Sunday, 17 January 2021

Staying Home

I love going into London, I tried to go once a month when I could, sometimes for work and meetings, sometimes for visits and sometimes just because I love being in the big city, wandering the streets and people watching.  I love travelling to different countries, travel has always been a priority to us as a family and we spend so much time planning where to visit and what we want to see and do.  I love where I live, but I love getting away too.

I spend far too much time looking at holidays we will be unlikely to take, planning days out that may not be what we want to do once we are actually able to do it.  Trying to change the attitude of feeling trapped at home is hard work but it is the challenge I am facing.  We are limited to exploring only places within walking distance of our house and with some members of the family having littler legs than others, that doesn't take us far.  We need to get out though, we need to walk and breath the outside air and feel a part of something bigger than our household so we are getting out, mostly to the same place but it is out and it is beautiful.

staying home, thanet, Ramsgate beach

This is where I live, a tiny corner of the UK surrounded by coastline.  Sandy beaches, colourful beach huts, chalk cliffs, little harbours, dramatic skies.  We can walk to several different beaches from our house, we all have our favourites and they aren't all the same. Whichever one we end up at though, I feel better for seeing the sea.  The children love climbing on the sand that is piled up to protect the buildings, they love throwing stones in the sea, they love planning which boat they would choose in the harbour if they had enough money to buy one.  They love having a hot chocolate in their tin mugs and stopping for a cone of chips to accompany us on the way home.  The beach provides their imaginations with a holiday, with a day out, with a different backdrop to normal and different possibilities.

  I love the smell of the sea, the feel of the sand under my feet, the sound of the waves, the warmth of a hot drink in my hands on a cold day, the sight of the sun setting behind the boats as we walk up the hill back home.  I love staring into the sea on a good day, thinking I could be almost anywhere looking out at the same view, I love shouting into it on a bad day, wondering where my words will end up.

This post is a way for me to try and write down a little bit of how I feel and share the beauty of where I live, because all in all, staying home is a good place to be. 



staying home, thanet, Ramsgate harbour

staying home, thanetBroadstairs beach, viking bay

staying home, thanetBroadstairs beach, viking bay

staying home, thanetBroadstairs beach, viking bay

staying home, thanetBroadstairs beach, viking bay

staying home, thanetBroadstairs beach, viking bay

staying home, thanet, Ramsgate beach

staying home, thanet, Ramsgate beach

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Friday, 8 January 2021

Lockdown 3.0

This lockdown was hardly unexpected, in fact I asked for new pyjamas and loungewear for Christmas in anticipation of a long winter spent mostly at home.  Expected doesn't mean easy though and I think the government's insistence that schools are safe even on the first day of term gave me a false sense of hope that schools would remain open.  I struggled heavily with the news that home learning is resuming and the first day was incredibly challenging balancing the needs of four children, three whom can't complete school work independently and the eldest who still needed lots of clarification.  It all felt too much and I hastily sent emails to teachers asking them to lower their expectations of us. 

The second day involved less tears from all of us, a little compromise and intelligent use of the tin of Christmas chocolates I hadn't brought out yet, and over the week we are slowly slotting into a routine where most of the set work is completed, and there is less guilt for the pieces that are not.  I imagine much like the first lockdown which I documented weekly, this is an attitude that will change daily for the entire course of home schooling but I am hopeful that we can find a balance that helps us get through this long winter.

Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

We are lucky to live near the seaside so we always have somewhere beautiful to walk for our allowed exercise, although the children have been complaining that they would rather find a forest or something different once in a while.  I have invested some Christmas money in a giant insulated bottle so we never again have to leave the house without hot chocolate and I am trying to get outdoors every day as I know my sanity needs it!  This lockdown is going to be harder, we are missing the sun and we have some idea how long this is going to last rather than taking it week by week.  I know there will be days I am overwhelmed by it all and that is just something we will have to deal with.  I hope the start of Lockdown 3 hasn't been too tough on you.

We finished all our work before lunch today, a combination of starting earlier and less being set on Friday, and they are all relieved that the first week is over and they can relax.  I am trying to catch up on all the things I have missed this week; emails, writing and perspective.  I know in some ways I have it easier, we are lucky to have enough devices for the children to work on, a warm house and plenty of food and my job is very flexible.  In other ways they have it hard, getting only 1/5th of my attention.  I believe it is ok to feel it hard even if your circumstances are ideal.  I am thinking of all those that have it hard, and those that are struggling in any way.

Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

The children were sent these Serkku coats as part of an ongoing collaboration with Reima, our favourite outdoor brand and I love how easy they are to spot on a dark winter day and how cheerful they look.  They are all wearing Reima trainers or boots here which keep their feet roast warm. 



Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

Lockdown 3, Lockdown home school, Reima coats

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Saturday, 2 January 2021

Christmas 2020

I decided against a round up post for last year, I feel like there isn't much to say.  We mostly stayed home, our adventures were smaller, our stories fewer, our anxiety higher.  I placed too much importance on Christmas day, thinking that a day of normality would somehow make up for nine months of not being able to hug our family or meet in the same house.  I took the children out of school a week early to minimise the risk of having to miss out on the family Christmas we had planned, persuading them that missing the Christmas lunch, play and parties would be worth it for this one day together.  It didn't happen though, a last minute decision by the government to plunge all of Kent into tier 4 just days before Christmas meant a last minute dash to the supermarket (along with everyone else who hadn't planned to cook that day) and the opportunity to plan our first Christmas at home.

Christmas is always magical with young children and all four are still fierce believers.  Father Christmas was going to bring them presents much longed for, that they had given up hope of receiving and I managed to pick up all the important parts of a great Christmas meal.  It was wonderful, calmer, quieter and more relaxed in some ways, but more stressful in others (I have never hosted or cooked Christmas dinner before).  We were all glad to be safe at home, to have time and space to play with new gifts without time constraints and enjoy our comforts, but we all felt like something big was missing - the family we weren't able to spend time with.

I wanted to take some candid shots of what this day looked like for us, hopefully the first and last Christmas we spend like this.  The house which had been tidied in preparation for the big day soon took on the appearance of a bomb site, children decided wrapping in blankets was better than wearing actual clothes and there was way more screen time than I would have liked.  We were so lucky to be safe at home, surrounded by comfort and love. Being woken up to the sound of siblings waking each other with calls of 'Santa's been' will always be a favourite memory and it will certainly be a Christmas we remember.  

I tried to take photographs honestly, not erasing the carnage but embracing it.  I want to look back at this year not with rose tinted glasses, or thoughts of sadness at what was missed, but with the knowledge that we made amazing memories, that we grew so much together, that we laughed but that we felt sadness and loss as well.  It wasn't all doom and gloom, it wasn't all looking for the bright side, it was a complex mix of everything.

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020



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