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Covid-19- Changes Afoot

Ironically when lockdown is completely lifted, I think we are going to spend more time at home????!

When Borris announced the first phase of coming out of lockdown, I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would/ should be??? Is that weird? We had become quite content in our little isolation bubble I didn’t feel ready to leave (also not ready to shave my legs, wash my hair, parallel park). I realised I was scared to lose some of the life we had acquired during this lockdown time.

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So, it got me thinking about things I might change when re- emerging back into the real world. I’m not going to build a mud shack on the middle of Dartmoor and live-off-the-land whilst wearing nothing but dock leaves to cover my modesty (my boys would love doing this). But I have had some realisations. Oh, I’ve become so deep.

Lounge Wear

I have decided to give away every item of clothing and just live in lounge wear for the rest of my life.

OUT OUT

I’ve never been a homebody. I’ve always preferred to get out there, see the world, do anything and everything I can to fill my days. I felt this was living my life to the max. My diary is always jam packed and I always felt guilty if I wasted time “just at home”. Oh how the tables have turned. I’ve realised staying at home is actually alright and we are so bloody lucky to have a home. Especially as this time last year we were living in a hotel room. Staying at home is not something to be feared. Don’t get me wrong, we will still do lots of adventuring/traveling but I think we will also have more time chilling out watching TV at home and not feel bad about it!

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Less Use Of Car

We have got so used to jumping in the car to go anywhere. During lockdown without this luxury, we have actually discovered amazing places right on our doorstep. And, we CAN walk to the beach with the boys. It’s all too easy with kids to opt for the least stressful way of getting to places. But we have underestimated the boys and they can in fact walk*

*whinge, stop for snacks 689565 times, wind too windy, sky too blue, trees to rustley, carry 2x kids plus bikes plus suitcase of snacks home in heat wave.

Underwear

I might go all Charlie Dimmock and not wear a bra anymore??? I’m just so free now

Spend Less Money

I was a VERY good person and helped out some small businesses and bought some things from Instagram shops (!!!!), but now I have done my bit, I am seriously going to cut back on spending. Not having the option to nip into shops has definitely made me less impulsive. And healthier?! And the option of going anywhere less *fashion conscious

*all about loungewear chic these days

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Look At Things Differently

I’m very aware that I don’t want this to make me or my family super paranoid and scared to do anything. But inevitably, I have already found myself looking differently at things. For example, any movie/ TV when people are hugging and close together makes me think “oooo they aren’t socially distancing”. Seeing people on a walk, instead of feeling uplifted to see them, I’m just thinking how I can best navigate my kids and myself to not get too close. If someone sneezes in public (I know not Corona symptom), instead of saying “bless you” I think “oh my god its bloody Rona”. People handing me something, and thinking I need to anti bac the item and my hands immediately. I really don’t want to live like this forever and my boys growing up being scared of the world. I’m 100% behind the “rules” to keep everyone safe, but eventually I want to get back to normal. I want my kids to eat stuff off the floor again (5 second rule??!!)

Home Gym

NEVER thought I would have the motivation to work-out at home. I thought the temptation of having the sofa right there would be too much. But actually, when there is no other option and I don’t want to look like Mr Blobby after too many pies, I have found I’m pretty driven. Plus, as you are in your living room, it’s totally acceptable wo work out in your bra and pants whilst watching Friends. Save on clothes, gym fees and have a bloody good time.

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Running Career

As much as I still absolutely HATE running and it’s SO bad for my knees, I think I might carry on with it?? The main drive behind this is I get to escape from the kids and listen to music that isn’t off a kid’s program. I also don’t piss myself nearly as much since I started running.

Slowing Down

I’ve always done lots of clubs and activities for the boys. Felt they needed it? When actually, I have spent the last 5 years rushing around to all of these things and not actually spending proper time with them? I think they have really enjoyed not being carted around everywhere when really, they seem quite happy playing with Mummy the Dinosaur in the living room. Although, Kitt is going to be an Olympic Gymnast and Arlo and Olympic Snowboarder so we will see……

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Free Fun

Also realised that we don’t need all these places that cost a bomb to get it and are full of glitz and glamour (well, loud primary colours and music that’s gives you migraines). All of the best times we have had have been totally free.

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Family

When everything in your life is stripped back, and the things that defined you are gone, you realise what is really important in life. Family and that everyone is healthy. So we have decided to have 20 more kids………..joking, can barely cope with 2! So, from now on I’m going to prioritise my family more. Not just my little family but my parents too. This is why I have now promised my 73-year-old dad that I’m going to be his new mountain bike buddy!!! As long as he gets me a pink bike and we stop for cake. I feel a bit helpless with my brother and expectant wife all the way in NZ though:(

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Shopping Without Kids

This is something I hope will never change. It’s been a great shame (!!!) that I have had to do the food shopping ALONE without any children.

Appreciation

I tell you, I’m just going to appreciate everything SO much more after this: hanging out with friends and chatting “lovingly “about our husbands, H&M, wearing Tena Ladies to Adult Gymnastics, going to work with adults, hugging people and accidently inhaling their hair, petting crazy dogs that then try to hump you, accidently eating fish whilst wakeboarding, talking to random people about the weather, standing in EasyJet check-in queues, hairdressers, teachers (bloody deserve medals), Clubbersize and glow sticks, licking my mates and the holy grail of childcare (god bless). And of course, snowboarding. I’d take that in a whiteout right now.

Cleaning

Huge realisation that its actually pointless cleaning my house again until the kids have left home. Me off the hook for the next 15 years.

*Disclaimer

All of these life changes will probably all go tits-up and when lockdown is fully lifted you will find me finally out of loungewear, wearing a bra, at an expensive event that I have driven 5 hours to get to.

The reality of how different our world is going to be is really hitting me at the moment, especially the school thing. It’s all just so sad. But I guess we just take each step as it comes and focus on the positive things.

