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Our Family Life 2021 (8/52)

Our Family Life 2021 (8/52)

Monday – Oh how lovely is it that it’s a Monday and we don’t have to bribe and encourage (I definitely mean shout) our kids through the schoolwork.

We’ve played games, made dens and just messed about really. I even gave Freddie an unplanned haircut. It was his first ever haircut and I did it!

There he was happily playing in the bath and when I washed his hair it fell down between his shoulder blades, so I gave it a snip. I’m sure that if he had straight hair it would look awful, but as he has a curly mop I think it looks pretty good.

Tuesday was Pancake Day but also a work day for me so we had them for dinner. I love a pancake with just sugar and lemon on, but of course my kids like ALL the toppings. So we had a choice of:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Banana
  • Nutella
  • Sugar
  • Lemon
  • Maple syrup
  • Whipped cream

Wednesday and it’s raining still. The weather is really setting the mood at the moment. It’s utter crap!

Thursday I was back in the office. I love working from home but it’s also nice to be in a different environment, especially at the moment. I was sat in an office with people I don’t know and it was interesting being the outsider listening to the goings on. The topics of conversation ranged from being fed up of lockdown to funerals and what they were all having for dinner.

Friday was just the usual homeschool battle.

Saturday Belle just wanted to chill in her room doing crafts and watching YouTube. Freddie and I started the planning for making my Nephews 21st birthday cake. He’s having a big fat chocolate cake so that will be fun to make.

Sunday it was my birthday – My 40th Birthday. I missed out on a lockdown birthday last year but here we are. We were supposed to go away somewhere with a hot tub with a load of cheese and wine, and just have a chilled time. Instead we took ourselves off to the beach for a walk with the dog topped off with ice cream and hot donuts.

Our kids are never too cold to go in the water. Freddie didn’t want to come out of the water. Thank god we got him a puddle suit which saved him from a total soaking. Charlie (our dog) was very protective of Freddie and kept crying when the waves came in. It’s nice to know that the fur boy is looking out for his little human brother.

Ryan thought he was hilarious turning up with a wheely Zimmer frame. Freddie quite liked pushing it and sitting in the basket and being wheeled around. Hopefully I won’t be needing it for quite some time yet!

Our Family Life 2021 (7/52)

Our Family Life 2021 (7/52)

Monday was homeschooling and the day was going well until I decided to pull out a unit to clean behind and found mould half way up the wall. Not just a little bit but black and fuzzy. I cleaned it off but it’s killed the wallpaper. We’ve obviously had the heating on a lot lately but it was only about six weeks ago that I pulled all the units out so that’s grown really quickly. Will have to keep an eye on that as well as opening some windows.

Tuesday was a work day – happily skipped up the stairs to leave Chris to look after the kids.

Wednesday was a sad day. My step-dad has cancer which was diagnosed when I was pregnant with Freddie. It was past the point of operation from the beginning and has progressed to his lymph nodes, bones and now his liver. He’s been declining slowly since then with each appointment, scan or test showing something more. With his illness his memory has declined also, and more recently he’s struggled to hold a conversation and is very confused. He’s now been put on an ‘End of Life’ Pathway. We did go for a visit today after asking the advice from the Hospice Care Nurse. He’s still at home with my mum at the moment, and it was lovely to see him. He even managed a bit of his witty banter which was nice. The whole coronavirus means that we haven’t seen him much over the last year apart from the occasional wave from their balcony. It makes me so so angry!

Thursday I was back working in the hospital where I’ll be working in a different department for the time being. It was weird being back in the office as I’ve been working from home since before Christmas, but it was also nice to be around people that are taller than 5ft and can talk about things other than Spongebob, Paw Patrol and what snacks they want next.

Friday morning I scrolled through Facebook and a memory popped up if Belle when she was the same age as Freddie is now. They look so similar it’s unreal. Belle absolutely hates it but I love it. Freddie thought the picture was of him. What do you think?

Saturday night Chris decided to make us some nice cocktails using a set of mixers that he’d bought. They were very nice right up until I was very very sick. I don’t know if it was because they were really potent (they were) or I just can’t handle my drink. Enough said on that!?

