3rd June 2020

  • Feeling: OK
  • Listening to: nothing today
  • Watching: Great British Sewing Bee

Got up early (6:45) this morning to do some work – always amazed how much I can get done when I actually manage to get up before 8!

D went for a run again – v impressed she is keeping that going.

Fs teacher rang to check how things were going, and later in the morning after some experimentation with different coloured sheets we re-filmed Fs news report with a new background so we could more easily “green screen” (in this case “maroon screen”) to insert the appropriate backgrounds for each part of the report.

The news anchor look!

B had to take a “still life” photograph for his art by arranging objects of his choice in a pattern on a plain background – so out came the sheet again, and some books and marbles to be arranged and photographed

Having the marbles out inspired F to invent a marble game which she made me and D play – and although she claimed to know the rules, it sometimes felt she was just making them up as she went along 🙂

I had lots of work stuff again today including planning for another course that I’d usually teach face-to-face but instead will be doing online. But after the work day was done I had a lovely virtual choir in the evening (especially lovely to see our pianists new baby boy – just made me smile!), and tomorrow I’m taking the day off to go and visit my Mum – I’m so looking forward to seeing her!

Stay safe, stay strong.

2nd June 2020

  • Feeling: OK
  • Listening to: nothing today
  • Watching: Bake off: The professionals

Struggled to wake up today – I’m blaming the heat (and it already seemed to be too hot by the time I got out of bed). F also struggled with today (again I think the heat means she isn’t sleeping well) and shed didn’t want to do her school work, or anything at all really. Eventually we managed to persuade her to do her “news report” homework as a TV news report and filmed it with the hope we can edit it together with some newsroom and location backgrounds. Meanwhile B and D just got on with their work without any fuss!

In the afternoon D took the kids for a walk in their new musical themed t-shirts (Hamilton for F, Wicked for B) – presents from their Grandma. Sadly I had to stay at home for a Zoom call 🙁

I have to admit I’m hoping that the forecast cooler weather will arrive tomorrow and I can get a better night’s sleep!

Stay safe, stay strong.

1st June 2020

  • Feeling: OK
  • Listening to: nothing today
  • Watching: Grayson Perry’s Art Club

I’d originally planned to get up to work early this morning – but all my various alarms came and went as I repeatedly hit snooze and I finally got up at 8am (when D got back from her run).

It was back to school for the kids today, and they seemed OK with that. B got to mark a maths exam he did before the holiday and got an impressive 98% (and I really need to work on my tendency to make “and what did you get wrong?” my first question in these situations!). F did some of her school work and some creative writing (a new, slightly disturbing, poem about fire).

In the afternoon they had a virtual art class scheduled, but F opted out and played in the garden before her online tutoring session from Explore Learning. B was a bit stressed because he didn’t finish all the schoolwork he was set today – but on the otherhand he has done some amazing work adding special effects to a short video clip of his cousin using some software called Blender – it’s pretty impressive what he can do on an old computer with some free software!

D and I have been talking about how we feel about the possible return to school for F later this month. We’re both pretty apprehensive about it and I’m struggling between a feeling that schools should be delaying opening until the track and trace and testing processes being put in place actually work, and the knowledge that some degree of risk is inevitable and we have to adjust our mindset to that.

Work was pretty full on for me today (although a deadline I thought was the end of this week, is actually the end of next week – so that’s a relief!)

D made me a grilled cheese sandwich (gruyere + pickles) for tea – it was very nice.

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Grilled cheese sandwiches for tea

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Stay safe, stay strong, have a grilled cheese x

31st May 2020

  • Feeling: Good, but wishing the weekend was longer
  • Listening to: I can go the distance / Your song
  • Watching: Avenger Assemble

Woke pretty early (around 7:30 I think) and got up as D had suggested we should go for a walk before it got too hot in the morning, and I also had some sourdough bread on the go overnight that I wanted to get on with.

Kids got up around 8 and came on a walk without complaint (which is a minor miracle at any time of day). We walked along the north side of the river Leam through a small bit of woodland, and then back along the other side in Victoria park. It was lovely to be out while it was cool and not too busy (although the park was busy enough and hot enough by the time we were walking back).

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Morning stroll before it gets too hot

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When we got back home I tried to make crumpets out of some sourdough starter I didn’t need. It was a mixed success – the results were quite delicious (with maple syrup, blueberries and sour cream) but more like pancakes than crumpets (crumpcakes? pantpets?)

In the afternoon we followed up last week’s viewing of Thor with Avengers Assemble (first time for the kids). I’m not so bothered about the more recent Avengers films – I prefer some of the other Marvel films especially Captain Marvel and Thor: Ragnarok – but the first Avengers is good fun I think.

