Life Lately - October 2020

We Made it to Half Term 

By some kind of miracle, we made it to October Half Term with nobody needing to self isolate. Heidi and Harry have had 19 confirmed COVID cases amongst children in their school over 7 weeks. 

They have not been close contacts / in the same classes as those infected though so have not needed to self-isolate. So far (at least in our school), one confirmed case does not seem to have caused a knock-on effect and led to multiple cases/the whole class catching COVID which is reassuring (although obviously, we should not be complacent). I actually don't think 19 cases amongst 2100+ students who are not wearing face coverings in lessons is too bad (less than 1% of the school). 

Personally, I think there needs to be a balance and don't agree in isolating a full year group each time there is a case. Simply isolating close contacts rather than a blanket approach makes much more sense to me. 

There have been no confirmed cases at Jack's small Primary which considering it is in the same town is also some kind of miracle. Jack's school is much smaller and he spends all of his lessons with the same 25 or so kids so if one of them is confirmed to have COVID, Jack will need to self isolate. I do expect this to happen at some point (as do the school and they have plans in place for this if it happens). 

As a family I do think we are at quite a high risk of catching COVID. Steve shares an office with hundreds of people, Harry and Heidi are in a school bubble of probably around 100 each and Jack is in a school bubble of 25-30. Then I am also in a childcare bubble with my brother and Evan (and Mark works with maybe 10 people, Evan is in a school bubble of around 30 and then separate bubbles with his mam and family too). So really, our 'bubble' is over 600. It is actually crazy that we haven't caught it yet really. 

A Fire & a Flood

We had a bit of a shock earlier in the month. I was sitting in our living room on my computer when I could smell something. I opened the door into our kitchen and it was filled with smoke. Our tumble dryer was on fire! I called 999 and dragged our Guinea Pig outside. Luckily for us, we live just around the corner from a fire station and the crew were here in minutes. The call handler told me to close the doors and wait outside. Just as I was doing this, the kids arrived home. It was awful as we couldn't see what was going on at the back of the house. 

Luckily, there was minimal damage. The issue wasn't a lint fire which you often see on FB videos, it was actually caused at the back of the machine in the drum where the bearings are and because of this, most of the damage was contained inside the drum. 

The fire crew called my an ambulance for smoke inhalation and shock and the paramedics were lush. I had a full medical with blood tests, ECGs etc.....

I am so thankful there was no lasting damage. I cannot face buying another tumble dryer just yet which is really hard when you are a family of 5 with three kids who play sports. I went with a heated air dryer from Lakeland for now. It does the job but I don't love it as it seems to take forever. 

Anyway, the following week, our washing machine stopped working too. As we pulled it out to have a look, we accidentally snapped the cold water pipe and cold water was gushing everywhere. I tried to turn the water off at the stop cock but I wasn't strong enough so swapped with Steve and he managed it. Our kitchen was such a mess with water all over the floor, ceiling, cupboards.......agh! 

Anyway, the problems have been sorted now. Fingers crossed there is nothing else in store for us as nobody likes surprise expenses like this in the run up to Christmas. 

Think Like a Monk 

On the night of our fire, I needed to calm down and listened to Fearne Cotton's Happy Place podcast in the bath which I love. Her guest was Jay Shetty who was a young London lad who went to live like a monk once he had finished uni and now shares how some of the monk principles can be applied to every day life. I think the timing was so right as I really connected with it. I have bought his book and once the kids are back to school, will be making time to finish it. 

One of the things that resonated with me was how we deal with other people. I have spent a lot of this year feeling angry and powerless at others / the Government and quite often vent my frustrations online. Really, this does nothing to improve the situation and can actually make it feel worse. 

Obviously, there is a time and a place for sharing the bad things that are going on in the world and we do need to be informed but constantly sharing negative thoughts online does nobody any good. If you decide to bitch about someone online to a friend, you don't make that friend feel good, you make that friend also feel your frustrations. You don't feel good about it and then they may then vent about it to their partner and it's like a chain reaction of negativity. 

Instead it is so much better to try and spread positivity which can set off a reverse chain of reaction and improve many people's day rather than making it more negative (especially when it refers to something they can't control). 

I am blathering a bit here and not sure I'm even making sense but I highly recommend his book. More positivity is definitely my focus for now. I do slip every now and then as I am human but I do try. 

Binge Watching 

This month I binged This is Us on Prime. OMG it is one of the best shows I have ever watched. It tells the story of twins and their adopted brother and chops and changes between various periods in their life. It is so clever! Series 5 has just started and they deal with the pandemic and BLM. For me, it has been brilliant to see what we are living through played out in a drama. 

