Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Staying Home

Well, it has been another week, hasn't it? I don't know about you but it feels like the ground is shifting beneath my feel at the moment, as we enter such strange and scary new territory. As of last night, the UK is now under a three week "lock down", during which movement is limited and only the most essential travel to work or to buy food/medicine is allowed. I miss normal life, I miss going to work (I really like job and my colleagues and promise I will never moan about work again!), I miss the freedom from worry. So, I am taking comfort in the everyday: whether it's changing the bedding, bringing fresh flowers into the house from the garden, opening the windows, listening to birdsong, gardening, baking bread - all of these things are my constant and they really help me. 

I'm reluctant to call our current educational situation homeschooling, as that relies on access to libraries, museums, parks and all sorts of other places outside of the home. Instead we're doing a kind of remote learning, where the children have work set from them by school which they submit and receive feedback on, a mixture of daily tasks and longer term projects. Bella's Year 8 homework is pretty much all set and assessed online by her teachers anyway (apart from practical projects) and it's a way of working she's familiar with, so this just feels like an extension of her usual work. She has certainly been given plenty to be getting along with, and I admire her focus and motivation. Angus, however, has found this new way of learning more challenging and is hugely missing the routine and social interaction of school. Luckily, he has to do a project on D-Day while he's off and WW2 is one of his favourite topics ever. 

I was very relaxed with the introduction of any kind of homeschooling routine last week (mainly because I felt so unwell, although I am feeling fine now) and so there is no colour-coded timetable here. Instead, we start the day with PE with Joe (on YouTube, it's a fun 30 minute long exercise session by the trainer Joe Wicks at 9am) then spend the morning doing school work. I dip in and out of this while getting on with other jobs in the background. After lunch, I try to encourage creative things, so they can craft, build lego, bake, help me garden, read, or just do whatever really, so long as it's not on a screen. From 4 pm the Xbox and TV is allowed, and so far this seems to be working. But it's early days.

We've been making good use of all kinds of things that have been stashed away in cupboards, like these cardboard letters which I bought about ten years ago.

Bella has been having a lovely time painting them, choosing the B for her room...

...and giving me the G as a Mother's Day gift. 

Mother's Day was a strange and muted affair, and it was hard not be able to give my own lovely mum a big hug (everyone taking social distancing very seriously here!) but I did bake a batch of sourdough cinnamon rolls as a treat for breakfast.

They were incredible - especially the way the sugary cinnamon filling melted and formed a crust on the bottom. It reminded me of lardy bread, which I used to eat when I was little. I don't think you really see it much anywhere now.

Pottering with houseplants is very good for calming the nerves. 

My monstera plant in the hall was almost as tall as Bella, so I took a couple of big cuttings from it, planting one in water and one in soil, in the hope that I can propagate them.

I have no idea what I'm doing but nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Looks at this leaf here, about to unfurl - it reminds me of those biscuit wafer things you get in ice creams. 

I have been spending so much time outside gardening, especially now that I feel better and the weather has been so good. Slowly going around weeding, cutting back, tidying, trying to remember what grows where so that I don't accidentally pull up a baby plant thinking it's a weed....

In the odd quiet moment I've been working on this bracelet, slowly getting the hang of the beading technique.

It's all so strange and unsettling but we must remember that it's not forever, and we will look back on this time one day. Please look after yourselves. I'm going to have a glass of wine and cook dinner now. Chin chin.


  1. It sure is a tough time. Like you, I find that keeping busy helps, but there is so much to worry about, isn't there? Glad you and your family are safe and well.

  2. Routine really helps doesn't - and sunshine. Good luck to you and the family - stay safe.

  3. Should read routine really helps doesn't it.

  4. Stay safe and it sounds like your current routines is working at the moment. It's unthinkable what everyone in the world is experiencing in terms of a health and financial crisis however we have no control over that. Families will reunite, play board games, clean windows, fix the odd jobs around the house, spend quality time in a slow pace together. Everyone is forced to slow down whether they like it or not. Stay safe glad you are feeling better. Regards, Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

  5. Thanks Gillian for an uplifting post in these hard & strange times. Not having children at home, I'm finding it very interesting to see how everyone is coping. We are gardening too, crafting & filling time with mundane tasks, but also seeing to things which have been on the backburner for some time. No jolly jaunts, but it will surely end "one day"? Stay safe, take care & huggles from down under.

