration I have seen between services recently to help parents educate their children during lockdown has been mind-blowing. One reminder our children’s school keeps repeating is that their timetables and school work is suggestion based only. Wellbeing and mental health must prioritise over keeping up with school-work so stop looking at what “Kimberly” on Facebook is doing with her kids tomorrow. Next week the weather looks set to be glorious, so if you manage a bit of school work in the mornings be sure to drop the pens and laptops and head outside to enjoy the outdoors and just being together. Mindset is hugely important in these alien times, for everyone in the household. Remember, we are all in the same boat, wallowing along this very turbulent river of uncertainty but there is always light at the end of the tunnel and good times waiting on ahead of us.

Keep going, you’re doing a grand job! x

WTF is going on?

Sorry for the massive gap in keeping up with the blog. I’m not quite sure what has happened over the last few weeks. I appear to have turned into a mixture of Delia Smith, Charlie Dimmock, Jekhll and Hyde, Mary Poppins, Pennywise, Mr Motivator, David Attenborough and The Stig. In a nutshell my head feels completely mashed, (although that could be the alcohol!)

Not sure about you guys, but every night feels like a Saturday, especially with the weather being so gorgeous; 4pm comes around and it’s like “is it beer time yet?” I have been baking like Mary Berry on crack and found myself showing the kids how to make bird feeders for the garden out of recycled milk bottles like I’m presenting for Blue Peter! My knickers are now leaving a mark on my arse, providing me with a gentle reminder that I am slowing turning in to a fat shit. I’m hoping a #LockdownArse will soon trend on Twitter and become fashionable competition to the Kardashian butt, (fingers crossed!)

One highlight was the other day when I took a trip to B&M for some ‘essentials’ on the list. I honestly felt like I was being let out on day release, the excitement was unfathomable. I got in my car, (for what felt like the first time in ages), and set off, donned my sunglasses and cranked the music LOUD! When I got to the store the social distancing queue was about 20 deep, but the excitement only got stronger. I felt like I was joining the queue to board a plane to go on holiday or ride a new rollercoaster (not that I would ride a rollercoaster as I’m a huge wimp, but I imagine it’s the same feeling!) The staff were allowing people in one at a time and after about 40 minutes I was nearing the front. It began to feel like when you’re at the top of a water slide waiting for the lifeguard to recognise the green light indicating your turn. You’d step forward, hold the metal bar, put your swimming cozzy up your bum and launch yourself down.

I began to see other people leaving with plants, outdoor furniture, bird feeders, rugs, home furnishings, cleaning supplies, paint and craft. Suddenly, I found myself tapping the ground with my foot, anxious to get in and begin shopping. The trolley token was poised in my sweaty gloved hand, my debit card securely zipped in my bum-bag around my waist and hand sanitiser in the back pocket of my jeans. Standing in queues makes you fidgety and I started to think I had an itch on my nose. NO, “don’t touch your nose with your contaminated gloves”, I hear you say. I refrained, trying to distract myself from the itch by focusing on a lady leaving the shop with a fab looking outdoor aztek print rug for the decking. “I must get one”, I thought to myself; the urge to itch completely forgotten.

Long story short, I came home £100 lighter, pulled a muscle in my stomach trying lift frigging compost in the trolley, got enough garden lights to make it look like a Christmas rave all year round and managed to forget bread! I never found the Aztec garden rug which annoyed me and ruined my outing slightly but hey ho. It was one of the best days I’ve had for a while – I am sure that shopping is some form of therapy for me with the amount of serotonin it releases. However, I always feel naughty when leaving B&M and begin rehearsing my justifications on the way home in the car for buying certain items like decorative artificial hedge panels when I left the house for cheese.

Anyway, whatever makes you happy go for it. Especially in times like these!

Happy Saturday folks! x

Fortnite headsets, TikTok routines and a wet bathroom floor…

So Ernie currently looks like a pilot with a headset fixed on his head talking at the equivalent of volume 10 on Alexa whilst having some “break-time” on Fortnite.

Photo by Vie Studio on Pexels.com

I swore I would not give in and let him loose on the PS4 during all this, but I fell at the first lockdown hurdle. So much so, and so immersed in his game he now even travels to the bathroom with the headset still on his head, shouting commands at his friends whilst unsuccessfully aiming his pee in to the loo!

