Sunday, 28 February 2021

Sunday, Sunday

Day 337...

Another quiet and lack lustre Sunday has rolled around.

The motivation levels have been severely lacking today despite it being another bright and sunny day.

A slow start to the day was followed with the usual Sunday updating of my online grocery shop while Simon did some more sanding of various R2D2 parts.

We took a walk out over the fields and while there were a few spots of squelchy mud the paths were definitely a lot dryer than of late. We managed 3.3 miles in just over an hour and ten minutes. This brought our total miles for February to 61 miles in 20 hours!

The afternoon was spent drinking coffee outside in the sunshine reading my latest book while Simon did yet more sanding!

I then decided to make some keto garlic bread, trying a new recipe out for the first time and I have to say the end result is very yummy, and just a little bit moreish!

And then the day was rounded out with the Disney Dream Girls weekly Disney quiz via Zoom. We had a good old chat and attempted to put the world to rights and somewhere in there were my questions on the film Brother Bear. Next week we will be having questions set by Kacy on the movie Muppet Treasure Island, which is a movie I don't think I've ever seen!

And as we round out today we cast our minds back to this time last year. Simon was in Boston, US, for a video game exhibition called PAX East. He was spending his days in a busy, crowded conference  hall, shaking hands and getting up close and personal with people from all over. He had traveled there and back using planes, trains and the tube in London and all at a point when the pandemic was more than likely 'raging away'. A year on and we find ourselves in this indeterminable lockdown, with our liberties and freedoms taken away. In a world where we find ourselves questioning all the time what we are allowed to do, where we can go and with whom. I thought that we lived in a free democratic society but it feels more and more authoritarian by each day that passes.

How things have changed in a year! Take care wherever you may be.
xx

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Sunny Saturday

Day 336...

Well this Saturday we were up and about with purpose for a change! 

We had the job of collecting some donations for pre-school from our local Asda. Jon, their Community Champion, really looks after us at pre-school and always helps out as much as he can. Jon would love to be coming out to visit the children but until that time comes around again he helps out with whatever supplies we need. Today it was a trolley full of different fruits ready for our story time activity next week; acting out the story called Handa's Surprise which involves different types of fruits, some of which children may not have been introduced to yet.

After dropping all the goodies off at pre-school we arrived home and immediately went out again. This time it was our usual Saturday morning walk into the next village for coffee...and a cake to bring home for Ethan. Another 4 miles walked, taking our February total to 58!!

We then sat outside in the garden, in the sunshine with another coffee...maybe two! It was lovely to be sat outside in the warmth of the sun and just take a short while to chill out, and soak up that all important vitamin D!


Simon has done a little more work on his R2D2 build and made some enquiries into getting one of his latest art pieces printed so that he can sell them as a limited edition print. Always a tricky one to make sure that the final artwork prints out at the right colour saturation so he spent some time tweaking and playing around with levels of colour.

My job for the afternoon was to sit and watch the Disney film Brother Bear so that I could come up with some questions ready for tomorrow's Disney Dream Girls Disney quiz via Zoom! It is a long while since I have watched the film and while it was a nice little film I don't think it's one I'm going to be rushing to watch again anytime soon.

Well, Simon has rounded out the day with a little gym workout while I write this blog and do a little menu prep for the week ahead...trying to be organised! With the amount of time on my hands at the moment it's the least I can do. And then we will be sitting down to our usual Saturday night viewing of RuPauls Drag Race!

Hope you've had as best a Saturday as you can, take care.
xx

Friday, 26 February 2021

Friday Finally

Day 335...

And we have reached the end of the working week for this household. Another day in work before the excitement of the weekend...please note this should be said with heavy sarcasm!

But yes a day in work which was pretty standard sort of stuff, the usual admin, emails and banking.

On getting home I decided to be very organised and cracked on with making tonight's dinner...keto chicken curry pie. Now this is a fab recipe and one that takes a little while to make and cook but is also one that is better left to cool after it's been cooked.

I had good reason for my approach tonight. Make and cook aforementioned chicken pie. Leave pie to cool while watching tonight's episode of WandaVision. Once the episode was watched we had food ready to eat. A little forward planning for a seamless evening of TV, red wine and food.

WandaVision was another fantastic episode and while it filled in yet more of the story line it still leaves lots of unanswered questions and characters that need explaining more. Next week's finale will have lots to tell us and I am really intrigued as to how this will play out and how it will fit into the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe. OK I will admit it...I have become a geek...I can only apologise!!

So now it is time to stop for the evening and prepare for the weekend ahead! Oh how wonderful it would be to have a weekend full of things to do or at least have a weekend where we can just do what we want, when we want, go where we want and with whom we want. And yes I appreciate that there is now a 'roadmap' out of lockdown but anything like the 'old normal' is still a long way off and I am skeptical that things will lift as they have been laid out; there are so many caveats to the plan ahead that I automatically assume that dates will get pushed and changed to suit.

We need to get back to normal, we have to accept that this virus will be with us for a while, if not always in some shape or form. We have to accept that lockdowns are doing more harm than good, that children need to be in education, that we need to be able to socialise and have the freedoms to live our lives as we see fit. We need our lives back.

Take care, wherever you may be.
xx

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Thursday Again

Day 334...

So Thursday is my other 'non-working' day of the week and it was a good job I didn't have to be anywhere as I struggled to get up this morning.

My morning was very domestic chores focused. I set up the slow cooker with a Beef Bourguinon for dinner this evening; got a couple of washing loads done and then had a good clean around.

When Simon broke for lunch we took a walk out over the fields which while still muddy were not quite as squelchy as they have been of late. We managed two miles in forty minutes.

The afternoon saw a little online shopping as I organised another butchers delivery for next week, numerous pots of coffee made to keep me and the boys going and a little TV time with another episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel watched.

