Week Two of Lockdown – Ordinary Moments

Two weeks of being indoors is driving us all a little crazy, but we know that this is the best thing for us to be doing for the health of everyone. We’re missing family, friends, clubs and colleagues.

Our family is normally a very active family, I am either at football training with the youngest or over the park with the boys, the older two boys are usually out running with their friends and club. So we are finding it rather hard to stay at home. We still have our daily walks with the dog and we tend to do this earlier on in the day or later in the early evening.

Week two of home learning went a little bit better than the first week, we seemed to have settled into some sort of routine. The older two boys just get on with the work set for them and I spend the time with the youngest.

We have done lots of home baking this week and I have a new found love in TikTok. This app is fabulous and we have been having lots of fun with it. Well, I have been having lots of fun filming the boys and begging them to join me. They just look at me and shrug their shoulders and raise their eyebrows at each other. I think they find it a little weird that Mummy is on TikTok. Does anyone else use this app?

With a little bit more time on our hands than usual, myself and the boys have signed ourselves up to a couple of courses. The eldest and I are currently doing a BSL course, which will be really helpful for work and my middle boy is doing a Zoology Diploma. He wants to study Zoology when he is older so it’s a great start for him and hoping that it will give him a deeper understanding of studying at A level will consist of.

There are some great online stuff to do at the moment. Not only do we join in with Joe Wicks every morning but the boys have also been enjoying watching the live videos put up by Chester Zoo on facebook. It’s been so nice to see the animals up close and learning lots of new facts about them. Emily from A Mummy Too has been doing live bakealongs during the weekday on facebook, which has been lovely to do as a family.

There are so many companies out there offering support online for the children and adults too. It’s lovely to see how everyone is coming together to support each other and how we are now completely reliable on the internet. Could you imagine this happening 20 years ago?

Not many pictures to share this week, It’s not been a rather great week. hoping next week will be a little more eventful. My husband has a few days off this week, so may be we will have a BBQ or do some decorating. I am also hoping to do some more fun activities at home with the boys, keeping up with education but also some crafting sessions and some science experiments

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Week one of Lockdown (Ordinary Moments)

It’s been a rather weird and surreal week for everyone. With the restrictions that have been put in place by the government, as a nation we are now on lockdown and practising social distancing.

We all have our worries and concerns with regards to the Coronavirus – Covid19 and we all have someone that we are worried about, and due to the lockdown, that we can not no longer just go and visit.

The emotions in this house have been a bit of a rollercoaster this week. We all respond differently to how we deal with overwhelming situations and we keep hearing about how we are living in unprecedented times. To be honest I am a little confused as to how we even got to where we are now. I have never been someone to spend my time reading the newspaper or watch the ten o’clock news, so I am still trying to get my head around all of this.

Flashback to 4 weeks ago when the talk in the staff room was about this new flu that was ripping people’s life apart in China and I just shrugged it off. Never in a million years would I have thought that it would get this bad. I feel for all of those people who have not been able to say goodbye to a loved one, for those who have suffered with this illness, for the people whose families have been torn apart and for those who are working on the frontline.

I see now what I should have done weeks ago.

The things is I don’t want to panic nor do I want to show my children what a scary world we are living in at the moment. I want to keep it pretty much normal, well as normal as it can be with us all at home under one roof all of the time.

On a normal day we would be all be out of the house by 7.30am and not back home until 3pm. Our evening would be taken up with football practice or out at the running track. Weekends would pretty much be the same, mostly outdoor activities.

What is happening at the moment isn’t normal but we have to hold it together for our children and our older family members.

The children are all at home, they have all been set work by their schools to get on with; logging in to google classroom at 9.15 and follow their normal school timetable, completing work set by their teachers. The youngest is still in primary school and I have to spend most of the time going through the work with him, not because he doesn’t understand it but because he would be on the playstation for the whole day otherwise.

My husband works at the local hospital so he is a frontline worker. He isn’t a doctor or a nurse, but him and his team are the reason why the hospital can be open. He is a mechanical supervisor, so in charge of all of the plumbing and electrical work within the building. Last week, not only did he work during the day but he was also on call out all night and weekend working on the HDU wards. I must admit we are all worried about him, but even though he is a fit and healthy man we all know that our defences are low when worked under pressure.

Working as HLTA, I was in school last week. Our staff are on a rota working from home most days and spending 1 out of 9 in school with the vulnerable and frontline workers children. I was worried about my health, what with my history of Cancer and the treatment that I underwent causing me to have a low immune system but rest assured my bloods are all fine and I have been boosting my immune system with lots of healthy foods.

So this week has been rather unusual and it’s been quite a struggle getting into a routine but I am sure this week will be better and run a little more smoothly.

