My plans for after lockdown

My plans for after lockdown

When Boris says this is all over and life finally returns to normal there’s a few things I want to do. So I thought why not make a post about all the things I want to do! So here goes…

Go to the national history musuem. Why this random place? Well my son is OBSESSED with andys dinosaur and prehistoric adventures and he loves dressing up as Andy. So after a google the other night we found out that andys clock is at the musuem and I think Elijah would love running around the musuem and seeing all the dinosaurs and animals too. He loves our local musuem so he’ll love that too.

We will go to the zoo. Elijahs favourite place to go is the zoo. He’s asked almost everyday since being in lockdown and every time we get in the car he thinks we’re going to see the animals and I have to break his heart and say it’s closed over and over again.

Celebrate our anniversary. We will go away for the night to a hotel without Elijah somewhere as that was our plan that got cancelled.

Go for a meal. To have that restaurant vibe where there is no clean up. Just food brought to us and be socialising.

See our friends and go out together in groups. We’ve missed our friends and so has Elijah so we’ll be having lots of days out with friends.

Go to our family’s and see everyone inside. We’ll go see all our family we haven’t seen in a while!

Go to the cinemas. We are big cinema fans and we go for the social experience. We go twice a month so I’ve certainly missed it.

Go shopping. I want to go for a day shopping in town with no feeling of judgement and looking at different things.

Go to diy stores and buy bits to do the house and garden up too.

Go to a library and book store. I miss books like something fierce and staring into the books selection and picking something new!

Finish signing Elijah up for nursery. so many little things have been out on hold and this is a important one.

Obviously some things will take a while but I can’t wait for normality! Stay safe, Charlie x

Dealing with separation anxiety in toddlers

Dealing with separation anxiety in toddlers

Elijah is in a funny old stage again when he is obsessed with me. The stress of being locked in together has caused Elijah to go from this independent child to a child that needs to be around me all the time asking where I’m going if I stand up to leave the room. Although I’m flattered I do need my personal space at times just as he needs his. There is a point when it becomes a bit unhealthy.

Set boundaries:

Toddlers need to be taught boundaries. Obviously they need to learn about them or they will never understand. I make sure I spend time telling Elijah I need some personal space or I’m having five minutes to myself. I explain mummy doesn’t need to be brought toys or snacks to open while I’m on the toilet. I explain I don’t want to be climbed all over like a climbing frame all day either. I explain if I don’t like something too. Elijah has a new habit of using me as a slide I explain all the time I don’t like it and it must stop. He normally gets the memo and walks of but before when I didn’t tell him he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t turn into a happy little human slide.

Teach through reading:

We have brought a few books about personal space. My favourite his Harrison Spader personal space invader. The book talks about being overly close to people and setting boundaries. It explains that people can get upset by it and we understand why you do it as it’s showing your love!

Spend time sharing the love:

Spend time cuddling and watching films together and lots of time playing together and explain when you want a break so your child understands. Don’t just walk of when they’re playing but tell them mummy’s going to have a little break you continue to play nicely!

Spend some time apart if you can:

If your self isolating with another adult spend some time away from your child and let the other adult take them for a walk or entertain them while you have some alone time. This way you maintain a bit more calm and your child understands you aren’t constantly at their beck and call and it’s ok to be around others. It’s good for the child to bond with that person too. There should be other relationships formed.

FaceTime other people:

FaceTime others so you can catch up and your child can talk to them too. This reminds them you’re not the only person in the world to them and puts them a bit at ease. They love a FaceTime session as they get to be silly too!

Take a breather:

You can get really stressed out having someone in your face all day and if it was a adult you’d tell them where to go but with a child you can’t do that. So instead if you feel stressed perhaps take a few minutes outside the room have a cup of tea and calm down. When you come back take a calming moment with your child too so they can calm down too. You will feel so much better for it.

Hope my advice sometimes helps, I’m no expert but just a mum. Stay safe, Charlie x

Osmo product review!

Osmo product review!

A few weeks ago I was sitting there thinking about how I can I use Elijahs tablet to enable him to learn while having fun. That’s when we where contacted by the people at osmo! We were very fortunate to be gifted a fantastic set from the lovely Osmo in exchange for a review. And what a treat it has been too recieve such amazing items.

First of all the packaging and design of their items is so sleek and also interesting for children at the same time. Elijah could somewhat tell what was inside and was thrilled to open it up! Inside the box sent to us was the stand to be able to use the osmo app, a Mickey Mouse super studio and our favourite the play mat with squiggle magic bits!

It was super easy to download all you do is follow the instructions and your ready to play. Elijah was very excited by something new and was to eager to help set up!