I received a letter today advising me of a follow-up hospital appointment, to be conducted over the phone. It is now two years ago that I had my first ever routine mammogram which resulted in a diagnosis of breast cancer followed by surgery and radiotherapy. Since then I had my first annual mammogram back in June (which was delayed a few months because of COVID) followed up by a phone consultation with a view to a face-to-face appointment six months later. But as the pandemic response is still ongoing it would appear that I will have to suffice with another phone consultation.

The day was rounded out with a recording session for the podcast I co-host, the Disney Dream Girls. Michelle and I spoke with our guest Len Testa, from Touring Plans, and chatted about ways to improve the transportation offerings at Walt Disney World.

And now it is time to thank my past self for setting up the slow cooker this morning as I can now enjoy Beef Bourguinon without any effort and only the minimal amount of washing up!

Take care out there,
xx

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Mid-week Wednesday

Day 333...

And we have day two of my working week...well I say 'day' but it was actually only half a day today.

My main focus this morning was to get some data input completed in respect of the funding that we receive as the deadline was tomorrow. There were the usual emails, updating of documents, a little forward planning into the next academic year and some banking before I headed home at lunchtime.

I did arrive home to a small delivery though which was rather nice...

...a 'high cocoa selection' from Hotel Chocolat. I have been a member of their Chocolate Tasting Club for a lot of years and used to receive a box of mixed dark chocolates every 12 weeks. Just recently they changed it from a box of mixed chocolates to a mix of various products on their 'subscribe & save' service. It's not quite the same as their previous system and as it had been quite a while since I'd received a selection I popped online at the weekend and brought forward my 'scheduled' delivery...I  fancied a treat and a little indulgence.

The afternoon was then a very chilled out affair. I was able to get caught up on some laundry and made sure that I kept me, Simon and Ethan supplied with coffee throughout the afternoon while I indulged in a little 'me time'.

I managed to catch-up on a couple of episodes of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, do my nails and read some more of 'The Case for Keto' by Gary Taubes. So a chilled out but productive afternoon.

Simon headed down the 'gym' tonight and I headed to the living room to do my round of body weight exercises plus a few kettle bells. I decided to put on a documentary about Duran Duran while I worked out which was really interesting and brought back a lot of memories. Duran are one of my all time favourites and as a result I have been blasting out their music all evening.

Well, my wine glass is now empty so I'd better refill it...take care out there.
xx
 

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Tuesday, once more

Day 332...

Today was my first day back in work after the half term break last week and it was a pretty steady sort of day.

The day was a mixture of updating forms, issuing emails, sorting bank payments and just generally getting on top of things ready for the new term ahead.

With the government announcing that schools can re-open in a couple of weeks we are hopeful that those children who had chosen not to attend during lockdown will now be able to do so. And as the world begins to take steps to looking a little more normal then perhaps parents thoughts will turn to their childcare requirements and we will start to see some interest from new families. This academic year has been quieter than normal but I think it was only to be expected under the circumstances so fingers crossed we begin to see some normality returning.

After I arrived home I took ten minutes to stop and enjoy a coffee before carrying on with some more pre-school work. I'd been on a bit of a roll getting things done so just wanted to get all the loose ends tied up and jobs finished so that I can start afresh tomorrow.

Simon had a late finish to his work day as well, so it was truly a full on work day for both us, before stopping to cook dinner (keto chicken parmesan with butter fried green beans) and finally putting our feet up.

Whatever your day has been like, take care out there.
xx
 

Monday, 22 February 2021

What's Happening with Lockdown??

Day 331...

Well Monday started out pretty much as most Mondays do with a trip to our supermarket of choice to pick up our weekly grocery shopping.

After we had returned home and packed everything away we went to see my Dad and play taxi service for him. He had a bump in his car the other week and is now without a car while it gets repaired. Today he needed to get to the bank so we were able to take him and while he sorted his banking out we nipped and bought us all coffee.

We took my Dad home and enjoyed the coffee with him and spent a half hour or so with him just to catch-up and make sure he was getting on okay. He has lived on his own since Mum passed away 6 years ago and this past year has been really hard for him as he has been unable to see his friends down the pub or at the gym and so has become even more isolated. 

Once home again Simon did a little more work on his R2D2 build, filling gaps before getting ready to do yet more sanding. After a spot of lunch we took a walk out in relatively mild weather - no scarf, hat or gloves today! We managed 4.5 miles in just an hour and 24 minutes, taking our total miles walked for February to 52!!

Then, as the afternoon was so nice, we were able to sit outside in the garden with a coffee for the first time this year. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and it felt like a Spring day; long may it continue.

Simon decided to do a little gym session later this afternoon while I did some meal planning for the week while keeping one eye on social media as news began to break of our governments 'roadmap for lifting lockdown'.

Basically, we will have schools re-open in a couple of weeks and by 29th March we will start to see a few more restrictions easing of which the most important being that Molly will be able to travel home. But we will have to wait until April 12th before we can go and get our haircut, nails done, get tattooed or get some retail therapy. It will be May 17th before two households can mix indoors and we see things like hotels opening and foreign travel being allowed. We then have the tantilising target date of 21st June for the lifting of all 'legal limits on social contact' (whatever that means?!). But this is all delivered with a heavy lean on if's, but's and maybe's so only time will tell if it all pans out as planned.

But at least I can look forward to going blonde sometime in April and maybe even getting that tattoo I should have gotten last Easter!!

Well the day ended with a first...making low carb moussaka and I was very pleased with the results...
...very yummy, very filling and enough left over for lunch tomorrow - win!

So we end the day with at least a plan in place for getting us out of this lockdown and a semblance of normal life can be seen, somewhere in the far distance. But between now and then please stay safe.
xx

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Sunday...again

Day 330...

Well another Sunday has been upon us, another day with not very much to do and one where I find myself feeling rather 'meh'...I know that's not the most descriptive word but I really can't think of anything better.

