5 things to be thankful for

Day 71 - 5 Things To Be Thankful For

Figures

UK Deaths: 36,793

UK Cases: 259,559

Worldwide Deaths: 345,009

Worldwide Cases: 5,451,584

This Week

It is the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, and to mark the end I thought I’d do a little positive post about the 5 things I’m thankful for in lockdown, after my honest and open letter to the boys last week.

Lockdown has been relaxed this week and it seems for the most part that people are adhering to the guidelines.  Of course, there are groups of people not sticking to them, but I think there’s a couple of reasons for this.

  1. Some people still just don’t get it and won’t adhere no matter what.
  2. The relaxed guidelines weren’t quite so clear and I think quite a few people are unsure, especially about one person, meeting one other person outside of their household.
  3. Oh and then there are government ministers and advisors who can stand and tell us what to do, but when it comes to them, they can do what the hell they like!

Other countries that have relaxed lockdown have started to see rises in cases again, but no ‘second peak’ so far.  The schools opening on June 1st in the UK to certain years is probably the biggest controversy of them all.  The government are now covering their bottoms by saying they now cannot guarantee children to social-distance, but they will make the return to school ‘as safe as possible.’

5 Things I’m Thankful For

Family

Even though we are separated by garden fences, by streets, by county and by country, my family have been absolutely amazing.  Text messages, socially distanced chats in the garden, the offer of zoom calls (still haven’t worked up to that) and just constant contact from everyone checking in has made such a distance. Love you all ♥

Friends

Again similar to family, separated by streets, counties and countries, even continents, my friends have been invaluable.  Listening to me when I was at my lowest, laughing at all the hilarious memes and TikTok videos we have sent each other.  I heard someone say the other day how a simple message from someone unexpected can make such a difference.  I can totally concur as a simple LinkedIn message from a friend in India just to ‘check-in’ meant all the more as it was not expected at all. Love you guys too ♥

Daisy

She may still have accidents on the kitchen floor (any advice gratefully received) and she may bark at the slightest movement or when we eat, but boy do I love her.  When it’s been a hard day or a crap day I can always count on Daisy to run at me with utter devotion, and sometimes a little wee.  Her cuddles are just the best, and it’s kinda nice having another bitch in the house!

Daisy Duke the Dachshund

The Weather

The nice weather really does make a difference.  Can you imagine if we’d had to be in lockdown in mid-winter, I really think we’d have been looking at an even worse mental health crisis if we had?  It is not great as it is, but the ability to be able to go outside to enjoy the sun, even if it’s as little as sitting on your doorstep or opening a window wide.  I don’t think we can deny the effect that has on our mental health during this pandemic.

A Garden

I am so lucky to have a beautiful garden.  Whilst, funnily enough, the roof over my head has felt too big, too expansive due to my ever-growing feeling of agoraphobia (I find myself limiting my movement in the house to specific rooms), the garden has been my savour.  It is so hard to explain how despite wanting to be contained whilst at home, I find my garden just the most comforting area.  It’s all about, as I said, containment.  The garden is containing me from the outside, an outside that has changed, that I no longer know.  The longer I stay in, the harder it is to go out, and the more outside has changed.  Having the garden has been a life-saver.

Tomorrow is the last bank holiday for a few months and the weather should be nice, so let’s see what it brings.

How is everyone coping in the lockdown, what is the thing you are most thankful for right now?

Fay x


Kids Mental Health

Day 64 - Letter To My Boys

Figures

UK Deaths: 34,636

UK Cases: 243,303

Worldwide Deaths: 314,683

Worldwide Cases: 4,771,676

This week

So lockdown restrictions were relaxed slightly in England and the ‘message’ changed to ‘Stay Alert’ rather than ‘Stay at Home’.  Scotland and Wales have stuck with the original message, at least someone is being sensible.  We can now go out and exercise as much as we want, with one other personal from another household (social distancing of course) and travel as far as we want to do it, as long as it doesn’t include an overnight stay.  Oh, and schools are to open to certain years groups on June 1st.