Elijah enjoyed playing with squiggle magic the most. This app teaches children to design with the use of the kit where it is reflected onto the screen where it picks up their designs and brings it to life. He enjoyed matching up the pieces (with a little bit of help) to the design on the pad. We also went rogue and he made his own designs to. He enjoyed the colours and loved listing them and talking about what was happening on the screen to. We also made numbers and letters with the squiggle pieces which is fantastic for learning! He may still be a little young to enjoy the full content of the games but he did absolutely love getting involved and just needed some help from mum. We also love how space saving it is and easy to clean away. It is so handy that the squiggle bits come in a nice little box for storage!

The next product we had to test was the Mickey Mouse super studio. This was a note pad which connects to the device again which gives you activity’s to do. You draw and it appears on the screen like magic. We worked together to complete some of the activities which he enjoyed. He is a little young for this one but he did enjoy all the characters as he’s obsessed with Mickey Mouse clubhouse now! we will be using this when he’s older a lot more and we love that it comes with its own branded items such as pen and wipe and it’s super easy to clean!

Overall we love this product and it’s something we keep getting out and playing. We will explore more and more the older he gets and it’s the perfect toy to grow up and learn with. We also have lots of friends and family with children of all ages which I know will love coming round to play with it! Thankyou osmo we love it!

You can buy yours here:https://www.playosmo.com/

You can also check what their up to on their Instagram here: https://instagram.com/playosmo?igshid=utkseffd51vg

Stay safe, Charlie! x

Guest post by @alifetwintastic- A new routine:

Guest post by @alifetwintastic- A new routine:

Ellie is a mum of three from Gloucestershire, UK. A wannabe perfect housewife, to-do list checker and mental health advocate with dreams of a healthy lifestyle, unburnt cookies and mini adventures. Find out more at alifetwintastic.blog here.

I’m usually all about the routine. It’s embedded into my DNA. The need for structure and organisation. To know what’s coming next and to feel a sense of control. Routine has served me well in the past {hello baby twins} but as with all things, life changes and routines adapt.

When the boys were babies I quickly realised in order for me to survive {mentally} I greatly needed some stability and control in the way of a routine. This worked to a certain extent and it got me through that seemingly impossible first year but not without sacrifice. I became highly set on our schedule, blinkers on and my anxiety at an all time high. I struggled to see past the next job on our list and became irritable and stressed when the routine was messed with {including snapping at my mum in the car one day when I was trying to get the boys to nap}. Having the boys in the same routine was my coping mechanism. Being a first time mum of twins and being naturally inclined to like control and structure caused a huge wrecking ball type effect.

It’s hard to admit it but those days were dark. Postnatal depression crept in. Not accepting any kind of help, feeling like a failure and distraught

With Penny I have always been more relaxed. Be it being a second time mum, a single baby or her generally chilled personality. I don’t know. Again probably all of these things. Penny’s start to life was anything but straightforward. Almost constant morning sickness throughout my pregnancy, a breech baby, emergency c-section, diagnosis of hip dysplasia and subsequent Pavlik harness and then CMPA. But these things didn’t phase me in the same way as they probably would have done the first time round. Don’t get me wrong it was hard. There were dark days but overall the whole experience was much more relaxed and enjoyable.

We have never had Penny in any kind of routine. She woke up when she liked, slept when she liked and fed on demand. She fitted in with our lives as younger siblings do. As a result we were all a lot calmer and relaxed. She made her own daily routine and adapted it when needed. I felt like I could read her better and knew what she needed. This is not to say things were easy. Another bout of postnatal depression hit but this time I was more accepting of it. I accepted help more readily and didn’t blame myself in the same way.

Fast forward to today and I still have a strong sense of routine {on paper} however my mindset has shifted in recent years. Be it an age thing, a family thing or personal growth – probably a mixture of a lot of things. The boys have just turned 5 and P is in full toddlergedon mode. We are in the midst of a National pandemic which has seen us basically locked up at home for the past 7 weeks.

This is a time of surviving and supporting. People are putting their health at risk to keep the majority of us safe. Routines have changed. For us it’s been a time of stepping back and slowing down. Time to spend with our little family and letting the days merge into one. No alarms set. No set bedtime. No real routine. There has still been work and homeschooling but everything seems to have slowed down and relaxed. Increased flexibility it will be hard to let go of when life gets back to normal. Different ways of connecting and supporting one another. Retreating into our bubble and taking time out from being constantly busy. A taste of what life could be. Maybe not all the time but certainly some of it. Time out. A new normal. A new routine. 

Ellie xx

www.alifetwintastic.blog Instagram: @alifetwintastic

www.alifetwintastic.blog Instagram: @alifetwintastic

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Hi all as we reach day 2636526 in lock down we’ve been thinking of ways to keep our little one busy and thought why don’t we share those ideas with you. The lovely people at Hartley’s fruit gifted us lots of jelly to share with others what we get up to with jelly!

