So we made it to Friday of week 1 in lockdown. Somehow we did it. The first week of the school being closed. It has helped massively that the weather has been sunny, so I could throw open the doors and let the boys play outside. Meaning I could get on with work.

I read something this week that made me really think. This isn’t home schooling, this is crisis schooling. Home schooling is something very different. Home schooling is actively choosing to deregister your child and dedicate your time to teaching them. Thats not what we are doing. We are trying to keep the children safe whilst working full-time jobs. Of course I want them to continue their learning but it’s not easy. Its even harder whilst trying to stop Roo from being a menace and demanding attention.

He’s got up to all sorts this week including eating the bread I put out for the birds to have (which did make me laugh…things aren’t that bad we still have food!).

A little boy is eating torn up pieces of bread directly from a bird table

This week I’ve tried to take it in turns with them to sit down with them and get through the work that school is sending everyday whilst still getting on with my work. On some days I’ve not been able to put the time into getting my job done so I’ve worked in the evening as well to make up the hours. I don’t want to let anyone down at work. Working for the NHS we are all in this together, I need to be part of the team and make sure I’m doing everything I can to help where I can.

I’ve probably not done enough with them but I can try harder next week. In my head I’ll be happy if they get through a piece of writing, a maths exercise and some creativity everyday. I’m very grateful that school are sending work each day, it helps me focus with the boys. Even if we don’t get through it.

The climbing frame arrived so thats something to put together at the weekend. I do hope we get some more sunny days over the next few weeks!

But I’ve done it, I got through week 1. With fingers tightly crossed I hope we only have to go through another 11 weeks of this but I know that we may be facing more. If schools don’t go back until September then we have a very long road ahead but we can do it. We don’t have any choice. We CAN do this!

Week one over and out!

J

I know every man and his dog is talking about Covid-19 right now but nobody else can tell our story. I debated for a while if I would write about it but we’re living through history right now. If only for the childrens memory in future years to come I’ve decided to try and write a diary. I have started a vlog too but I won’t be uploading that until this strange time is over. I find vlogs way easier to do as I’m just talking but I wanted to write some words too.

Today is Tuesday 24th March, lots and lots have already happened. Yesterday Boris Johnson (the current Prime Minister) addressed the nation and effectively put the whole country on lockdown. Mainly because of all the idiots who are not listening to advice about staying indoors. We had a lovely sunny weekend last weekend and so many people were just out and about mingling together despite being told to social distance. Social distancing is staying at least 2m away from anyone who is not a member of your household.

Schools are closed to all those who are not key workers. Even though I work for the NHS we are lucky that Neil is home (working form home) so we are able to care for the children at home and keep them as safe as we can. I hope that all the teachers, assistants and nursery nurses are able to stay safe during this time.

All non essential shops have been ordered to close. Therefore now only food shops, pharmacies etc are allowed to be open.

My main worries (apart form the virus) is how we carry on teaching the children, whilst taking care of Roo and working. I’m stressed out daily by the sheer amount we have to get done. I’m trying to just think of one day at a time. So far we’ve got through two days of school and work and survived. We have been super lucky with the weather though as it’s been sunny. I do hope we have lots more sunny days as we can expand into the garden on those days and not feel so cooped up in the house.

I’ve set up a classroom in the playroom so they have space to work. I didn’t want to do it at the kitchen table as I’d be constantly cleaning it away and not able to set aside an area just for them to work.

We set up a spare laptop so they can do any online work set by school too, rather than using our laptops. My much loved MacBook is already on the edge of being ok, I’m dreading the day it finally gives up!

The boys school have been amazing so far at sending work daily over the class dojo app. It’s given me some direction in their learning and what they should be doing. Thomas is much harder work in getting him to sit down and do learning as he just doesn’t want to. But I’m trying very hard to not lose my patience with him and encourage him to do his work. I really don’t want him to suffer because of this.

I have ordered some swings and a climbing frame for them and last week I got a new trampoline. My hope is that it keeps them occupied and loving the outside. Hopefully they will come this week so we can build them at the weekend.

