Featured Slider

Gratitude Journal #81

We had a few bits on last week, more than we have done since lockdown began and it made all the difference to me and the girls

Day to myself
My inlaws had the girls for a few hours and it was amazing.  I haven't felt so relaxed in a long, long time and it did the girls some good too.

Meet the teacher sessions
The girls each had a session with their new teachers last week. E already knew hers, having had her cover for other teachers over the years and she was actually one of the teachers who helped her overcome her shyness in reception.  I think E will do well with her this year. T was a complete surprise, she was the first into the classroom and barely gave me a second glance as she went in. 

It did feel rather strange going into school, being the first time we've been back since March. They've implemented a one-way system around the school and gave all the children a pump of hand sanitiser before they were allowed into the classroom. It all felt very safe and reassuring and I was happy leaving them there.

The break apart from each other did the girls some good too. E wouldn't admit it but had clearly missed T because when we got home, they disappeared to play in the garden for a couple of hours! 

Work Room
This weekend, the plasterer popped out to have a look at my workroom and to confirm he could fit the job in.  Provided we can get hold of some plaster - which is apparently hard to get hold of at the moment - he can come and get it done in the next week or two. Hurrah!  

So yesterday was spent trying to clear the room out.  With renovating, we're finding that we end up moving a lot of stuff about whilst we sort out a room.  Our conservatory (which will eventually be rebuilt) is currently being used as a storage room for everything. Once my workroom is finished it means we can get all of my things out of the garage and then we will have room in the garage for all of the things in the conservatory! 

Plant Pots
I had a happy delivery of plant pots last week. Such a little thing but it's pleased me no end to get rid of the brown plastic pots and add a bit of colour. Plus, faffing with plants is always therapeutic!

School Uniform
Perhaps I'm being a bit optimistic but this weekend saw me ordering the girl's school uniform.  I always struggle to find bits in their size and the right colour so when I had a look on the off-chance I wanted to get them whilst I could.  Both girls have had a bit of a growth spurt with T being a similar shape and size to E, so I've purchased them both E's size and I'm keeping my fingers crossed everything will fit properly!

Gratitude Journal #80

Gratitude Journal #80

Understanding Teachers
Throughout lockdown, I have been unable to fault our school and teachers, they have been brilliant.  And that goes before lockdown too. They have sent us regular newsletters home to tell us about how they are caring for the key workers children, the changes they are making to the school and to share links and information with us.  

I have had cause to email both girls teachers throughout the however-many-weeks we are now at. Firstly, with T, to request some more maths work. Her teacher was more than obliging, telling me where to find it on the school system and providing me with further sites we could use.  

A few weeks ago, I had to email E's teacher because we were having some difficulties in getting her to complete any of the work set. It didn't help that the book they were centering work around, was incredibly dull.  In the end, we decided to do some learning around different topics, using her Horrible Histories books for inspiration.  I emailed her teacher who was more than happy with us following this course of action if she wasn't enjoying the work and said that if we were to email it through, she would be happy to mark it and if E was happy with it, share with the class.  Since then, happily, E has been completing a little more work than she had been but we have also done a few projects ourselves, including a look at the Victorians, Ancient Eygpt, Florence Nightingale, Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens.  

Easy Cooking
I don't know about anyone else but I am finding that I am getting SO fed up of cooking all the time. I simply have no motivation to do it.  Unfortunately though, not cooking is not an option, so I've been making the most of simpler meals.

Socially Distanced Picnic
Last weekend we had a socilly distanced picnic in my in-laws garden with my friend and her children.  They were all brilliantly behaved and its been so lovely to catch up with friends where possible.

Feeling Crafty
D has been working on what will become my craft room and I don't know whether it is the prospect of finally having somewhere I can keep all my things and leave what I am working on out or what but I've been feeling really inspired recently.  There is so much I want to be making.  

A couple of weeks ago, the children found a 'my first cross stitch kit' in the presents cupboard - unsurprisingly we haven't had to dig into it much this year!  They gave me one to do and I enjoyed doing it so much that I brought myself one to do.  Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it and it's led to me ordering myself some blank aida fabric and threads to have a go at designing my own.  

Bee Friendly : How we're helping the bees with our cottage garden

Unless you've been hidden away for the last few years, I'm sure you'll have seen that there is growing concern at the decline of bees worldwide.  The decline is thought to be from the loss of habitat, the change in climate, and the use of pesticides.

Concern is rising because bees help to pollinate plants and crops, transferring pollen from one plant to another via pollen clinging to its body.  Good pollination results in healthy crops with good fruits and viable seeds whilst bad pollination results in the opposite.  According to the Soil Association, there are around 70 crops in the UK that either depends on or benefits from bee pollination.