I know what your thinking jelly? That’s just for eating? Well yeah it’s for eating BUT you can also play with it. You can hide things in it and explore the texture as you try to fish bits out of it! SO if you’re looking for a cheep and easy activity then look no further!

All you need is jelly, you can buy Hartley’s jelly in most supermarkets and corner shops as well as online! Then you can get inventive. I like to set a theme today I used Elijahs little dinosaurs and we had a dinosaur theme. We have previously done jungle animals, the lion king theme and we’ve even used fruit too! If your child is still at age where everything is in the mouth I suggest bigger toys they can’t choke on or cut up fruit!

How to make: Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and when it’s starting to cool out the fruit or toys in. Then when it is completely cool put in the fridge to set for a few hours I suggest a minimum of three hours!

Now the fun part! Get it out and put some old clothes on and get ready to get messy! Get some tools out if you wish, I got a spoon but we’ve previously used whisks, chopsticks and lots more to squish into the jelly.

While your child plays talk to them while they explore. Talk to them about the texture and ask them questions. Ask if it’s squishy? Ask if it’s cold. Ask how it feels in their hands. Talk about how it is cold and how it is wobbly. Talk about what your using to get the toys/fruit out. Count how many objects you remove from the jelly and talk about if they’re sticky or not.

We enjoy getting bigger toys and splashing them in the jelly also! It’s a great play idea which you don’t have to worry about them eating the product!

We find this a super fun idea we play with other children when they come round and can’t wait to do more play with others after lockdown!

To clean up, once all the toys have been removed allow them to eat some jelly. If you’ve made to much save for later in the fridge. To finish just simply wash up as normal and add the toys and utensils to the washing up pile. Remove dirty clothes and wash hands it’s that simple.

Have fun and enjoy yourself! Let’s play with our food that little bit more! Thanks again to Hartley’s for supporting our play today! (The jelly used was gifted).

For more play ideas be sure to check my Instagram play idea highlights where I’ll be adding more as we play! Follow: @lifewiththehazelwoods and tag me and Hartley’s in any jelly play you do!

Thanks Charlie!

Potty training

Potty training

Now that the UK is in lock down i decided with us being stuck inside constantly that we would finally get stuck into potty training. We have tried in the past and he wasn’t ready so we stopped. When he started more signs we decided that it was time and that while we have the time we may as well at least try. I’m no expert in the line of potty training and to be honest i would in know way want to be. It is incredibly stressful and probably one of the hardest parts of parenting i have come face to face with. But i think finally, we are coming out the other side. So if you think your kids ready here’s some of my advise that may help, or may not as every single child is different but it helped us.

So you’re thinking of potty training? First thing you need to do is look for some of the signs your little one is ready. Because if your child is not ready they will not pick it up and it will only stress you and them out. Potty training is already stressful so make sure they’re ready. So here are some signs to know your child is ready.

  • Can tell when they’re wet or weeing. Will pull at dirty nappy and be uncomfortable until changed.
  • Runs to a corner or certain space to do a wee or poo.
  • Has a fascination with using the potty or watching you use the toilet and want to try.
  • Their nappies are more dry for longer periods.
  • They tell you when they need a wee or poo.
  • Fidgeting before needing the potty, walking around, pushing legs together or just more fidgety then usual.
  • Wants to try pants.
  • Dry at nap time.

If your little one is showing a few of these signs then its probably time to take the plunge. You’ll never be ready to potty train but it is so much easier if they are ready and you start as early as they show signs. The next step is to get supplies ready to start potty training.

  • Take your child with you shopping or help them choose online big kid pants. (obviously not taking them if in lock down).
  • Explain about the potty and what it’s for. Perhaps buy a little book that explains potty training and read regularly this helped.
  • A potty. A travel one is a lifesaver so if you take it outside you can keep the contents safely till your home.
  • A toilet seat for trying on the toilet some kids prefer the toilet first and it’s there ready for the transfer from potty.
  • Disposable toilet wipes.
  • poo liners are a life saver to stop mess of poo in pants.
  • plenty of soap to clean hands more.
  • Cleaning products because it is hell of a messy.

