This time last year, who would have thought the world would be in this position? It’s been a strange one for sure. One to look back on and chat about with the girls when they are older. How we all coped being stuck at home for months on end, only seeing family virtually and the supermarkets running out of loo roll and pasta! Here are my reflections on 2020, the year the world went tits up and looking ahead to 2021.
Last week (while we were in tier 1) I was at mums looking through old family photos from my late aunt. Mixed up with the photos were her ration book and national identity card. My dad and aunt were born in the late 1920’s so in their teens during World War II. It got me thinking that they lived through many hard times during the wartime era. My grandparents were farmers so had to grow a certain amount of food for the area on their land to all help each other, and here we are in 2020 fighting over loo roll and pasta, with a “selfish, look after me” attitude. This virus is our silent enemy and the challenge of our lifetime. We all need to keep to the rules to help our vulnerable ones and hopefully, we will all come out safe and sound at the end. My hope is that things can go back to a kind of normal for my girls.
Back in December 2019, when the girls were poorly before and at Christmas, I had terrible work guilt. Christmas is the busiest time of the year in retail, so I felt terrible that I wasn’t doing my fair share. I was in the hospital with L when it was the busiest trading day. You know what people are like, “oh don’t worry be with your girls it’s OK”. Well if it was OK, then why were you ringing me asking when I was coming back when I had two poorly girlies and couldn’t leave them? I felt so split. It was then I decided that I was going to work really hard in 2020 on my blog and freelance work and finish my part-time retail job. To start with I put in for a lifestyle break. That was 3 months off work unpaid. But I had the opportunity to go back to the same hours and terms I left on. This was going to start in the middle of March 2020.
I was full of positive vibes going into 2020. We were going to fit in 3 term-time holidays before L started school in September. I know once she was in school it would be hard to afford a holiday in the school holidays so we were going to make the most of it. I had my lifestyle break in place for March and blog work was going well.
Straight after the New Year, we had planned a week away to see family up in Derbyshire. I was a little worried I must admit with the weather in January going up. It was cold, a little damp but it didn’t spoil our lovely time. We don’t normally go up in January but it was the only time both Mr B and I could get matching time off before the end of the holiday year on the 31st March. Looking back now I’m so glad we had that break away as it was our only holiday of 2020!
I wrote one of my favourite posts of 2020 in January – Our Life – The Last Decade 2010 – 2020
The month L turned 4! Around her birthday each year, it’s stormy. She was born during Storm Imogen back in 2016 so I expect nothing less for 2020!. We had planned a press trip to the Eden Project for her birthday. It was a wet and wild walk down to the domes but once inside it was fine. We had a great time! It was fairly quiet due to the weather, but that was great for taking photos!
During February, the news was reporting a virus in China. I will say that I wasn’t overly concerned as it was 1000’s of miles away in China at this point.
March was a surreal month. I was gearing up for my lifestyle break starting at the middle of the month. I was really excited to see what I could do during this time. Work was starting to get weird. It was definitely against the normal seeing people wearing face masks and latex gloves around the supermarket. The fresh food counters I was working on were deathly quiet as no one wanted any open food. In fact, I’m pretty sure my last day there was the last day the counters were open. The counter I worked on has not opened again.
To celebrate the start of my break I took Mr B out for lunch the next day as it was his birthday as well. I had been working in retail since I was 15 years old, and now I was kind of free! I remember that meal vividly. It was already on the news to be careful while out and about. People were wearing face coverings and there was talk of the country going into a lockdown. For most of that meal, we were the only two in the restaurant. Walking through the town was eerily quiet heading back to the car. That was our last meal in a restaurant.
Full national lockdown began on the 23rd March 2020.
By this point, I was glad I was at home on my break. I was here for my girls. L was of course home from preschool, so I was now juggling my blog work, looking after a nearly 2 year old and a preschooler.
Easter in lockdown, we found out L got her first primary school choice, and Little Dottie’s 2nd birthday in the lockdown.
It was hard not going to see my mum. Especially as it was 2 years this month since my dad passed away. It was the longest I’d ever been away from mum with not seeing her. All I can say is thank god for Facetime, which we did every day! As the days rolled by. lockdown became easier with the girl. We got into a routine where I did a couple of hours of work in the morning while they did drawing/painting/messy play. We would then have break time outside in the garden. Again thank goodness for the lovely sunny weather we had so we could get out to the garden for a swing, hopscotch, football, and of course, hide and seek! Next up was lunchtime and after it was quiet storytime, puzzles and the odd movie afternoon while Little Dottie napped. After tea, we made the effort to go for a walk as our once a day allowed outside exercise. I think this routine kept me sane! Of course, I would be working again like crazy in the evenings after they went to bed!
I did start writing a lockdown diary over on homeinthepastures, but after 3 weeks, I kind of ran out of things to write about as we couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone. There was only so much chocolate rice krispy marshmallow squares we could make and eat!
