Life Lately (June 2020)



Welcome to another little catch up. Here is what has been going on this month...... 



Heidi is back at school 

The biggest change for us this month is that Heidi is back at school now. She is in Year 6 and transitioning to a new school this year. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided it was best for Heidi to return. She attends school two days per week in a small class of 8 with her teacher and absolutely loves it. 

Heidi has really enjoyed being back with her friends and is enjoying some fun activities at school such as designing a fairground, coding a ferris wheel, making pin art, school games and making space doughnuts. Honestly when I dropped her off on the first day I was so nervous, it was worse than the first day of school in reception but she was beaming when I picked her up later that day and it was the happiest I have seen her in days. 

No school for the boys 

Jack (year 4) was also offered a place at school 2 days per week however we decided against it. The main reason Heidi is back is to properly say goodbye to Primary and prepare for Secondary, Jack does not need this plus I trust Heidi's class to socially distance as they are really sensible but Jacks friends are very boisterous and I know he would worry (as would I) about rule-breaking.

Jack is a bright boy and is doing ok at home, I don't think an extra few days at school before they break up for school would be of a major benefit to him and I am confident he will not be at a disadvantage when he returns to school in September. 

With Harry (yr 8), he has not been offered any face to face learning or return to school. It is a weird one as he is actually transitioning from Juniors to Seniors but I guess that will all just happen in September now. We do have a face-to-face meeting booked with his tutor next week to chat through any concerns which although feels a little late,  will be nice. 

Ordering school uniform 

Heidi is starting Secondary and Harry is moving up to Seniors so they both need full sets of new uniform this year. Why is it so expensive? It feels weird ordering when they are not at school and who knows if they will even return full time or wear a PE kit in September? It is a while away yet and things can change. I do reckon the rule of wearing clean uniform each day will be in place so I guess this is an end to PE kits festering in their bags all term. 

I have ordered all of their PE kits, their sweatshirts, ties and trousers for Heidi as she actually needed some for now. I think I will order everything else in July. Poor Jack will have to wait until August as I need to spread the cost. 

Lockdown easing 

If I look back to May Half Term which is just one month ago, we had only enjoyed one family walk and one evening trip to the beach. Since then, we have been venturing out a little more. This is mostly because I feel more confident / armed with the facts about how I can keep us safe and there is less virus in the community at the moment. 

For me, I am happy to go for walks with the family, visit a local beach in the evening, play crazy golf in our bubble or enjoy an outdoor activity which can be pre-booked to limit numbers (eg National Trust). I still do not really feel comfortable with visiting the cinema, restaurants or pubs though. I don't think we will be enjoying time indoors with our loved ones just yet. 

I do think I will let the kids play in the park once they re-open. They are pretty sensible and know not to touch their face / use alcohol gel. 

I would LOVE a babysitter and some quality time with Steve or alone. We are lucky to have lovely grandparents available to babysit if we ever need it. However, I just feel weird about the kids spending time in their grandparent's house at the minute, especially with my mam who is in a vulnerable group. And to me, it would be weird that they still need to stay 2m apart (or 1m with mitigation - ie back to back or similar).

Then what if something went wrong such as someone falling over and needing a plaster and a cuddle? Do I really want to put that risk onto our parents? Again, this may change once these new rules have been in place for a while but at the min, we are staying as we are and just enjoying date nights at home with the kids playing XBOX upstairs. 
 
How I feel about what I feel safe doing will change over time - who knows what I will be writing next month. 

Garden update 

If you follow my Instagram stories, you will know that I have taken a bit of an interest in gardening this year. Honestly, it is the best hobby. 

My bro built a raised bed for us in the front and we have tomato plants, beetroot and radishes growing in there. I also have peas and rocket growing outside plus some cut flowers from seed.

In pots in our front we are growing sunflowers, sweetpeas and lillies. 

In our conservatory we have chilli plants going strong as well as peppers and cauliflower. Steve is also attempting to grow an avocado! 

I have more plans for this year and next but the next phase is to replace our fence in the back which is hopefully happening on Wednesday. 


Quality time with the boys 

Heidi attends school for two days per week so I now have two quality days with the boys which is nice. I think as a parent, I naturally spend more time with Heidi. We have enjoyed walks in the woods & crazy golf so far. It is weird only having two kids to entertain but also a rare opportunity I think. 

Relaxing home education 

As we approach the last few weeks of term, I am very much taking a more relaxed approach to home schooling. We have managed to do a lot over these past few months from building our own model planes and writing stories to art classes in the garden and learning how to make gnocchi from scratch.

I feel like we are all home-schooled out now though. Our school is pretty flexible and we don't need to complete work set so we have scaled everything right back and we are just focussing on daily times tables, language and spelling apps plus a few lessons from BBC Bitesize (except Harry who does his own thing).

