Life Lately - February 2021

Welcome to another instalment of life lately - a place to chat / share my thoughts on life at the moment. As I type this, we are still in lockdown 3.0 in England. Boris is setting out a roadmap out of lockdown later but it has mostly been leaked to the press already. I am actually feeling very optimistic about the plan.


 

I know dates can change if there are spikes / the numbers don't keep falling but the thought of being able to enjoy a trip to the beach over Easter with family and friends and the the kids returning to school in two weeks is keeping me going. After the worst winter ever, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 
 
Steve working from home 

Steve working from home has been the biggest change for us since my last update. He has always had the option to do this but we really lack space - we are a family of 5 in a 3 bed terrace house and don't have a dining room/space for a table in the kitchen etc.....

Steve can't work upstairs in our bedroom as we physically need our bedroom as space to separate the boys with them sharing a room to stop them from fighting (we have the Xbox in our room and the Playstation in their room and have a rota). He can't work at my desk in the living room as he deals with confidential customer information and needs a private space. We do have a conservatory but that does have it's problems - leaky roof, below zero temperatures, too sunny......... (Bless Steve when it was snowing he was surrounded with radiators, wrapped in blankets, wearing a coat and had a hot water bottle on his knee for 10 hours). 

However as he turned up from work one night with his office in our car, we just made it work and sacrificed our dining table in the conservatory as an office space. Steve needs a fixed space and pretty much takes up the whole table with his various monitors and equipment and if this continues, we will miss having a dining space in the spring/summer. I don't want to moan though as I know many are in the same boat / worse than us. We were also worried about our WiFi - 5 people all streaming using multiple devices at once to home school / listen to music / watch TV / work is quite the strain - we already have a booster upstairs but now also have a BT home hub and thankfully, it has coped. 

We are around a month in now and I have to say, despite our reservations, for me I love having Steve working from home. The biggest plus points are no commute (our car has barely been used this month), the fact that he finishes work and is straight with us, Steve can have lunch with us, I can pop out for a walk and know there is another adult in the house, I always have access to the car if I need it.....Steve is 50/50 about the whole thing. I know he misses the social side and feels pretty isolated locked in the conservatory but we are still very much in the settling in period. I am not sure how he is going to feel working in there in the summer as he looks out at me sunbathing in the back garden. 

Food shopping

I have chatted about this a bit on my Instagram stories but has anyone else noticed how much shopping has increased in price recently? I shop online with Morrisons or Amazon Prime (alongside local places for fruit/veg/meat etc....) as I have a delivery price and some of the prices have gone through the roof. A pack of herby new potatoes that you stick in the microwave for 2 is now £2.20. I swear it was less than £1 not so long ago. 

There is also a distinct lack of choice online and I have found own-brand options to be limited. For example I like tinned Mandarin oranges with my breakfast and the only option online a few weeks ago were the branded £1 tins. It is frustrating when I could go into the store and buy one for 30p. 

Lots of people recommended I shop at Aldi. We actually have an Aldi around the corner from our house and I used to go all the time before the pandemic. However I have only visited twice this year as truth be told I am scared of it! The aisles are too narrow and it is impossible to socially distance in store. I know I would be fine if I just bit the bullet and went and a few people messaged me about quieter times, I am still on the fence though. Throughout January and February I have taken the stay-at-home message very seriously and only left the house when essential. I question myself if it is essential for me to visit Aldi when I can order groceries online? Hmmmm it's a tricky one. I reckon with lockdown easing now, I may be tempted back soon but I may also wait until I have received my first vaccine. We will see! 

February half term 

I usually really like February Half Term. Steve usually takes the week off work (and did this time around too) and we enjoy days out or little mini breaks. I usually find February to be a quiet time to travel and there are often good deals to be had if you don't mind the cold. 

This time around, with the advice being to stay at home or in your hometown and there not being anything like Easter / Christmas to celebrate, it really has felt like the most restrictive half term yet. We watched SO many movies, cooked (or ordered) lots of lush food and the kids played Minecraft a lot. That was pretty much it! I was thankful for the break from remote learning though. 

Remote learning 

We are still in a good routine with home learning and I am SO proud of the kids and how they are doing. The kids are learning and the teachers are doing a fantastic job but we are all desperate for them to get back to school and resume a proper and fully rounded education. Throughout this whole pandemic, Jack's school has had zero cases and Harry and Heidi have not had to self isolate due to a bubble going down at any time.