This also got me thinking…what’s the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is fully lifted??????

ps. This evening I watched my son eat grated cheese off his penis (long story), I actually think its now time to get out more

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Groundhog Day- COVID-19

Groundhog Day

Anyone else feeling like this yet??? A few days ago, we did our walk  THE OTHER WAY ROUND!!! Totally crazy and mind-blowing!!!! My pre-Corona-life also felt ground-hoggy (word?) as I KNEW what was coming (gym Monday, work Tuesday, Forest School Wednesdays, Baby Gym Thursday, Swimming Friday, work Saturday, school run every day….dinner every day, high chair cleaning everyday…), but now it’s like the ultimate kind of Groundhogs. Although weirdly, the feeling that we really don’t know what’s coming next keeps me going?? I am working towards an end??? Or a new beginning maybe? For me this is keeping the mundane fresh (mostly) and the novelty of this temporary way of life ticking over (most days). I know this isn’t forever. I won’t get this time again.

We Are Not All In The Same Boat

I’ve seen this a lot recently and I’m becoming acutely aware of is how different this situation is for everyone. No two lockdowns are the same. I was stood in the queue for Tesco’s the other day and I was studying everyone (through my dark sunnies): silent, not talking, not making eye contact, distancing from others in their own worlds. I just thought, each one of these people has a their own COVID-19 story and facing their own set of battles. The spectrum of difficulty is huge, and I feel bad to say anything bad about my situation as many are SO much more worse off.  A lockdown with young kids does present its own set of challenges however, but I’m thankful each day for chocolate, locks on bathrooms, TV, wipes, bribes and my (chaotic) family.

Slob Days

I’ve been having these days, like once a week?? Where I just wake up with zero motivation to do anything at all and I just feel a bit glum? So, I wear odd socks and joggers, eat peanut butter straight from the jar, do oven fish and chips for my kids, snacks all day on the sofa, and let them watch a lot TV. I feel mega mum guilt but have told myself that the kids need a rest day???!! I would win no parenting awards AT ALL and if they want to eat tomato ketchup from the bottle and run around naked, so be it. Generally, if I just go with it and try not to fight it I wake up feeling so much better the next day.

I’m Scared For It To End??!

Obviously, I want this all to be over, and life to return to normal, families to be reunited, jobs to be safe again and people to be healthy. BUT, I’m nervous to get back on that hamster wheel of life again. I’m nervous to be away from my kids for longer than my food shop (although Grandparents, please feel free to take them away for like a week when this is over so I can sleep and just sit there in peace), nervous to drive again, parallel park, nervous for the overload of life admin, work deadlines, making pack lunches, getting somewhere at certain times……Plus, I think I’m going to be like really weird in social situations now??? I think I’m scared of people!!! I’ve strangely become accustomed to this slower pace of life. Who’d have thought! But I’m also scared for how our new world is going to be after this. I’m not sure it will ever be the same again. Staying in this bubble for a while feels safer.

 

Fear Of Missing Out

My whole life I have really bad FOMO! But for the first time like EVERRRRR, I don’t have it!!! Because EVERYONE is in the same situation- no one can travel, no one can snowboard, no one can go to gymnastics, no one can hang out with mates, no one can go on adventures. I’m not drooling over what others are doing for once. Apart from those obviously quarantining in like Hawaii.

The Tables Have Turned

Obviously not in every situation (some are worse off now as Dads are away full time and mums doing it totally on their own) but in some situations are husbands getting a taste of full-time parenting???!!! If you are in this situation, is it giving you justice in some way??? Like they will finally understand what it’s like??? I’ve now been furloughed, but for a sweet month, I worked more than my husband. I felt slightly smug that maybe my husband might see what it’s been like for the last 5 years. I’ve done A LOT of solo parenting and even though he farts too much and is well annoying, I’m so grateful I’m not on my own right now. Shout out to all you bloody amazing hardcore mums/ dads doing it on you’re own.

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I Think I’m Becoming Lazy??

As the days go on, I can feel my motivation dwindling. I went in strong with the kid’s activities, daily walks, home exercising, DIY, now I feel like I’m just totally running out of steam?! And ideas of “fun things to do with kids”- I’m all out. I hate feeling lazy, like the less I do, the more sluggish and lazier I feel, so the less I do??? Vicious circle. I think this would be worse without kids, as they definitely don’t allow you to sit around like everrrrrr.

My Running Career!

Exercise has definitely been my saving grace in life. Any bad times it’s what I turn too. Helps me mentally and means I can eat more cake. So, with no more of my normal exercise outlets, I have turned to running!!! I HATE it (until it’s over then I like it!). No idea how people do it? I’ve zero stamina, run like a chicken and sound like a wheezy donkey? I trained for over 2 weeks to get up to 5k for that challenge (blisters, cow poo, wee, faulty running gear falling down, shoes that look like moon boots) but now I’ve run my 5k, I’m please to say I’ve retired!!! To be fair I will probably carry on* as it’s my only escape out the house kid free.

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*go out in running gear, hide around the corner, throw water over me to look like sweat just before I come home.

 

Getting Out Of The House

When I first had a baby it honestly took me like 3 hours to leave the house?? I then (somehow) got it down to a fine art and could get ready and out with 2 kids by 8am (ish). But now, for our daily exercise, it takes half the day to get ready to go out?? I don’t understand, there’s 2 parents to help!!! We are done with “home schooling” by 9.30/ 10 but often don’t get out for our walk until 12/1?? No idea what happens in those 3 hours.

Time To Do Things

Actually, I haven’t achieved much at all on my to-do list. I seriously underestimated (forgot) how full on it is just surviving each day with kids. Thought I would have oodles of time to write this blog but tbh, I don’t think I’ve even brushed my teeth today??! I haven’t learnt a language, I haven’t got an online qualification, I haven’t learnt an instrument, I haven’t built a new bathroom, I haven’t planted veg, I haven’t birthed baby chicks, I haven’t learnt yoga, I haven’t got a 6-pack, I haven’t painted beautiful pictures of nature, I haven’t become a domestic goddess (I did bake a banana bread once), I haven’t home-schooled a little Einstein. BUT, I have managed to do some little things that I am pleased with:

Started moisturising my feet

Watched ALL the seasons of Friends

Sorted out my sock draw and paired socks (that was a fun half hour with kids??!)