Valentines Day -Do you do much to celebrate? We don’t usually go out. The set menu Valentine’s dinners seem a bit forced, so we usually have something nice to drink and a takeaway. We gave the kids some sweeties and chocolates, and Chris got Isabelle a rose as he’s been doing for the last few years. Needless to say that I didn’t fancy a drink with my food!

Bring on half term!!

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Our Money Saving Journey to Buying our First House

Our Money Saving Journey to Buying our First House

Buying our first house has been on our radar for quite a while, but circumstances have meant that this hasn’t been something we’ve been able to do so far, but now it feels like we need to knuckle down and get this milestone ticked off our life To-Do List.

Currently we’re in a three bedroom house and we desperately need four bedrooms so that each of our children can have a room of their own. With big age gaps, it isn’t possible for any of them to share, and so Freddie is currently still in our bedroom. As you can imagine, we’re bursting at the seams and it feels like we shuffle a lot of stuff around just so that everything has a place of it’s own.

Help to Buy Scheme

In the beginning of last year we looked at the Help to Buy scheme and got very excited about a new build that was fairly local to where we are currently. The houses were to be built ready for moving in around June 2020 which seemed absolutely perfect for us.

The biggest factor of using the Help to Buy scheme was that we wouldn’t need to find a huge deposit as well as having a brand spanking new house that wouldn’t need anything doing to it. As an NHS worker, there was also an extra incentive with lots of the house builders.

The houses we were looking at were being built by Barratt Homes and they weren’t yet at the stage of having show houses available to look around, but there was another area being built near us so we booked an appointment to go and have a look at the kind of houses they offered.

The houses that we looked at were beautifully decorated, I would have happily packed up and moved in at first sight. There were two houses that we were taken around, and both of them were so lovely. One house had the perfect downstairs with an open plan kitchen opening out onto the garden with french doors, and the other house had the perfect upstairs with large bedrooms, the master being absolutely gorgeous.

If we could take the downstairs from the first and the upstairs from the second we would have literally found the perfect home.

The only thing we could fault was the really small gardens. Isabelle would have had to sacrifice her much loved 12ft trampoline which I’m guessing will be an epic battle.

chris had his sensible head on whereas I was already thinking about how soon we’d be able to move in!

We just had to wait for the site to be set up.

Then the whole coronavirus happened and building was suspended until who knows when.

We’d just have to sit tight, save up as much as we can and wait for the pandemic to end.

Then the building started and we waited to be able to book in for a viewing and start the ball rolling. We got a call from their sales team, and then the news that they were’nt building the four bedroom houses until 2022!

We were a bit gutted as the Help to Buy scheme is only available for newly built houses.

So it was back to the drawing board.

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long before we found out about another development not too far from us and made enquiries. This time it was with Taylor Wimpey, but because of the pandemic we had to go through the eligibility process and accepted before we were able to go and view any of the show rooms.

We sat and went through the process over the phone and were given the news that we didn’t meet the criteria for the Help to Buy scheme.

This was because Chris has a job that pays a basic salary and the rest is commission based, but they can only take the basic salary into account even though he has proof of earnings etc.

This is the same for self-employed people, even if you have proof of earnings so it’s not accessible to all.

Poof ….. Just like that our house buying dream was taken away for the foreseeable.

We now have to go down the traditional house buying route which means we need a lot more money for a deposit, and so our saving journey begins. One thing that made me chuckle was that the mortgage broker kept referring to us looking at secondhand properties. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody calling a house ‘secondhand’ before!

I’m going to post regular updates about our journey and some insight into the things we’re doing to achieve it.

Wish us luck x

 

Our Family Life 2021 (5/52)

Our Family Life 2021 (5/52)

Another week, and today is another work day but I can’t concentrate one little bit. I have a funeral to go to tomorrow and it’s the only thing I can think of. Losing someone, particularly now whilst we aren’t able to see people is so hard. Working was a welcome distraction.

Tuesday 26th January – it was the funeral of my brother-in-law today. Taken far too soon. It was a shock and will be for some time.

The funeral was very different to the usual set up, but I’m glad that we were given the chance to say goodbye. It was very strange wearing a mask throughout. It was hot and your your face underneath literally gets covered in snot. There was no wake, no drink to toast his life, but it’s something we can do when the time is right.

