What I’ve learnt in the last year

This isn’t a post about me learning a language in lockdown, baking a tonne of banana bread or undergoing a major body transformation. On the contrary it’s about the struggle I think we’ve all felt during the last year since lockdown was announced in 2020.

To be honest 2020 started well for me. We’d just moved into our new home in December 2019 and it was in my plans to spend time getting the house exactly as we wanted it, little did I know we would be spending more time at home than usual!

Getting the keys to our house on the 20th December 2019

The first time I remember any mention of a virus was around the end of January and to be honest it sounded like things were so far away from us in the UK it wasn’t going to be a problem here.

How wrong can you be?

I’m incredibly blessed to be healthy and have a home and a family I love. But it doesn’t mean I’ve had an easy ride during this time. Much of the social media posts I read implore us to be kind to one another but often times it seems we forget that each person’s situation is unique. I’m not blind to the fact that many people, including those in my personal circle, have been made redundant, actually had COVID and been suffering with ill health and not been able to get the treatment they needed. And of course not forgetting the lives that have been lost both here in the UK and around the world due to this virus.

Like everybody our family has been through one of the strangest times we have ever and probably will ever experience in our lifetime. So as I mentioned earlier I’m not going to wax lyrical and say I’ve baked banana bread, tie dyed my clothes or had some kind of amazing body transformation. I’ve done nothing of the sort! It’s been bloody hard. Working a full time job and homeschooling a six year old is not something I’ve enjoyed. Splitting my time has never been more demanding and difficult as well as both physically and mentally draining.

Found objects collage became a thing as we’d pick things up on our walks!

Don’t get me wrong Homeschool was incredibly rewarding when we had those ‘a-ha!’ moments with Daniel and he just ‘got it’. But equally frustrating for us both when I had to split myself in two and try to set him off with a task while I got some work done. I know it was difficult for him to understand and it’s the hardest thing about the pandemic for me the guilt I’ve felt at being at not being able to give enough attention during those times. I have always had the greatest admiration for teachers and am so grateful to our school for their support.

The hardest part of it all for me was when I realised I was experiencing burnout. After going through first the lockdown, then a bereavement, caring for our family, a redundancy consultation, psoriasis flare up and homeschool by the time September came around and things started to look a bit brighter I was just exhausted. Keeping all the plates spinning is hard at the best of times but to be honest I just couldn’t wind down. Again I know I am incredibly lucky as I didn’t end up being made redundant and I wasn’t furloughed as many others in my sector were.

So what did I learn during this time? Well, the biggest thing for me was that it’s ok to say NO! It’s ok to ask for help. And it’s ok to feel the way I did. I was trying to push through getting irritable, not sleeping well and never feeling like I’d accomplished anything. But as soon as I started to realise how it was affecting everything around me I knew I had to get some support.

So I did a short counselling workshop over the phone after being referred by my GP. I had reservations- what was this stranger on the phone going to think of me? Would they think I was ungrateful for my blessings , they must have clients with much bigger problems. I shouldn’t waste their time.

The first session I had is one I will never forget. They asked me why I was seeking help and what I wanted to achieve. I blurted out a lot of the things I just mentioned above, apologised as I am sure you’ve got clients much more important than me and said I just wanted to be happier.

The first words I heard were, “you’re going through an awful lot there in one go. It’s not surprising that you are finding things hard right now.”

Just hearing this stranger tell me that it was ok to be overwhelmed and ok to be there getting support was a weight lifted. Over the weeks I worked on various things and put different techniques into practice, something I am still doing, in order to make sure I am happy. Not just for myself but for my family who were the best support system I could’ve asked for. The best advice my counsellor gave me about worrying was this.

Will it matter tomorrow?

I was constantly worrying about every little thing but not focusing in the present. Now I take a step back when that thinking comes forward and give myself some breathing space because most of the time it doesn’t matter. You need to allow yourself to make mistakes, pick yourself back up and carry on.