So the day started with a few little jobs that needed to be done. First there was the final update to my online grocery shop. 

Next there was my work laptop to sort out; it had been rather temperamental of late and some days it would be fine and others it would struggle to even just open. So I'd brought it home to ensure that it was running the right software and get rid of anything that had managed to work its way on there that I didn't really need. Suffice to say by the end of yesterday, after trying everything we could think of, the only thing left to do was a factory reset...which was still running as we went to bed last!

Thankfully by this morning it had done whatever it needed to do and after going through its system set-up, disabling what I didn't need, re-setting passwords and a final check on the hard disk all seems to be operating okay. I think only time will tell how long this lasts for.

But with the laptop working we could complete the next job of the day which was to take it and a few other bits into pre-school ready for re-opening tomorrow. As I don't work Mondays I needed to make sure I'd gotten these bits and pieces there ready for my team.

When we returned home we put on our wellies and headed out for a muddy and squelchy walk over the fields. We only managed a couple of miles today although it felt like more as we trudged through the mud!

Simon spent some time sanding and then priming some of the leg parts of his R2D2 build. He has been waiting for the weather to be a little warmer as this is an outside job. The past few weeks had been so cold with temperatures hovering around zero degrees Celsius he just hadn't wanted to be outside doing what can be quite a long job. But today he made more progress and while there are still more parts to go it is definitely getting closer to being complete.

I jumped online this evening for our weekly Disney Dream Girls Disney quiz and it was lovely, as always, to catch up with everyone and find out what life is like around the world. We have people join us from the UK, US, Canada and Germany and these are now our regulars and our friends. This week we had questions about the movie Onward and some about Epcot...I did pretty good on the movie questions and not so good on the Epcot ones but I still managed to win. So I now get to set next weeks questions and as we like having a movie to 'research' I decided to pick something a little less obvious, and one I've not watched in forever - Brother Bear.

So, we have reached the end of another Sunday and await to see what our government tell us tomorrow. We have been promised that they will be in a position to let us know if, how and when the current lockdown will be eased. As cases are dropping, deaths are dropping and vaccinations are rolling out we can only hope for some positive news tomorrow but I fear that it is going to be a long and drawn out affair.

Take care and see you tomorrow.
xx

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Another Steady Saturday

Day 329...

And we have another Saturday in lockdown. After a disturbed nights sleep...the joys of night sweats...it was a later than normal start to the morning.

After breakfast we got on our walking shoes (okay wellies) and set off into the next village to pay a visit to our now preferred coffee shop, the delightful Hoggs Bistro. While Simon and I stuck to our usual Americano we did pick up a chocolate muffin for Ethan...we really must try and get Ethan out the house!!

Queuing for coffee
By the time we'd walked back home it meant we'd walked just over three and a half miles...for coffee! Who would have thought a year ago that the highlight of our Saturday would be taking a three and a half mile walk to buy a coffee...in the wind and light rain!

Once home I had the lovely job of updating the online grocery shopping while Simon made more progress, and in fact completed, his latest art endeavour, pop over to his Twitter account to see the finished piece.

My Disney quiz research this week was watching the Pixar movie Onward which I managed to do this afternoon. A gentle film that probably hasn't done as well as it deserved as it was released this time last year just as the world started to go into lockdown. But as you would expect from Pixar it was a film with heart, a good story, emotion and yes I will confess to welling up a couple of times!

Simon decided to use the afternoon to squeeze in a 'gym' workout and made use of his VR headset for his warm up by downloading a couple of games;one a boxing exercise based game and the other a dance game.

So we have another Saturday in lockdown and I wonder how many more we are going to have to endure. We await an announcement from our government in a couple of days time when we will, hopefully, be told a 'plan' for getting out of lockdown. But if the media have anything to do with it it doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.

I cast my mind back to this time last year. We had just had a busy time moving pre-school out of one building into another and in the background were rumblings about the virus that had caused China to adopt a draconian lockdown and that was now showing up in northern Italy.

And I remember the World Health Organisation, and our government, telling us that masks do nothing to prevent the spread of the disease and may only be beneficial to those who are infected. They told us that lockdowns do not work and should only be used in extreme circumstances when health systems are showing signs of being unable to cope....Oh my how times have changed.

In fact the information about face masks and lockdowns were in the pandemic response guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation in 2019...so what on earth changed? Countries, like Sweden, who followed those guidelines have fared no worse than countries who decided to adopt masks and lockdowns in respect of cases and deaths...they have of course not crippled their economies and their education systems and the livelihoods of individuals and the mental health of their nations and the abuse and the distress and I could go on. So just who did tackle this pandemic the best? Will we ever find out? Why did we decide to ignore the advice of the World Health Organisation that had been there for years and years before? 

Are we in so far that governments dare not back away from a strategy that may be flawed? Are there 'players' in all of this that are set to benefit from a situation that is causing the masses such distress?

I don't know, and it's not my job to know, there are scientists and politicians out there who should know and who should be questioning and asking for evidence but sadly that all seems very lacking at the moment. I try to keep myself up to date with all that is happening arming myself with a wealth of opinions and science so that I can feel as best informed as I can be, so is it too much to ask for those that have the power or the sway to do the same? Where has the questioning from the media gone? Do we not have journalists who are willing to look deeper and investigate anymore?

There are no answers that I can provide, I can simply watch and wait to see how all this pans out and long for a life once had where we had the freedom to go where we wanted, when we wanted and with whom we wanted.

Take care.
xx





 

Friday, 19 February 2021

Friday Again

Day 328...

And we have reached another Friday.

Having not been able to record our podcast yesterday Michelle and I jumped online to get this weeks episode of the Disney Dream Girls recorded. We chatted about some Disney history, some news items along with a report from one of our listeners who had just visited Walt Disney World.