Wednesday was our lovely Charlie’s 7th birthday, and not a year goes by without cake and presents for him.

Making a cake and wrapping presents for him was a welcome distraction after yesterday.

We love how he knows when presents are for him. He throws himself into shredding the wrapping paper making so much mess, but it’s all part of the fun.

Much like children, I can’t believe that our fur baby is seven already (49 in dog years). As a labradoodle he’s a bit of a nutter by nature, but he has slowed down over the last year or so. He too is craving the attention of people other than us.

Thursday – let’s just say. Homeschooling, work and a toddler – Day written off!

Friday our son comes home with his son which is always a lovely distraction. Freddie loves having his nephew here to play. Ryan’s currently working towards his A level in maths which he needs for his engineering course. I’ve no doubt that he’ll smash this if he puts his mind to it.

Saturday was just a day of playing. I had intended for us to go for a walk but the weather is absolutely shocking at the moment.

Sunday is the first day of a week off for Chris. He works really long hours and so we don’t really get much time together so we spent the day chilling, playing and being silly on the switch. We even roped him into a Just Dance session. Shame that I couldn’t sneak a video of him absolutely killing the dad dancing.

Like Christmas everybody is looking forward to the back of January. It’s been a tough, long month……..

Our Family Life 2021 (1/52)

Our Family Life 2021 (1/52)

So last year so the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and life as we knew it changed. I started the Coronavirus Diaries but I didn’t publish many of them as they all became a bit ranty as we grew less enthusiastic about how to entertain the kids, and FaceTime and zoom calls became something we dreaded. Our Family Life Diary is going to be a weekly catch up of what we’ve been up to, so that we can look back on how life was during a global pandemic as it already feels like we’re on rocky ground. 

2021 had so much promise….

A new year and a fresh start is how it’s supposed to go. Setting goals and making plans for the year ahead.

Sadly it’s likely that the beginning part of this year is still going to be a time to live each day as it comes with all plans on hold or with back up options. We’ll await the next instalment from Boris on that one.

I thought that instead of a coronavirus diary, I would write a weekly update on what we’ve been up to, more for ourselves to look back on.

Christmas

Christmas for us was how we’d planned it to be. Us and the kids at home which is what we did. Obviously we would have liked to have still visited family instead of doing doorstep present deliveries but the actual day itself went as we’d hoped.

Mum and Kids in Matching Christmas Pyjamas on Christmas Eve

Boxing Day was a bit rubbish. Chris went back to work so it was just me and the kids. We would usually go to my mums and my brother and sisters would come over with all the kids so it was a bit of a low day.

We spent the next few days eating our own body weights in cheese, pate and chocolate.

Toddler standing in mud on a dog walk

The weather has been awful with lots of rain and wind but we did manage a nice dog walk. Freddie was happy walking in the ‘squishy mud’ and we found some amazing icy puddles to crack. 

New Years Eve

New Years Eve was spent pretty much how we spend every year. We ordered a takeaway and had some nice drinks.

This year was slightly different as we let Belle stay up until the real midnight this year. For the last couple of years we’ve put the previous years New Years fireworks on YouTube on the TV at around 9pm and done our own countdown and cheers before happily packing her off to bed at around 9.30pm.

Harsh you may think, but we thought it was genius!

My Favourite First Job of the Year!

Is of course writing my calendar and starting to fill my Planner. I like to sit down with something good to watch and a glass of wine. I use my best pens……like a pig in muck!

Board Games

Freddie’s not really one for sitting down to play games or do jigsaw puzzles, but we’ve managed to play a couple of the Orchard games which are really quick to play and a good introduction to family games.

Buddy the Elf brought the kids Pull My Finger which is also a great game to play when you’re two years old! parp!!

The plan is to post our week’s activities every Monday so we can keep a diary of these odd times and all entries can be found in the Family Life link at the top of the page. 

 

 

Corona-Diary 30.03.20

Corona-diary – Our 14 days self-isolation is up

So our 14 self-isolation period is over!

Do we feel any different? Are we desperate to go out?

The simple answer is no! Obviously we would like to go out in the fresh air but I think we’ll stay at home where we feel it’s the safest.