Made baby album for Kitt (age 18….ha only joking he’s nearly 3)

Put lemon in my hair to see if it will make it go blonder

Clean Forest School mud off my boots from 2019.

Put “does hair self-wash over a certain time” to the test…..its doesn’t seem to.

 

Trying to celebrate the little things!

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….home Clubbersize!!

Turned to Drink

So, I don’t drink (a story for another time), apart from a Baileys at Christmas and a very odd special occasion where I will have 1 and that’s it. However, I have started to enjoy an afternoon (after 12pm??) tipple. And I swear it makes me a better mum??!! I’m so fun! Last week I was riding around on our brush pretending to be a witch. Kids loved it. I was a HOOT!!!

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Changes to My Life

Once lockdown is over, I think I’m going to make some changes to my life……..More of that in the next blog!

 

  1. Has anyone else’s food shop doubled since lockdown and “pile for the tip” taken over a large portion of house??!

 

 

 

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Lockdown Update: Bittersweet

After nearly 2 weeks of LOCKDOWN, emotions are settling down, we are adjusting to our new way of life, and we are eating way more snacks than necessary. Here are some things I’ve realised in our Corona bubble in the last few days:

 

  • Went in too strong during the first week of “kid’s activities” and set the bar waaaaaayyyyy too high. Doing more now with them than I ever have??? Now one of the most asked questions is “what are we doing next Mummy”. Should’ve gone in low.

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  • I Have let myself go….already. Shaving is unshaved (you know when your toddler calls your armpit hair “grass” and tries to eat it, its BAD), plucking is un plucked, make-up is not made-up, hair is just outright bushy AND I’m not even bothering to speak as much, just grunt in a primitive type way. And If I’m showing my midriff and side boob before midday…WHO CARES!!!! Unless you nip out to put bins out and your’e spotted by postman (sorry and I really appreciate the work you are doing).

 

  • I have forgotten how to dress. My comfy house clothes game is TOP-NOTCH, however, on the occasion that I re-enter into civilisation, I actually can’t remember how to dress? How did I dress before all this? What goes with what? What is socially acceptable? Can I go out in slippers? How do I wear jeans? What are jeans? I am now finding that I am planning my weekly food-shop-outfit like it’s a red-carpet premier. Little things.

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  • I have become really adept to social distancing from my husband. Days are FULL ON, so once the kids go to bed I feel social distancing should be enforced to keep one’s sanity and marriage alive. I believe it is at least 12.5 meters from the living room to bedroom. Gold star. And god bless the garage. Not quite sure what goes on in there but god bless it anyway.

 

  • Don’t quote me on this, but I think DIY is a chance to escape from the kids??!

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  • I believe the weekly food shop outing has become a pleasure and almost a “chore” to fight over? Chance to break the cycle. Even though this is such a bazar experience in itself and a reality check outside of your isolation bubble.

 

  • Working from home is a massive juggle BUT (if the kids don’t find you) a lovely break.

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  • Using social media waaaaay too much. Maybe it’s because we can’t see REAL LIFE people, so we have to get our fix. Reassurance? But I am disgusted at myself how much I’m on it at the moment. I actually thought there was smoke coming out of my Instagram account the other day.

 

  • My tea drinking has become EXCESSIVE. It really breaks up the day, and it has become exciting to vary it between normal tea, mint tea, lemon tea and ginger tea. I fear that I may actually need a life. And how will I EVER go back to normality and acceptable tea drinking levels.

 

  • Carnage but calm, all at the same time. I can only liken it to the days when I had 1x baby and 1x toddler on maternity leave and not a single second everrrrr to myself. The days are just total carnage, so much noise and chaos constantly. But at the same time, I’m starting to feel quite calm??? No schedules, no plans, no routines, no clubs, no school run, no social commitments, no deadlines, no…….no nothing. Apart from the obvious elephant in the room (starts with C), I’m not worrying and stressing about life in general. Kinda like a long-extended Christmas holiday (festively plump) but without the tree? Hell, I might actually get a tree.

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  • YOU TIME-nope. zero. Although, I’m grateful to the kids for not giving me time to think too much. Evenings (apart from social distancing from husband) become the time to work out, wash, clean, eat, sit down, reply to messages, work, shave/pluck (maybe) DIY etc. I’m very aware that isolation must be totally different for everyone. On the other end of the spectrum, people doing this by themselves must be really tough in other ways.

 

  • Home-schooling isn’t for us. The first week I found really stressful as live stream school stuff we had to keep to, worksheets to get through, educational games to play, phonics to learn, writing to do. An overload of things to do and different options and I felt like I needed to do it ALL to be a good mum. But actually my 4-year-old was not interested or compliant and my 2-year-old was intent on putting a stop to anything remotely productive. So, the second week (technically Easter holidays so anything we do is a bonus), after reading lots of inspirational quotes floating around on social media, I relaxed the “rules”. I’m trying to go-with-the-flow-man (matches my hippy hair and hairy legs) and taking my 4-year-olds lead with learning. If he’s up for it, we seize the moment, if he isn’t, we do something else! But I can honestly say I think all teachers should be given an MBE from the Queen.

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  • Not lacking ideas, lacking time???! Seem busier now than ever, working my way through list of “fun lockdown activities to do with kids” and “stuff to get done in the house during isolation”….alternated with 3x meals a day, daily exercise, work, keeping house semi liveable and just generally keeping the status quo. Ironic, as technically I should have all the time in the world now.

 

  • Forgotten how to socially act. I don’t know how to talk to real people anymore. On the odd occasion I bump into someone in Tescos/ on walk/ leaning out of window, I can’t remember how to talk like a normal person? I stutter, high pitched, no banter, talk about the weather too much and nervous giggle (or was this me anyway???). I’m going to emerge from this a very strange person.

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  • Daily exercise is weird. You become nervous to bump into people (how can you get kids to social distance?), but then excited at the same time but restraining from big hugs and licking them all over (oh no, I AM weird). You become an expert at pavement swerving (2 meters), but then you don’t know whether to say “good morning” or avoid eye contact?? You feel like you’re being watched (probs are….is this your second exercise for the day??), people don’t trust you (have we got it), you don’t trust people (have they got it). I feel like when this is all over we are all going to have social anxiety and be mega odd and twitchy. Main thing is you can’t pet lovely happy dogs anymore! If they bound up to you, you just hold your hands in the air and sorta pet them with your legs? Just me??