Visiting Walt Disney World is possible at the moment as it has been open since June/July last year but with some obvious restrictions. Both Michelle and I would love to be able to visit especially as of the 1st October this year Walt Disney World turns 50 years old and has lots of special things happening to mark the occasion. But both Michelle and I agree that visiting anytime soon is probably not going to happen and as and when we are able to get there things may be quite different to our normal experience. The question therefore has to be whether a visit would be worth while, whether it would be worth the expense and whether it would give us the same joy and excitement that visits have done before. Measures that are now in place such as plexi-glass, face coverings, social distancing, reduced attractions, lack of character meet and greets, reduced dining and shopping possibilities all add up to a very different Disney vacation.

I then decided to have a look through some of my recipe books in search of new recipes with a view to updating my weekly shopping list. My search was interrupted when we popped out for our lunchtime walk which was a little windy today but we still managed another two and a half miles in 48 minutes.

My afternoon was a mixture of more recipe research, chatting with Molly and watching a little television. Molly's boyfriends car is a little poorly at the moment so despite being 190 miles away from her I was trying to help them out with a little research and advise. As a mum I want to be able to just 'sort' any issues that arise for either of my children never mind how old they might be and it is a little tricky to do that with so many miles between us. And all I want to do is just make everything right for her! But I think they have it under control and plans to get the car sorted are now in place...I can't take credit for any of that but even if I'm just someone to vent to or chat with I can only hope that that will help in some way.

Later this afternoon I finally managed to start season three of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. I had watched the first two seasons back to back ages ago but had struggled to find the time to catch the third season. I am not very good at finding time to do what I want to do...I always seem to find something else that needs doing rather than just taking the time for me. So I am quite proud of myself when I do manage to do this.

And Friday would not be Friday at the moment without the latest episode of WandaVision. And although it wasn't an hour long as had been rumoured via the internet it was another very good episode and even included the classic Marvel hidden scene within the end credits!!

And there we have another Friday ticked off...

Take care out there.
xx

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Quiet Thursday

Day 327...

Well another quiet Thursday today.

There wasn't an awful lot happening today. My first job was to do a little podcast research; gather some Disney history facts and have a look at what's currently happening in the world of Disney.

Then it was time to iron and get on top of the laundry - whoop! 

Lunchtime rolled around and Simon and I took a walk out and completed one of our shorter walks of just under two and a half miles in 46 minutes. So far this month we have walked 39 miles!

Then I had a proper lazy afternoon catching up on some TV shows. I had hoped to record the podcast with Michelle but unfortunately some errands that Michelle need to run took longer than expected so we will now be hooking up tomorrow to record instead.

And that has been my day...very quiet.

Take care out there.
xx

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Middle of the Week

Day 326...

Another Wednesday had rolled around and it was another quiet day.

And it was also a sad day today as it marked the funeral for one of our Disney family. Through the podcast that I help co-host we have created our own 'family' page over on Facebook and from there we have developed our weekly Zoom quiz. 

And as a result of those quizzes we now have a little gang of us from all over that meet each Sunday to chat and test our Disney knowledge. Part of our group was Paul & Donald from the US and when Donald took ill a few weeks ago we were all very concerned and had hoped that he would make a speedy recovery but it was not to be and he sadly passed away. 

Wanting to do something for Paul to show how much we care we debated sending flowers or perhaps even getting a gift card for their local restaurant but Paul simply asked that if we wanted we could make a donation to the American Cancer Society and that the next time we were in a Disney park to have a Dole Whip in Donald's memory.

Michelle then had the idea that today we would all share photos of us enjoying a Dole Whip on a Facebook post to show Paul that we were thinking of him today.

Disneyland Paris - June 2017
RIP Donald xx

At lunchtime today I met up with my work team for a spot of lunch...now in normal times we would have been dining out somewhere nice but as that could not happen we decided to meet up at work and order a take-out from a local cafe. It was nice to spend a couple of hours with my 'team' as friends and just catch up, have a chat and something to eat.

Once home I had a few little jobs that I wanted to get done which did involve a little pre-school work. But it was nothing to onerous, just a little updating to be done. Although I also have a laptop to update and that might take a little more effort as I think it's probably overdue a bit of a clearout...I'm hoping that the two men in the house who work with computers for a living might be able to give me a helping hand!!

And then it was time for a quick 'gym' workout to round out the day.

Wherever you may be, take care and tell those around you how you feel.
xx

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Shrove Tuesday

Day 325...

Well today was Shrove Tuesday (or better known as Pancake Day) and it was another quiet day.

First thing this morning we had a local flooring company stop by to measure up for some new flooring. When we revamped our bedroom last year with new built-in wardrobes the other thing we had wanted to do was to get rid of our carpeted floor and lay a new wooden one. But various lockdowns and 'tier' systems had all put a halt to that as we didn't know how, or if, companies were able to visit let alone install flooring. But an email or two later and we have been able to get a local company out to measure up and now await their quote!

Then my next job was to dig out the 'Crock Pot' from the back of the cupboard, dust it off and set about creating something for dinner this evening. I had decided to make a beef bourguignon which I have not done for ages. Although between not being able to find the operating instructions for my 'Crock Pot' (that's how long it's been since I've used it!) and then my scales not working (three changes of battery later and we were back in action) I did begin to wonder whether it had been such a good idea! But it was all sorted and cooking away by mid-morning and the kitchen was filled with lovely red wine infused aroma's all day.

That did mean that I had the rest of the day to devote to getting some paperwork and accounts completed for pre-school. It's one of those jobs that has to be completed at the end of each half term and I was determined to get all the work I needed to get done, done by the end of today. I haven't done too badly and while I have a little more to do tomorrow it shouldn't take up too much of my time.

In between the pre-school work we took a short two mile walk out at lunchtime and ventured out over the fields completing one of our regular circular routes that we haven't done for a fair while as it has been just too wet. But thankfully with our wellies on we were able to navigate our way around and avoided any stuck in mud disasters!