Freddie developed a temperature the other day and the reality of one of the kids getting Coronavirus really scared me to the root. My kids get everything so I’d really rather not take the risk.

As long as we can get food I’m quite happy to stay inside our family bubble for as long as possible.

Going back to work

We’re both due back at work this week but hopefully we’ll be able to do this from home in some form. Things could get very interesting with the kids under our feet but we’ll just get on with it like the rest of the country.

#StayHomeSavesLives x

Corona-Diary 29.03.20

What does Lockdown mean to you?

My interpretation of this is that you only leave your house if you absolutely have to for the purpose of getting essential food supplies, going to work as a key worker or for the purpose of exercise whilst abiding the social distancing rules.

It’s not going for unnecessary drives to the country for long dog walks or social calls to others houses because they don’t have any symptoms.

The whole point is to contain any likely spread which you may do before you start showing signs. Who knows how many places you’ve left a dose of Covid19 for others to pick up.

I think it’s irresponsible and selfish that some people think they’re above the rules.

The Vulnerable

This group containing the over 70’s age group, people with underlying illnesses and pregnant people should be particularly careful.

My mum falls into the over 70’s and has health conditions as does my stepdad who is also currently having chemotherapy, but my mum is still asking my sister to do food deliveries several times a week which is Non-Essential just to ‘break up the day’.

I know the guidelines of 12 weeks is a long time but the alternative doesn’t bare thinking about.

It’s better to be safe than sorry so stay at home, binge watch a few box sets, make plans for when this is over, sit and have a coffee in YOUR garden or take part in the endless online stuff that’s available for literally everything you can think of…….

But

STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE!

Corona-Diary 23.03.20

Cabin Fever is kicking in

This is the first day that I’ve just had enough. What happens in your family when the going gets tough?

You pull together, right?

Not in our case and not this time. We’re at each other’s throats.

Chris is ill so he can’t help with the kids but he’s in that limbo stage of feeling better but not quite so he’s wandering round the house like a lost soul and quite frankly getting on my nerves.

He’s still coughing quite a lot and I’m getting really cross with him coughing and spluttering everywhere, where the kids play and in the kitchen.

My hands are raw and cracked from the ridiculous amount of hand washing trying to keep everything germ free so that the kids don’t catch whatever it is that he’s got.

Obviously we don’t know that it is Coronavirus but I’m not taking any chances.

Self-isolating

I’m currently on leave from my job and due back tomorrow but we’re self-isolating as per the guidelines due to Chris being ill. We’re currently at day eight so we have six more days until we’re considered not to be a risk to others. I’m part of the admin team at our local hospital so not patient facing, but I’m not going to lie that I don’t feel good about being in a hospital setting.

I feel that I should be grateful that like so many I still have a job but I do wish I could stay inside my little family bubble until this is over.

Homeschooling

We did our first PE session with Joe Wicks this morning which Isabelle really enjoyed, but I’ve got a feeling that she’s not going to be the perfect student for me as her teacher like she is at school.

Hats off to all the Homeschooling parents, I have no idea how you manage to give them the time and prep needed. I’m going to go easy on myself and do what we can, no pressure.

What are you eating?

We’re fine for food. We keep a pretty good stock of store cupboard essentials including herbs and spices which makes it easier to whip up something. We also had a full freezer. I do wonder though when things are gone what random meals we’ll all end up eating.

Currently we have a small Tesco near us which seems to be getting daily deliveries, and apart from not being able to get pasta, tinned tomatoes or hand wash they have pretty much everything including fresh fruit and veg.

Pleading with people to stay home

So despite all the pleas for people to stay home people have ignored this and have been going around in groups. The beaches, parks and public spaces have been busier than ever.

I’ve just finished watching the Prime Minister announce that all non-essential shops are to close. People should only be travelling if they are considered a Key Worker, for medical needs or collecting essentials. Only groups of two should go outside (once a day) for the purpose of exercise.

Essentially we’re on Lockdown going forward which has been enforced due to the stupidity and ignorance of so many, and will be reinforced by the police.

Jeez this has just hit another level of scariness. We’ve stuck to the social distancing rules and have only been out once for a dog walk aside from going to the shop for some milk once this week.

