Day 1 and 2 – the beginning

mother's day card from 6 year old
‘Dear Mummy, Happy Mothers Day. I love you so much I love you two bits – Are we going out for dinner or lunch of breakfast. From marvellous, amazing and beautiful Lucie xxx

Yes I am going to be super creative and totally unique and keep an isolation diary so you can all see inside my tediously mundane life. One day we can all look back and observe the gradual unravelling of my consciousness into raving madness as it is ravaged by the relentless demands of bored hungry kids. You’re welcome, and see you on the other side.

Day 1 – yesterday 21 March 2020

It’s the weekend so we are doing nothing at all as per the usual. What bliss, let’s do it again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day af… Dear god what hell have we plunged into.

Let me start with a disclaimer: I myself can do nothing without a routine. Without routine, I will just plunge into an endless cycle of reading and tv bingeing occasionally interspersed by guilt. Without routine, I am aimless and utterly without self-discipline. I know this; I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. The only thing that makes me actually bloody good at my job is the prospect of money (and also that I like helping people but let’s face it, money and the fear of getting sacked are really strong incentives). We are starting strong and I am going to RULE at this social distancing working from home with kids stuff.

I decided to switch off social media after lunch because it was driving me crazy and I settled on the sofa to read. Badgerman revelled in the fact that he might also get some reading done, unprecedented scenes people, this is unknown territory. He is shitting it though, I can tell. Uncertainty does not sit well with him at all, although of course I am guessing this because he is keeping it all very close to his chest. Being a maths’ teacher in secondary, he’s got to go in on Monday to support children of key workers, but it might be his only day in, and he will do remote teaching for all of his classes, with so far zero clue as to how it’s all going to work.

I sent the girls out to the garden to clean the trampoline and pick up broken twigs and branches leftover by the various storms we’ve had since before Christmas. It’s a bright sunny day, but freezing cold and windy and they are over the novelty of it in 10 minutes but would also like to do some planting. I defer for when it’s warmer and we don’t risk all our seeds getting blown away – soon please god let it be soon amen.

I’m working out a loose plan of action for Monday when I am supposed to do 7.5 hrs of work remotely with the girls roaming in the house far away from the office. Maybe something like this:

7.30 am – 8.30 am: get up / breakfast / brush teeth / hair / get dressed

8.30 am – 9 am: chores – make bed / tidy bedroom / laundry

9 am – 10 am: PE / yoga / trampoline – make this last as long as possible

9.30 – 10.30 am: reading / writing / maths – no electronics (I’m hoping the school will give me some clue so I can just assign them some exercises)

10.30 – 11.30 am: something creative: drawing, painting, building, baking, lego challenge / YouTube tutorials

By the way, E has made a 42-day drawing challenge – suitable for ages 4 + and all abilities. It’s fabulous and you can get it for free on my Facebook Page.

11.30 – 1 pm: TV / Lunch / do whatever you want

1 pm – 2 pm: stuff with electronics – research / project / Hit the Button / Times Tables Rock Stars / BBC Bitesize / Horrible Histories / Blue Planet type documentary

3 pm – 5 pm: gardening / walk to the countryside if we are still allowed / Zoom and emails with friends / daily journal / 1 family board game

5 pm – 6 pm: free time so probably Roblox and YouTube videos

6 – 8 pm: dinner and movie

8 – 9 pm: kids wind down/get ready for bedtime

9 pm: gin and tonic / wine / icecream

We can laugh together when it all crumbles to nothing in the next 48 hours.

Day 2 – Mother’s Day

My anxiety has been all over the place this last week. It’s fear pure and simple, and it crops up here and there and there isn’t really anything for it, for one thing it’s not irrational fear so what’re you gonna do? Tiredness has been particularly high so I stocked up on Floradix tablets (vitamins and iron) but I still found that by 6 pm my entire body was starting to seize up from sheer exhaustion. Don’t underestimate the power of stress to affect your body at every level. My main advice here is: don’t ignore your body. Listen to what it’s telling you and look after it.