I've been chatting with Molly on and off all day as she has been busy creating some custom artwork for a new client. It's great to see her getting a little more work for her business venture; Shutter Studios.

And of course it was 'Pancake Day' which normally means that Molly makes traditional pancakes for us all but as she is not at home we decided to go down the low carb route instead. This is Simon's speciality that we call a 'sweetie pancake', but is more like a sweet omelette...

...a couple of eggs, splash of cream, a little baking powder and then spices of your choice (I like cinnamon and nutmeg). Cook it like an omelette and as the second side is almost cooked sprinkle in some dark chocolate before folding over into a triangle shaped parcel. And voila an oozy chocolate pancake/omelette creation - yummy!

Right, think it's time to stop now...stay safe.
xx

Monday, 15 February 2021

A Very Quiet Monday

Day 324...

So Monday has rolled around once more and this week it's the start of my half term break week. The UK school term system means that our terms are split in half and we have about 6 weeks teaching either side of a week off.

But first job this morning was, as it always is, a trip to collect our weekly grocery shop.

After packing everything away we put on our wellies and headed off for a wander over the fields. We had spotted a footpath yesterday that we hadn't tried before so decided to go off on a bit of an explore! Well an hour and 55 minutes later we were home and had walked for 5.74 miles...our new longest walk!

And we arrived home just in time for lunch! The rest of the afternoon was very quiet and very chilled out. We watched a couple of things via the internet, sorted some washing and had a quick clean around. We indulged in another piece of the low carb brownie I'd bought as a Valentines treat and then later on Simon decided to pop down the 'gym'. My legs were killing from the walking these past couple of days so I decided to give the gym a miss tonight and instead spent some time chatting with Molly via WhatsApp!

This is the longest that Molly has been away from home as she decided to spend this lockdown with her boyfriend...190 miles away. I am so proud of her for making that decision and proud of them both for  getting on with life as best they can. This may end up being a test of their relationship and perhaps has thrown them into a situation that neither of them had envisioned would be happening just yet. But if they can survive through this current lockdown along with the previous twelve months who knows where they will be, but they will at least come out of it knowing more about themselves and each other and hopefully be stronger for it. My youngest is all grown up and although I miss her immensely all I ever want is for her to be happy...I just wish we could be having weekends away to visit them and enjoy the seaside with them.

But wherever you maybe just take care.
xx

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Valentines Day

Day 323...

Happy Valentines Day!

Well the day started like any other at the moment. A slow and steady Sunday morning. I chatted over WhatsApp with Molly as she shared her Valentines gifts with me and once we had eaten breakfast and were on our second coffee of the day Simon and I exchanged gifts.

Simon had bought me a Star Wars Mandalorian Pop Vinyl figure...how cute is this?

I had bought Simon a Star Wars LED light for his desk; one that can swap between R2D2, the Millenium Falcon or the Deathstar! But I also decided to treat us both...one of our little pleasures, in normal times, is to go out for 'coffee & cake'. Now to be fair it's not often that we have the cake element and it's more about finding the time to take ourselves out and about and just stop and enjoy a moment just the two of us. But because of the current lockdown going out for 'coffee & cake' hasn't been possible for a long while...in fact I can't remember the last time we went and sat in a coffee shop!

Anyway I decided that as we couldn't go out for 'coffee & cake' I would bring it to us. So by the power of online retail I was able to buy one of our favourite coffee shop brand coffees and indulge in a low carb treat.

Caffe Nero Coffee 
Chocolate Raspberry Brownies by Deliciously Guilt Free

We then braved the chilly wind to take one of our longer walks out, in fact it turned out to be our longest to date, managing 5.69 miles in 1 hour and 48 minutes! We have been using the Strava app to record our walks and already this year we have walked 72.6 miles in a total of 23 hours!

Suffice to say when we arrived home we indulged in the aforementioned, and very much deserved, 'coffee & cake' and it was yummy!

Then this afternoon while I did some 'research' ahead of this evening's Disney Quiz...which meant watching the Pixar movie Soul...Simon made some more progress on his latest art piece, a renditioning of a game character called Shadowman from a game he worked on back in the late 1990's.

And as the evening came around it was time for our weekly Disney Dream Girls Disney quiz via Zoom. I didn't do too badly, I think I managed 5 out of a possible 11 for the questions on Soul although my knowledge of Disney's Hollywood Studios let me down for the second half of the quiz! But it was still fun and lovely to chat with a group of friends from around the world that I would not otherwise have met had it not been for this weekly quiz.

Take care out there.
xx

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Scotch Egg Saturday

Day 322...

Well here we are again on another Saturday and it was as action packed as it ever is at the moment.

A slow start to the day saw us wrap up warm and head out for our now usual walk into the next village and what is fast becoming our 'local' coffee shop. And today along with our usual coffee's we decided to treat ourselves and brought back home a triple chocolate muffin for Ethan and some pork and black pudding flavoured scotch eggs for Simon and I...which were amazing.



The afternoon saw Simon capturing yet more home video while starting his latest art piece. He has decided to do a drawing from a game that he worked on a number of years ago called Shadowman. He had been approached by a fan asking about artwork and so he has decided to produce a custom piece that he will then get printed and can sell via his website.

I spent a chunk of my afternoon finishing off some of my work from yesterday; unfortunately the knock-on effect of a temperamental laptop yesterday morning meant I had lost half a days work. So I decided to get caught up this afternoon, I will still have a little more work to complete but I will sort that next week.

And that was Saturday...again...take care out there.
xx

Friday, 12 February 2021

Flipping Heck It's a Cold Friday

Day 321...

Well today was the last day in work of this first school term of the year and boy was it cold out there!

The morning saw me battle with my work laptop as for some reason it just wouldn't open up properly; forced restarted about four times before I made the decision to pop home to pick up my own laptop. But lo and behold as soon as I made that decision the laptop sprang into life...although it decided to work at a snails pace initially before sorting itself out.

