Lockdown Life and Moving Forward

Earlier this week we acknowledged the year anniversary of the covid-19 lockdown. It has been quite an emotional week – while the last year was a lengthy period of reflection and practising gratitude, the realisation of the enormity of the situation affected me more than I expected.

I’ve already spoken about this in previous posts, but lockdown started slightly earlier for me than most. The Bloke and I regularly reviewed theatre shows for the press nights at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, and we were in the bar area eagerly waiting to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and talking to our friend who works there. Suddenly the theatre manager appeared, called everyone together and announced that the show had been cancelled in response to the government announcement that had been made that day, and that was it. I remember seeing the worried and emotional expressions on the faces of the staff and public and felt awful for them. Continue reading

Covid Chaos

Covid Chaos

At the start of 2021 I decided that rather than setting my usual series of goals and resolutions I would focus on just one day at a time. After nine months of predominantly staying indoors it seemed a silly notion to look at anything beyond that, particularly in the fact that while a new year had begun, the current situation hadn’t changed.

It was a wise decision – January 2021 seemed like it had decided to throw everything it could in our direction.

The Bloke tested positive for Covid a few weeks ago. He works in a good school and while there are restriction measures in place and the number of students within the building are lower (although higher than you may think), his role as an IT Tech has meant that it was almost inevitable as he has contact with more staff and students than most. Continue reading

A New Year, New Start: Things I Learned in 2020

Things I Learned in 2020

I’ve always found something quite liberating about the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve. Despite the fact that it is just one minute, the transition between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day brings a sense of excitement and the notion that anything is possible.

A year ago The Bloke and I rang in the new year with the fireworks display from the London Eye on the TV, singing Auld Lang Syne with the cat and making promises that 2020 would be our year. I had plans. I had spent weeks carefully making lists of all of the things that we were going to do: the places we would go, the things we would see, the experiences that we would have. Continue reading

A Lockdown Birthday and Terry the Christmas Tree

With less than a week to go until Christmas, The Bloke and I have taken to adulting to get everything prepared in advance. I was determined (especially after a such a crazy year), Christmas would be a period in which we could actually relax, do something positive for others and then take some time for ourselves without worrying about last-minute things, and we’ve managed most of it (although the found myself on a mad dash to the postbox yesterday to send off a whole bunch of Christmas cards. 

The last quarter of the year is always the busiest. Between October and December there are five birthdays within our family including mine and The Bloke’s and we had our third wedding anniversary at the end of October. Normally we would take a trip somewhere to celebrate at least one of these (last year we went to London for the weekend with my sister and her boyfriend to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi and the year before we fed giraffes at West Midlands Safari Park and went to the Harry Potter Studios Tour) but most of the last few months have been spent trying to stay safe and well at home. Instead I have created almost mini staycations and celebrations indoors, finding interesting things to watch and trying to support local businesses by ordering from them rather than going through the giants that now monopolise the online shopping world (except Lego of course, because The Bloke loves it).  Continue reading

Autumn Thoughts

The atmosphere in the house has been difficult to adjust to. It has been a week since Poppy passed away and for the first time in seventeen years there hasn’t been a cat in the house to get under my feet, yell at me for breakfast or test out the acoustics of the bathroom by singing their favourite songs at 3.00am. I have found it difficult not to walk up and down the stairs in a certain way to accommodate a feline zooming past me, or to open a door slowly just in case their was a cat sitting behind it, and for the first few days the sight of an empty kitty bed made me break down in tears. My lovely neighbour works with an animal sanctuary and so she very kindly agreed to pass all of Poppy’s things on so that they can go to help another animal in need, which has made me feel a little better. Continue reading

Thoughts of Birmingham

I was horrified to wake up this morning to the news of multiple stabbings in Birmingham last night. There is still very little information, but after a news conference it was announced that sadly one person have died and six more people have been injured, two of them critically. It appears to be an attack by a single person who selected his victims at random, with no information to suggest that it was in any way a terrorist attack, gang related or a hate crime – something that has been speculated because some of these attacks took place in the Gay Quarter of the city.

Unfortunately, this has become an excuse for many to promote racist agendas and narratives and use it as an opportunity to start making disparaging remarks about the people and the city itself. Continue reading

Sunflowers, Sunday and September

I love Sunday mornings, particularly when the sun is out after several weeks of torrential rain. It’s hard to believe that September is only a few days away – it seems barely ten years ago that we were starting August…

Sundays are often my most reflective, and looking back it has been a long rollercoaster of a month.

Over July I posted every single day for a Gratitude Challenge… and then promptly burnt myself out. It was fairly inevitable at the time – my work schedule was crazy, lots of places were still under lockdown and I barely left the house, and while I never mind my own company (preferring more of an introverted lifestyle), I think staying indoors was beginning to get to me.  Continue reading

The New Normal

Is anybody else getting sick of the phrase ‘The New Normal,’ or is it just me?

Unfortunately, it’s the perfect term to describe how we’re living at the moment. It doesn’t necessarily provide lots of inspiration for the journal-esque blogging content that I usually create, unless you’re interested in the rather sad-looking cheese sandwich I often make myself for lunch?
Continue reading

Hints and Tips to Stay Productive When Working From Home

14 Hints and Tips to Stay Productive When Working From Home 1

I’ve been working from home pretty much every day since 2015. While at first glance it may seem like the perfect situation (and in many ways it is), but there are lots of potential pitfalls and distractions when you’re solely accountable for your own workload. Over the years I have had to remain self-motivated and develop a routine in order to be able to stay productive and keep doing it successfully.

Here are some hints and tips that I have found useful when working from home.

Set up a dedicated working area. Whether it is a small desk a the back of a room or a shed at the bottom of the garden, create an area that is solely used for work-based activities.

Have a shower and get dressed. Getting up and ready as you would do for a working day elsewhere will help to change the mindset between work and home. It’s also useful should a last-minute video chat should happen – it’s unlikely that clients or colleagues will be impressed by your pyjamas and bed hair and being ready will avoid having to quickly jump in the shower or getting changed when you’re in the middle of something.

Plan your tasks in advance. When I start the day knowing what it is that I need to be working on, I find it much easier to plan and prioritise my tasks for the day, and for this I use a Bullet Journal. I use simple trackers for daily repeated tasks that are drawn out in a simple grid form, and I fill out individual tasks in a monthly calendar layout, colouring in the boxes as I go. This saves an enormous amount of time and I find the colouring rather therapeutic. Continue reading

Seven Weeks in Lockdown

It’s been just nearly seven weeks since lockdown began, and I’m getting used to a slightly different way of living. Granted, compared to many people my daily life hasn’t changed that much – I’ve worked from home for the last 4 1/2 years and so I’m used to my own company and being self-motivated enough to stay productive – but I have to regularly remind myself that I can’t just hop out to the local shops for things I need, visit a friend or organise a date night somewhere fun in the city.

However, if these are the only things I have to worry about then I count The Bloke and I incredibly fortunate. Our families and friends are healthy, our jobs are consistent, we have food in the cupboards and the bills are paid, and we have taken to expressing daily gratitude for this to each other in conversations should one of us feel a little low. Continue reading