Ultimately I’m so proud of the way we as a family have handled things. When the going got tough we pulled together and made the best of it. And as we head toward the future and lockdown is lifting slowly I know that if we can get through this we can get through anything.

Lockdown Partying with my boys !

If you are struggling with any of the issues I mentioned please consider seeking support from a healthcare professional you trust like your GP. You can also call the Samaritans who were recommended to me by my counsellor if I ever felt I needed to talk. Call 116 123 for free or visit their website for more information on services they can provide.

Dog days

So our cockapoo Chip is now 6 months and not so little anymore!

As he’s getting bigger he’s even cuter if that’s possible? We’ve been getting to grips with some basic puppy training at a local class. He’s mastered sit, lie down and giving a paw 🐾 as well as getting much better at not barging through doors straightaway. We’ve mastered the class and Chip got his very own rosette!

He was super proud of his rosette!

Hmmm what’s for tea!?

Chip knew someday he’d catch that toy

He’s started settling really well and we are loving having him as part of our family !

If you’ve got any training tips or advice for puppies do let me know.

A new addition, meet Chip!

Chip at 8 weeks old!

So it’s been a busy time in our house. The end of the school holidays, an adventure to Crete and now a new addition to the house, Chip the cockapoo!

We fell in love with him way back in July and it seems like it’s been ages to wait for him to be ready to come home!

He’s a chocolate brown cockapoo and growing all the time, chewing everything in sight and generally being cute!

He came home with us a week ago now and honestly it’s like he has always been here, settled in brilliantly and starting to master toilet training like a pro!

Chip at 12 weeks

Now he’s settling nicely we can’t wait to start walking him properly once he has his last set of vaccinations. We got him lots of chew toys and different softer toys too but I think he really is ready for a few walks now.

So I’m after any puppy or dog tips you might have, please leave a comment or email if you have any special things you did with your pet!

Toy Story 4

Toy Story goodies

So we are massive Toy Story fans in our house. Disney is a huge part of our lives and we were all mega excited to see the new Toy Story 4 movie.

No spoilers but it’s definitely different from any of the other movies and for some a bit emotional. One of my favourite things is the change in Bo Peep which has been well publicised, but I’ll leave it there if you’re still planning a visit! This post is all about some of the cool things we’ve picked up now that most of the Toy Story merchandise has dropped.

Primark Woody cushion

With a discerning 4 year old son and Toy Story mega fan, it was a great time to pick up some cute accessories for his bedroom. This cushion was only £7 from Primark and he loved it so much he insisted on using it as a pillow for his bed!

We also got some bedding and curtains for Daniels room, he’s now 4 and we wanted to make his room a little more grow up for him. Needless to say he loves it! The bedding and curtains are from Dunelm Mill and the curtains have blackout lining, perfect for little ones.

Toy Story Toddler bedding £14 , sheet £6

Toy Story Curtains £45 from Dunelm Mill

Boots UK offer

We picked up some suncream for the summer at Boots and got this free water bottle, featuring none other than Toy Story 4 star Forky. Possibly the most relatable item in the movie is Forky, the toy Bonnie makes from items in the trash. As a mum to a 4 year old we get some weird and wonderful creations brought home from nursery and I love this element of the film showing how creative children’s minds can be.

When the toys take a selfie!

Pizza Planet T-shirt from Primark

I picked up this Pizza Planet T-shirt from Primark for £6 for our family trip to the cinema . We went with a Pizza Planet theme as Daniel loves the aliens, his shirt is from ASDA. Phils is the traditional Pizza Planet logo and is from Amazon.

Toy Story 4 Fan Club!

It was one of Daniels first trips to the cinema and he sat pretty well. You can tell by our faces how excited we were!

Have you seen Toy Story 4 yet?

I’m so looking forward to the Lion King coming up now and now the trailer for the live action Mulan has dropped too it’s an exciting time for Disney fans!

My favourite live action adaptation so far has been Jungle Book so I’m hoping that the Lion King can live up to that!