As well as home learning we have been doing lots of baking, playing games, walks with the dog, playing in the garden and generally enjoying each others company. We’ve spoken on the phone to the older members of our family and have had many facetime calls.

So here is a snippet of what we have been up to during our first week of lockdown

We’re all in this together, no one knows for how long and what the future holds for us but we have all just got to hold on tight and ride it out.

Stay safe everyone and stay at home

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Easter Brownie Recipe

**WARNING – This post is all about filthy gooey chocolate**

With Easter fast approaching I wanted to bake an extra special treat for the family. This indulgent chocolate Easter brownie is perfect and totally delicious and rich. The gooey fudginess is mouth watering.

They easy to make, I made them with the helping hands from the boys. They followed the instructions that were given to them, measuring and stirring and I think that there may have been the odd lick here and there, and a lot of hand washing in between. Honestly, how do children think they can get away with sneakily taking a lick of the chocolate batter when:

  • one, they have the evidence to show around their mouth
  • and two, they seem to forget that us adults were once children ourselves

Getting the children involved just makes the baking a lot more fun. Not only are they learning a life skill, but they are also learning maths with the measuring and timings. And, it gives them a sense of pride when they see the finished product.

The trick to producing that fudge like consistency to your brownie is to take it out of the oven when they are slightly underdone, the brownie should have a little wobble to it in the middle.

You can’t bake a brownie and walk away to do another job, you have to be close by and keep checking on it. They don’t take long to bake, depending on the thickness of your brownie. The thicker they are, the longer they will need in the oven.

I found this recipe on bbc good food, but slightly tweaked it.

Easter Gooey Brownie

An indulgent chocolate fudge brownie topped with easter eggs

Ingredients

  • 250 g Caster Sugar
  • 180 g Dark Chocolate the darker the better. Cut into chunks
  • 180 g Unsalted Butter
  • 85 g Plain Flour
  • 40 g Cacoa Powder Organic
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Fondant Filled Eggs any size. I used 2 small packets
  • Mini Chocolate Eggs extra for decorating

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 180c/160c . Grease a tin/silicone square baking case with some butter.

  2. Put the butter and chocolate chunks into a heat proof bowl and melt. You can do this over a hot pan of boiling water or in the microwave. If using the microwave, remember to keep an eye on it. We used the microwave for about 45 seconds at 15 second intervals. Stir the butter and chocolate together and it will soon melt. Leave to one side to cool.

  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add in the caster sugar. Combine well until you have a creamy consistency. I used the electric mixer.

  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture and fold together. Add in the honey.

  5. Sieve in the flour and cacao powder and combine by folding it together. Add in some of your chocolate eggs.

  6. Pour into your square tin.

  7. Place into the heated oven for about 20-30 minutes. Depending on the size of your baking case and thickness of your brownie. The thicker it is the longer it may need.

  8. Cut your fondant eggs in half. After the brownie has been baking for 20 minutes take it out of the oven and place your fondant eggs on top. Poke them into the mixture so that the fondant part is showing. Add on all of the other chocolate eggs that you have too.

  9. Take out of the oven once the outer side is baked but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Just slightly undercooked. Mine needed another 15 minutes of cooking

  10. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes and then place into the fridge to firm for another 30 minutes

  11. You can now decorate as you wish. Cut into small squares. Enjoy!

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A Visit to Highgate East Cemetery, London

A family walk around a cemetery may seem like a little odd thing to do but Highgate is no ordinary Cemetery, it’s quirkiness and the nature that surrounds it makes it one of the most beautiful resting places in the country. It is one of the earliest private garden cemeteries in England.

Highgate Cemetery is split into two, with a road dividing both. You can wander around the east side by yourselves but access to the west side is by tour only.

A visit here has been on my list of places to visit for a while now and last weekend the boys and I managed a trip over there. We didn’t get to access the West side but we did get to go into the East side and have a wander about. The East cemetery is home to some of the illustrious figures of the nineteenth century, you will find many famous names, along with some interesting graves. It’s a place to remember the people have passed but also for us to celebrate their achievements.

The most famous person who resides in the East side is Karl Marx; the German philosopher, economist, sociologist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary.

Entry into Highgate East Cemetery is via a booth, where you pay adult entry fee only and pick up a map. The map has all of the notable graves marked on along with a list and what they were famous for, it’s clear and easy to follow. This means that you can walk around at your own pace.

As soon as you enter you get that feeling of calm and peacefulness. It’s a place that you can escape the noise pollution from beyond the gates and quickly immerse yourself within the tranquil surroundings.

We walked around admiring the memorials; not seeing a graveyard but looking at the art and the beauty of it all. Highgate Cemetery is a quintessential piece of victorian architecture.

