August 2020 - An Update

 Well its now been a full six months since my last post, a post that was full of hope that the worst couple of months of 2020 were over and that the good times were yet to come, wasn't I the optimistic one! Fast forward to now and those six months feel like a blur, so much has happened that I am not really sure where to begin talking bout it all. Who knew back then that the world as we know it would change so drastically due to COVID-19/Corona virus. I remember seeing stuff on the news about it and talking to my colleagues at work but I don't think anyone expected what followed to actually happen. I honestly never expected to see a day when every Disney theme park in the world was closed down, when major cities around the world would be like ghost towns and when we were only allowed out of our homes for an hour a day, also lets not forget the great panic buying of loo roll, hand soap and pasta! For the first time in my lifetime (or that I remember) travels bans were in place, flights were cancelled and the skies were almost clear of planes. When Lockdown first happened I still naively thought that it would be over in a few weeks, I certainly didn't expect that all this time on we would still be dealing with it and that so many people would have lost their lives, jobs, business etc to a virus. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real and I think its just been a bad dream that I am going to wake up from but in reality I know that's not going to happen.

When Boris Johnson put the UK into Lockdown I was furloughed by my company, when I first got that notification I was actually petrified as I had never in my life heard of it before nor did I have a clue what it meant. Thankfully I soon realized it was the governments way of helping my employer save my job and I relaxed a bit, although as much as I enjoyed being at home I would have much rather been living life normally by being at work. Tom continued to work his regular shift pattern throughout the whole time though, his role was classed as essential and thankfully as a night worker and someone who drives to work he was pretty much safe and was able to keep socially distanced from others. For me lockdown and furlough had its good and bad points, for a while I enjoyed being at home and I used the time to do some long overdue jobs along with lots of housework & sorting out. My new weekly routine involved menu planning and ticking things off my things to do list, I also found a new fascination in watching the buses pass our flat and counting the number of people on them!! However as the weeks turned into months I had moments of dread and despair, when would this end and will we ever return to what we know as normal? On the whole those moments were short lived and infrequent but my mental health definitely took a bit of a battering.

Lockdown gave us a whole new normal, we were told to wash our hands for 20 seconds at a time and to use hand sanitizer wherever possible as well. Going to the supermarket became a one person per household job and we had to queue to get in and then keep 2 meters apart from others as much as possible. We were allowed out of our homes for an hour a day to exercise and get some fresh air, public transport was off limits (some tube stations were even closed) and was meant for essential and key workers only. On a daily basis we watched the government updates on TV, watching and listening in horror at the sheer numbers of people who were contracting the virus and dying of it and at 8pm on a Thursday we all stood on our doorsteps and clapped for the NHS.

For the first few months every day/week merged into one as we stayed at home watching a lot of YouTube and Netflix, binging on shows like Line of Duty, Tiger King and Stranger Things. Like everyone else lots of our plans for 2020 were curtailed, we celebrated Toms birthday at home just the two of us (basically due to it being very early lockdown days we couldn't do anything else). Easter and the May Bank holidays came and went and it was at these times that we realized just how much we missed seeing our families. We had been keeping in contact with them via regular phone and video calls but it wasn't the same as being able to go and see them whenever we wanted. When restrictions started to lift we were absolutely delighted that we could finally go and see my parents and Toms sister even though it still meant keeping a distance and sitting in the garden. Our holiday to Spain was cancelled and is now on hold until its safe for us to go there again although who knows when that will be - we are certainly in no rush to be heading abroad right now, if at all this year. We had plans to go to Florida in May 2021 but we decided that was just a little bit too soon so we opted instead for Nov 21 and have now put a reservation down on a villa. At this point we are holding out a lot of hope that by then the world will be a much healthier and more normal place however we are under no illusions that this may not be the case and if things need to be cancelled or put back again then they will be.

I am finally back at work and in my office so to a certain extent reality has returned although life is still far from what we used to consider normal. Social distancing is still a thing as are face masks when in shops and on public transport. To be honest we are still pretty much staying at home and other then work, the supermarket and seeing our immediate family we don't go anywhere. We are just not yet ready to go to a pub, out for a meal or to hit the shopping malls. It was my birthday a few weeks back and we celebrated that with a day at the seaside on our own and although we enjoyed it we were a little uncomfortable and didn't feel relaxed due to the amount of people and lack of social distancing. In fact we actually changed our plans to eat out and instead we came home early with a take away.

2020 held so much promise and no-one could have ever imagined how it would turn out, its truly been the stuff of a Hollywood film. Covid is still here and hasn't gone away although the numbers of daily deaths in the UK an around the world have decreased there are still many new cases being reported. Hopefully the much debated second wave/spike wont happen but if it does then we will just have to do what is needed to stay safe. As it is lockdown restrictions have been re-applied to certain areas where numbers have spiked and quarantine restrictions have been put into place for people travelling abroad. We are hoping and praying that some kind of vaccine is found soon so that the world can begin to heal and recover and we can begin to rebuild our lives, communities and economies. 

This blog post along with my scrapbook and journals will serve as a reminder in years to come of just how fragile life can be and of how we all once took so very much for granted.

Thanks for reading.

Jane


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Feb 2020 - A Update

Hello again and welcome back to my blog, I hope that you are all well and that so far 2020 has been good to you.