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  • What’s the etiquette now? When you drop food to friends/ relatives? Do you just drop and run? Can you stop for a chat? When you walk passed a friend’s house do you try and catch them at the window or do you just scuttle passed quickly and avert eyes? Can you stop and have a snack? Can you sit on a bench? Can you talk to the postman? Can you accept food made by other people? Can you go around to pick stuff up from people’s front gates?

 

  • Feeling guilty about online shopping?? On one hand, supporting small businesses and helping people keep their jobs etc. On the other hand, I’m making people sacrifice time with THEIR family and exposing them to germs just because I want some new cosy house clothes?

 

  • Every little cough, every little sniff, feeling hot (just ran up the stairs), I think is Corona.

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  • Neighbourhood watch. They might as well sign me up. Curtain twitcher??? Often the highlight of my day when the bin men come.

 

  • Kids are having a WHALE of a time, its only us that worry.
  • Really feeling content by the little things these days. Loving discovering beautiful hidden spots moments away from our house that we would have never discovered otherwise. Saw some Daffodils the other day and cried.

 

Really Hope everyone is ok out there x

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My Stages of Understanding COVID-19

The Beginning Stage

2 weeks ago I was seriously deliberating whether I needed some new pink snowboard mittens to match my pink goggles for my snowboard/work trip……fast forward 2 weeks and everyone is more or less house bound, people are separated from loved ones, kids no longer go to school, parents can no longer work…..and there is no loo roll!

COVID19 has escalated so quickly its unreal. Everyone has their own struggles and horror story to tell and its impacting everyone’s lives. I feel so trivial for wanting pink snowboard mittens (although they were lovely). I realise now this is far more than a missed snowboard trip.

 

The Schools Out for…..ever (??) Stage

I’m ashamed to say I really think I buried my head in the sand at the start. I’ve always had this amazing technique that when bad things happen, I can put them in a box in my head, put a smile on and get on with things. Nobody would ever know. Then on Friday, it was my sons last day of reception class….say whaaaat???!! For some reason it really hit me like a brick wall what an awful/ crazy/ surreal/ unexpected world we were living in. Ironic that the last blog on here I wrote was about my son starting school.

Seeing my sons little face saying goodbye to his teacher, seeing how his teacher was trying so hard to be so happy and smiling but was really trying to hold it together so well for her little comrades, knowing that that was his last day of his first year of school that was supposed to be all about fun and exploring, his little friends, his new world that he had just grown to love, his little brain that was just starting to click…….this broke me. It just seemed so unfair. It wasn’t meant to be like this.

Just to add here……my son really didnt know/understand what was going on and he was just more excited to get his “end of school gingerbread man” and get to watch way more TV everyday!!!! Just his mum that was a blubbering mess…..”hay fever”

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The Awareness Stage

The first time I was probably aware of COVID-19 was probably only a few weeks ago? I’m not an avid news watcher (sorry I know I should be), so probably just saw something on social media. But it seemed like one of those things that happened far away in distant lands and didn’t really affect us (sorry that seems awful too). I heard all about China, and then Northern Italy. People began to talk about cancelled ski trips (I work in the snowboard industry), and it began to dawn on me that I may not get to go to France snowboarding. And even if I did, there was a possibility of getting stuck there…away from my kids (although catching up on 5 years missed sleep did sound appealing…and did I mention the hot tub?!). It started to become more serious in my mind.

Then they locked down France. Needless to say, the snowboard trip was cancelled

 

The Denial Stage

For the next week, I’m sure like many others, I didn’t really know what to think??! Was this Coronavirus bad? Were people just making it out to be bad? Was the government just trying to scare us? Should I be going out? Should I be seeing people? Should my dad still childcare for me (he’s 73)? Should I be going to work? Where was “acceptable” to go? Should I still go to the gym? Should I be buying toilet roll???!! (silly people). I was so confused so just kinda bumbled a long like semi normal, many others seemed to be doing the same. And when we finally had a beautiful sunny spring day, it was hard to feel like there was anything was wrong at all.

The Confusion Stage

There seemed to be so much information out there and everyone had their opinions on what was right/ wrong. This almost seemed to divide people and cause judgement and anger if others did differently. I really didn’t want this to turn people against each other. Some had gone into isolation, some had pulled their kids out of school already, some were still going out drinking and for meals……I wasn’t quite sure what “camp” I sat in, torn whether to keep some normality for the kids OR to go into lockdown??? It still almost didn’t seem real. So, I just sort of just did a bit of both, but mainly just bumbled a long in some weird sort of daze looking a bit cross eyed? All I know is that for that week, Corona was on everyone’s mind and was all anyone could think/ talk about. Sometimes I found myself getting completely over-it and needing to switch off totally and watch Friends on Netflix (happy place).

 

The Realisation Stage

When the schools closed, it hit me. This was BAD. I became scared. Yes, the virus itself was AWFUL but the repercussions of it were equally terrifying. My mind began to think of my brother and his pregnant wife in NZ, my old (sorry mum/dad) parents, my uncle with COPD, my friends with new-born babies, friends separated from their loved ones, friends stuck on islands whilst travelling, teachers with no pupils, cancelled weddings, cancelled operations, cancelled holidays, cancelled house moves, friends having chemo, businesses going bankrupt, people having to now home school multiple kids whilst trying to work and provide food, people no longer being able to work at all…..this was going to affect absolutely everyone in some way. I know it’s not the war, but I did start to think maybe this is how a war begins?? People were doing silly things. People seemed angry, at each other, at the situation, at people’s reactions, at the government, at the lack of toilet roll. It would be easier to deal with if we knew an end stage? Was there an end to this??? Let’s just say my mind went into over drive, I just felt for everyone so much and their battles. The flood gates had opened, pass me the chocolate.

I also realised there was now a shortage of Mini Eggs.

 

The Obsession Stage

Constantly watching the news, googling it, researching it, thinking about it, talking about it, dreaming about it, worrying about it….