This, of course, caused confusion and delight in equal measure (for some).  We have seen anti lockdown protests in London, the massive uproar over schools opening and people still flouting the guidelines because they don’t fully understand what the government have decided are the new rules…

Time to Think

As I’ve talked about previously lockdown has given us all a huge amount of time to think.  This week I’ve found particularly difficult, I think because of the relaxation of the lockdown and still quite high levels of death in the UK.  I’ve noticed especially with ‘The Monkey’ a much more militant view towards schoolwork and why it needs to be done.  My boys are questioning much more and I want to discuss that with them, to listen to their concerns and not just say the old ‘just get on with it!’.  So I thought I’d write a letter to my boys.

Letter to my boys…

Dear H, F and S,

I know that things are a little strange at the moment.  I know that as the weeks go on, it gets harder and you have more questions.  We are going through something unprecedented, something that your kids and grandkids may well read about in their history lessons.  Maybe that will help when you next sit down to do a history lesson,  remember that real people lived through what you are learning about, real people just like you and me.

This week has been our most difficult yet hasn’t it.  With all the uncertainty around changes to the lockdown, with knowing that you still can’t really see your friends, that none of you will be returning to school before summer. No wonder you are questioning and pushing against why you have to do the schoolwork.

You are so brave, you see me crumble quite often and you rally round.  Part of me tries to stay strong infront of you, but another feels that you should see the reality of mental health issues, so we can discuss openly.  When you see me struggling the most, you give hugs and get on with your work quietly, without question.  When you do question the work we discuss and talk about why you should still do.  However we also decide sometimes that it maybe isn’t the most important thing that day.  That family time movies, or chatting with friends online is more important.  That watching the news headlines and talking about the changes worldwide is just as good for your education and development.

More than all I want for us to come out of lockdown, happy and ready to take on the world again.  I don’t want to risk anyone’s lives unnecessarily, so for now we stay home.  Missing a few lessons here or there seems less of a regret to me than the regret if one of us gets ill and we haven’t spent as much time together as we could.  It’s all about balance, and everyone’s balancing act is different.

I hope I haven’t let you down and taught you with honesty that humility, health and kindness are all you should wish for in life as everything else is a bonus.  You all make me so proud and it might not be easy at times, but spending time with you is the best thing I can ask for in such strange times.

Mum x

How are you?

How are you all dealing with lockdown?  I think everyone is learning things about themselves, about others…  Are you enjoying, or are you hating every minute?

I’d love to hear your stories.

Fay x


foodbanks in the uk

Day 60 - 5 things you need to know about Foodbanks

Figures

UK Deaths: 33,186

UK Cases: 229,705

Worldwide Deaths: 295,072

Worldwide Cases: 4,386,821

Foodbanks in Lockdown

As the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds, food banks in the UK are working hard to ensure that no-one should be without food.  In the first two weeks of the pandemic, food banks in the Trussell Trust network saw an increase in demand of 81%.

In the past few months, a lot has changed. As the pandemic unfolds, everyone is adjusting to new ways of working and living, and unfortunately, a lot of us are dealing with difficult and tragic situations.  We are slowly adjusting to these changes and beginning to learn a new normal.

Here are 5 things you need to know about food banks in the UK.

1. The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks. Side by side they provide emergency food and support to people in poverty.   They are also campaigning for the government to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Unfortunately, it takes more than just food to end hunger. The Trussell Trust use their experiences of food banks to challenge the economic issues that find people stuck in poverty.

Learn More

2. Facts & Figures

In the UK:

  • more than 14 million people are living in poverty
  • 4.5 million children are living in poverty
  • there are 2000 food banks in the UK
  • over 1.6 million food parcels given out last year

For the latest stats, see more here

3. Raising Awareness

Companies, celebrities and the community are working hard to raise awareness of the growing issue of poverty in the UK.

Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, The Entertainer, Palletforce, XPO Logistics and British Gas have worked closely with The Trussell Trust and charity group Fare Share to increase distribution and deliveries across the nation as the pandemic takes control.

Comedian Michael McIntyre raised funds by offering the chance to win a personal video chat, to help raise awareness during the #COVID19 outbreak.  Meanwhile, Singer Liam Payne has joined forces with the trust to support food banks as they see an increased need due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Local communities have pulled together during this crisis to support each other. Whether it’s checking in on elderly neighbours or delivering shopping to someone self-isolating or shielding.  The local community is at the very heart of The Trussell Trust.

4. How to help

What can you do? There are several ways you can help:

  • Volunteer – From helping at a local food bank to raising awareness in your local community and across social media.  Find out more here
  • Fundraise – During the lockdown, it requires a little more imagination, but there are still lots of ways to raise money.  Find out more here
  • Donate – Make a one-off donation, a regular donation or donate food to your local Foodbank via the supermarket.  Find out more here

5. End hunger and poverty in the UK

The Trussell Trust want to reach a future where no one needs a food bank. Even before the pandemic, they were seeing more and more people being pushed to food banks than ever before, that needs to change.

You can email or write to your local MP and tell them why they need to take action.  Ask them, as a priority, to:

  • End the five-week wait for Universal Credit
  • Ensure benefit payments cover the cost of living
  • Invest in local emergency support for people in crisis

It isn’t right that anyone should have to use a food bank in the UK.  We can make the difference by calling for change #ThisCanChange

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

Mother Teresa

Please help where you can and let’s end this together.

Fay x


The Lockdown Diaries

Day 57 - Losing My Identity

Figures

UK Deaths: 31,855

UK Cases: 219,183

Worldwide Deaths: 281,454

Worldwide Cases: 4,139,732

It’s Maternal Mental Health Week this week and seeing all the posts have reminded me exactly what I’ve come through and what others are still going through right now, every day.  Made even more difficult this year by us currently being in Lockdown.

Facts

  • Approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
  • The most common mental health problems experienced during pregnancy and after birth are anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Women experiencing maternal mental health problems:
    • Postpartum psychosis: 2 per 1,000
    • Serious mental ill-health: 2 per 1,000
    • Severe depressive illness: 30 per 1,000
    • Mild-moderate depressive illness and anxiety states: 100-150 per 1,000
    • PTSD: 30 per 1,000
    • Adjustment disorders and distress: 150-300 per 1,000.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics

My Story

I’ve written about my maternal mental health story previously.  However, seeing posts this week has brought so much of it back.  Did you know that suicide is still THE leading cause of death of mums with an under one-year-old in the UK (source: 2019 MBRRACE study).  Almost 12 years ago to the day, I nearly became one of those statistics.  It saddens me that this is still a statistic, that we are still having to raise awareness. However, it gives me great hope that people are now talking about this openly.  That we have organisations like the PMHP UK and advocates like Jo Love to help raise that awareness even more.

Reflection

These last two days of Maternal Mental Health Week are all about reflection.  I can look back and see just how far I’ve come, and that recovery is possible.  However, with the current lockdown, I can also see a return of some of those feelings I had, the isolation, the stress and anxiety, the feeling of failing as a mother.  At least this time I can recognise them and I know that things will get better.

For now, I take each day as it comes, and cannot imagine what it must be like to be a new mum/parent suffering in these times.  Here are some practical tips from Jo (Did I mention she is an awesome doodler too!) about some simple things we can do for new mums (and dads) during lockdown to help support them.

#supportingmumsduringdifficulttimes

So lets’ be supportive where we can, let’s think about what others may be going through at this time.  For sufferers, take time to read and realise that you are not alone, and things do get better.  For others, take time to listen and offer support where you can.  Life is so difficult right now that we need to ensure we don’t make it worse, take it easy where possible.  If making it through the day means literally that, then do it.  Everything else can wait.  If you feel lost, reach out.  And if you need a hug then I’m sending one right now.