Countdown

I’ve made a countdown chart with 14 weeks on it. I know nobody can say when this will end but I’m hopeful! So each weekday I can colour off a square and see how far we’ve come. I have to break it down as 14 weeks sounds like an awfully long time. Theres no way I can think of it as a whole like that or I’ll cry.

The biggest cause of my sadness is not being able to see my mum and dad. I’ve never spent so much time apart from my mum. I am massively grateful for technology and FaceTime her most days. We may only be 45 minutes apart in the car but we feel like a world away right now. I can’t wait to see my mum and dad again when this is over.

I’ve always been a positive person so I am looking for hope in this situation. I know in my head this will come to an end and life will return to normal again. I hope this makes people come together. My hope is that it helps people to realise that everyday normal is ok and that theres so much to be grateful for in life.

Over and out for now x

Some days boys I do wonder if I am ever enough for you?

I want to be the best mum I can be for you, I want you to know how much I love you. I want you to remember how hard I try everyday to be there for you.

I want to be able to spend time with each of you. Helping with homework, listening to you read. Helping with phonics and counting. Taking you swimming or teaching you to ride your bike. I want to always say ‘yes’ to your requests but often I can’t and I’m sorry boys.

But life’s so busy, work takes a lot of the week for me and your dad. Then time at home is taken up with house work. But I try, I try very hard to make it fun. I can’t ignore the housework or we’d live in a mess. If I didn’t sort the uniforms and your bags and things you wouldn’t have what you need for the week.

The there’s the flip side of being an employee. Am I doing enough at work. Is my mind distracted by thoughts of the boys and what’s the next thing I have to rush home to get them to on time. Do I give enough of myself to my job? Often I don’t feel like I am doing. Maybe I should do more but I don’t know how. I want to be the best I can be but it never feels like I am doing.

Am I doing enough for my friends. I’m certainly not keeping in touch enough. I’ve missed birthdays and anniversaries and that’s not what a friend should do.

I have so much I want to do, so much creativity. Theres so many vlogs I want to edit and publish to get your memories out there for you to keep forever but I just can’t find the time.

How do I make myself more productive, where can I find the extra time from? Should I start staying up later to cram more in?

So I’m sorry boys, I’m sorry for when I have to say no. I’m sorry for all the times I have to say ‘not now’, or ‘I’m too busy’. Please just know that I want to say yes but I just can’t let things slide and end up dropping a ball on my constant juggle to get everything right for you.

So when I started my blog back in 2014, I feel like I read other peoples blogs much more.

These days I barely open my laptop. The way I see the world outside my own family and home is on my phone. My favourite thing to do in an evening is watch some youtube vlogs or have a look through a few of my favourite peoples instagram stories.

I will read a blog post if its something I’ve searched for, I find some of the instructional ones really fab. I will search for reviews of things I have thought about buying too, those posts are often really useful too. But I don’t tend to follow a blog adn check back for new posts to read. Maybe its just the way everyone is now, dipping in and out when they come across posts that they want to read or have searched for.

One of my most popular posts is about my last breastfeeding with my middle baby, if you want to read it, its this one.

I love the visualness of a vlog or instagram story or even a just a picture. While we are talking about them I’ll link mine here too incase you fancy a follow.

Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/c/LyricGrace

Instagram –http://instagram.com/alittlelyrical

But I don’t want to lose my blog, its too old now and has too much of my boys growing up on it, so I will continue writing little and often. More than likely my posts will about our adventures and letters to the boys as they grow. Time passes so quickly.

Today and everyday I will slow down, soak in the moment and enjoy the minutes I have with the boys. I’m a very lucky mummy.

Today was the first time I’ve looked at my blog in a long time. I miss it.

I was asking myself how it got to such a long time gap.

The answer is easy. Life got in the way. Life has been tricky lately. I don’t want to say hard because that’s not the right word.

I’m grateful to have a privileged life compared to so many people.There’s a warm roof over my head, warm clothes, a warm bed. I have food on the table and for all those things I am grateful. It’s just been tough. I feel like I’m spinning plates and instead of keeping them spinning, when I’m not looking they are crashing and falling. Then when I replace them a different one falls.

With three children and both working full time it only takes one thing to drop and thats it, life is tricky.