 

The Corona Etiquette Stage

Myself and everyone began to have a crash course in Corona Etiquette: no touching each other, washing hands, no licking each other (kids are gross), avoid crowded places, use anti bac obsessively, wipe things down before and after use, don’t shake hands, avoid old people, “go-off” Chinese food and Corona Beer, avoid pregnant people, social distancing, don’t stretch over someone in Tescos to grab the cheese, be cagey if you have been to Italy, don’t pet peoples dogs, don’t go into peoples houses, if you cough say “it’s not corona”, if you sneeze say “it’s not corona”……and 100% don’t choke on own saliva in school playground and have coughing fit!

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The Total Panic Stage

The next stage for me was panic. This started when I realised that I would have to semi educate my wild 4-year-old??!! My son’s future was in my hands! My Mummy Watsapp groups were going CRAZY with the end of school. So many ideas, and schedules and resources, all amazingly helpful but really started to freak me out. We are not even going to have time for alllll of these???? There were SO many things on offer, too many, I really didn’t know where to start or what was best? Maybe outdoor adventures alternated with TV wasn’t going to cut it after all?!

 

The Retail Panic Stage

Next I started to panic that I needed to get stuff to fill our days….commence-writing long extensive shopping lists of arts and crafts, things to do in the garden, DIY in the house, educational things, new “house clothes”, vegetable planting stuff, garden chickens, garden cow, new trainers/ home gym equipment, scissors to home haircut, make up stockpiling (delivery men), home waxing, home baking, home classroom, home slippers………Even though I felt many were “essential”, it dawned on me that if we were unable to work we might need to save money on “new home shoe rack”, to like…eat???!!! So decided to save some dosh.

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The Panic Eating Stage

This was a weird stage (still in it) of being torn between eating absolutely EVERYTHING, including kids left overs and neglected out of date chocolate gateaux…..and trying not to eat anything to “save the supplies”. Also (sorry very superficial) very aware that could end up looking like 10-tonne-Tesse by the end of all this if stuck in house with food and no gym.

 

The Let’s-Do-This Stage

Then I became more positive-helped by a bit of sun. It’s going to be ok. This is temporary. Our ancestors have been in way worse situations and our world has survived. We are in this together. I began to feel a real community feeling, everyone helping each other out and everyone looking at each other (whilst social distancing) with knowing/sympathetic/ reassuring looks. This could bring us together rather than tear us apart. So many families have travelled to be back together to isolate. It’s quite lovely! A few months in the grand scheme of things is nothing, and we will be a better world once its over.

I also decided to embrace this time to get stuff done (in hindsight there will be 2 crazy boys swinging around my legs dismantling the house and sh*ting on the floor and it will be all I can do to stop them trying to use each other as human hand grenades)…..but here is my “Isolation To-Do List”:

 

Re-start neglected Megamum.com blog- writing seems to be my therapy?

Become domestic goddess

Go Make- free and look 10 years younger by the end

Catch up on Netflix series

Grow armpit and leg hair (not sure about this one)

Sack-off straighteners…Monica

Get shit loads of stuff done in the house so looks like Ikea show home

Become a gardener

Become a chicken keeper

Read a book!

Potty train

Save money (if can work from home and don’t spend money on “house clothes” collection)

Feel “self-less” buying shit loads of things to support small businesses

Have a non-pressure zero commitment type of life

Become all zen and stuff

Become a home-work-out queen and get a six pack

Make up for 5 years of lost family time due to work

Clean house

Get mega sun tan

Catch-up with friends on skype/ Facetime

 

To be honest (as many mums do) I have felt like I’ve been on some crazy hamster wheel of life and can’t get off for the last 5 years. So will be nice to have a breather *if that makes sense. What an amazing opportunity.

 

*children will still be there (can’t help but feel like self-isolating would be bloody wonderful if it was kid free???!!)

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The Reflective Stage

I’m really not sure why COVID-19 has happened, maybe I’m being all hippy-jippy but feel it was kinda Mother Nature’s way of getting us to stop destroying our beautiful world for a little? Allowing us all to have a break and to spend some family time together and become DIY experts. And when Mother Nature’s ready, we can get cracking with life again

OMG I should actually be a hippy

And the home schooling thing…..I need to remember that he’s 4….in other countries they haven’t even started school yet. I missed over a year of school age 8 (v.poorly) and watched TV all day everyday, and I’m (semi) fine (cough cough). Yes we will do some proper school stuff, but as an when its fits* My son will be focusing more on the school of life and a gap year of travelling to secluded places around Budleigh/ Exmouth/ back garden for “exercise” whilst practicing social distancing. My main concern now is how I’m going to spend that much time with my husband???!!! True Story.

 

Joking aside (think it’s a nervous thing?)  I really hope everyone stays safe and heathy, Coronavirus looks truly horrendous and I’m definitely going to do everything I can to help. We are all in this together.

 

*After day 2 of “home schooling” I have now extinguished any desire to be a teacher and realised education may go out the window as it is all about survival. If kids are fed, semi clothed and semi clean at the end of the day it’s a win. Please scrap most of above “Isolation To-Do List”.

 

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School Mum

 

I really wanted to write this before I become more involved with being a “school mum” and cant really write about it anymore! It a whole new world

Almost as big as Christmas, on Tuesday 3rd September, Arlo started school. There had been lots of preparation for this so the kids would settle in smoothly. However, I had not been given a booklet on “How To Be A School Mum”, do they not do these???!! (Who do I stand with in the playground? What do I wear to “create good impression”? Do I wear gym gear to look like i’m really active and fit?! Do I need to befriend the teachers on FB? Do I need to be on the PTA? Do I need to bake cakes and read the Dictionary for fun…..etc etc).

My feelings aside, it was all rightly all about Arlo. He was ready. I was ready (champagne at school gate after first drop off would be wrong yeh?). I still had a couple of moments of “aw he used to be a little baby and now he’s starting school” tearful moments, but on the whole I was excited for him as I KNEW he would love it. He needed so much stimulation and exercising each day that I could give him, I knew school would be able to provide that. And he LOVES learning stuff, teachers are way more equipped to explain “Mummy, why does snot come out of your nose and not your ears?”