So how did i potty train. We started with allowing him to sit on potty with nappy on, to get used to it. We would read books about potty training and explain what he would be doing soon. We took him shopping months ago for big boy pants and he choose them when we came home we tried them on. We started with showing him to go potty when we need the toilet. We would say we need the potty when we went to the loo to teach him we use the potty too. Then we started letting him wear his pants for a few minute a day. We slowly got him to sit on the potty to try we explained what its for and sometimes read his books to him. We stopped when he wasn’t getting it and waited until a few weeks ago and we have stuck to it. We repeated what we had done before and just picked it up as we went on. We got elijah to sit on it more and tried to take his mind of things, singing or letting him watch something. We used a potty reward chart with stickers but he wasn’t too bothered about the stickers but he did enjoy getting snacks as a reward. We praised using the potty and when he had an accident we told him that no wee and poo go in the potty and repeated every time. We would ask him where we and poo goes after a accident and he would tell us. We set alarms to try every twenty minutes to sit on the potty so he would get used to trying. After a while he got used to it and we could tell when he needed to go to the potty he would fidget a lot. We would take him to the potty when we thought he’d need to go and try. After a while Elijah got hang of it and started to tell us when he needed the toilet every now and then. Now he tells us every time he needs the loo. He will still have accidents but i think we can finally say he is potty trained. Thankfully most of the stress has gone and although we still have accidents it is worth it in then end.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or care about your house. They will have accidents and it will be messy, It will be stressful and you will want a break from it but if your child is ready continue. If they are not ready and don’t get anywhere with the potty try again in a few weeks. Remember your child does need to be potty trained at some point and they can’t start it themselves. It’s a part of parenting that nobody likes but it’s so worth it to see them grow up with another milestone proudly completed . If you have any questions lets me know! Good luck!

Being a parent in a pandemic

Being a parent in a pandemic

Good afternoon, i hope everyone is well today and feeling a bit more positive today. I am coming to you today from a more positive mindset then i was in last week which was me at a very low point. I was at a point in life i was struggling with both my mental and physical health and the lockdown did not help things atall. On a normal day parenting can be hard, but throw in lockdown, terrible twos and potty training to the mix and we are really struggling.

First of all i’d like to say i cannot praise my son enough for how well he has done with all of this. To be told you can’t see your friends, family or even leave the house must be such a horrible thing for a child to endure let alone if they’re too old to understand why they are stuck in. It seems everyday he asks to see his family and friends, i think it’s quite sweet because it shows he thinks about others and how much he loves them. We had a pretty active social life by anyone’s standards, we would be out everyday seeing friends and family or going or just as mother and son (or the three of us). We’d do different things all the time such as meals out at different places, go swimming, soft play, bowling, the zoo and to different parks. I think he struggles most with understanding that he can’t go for play dates at peoples houses or they come to play here.So i do feel horrid when we have to stay inside each day, infact i have major mum guilt that just won’t shift. I try so hard to come up with play ideas and to keep him in contact with friends that it physically drained me last week so much so that i didn’t want to try to come up with anything new and wanted to give up my creative side for a few days.

Obviously we still have all the same cleaning responsibilities around the house, in fact more. For some reason being locked in makes me feel i need to be productive and clean and organise the whole house in every nook and cranny. The issue with being a parent is you struggle to have time to clean or perhaps do some diy like everyone else seems to be able to do such as painting the whole house or doing something from scratch. I can’t say to my son entertain yourself i’m off to redecorate or to deep clean a different room then he’s in. It gets you a bit down watching others enjoy this time to be productive. Of course my house is always very clean but i feel there is more i could do. I did a big clean the other day and brought elijah in each room i cleaned (except bathroom and kitchen) and let elijah watch his tablet too entertain him and i felt so guilty for taking time to clean the house. Some positives of this have however been that my son has took more interest in cleaning and likes to help sweep, dust and wipe the surfaces down with me. He’ll even try his hand at mopping, hoovering,tidying his toys away and he even has started to make his bed. It’s good to teach him that houses don’t stay clean and we all must work together to keep it clean. Aswell my house does look a bit more tidier as I’m not out all the time and don’t find cooking and cleaning as much of a chore then I did before. Its enabled me to slow down and really appreciate my house, how we’ve decorated and who and what is inside of it.

It’s quite hard being on my own with elijah by myself everyday with nobody to talk too till james is home at teatime and weekends. It must be so hard for single parents in this lockdown my heart really does bleed for them and i have the upmost respect. I really struggle with feeling lonely in this time and I kind of spiral from that. I feel so alone, when i am not alone because my son is here but he is two, he cannot hold a conversation and has much better things to get on with like playing with his dinosaurs. I also feel a pressure not to let him know i feel sad and be upbeat which feels so fake and horrid but i want to make my son feel happy and safe in this scary world. The positives of this is we get to spend more time together just the two of us and I’m able to construct more learning through play as I have the time. We spend a lot more on the floor playing and try to keep busy the best we can. It’s nice that Elijah seems to be learning well and hopefully he won’t become shy when he leaves the house again.