In the last few weeks there have been hospital stays for Roo, illnesses, migraines, a broken wrist to name a few. I feel so guilty when I can’t go to work. It’s been made worse because I’m in a new job and I’m beginning to think they will assume I’m lazy and can’t cope with everything. Why is mum guilt so bad?

I’m trying really hard to sort everyone out and get them all to the right place at the right time so we can go to work. My husband is fantastic and helps lots but I still feel like its all my responsibility. I know if he reads this he’ll say its not at all but it’s just the way I feel. Sometimes I wonder if life would be easier if I gave up my job. But I love my job, I really love it and don’t want to leave. I’ve worked hard all my life to get where I am at work. I feel like I’d be failing if I just walked away.

I would just like life to give us a little break for a while. I’d like normal back. A nice normal life where I can drop the babies off to school and nursery and go to work and do a great job. So please life if you’re listening give me a little bit of normal.

Thank you!

If like me you have a preschooler then you’ll probably know who the Twirlywoos are! Did you know you could see them live though?

picture of the twirlywoos all having a cuddle

MEI Theatrical are delighted to announce that the wonderful world of Twirlywoos – as seen on CBeebies – will be brought to life on stage for the first time in 2019. Toodloo, Great BigHoo, Chickedy, Chick and Peekaboo will set sail around the UK in a brand-new theatrical adventure.

The show comes to The Epstein Theatre on Wed 20 – Thu 21 Feb and St Helens Theatre Royal on Sat 27 – Sun 28 April.

Featuring all the favourite characters from the hit TV show, expect mischief, music and plenty of surprises as the Twirlywoos embark on a new adventure onboard their Big Red Boat. With beautifully inventive puppetry, Twirlywoos Live! promises to be a laugh-out-loud treat for little ones. 

Twirlywoos Live! is recommended for ages 1+, with babes in arms welcome. The running time is 55 minutes with no interval.

Why not make the Twirlywoos Live your little one first theatre experience!

LISTINGS INFORMATION THE EPSTEIN THEATRE

The Epstein Theatre

Date: Wed 20 – Thu 21 Feb 2019

Time: Wed 1:30pm, Thu 11:30am/ 1:30pm

Tickets: Adult £14.50/ Child £12.50/ Family £50

To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or go online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at The Epstein Theatre Box Office from 12pm – 6pm Monday – Saturday.

*Subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy

LISTINGS INFORMATION ST HELENS THEATRE ROYAL

St Helens Theatre Royal

Date: Sat 27 – Sun 28 April 2019

Time: Sat 1pm/ 4pm, Sun 1pm

Tickets: Adult £18/ Concession £17/ Child £16

Book in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside WA10 1LQ (Mon–Sat 10am–5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756 000 or log on to: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

This week I started a brand new job! Not only was it my first day back after maternity leave had ended but everything was new. New job, new workplace, new colleagues…..
When I got home after my first day these were waiting form me from a friend. They are called candy floss and they are stunning!

Photalife

Today we’ve teamed up with PJ Masks Youth Sport Trust campaign.

pj masks

I’m sure if you have little ones unless you’ve had your head in a cave you’ll know who PJ Masks are! If you don’t have children I’ll explain! PJ Masks are a trio of crime fighting heroes who go out in the night (in their PJ costumes) to help fight crimes. If you’ve got children you’re likely singing the catchy theme tune in your head right now…..the night, is the right time, to fight crime!

pj masks

Felix’s favourite is Gekko! So he was delighted with the Gekko costume he’d been sent! There was lots of running around pretending to be his favourite PJ wearing super hero in the garden.

He was exited to have been asked to take part in activities this week to help promote National School Sports Week. It takes place from 25th June to 29th June 2018. 

The Youth Sport Trust has joined up with eOne’s PJ Masks toys to help children in the UK grow up healthy. 

Did you know for children aged 2-5 in the UK the chief medical officer recommends 3 hours of physical activity a day. That’s why PJ Masks are promoting #PJMasksPowerOf3 . Physical activity can include loads of different things. It doesn’t have to just be a traditional ‘exercise’ activity. It’s important to make it fun to keep children enjoying the activities.