My work day was spent looking at the activities we have planned for next half term with my deputy and then scheduling updates and emails for parents, prepping for new children to start with us as well as the general day-to-day admin stuff. Although having spent the morning without a working laptop I now have a pile of work that has come home with me and will need sorting over the next day or so!

A quick stop by the grocery store on the way home and then it was inside in the warmth with a good cup of coffee. Today has been bitterly cold and the odd couple of times when I had to nip outside during the day the cold actually took my breath away. I am so over Winter now and really need some sunshine and warmth.

As the working day came to an end it was time to watch this weeks episode of WandaVision and boy is it getting good...just wish we could watch it all now and not have to wait a week for the next episode.

And there we have a very cold Friday.

Take care out there.
xx

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Thermals Needed Thurday

Day 320...

Well it's been a Thursday and it's been a rather cold one!

First job of the day was to venture outside and open the gates as I was expecting a delivery and to throw a little salt down on one of our paths, the one I had slipped on yesterday. We have an elderly neighbour who has not long had a hip replacement and I wanted to make sure it was safe for her to venture out.

The morning was spent doing a little housework and then some podcast research. When lunchtime rolled around we wrapped up warm and headed out for a walk. It was a very cold but beautifully bright, sunny day. We did two and a half miles in about 48 minutes and despite the layers my hands were frozen by the time we got home. 

The afternoon was split into two halves; the first half was spent watching some home movies. Simon is making good progress through our old Video 8 tapes and it is my job to watch the digitised version to make sure the video has been captured correctly and that the play back is of a good enough quality.

Simon has always been very good at taking bits of video over the years and while at the time of recording I was perhaps not that impressed with the camera pointing at me, but to be able to look back and remember is really quite special. The video I have watched today was when I was pregnant with our first child. We have video of grandparents and great-grandparents being told of my pregnancy, of getting things ready for the new arrival, talking about going for scans and my bump getting progressively bigger. Precious moments that have been captured for all time simply because Simon could be bothered to get the camera out. We now have our own little bit of history to share with those around us and the chance to remember those who are no longer with us.

The second half of my afternoon was then spent chatting with my good friend Michelle as we settled down to record this weeks Disney Dream Girls podcast; a bit of Disney news, history and a romantic look at Disney couples...well it is being released on Valentines Day!

Unfortunately the day ended with some very sad news with the passing of one of our Disney friends, someone who I had only gotten to know this year through the podcast and our Disney quizzes. My heart goes out to his partner and family and hope that the memories that they have created will keep them strong.

Wherever you are tell those you care about you love them and take care.
xx

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Icy Wednesday

Day 319...

Well today was a day that was mostly taken up with being in work.

It was a usual work day with the usual sort of admin tasks. We are winding down for this half term so a lot of my work this week is a combination of finishing things for this term and prepping things for the coming term.

I had a new parent to show around pre-school but as we are not allowing visitors in while we are open I needed to arrange an appointment at the end of the day after the children had gone home. This meant my working day got extended meaning I was about an hour later than normal getting home.

Another cold and wintery day had seen snow on the ground this morning and an afternoon flurry had seen a little more gather over areas that had started to thaw earlier. When I arrived home most of the early morning snow was still around and as I walked down the sloping steps towards my front door I felt my right foot go out from under me...thankfully I stayed upright and the low wall next to me gave me something to hold onto. A little light snow over ice causing a lot of trouble and a slightly jarred back!

I tried a new recipe tonight for dinner, a keto cheeseburger meatloaf; basically a meatloaf covered in bacon and with cheese running through the centre of it. And it was rather nice, which considering it was the first time I've ever made a meatloaf , was pretty good going. I also made a rather tasty BBQ mayo to go with it...who said eating keto was hard?!!

Simon has, over the course of the day, been capturing old video 8 home movie tapes and converting them into a digital format and has worked his way through the year I fell pregnant with our eldest. I now have the job to watch through the new digital version to make sure that everything has copied over correctly so I better stop typing and get watching!

Take care.
xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Memory Tuesday

Day 318...

And we have a Tuesday once more!

Into work for me this morning and it was a pretty standard few hours with the usual emails, banking and then sorting the next lot of invoices ready for distributing at the end of the week.

As I had the afternoon off I thought I would stop by my dads house as I've not seen him for a couple of weeks. He'd had a bit of an accident in his car at the end of last week and thankfully he wasn't hurt but I think his pride may have been knocked a little. But nothing that can't be fixed it just means he's without transport for a few weeks while the car gets repaired, which just means he needs to ask for help when he needs it - easier said than done!

When I got home, and with a freshly brewed coffee in hand, I caught up on a few of my own emails and a few work ones too! Before we rounded out the day with a little 'gym' session; Simon was very brave and ventured out into the absolutely freezing garage to lift weights while I stayed in the warmth of the living room and rolled about for a bit!

So today Facebook memories rolled around and really brought home the difference a year can make and how we find ourselves living at the moment. One year ago today we were attending Dr Sketchy's in Nottingham in a pub with actual people - oh how times have changed! Dr Sketchy's is a life drawing class that combines art and burlesque; an afternoon of poses, drawing and entertainment. These are run once every few months and after being a little unsure about attending (I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination!) I now thoroughly enjoy them as it's my little foray into Simon's artistic world and something that we can enjoy together. I can't believe it has been a full year since we last got chance to do this. We have attended some online 'virtual' Dr Sketchy's but it's really not the same and I can't wait till we can get back to doing them in person.

Another memory that popped up was from two years ago, from when we went to see White Lies in concert and had VIP passes which meant that we got to see the band complete their sound check and we got to meet with them, chat and have our photo taken. One of the best nights EVER...love this band so much and was thrilled to get the chance to meet them. Here's me looking rather pleased with myself...