Fay x

Helplines

Samaritans  116 123

MAMA 0845 120 3746

Charities

Family Action

Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Mind


top 5 online buys

Day 53 - 5 Awesome Things I've bought in Lockdown

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Figures

UK Deaths: 30,076

UK Cases: 201,101

Worldwide Deaths: 261,205

Worldwide Cases: 3,777,569

So a lot of my posts recently have been quite heavy, or to do with my struggle during the lockdown.  Now I’m not saying that I’m no longer struggling (still on that COVID coaster as I heard it referred to #lovethat).  However, the more I write the more I realise that it would be good for us all if I shared a few more lighthearted pieces along the way too.  So, what better way to be lighthearted than to share my top 5 online buys during these last few months.

Slippers

Okay so my OH actually bought me these (we have matching pairs LOL), but I’d been looking at Mahabis now for a couple of years, and just couldn’t warrant that much on a slipper.  The OH in the meantime found and bought these beauties from Comfortfusse.  He bought at Sports Pursuit, but they only have limited stock.

Perfect lockdown comfort.

Comfortfusse

£33.00

top 5 online buys

Hair Colour

In someways lockdown was a blessing in disguise as I had decided to grow my hair.  Anyone who has grown from short to long will understand my thought process here, as that ‘mid’ stage is always so awkward.  Hopefully, this means I won’t need to share this stage with most people.

In the meantime, I’m trying to be good and just use semi-permanent dye to not damage my hair too much.  Maria Nila is perfect, great colour smells fab and keeps my hair soft.

Maria Nila Colour Refresh

£22.00

Mom Jeans

For the past few years, I have lived in my skinny ripped jeans. And for the past few months, I’ve been living in the lockdown uniform of joggers, tees and sweatshirts.  But last week I felt FANCY and decided to order myself some Mom jeans.

These Jeans from TopShop (via Next) are such a comfy fit, high waisted is not only on-trend but also covers that mum / COVID tum area #winwin.

Top Shop Jeans

£42.00

clap for carers

T-Shirt

I love a good Tee, especially a statement tee!  So what better during lockdown than this gorgeous specimen from Kindred.  I might have also bought the rainbow version for the ‘third child’.

Perfect for a Thursday evening at 8 pm and looks awesome with my FANCY mom jeans LOL.

Kindred

£20 (£15 for kids)

Steve Madden Trainers

Trainers

Most of you will already know that I have a thing for trainers (seriously who doesn’t?!) and a thing for animal print, so trainers with animal print are definitely going to be a winner.

I already have a pair of Steve Madden’s (via John Lewis) and they have become one of my most worn pair of shoes full stop.  So I decided that as a treat to me (I know, get me being all selfish and s**t) then every six months I would buy myself a new pair of trainers.

Steve Madden

£100.00

Some of the other things I seem to have purchased during lockdown are:

  • Masks
  • Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • iPad / iPhone Charger Cables
  • Lego
  • Batteries
  • Books
  • Shoe Laces
  • Binoculars
  • Masking Tape
  • Jigsaw

Is it just me or has anyone else gone a little online shopping crazy?

Must stop…

Next month…

Maybe…

Fay x


Things I've learned

Day 50 - 5 Things I've learned in Lockdown

Figures

UK Deaths: 28,446

UK Cases: 186,599

Worldwide Deaths: 246,943

Worldwide Cases: 3,533,921

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5 Things I’ve Learned in Lockdown

There is a lot of time to think during lockdown, a lot! So as the week’s pass there are things I’ve learned…

1. I quite like lockdown

I know it won’t be a popular view, but I actually don’t mind the lockdown so much.  I do miss seeing friends and being able to ‘pop’ out, but actually, when it comes down to it, I am pretty happy at home, to be honest.  In fact, it’s 7 weeks since I have managed to actually get further than the top of the lane.

