A better week|CoronaVirus

A better week|CoronaVirus

How has your week been? Been anywhere exciting (?!?!) hopefully not!! Today is the 5th April 2020 and its just about 13 days since I went anywhere further than my local shop and it’s 4 week son Tuesday since I did any work outside of home. Lockdown is settling into a routine for us. To update you on a couple of things from last week, my brother-in-law who has had suspected Corona, is fit and well and back at work after 7 days in isolation. We think he only had a mild version thank goodness.

M is also now working from home until this thing goes away and I am more than grateful for that. But it other news, this whole isolation thing has really forced the people in our family to embrace technology and by technology, I mean video calling – along with the rest of the world!

In the last week, we have hosted 2 x family quiz nights*, one with my dad, sister and her girls (when Rob was in isolation) and then another one with M and all his family, including his 80 odd-year-old parents!!! They were never fans of video calling as when M lived in the USA 20 years ago, they tried to video call him and there was always a troublesome time delay… but thankfully technology has moved on and with an iPad and a bit of Facetime, family Quiz night could take place!!

We have also organised to “meet for coffee” M’s parents, again testing the technology with octogenarians has been much simpler than you would imagine. It was lovely actually, we both had our hot drinks and instead of being in our favourite garden centre, we were in our living and their dining room! Not ideal, but a great substitute.

My dad has also has embraced the FaceTime thing too and so it’s been relatively easy to keep in touch with everyone.

I had a couple of days last week where I felt awful, really wobbly… mainly just feeling a bit couped up and then, of course, we had a mini-crisis when Daisy got her leg stuck in a grate!

As if what is going on wasn’t stressful enough! But I realised after this was resolved that the exercise thing is really important for me (funnily enough). So the next night I went for a long walk with Daisy and then again the following morning – of course social distancing and not going out more than once a day. I felt better and I have felt better ever since.

So anyway, I hope you have had a good week and you are able to find hope even if you’ve not.

Take Care, Stay at Home and Wash your Hands.

Gill x

Lockdown Thoughts |Coronavirus

Lockdown Thoughts |Coronavirus

Well that is week 1 of official Lockdown started. How has it been going for you? For me, well I am just shattered. Even though I am moving less physically, I am mentally drained as it’s SO much more to think about than normal.

I deliver a lot of training in my day job and so that has all been cancelled. I am lucky enough to have a full-time job that isn’t affected by this whole thing (yet) But I have been working mega hard training people via Google Meet to work remotely, which has seen me deliver 9 training sessions in a week to staff from all across the UK.

At home, things have changed too as I have been joined by M in my home office as after Boris made his announcement, he has been working from home too. It has to be said that whilst the situation we are in is scary and difficult, having the 3 of us together at home, is just brilliant..

One odd thing though for me is the way I have reacted to the whole thing. I am normally one of those people who will put myself forward to help, will volunteer and get involved, but during this time, I just haven’t been able to. The reason for me is an odd one. I feel super anxious at the moment, which isn’t like me. Is it my hormones? Maybe. Is it the virus… well yes… but it’s not just that. I have talked about losing my mum a lot on this blog as it was a horrible pivotal moment in my life. She was very ill in the year between her diagnosis and death and I spent that entire year with a ball of worry and unease in my stomach that disrupted my sleep, eating habits and made me wake up every morning knowing something was wrong. Sadly, that’s how I feel now.

Somehow this virus thing has been quite triggering for me as it reminds me about the last time I was intensely worried about illness. I’ve tried to shake it, but I can’t. I feel better now the three of us are safely at home and the unease is a tad better, but it’s still there.

As I write, my brother-in-law came home from work last night with symptoms and has been told to self-isolate. Even though he will probably be ok (normally fit and well), his daughter (our niece) is a T1 Diabetic and is in the vulnerable category…. it’s just too much to think/worry about.

But I have to say that the country and my community, in particular, has really pulled together to help each other. The NHS clap in the week saw friends and neighbours stood at their doors clapping to support the NHS for looking after us. More than a few of my neighbours are police officers and wow, it must be so stressful to keep going out to work every day, but especially now, I am so grateful.

But one very good thing is that M and I have been cooking loads and being loads better at not wasting food. Something fresh to eat every night with hardly a takeaway in sight. I will take that silver lining.

Hope you are ok. Stay Safe. Stay at Home. Wash Your Hands.