We’ve started looking after our neighbours a bit more. I regularly ask my older neighbours if they need anything as they are being shielded. we’ve gone to fill there gas and electricity cards for them and shared our food and brought them bits from the shop. We’ve also ordered them a box of fruit, veg and dairy products to arrive Monday. It’s been quite nice as we’ve started talking to them more and getting to know them more. Luckily we can see them as our fence fell down but obviously it’s not getting done for a while now! It’s quite nice because she said she was feeling lonely because of it all and we’ve been chatting because her family can’t help either! We made them a card from Elijah as Elijahs starting to call them grandma because they have white hair! So we joked he’s adopted a set of grandparents. They even made us some delicious cheese and onion scones and we had them for our lunch today! It’s nice to feel like a community and everyone seems so much more friendly. Maybe it’s the missing of everyone’s family and friends that brings us together .

We’ve however sorted the garden mostly and that means we get to play in the garden more. Elijah’s fabric toys where all ruined from the storms but I was able to salvage everything else. Looks like I’ll have to order a new tent and paddling pool if I can’t fix the old one up! It’s been nice watching Elijah enjoy the garden and getting some exercise in. We’ve done lots of sensory play in garden too so saves my living room from the mess. I feel for people who don’t have gardens so try to make my play ideas adaptable for people living in flats as well. T

his weather is pretty nice to so I’m making the most out of getting out alone. I know I should take my son when I can but I only get one form of exercise a day. When i’ve endured Elijahs grumpy behaviour all day I need that me time for my mental health. I do take him out some days but I really worry about him getting the virus to be honest. The way people still get too close really makes me anxious and I worry about him or me getting it. I also worry about him having a breakdown he wants to do something like swim in the lake or play on some play equipment in the park. I don’t want to feel like there’s more no’s o have to say to him and it makes me feel guilty enough. I try to take him out when James is off work so that we can enjoy family time as every weekend we would go out and I want to keep some element of reality even if that is just walking to the meadows by our house.

When home I like to open all my blinds and enjoy the sun beaming in now. I like to feel like I’m not in a prison but I’m safe at home and the weathers nice and warm so I can go in the garden and relax. I like to get dressed everyday so I remember it’s a different day and it makes us all feel a bit more positive. I’ve got really into taking time to enjoy food and experimenting in the kitchen a bit more. I don’t want to know how much weight I’m gaining from all the cakes and bits I’ve been baking or cooking. I’m finding more time for me to do my skincare at night and finding new hobbies all the time. Although all of this is great I do still miss leaving the house and having social interaction. I miss going out with my friends for dinner without the family too because it was my little bit of freedom to be again except for mummy.

The thing is being a parent really is hard. When a child is upset they fixate on it and have a meltdown to process those emotions the only way they know how. Although we understand they are trying to express those emotions and want to be supportive it’s hard to push our feelings down. For example being upset about a tantrum. After a whole day of dealing with tantrums it can really upset you. Physically and mentally. It is possible to accept their feelings and your own and you should not feel guilt about that. You are allowed to feel stressed when your child is being a terror and that is okay to feel emotions about it. So long as your not taking those emotions out on your child it is okay to have these feelings. Just because other people want to paint a perfect picture that they never have any negative feelings towards a child’s behaviour that doesn’t mean that what they say and post is true. We are human and we are going through a pandemic. Everyday we must try and adapt to new changes. We are afraid of others and the world around us. When it will go back to normal I do not know but I wish that we could start supporting others and say it’s okay to be struggling. This reality we live in is new and you have done damn well to adapt to it. You continue to support yourself and your children through every emotion and take on the role of superhero to get through this. You are staying in to save others, to save your family and friends. If you got up today and got on with the day you’ve done all you need to do! So well done! Continue to stay safe and be proud of what you’re doing everyday. You’re allowed to feel stressed and you’re allowed to feel down. My inbox is always open. Be safe and stay well.

Why is everyone turning into a troll during the lockdown

Why is everyone turning into a troll during the lockdown

So the yesterday I posted a photo that I had gone for a walk with my family to the beach. It’s a very short drive away and at the time I was legally allowed to do this and travel for exercise and we were also picking up my prescription which we had to travel in car for. We did not choose to go anywhere there where people and went to a old bit of a beach we know nobody goes. We would of gone to my local meadows for a walk buy the place is beginning to get busy as people discover it on a walk. They’ve had to close the car park to stop people visiting in groups. When we went we saw nobody and it was safer then walking around our neighbourhood. I have always gone to the beach when struggling with my mental health as it feels like a little holiday, a bit of paradise. Because I posted this everyone jumped on me and some people getting pretty personal which was very unneeded. Obviously I’d of deserved it if I had gone to a busy beach but I did not. And if I came into contact with any people which I did not. It really effected my severely down mood and made me feel horrendous and now because of this I’ll be scared to leave for groceries, exercise or for medical reasons because I fear I shouldn’t. Even though everyone else is going to jump down my throat again.