  6. Hope this comes through to you. your last two posts have been a breath of fresh air.No getting around this, just going on with what we can, which is bunch. Love it De

  7. I'm in Washington State in the U.S. and our Governor just issued a 'stay-at-home' order for everyone. If your job isn't essential you need to stay home. I believe with all my heart that this is temporary and things will get back to normal soon. Stay safe!

    1. Hi Cindy! I'm in WA state, too, near Kirkland. Stay safe! Shirley

  8. Hi Gillian, I’ve been a reader of your gorgeous blog for quite a while and I really enjoy seeing it come up into my Feedly. During the current time especially it’s a great comfort to hear how you’re adjusting your family routines, as I am all the way over here in Melbourne Australia. Keep healthy x

  9. Hi! I'm a recent new follower, and I just wanted to say that I find your blog to be such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for the positivity, for the coziness, for the beautiful pictures and words that remind me to find joy in the small and simple things. Glad you're feeling better!

  10. You are doing well, and I keep thinking also how fortunate those of us are who either have a garden (like you) or have a flat to themselves (like me), as opposed to those poor folks who share a cluttered high rise flat with a family of 5 or more, no balcony, no garden. Can't blame them if they go nuts!
    Bella is very talented - both her painted letters are beautiful. Hardly surprising, with her parents being so creative, too.

  11. Well done keeping things on an even keel with two children. I have thought back to when mine were that age and some of the challenges! You've even arranged beautiful blue skies, which are sadly lacking in Scotland at the moment, so your photos are so welcome. I'm not doing the Joe videos as I'm burning enough calories digging the garden and I can't afford to lose weight! I could certainly eat that leaf-about-to-unfurl! Hugs from Scotland and glad you're feeling on the mend.

  12. You should do fine with both of your cuttings as cheese plants are usually very easy to propagate and either way is ok. I have a peace lily that has similar way of producing new leaves, I love to watch them uncurl. I love your photographs

  13. once again gillian, thank you for your post. it is very sweet and the first one i have read this morning. a nice way to start my day sitting here with my coffee. please take care of you and your family in these unsettling times. it shall not be forever. please.

  14. I really enjoyed this lovely calm post, gently getting through your days. Your daughter made some lovely letters, tell her well done, I really liike them. We are locked down apart from shopping trips- we were supposed to move house next week- but that's not going to happen, and I don't know how it will be sorted out. Our house looks like an Amazon warehouse full of boxes, there's a skip of rubbish on the drive way which is nearly full now. Meantime I am cleaning, trying to work out how to make the food we have last- we thought we would be shopping for supplies on arrival and had run down the freezer, and most importantly being in the garden and letting the sun and the soil work its magic. Please look after you lovely family , stay healthy and content. xx

  15. Lardy cake/bread! Wiltshire is the place sold in most bakers. First time I have read your blog via attic24. Strange time to live in stay safe everyone.

  16. Lovely refreshing post as usual, I miss my own children being young enough to have their day organised by me...I'd have loved the imposed stay home order...although no doubt it will be less fun after a while!
    If you are ever craving lardy cake Soothills Fareham are renowned for it!

  17. Bella is very creative, those letters are lovely

  18. My children are in the same years as yours and work in the same ways. Heidi is a bit overwhelmed with all the work dumped on her learning platform but is working her way through it methodically and Megan is missing the direction and routine of a teacher because she is a 'good listener' and likes to follow the rules. Craft things have been finding their way out of our cupboards too. We have to go and feed the sheep again today so at least we are in remote isolation but outdoors today. Stay safe, Jo xxx


Hello there! Thank you for leaving a comment. I read them all and I always try to answer questions, although sometimes it takes me a while.