G x

We Be Social Distancing |CoronaVirus

We Be Social Distancing |CoronaVirus

Ok wow, so how is everyone doing? I think we can all agree that this is the weirdest time to live through. All the information and advice seems to have been coming and changing at the speed of light. It feels to me like I went very quickly from deciding whether or not I should go to Cornwall to realising that I had to stay 2 metres away from everyone!

One thing that has been joyful is the sheer amount of community support that has blossomed in my local area. A dedicated group has been set up in Newton-le-Willows to help people that are isolating and/or can’t get out and about for any reason. So if you live near me, then check out Newton and Earlestown Helping Hands.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1147143808987505/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Also, in my street we have a closed Facebook group and one of my lovely neighbours posted a great Rainbow idea:

I thought this was the coolest idea and it was a joy to walk around our little estate last night and see so many rainbows in windows.

What has also been great is that we have started to FaceTime our loved ones in an effort to keep in contact and M started a group chat with his sisters and mum which resulted in lots of messages flying backwards and forwards yesterday. Now I know that isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it’s something they just never thought to do, especially as his mum is in her 80s. Gotta love a pensioner with an iPad!

Of course, with a dog we still need to go out for walks and for the most part everyone is practising social distancing and keeping away from each other. We did of course see 3 x teenage girls out last night, walking in a close knit gang which made me despair. This is so serious and I have never been more grateful that I work from home.

I am so grateful for all the NHS workers and all the other people who are continuing to be in work to help keep us safe and keep the various services working. Who knew that supermarket workers would be on the frontline and Amazon delivery drivers would be putting themselves at constant risk.

I feel so weird and unsettled, but beyond grateful to have home comforts that I do have. I will never again take for granted going out for breakfast or a seeing a film at the cinema.

But if nothing else, please just Stay at Home Everyone… if not for yourself, but for everyone else… you just never know.

Stay Safe and Stay Home

Love

G x

Working from Home | CoronaVirus

Working from Home | CoronaVirus

So today has been the first full day that M and I have both been working from home for the day. I work from home usually, so I was nice to have some company for a change.

We are lucky enough to have a dedicated office space in our house which is already set up with desks and the essentials, we even have a loo! It’s pretty cosy up there and if either one of us needs a quick siesta, there is even a sofa-bed

As it happened, I spent quite a lot of the day on calls trying to figure out what my job is going to look like for the coming weeks and months and as I deliver quite a lot of training, that just isn’t going to happen in today’s climate.

Office Buddies

But one thing I do know is that this isn’t going to be a short lived thing. Most things are cancelled for the next month and what goes on beyond that is almost unprecedented. I have heard today that the Cretan hotel we were supposed to be staying at in 5 weeks is remaining closed until May and seeing as the Greek government is recommending 14 days quarantine for incoming visitors, I think I can safely say that our week relaxing in Crete is well and truly OFF. No matter how much of a first world problem that is, it’s still really dissapointing.

Anyway, the good news is, is that the virus seems to be decreasing in China and it sounds like thousands of people are surviving it rather than are becoming a victim to it. I remain hopeful.

Right then, off to feed Daisy, who frankly couldnt care less!

Daisy on her walk today

Take Care

Gill x

Taking Care of My Mental Health | CoronaVirus

Taking Care of My Mental Health | CoronaVirus

If you are looking for a top tip on how to look after your mental health at the moment, then I wanted to remind you of a small thing that we use in our house which helps with sleeping. Basically it’s the 9 o’clock rule. 

When my mum was ill it was all-consuming, especially when M and I would visit her in hospital. We would come home and talk about things, debriefing all possibilities and strategies, sometimes right up to bedtime and often after we got in bed. This meant that I had trouble sleeping and the cumulative effect of this was that eventually, I crashed my car on the way to work as I was SOO tired. 

So we started to invoke the 9’oclock rule. This meant that after a day of stressful events of ANY kind; house move, mum with cancer, being made redundant and I guess now CoronaVirus, then we can talk about it as much as we like, but all talk of it must STOP at 9pm. This really allowed my fizzing brain to calm down and focused on more “normal” things. It meant the last things I thought about didn’t necessarily give me nightmares (I’m very prone) and this strategy genuinely helped me sleep more. 

Maybe something to try? 

Gill xx 

Well that escalated | Coronavirus

Well that escalated | Coronavirus

What to blog about at the moment? There is nothing really happening in the world sooooo..