It’s really hard being stuck inside and I hadn’t took Elijah for a walk in over a week so we decided to go to the abandoned beach so we could get some pebbles for further stay home play too. I’ve noticed since I’ve been out people are turning quite vile on social media. Constantly telling people how to live their lives and that they can’t go out yet they’re doing what they legally can within restrictions. If the government doesn’t want people out full stop then they should stop allowing people out for excercise atall.

People are becoming quite personal and it’s breaking friendships apart. At the end of the day I followed government advise so my conscience is clear. I haven’t been out except for a walk or emergency food/medical runs . If people aren’t fair enough but people will always not listen. People will always fight the crowd. There is no reason to get yourself concerned and if your concerned contact the police. They can enforce the law not you.

Sitting behind a keyboard and spreading nothing but hate isn’t good for you or anyone else. Not just about the lockdown I’m seeing people judge parenting, appearances, houses and daily life. People are pulling apart people’s personalities at a time we should be lifting everyone up not down. I know a lot of trolling comes from peoples previous pain and is used as a outlet. Also a lot of people are scared and have had enough of being inside. But please don’t share hate it does nothing but cause upset and turns you bitter. Remember everyone is struggling right now. Everyone. Spread kindness not hate. Your comments may be seen you you as helpful and righteous but you never know the full story behind the person or their actions.

Romantic date ideas for lockdown in the UK.

Romantic date ideas for lockdown in the UK.

So you and your other half are on lockdown together and bored thinking of things to do. Normally you would go out for a movie or a trip to your faviourite coffee place and find something fun to do. But now you’re stuck inside. Nothing is open and your stuck thinking….What can we do? Well here’s some ideas.

First of all try not to see being home together as such a bad thing for a few hours. In reality we are all getting a bit bored stuck in the house but try think for a few hours your in the present it is what it is and enjoy some time with your spouse. Once you have a more positive mindset you may feel a bit better about the day and be ready for a indoor date.

First of all, dress up. Yes i know the tracksuit bottoms you have had since your 15 because they were once the most comfortable things you ever owned but don’t want to admit they’re now a food stained scratch mess are a comfort clothing choice during the lock down but think would i go to a date wearing that? If the answers no, change! You want to feel like you’re on a date so that means washing your greasy hair and having a shower. It’s amazing how much a shower or bath will lift your spirits. A spritz of perfume too will make you feel super fab even if there is nowhere to go. It has become a luxury from a time long forgot.If you want to wear make up to feel like youre going out it is not a waste if it’s going to make you feel good for a few hours and if you don’t want to and want to give your skin a much needed break then as shia labeouf would say “just do it”!

Here’s some indoor activivities you could do.

First up a cocktail making night! Get all your alcoholic drinks and fruit juices and fizzys and experiment making cocktails. You can order a fun cocktail making kit offline if you wanted to be more professional in your cocktail making skills. You can make mocktails to so it doesn’t have to be alcoholic i.e if you don’t drink or pregnant or something like that! Google some recipes online and work together to make some cocktails together as a team and obviously after sample them. Play some music in the background and just enjoy being free for a little bit. You might even end up a bit tipsy after so there is that too. You could always face time another couple and do the same and double date!

Try and cook something new from scrtach together. Then enjoy a candlelit meal together. You could flick through a cook book looking at something new you both might like and pick one at random. Or you could raid the cupboards for things you have that might go and make your own recipe up together. You could also challenge each other too cook a dish each and have your own master chef at home. Brownie points if your other half can’t cook and learns too.

Obviously hand in hand with cooking something new you could bake a cake or some cookies together. Helping each other and helping to decorate together can be quite a nice bonding experience and something to be proud of when finished. Also if you have a sweet tooth like me it’s great for being able to eat something naughty afterwards too.

Have a movie night. Get your favourite snacks. Set it up nicely so it feels a bit better (not eating from packets) put the lighting down low and choose some films. Watch a favourite each or choose something random too! Turn your phones off cuddle on the couch and get a blanket out. If you’re not a movie watcher binge, binge, binge a series!

Have a gaming night. Get some terrible multiplayer games out and shove a game on. Get competitive and have fun. Play things you wouldn’t normally play and retro classics to fully enjoy the experience.

Have a indoor picnic. Pack a picnic blanket and make space in your livingroom. Push sofas out the way and put a blanket or picnic mat down. Sit down together and turn everything of and just chat and enjoy your food. Have some wine if you like, Treat yourself!