So, we are now almost at the end February and the worst months of the year are nearly behind us. For us January wasn't too terrible this year, I was a little poorly for some of it but it was nothing that some self care and antibiotics couldn't cure. Otherwise we had just had a lot of quiet and chilled out time at home. Tom has started back on the overtime again which has meant days at home alone for me but I have been putting these to good use by having a good clear out and tidy up of the flat. We now have a few bags and boxes of stuff that are no longer of any use to us, usually we would do a charity shop run with it but we are actually considering doing a boot sale this time to see if we can raise a little cash to put towards our next trip fund. Now we haven't done a boot sale for many, many years so we will need to do our research if we do decide to do one. If you have any top tips for doing boot sales please leave me a message in the comments below, are there are must do's or don'ts??

So far this year I have been making good use of my planner by writing lists each week of things that I want to do and ticking them off as I go along. So far so good - I am on top of the housework and chores etc which is always a good thing. I have also been weekly menu planning for us and so far we have pretty much managed to stick to it. I don't know about you but I definitely find that it makes life less stressful if I know what I am cooking each night rather than getting home from work and having to rummage around the cupboards and fridge/freezer for ingredients to make dinner. In the coming weeks

Another thing I have been spending some time on is my craft room. I am going through all my stuff with a fine tooth comb and getting rid of anything that I no longer use or need. Some has gone straight in the bin as its utter rubbish that wont ever get used but some things are being put to one side to try and sell. I have also rearranged my room a little and have moved the desk. I need to give it some time to see how it works for me but I really like it this way as it gives me more room to work plus by having the desk this way the lighting is much better. All I need to do now is convince Tom to decorate the room for me (and yes that is something I have been saying for a very long time!). Last weekend I attended my first crop in ages and finally managed to complete a few more layouts for the Florida 2018 album, its almost done now which I am really pleased about as that means I can now start to think about the 2019 one! Below are pictures of a couple of layouts I completed, they are quite simple but that's my style and I really like how they have turned out. For the Purple Wall page I used my Cricut to cut the brickwall background and then I used some water colour pens and colour sprays to create the splatters.
The inspiration for the layout below came from my friend Jules who I was at the crop with. I used papers from the Cocoa Vanilla studio Midnight collection which are just beautiful. This page was the perfect way to use up all those odd bits of paper left over from other pages.
That's about all for now, I will be back with another post very soon.

Love and hugs,

Jane
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2020 Goals

It seems like just about everyone is posting about their goals and plans for the year ahead of us so I thought I would join in and share mine. To be honest I don't really have that many and what I do have are not that fancy or ground breaking. Last year wasn't the best for me with my Dad being so poorly and due to that a lot of things just got pushed to one side or forgotten about. Hopefully this will be a much better year all round and I can start to be more organized and motivated again.

Planning
As a lot of you know I do love a planner/notebook/journal. I use them to make notes for just about everything that I/we need to do, from daily life planning to holidays I have a book for it. I have a little basket that sits besides my sofa and they are all housed in their along with a selection of pens so I can make notes and lists whenever the fancy takes me. My 2020 planner this year is a Me and My Big Ideas Happy Planner that I picked up last year while we were in Florida. Its not actually the type of planner I was looking for but its so pretty both outside and inside, plus I loved the layouts and pages. Usually I go for something that's more of an oversized diary but this is so different to that and has lots of areas for journaling & list making. I am hoping that I can keep on top of it and at the end of the year I will have a full and complete book.
Menu Planning
Something else that fell by the wayside last year was my menu planning, subsequently because of that and various other factors our diet suffered enormously. I now have a notepad that lists everything in the freezer and I update it on a regular basis. Knowing what we have makes it so much easier to meal plan for the week and for us to start to be a little healthier. I am determined to make this work so we are not reliant on last minute trips to the local Sainsburys for something unhealthy and costly. With this in mind I also want to start making breakfast and lunches to take to work, this again is for the benefits of having something healthier as well as saving some £££. I am going to dig out my cookbooks and look for some new recipes to add to our regular meals. Another thing I want to try and do on a regular basis is batch cook and freeze some staples like curries, chilli's & cottage pies etc so there is always something in the freezer that we can have.

Save Money & Pay Off Debts
Being more organized in regards to food is one way that I know we can save money. If I am organized with what we are eating then I can make a list of what is needed for the week(s) ahead and just buy that rather than make nightly visits to the supermarket on my way home from work and end up buying needlessly. No more random stuff will be added to the basket, if its not 100% needed then it wont be bought! In addition we have both made changes to our spending habits and I have cancelled several subscriptions I had to various monthly craft & beauty boxes, they were nice to have but were really not necessary. We are wanting to start planning another trip to Florida, so with that in mind we are going to cut back and reduce the amount we spend. Meals out (except for birthdays) will be replaced with nights in with a home cooked meal and something on Netflix! We both have plenty of clothes too so nothing new will be added to our wardrobes unless its to replace something that is no longer wearable and is 100% needed. I know we can do this and am confident that as the year progresses we can pay off some debts and add to our savings.

Craft Time
As most of you know I am an avid crafter and love nothing more than a day in my room creating scrapbook pages etc. Last year my crafting was sadly neglected but this year I am really wanting to spend more time being creative. I have finished my 2019 album off and am now ready to start the 2020 one. However I do still need to finish the Florida 2018 album and the Florida 2019 travel journal as well as start the Florida 2019 scrapbook. - phew, that should keep me going for a while. I would also like to get a bit more creative my with Cricut and use it to make some t-shirts and home d├ęcor. I have had a little play and added some glitter HTV (heat transfer vinyl) to a couple of t-shirts using designs I bought on Etsy and I have to say I am really pleased with how they have turned out. I just need to practice a bit more with the design placement.
I think that's enough goals for me, I don't want to over commit and bite off more than I can chew. Hopefully as the year progresses I will be able to update you on how things are going.



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