Yep, as I write this (Sunday 15th March 2020) we are right in the middle of a CoronaVirus, COVID-19 pandemic. That sounds like the plot to a film, but nope, this is REAL life!

I really didn’t think I was too bothered, but there was a point last week that I realised that I really really was. I work for a national charity and my work regularly takes me 250 miles away to Cornwall. Until recently, I have been mostly flying down using Flybe, but with Flybe’s collapse about 2 weeks ago, I had to re-book my travel via train.

But… amid growing concerns about travel and the lightening-fast changes in information and infection rates, I took the decision NOT to travel to Cornwall on, what have probably always been, germ-infested trains. Thankfully I am as healthy as I usually am, but both M and I have parents over 70 and members of my close family all have underlying health issues. Frankly, it’s a worry.

I won’t repeat any information that is fully available from Public Health, the NHS and similar, but this whole experience is like nothing else I have ever experienced.

The current buzz phrase is self-isolation but I work from home and so self-isolation would be no different for me! However, I am already feeling territorial about our office in case M has to stay home!

One thing that has baffled me is the people panic buying WAY too much shopping, in particular toilet roll. I saw someone this morning coming out of Bargain Booze with 3 x 4 packs of toilet roll and a huge bottle of vodka. What on earth is she expecting/planning???

But amongst it all, M and I have a 1st world problem of our own. Last year, we booked a holiday to Crete for April this year, but we were gutted when our travel agent Thomas Cook went into administration and everything was cancelled. Thankfully though we got our money back and managed to book the exact same holiday which a different agent. As of today there are no restrictions on travel to Greece, but things are changing so fast, it’s impossible to predict as Spain, France and Italy are already in partial or full lockdown.

Also, next Sunday is Mother’s Day and whilst my mum is no longer with us, M does have his mum and in fact, we were meant to be hosting a little family get-together. But after some careful thought, we have decided to cancel. M’s parents have recently been unwell and are in their 80s and we didn’t want to put them at risk. M works for the NHS and I work for a charity and there is I could expose very vulnerable people to something that wouldn’t affect me but really affect them.

We aren’t completely self-isolating, but we are limiting contact wherever possible. So this week, no extended travel for me, which means not really going anywhere, to be honest.

What a time though. What a worrying time. All we can really do is help each other through this and for the love of God, STOP buying ALL the loo roll and pasta!

G x

One Cool thing a month |Lifestyle

One Cool thing a month |Lifestyle

I decided this year that I was going to try and do one cool thing a month throughout 2020. It’s mid-February and I have already done 2 things! Let me walk you through it. Firstly, my definition of “cool” could mean anything. Anything unusual or different that I either haven’t tried before, or something I wanted to try again, but in an usual way OR for a specific reason.

January 🏊

In January I decided to go Swimming. This is cool for me as it’s something I have always loved doing it, but only ever seem to do it when I am holiday. I am also not a natural exerciser and with my weight creeping up, I thought I would perhaps go for a swim and see how it felt.

I actually live within a 3-minute drive of a municipal swimming people, so I really didn’t have far to go at all. I went along and the staff on reception gave me a good welcome and were happy to show me around. I have to be honest and say that the facilities for changing were dreadful. The pool has a gym attached to it and that has just had a brilliant re-furb and looks amazing, but the facilities for pool users are dire. For the women, it’s just a tiled room with pegs on the walls. There is one long communal shower and NO cubicles for changing or toilets within the changing room. Right outside the changing rooms is a corridor with lockers and benches for various parents to wait. So I had to walk past all these people to a very public locker, which I had to pay for! I wasn’t impressed, but hopeful that the pool was better.

As I walked into the pool, I realised it was a windowless and therefore not dark, but certainly not light room. I walked down the length of the pool , past a swimming lesson full of small children, to hear “Auntie Gill!!!!”.

I looked around and spotted our youngest neice and brother-in-law in the pool! She seemed double chuffed to see me and I spent the next 10 minutes happily hearing about her day and how much she thought I looked like my sister, her mum. Delightful.

After that, I just did a bit of swimming and it occurred to me for the hundredth time that even though I can swim, my technique is rubbish. We will come back to that another time.

But one extra bonus cool thing that happened, was that I used my Apple Watch to measure my swimming exercise. It’s waterproof provided me with some brill swimming data!

Overall though, I did have a fab swim and was really pleased with myself for giving it a go. Go me!