I’m still 100% sure that Arlo actually realised he was starting school?!

 

First day

The night before I cried into Arlo’s baby album. In the morning I was feeling excited but then cried approximately 5 more times (school uniform going on, when husband got cross because of state of car, seeing Arlos friends in their school uniform, waving goodbye, seeing other mums cry). But then I was fine and binged on chocolate for 2 hours until I picked him and haven’t looked back since.

Arlo was totally fine, oblivious to everything like normal, just preoccupied with the fact that everyone has the same jumper as him. What are the chances

 

Teachers
I remember in one of the pre school meetings one of the teachers said that If your child comes out last it might mean they need to talk to you. Every day it’s a nail biting wait to see where Arlo comes out….he has been last a few times now for “incidences”. I dread that beckon over. I wont go into all of said incidences, but there was the day of the “protest wee”….

Poor tired Arlo had not enjoyed PE that day. So later on he was spotted having a stand -up “protest wee” on some of the toys in the corridor…….(
I accidentally responded to teacher with “oh fuck”……well if thats who the parents are)

And the day of the frilly socks…..

Arlo was very tired again today. He has unfortunately gone through 4x changes of clothes and finished the day in shorts and girls frilly socks and slip on “pumps”

To make light of the situation I tried to make a joke about how Arlo calls his little brother “Tit” instead of Kitt. (must-stop-trying-to-be-funny and perhaps bring raw carrot snacks and eco friendly arts and crafts school pick up). This was also the day Arlo went in with a black eye from the coffee table.
Etiquette

So much school mum etiquette…..I’m still figuring it out

First of all, will who you stand with now determine who your school mum friends are for the rest of the decade??! I want to make sure I talk to everyone. Everyone seems super friendly so far. And when its raining, is it a case of “hood up. eyes down, get the job done”?? Do you hang around after to chat? How long? Is it rude to dash off after if you have to be somewhere? Do mums get there early to chat to people/hang out? How long before you friend request your new mum friends on FB?! How “free” should you let your younger pre school child be in the big school kids playground? Kitt seems to be the most free so far.

Parties….do you invite the whole class? Just boys? Do you just “drop off” the kids? Could mean you end up with 30 kids ALL BY YOURSELF. How much do you spend on presents (say £10…thats £300 for the year!)

Spare clothes……do you take these back if your kid comes home in a new outfit?? Or you just acquire bonus clothes?

DO WE GET TO KEEP THE FRILLY WHITE SOCKS??

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PTA
Do I want to be a PTA mum??? I wasn’t sure I was up for the job as I would 100% buy cookies from Tescos and pass them off as mine. However, having seen the PTA mums at various pre school meetings, they look like a hoot!! They sit at the back and drink!! (obviously do lots of stuff for the school too). I want to be friends with THEM!! Need to figure out how to work the oven first though. I do enjoy being a school mum, feel like I’m part of a community?! I have a purpose! But a PTA mum I think might be a little too full on?! Sure they wouldn’t steal frilly white socks
First REAL Friend
So far Arlos friends have been basically MY friends that have kids the same age. So a few days ago a mum came up to me and asked if I was Arlos mum??!! Uh ohhhhhh…..but she said that her son and Arlo play together and her son (lets call him *Garry) are friends. And not only that, Garry thinks Arlo is really funny!! (dread to think). Its official, Arlo has a real friend that he’s made all by himself! I felt quite emotional about it all. I fear I may have gotten so excited and scuppered Arlos chances as came on rather strong to the mum. Going to play it cool now

 

What The F*ck Do You Do At School???
Do any school mums actually know what their kids do at school?? I think the expression is “water out of a stone”. I want to know everything (who did you play with? What did you have for lunch? Did you eat anything that wasn’t beige?! Who’s your favourite teacher? What did you do? Did you learn anything today?). So far the most I have got out of Arlo is that him and another boy *Alan go to the toilet together because they are both scared of hand driers?! I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall during the school day.

*his name isn’t Alan

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Blank Canvas
Someone once told me that teachers like it if you send your child in as a “blank canvas” when they start school. That way they don’t have to un teach bad habit etc. Well I can reveal I have well and truly sent Arlo in as a blank canvas. I have tried to teach him to write/ recognise letters/ read etc but he was just not interested. So we have just played for 4 years. One totally blank canvas for you reception teachers. Star points for me?!

 

School Pick Ups
This is honestly the best time of day. I get so excited to see his excited face when I pick him up. I go all weird and squeaky and really enthusiastic when I say hello?! He normally falls over on his run to me (I bought school shoes to big “to last him”). He once bought home Tidy Up Trevor (or was it Terry?) for good tidying. After questioning if he had “stolen” Trevor, I then nearly cried because I was so proud/ disbelief. Trevor had seen better days, but emotional all the same. I’ve gone soft (er)

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New Chapter
Kitt now gets to do classes JUST FOR HIM and its lush to spend time with him, and my days are A LOT more mellow. I can blog again! Although, he has really found his voice in Arlos absence and become rather feisty no longer living in Arlos shadow. We both miss him though, its very very very (lovely) quiet. I’m sure I’m more lazy now I’ve just got one during the day, or maybe I’m just not used to not having to do things at a million miles per hour all the time.

Arlo is now so exhausted when he comes home that he SITS DOWN and “chills”. He’s almost become better behaved? Its like he was so wild because he was bored and needed more stimulation. Plus he does love a routine. He now also looks 18 years old. Obviously there has been a few hairy moments (needed staples to fix handbag he made at school but I couldn’t find any staples etc) and a few emotions (he wanted roasted potatoes not boiled), but in general school has been a success. Sure the novelty might wear off when he realises its for the next 12 years??!

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School also warrants earlier bedtimes

Winning

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ps. There is a grey area where you are still technically allowed to take children out of school until before their 5th birthday……. #travelling

pps. How many times do school mums day “put your shoes on” every morning????

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The Philippines- FINAL PART

We arrived back encrusted with puke onto mainland Bohol.