Then the screams begin from my 11 year old. Prior to the mayhem unfolding she was filming another addictive routine for TikTok, but now she’s either stood in the pee, sat in the pee or just noticed the pee surrounding the toilet and has an apocalyptic meltdown; all hell breaks loose. 😱

A massive arguement followed by a full blown boxing match occurs between the two of them. The dog buggars off upstairs to get away from all the noise. Ernie swears the piss was not his, however, there’s only two penis’ in this household and my money is on the youngest.

At last, and I’m not even sure how, calm is restored, (probably through another bribe, but I can’t be sure). TikTok routines resume upstairs and the battle on Fortnite and heated discussion on the best ‘skin’ convenes.

I look at the clock and it’s already 16.30pm. Where has the day gone? We still have maths and art to finish today 😱 For now I have to return to the kitchen and become part of the catering team for the evening meal. My teacher role will have to recommence tomorrow

How long is lockdown for again?

Week 1 of Lockdown….

Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Albert Einstein

Tuesday 31st March 2020

So today it’s been over a week of ‘lockdown’ and our second Tuesday of home-schooling. Originally, I was secretly looking forward to being at home full-time and almost excited at the prospect of being involved in a piece of unfolding history. But just eight days into this new way of life my head has already begun to feel overwhelmed and my emotions are difficult to contain.

I had read about the risks some children would face being in households deemed as vulnerable but I never for one moment thought that I would turn in to such a volatile parent so quickly into lockdown. God forbid, this pandemic had ever of happened in the 90’s with no internet or sophisticated communication tools such as WhatApp or Zoom to keep in touch with the outside world. 

Today I just felt consumed with emotion, not to mention the constant up and down of worry and fear. I burnt my hand on an oven dish last night which hurt like hell but wasn’t serious. However, once I started to cry, I felt like I could not stop. I carried on and on, like a child. Once a month I get the same build up of emotion and feel like a ‘good cry’ and realise I’m due on my period in the next few days but this was completely different. This emotion was like being a child confronted with an alien situation that made you want to run home to your mum. The fear of not knowing what is coming and whether you could be impacted like the news tells you is crippling.

I used to watch films like ‘The Book of Eli’ or stories depicting the end of the world with scepticism and disbelief. But now, I watch films where human contact is so close, and many people stand together and find myself wondering when that will be me again and whether life will ever return to normal when this is over? The life we are currently experiencing is unimaginable, far-fetched and like something from a Netflix series. It’s not real-life. I now watch those films I once viewed cynically with an open mind, for now I am completely open to anything being possible in this life. 

We are trying to keep routine for the children and our own mental sake. We are desperately trying to keep up with their education and follow direction from teachers online. Yet, today was the day the internet buckled with the sheer volume of people using the connection from home at once. The frustration was incredible. Trying to teach two children studying different key stages and squeeze in time for my own study, along with being mum, cook, cleaner and human being is beginning to feel impossible. I’m shocked how quick I am feeling like this.

Estimates from the government yesterday suggested that we could be experiencing social distancing until June. That is a further three months away or 12 weeks or 84 days or 2016 hours of living on top of one another along with a dog and two hamsters that are stinking the house out! Maybe it’s because the weather has changed. Last week, the first week of lockdown felt like the real start of spring. The sun was shining with a royal blue sky awaiting us each morning. The kids took breaks from their schoolwork to play football and bounce on the trampoline. This week it is cold and grey which I expect is taking its toll on my mood.

Si went out again this evening for a few staple fridge bits along with another crate of lager for the long evenings and recovery from another manic day. It feels like we are part of a movie when he returns wearing medical gloves and he begins to disinfect the groceries that he has bought. When I look at the kitchen worktops where the products have sat, I imagine the virus smeared all over it, waiting to pounce on us. Everything feels contaminated and our home has never felt as safe. The outside world presents such a massive threat, I’m not sure I will ever be able to trust it again. But I’m sure I will.

When I think about tomorrow it feels like a fresh slate and I feel confident about my plans with the children and I’m yearning for a success. We will have to wait and see.  

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