I’ve booked myself into a free online social media marketing course, and I’m joining into a yoga class, a singing warm up group and an exercise class to musical theatre routines. If I don’t fit in some fun things to do for me, I am going to turn into Ms Trunchbull and things are going to get ugly, and let’s just say there are so very random things on offer online at the moment.

It’s a bright and sunny day again today, Spring is finally here. I was treated to loads of beautiful cards and bacon and egg muffins. The girls are out playing limbo hop. We are going to get through this.


Planning for the end of the world

woman wearing a white mask leaning against a fence at dusk
Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

I don’t know about you but life has been a bit surreal these last couple of days. As Coronavirus cases increase, so does the sense of impending doom. On Thursday in particular as we waited for the announcement coming out of the Cobra meeting, our office felt like that bit in Titanic just before the ship hits the iceberg, or the moment before the ship breaks in two. You know something is going to happen; you don’t know when or what or how but there is a shift in the atmosphere, I think the term is ‘pregnant with expectation’. As it happens, nothing has actually changed, and no one knows yet whether that’s a good or bad thing. As with most things with this government you’re not sure whether their choice to delay the implementation of more stringent measures is the right thing (which is entirely possible) or if they are catastrophically incompetent.

Living in a state of such uncertainty is not comfortable, is it? Most of us are pretty worried even as we try to rationalise our fear by trying to ‘put things into perspective’. I’ve seen the list on Facebook, ranking all the other terrible things that people are constantly dying of, with Covid-19 towards the bottom of the page, cosily nestled between Leishmaniasis (yeah, me neither) and yellow fever. Yep, I feel so cheered up right now, knowing we’ve just added a new item to the top 20 death menu!

All things considered, I’m doing pretty well. My phobia is more directly linked to vomiting bugs so I’m not experiencing high levels of anxiety, just the normal kind for the occasion, not great but better than nearly passing out. I’m not too worried for myself or the children – or indeed Badgerman whose immune system, strengthened by years spent in the midst of dirty teenagers, pretty much guarantees he will get to look after us all should we catch the virus.

If you’ve clicked on the post thinking I was going to tell you how to plan for the apocalypse, I’m sorry to disappoint. I have not been bulk-buying for the end of the world, neither will I start bulk-buying now. It is a terrible selfish idea, so don’t do it. My existing Brexit stockpile however, a small affair I’ve been working on for the last few months in preparation for the worse case scenario of no-deal/end of transition without a working EU trade deal, has showed itself to be a nice bit of foresight, but not quite foresighted enough. Not least because, up to the 31st January just gone, we were well on the way to building a nice little fort of toilet paper around the bog. However, since that date, we have slowly but surely wiped our way through it because I thought it wouldn’t be needed for another few months. Oh the irony.

This said, should things quickly escalate further, aside from having to hunt for the early leaves of spring to wipe our butts, we will be able to keep going at home for a while thanks to the B-Stockpile. We have enough rice, pasta, tinned chopped tomatoes and olive oil to last a few weeks. It’s a sad coincidence but the Covid-19 crisis has been quite informative on this, giving us an insight into the products that might disappear fastest from our supermarkets should the worst come to pass. Aside from the overnight disappearance of all toilet paper, hand-wash and soap, people in my area have also panic bought painkillers, dry pasta (but not pasta sauce) and, to my surprise, antipasti. I never thought tinned sun-dried tomatoes, peppers and artichokes would be the first to go. They are not on my emergency food list, in fact I can’t even picture what kind of emergency list needs antipasti on it “Darling please don’t forget the tinned peppers, you know the tapenade doesn’t taste right without them! I’ve seen the neighbours’ underground bunker and they have a whole shelf for the caviar“. With that in mind, when the threat of contamination subsides and the shops return to normal, I’ll restart the Brexit stockpiling (one extra item in every shop, not bulk-buying – never bulk-buying!) and in addition to starting again with the toilet paper pile, I’m also planning to add salt and flour to the list so we can make our own bread and pizza dough.