In celebration of my niece (R) 10th birthday, D made chocolate cake and I had it with an oat milk iced coffee – very nice! We celebrated with R over Zoom at the weekly family quiz, although F got a bit upset because she was last in the quiz 🙁 Hard being the youngest sometimes.

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Iced coffee and cake

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D (and I) like to watch the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen YouTube channel and recently they did a video on grilled cheese sandwiches. This had left D craving a grilled cheese, so my sourdough baking was partly to get some bread she could use. The sourdough turned out OK, although the crumb is a bit soft for my taste it is probably pretty good for grilled cheese sandwiches and D had a grilled cheese and soup for tea (while me and the kids were having ribs in BBQ sauce).

The evening I’ve spent recording myself singing the two songs for the Bare Necessities fundraiser next weekend. Recording yourself singing can be a bit soul-destroying sometimes and I tend to start getting very picky about what I’m doing – but I think I got two reasonable takes of each song in the end so I’ve submitted them.

Over the weekend I completely failed to install the new water butts we had delivered last week, and also didn’t manage to get to play the Maponimoes game that C sent us (something we are looking forward to trying), but its been a good day today and now I’m tired so I’m going to have some toast and tea and then head to bed.

Stay safe, stay strong x

30th May 2020

  • Feeling: Recovering from a grumpy day
  • Listening to: I can go the distance (from Hercules)
  • Watching: Lovebirds

Me being tired and grumpy on a Saturday is turning into a bit of a pattern (unfortunately). I woke early (5am) and then dozed on the sofa, and slept until 10am. D had been up for a while and had been out for a run but the kids were only just getting up when I woke.

My singing teacher is organising an online fundraiser event for a charity called Bare Necessities in Coventry which provides essential (non-food) items to those who need them – including sanitary and baby products. I’ve volunteered to record a couple of songs, and I spent most of the day trying to do a decent recording of “I can go the distance” (from Disney’s Hercules) and “Your Song” (Elton John). Unfortunately singing practice has taken a backseat during lockdown, and no choir means no regular singing – so I’m a bit rusty.

I managed two recordings in the end, but I’m not really happy with them – so it’s good that I’ve got a few more days before I need to send them in.

F created a quiz for us all to do in the afternoon – although computer problems caused her a huge amount of frustration we eventually got them sorted and the quiz was really successful – we all had fun.

B spent time doing calligraphy and working on adding some special effects to a video from his cousin B – he was rightly pleased with the results as the effects looked pretty good!

Meanwhile, D did a bit of gardening and cooking and spent some time reading.

Just before tea I shouted at Bryn which really upset F – she felt I’d been very unfair, and she was probably right (in my defence, B had been a bit thoughtless, but I had probably over-reacted). I cooked tea for the kids – and despite the fact I over-cooked the chicken a bit, they seemed to really enjoy it, and I apologised for being grumpy with them.

After tea we had our usual Saturday quiz (thanks C) which we thought was tough but did very well – so that was a nice boost. After that we went for a short walk – nice to get out into the cool of the evening. I showed the kids something I used to do as a kid – firing (I think clover?) seed heads from a stem.

Meanwhile D took some lovely photos instead of destroying the wildlife!

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Early evening sun

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Finally we watched some TV and ate ice-creams with the kids, and once they’d gone up to bed we opened a bottle of wine and watched a movie. So now at the end of the day I’m feeling much more mellow and not at all grumpy!

I think my frustration with Saturdays is I tend to be exhausted from the week, but yet feeling like I should be doing stuff – so “wasting” the morning by sleeping in leaves me feeling bad from the start of the day. Added to that Saturday is probably the day I feel the restrictions of lockdown the most in a way – as it’s when we’d usually go to the shops, have a nice lunch out, etc. etc. Its almost like I need an extra day every weekend at the moment to re-set.

Stay safe, stay strong everyone xxx

29th May 2020

  • Feeling: Glad its Friday
  • Listening to: Taylor Swift
  • Watching: Parks and Rec

Almost forgot to write a post this evening!

Been a long week, but its Friday (actually now Saturday) at last. I had a relaxed morning mainly trying (not entirely successfully) to help B with some code he’s writing. Then I went to Warwick to pick up a couple of things. It was so lovely to see Mog and Pauline at Warwick Books and Marie at the Golden Monkey Tea Company – it must be so difficult for small businesses like these at the moment and they are keeping things going – if you are looking for books and/or tea (or coffee or chocolate) I highly recommend them.

Apart from that it was work, and I finally got round to fixing the light switch in our pantry after about 6 weeks of it not working!

Going to keep it short as I should really be asleep. This weekend I’m planning to install some water butts to gather rain (if we ever get rain again) off our roof – so that’s a plan for tomorrow or Sunday.