Bees are something that the girls and I talk about when we are in the garden. They are still a little edgy when they see one and are nervous about being stung but they are much better than they used to be.  They understand that they are doing important work and that we must leave them alone. 

With that in mind, I decided to do a little reading into how we could help them and flowers that are particularly bee friendly and I was pleased to see that I'm already on the right track! The Sussex Wildlife Trust suggests wildflowers and traditional cottage garden plants in gardens nationwide to encourage them.

Certain plants are more attractive to bees than others. For example, lavender is often covered in bees - in our garden, come summer, it is not unusual to see 10 or more bees on our lavender bush.  Flowers that are blue, purple or yellow are thought to be the most appealing whilst flowers that have flat or shallow blossoms (eg daisies or asters) will attract the largest variety of bee.  Tubular shaped flowers, like foxgloves, are favoured by long tailed beers.

When I first started gardening, I had a clear idea of how I wanted it to look. Like a cottage garden you would find out in a small village, filled with flowers and plants of different heights and colours, almost a little wild looking. When we moved into the house, the few plants that survived the neglected and severely overrun garden were three rose bushes and a large lavender bush. To that, I have added a few plants to return each year - daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, lupin, delphinium and gladioli. And each year I buy some bedding plants for the pots. 

Bee Friendly : How we're helping the bees with our cottage garden

This year, thanks to lockdown, the garden isn't as full as it has been on previous years but the plants we do have seem to be doing the trick and we are seeing lots of bees, particularly on the lavender.

Other ways that we can all help the bees include avoiding pesticides and keeping weeding to a minimum as weeds can be a good food source, particularly in spring.  I tell you, I am rocking this tip this year, as it has either been too hot or too wet to get out there and do it! Something else we can all do, is to leave a shallow bowl of water out to help them quench their thirst. 

The Sussex Wildlife Trust has some excellent information about bees including the different species and other ways we can help them.

How are you helping bees? Does their decline concern you or do you think of them as a pest? 

Lockdown Journal : Remember Me?

I only planned a few days break from writing here but it's nearly a month away and here I am.  

It's been a challenging few weeks for me. Nothing major or of significant importance but my mood has been at an all time low.  The girls are fed up of being at home and not seeing their friends and have been bickering and generally being a bit naughty. We've had E completely out of sorts, we thought she might be getting HSP again, which she had left year.  She had similar symptoms but without a rash, so I've spent a lot of time checking her legs and feet for it.  

After several days with her eating the bare minimum, I took her to A&E, thankful they were very reassuring she has improved.  A child refusing to eat, even though her stomach is rumbling, is a real concern. Especially when they won't give you a reason why.  It's something I will be keeping an eye on but a picky eating child, refusing to eat, makes for an incredibly stressful time.

I'm not entirely convinced that E hasn't been feeling a little low from being at home and not seeing friends and family.  As time has gone on, we have been seeing my in-laws, from a distance, in their garden, which both girls have enjoyed. We've also been on a couple of distanced walks with friends, which seems to have boosted their moods too.  

T was due to go back to school on 1st June.  We made a decision not to send her because E wouldn't be going back and it just didn't make sense to us, especially when everything was still so up in the air.  It also felt a bit hard sending her back when we didn't know of any of her friends in her 'bubble' and she didn't know who her teacher would be, as her teacher is pregnant and being kept away from the classroom. With all the changes, bubbles, the change in teacher, desks being separated etc, we just didn't think she would cope all that well with it.

School work has been hard. T isn't having any work set by the school now that her year is able to go back.  E is having work set, she just doesn't want to do any of it and says it is boring.  To be fair to her, the work they are doing is centered around a very boring book!  I have been trying to do some work with them both and have spoken to E's teacher who has reassured me.  They're both bright and keen to learn so I shouldn't worry too much, their mental health is far more important at the moment. Quite right too.

I'm grateful that none of us have had COVID-19.  D is still working every day but we've all managed to stay well.  I've had the odd flare-ups, mostly I've been struggling with fatigue and the general aches and pains I usually have. I'm also not sleeping well, which clearly doesn't help with the fatigue! I'm going to bed at my usual time but I am often still awake come midnight and it isn't unusual for me to see 1am wide awake and then wake up several times during the night.  The warmer weather we are now having, isn't helping etiher.

For me, the last few weeks have just felt like groundhog day. Over and over again. The monotony of always doing mealtimes, trying to juggle housework, learning and school. Desperately wanting - and needing - a few hours to myself.  I've not had the motivation to do anything. 

The last few days have been a little easier. I feel like I've spent the last few weeks in a real funk and its time to crawl out of it.  And I've felt cross with myself because before lockdown had taken started, I had made a real effort to be more positive. I was making time to journal every day, was doing affirmations and had made a vision board to help me along the way. I need to pull myself out of this funk and make time for all of those things again. Onwards and upwards.

Silent Sunday : 24 May 2020