Play some board games. Get uno out, monopoly, a puzzle or any games you might like. Make a competition of it and stop a game if you get bored> if you don’t have games make your own or play charades. Anything that makes you laugh. Again you could invite friends to play charades or drawing games.

Try and do a fancy dress with what you have and make a competition of it. Dress up as a cat, a Disney character or whatever you can think of. You can use paper, clothes or anything and have a bit of fun.

Do some art and crafts together. Make something or paint something together play some calming music and just relax together. Start a new hobby together.

Learn how to dance together watch a video online and learn how to dance. Or just have a simple bad dance session together. It’s always good for stress release to dance it all out.

Write each other letters. It’s romantic as heck and a great moment to keep. You can even do as a paper anniversary gift.

Have a self care night, have facemasks, spa trearments and give eachother massages. No it doesn’t always have to be erotic as i’m sure you don’t find it erotic at a spa. It’s wuite nice to show someone you care by treating them to a relaxing treatment every now and then and if the spas aren’t open bring them to you. Light a load of candles and get the aromatherapy essential oils on the go and just relax.

These are just some ideas of things you could do together obviously it’s not the biggest list and you might just want to chill in pj’s with a takeaway too as its a age old date from when you first started dating no doubt. Also remember we are still able to exercise once a day.. So go for a romantic stroll in the countryside. Go somewhere new everyday and look at different things. You can try bike riding together if you both have one and having a race against each other. Take your phone or cameras and take some photography and enjoy taking photos of things you see and each other. If you are away from partners too a lot of these could adapted to face time.

Isolation anxiety.

Isolation anxiety.

It’s a funny thing being in isolation. As a child it is used as a form of punishment in school. Being sent outside or to a room for the day to be alone in the hope that you fall in line with the rest of the children. And now… it appears to of become a way of life. I guess in some ways it is still a form of punishment. Because the world would not listen to the powers that be it has caused the sad spreading of the corona virus (covid-19) at a catastrophic rate. The advice was simple avoid non essential travel wash your hands and keep two metres apart, It really wasn’t that much to ask of a human.But that’s the thing about our species is we seem to have this function where we can choose whether we listen or not. Of course many people listened. Many of the elderly and the vulnerable self isolated and practised social distancing. But as always, some people just can’t take no for an answer. The restaurants had to shut, then then leisure centres which then spiralled to all public places to meet up such as museums, library, play parks and shops that are non essential. Now we are forced to stay home unless your job cannot be done from home or safely (unless your a key-worker). We are however permitted to leave the house for medical reasons or to shop for essentials. Fortunately as it stands we are aloud out for one form of exercise. However there are still plenty of people who are not listening. Who are making trips to the shops to buy paint or standing on street corners treating this another bank holiday. People are loosing their jobs day by day because of this disease and the longer people ignore advice the longer it will drag on. I am still seeing people visiting family and friends or having bbqs in the garden. People are also flocking in supermarkets getting to close for comfort to buy an Easter egg and no essential items other than that much needed product. The longer people carry the virus to households the longer this goes on. You may not know you have the virus or of already had it and be a carrier and spreading it to have a quick conversation with someone. Does everyone else in the world think we are all choosing not to see out family and friends for a laugh? Like we enjoy saying i can’t see you i might make you ill or you might make me ill.

Being in isolation has been quite hard. It’s hard for everyone but being a mother it makes it just that little bit harder for me personally. My son is almost two and a half years old and i am a stay at home mum. I am used to staying in some days but not all the time. Me and my son and my whole family really have very active social lifes. When i first became a stay at home mum after returning to work for ten months i spent quite alot of time alone at home and at the time i suffered quite heavily with post natal depression. I found that what helped me was socialising often be it seeing friends of family and making an active effort to get out of the house to attend groups or see others. Now that we have to stay home and not go out or mix households it takes me back to a time where i felt so alone. Obviously i have my son and husband (When he is not at work) and they are all the company i need but at times it’s hard to not be able to go out and see and speak to other human beings. Humans are really social creatures and i think that is why i struggle so hard with not being able to go out much. Being in isolation has been quite hard for my little chap too. He is asthmatic (as am i) and we are trying to stay in as much as possible. It is quite hard having to tell him every day he cannot see his friends and his nanny and granddad. Every morning he wakes up and tells me he wants to go swimming or to the park or to soft play and i have to keep saying no he can’t right now. Hes to little to understand which in some ways is a blessing but in other ways a curse. Luckily we face time a lot of friends and family and he is happy enough on there for a few minutes and can at least see their faces. However when the call stops he wants to see them and gets quite upset. I am trying my hardest to try and come up with fun play ideas everyday to bring him some excitement and structure to our days to prevent us both going mad. I have been making my own learning tools and arranging toys in ways to make them more fun but i am now getting to that stage of burnout when i can’t think that much anymore. You can see some of these play ideas on my Instagram page under the play ideas highlight.