...ah take me back...I miss concerts! I am so thankful that over the course of 2019 we were able to see White Lies twice in concert, here in the February and again in the December as well as seeing one of my other all time favourite bands, She Wants Revenge, in the August of that year. So glad we made the most of those opportunities and if this past year has taught us anything it's to grab the chances as they come along as you might never get the chance otherwise.

I will leave it there for todays post, take care out there.
xx

Monday, 8 February 2021

Monday, Monday

Day 317...


Another Monday has rolled around and this one started a little snowy...just a light covering.

We braved the cold to fetch our weekly grocery shopping and while there I nipped in store to see Jon their Community Champion.  Once again Jon has very kindly supported preschool and this week he has provided us with some yummy Chinese foods to try as we are celebrating Chinese New Year.

So we had a quick diversion on the way home as we stopped by preschool to drop off the aforementioned goodies!

After we had put the shopping away we decided to take a walk out in the snow. All day it has snowed on and off but it has never really amounted to anything. But we had a decent walk managing just over four miles in about an hour and twenty minutes.

The afternoon has been very quiet. Simon decided to sort through our stack of old home movies and set the process going of capturing the old video to convert into a digital format. He started I think with old skool Video 8 tape from 1997 when I found out I was pregnant with our first child! I took sometime to catch up with a little home admin and laundry before settling down to read some more of my latest book, 'The Case for Keto'. Absolutely fascinating to read the history behind the approach to diet, weight and obesity and how the old mantra of eat less and move more was never going to work.

And there we have another Monday, take care out there.
xx

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Chilly Sunday

Day 316...

Sunday is upon us once again, and once again it has been a slow and uneventful day.

We were in no rush to be up and about this morning so it was a late breakfast followed by a short walk out.

It was very chilly, rather windy and was even trying to snow but we were not deterred and thought we would try one of our more rural routes. However, to say all the fields around us were rather wet and muddy would be an understatement and although we were in our wellies and ready for the conditions ahead we opted to stick to the drier paths. I think it was spotting a fellow walker covered in mud from his chest down that said to us it wasn't worth the hassle!

The afternoon was spent with Simon making the final adjustments to his latest art commission while I did a little online grocery shopping and some more reading of my latest book; 'The Case for Keto'.

The afternoon was rounded out with our usual Sunday Disney quiz hosted by the podcast I co-host, the Disney Dream Girls. We had a round of questions set by Kacy in Germany all about Moana and then Michelle had a miscellaneous bunch of Disney questions and I scored 22.25 points which I was rather proud of and meant I came in second!

And there we have another Sunday done.

Take care out there.
xx

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Wet Saturday

Day 315...

So another slow and steady Saturday has rolled around again.

There really was not much planned for today...no surprise there...so after a late breakfast we headed out for a walk and headed in the direction of our now local coffee shop in the next village.

On the way we bumped into a couple of friends and stopped to have a chat...20 minutes later we were back on our way in search of coffee. By the time we arrived at the coffee shop it had just started to rain...not heavy just a light drizzle.

By the time we were heading home the rain decided to get a little more persistent and suffice to say by the time we got home we were absolutely soaked through. So much so that we had to have a complete change of clothes and as I write this about 5 hours after we arrived home our coats are still drying out. But we still managed just over three and a half miles.

Suffice to say once home and in fresh clothes it was time for another coffee to help warm us up.

This afternoon was spent with me watching the Disney film Moana and Simon finishing off his latest art commission piece. The choice of film was because part of the Disney quiz that we have each Sunday will be about Moana. Now, it is a fair while since I last watched it but I have to say I loved it, I had forgotten what a beautiful and heart warming film it is. And then remembering that the songs were written by Lin Manuel Miranda who was behind the musical Hamilton, which I fell in love with last year, just made me love Moana even more.

And then as a bit of a treat we decided to have take-out tonight, and we let Ethan have the choice of food...his choice - Chinese. Now, this would not be my first choice as it's a tad too 'carby' for my liking but I managed to find a steak in black pepper sauce and then allowed myself a treat of a few prawn crackers and a little sesame prawn toast.

Well that was the day and it will be rounded out with a glass of red wine and RuPaul's Drag Race.

Take care out there.
xx

Friday, 5 February 2021

And Friday!

Day 314...

So I think today it will be a short post as there really isn't that much to talk about.

It was a day in work, which was pretty standard and saw me catch up on a few admin bits, some emails, a little banking and a couple of newsletters.

Once home I had some of my own admin bits to do, updating my online grocery shopping, a little banking and responding to a couple of emails.

We decided to watch the next episode of WandaVision on Disney + as soon as Simon had finished work for the day. Another great episode and a little longer than previous ones, although we had thought that two episodes were being released today but it was just the one. Definitely turning into a solid series although if you're not too familiar with the Marvel universe it's probably best to wait until all the episodes are out to watch them back to back. Thankfully I have Simon to fill me in on any bits I'm not too sure about!

And I think that's where I'm going to leave it today. The weekend is upon us once more and whilst I look forward to a few days without work there is at the same time a feeling that can be best described as 'meh'! That sense of knowing we have days ahead with nothing to do and no where to go and I kind of find that feeling to be rather depressing. Just knowing that our freedom has been stomped on and we are effectively under house arrest is frustrating, annoying and just a tad tiresome now. Normality as we once knew it needs to reappear sooner rather than later.

Take care out there.
xx

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Thursday...again

Day 313...

And another Thursday has rolled around and another of my non-working days.

My first task this morning was to complete a little research ready for podcast recording later on this afternoon. This involved looking up some Disney history facts as well as scouring the latest Disney news for any interesting stories.

Next job was to take delivery of my latest butchers order which was quite a big delivery today. This always means having to go through it all and split it into appropriate portion sizes which then go in the freezer. Always a job that seems to take way longer than it should.