May was a lovely month, (as well as it could be in lockdown at home!) I was enjoying being at home with the girls. Mr B had a week off work, so we did lots of jobs in the garden including starting our fruit and veggie plots. We celebrated VE Day in the garden with my classic Victoria Sponge I love to make. I popped into work and handed in my notice! It was an emotional time for me as I had been there for 15 years! I’m sure people thought I was stupid doing it in the middle of a pandemic, giving up a regular wage. But I had planned to do it in 2020 and no stupid virus was going to stop me! For the first time since I was 15 years old I didn’t have a regular wage coming in. Big Brave Me!!!!
You can catch up with our May update here for further details of our month. But if I’m being honest the days and weeks rolled into one!
The month where the UK started to open back up. We had to make the decision this month if we wanted to send L back to preschool in July. For us in Cornwall, we had lower rates of infection of COVID than the rest of the country, so I felt it was more detrimental keeping her home than sending her back. I wanted to get her back into a school routine for when she started reception in September at the big school. Looking back now I know we made the right decision sending her back as she thrived being back. It got her ready for school.
Little Dottie had her 2 year old check from the health visitor over the phone. It was a total shock for me as we have had no contact from the health visiting team since she was 8 weeks old!
Each July my older sister comes over from Canada for a few weeks in the Summer. Obviously this didn’t happen this year. By the time December comes around it would have been 12 months since we last saw her. July saw L graduate from preschool, gutted we couldn’t be there to see it, but she was so happy in the photos we got of it!
On the 24th July it became mandatory to wear face coverings in shops. Not sure why this wasn’t brought in from the beginning, but that is our government for you!
In August we got our 3 chickens! Betty, Happy and Norrie! I had been searching around for a couple of months, but no where locally had any young pullets for sale. Eventually we bought some from a bird centre in Plymouth. We lost the last one of my late dad’s chickens back in March. Of course while it was lockdown we were not able to get any new ones with the restrictions in place. So we tidied up the pen, and cleaned out the chicken house ready in wait for when we were able to get some. It was strange from March to August not having any chickens in the garden.
Apart from the park and the woods we didn’t go any where else. It was too busy at the beach for me!
L finished preschool at the end of August as she went to their Summer club for the month. She had just a week off before starting school!
September saw me having two mornings a week child free for the first time in about 4 and a half years. I must say I loved it when I got over the settling issues we had with Little Dottie. Who started her two mornings a week this month.
For me, I found September quite hard mentally. For the previous two years, we had been to Bluestone for a holiday and then to the BlogOn conferences. This September was a month of settling into the new normal. School and nursery run. Mask wearing everywhere and avoiding busy places.
I was busy in October with blog work, getting my gift guides live, and adjusting to being a school mum remembering dates for this and that! Half term was a welcome break for L after getting stuck in at school. She was so tired by the time it came around. We lazed about and didn’t do much that week!
My older sister in Canada made the decision to fly home early for Christmas and to self isolate for 14 days before we saw her. It was hard knowing she was close by after not seeing her for a year, yet not being able to give her a hug! But that time flew by and the first time we saw her properly we went for a beach walk!
November was the busiest month on the blog for me, so I didn’t get around to writing up my usual monthly family diary. But it’s something I want to continue with for 2021.
By the end of November, we were back into a tiered lockdown system. Cornwall was in tier 1. The lowest in the country along with the Isle of Wight and of course the Scillies.
There is a vaccine! But cases of COVID rising, the government promising we can have 3 households together in one house over the Christmas period. Then taking that back a few days before Christmas. Then the day before Christmas Eve locking more of the country down to tier 4 meaning they couldn’t have anyone over for Christmas. Then changing the tier systems on Boxing Day. I don’t think people knew what was going on!
It meant Christmas was different for us. We stayed at home just the four of us. Mind you we had to anyway as L woke up on Christmas morning with Chicken Pox! In a way I guess I’m glad she had it early in the holidays so she won’t have to miss school. She got 100% attendance for her first term that she’s so proud of.
Currently, as I’m writing this we are in tier 2. Meaning I now can’t meet up with my mum and sister inside and the weather is terrible for meeting in the garden! We’ve had sleet, hail and heavy rain the past few days. There is another speech today and I’m wondering if more areas are having their tiers increased due the massive increase today of COVID cases. It’s the highest it’s been so far during the pandemic.
Well that was 2020. A pretty shitty year for all.
Looking ahead to 2021
A few months back we were all looking forward to a brand new fresh year. 2021 couldn’t come soon enough. Here we are on the cusp of 2021 and it looks shittier than ever. As I mentioned earlier the COVID cases are rising worse than they ever have. The vaccination programme can’t work fast enough to vaccinate the whole country when we all need it the most. It sounds like a science fiction film we are in.
I don’t think things will every go back to the normal as we know it. Our children will grow up in a place where Hands Face Space is normal. With mutant COVID strains in the news, the population is getting the virus quicker than ever. Viruses are smart buggers! They mutate to change to survive.
So what is there to look ahead to in 2021? Well for me I will complete my first year as a full-time self-employed blogger in March and also sees this blog turn 6 years old!
We haven’t planned any holidays for 2021, I don’t think I feel comfortable going anywhere for a long while if I’m honest. So instead we’ve treated ourselves to a new corner sofa and a 2 seater sofa which is being made at the moment and will be with us in a few months! Oh that’s dire when the only thing you’ve got to look forward to is a new sofa!!
I hope 2021 brings you your hopes and dreams. xx