The fun pack we were kindly sent to help promote National School Sports Week included lots of ideas to get children active.

pj masks

The PJ Masks bubble bucket was a great hit. Bubbles feature a lot in our play as I love them. They are environmentally friendly as well as beautiful to look at. You can incorporate bubbles in lot of games. Chasing them, catching them. Running with a bubble wand in your hand. Lots and lots of way to use bubbles to get active over the summer.

 

The PJ masks bowling set was also a big hit with both the boys. 

 

The takeaway message for National School Sports Week, really is to get out, get active and most importantly have fun! Why not try to get your school or nursery involved this week?

Guest Post

While the office designers are now advocating for the open-plan office for its neat and clean look, such open-plan offices are responsible for creating noisy work environments. These swanky offices are vulnerable to the resonating sound in the office and could be a major cause of distraction and ultimate loss of productivity.

Maybe, you have had the experience of being in a noisy restaurant and had problems of hearing what your friend sitting across the table is saying. Such places also have an open sitting arrangement with chairs and tables scattered all over the floor.  

No matter if it is a commercial office, auditorium, restaurant, gym, a city court or any other public spaces, the resonating sound could be a major issue as these lead to deterioration of health, hampers communication and impair the learning process.

For soundproofing any commercial interior we have to treat ceiling along with the walls and the floor and this is a very tricky affair. To block the sound resonating from the ceiling, you have to make it sound absorbing and that can only be done by increasing the amount of mass in the ceiling. But, this is not desired. This is because the heavier ceiling will face much stronger gravity pull. 

Of course, you can build an acoustic ceiling using acoustical ceiling tiles for noise reduction. You can either glue these to the ceiling or have a drop ceiling with these tiles. In the first case, there will be a substantial increase in weight and in the second case you will reduce the headspace.

Hanging sound baffles provide an easy and low-cost solution to noise control problems. Suspended from the ceiling these absorb the airborne reverberated sound and reduces noise pollution in the interior.

What are ceiling sound baffles?

These are unique sound absorbing mediums that are hanged from the ceiling. These are mostly used when a commercial interior needs acoustic treatment but do not have much wall space or where soundproofing panels cannot be installed due to design limitation.  These can be used in the isolation room or on the stage for improving the acoustic effect. Designed for vertical suspension in rows and columns spreading the entire area, these can be suspended from the truss or from any other pre-designed suspension system. Sound baffles also have excellent echo blocking capacity.  In large rooms sound cause echo and reverberation due to multiple bouncing off the walls and the ceiling. Using sound baffles significantly reduces such noise pollution.

Different types of ceiling sound baffles

As both sides of the ceiling sound baffles remain exposed, these deliver great noise reducing solution. These can be of different types.

  • Foam Sound Baffles: These are made of class 1 fire rated melamine foam and can absorb the sound of almost all frequencies. You can get these in a wide range colors and in standard sizes of 2 x 4 feet and 4 x 8 feet with options for customization to meet specific décor needs.
  • PVC and Sailcloth Sound Baffles: This is made of acoustic fiberglass core in PVC or Sailcloth cover with heat seal.  This is lightweight and cost effective but good noise reducer and great for use in wet areas like swimming pool, gymnasium and animal shelters. These budget panels are also available in definite geometric shapes.
  • Polywarp Sound Baffles: Coming in white polythene bags, these contain sound absorbing fiberglass and are used in the factories and the manufacturing facilities. This is also an economical option.
  • Sanitary Baffles: These come in reinforced Mylar light and reflective white bags and are used in food processing and drug manufacturing units. Only FDA approved durable, chemically resistant, dimensionally stable and washable materials are used in the construction of these baffles.
  • Fabric wrapped Sound Baffles: Made using decorative fabric, these are designed to reduce the sound level and provide great noise reduction with increased speech intelligibility and clarity of the music. They have an eye-catching look.

Features of the Ceiling Sound Baffles

  • These are made in custom sizes and are available in light to moderate weight.
  • Coming in a variety of finishes, these great sound absorbing capacity.
  • Available with suspension system and the vertical drop can be customized.
  • Entails considerable reduction in noise level.
  • Can be installed easily.
  • Suitable for noisy spaces with large areas.

