Life Lately : January 2021


Staying in is the new going out 

How are we all doing? I thought I would check in with a new life lately post. I like writing these posts as it is a chance to get a few things off my chest and record normal, every-day family life which is just as important as the exciting bits. 

Sadly, the Coronavirus pandemic is pretty much out of control at the moment and the whole of the UK is under a 'Stay at Home' order which means we must try and stay at home as much as possible. This has actually been pretty easy for us to do this time around as it's cold outside and I have no inclination to leave our warm household bubble. I haven't actually stepped outside of our front door this year yet. Living in 2020/21 means that everything we need can be delivered to our door. I am not opposed to taking a walk and I know some people need it daily and that is absolutely fine but I just don't feel the urge/need yet and everyone is different.

Steve goes out pretty much every day as he still works from his office and during break/lunchtime the kids play outside either in our garden, on the triangle of grass next to our house or they walk to the park at the end of our street. 

I am going to leave the house today though to pick up a Nandos. We have been cooking from scratch a lot this week and poor Steve needs a break so I said we would order in today. Our Nandos isn't on Deliveroo yet but it is in our town and just a 15 minute walk from our home so I am happy that it is classed as local for us. I mean Nandos isn't exactly essential but there is a fine line between supporting the restaurants in our town we love and being really strict I think. We do need to eat! 

Please follow Government guidelines and don't leave your town or village for exercise, pick up a takeaway or shop for essentials where possible (I know not every town has a supermarket etc... so obviously there are exemptions). As much as I would love to pick up a Sunday Roast from some of my favourite places like The Woodmans Arms it just feels really irresponsible to drive outside of our town right now and go against Government advice. The NHS and emergency services are being pushed to the brink and the less people on the roads (especially in icy conditions), the better. At this time, I am very much focussed on supporting the super-local businesses we have right on our doorstep here in Cramlington. If we all do the same, it will make a different. 

Home schooling returns 

I know lots of proper homeschoolers hate it when us regular folk use this term but what else can we call it? To me, H, H and J are learning at home so the term feels ok to me, although I know what we are doing is a far-cry from traditional home education. 

I have found home schooling to be a billion times better now. At our Secondary school, you have to buy a school laptop when you join and usually upgrade every few years. We pay £12 per child per month including insurance. There are schemes for those from disadvantaged families to receive funded laptops and the school has their own supply for those who don't have one too. I think pretty much everyone has their own laptop. I did moan about this scheme when Harry first joined but I am SO thankful for it now. Harry and Heidi are already used to using their laptops every day in lessons and are already super familiar with Google Classroom / Google Meet etc...... 

This means that Harry and Heidi can just crack on with their work in their bedrooms. They are following their regular timetable with live lessons and teachers are mostly teaching from home. It has worked so well and I am so thankful to our teachers. Lessons have been shortened to 45 minutes so they have a 15 minute break between lessons where they usually come down for a cup of tea / snack and let me know what they've been up to. It's quite social too as they can message their friends in the classroom etc.... 

With Jack, he is still set work through the SeeSaw app but there seems to be a lot more this time around and it is following the curriculum. It is a mix of BBC Bitesize / Oak Academy / Times Tables Rockstars / Spelling Shed / Work the teacher has set. It usually takes Jack from 9am-12noon to complete all of his set work with a few breaks in between. I do need to sit with him a lot of the time and it is a bit of a juggle keeping check on H&H at the same time but we have a nice routine. At 11am break time I usually prepare a healthy snack for everyone and then at lunch it's nice having our lunch together and the kids usually play out for a bit. 

In the afternoons, I try to organise something practical for Jack. We usually read a chapter of his book and do something like baking / a science experiment / play an educational game. This is usually from 1pm-2pm ish and then I usually let him finish early and he plays on Xbox or goes back outside in the garden for a bit. 

Work wise, I do bits and bobs on my phone when working with Jack and then tend to just work from 2pm-5pm and a bit in the evening/when Jack is working on a lengthier piece of work / over lunch/weekends/squeeze in when I can. I don't have loads of work on at the moment but it's important to me that I keep things ticking over. I am thankful for the flexibility of self-employment though. 

Facebook negativity 

I know everyone is having a tough time right now and I have noticed this on Facebook more than anywhere. I like my Facebook page to be a pretty positive page but over the past few weeks, I have noticed a lot more negativity than usual. 

For example, I post about the snow, people moan that they can't take their kids out in it because of school work. I post about a bakery offering home delivery, people moan that they aren't in the catchment areas. I post a photo of a beautiful harbour, people moan that they visited and were fuming as there was nothing there. I share a FREE teaching resource which we found useful, people moan that it's rubbish. I post about an M&S Meal Deal, people moan it's too expensive. I have tried to ask people to be nice in what I feel is a kind way but I am always shot down. One guy even said I was a Nazi!!

These are just examples from the last few days. Yes, they are only tiny little moans but when it's on every single post when I am trying to stay positive, it can feel relentless. I love Facebook and it is the platform where I have the largest following but I dread posting on there right now. Bring back happier times please. 