There are many residents from all walks of life here; from political activists, designers, Tv stars and novelists. These include the author Douglas Adams, the Tv presenter Jeremy Beadle, Pop artist Patrick Caulfield and novelist George Elliot.

Although the Cemetery is a famous popular tourist attraction it is still a living Cemetery and are open for new burials. Known as one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, a series of victorian burial grounds within the inner city, Highgate is, without a doubt, a secret London attraction.

Highgate Cemetery West is now on my next place to visit, although this time I shall return with just the eldest and myself. This part of Highgate can only be viewed by tour guides and is where you can see the Egyptian Avenue, Lebanon Circle and Terrace Catacombs.

This is definitely a place that we will be visiting again in the warmer months and not on a wet, drizzly February day.

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Meet Our New Family Member

Introducing a new pet

Last weekend we went to meet a man about a dog, literally! Well, not a man but a lady. A friend had put onto social media that they were looking for a family to take on their Greyhound. The lady was a Greyhound racer and the dog wasn’t getting on well with chasing the hare so she had decided to find a home for her.

A few months ago, we had decided as a family that we would like to introduce a new pet to the home. It is something that we have talked about for years but have never actually done anything about it. After many conversations and taking to google on searching what type of dogs would suit our family we had come to the conclusion that we would look into rehoming a Border Collie.

Dog Rescue

After passing our home visit we arranged a day and time that we could visit a rescue centre that mainly rehomed Border Collies or Sheepdogs, this place was over 130 miles away. On the day, we packed up the car and took to the long journey ready to find our forever pet. The children were excited and couldn’t wait to meet some dogs. Unfortunately, after meeting a handful of dogs we hadn’t found a dog that seemed to be just right for us. The centre showed us a few pups and we said that we wasn’t really interested in puppies and one of the dogs didn’t even want our boys near him. We were then introduced to a female dog who was lovely but was very scared of the boys. Not one of the dogs we saw was a Border Collie. Disheartened, we drove away without a dog.

In the following weeks, we talked about wether we should get a dog or not and come to the conclusion that we will keep looking but more locally to out home.

Meeting Suzie

A couple of weeks ago, My partner saw a post on Facebook about a Greyhound needing to be rehomed. The post was from someone he had known for a while, since school. Last Sunday we drove to Ware, Hertfordshire to a Greyhound Trainers home where they had loads of dogs that they trained for racing. They had a few that were being rehomed due to retiring from racing. Suzie was brought out to us and she instantly made her way over to the boys. She was quiet and seemed to be scared of us, but we was reassured that that was just her nature. So after a little walk around and some bonding time with her we decided to take the plunge and take her home with us. Suzie is 17 months old, so a little young for retirement but she didn’t race that much as she just didn’t take to chasing the hare and didn’t show much interest in racing.

Suzie becomes Luna

We soon found out that Suzie wouldn’t come when we called her name and she showed no response at all whenever we mentioned he name. After calling out a few names to her she eventually came running to us when we called Luna. Suzie was her racing name and I don’t think it had been used that much. So Suzie became Luna. Her ears prick up when we call her and she runs from room to room whenever she hears her name. Luna just suits her more.

Settling in

Luna seems to have settled in well, it’s all new to her but also to us. We haven’t owned a dog in a long time. It will be learning curve for all of us. Luna hasn’t spent time in a home so she needs to learn what home life is like. As soon as we introduced her to her bed she soon took ownership of it and now spends most of her time on (when she isn’t lounging on my sofa, that it!)

What we have learned so far

  • She doesn’t know how to sit (we are training her with treats)
  • Her favourite toy is a teddy
  • Luna loves to have cereal for breakfast
  • She adores the boys but especially loves to play with the youngest
  • She will snatch clothing and take it to her bed
  • Snacks will be taken and she will only eat them on her bed or outside
  • She will just lay on her bed watching tv
  • Walks on the lead but likes to run off lead
  • Luna knows that the front door is the way out for a walk
  • Doesn’t bark but does whine
  • Is quickly learning that if she stands by the back door then she will be let out into the garden
  • Loves to play with a football
  • Enjoys running around with the children
  • Will only do her toilet in the garden and not when out on her walk
  • Is already learning the routine of early morning walks and waits by the door for me
  • Sniffs a lot
  • Loves to sit on the sofa when we are not around
  • A bit weary of the stairs and hasn’t quite ventured up the stairs but is showing interest of going up
  • Sleeps all night in her bed (probably on the sofa too, as soon as she knows that we are asleep)
  • Loves a treat

When we first took her out on a walk, Luna had no idea! She would cut you up – walking from the left to the right. Now she walks by our sides and waits when we tell her to at the roadside and comes when given the order.

We are extremely happy that Luna is no longer a racing dog but now a member of our family

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