Lisa x

Corona-Diary – Mother’s Day & Supporting Local Businesses

Mother’s Day

Mothers Day this year should have been a Cream Tea Cruise with my Mum, Sister and our kids. We would have eaten lovely little sandwiches and cakes whilst taking in the views around Exmouth.

Instead we stayed at home and I didn’t see my Mum today for the first time ever since both my parents fall into the vulnerable category as they’re both over 70 and have health conditions.

Isabelle was very concerned that she didn’t have any presents for me, but I would much prefer healthy kids than lots of presents.

I did get flowers, chocolates, cards and paintings from my kids which was more than I needed, but really lovely.

Supporting Local Businesses

Since we stayed at home we did have a bit of an unusual treat. As many local businesses are struggling given the current situation many are offering delivery services of food and provisions to keep themselves going as well as offering what they can to keep up community spirit. So with that in mind we ordered a take-away roast dinner from our local pub.

We did have to go and collect it but it was all within the social distancing guidelines. It felt good doing our bit to help a small local business as well as getting a nice dinner for ourselves.

The best place to find out about local food deliveries are Facebook pages and groups local to you. Have a look at the Facebook pages of places that you go to regularly to see what they’re offering. Lots of them are now closed to the public but are offering delivery services.

The same for buying your essentials. The supermarkets are being ransacked, but many independent or smaller ‘corner shops’ still have lots of stock available.

There’s a lot to be said for community spirit and pulling together in times of need. The more we support our local businesses, the more people get to stay in jobs and we benefit from what they have to offer.

Even when the Coronavirus outbreak is over it’s sad to think that lots of businesses won’t survive. There will be loads of people out of jobs and in general the country is going to take a long while to recover from this.

Lisa x

Homeschooling Activities during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Home schooling through the Coronavirus

I know there’s huge debates going on with regards to whether the schools should be shut or kept open during this time, but given the current advice for non-essential contact to be avoided we’ve made the decision to keep Isabelle home from school.

Every parent knows that when you have to stay home with the kids due to illness etc, you start to get cabin fever pretty damn quick and crave getting out of the house more than anything.

Here are a few things that should keep them entertained and you from pulling your hair out. These range from educational recommendations to arts and crafts ideas for all ages.

Arts & Crafts

FREE Printable colouring pages from Crayola.

Lots of great Kids Science Experiments for all ages at Science Sparks.

Hidden Numbers Game.

There are loads of FREE Printables for all ages at Rainy Day Mum as well as loads of play and craft ideas.

Easter Pom Pom Painting.

DIY I-Spy Bottles

Homemade Playdoh – this is our Gingerbread Playdoh Recipe which is really easy and smells yummy.

The Artful Parent has loads of arts and craft projects to do with the kids.

Make a batch of Cloud Dough which is perfect to keep little ones entertained for ages.

Red Ted Art – loads of easy to make crafts and activities.

Online & Apps

BBC Learning has a whole load of stuff including revision tips and bite sized learning for all ages.

Scratch – you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations and share your creations with others in the online community.

Toy Theater – Educational games for pre-school and primary aged children.

Khan Academy offer a range of free learning resources which kids can do at thy so own pace and level.

Future Learn has a whole range of courses which are free unless you want the certificates.

Duolingo– learn a new language for free. Online and app based.

Edinburgh Zoo have live cams on some of their animals which they might be interested to watch.

DK Find Out – loads of educational fun facts, videos and games.

Blockly is a great programme that can be downloaded or played online for computer science based fun.

Ted Ed – all sorts of educational fun videos.

National Geographic Kids has loads of educational fun games and resources.

Mystery Science – fun to watch and easy to complete step by step science experiments that can be completed with things you have at home.

Crash Course Kids – a fun selection of science based videos for kids.

Crest Awards – Challenging and thought provoking real-world STEM projects for young people of all ages.

iDEA – The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA is an international programme that helps you develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free. Through our series of online challenges, you can win career-enhancing badges, unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, gain industry-recognised Awards that help you stand out from the crowd.

Tinkercad – Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything!

Oxford Owl – has loads of great Reading, English and Maths resources for primary aged kids.