We are still able to go for a walk a day but i am really struggling some days now to want to go for a walk. Unless others in the house want to go for a walk i really don’t feel up for it. Of course when i am out i feel glorious my worries fade away and i am unplugged from the world for a moment or two. But it’s hard to have the energy when you have started to fear the outside world. I think today my plan will be to go for a walk. I want to get Elijah to have some exercise other than online fitness videos for kids and enjoy leaving the house for a little while. Before restrictions i would take elijah to the play park behind the house for a kick about and trip to the play equipment but now its shut he wont understand and i don’t want him getting upset and me getting stressed from a oncoming tantrum.So it looks like i will have to walk a extra 15 minutes to the local meadows to get some fresh air so that means lugging the buggy as someone will not walk too long by himself.

The thing about social distancing i’m not enjoying is the worry that anything or anyone could carry the virus and that when i am visiting a shop for essentials that i am going to pick it up from a trolley, or the food i but or someone standing that bit too close to me. I went shopping for the first time in weeks the other day and i felt a panic attack coming on in the que to buy my shopping. The shops have changed and have lines on where to stand and que (not everyone listens) people wear masks and gloves and everything’s a little bit more stressful. I felt overwhelmed buying things as i was doing a big shop to avoid trips to my local little shop because i felt like i was being judged even though i brought everything i normally buy and less than that. I felt i was judged for everything i put in my trolley and wondered if someone would judge the gingerbread men kit i put in my trolley to entertain my son one day. The reduced tills meant i had to rush loading and unloading my shopping with others looking at me. I felt my heart beating faster, my hands getting sweaty and my eyes filling up and feeling hot. i spent every minute of my shop apologising to others and feeling really overwhelmed. When i got home i felt safe and like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. I’m starting to get anxious about leaving the house and passing people in the street and worrying in case i needed medical care for my pre-existing conditions and have to be around other sick individuals.

There is also a lot of mum shaming at the moment. Mums are telling parents to not teach their children whose schools have been closed and sent home with learning resources and expected to learn from.There are also parents shaming people for not doing enough. Who the hell cares what other parents do to get through this crisis. So long as your child is happy and perhaps learning something it is better than nothing. We have enough on our plates without others telling us how to raise our kids and the anxiety from posting a photo on Instagram of something that may upset someone because your either watching cbeebies or doing a puzzle with your kid.Like get over it. Mind your own damn business while your self isolating because hate is just going to make it worse.

I’m starting to realise my depression is creeping back. This may be because i am left with a lot of my thoughts recently or due to the under stimulation of being stuck in everyday without face to face socialisation. I’m becoming more tired and not wanting to do as much again. This may be due to the fact i had james home for a week and had help parenting and now i’m back to being alone monday to friday 6-5. Single mothers out there i salute you and take my hat off to you because it isn’t bloody east having nobody there to help. I am due to try a new high dose relaxant that helps with anxiety from pain management at the hospital and he said it works as a anti depressant so hopefully i’ll feel a bit better when taking it because the loss of sleep with this experience isn’t doing me any favours either.

So today i don’t have any tips really on how to get through isolation anxiety because really i don’t know myself how to get through any of this either. I don’t think anyone does. I think what is important is that we use this time to strengthen family links within the home and outside. Drop a few texts, make a few face time calls and even send letters. Ask others how they are doing and also take notice of who doesn’t ask how you are back. You will soon realise who really does have your best interests in heart and cares about you as much as you care about them and in some ways this is therapeutic too. Try is you can to enjoy your house, rearrange things and tidy things and organise your living space. Try and take in every part of your home remember what each bit of furniture brings to you in memories. For example i remember sofa shopping with my friend and how we laughed trying every sofa in the shop. I remember buying too many pillows to fit in the shopping trolleys with james and elijah looking like he was in a pillow fort, I remember buying every bit of my furniture and its memories that will last forever if i choose not to forget them. Stop seeing yourself locked inside but instead safe inside your home (if you feel safe) you are safe from the virus if you stay home. Remember that this will one day be over it will have to be the world won’t stay closed for ever and shops and restaurants will need to open again. One day soon you will step onto the front step shut the door breathe deeply and smile because the world once again is your oyster. You will no longer take a coffee with friends for granted, you will enjoy a trip to the theatre feeling each bit of emotion that little bit more understanding all these actors sacrifice to bring you that show.You will never again think of any trip outside of your house as a wasted day and see the world as more beautiful then it ever was before.