We purely picked the next accommodation because it had a slide (although sure my husband picked it because it was called Mario…..Super Mario???). Weirdest place ever. Was sort of like a building site with random scuba divers walking around? I cant even describe it really! Slide was a hit though, the kids liked the slide too

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It was only one night and it was actually the cleanest place/ insect-less place we had stayed so far. Once we all got bored of the slide, we made an executive decision to go OUT OUT and sack off any type of bedtime routine (kinda been the go since we got to the Philippines). We got a trike down to the “main strip” which was buzzing. Again, I actually felt like I was a (younger) backpacker again, I bought some “tat” (essential holiday jewellery to make me look more travelly) and had a last ditch attempt to let Rich allow me to get some henna and get my hair braided. If anyone has been to Thailand, it was kind of like Koh San Road, but a waaaaaay smaller scale. I LOVED it!

Next morning we had one last swim in the pool. We had remained accident free most of the trip, but on my way to the toilet I FULLY wiped out. Not just a little fall, like a full blown wet jelly fish blubbering around on the floor. Literally couldn’t get up, everytime I tried I just slipped again. Im not sure what the floor was made of. About 4 men ran over to me to try and help the “poor white british wanna be backpacker damsel in distress” wallowing on the floor. Massive cut on my leg, but I told everyone it was a shark attack. Not fall on pissy bog toilet floor.

Flight up to Manila was a breeze with semi well behaved children. Ran them ragged in the airport before so think that helped. Landed into the big smoke of Manilla. Such a change from the little remote island and rickety villages. This was a proper big city. Actually nice to have a change. The people of Manilla seemed totally unaffected by the earthquake a couple days ago, felt rather silly carrying my “evacuation bag” (just like normal bag but with more snacks). I did feel a bit uneasy about staying somewhere so high with a roof top pool after all the videos I had seen on the news with a roof top pool during the earthquake. But I soon got over it when I had a dip.

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Ventured out to a mall that evening, it seemed to be the thing to do?! Then we had the age old crisis of trying to buy nappies and wipes again, not easy in a mall either. Rich went off to try and find some, I stayed with the boys in the “soft play” (sofa department). Arlo announces he needs a poo (you get 5 mins warning before it comes out), so queue me running around shopping mall like a crazy women trying to find a toilet and realising we have lost rich and no phone signal

Toilet found, poo deposited, Filipino sanitary towel bin opened a million times, anti-bac applied, husband found, nappies purchased then back to the hotel for our last night in the Philippines. I cannot describe how much I didn’t want to come home. Arlo mainly enjoyed standing naked in front of our hotel window.

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The flight home was SO much better than the way out. We got the bulk head seats…together….so the boys had their own little play bit down by our feet (obvs still wanted to jog up and down the aisle). We got offered a sky cot for kit, even though he was too big for it really, I forced him into it. To not have a kid on your lap for 14 hours was so much nicer. I even managed to go to the loo a couple times! Sleep was still minimal and Arlo still puked, but Rich and I didn’t want a divorce at the end so it was a success

WE MADE IT!!!!!! Backpacking in a crazy Asian country with 2 children!!! I felt quite proud of our little family. I also realised (well I kinda knew anyway, but this trip had just confirmed it) that THIS is want I wanted to do with our lives. I want to be one of these cool backpacking families that travel the world, giving their kids the best life lessons ever and best memories ever and realise there is a whole world out there to explore. I am going to do everything I can to make this possible, new life goals

And I 100% found it easier than being at home….
1) No housework- your staying in hotels/ beach huts/ home stays and you don’t have to clean woohooooo
2) No cooking- you end up just eating out for all your meals as its so cheap and don’t have cooking facilities anyway
3) No Routine- no school run, no deadlines, no packing school bags, no toddler groups, just your own time all day every day
4) Extra pair of hands-normally at home I’m on my own, whilst travelling I had an extra pair of hands every day
5) High spirits- everyone is generally happier as don’t have the stress of every day lief to argue about
6) Less life shackles-you literally have everything you need in a couple bags. It liberating. Don’t need Tezza the Turtle, toy frying pan and weird one-eyed squeaky fish thing after all.

7) We were happy! It felt easier to be happy without all of the above!

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Arlo still talks about the Philippines now (Uncle Janice and Aunty Jamie, bless him, he gets confused), but mainly about the boat and the plane??!

We have started talking about the next trip…VIETNAM BABY!!! (my husband bought me the Lonely Planet to Vietnam so he must mean it??). We’ve agreed that we will go when Kitt is out of nappies and doesn’t run away so much and Arlo doesn’t want to shit in the sofa section of shopping malls….2020/21???? I will be shaving my head for this trip

I really thought my backpacking days were over, but they really aren’t. They have become VERY different but way better! Its almost like more fulfilling with kids and more exciting and rewarding. Also slightly harder work than drinking your way round Asia when you’re 18 AND there is a hell of a lot more luggage. There are lows, there are highs (way more highs) but travelling with kids is so much fun…in a “travelling with kids” kinda way

The world is your oyster boys….and your mum might just come with you!!!

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The Philippines…PART 3

Next morning we got up leisurely, had a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a book and then had a nice long shower….said no parent ever!!

We got woken up by the smell of children’s poo (ours) at 5am, rinsed the all-you-can-eat breakfast one more time, Kitt sat in his throne and chucked pancakes on the floor one last time, and we played in the paradise pool one last time. Then we hit the road.

We arrived at Bohol ferry port to get out boat across to Siquijor (pronounced ciggi- WHORE…true story). This tiny island was known for witchcraft and magic. I was intrigued, mainly to see if I could put a love spell on Rich so he thought I was hot-stuff again. The ferry port was a hustle and bustle of sweaty backpackers (carnage, but I liked it) and for the first time on the trip, I really felt like a backpacker again. That familiar carefree, nomad, adventurous, content feeling washed over me…albeit with 2 agitated whipper snappers in tow. Yes, most of our fellow backpackers were young, 20-something, tanned, beautiful specimens (could actually be on Love Island), but it didn’t seem to matter. I’m sure they were giving us looks of admiration?! Or it was a contraceptive seeing us, not sure. However, my eyes were drawn to other backpacking families. There weren’t many, maybe 2? But to me THEY looked like the cool ones in the crowd. Their tanned kids with wild hair, the parents super chilled with travely clothes that they probably picked up from a street stall in Vietnam……..They oozed freedom from every inch of their bodies and seem so far away from the “bedtime routine” and “school phonics” it was unreal.  I decided in that moment that THIS is my life goal. I WANT TO BE A COOL BACKPACKING FAMILY. The nicest thing was that you end up making eye contact with the other back-packing families very easily, and giving each other a knowing nod. Sort of like the nod that Subaru drivers give each other. It’s like a mutual respect and understanding that back packing with kids is fucking hard, but amazing, and totally do-able.