This afternoon we had someone visit to provide us with a quote for some new windows. Unfortunately we have a couple that are showing some wear and tear and really need to be replaced and we are debating whether to just get those updated or whether we get all the windows done together. I think it will all come down to the cost so I await their email!

My afternoon was rounded out by chatting with my good friend and podcast co-host Michelle as we recorded a show to be released this upcoming weekend. We spent some time just catching up before we recorded and we both agreed that the distraction of recording and the sillyness that ensued was very much needed and enjoyed.

The effects of this never ending 'lockdown' are different for all of us. Some may feel it more than others but I think a good deal of us are probably surprised by the extent to which it is effecting us and that it can catch us all off guard and at the most unexpected moments.

But we have to remember that however it is effecting us, that's okay. We will all be going through something different and that will probably change from day to day and maybe even hour to hour. All we can do is be there for those that we care about when they need us, offer that virtual hug, offer an ear, reach out and check-in and simply say 'Hi'.

The interminable routine, the lack of anything different to do or places to go is, to say the least, draining. We made the analogy a few weeks ago of comparing lockdown to being trapped in a never ending Sunday afternoon from the 1970's; when there was nothing to watch on the TV, no shops were open and there was nothing special to do. It was something we endured knowing there was better ahead and that's what we are trying to do now...but unfortunately the endurance is wearing thin and we are struggling to see when the better times will happen.

And while Simon went down 'the gym' this evening I started a blog piece for the Disney Dream Girls as well as writing my own post for today. Oh and cooking dinner...keto chicken philly cheesesteak casserole - yummy!

Take care and stay strong wherever you may be.
xx

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Quiet Wednesday

Day 312...

So really not sure what to write today as it has been a pretty standard and uneventful sort of day.

It was a day actually in work and consisted of the usual emails and banking. Then my focus for a good chunk of the day was publicity and how to get information about pre-school out and about in the community.

Since the onset of the pandemic our numbers have kind of stagnated. Usually at this point in an academic year we would be full or almost full whereas this year we are probably at about 50% capacity. I think a lot of this has to do with parents of very young children not knowing what to do for the best and whether sending their child to pre-school is really essential. And I know that the effect on the early years sector as a whole has been quite significant and there have been a lot of nurseries and pre-schools that have had to close their doors in the last six months or so.

Well we are determined that's not going to happen to us so it's now a case of getting the message out that we are very much here and open. So lots of emails have been sent today trying to find places where we can put up posters and advertise while not incurring too many costs!

Once home this afternoon I carried on with a little more work before grabbing another half hour to continue reading my latest book; The Case for Keto by Gary Taubes. 

And that was Wednesday...just another day.

Take care out there.
xx

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Day 311

Day 311...

So today was split into two halves; the morning was work focused and then I had the afternoon off.

I worked from home this morning as I had a 'leaders and managers' online briefing to attend. An hour and a half meeting to be brought up to date on the current happenings within early years.

I was also able to get some other work completed either side of the meeting; keeping up to date with emails, a little banking, some cash flow forecasting and inadvertently the re-organising of my 'bookmarks'!

As my morning finished we ventured outside for a walk and ended up taking a longer walk than we had intended. Ordinarily on a work day we try to be out for no more than about forty minutes but today we took a different route to normal and managed just over 3 miles in an hour.

The afternoon saw me finishing off a piece of work I'd started just before lunch as I wanted to make sure I knew where I'd gotten up to. Then there was a little online shopping to complete before I grabbed a half hour or so to start on my latest book: The Case for Keto by Gary Taubes.

Back in 2014 I read another book by Mr Taubes called 'Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It' and found it fascinating and at the same time confirmed how I'd managed to lose weight a few months earlier. 

In June of 2014 I embarked on a new diet that was being run by my daughters karate teacher (see my pages 'Getting Real' and 'Eating Well, Staying Healthy') which involved looking at the proportion of fat, protein and carbohydrates that I was eating and adjusting them to his recommendations. It was very evident from what I was presented with that I had to cut back my carbohydrates in a big way going from around 230g a day to about 70g! Well suffice to say I did as was recommended and lost the weight and that's when I read 'Why We Get Fat' and learned the science behind what I had done and everything just fell into place.

Six and a half years later I have maintained my weight and still eat 'low carb high fat/keto' and have no intention of changing. I am always looking to learn more about this way of eating and those that know me know how passionate I can be about it so I can't wait to get into this book and find out more.

Our day was finished off with a little gym workout and on a very rainy evening Simon was very glad he only had to venture out as far as the garage! I stayed in the warmth and dry of the living room and watched a documentary on Disney + while I did my exercises - how civilised!!

Whatever you are doing, wherever you may be, take care.
xx

Monday, 1 February 2021

Usual Monday

Day 310...

So another Monday has rolled around and it was pretty much like any other Monday at the moment.

We had our weekly grocery shopping to collect and whilst at the store I nipped in to see their Community Champion. Jon has been brilliant over the last few years supporting pre-school in our endeavours and this has continued throughout the past 10 months. He is gutted that he can no longer visit us and all the other local charities he supports, but he is still able to provide us with supplies. 

I came away with a trolley full of goodies for our various upcoming fundraisers; we have plenty of Easter eggs and chocolate, we have prizes for our upcoming raffle, prizes for an upcoming children's creative competition and even some treats for Valentines Day. Next week he will be providing us with some Chinese foods as we celebrate Chinese New Year.

Once home Simon was busy completing the Mandalorian helmet he had molded yesterday. And by the end of the day it had been completed, paid for and posted!

We took a walk out in the gorgeous, if a little chilly, sunshine managing 4.2 miles in about an hour and twenty minutes. I then spent some of the afternoon researching wooden floors as we still need to sort the flooring out in the bedroom after having had new wardrobes fitted last year. As well as new windows as our wooden frames are beginning to show plenty of wear and tear and really need updating.

And that was another Monday done. Another day with nothing much to report.

Take care out there.
xx