February 🌾💟

In February, I decided to do something I have NEVER tried before. I follow an actress/singer/author on social media called Carrie Hope Fletcher and she recently went “floating”. This a sensory deprivation experience, where you float in some warm water in a pod. It sounds odd but intriguing right?!

A quick google told me that my closest Floating experience was at Zero Gravity Float Spa in Altrincham here:

It was £65 for 2 people for a 1 hour float. This gave us a 90 minute appointment, free towels, ear plugs, private shower and use of a styling room, with hairdryers, free products and straighteners if required.

Again, the welcome we got was great. To be dead clear (I know you are wondering), M and I were in seperate pods. They recommend this as it’s easier to relax and the pods arent QUITE big enough for two people.

The good thing about this experience is that you are in complete control at all times. Your options are:

  • Swimming Costume OR naked
  • Light on OR off
  • Pod lid open OR closed.
  • Music on OR off

I went in naked (why not eh) and started off with lights off. I chose to have the music off, but this means that they play 5 minutes of music at the beginning as an intro and reintroduce the music, 5 minutes at the end.

I have to say that I didn’t find the whole thing super relaxing. I just couldn’t seem to surrender myself to the experience. The Epsom salts do mean that you entirely float and the staff give you a polystyrene halo to support your head a little. I used it, but I honestly don’t think it was necessary.

I go to sleep every night listening to podcasts and this sends me to sleep within 10 minutes without fail. So I think for my float experience, I definitely should have kept the music on. I also think that a whole hour was too long for my first go as I had had enough after about 40 minutes and I got out at 50 minutes. But M had a great experience and seemed to be able to relax much better than I did – which is odd as it’s usually the other way around!

A few days later as I write this post there have definitely been some after effects that we hadn’t anticipated from our float experience.

Firstly, when we went to bed the night of the float, we were both shattered and slept like babies. This also last a couple of days afterwards too.

Secondly, our muscles ached and we aren’t sure if this was float induced? We definitely floated, but the person at Zero Gravity did say that certain positions can strain your muscles.

Thirdly… M wore his swimming shorts and when we got home, he left them over the bath to dry. When we checked on them later that night, we found rock sold, stiff as a board shorts – salt x swimming shorts apparently wasn’t a good mix!

So would I do it again, hmm maybe. I think I wasn’t relaxed enough to start off with, to being told to instantly relax was too hard for me, a bit like forced fun. But I reckon if I was on holiday and there was a floatation pod, I would give it another go.

Still onwards to March…..

G x

What does 2020 hold for me? | Gilliblogs

What does 2020 hold for me? | Gilliblogs

I write this as I have just finished my 1st day back at work for 2020 and it’s started to make me think what this year holds for me? In fact, what does this decade hold for me?

In 2010 I was 35, living in Haydock with my partner, employed by a voluntary sector organisation and I was the adopted mum of a German Shepherd x breed called Peggy. I started 2020 aged 45, living in Newton-le-Willows, now married, employed by a voluntary sector organisation and I am the adopted mum of a Romanian dog called Daisy.

So some things have moved on, but the important things have stayed the same. In some ways 2010 – 2020 was wonderful, I got married to the love of my life, I turned 40, moved into a house with a garden (dream come true). I went to America twice and had some of the most amazing holidays. My sister also got married, and had one of our two amazing nieces as well as having an amazing job as WELL as teaching aerobics at night! She is superwoman make no mistake about that!

Some things have been rubbish too, in a very short period of time, I lost my last remaining Grandparent Jessie, one of my oldest friends, Peggy dog and of course in 2015, I lost my mum. Too sad to write too much about, but I am hoping that this next decade brings more happy than it does sad.

In 2020 I do have the tiniest of things planned, including a holiday to Crete in April, but beyond that, the year is a blank canvas. I think that this might be the first time in a good few years where we don’t have a big birthday or anniversary to celebrate! There are a few things we want to be done in the house, so that might mean a few projects, but otherwise, I am open to offers 2020!

It’s always hard plunging back into normal life after an extended break, especially at Christmas, but it’s also cool to think about all the things that could happen this year… I am particularly looking forward to:

  • The pink buds appearing on the tree in our front garden, the colour is beautiful.
  • Snow – one can live in hope… (I ❤ snow!)
  • Feeling the warmth of the Cretian sun on my face
  • Taking day trips to the Beach
  • Cooking more
  • Baking more
  • Box Sets Galore

G x

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