28th May 2020

  • Feeling: Tired and not so productive
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Bake off: The Professionals

Not been on best form today – quite a lot of work calls which were fine, but I didn’t really get much done apart from that. Called Mum this evening and she told me I should be getting out of the house more for walks etc – which is probably true. Tomorrow morning I’m going to Warwick to pick up some books from the amazing Warwick Books and some tea from the lovely Golden Monkey Tea Co – so that should be a nice reason to get out of the house and get a change of scenery for a little bit.

Also got a really nice treat today from C: Maponimoes – a dominoes inspired card game where each card represents a country and you can only put bordering countries next to each other as you play the cards – can’t wait to try with the kids at the weekend.

F got to sleep very late (for her) last night and was a bit tired during the day – she wasn’t really grumpy but was inclined to get frustrated a bit more easily than normal. F has discovered she has Google Assistant on her Chromebook and has spent a good proportion of the last two days talking to it – although most of the conversations seems to go round in circles and several end with exchanges like

"Go away, you're rubbish"
"I'm sorry I don't understand that"

B seemed in a good mood, and was helpful and pretty good with F all day. In the afternoon he and F tried to use a “3D” pen to make some earrings for D, and F used it to give one of her Lego minifigs a mohican.

B also followed up on yesterdays preparation and cooked pizza for us this evening (with a bit of help from me) – it was really good!

Stay safe, stay strong.

27th May 2020

  • Feeling: Tired but productive
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Great British Sewing Bee

Got up early (alarm at 6, although not out of bed until about 6:40) to get some work done in preparation for a meeting at 10am – it was nice to be up and be feeling productive first thing.

Overall a busy work day for me, D also working hard and kids had quite a bit of screen time. B did some writing (a poem) this morning but F wasn’t in the mood and just sat and listened to some music. B is making pizza for us tomorrow and did some of the preparation today (oven roasted tomatoes!) and got the dough made to rest in the fridge overnight.

The kids did manage some time outside today, as did D – raspberries, strawberries and peas all doing well.

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There is some growing in the #garden

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D has also grown an impressive crop of basil in the house – just right for the pizza tomorrow.

This evening I had virtual choir – nice to see people and chat for a bit.

Checked Bs dough just before I came to bed and it looked like it might escape the bowl if I just left it, so I gave it a fold and shape – hopefully it will be OK with that and rise again for tomorrow.

Stay safe, stay strong.

26th May 2020

  • Feeling: Exhausted
  • Listening to: Nothing today
  • Watching: Hawaii 5-0

Struggled to get to sleep last night and felt completely exhausted today. Tried to work, but didn’t get much done 🙁

D went for a run again this morning

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Poppies & bees, Swans & Cygnets

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It’s half-term for the kids this week, so they were at a bit of a loose end, but they got two packages of treats in the post this morning (from P and my Mum) and they spent quite a while this morning putting together a quiz for tomorrow evening.

In the afternoon the kids watched Paddington 2, but apart from that F was quite grumpy – not really knowing what to do with herself.

Going to go to bed now as I need to get up early to prep for a meeting tomorrow (having failed to do it today).

Stay safe, stay strong.

25th May 2020


I woke early (5am) with a headache and pain in my leg (which usually means I’m dehydrated) so got up, drank some water, and tried to get to sleep again on the sofa. After a while I managed to get back to sleep and then woke again around 9:30 – still with a headache – but felt much better once I’d had a cup of tea and a shower.

F’s hair has been getting a bit long and bothering her (getting in her eyes) for a couple of weeks now, so this morning I agreed to cut it (before I’d even had breakfast) – my first foray into hair cutting beyond my own beard!

Before and After:

The rest of the day was pretty lazy overall. F and I worked on one of the extra features F had designed for the potting bench – a place to safely stand pots while you work:

D spent the morning digging out a very stony bit of our garden (with a bit of help from me) to plant sunflowers out – although they look like they are suffering a bit this evening (I suspect the heat). She also used the potting table for the first time to put a cucamelon plant into a hanging basket.

B and F both had online tuition sessions today despite the bank holiday. F wasn’t keen at all to do her’s but with some bribery (promise she could watch “Thor” – a film we stopped her watching some two or more years ago on the basis she was too young at the time – a decision she is still holding against us somewhat) she did do it and enjoyed it (she always does).

B did a bit more work on his physics engine code project and managed to get a 2D ball moving around the screen with a bit of help from me, and we started to work out how to simulate gravity in a 2D world. In his online tuition B is now working on pretty advance maths I think (simultaneous quadratic equations today!) and it’s good for him to have a project to actually apply some of the maths he knows.

We all enjoyed watching Thor after the tutoring sessions were done, then cauliflower cheese and sausages for tea, and ice creams for me and D after the kids were in bed – all in all a pretty good bank holiday Monday.

Stay safe, stay strong x