Anyway, we boarded the ferry, totally prepared with sick bags and spare clothes for pukey Arlo. We were pleasantly surprised with no pukes and the boys semi staying in seats (well seated area). We even enjoyed a chocolate Oreo.

We arrived into the port in Siquijor. I instantly knew we had picked the right place. There was a buzz of excitement and colour, and beautiful beautiful backdrops. For the first time this trip, our transfer was actually waiting for us. We had our very own Jeepney to Arlos delight. And, even though the ride was bumpier that a camel’s back, both boys fell asleep and Rich and I got our first glimpse of this quirky yet beautiful little island. And again, for maybe the 5th time this trip, I cried! THIS is what life is about. Showing your kids the world….well if they hadn’t been asleep!!

It had all been a little sketchy setting up our accommodation here, but it was perfect. A wooden shack right on the beach and 10 metres away from the pool. It was like stepping into a postcard, topped off with and over hanging palm tree (which was to feature in 263740 of my photos), coconuts and hammocks on the beach.

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We used the beach shack as our base for a few days and did lots of little adventurous from here. We hired a kayak (after persuading the guy that Arlo wouldn’t jump out to be eaten by sharks) and did laps of the bay. Not really my thing but good for the Instagram. Arlo LOVED it, Kitt tried to eat a jelly fish

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During our time here we played with coconuts on the beach, made weird flower wand things, went for 7am dips in deserted waters, found cool little restaurants, visited different beaches, watched dreamy sunsets, played in sandy playgrounds, went to little markets, napped in old school cots (Kitt) and went out on trikes just for the lols. I was really keen to go and see a wizard in the middle of the island to have my future told….Rich wasn’t keen. But I did manage to persuade Rich to take my “breastfeeding on a beach” photo that I really wanted.

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My favourite part of our time on the island was the day we went to the waterfalls……

You hire your own trike for the whole day and you pretty much drive around the entire isnad, stopping off wherever you want. So first we were asked if we wanted to stop off at a “spa”…HELL YEH! Not quite what I had in mind. It was a pool of ferocious fish with red eyes and fangs, foaming at the mouth (just normal fish but I have a fish phobia-long story). But when in Rome…..so I dived straight in. Well, dipped my feet. I think my feet look better now?! Youthful??! Kitt was 100% braver than me.

The next stop was the famous waterfalls. And everyone knows what happened last time I stood under “magic” waterfalls (bun-in-oven). It was a pretty gnarly climb down, I was trying to film for my Insta stories and realised that this was in fact not a good idea. Actually, didn’t see any other kids as young as ours trekking down to the waterfall. I felt pretty hardcore. The trees cleared and it was the most beautiful sight of glistening waterfalls, big lagoons and people swimming and bathing everywhere. There were rafts and best of all….rope swings. We choose the quietest waterfall to start and played on the raft and Arlo dunked his head under the water fall (he asked!). Rich had a go on the SMALL rope swing…..I was saving myself for the big dog! Obviously, Rich needed to warm up on the SMALL one first.

We moved into the big lagoon, and the big rope swing. I tested it out for Rich and went first. Under strict instructions “not to do anything silly as I was here with my kids”???!!! Guess he does know me. So I saved my quadruple backflip for another time and just swang and jumped into the water. LOVED IT. Thought I had lost my bikini for a second but it was just “displaced”. Rich had a go….now he knew it was safe.

We spent a couple of hours there and then hit the road again.

I can report, the “magic” waterfall didn’t have the same outcome as last time, phew

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We went to another beach with huge slides and cliff jumping into the water, but boycotted that one as the boys were “on the edge” literally. Saw a lady breastfeeding her toddler on the side of the road with the rice paddies behind her. I gave her a little smile and nod, she probably thought I was totally weird but I just thought she looked so beautiful and I was swept away with a hippy-jippy travelling moment. She was actually the only person I saw BF the whole time we were in The Philippines.

Anyway, I had an actual drink that night (I don’t drink!), 1 mojito. then had to take myself back to the hut as I felt familiar old feelings that I wanted to go clubbing and dance on tables. Oh dear Katie.

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Then it was time to move on again. I really freaked out though as we were due to fly to Manila in a couple of days and we had just heard that there had been an earthquake there, 6.5 on the richter scale. The word tsunami springs to mind. I definitely worry more about things now I have kids. I thought I would pack an emergency evacuation bag…just in case. But didn’t really know what goes in one of these. So I packed snacks, mascara, the iPad, passports, nappies, wetwipes, toothbrushes and toy diggers. All bases covered

We didn’t need the emergency evacuation bag. And when we got to manila it was like nothing had even happened. Guess they have to deal with this kind of stuff all the time.

We said a tearful goodbye to all of Arlo and Kitts girl fan club at the place we were staying (they gave Arlo free orange juices the whole time we were there) and headed back to the ferry back to Bohol.

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The ferry back was not so successful as on the way there. 5 mins in we saw some dolphins, it was beautiful. Then Arlo puked everywhere. I took him to the back of the boat and held him over a black bin. Kitt wanted boob so fed him at the same time as holding puking Arlo. Then I was sick in my mouth a little. The sea was so rough.

I didn’t even get a photo of this. Didn’t feel so clever and backpackery now

Hair update….not even bothering to brush it

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Final instalment coming soon……..last leg of trip, did the love potion work on Rich, weirdest accom ever, Manila, flight home and WHY travelling with 2 kids is easier than being at home……