It’s so bizarre to know that right now we are part of something that will be written about in History, that will change the world.  It’s fantastic that we are all recording and writing about it, as we have so much time on our hands. What a legacy.

Also, it has to be said, it is nice to know that by staying at home I am doing my bit!

2. The littles things mean so much more…

Saying ‘I love you’ to the boys every night, and hearing them say it back.

A hot cup of coffee first thing on a morning, whilst being able to take it back to bed for a bit.

Hearing the birds sing and seeing the sun shining as I wake up.

Cuddles with Daisy on an evening.

Receiving the post or a delivery.

Getting a food delivery slot LOL

3. Funny videos/memes always cheer me up.

I love receiving the latest satirical video, or silly cartoon. No matter how bad a day I’m having, when these ping through they always cheer me up.  Particular favourites are:

@forest_fr1ends (Childhood toys with adult humour)

@JaneyGodley (Scottish banter and she has a sausage dog)

@justmaiko (Cause in my head I totally dance like that!)

Oh, and if it features Trump then it’s a dead cert!

Any suggestions for me?

4. There are some really stupid/selfish people out there.

I’m not quite sure how many times it needs saying, but still, some insist on flouting the law, on risking their lives and that of others.  Road traffic is up, people still feel that house parties are acceptable, when will it end.

No wonder British people in the majority are fearful of a lifting of the lockdown too soon.  If we are already struggling with the rules, then relaxing them surely will give those already flouting the rules, even more reason to keep flouting.  Furthermore, the general public will start to ease down too, maybe get a little giddy with freedom.  Many countries have already seen a rise in the death rate since relaxing lockdown measures…

My mum is shielding, I’ve lost family and friends, I have friends going through more than any of us could imagine.  Stay home, save lives!

5. I have a real dislike of opinionated people.

Now before everyone gets excited and starts having a go.  I am all for everyone having an opinion, it’d be a pretty boring place if we didn’t.  However, my issue is with opinionated people who refuse to accept others’ viewpoints, or not give a second thought to others’ situations.

We live in a world where judgment is freely thrown around.  Where some people feel it is okay to ‘say it like it is’.  Yes, we should all feel empowered to say how we feel, but we should also take into account others’ feeling, others’ situations and others’ beliefs.

For sure if you are asked for your opinion then offer it up, but leave it there.  Do not go on to push that opinion down others’ throats, like it’s the only thing that matters.  Think about the opinion of others and why they may feel or act the way they do.  If you still don’t agree then fine, but at least you have taken the time to consider others.

Also, as a rule, if you are not asked, then leave it there. Uh, uh, don’t even say it, you haven’t been asked, so keep a lid on it.  Be a good listener, be a good friend, don’t be judgemental, and don’t force your opinion, that’s why it’s yours and no-one else’s!

What have you guys learnt from the weeks in lockdown?  How are you finding it?

Would love to hear I’m not alone,

Fay x


life goes on

Day 45 - Life goes on...

Figures

UK Deaths: 26,097

UK Cases: 165,221

Worldwide Deaths: 225,138

Worldwide Cases: 3,183,992

Life goes on…

So 10 days have passed since I last wrote.  My anxiety seems to have calmed quite a bit, the hand scratching has pretty much stopped.  I still watch the news but do switch it off to do lessons with the kids.  Homeschooling hasn’t really got much easier, except we’ve all kind of resigned ourselves to get on with it, and if it isn’t working one morning/afternoon then we call it a day and try again the next day.  But we always catch up…

…in a fashion.

In the news

Since I last wrote we, as a nation, hit over the 20,000 mark in deaths.  Only the fifth nation to do so, and we are second in the ‘rate’ of deaths, only surpassed by the U.S (which isn’t really much to brag about).

Donald Trump announced at a press conference that there could be the possibility of using bleach internally to ‘clean out’ the lungs, as a cure for COVID-19.  Yes seriously!  Worryingly calls to emergency services about bleach spiked in the U.S shortly afterwards.