The end of Summer term is always a little less intense with trips, sports day, summer fairs etc..... so I don't feel too bad relaxing things for the last few weeks. 

Letting go of anger & worry 

Coronavirus is still a problem in the UK and we should not be complacent. I will still be observing social distancing and taking a fairly cautious approach and not jumping to do things as soon as we can. I personally do feel like there will be a second wave at some point (probably autumn/winter) and local lockdowns are to be expected. 

However, I realised this week that I have spent the last four months feeling super anxious and angry at the behaviour of others for no gain. After the VE Day Street Parties I remember having sleepless nights that a second wave was coming. I was absolutely FURIOUS (and still am) at Dominic Cummings for breaking the rules and I think we all have been guilty of curtain-twitching when neighbours have people over. 

Yes it can be frustrating how others behave but me feeling angry and worried about something I have no power over changing helps nobody. So this summer, I am going to let it go and not worry if I see others breaking the rules - that is their choice and I cannot stop them. If a second wave or local lockdown happens, we will deal with that at the time. 

After a rough few months, I just want to focus on keeping myself, Steve, our kids and loved ones around us as safe as possible whilst having a brilliant (socially distanced) summer. That is what I am going to try and keep at the front of my mind from now on. Life is too short for worry and anger and it is time to start living again. 


Blog work 

Blog work is still super quiet but I do still think it will pick up in the next few months. My page views have increased quite a bit recently which means that my advert revenue is up. My advert earnings are paid in three months time so at least I know from September, I will start having some money in the bank again which is a relief.  

I am not mam to the whole of the North East 

I have mentioned this a few times across my social media but there has been a period of time where I have received daily messages / comments from people blaming me for people littering / parking irresponsibly / using their garden as a toilet. 

Personally, I have had a fairly cautious approach to going out and about. Throughout lockdown where we were only allowed out for one hour per day, I amplified this message as much as possible. Then as lockdown eased and we were allowed out for an unlimited time for exercise or leisure, it was a full two weeks after this was allowed before I shared our first little trip to the beach. 

It is only now, 5/6 weeks after the date we have been allowed out for an unlimited time that I am starting to regularly share ideas for days out again. 

This is my job, it is what people ask my advice about daily and I can hand on heart say I know I have acted responsibly when sharing ideas. We are allowed to go out now and cannot stay in forever, spending time outdoors is important for mental health for both adults and children.  If you don't want to go out that is fine, no judgement here. Likewise, if you are shielding, hopefully my articles will help you in the future. 

 I always include a little note that we should take our litter home, park responsibly, respect communities and observe social distancing and if you arrive somewhere and it is busy, to leave and return another day. To me, this is common sense and I know that the majority of my readers will do this too. It absolutely baffles me when people blame me for places being busy or others littering or parking dangerously. This is not my fault - I cannot control how others behave. 

Also, with limited places open at the moment, EVERYWHERE is busy. It is just the way it is right now and it is not the fault of my little blog. I have not mentioned Tynemouth beach at all yet it is still busy there for example. Do people blame the books mentioning walks in Northumberland or the weather for showing a picture of a natural beauty spot for people littering or not social distancing? I think not. 

People seem to be especially annoyed if I mention a nature reserve or woodland walk close to where they live. I really cannot stand this elitist NOT IN MY BACK YARD attitude. We are allowed to travel as much as we like around England now and this has been the case for over a month. Our beautiful nature reserves, woodland and beaches are there for everyone to enjoy, not just those who happen to be able to afford a house next to them. Honestly, how dare some people begrudge children being able to feed the ducks or paddle in a stream during this tough time! 

One lady even said she worked hard to afford a house in the country. OMG where do I even start with an attitude like this. As if local beauty spots are only for the wealthy. Aghhhh! As you can see, I am furious about this. 

I am not mam to the whole of the North East - please continue to use my ideas to visit places responsibly and safely this summer. We all need to accept some personal responsibility for our actions. 

Newsletter 

I have had a real bout of motivation towards the end of this month and have started a new monthly newsletter. You can sign up here. I plan on sending out ideas for things to do for the month ahead. 

TV/ Film 

This month we have enjoyed watching The Salisbury Poisoning  - it is terrifying that this actually happened and could happen again! I absolutely loved the new series of Queer Eye and I think it is the best one yet. I was gutted when it was over. I have had a few girly movie nights with Heidi - we have watched Dumplin and Never Been Kissed which are both perfect for tweens.

We also watched When they see us which is a must-watch. It is a hard watch at times but important I feel. Oh and we watched Brexit : The Uncivil War on Netflix which was eye-opening. It was interesting to see more behind the man who is Dominic Cummings and Benedict Cumberbatch is just as incredible as always. 


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How has June been for you? 

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