You may think it’s all a big over-reaction, and it may be. I know I’d rather play it safe and find myself mid-January 2021 with too many tins of lentils rather than face the alternative. I’m not planning for the end of the world but I am prepping for a few weeks’ disruption. If the current situation has made you rethink your Brexit plan but you don’t know where to start, fear not! Wait until the current health crisis abates then think again. And you don’t have to work it out yourself, thankfully clever people have done it already, like Jack Monroe’s Brexit stockpile post, it covers all the basics and more. 



rhythms blog header 130615

And breathe…

Readers, I have been BUSY lately. I have been busy like I haven’t been for many years. It’s all my fault of course, but it is not in my nature to fill out my days with doing-things. If I was asked to define myself in a few words, I would always say that I am a being person rather than a doing person. I never require of myself to always be active. I don’t define myself by how busy I am, how many people I see, how many activities I or my children are involved in. I like to sit down to read or blog or watch TV, and I rarely view it as wasted time. It’s all a part of my regime of self-care and basic enjoyment of life. Which all sounds nice and all, but when combined with my natural laziness, makes for an interesting combination. But I digress.

The reason I’m mentioning this is that being busy in the way that my life has been in the last four months is really quite foreign to me and in many ways, I am still trying to adjust. I haven’t yet found a way to do life that doesn’t make me feel like any moment I stop comes with the sounds of brakes and a shout of ‘what the hell just happened to my day/week/month/entire life?’.

Looking back, it is not the house move that has led to all these feelings of whiplash but the combination of going back to work and studying. I had NO IDEA what becoming a student would mean after over fifteen years since being released from school schedules but blimey, that’s been a shock to the system. I have a newly found appreciation for mature students who juggle a full-time job with the pressure of studies but most of all I bow before anyone who does all of this – with children. To be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to manage it. I was under the impression that I had up to four years to undertake my studies but I have since found out that I have been enrolled on an 18-month course. On the one hand, this is good news. I need to be under some level of pressure to push me forward and keep my motivation up, plus there’s an end in sight in the near future. On the other hand, as soon as something happens in my personal life, it affects my ability to study and I feel the repercussions immediately. If a child is ill, or if they just refuse to go to bed, I lose valuable time, the only time I have, and it is out of my control. My first assignment deadline was Friday a week ago and I spent the previous three weeks researching and writing every evening as well as every spare moment during the day. I must have clocked over 20 hours a week of studies on top of a full day at work or with the children, staying up past 11.30 pm most nights in order to feel like I had at least some handle of my assignment brief (which, if you’re interested was on business environment, so think internal and external business responsibilities, competition policy, PESTEL analysis, the World Trade Organization, taxes and the like – riveting stuff but mostly, stuff I knew nothing about before I started). I don’t do well if I get under 7 hours of sleep, and I was starting to feel it.

In the meantime, there are things I would like to write about on the blog, about the move, our lovely new neighbours, our organisational challenges, the little things we have done to make it home, the local French group I have started to attend with the girls, but I just haven’t got the time or the energy. It makes me feel bad, because I do love what I have achieved here. I am really proud of some of the posts I was able to share in 2014 and I have been in a good place both in terms of inspiration and motivation in the last year. And then boom, it’s all fallen down a rabbit hole and I don’t know when it will come back out. One of the things I’d wanted to do was to take part in a 31 day challenge in October, which I should be starting to plan now but considering how my life is going at the moment, I’m not sure how I could and it makes me sad.

All this to say that I am looking for a new life rhythm and it’s taking its own sweet time to materialise. I would like to fit it all in, and I don’t know if I can. I need to get better at planning things and sticking to the plan. I’m not sure what it means for the blog, apart from I want to write and I maybe also feel like I need to but right now, just figuring out how to survive this business course is going to take a fair amount of my energy, especially because the next unit is on finances and oh my goodness am I dreading it, I am so not a maths person.

On another note, it is that time of year when one must buy a new organiser for 2015/2016. I’m a big fan of family planners and have been using one for the last two years. Now that I am back at work and actively studying so I can become a fully fledged entrepreneur with my own business, I am seriously considering treating myself to an Erin Condren life planner. We have nothing quite like it in the UK, and if I do splash out on one, you can be sure I will be reviewing it on here so keep your eyes peeled.