This, combined with the fact that the vaccine roll out is a huge success, our teachers cannot wait to have kids back in the classroom and the fact that the transmission of the virus is decreasing makes me feel confident that sending the kids back to school is the right thing for us (I know it's not for everyone). Roll on 8th March!

I do wish the teachers could have been vaccinated as a priority though for an extra piece of reassurance. At the moment, my kids aren't going anywhere other than school (which they walk to and don't use public transport) and Steve and I are staying at home too so I do think the chance H, H or J would pass COVID onto a teacher is minimal. I know that not all family circumstances are the same as ours though and it is a big ask of teachers and other school staff so thank you. 

Many people are very quick to criticise young people and their behaviour throughout this pandemic but all of the young people I know have been absolute stars. I cannot imagine being told at age 14 that I couldn't see my friends or my boyfriend. I actually think I might have been a rebel and broken the rules if I look at myself back then so to see the young people around me make huge sacrifices and sticking with the rules is just incredible and I am so proud of them all. I hope they get to let their hair down a bit this summer. They deserve it! 

Starting to look forward to Spring/Summer 

I am so done with winter now and cannot wait for Spring/Summer. Even the simple pleasures like feeling the sunshine on my face, meeting the family in a beer garden, taking the kids to the beach after school, having a little day trip with my mam - I cannot wait and the thought of Spring/Summer/a little more freedom is keeping me going right now and will get me through the last weeks of lockdown. 

Lack of work 

January/February is usually quiet but this year it has been even more so, especially as there weren't many half term events to promote. I have my November/December earnings to carry me through these months though so it is all ok for now. I just hope things pick up a bit in March/April/May and I am sure they will. 

A Big Month for Harry 

Harry officially started working for North East Family Fun this week. I have submitted the relevant forms to the council and he is only working for 1-2 hours per week to start off with. Mostly researching posts / admin / design work / editing videos. He enjoys writing and it is a good experience for him. 

Harry is also picking his GCSE options this week. At the moment, the degree he wants do do doesn't require a specific subject to have been studied so he has just chosen what he enjoys which is sensible - History, Media, Drama and Spanish. 

What I'm watching 

Thank goodness for TV, it has really got me through this lockdown. I have binge watched quite a lot this month. I finished MAFS which I loved. I cannot believe the shenanigans that went on this time around! 

We watched It's A Sin with Harry. Absolutely loved it and all of us have the soundtrack on loop right now. It was so sad though. 

I have been LOVING the new episodes of This is Us. I cried my eyes out at the latest with the births. 

Steve and I are working our way through How to Get Away with Murder. It is a little cheesy but also compulsive viewing. We can't believe the kill count already! 

I watched the Britney documentary and it was heartbreaking. I used to buy Heat every Tuesday in my late teens and I now feel awful about buying into that whole frenzy. We were trying to explain to Harry & Heidi what Heat magazine was and as we were, we realised it was kind of done now and not really something their generation will grow up with - I hope I am right about that. I guess they have a whole new set of problems with Social Media though. 

Social Media 

Speaking of social media, this month I have really found myself being fairly brutal with who I follow. I know this is ridiculous as I post on social media as part of my job (and some may see me this way) but I am increasingly finding the whole thing to be really fake and scrolling social media often leaves me feeling angry/annoyed rather than uplifted right now.

I want to connect with real people who lead real lives on social media and not people who have no respect for their followers or promote a lifestyle which is not the kind I want to lead.

I want to scroll and feel inspired and like I really know the people I see inside my phone and like we have a genuine connection and that the people I follow actually have a conscience and actually add something to my day.

I do not want to feel annoyed or that they are just there pretending to be my friend so they can sell me something.

I don't want to see perfectly posed photos and curated feeds where everyone just comments on each others photos for the sake of it or to boost their engagement. I know some people love this and liken it to browsing a glossy mag but I've never been a glossy mag kind of girl. I just want a more authentic experience I guess. Does all of this make sense? 

Anyway, I have unfollowed/muted a lot of people and found a whole new bunch of people to follow and it has actually made a difference. This week, I have enjoyed interacting on Instagram. Long may it last! 


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