Benefits you can enjoy

By installing sound baffles you can enjoy many benefits. Other than affecting a drop in the ambient noise it also changes the entire look of the commercial indoor. This is an affordable option when compared to the other sound absorbing options and allows enough installation flexibility. These also have good reflectivity and can improve the interior illumination.

The CSISOUNDCORE advantage

Being a leading designer and manufacturer of noise reducing elements, CSISOUNDCORE can help you out in your journey for noise reduction starting from the planning to the implementation stage. Having more than 160 designs in 6 different core materials they can deliver you the right noise controlling solution regardless the type and size of the commercial interior.

Their Flaps Collection includes a wide range of ceiling baffles and acoustic baffles. These uniquely designed hanging sound baffles have the capacity to fulfill both architectural and functional requirements of any commercial interior. These ceiling baffles sound absorption collection is made from high-quality acoustic fibers and 100% wool fabric. The Cumulus collection sound baffles are also available in a range of materials, colors, sizes, and shapes and you can have almost endless combinations.

Materials used in manufacturing these sound baffles contain no VOC and are non-toxic and non-allergenic making these absolutely safe for the people and environment as well. These are durable and weather resistant and hence undergo no change of color. The sound baffles comply with the requirements of ASTM E84 and are rated class ‘A’ fire safe.

Coming in modular designs these require minimum installation effort CSIsoundcore have solutions for your every need. Just spell out your requirement and they will return with a unique turnkey solution for soundproofing without compromising with decoration requirements.

If you’ve read my blog before you may realise I talk about birth a lot. I love giving birth. I have enjoyed my last two births at home. You can read about my home birth here.

It’s socially acceptable to talk about birth. However at the other end of life is death. It will happen to everyone at some time. Yet most people shy away from talking about death. I’ll quite happily chat about it though.

The trigger for this post came this week when I spotted a rainbow hearse out on the road (twice in the same week).

I just thought it was beautiful. The second time it passed me I noticed it was owned by co-op funeral care. This isn’t a sponsored post by the way. I just wanted to mention that it’s beautiful.

So thinking about death I thought I’d write a post to explain what I’d like to happen when I pass away (not that I plan to for a very very long time!)

First and foremost I’d like to be cremated. As I understand it’s cheaper than a burial and the last thing I want to be is a financial burden for my family. Also I prefer the idea of being ashes and floating on the wind than being got by the worms. Plus I’m claustrophobic so at least I won’t feel cooped up in a box buried in the earth. Cremation is for me.

If my family want to see my body when I’m dead then that’s fine by me. If it helps to heal the hurt and say goodbye that’s ok. But please make sure I look ok. Ask someone to do my makeup as I would have in life, give them a photo! I don’t want to look like a clown upon departure from the earth.

I love the rainbow hearse and so if possible would love to travel in that to the place of service. I also love flowers, so ask that if you are putting any in the hearse don’t waste money on ones that die quickly and you end up leaving at the crematorium. By all means put a bunch or two in to make it look cheery for my final journey but take them away with you after the service. Put them in water at home in a vase. Get joy from them as I would have. Don’t leave them to die on the pavement. I’ve never been a fan of the flowers that spell a word. You know the ones I mean. I know some people like them but I just think they are a waste of money, not for me please.

At the service plan songs and hymns, I love music.

Children – now I know when people die the question of children is often asked for the service. Please don’t think you can’t bring them. Death is part of life. I think it’s perfectly ok for them to see people upset about death. Its normal. Please don’t try to make them be quiet either. Let them run around if they want to. It’s ok, no etiquette for me. Let them sing and play, let them be them. Let them be children.

Don’t wear black because you think you have to. Wear anything that feels comfy. If you want to wear leggings and a yoga top because you feel comfy, do it!

Have a celebration afterwards. Talk about me and relive the good times. Don’t make it morbid. I have and am still living a wonderful life. I try to make the most of everyday. I am eternally grateful for all I have in life. Be grateful for my life.

And finally most importantly, go on and live your own life. (This one is mainly for my own children) No amount of being upset about my passing will improve your own life. I want you to make the best of it. It’s ok to always remember me but don’t make your life down because I’m not in it.

I love living and when I’m gone you should too x