Sunday, 3 May 2020

Working from home and how we're homeschooling

Counting with Numicon

For what it’s worth, I am by no means any expert on this. I’ve never homeschooled before, and don’t profess to now either. I have a five year old child and he’s been given work by the school to do during the time that they’re off. I also work 32 hours a week from home, and hubby works just under 40.

We’re a few weeks into this now, and we’re finding a little bit of a rhythm. Some days are better than others, but they days that are best, we’ve found, look something like this:

7:30 am – Kids up, give them breakfast
8:00 am – Cartoons
8:30 am – Get kids dressed
9:00 am – School work starts around now, and until 10am (read more below on the kinds of activities he does)
10:00 am – Kids may play in the garden if they like, or other toys etc
12:00 pm – Lunch
1:00 pm – More school work (see examples below)
2:00 pm onwards – free play

We’ve tried to keep his activities diverse, and don’t put too much pressure on him to complete them. He’s only little, and his wellbeing is number 1. Sometimes he’ll do the full hour, sometimes it’s just 10-15 mins, we take his lead with gentle encouragement. For example, yesterday he didn’t do any school work, it was a difficult day. But last week one day he spent a straight 1.5 hrs reading, which was completely his choice.

Writing with his Julia Donaldson songbirds book

Here’s some of the activities he’s done:

* Work from the books his school gave him (reading, writing, maths)
* Sorting out images to match with words and pictures
* Sorting colours and shapes (i.e. a box of plastic animals into the right plates, or grouping baby and adult animals, playing farming games like ‘Veggie Farm’)
* Exploring educational maps on Minecraft (like the human eye)
* Joe Wicks workout
* Cosmic kids yoga
* Finding mathematic shapes in his toys (cuboid etc)
* School educational apps like Sumdog and Purple Mash
* Reading books in both Welsh, and English
* Watching kids programmes in Welsh on S4C
* Listened to kids audio books
* Crafts – like making rainbows, making a cardboard train, decorating paper easter eggs etc
* Cooking – we created a ‘family soup’ where we all chopped up veggies to make a yummy soup
* Life skills – he wanted to help around the house, so he’s helped with washing up and mopping the floors etc

Again though, our goal through this pandemic is to try and get him through it as emotionally un-scarred as possible, that’s really important to us. We have found that having a couple simple rules has really helped, like he can go in the garden to play each morning but only after completing a school task. Some mornings he just won’t, and we leave it at that – I feel like if he’s not in the right frame of mind, he probably won’t get much out of the task anyway. It’s balanced by other times he wants to spend longer doing things, so its all good.

Me working while the kids do school work behind me

As for the work side of it... I'm still trying to find that balance. I'm pretty much managing to do my 32 hrs a week, but at what cost I'm still not sure yet. It's certainly taking its toll mentally trying to do all of this, it's by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. If I could work fewer hours and get paid the same I would, but that's not possible, so I somehow have to keep plodding on for as long as it takes, giving everything to both, and hoping that I don't fall apart in the process.

You cannot underestimate the strain this puts on your mental health. I've relised it's not possible to be a good mummy, and good worker (i.e. putting your hours in) while doing it all from home and both full time. So go easy on yourself, advice I need to take myself.


Wednesday, 8 April 2020

I've lost a bit of weight...

Banner image with illustrated fruit saying 'Weight loss update'

Last Easter (2019) I developed really achy hips. The more I walked, the more they’d hurt, eventually I’d need to stop and rest as they were causing a lot of pain. I also couldn’t sit with my legs up on the sofa next to me, as the rotation of the hips hurt too much. Without feeling particularly motivated, I thought I should probably try and lose some weight, as that would probably help.

I’d had a flyer that a new slimming world group had started up at weekends at my sons school, perfect. Off I went one Saturday morning, half asleep, and enrolled. It was very scary. This wasn’t my first time joining, it was my 4th. The first time I’d lost just over 3.5 stone about 10+ years ago, then I did it online twice, with absolutely no success.