Trying to combat general negativity 

I know we are living in a pandemic and mental health and stress is at an all-time high at the moment but I have noticed the internet is a very negative place to be right now. Some people I have previously admired are now sharing things that have shocked me and I thought better of them. Everyone is angry, I get it. 

I try hard not to join in with negative conversations and have lots of people and words on mute at the moment. It helps. I know holding negative energy and thoughts in can be bad for some people and we all do have the right to vent and have a rant (and I do this sometimes too so I am a bit of a hypocrite on this) but I can't help but feel it would be better if folks did this privately and with their family and friends rather than broadcasting their negativity to the whole world all of the time and maybe saved a post as a draft and leaving it a bit before posting. I know there are exceptions and not everyone has in-person support and online support is vital BUT I do also think a lot of people are just posting negative comments for the sake of it too. 

Life at home 

Life at home is pretty chilled right now. We are enjoying lots of cooking with seasonal ingredients. This weekend we used up all of our leftover veg and made a cauliflower and roast garlic soup, homemade vegetable stock and veggie soup for our freezer plus we made our own bread and pasta from scratch. It is nice to have the time to do this and I love having a freezer full of homemade meals.

I bought a chess board which we have wanted for ages but was inspired by the Queen's Gambit. Jack is our chess champion at the moment which is nuts considering he is the youngest. Harry saved for 2 years to buy a VR headset and finally purchased over Christmas. We love playing Beat Saber together and it's lots of fun. I am also super thankful we have Sky Q and Spotify as we are listening to more music than ever. Harry and Heidi have music on through Spotify all day as they work and I am obsessed with the Bridgerton soundtrack. There has been a lot of binge watching going on, I am currently working my way through Married at First Sight Australia Season 6 which I am obsessed with.

Curly Girl Method (this section includes affiliate links) 

I have been following the Curly Girl method since the 15th December 2020 - basically a method of looking after your hair and encouraging natural curls. I am going to write a full blog post on it soon, but hare is the basic part of my routine: 

1 - Use Faith in Nature Conditioner to wash my scalp. Apply as a regular shampoo, ensuring I use finger tips, not nails. Rinse. Buy here. 

2 - Apply a generous amount of Garnier Banana Hair Food or Faith in Nature Conditioner (as above) to the whole hair. This is the only time I brush my hair. After brushing, leave for 5-10 mins. Tip hair upside down in the shower and as you are rinsing, use a a scrunching technique with your hands to squish as much water into the hair as possible. 

3 - Put your hair up into a microfibre towel (buy here) for 5-10 minutes as you get ready. 

4 - Remove towels and tip your hair upside down and your curls should seperate. Use a natural hair gel (buy here) and lots of it to coat the curls. Try and define each curl and apply plenty of gel. Your hair should still be pretty wet. Once all of the curls have been covered with gel and defined, either dry upside down with a diffuser on cool or leave to dry naturally. Try not to touch your hair as it dries. 

5 - Once dry, your hair will be crispy. This is called a cast. Crunch it out by scrunching with your fingers from the bottom to the top until your hair is beautifully soft with defined curls. 

6 - To sleep, either pile your hair on top of your head in a pineapple or wrap in a silk scarf. I only do this on days 1 and 2 when my curls are at their very best. 

There are various way to refresh curls each morning. I like to use a little Cantu Shea Butter curl activator then tip my hair upside down and scrunch. Buy here. 

Personally, my curls feel super soft on day one, look their best on day two and are nice enough on day three. On days four-seven I tend to wear my hair clipped up. I could achieve better curls on this day if I put the effort in but I am very low maintenance. I LOVE only having to wash and style my hair once a week and no, it doesn't look greasy. 

I will share more in depth info soon but wanted to give you a quick run down. 



  1. I am quite happy staying home with it being so cold out, the kids are too.
    I think sometimes picking up a takeaway is essential when you need a break from cooking and a treat.
    That is a really good idea about buying a laptop from school. I went to pick some work up for my youngest from school and they had a ton of laptops to give people to use who didn't have one of their own.
    It sounds like the home learning is going well. It does seem a lot more organised this time around.
    Your hair looks lush! I've heard of the Curly Girl method before but didn't know much about it. It seems to be working well for you.
    Take care and stay safe x

  2. Love your personal posts. This offers food for thought too. I know I’ve been a bit negative particularly on Twitter. For me, I’m just so frustrated with the government and partially feel it’s my duty to try and spread information that will force them into action finally as it seems it’s only when there is a groundswell of pushback that they actually bother their arses. BUT it doesn’t make me feel good, I’m one voice in very many and usually ends up getting me into social media arguments so I’m trying to be more mindful about what I post too and this is a helpful reminder. I’m pleased homeschooling is going better for you, sounds like you’ve got a good routine going! Queen’s Gambit even has me wanting to learn chess. Such a great show.


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