Another recommendation from followers was Love Life which you can catch on iPlayer. It is a short series starring Anna Kendrick as Darby. The show follows her relationships in her 20s and 30s with each episode focussing on a specific relationship. Everything is covered from parents, one night stands, long term boyfriends, friends......I really enjoyed it. 

At the start of the month we watched Ratched on Netflix. Agh it was awful! I had to turn away at some of the torture scenes (including a horrible bath scene which I still think about now). However, the cinematography and the costumes/fashion were just incredible and really drew me in so I had to keep watching. It did become a little tamer towards the end and I really enjoyed it. 

31 Horror Movies for October

Steve decided to watch 31 horror movies in October and it has been quite the slog, especially considering he doesn't get home from work until almost 8:30pm some nights. I haven't watched them all but I enjoyed re-watching some of my favourite teen classics including I know what you did last summer and Urban Legend. I was also reminded of how horrible The Quiet Place is (the scene with the stairs). Agh! I watched The Shining for the first time too and thought it was canny. 

Starting FiiT

After listening to Jay Shetty, one of the things he mentioned was that you should exercise every day for a healthy mind. Even if it was just for 5 minutes. At the same time, I received an email from Sky to say that I could now work out with FiiT through Sky Q. So I signed up to a free trial and I have been loving it so far. I won't go into it in too much detail now as there is loads of info to share but a 25/40 minute workout at the start of the day really does put me in the best of moods. I haven't been able to do it as much when the kids are all at home during half term and we have been busy but once they are back at school, I will be resuming full daily workouts. 

So far I have exercised for 387 minutes, burned 2410 calories and completed 15 classes - a mix of yoga, strength and cardio. Cardio is my favourite! 

In a nutshell, I like the competitive edge and that you can virtually compete against other members and also that there are over 600 classes on there for all abilities. 

FiiT is running a Movember offer, donate £6 to the cause & you can sign up to a free 30 day trial with no credit card required. I prefer to use FiiT with my iPad / phone as I can link my heartrate tracker (this is not available with the Sky option). If you are interested in a free trial, read more here. 

Tier 2 

When the North East changed to Tier 2 restrictions, we actually gained freedom and being allowed to meet up with people in certain environments has been lush. I have enjoyed a few coffees with friends and my mam which has been lovely. 

The rule of 6 still does my head in. Steve took this kids to the coast to meet his mam and dad and I had to stay at home otherwise we would be breaking the law. I mean I can hand on heart say I would actually pose no additional risk in this situation and it feels silly. 

Similarly, when my washing machine broke, I had a chuckle to myself that I wasn't allowed in my mam's house to use her washing machine and would have to throw my dirty clothes at her from the garden. Hilarious. 

Let's see what this week will bring though. I am pleased I made the most of being in Tier 2 (whilst keeping ourselves as safe as we can) while it has been possible. 

Steve's Hours Changing Again

Steve started a new role earlier this year and after years of working shifts, he switched to Monday-Friday. It was nice to have every weekend off together but I also did miss our little date days together when the kids were off school. Anyway, he is continuing in his new role but his hours are changing again next month. He will be working some weekends now but he will also have mid-week days off which I actually prefer. 

Blog Work in October  

So in October I was faced with the prospect of having zero work. This has never happened before! I wasn't overly worried but after I tweeted about it, some of my contacts did get in touch and I have been working on some lovely projects for which I am super thankful.

My page views have been good in October with lots of people reading about Halloween and Half Term events. The rate advertisers pay to place adverts in the middle of the text on this blog has also increased as Oct / Nov / Dec is when advertisers tend to spend the most. Anyway, this has meant my blog earned $1000 USD in Mediavine advert revenue in October which will be paid in January. I am usually super skint in January and January & February are traditionally my quietest months work-wise so knowing I have this really takes the pressure off. Thanks to everyone who continues to read and share my website. 

A Very Quiet November 

It looks like we have a very quiet November in store. November is usually our busiest month of the year as most Christmas events start then and if we are working with a brand, they usually like us to feature them early on. I have absolutely nothing in our diary this year though. I am actually kind of looking forward to a quiet November for once and I am going to try and embrace it with walks, gardening, baking, home cooked meals, board game days, movie nights..... that kind of thing. 

Vaccination Trials 

Steve and I have been asked to sign up to a COVID vaccination trial. I think we are going to do it! Will keep you informed of how it goes (nobody needs to send me any info or thoughts on vaccinations - I can make my own informed choices). 

Let me know how your October has gone. 


1 comment

  1. We have had one case at my youngest girls school but they were already isolating so hadn't been in school for over a week. I am hoping when she goes back to school tomorrow more is done to keep year groups separate. Eek!
    Oh gosh! What a scare with the fire. I am so glad no one was hurt and there wasn't much damage. The flood sounds awful too.
    After I've rewatched Stranger Things I am going to give This Is Us A Try. It looks like something I'd love.


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