Our group leader, Emma. Well she’s a bit bonkers, in a good way. She’s great and keeps us accountable and on-track. Then there’s the members, some more bonkers than Emma. I’ve made some friends there, which never happened at previous groups. They're a great crowd, I really do love my Saturday morning group :)

Progress photos of me showing my weight loss
Left (before the loss), Middle (now), Right (after 4 stone loss, still a long way to go!)

I’ve found motivation harder than ever this time, and each week struggle (usually around Weds/Thurs). The first time I did Slimming World I was incredibly motivated and didn’t waiver until I got to about 3.5 stone loss, and barely lost any more, then I stopped going and put it all back on. This time, and I think it’s because I didn’t have crazy motivation when I joined, it’s a weekly struggle, but one I’m no-less committed to. 

I certainly find it more challenging than many thanks to the diet restrictions:

No dairy (Dot’s allergy – I have to exclude due to breastfeeding)
No soya (Dot’s allergy – I have to exclude due to breastfeeding)
No banana (my allergy)
No fresh or tinned tomatoes (my allergy)
No meat (my preference)
White onions (my allergy)

But somehow I’m muddling through, mostly making it on red onions and copious amounts of mushrooms with a bit of Oatly crème fraiche. 

So far, 8 months in, I’ve lost 4 stone. I’ve dropped 3-4 sizes in tops, and 1-2 sizes in jeans, and 3 sizes in dresses. I can cross my legs again while sitting down (on a sofa at least) and have lots more energy when I’m out and about. My hips are a little better, but not dramatically. But still, I’ll take that improvement! But really speaking, this is just the start of my journey, I still have a very long way to go and need to lose a lot more before I’m any semblance of healthy in terms of my weight. I don’t have a goal set, I figured I’d know when I get close.

I’ll start sharing some of the recipes I’ve been using too, as well as some of my own creations.


Monday, 6 April 2020

It's been a long time

Me taking a selfie in the woods with my hood up

It's been a long old time since I updated this blog, but in recent weeks I've really felt the urge to start writing again.

Why this blog and not Makeup-Pixi3 just doesn't really fit who I am now. I barely ever wear makeup for starters, and I want the freedom to talk about more than just beauty and mummy stuff. So here I am, ready to write again. I'll kick off with a little life update to bring you up to speed. I can see the last update I wrote was a Christmas post from 3 years ago. Well a fair bit has happened since then!

Dot is now just over 2.5 years old. I never envisioned I'd say this, but we're still breastfeeding. I somehow never expected to be breastfeeding a toddler, and a toddler past the age of 2, but here we are. He feeds to sleep about 8pm, usually pretty quickly as he's dropped his day nap now. Then he often wakes 1-2 times in the night for a feed, if it's after 4am I'll pop him in bed with us to feed and we'll snuggle and sleep until it's time to get up. Then he likes a feed first thing. And now that we're in lockdown, he asks countless times during the day for feeds too - most of the time I can distract him with a cup of almond milk but sometimes he just needs the comfort, and that's ok.

Now to Squidge. He's 5.5 now, he's a smart, sassy and witty little boy. He's adorable and makes us laugh daily. When he's upset, he screams with every ounce of breath in his body, often much to our horror. He's doing well with his school work, being one of the top readers in his class (in Welsh) and his writing and maths is coming along really well too. Don't even ask about home schooling, I'll write a whole separate post on that.

Hubby and I are still happily married, this December (2020) it'll be 12 years married and 19 years together, absolutely bonkers. Matilda our cat is still going strong, she'll be 15 in November.

Coronavirus - so far with this we've been lucky, and none of our family have been affected by it. Many of us might have had it, mildly, but all in all we're good. I know to count my blessings though, because situations can change quickly, but for now, we're one of the lucky ones.

Despite not actively blogging in a while (about a year in total), I've still been updating Instagram daily, mostly just stories.

Well, that's it for now. I have a few posts in mind I'd like to write, I'll do an update on Dot's dairy and soya allergy as he still has that, and some posts around what we're doing with home schooling etc. Ooh and I have a couple renovation posts to do too, that'll be nice. Oh and my weight-loss as well, I've lost 4 stone on Slimming World since August 2019 - I'll write up some posts about that too.
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