This morning we got the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds welcomed a baby boy into the world.  Believed to be approx. 4-6 weeks early, both mum and baby are doing well.

Test, Test, Test

Tomorrow is the date set for us to reach 100,000 tests a day as promised by the government.  Funnily enough last week, testing availability was suddenly ramped up in terms of test centres, home testing, and mobile testing.  Then availability drastically relaxed this week, call me sceptical but do we think that was a desperate attempt to try and get somewhere near?!  They always covered themselves anyway as it was based on the ‘5 pillars’ of testing, one of which was antibody testing, which of course hasn’t been developed yet, so let’s wait and see what they say tomorrow.

Figures

England has finally announced that they will now include deaths in care homes and the community in our official daily figures.  It has taken some time and some pressure for this to happen, Scotland and Wales have been including for some time.  It is now thought that deaths in care homes amount for 1/3 of all coronavirus deaths (1/2 in Scotland).

My step mum died on Saturday 28 March, in a care home.  She had severe underlying conditions, and whilst there was no mention of Coronavirus, she would certainly not have survived if she had caught it.  She was so very ill, and this really was a blessing, but it didn’t make her death any easier.  We still couldn’t go and visit, couldn’t say goodbye, and couldn’t go to her funeral.

I worry care homes have been ‘forgotten’ about, left behind, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  The staff and patients there laid open to infection with a lack of PPE, whilst going above and beyond in terms of care as the nation is in lockdown.  A story across the board within the NHS, but I do feel care homes and community medical care have been let down even more so.

Faith

I sit and watch a world repair itself, whilst it seems that mankind is being destroyed.  Faith would suggest that we need to witness how we have been destroying the world.  That we need to relook at how we treat each other and ourselves.  Perhaps then, COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to do this.

For all the parents told that flexible working wasn’t possible.  People with disabilities told that home working was not feasible.  A reduction by as much as 40% in carbon dioxide in some countries.  Even a glimpse of the Himalayas in India for the first time in decades.  How we decide as a nation, as a world, to come out of this pandemic is as essential, if not more, than the decisions made during the pandemic.

History in the making.

Fay x


is it just me

Day 35 - Is It Just Me?

Figures

Deaths UK: 16,060

Cases UK: 120,067

Worldwide Deaths: 161,904

Worldwide Cases: 2,358,351

Is it just me?

It’s been a difficult week for many reasons, but I do feel like 4 weeks in and I am losing touch with reality.  The more time I spend indoors, the more I forget that actually we are all just trying to get by each day.  That we are all stuck at home doing the best we can.  I think we become so insular, that all we think about is our own situation. Is it just me?

self-absorbed

adjective • usually disapproving

only interested in yourself and your own activities

Me, me, me

I was reminded by a good friend this week of just how self-absorbed I’d actually become (not intentional but needed).  I am on furlough at the moment and therefore sitting at home whilst seeing and knowing that colleagues are still working away has been hard.  Likewise, because I have been at home the whole time, it is hard to remember that actually life is not going on as normal whilst I’m at home.  I forget that it is not everyone at work as normal.  In meetings, sharing coffee breaks etc.  My anxiety takes over and I struggle not to take it personally, even though my logical brain knows fine well it was the obvious thing to do (I even offered myself for the scheme).

I do think that for the future we can learn a lot from this whole situation, we can learn the impact that it has on our workforces.  From key workers still battling away to keep us fed, safe and well, who aren’t paid enough.  To staff trying to work from home with limited IT and digital processes in place.  To furlough staff and ensuring they don’t feel forgotten about during the whole process.

However, that is exactly what it is, a learning curve, from a position that no-one saw coming, that no-one had planned for. We are all in the same boat…

“In the rush to return back to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

beautyqueenuk.co.uk

So for me, it’s all about remembering that everyone is just trying to do the best they can, to get through each day, That we are all in this together, taking one day at a time.

Fay x

#stayhomesavelives