Wednesday, 8 April 2020

How To Travel Without Leaving Home

In my latest newsletter (I hope that link works!) I said I was going to blog about some book recommendations. So here is the blog post!

As we're all stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, with holidays cancelled, I thought I'd recommend some of my favourite books and authors so that you could travel without leaving home.

We've been incredibly lucky for this lockdown so far, with the weather being very fair to us. It's almost as if Mother Nature knew, chucked as much rain at us as possible, and now is giving us a breather because she knows how much we need our gardens (if we're lucky enough to have one).

So grab your kindle or ereader, because downloading ebooks currently is the quickest way to get a book delivered, and there's no fear of any contamination and catching the virus.

Firstly, you could escape to Italy with Sue Moorcroft's One Summer In Italy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me want to drink cold, crisp glasses of white wine while I read it too.

Or you could travel to Greece with Mandy Baggot's My Greek Island Summer.  This is Mandy's latest novel, so I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it will be just as wonderful as her other books. And I just know Greece is her favourite place to be!

If you don't fancy going so far afield, and Cornwall is your thing, Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage turned three recently! It'll give you sun, sea and surf, and a dashing hero in the name of Harry Tudor.

Then, there's Fay Keenan's latest novel, The Weekender, which is set in rural Somerset. This book will allow you soak up the Mendips whilst sipping your favourite cider!

These should do you for now. And the best thing about all of these books - they are ALL are available in Kindle Unlimited!

I'll think of some more favourites and will post them in another blog post.

Romance offers great, uplifting escapism, which we all need right now on our need to social distance.

Stay home, stay safe, everyone. And keep reading!

Teresa x x x

p.s. I have given links to Amazon UK. However, please *search* the relevant author if you wish to purchase via other means. And if you love their book, please remember to leave them a review. They would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Week 2 of Home Schooling

As I come to the end of the second full week of home-schooling, (they go to their dad's tomorrow as I'm a keyworker and have work), it's not as bad as I thought it would be. (Although maybe ask me the question in September!)

We created a schedule, and because I only have the one laptop, Kieran works on his academic work in the mornings and Ben uses the laptop in the afternoons to do his. (I work on a PC). They are both keen to do PE with Joe, so I let them.

To keep themselves fit, because of their lack of after school sporting activities, Kieran has been running with me Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Ben does his runs in the afternoons. However, due to my hamstring, I might need to dig out my bike and cycle while Kieran runs. His little legs are faster than mine, and my hamstring really isn't right. (Which is soooo frustrating!)

Wednesdays, which is a non-run day, I'm trying to make us go out for a family walk after lunch, so that we've all escaped the house once for our daily exercise. I think this is good for our mental health as well as our physical health.

Therefore, and I know this is only week 2, I think we're all coping rather well with our social distancing but we have been lucky with the sunshine, and being able to escape into the garden if desperate, so a different story may appear when the rain returns.

What I am enjoying is the time to make dinner. (I know that sounds daft, right?) But as they're not off to football, hockey or athletics, and needing to leave the house early, I can actually make dinner and take my time about it. Dinner time is more relaxing. I'm not rushing at it and occasionally I'm trying to get them involved, which leads to my next point.

They are taking it in turns to bake each week. Now I have the ingredients, they are baking sweet treats. Kieran helped bake his birthday cake last week, and Ben made flapjacks with Barry Lewis' live streaming on YouTube. (Barry Lewis is like our local Jamie Oliver celebrity. He only lived around the corner from us until recently, but has moved, but we do know where.) Next week, Kieran is going to make Easter chocolate nests, and I may attempt Jenny Kane's Mars Bar Scones!

Because of the lack of clubs, I'm also enjoying our evenings altogether. We've been watching movies! So far we've watched all of the Harry Potter movies - yep all eight! I think the next thing is to revisit Lord Of The Rings.

My writing isn't waning too much either, (as I feared it would) as I work when they work. Yesterday was productive at nearly 1500 words. The thing I'm forgetting to do is my studying.  I am finding it harder to remember that I need to do my proofreading/copy editing course.

In order to encourage more reading, especially from Kieran, I've set up a reading challenge, too. If we each read 2 books by the end of April, we get Pizza Hut delivered. (I enjoyed Pizza Hut so much for Kieran's birthday I wanted an excuse to order it in again!) Ben and I have already agreed that if Kieran doesn't want to participate in this challenge, he can watch us eat the pizza! Ha ha!

What I'm not enjoying is the bickering. Some days they do try my patience.

Anyway, from the Morgans, who are remaining sane for now, please stay safe.


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Officially TWO Teenagers In The House!

Happy 13th Birthday, Kieran! 

This morning at 7.15am!

Today is a little tough. Although he's not at school on his birthday, (hurrah!) he's not with his friends either (boo!) This boy can't have a party!

It's officially the first day of the lock down too, after Boris Johnson's speech last night at 8.30pm. So, apart from his dad, he can't have friends over, and we're not going to the cinema and out for dinner like we would usually. Birthday celebrations are having to be deferred.

He still had me up at 7am - well, his alarm went off at 6.45am, and I told him to get into bed and give me a cuddle! Ha ha!

Waffles for birthday breakfast!
After a breakfast of his choice - waffles (My waffle maker is getting used regularly, and I can see with the kids home more, it'll be out often - if I can get the flour!) - Kieran also helped in the baking of his favourite cake - Cinnamon Nutella Cake. He doesn't really like cake - weirdo - but he does love this cake and asks for it every year.

So although the home schooling schedule is a little relaxed today, he's at least done some DT (in old skool that's Home Economics). He also did PE with Joe.

Happy birthday, my wonderful, funny, bright, cheeky, thoughtful, thrill-seeking, footballing teenager!

Where did my cute little, cuddly boy go?

Still enjoys licking the spoon! 

We have Pizza Hut delivery booked for tea tonight, so not a complete disaster!


Monday, 23 March 2020

Week 1 Day 1 - Home schooling

And so, home schooling begins...

Having two boys, a 15 year-old and a nearly 13-year old (24th he'll turn 13!), who both like (that's an understatement) the PlayStation (PS4) I've had to lay down the rules. In school time, no electronics!

A friend sent me a schedule they saw on social media, which I've adapted to create my own.  I'm hoping this will give the boys enough inspiration to not venture onto the PS4. Both boys are on board with it, as both are school lovers, and will want to complete their work the school provides online.

There is time set aside for exercise and fresh air each day - where we will walk but stay away from people. Amongst the Academic Time, there is Quiet Time which will encourage reading (I hope) and there is Creative Time which will allow them to do puzzles, build with lego, play games etc. I've purchased an adult colouring book. I'm not sure who will need it more! Me or the boys?

My eldest said he was going to use some of his academic time to watch documentaries, which I'm happy with, too. It's all educational.

They need to stay in. That's the whole point of the schools closing. So. by giving them this time table, I'm hoping it will make them focus on their education and keep their mental health sane. School children like routine - well mine do.

They have both said they can't believe they might not be going back to school until September. They will MISS school. I will encourage them to Facetime or whatever their friends, so they have some social interaction with their mates, even if it is virtual. They are going to miss their friends! Today we set up Skype to see Nanny!

Anyhow, hopefully it will work. Only time will tell. I've offered this schedule to other mums to give them inspiration, and there's no point creating rework (I hate rework), so if you would like my table which is in Word format, send me a message. I am more than happy to share.

I'm apprehensive about the coming weeks/months, my anxiety is up and down, but also (at the moment) I'm feeling confident. It's going to be challenging but together we can do this. I have to do this. There is no other choice.

I work in retail so I just hope I don't get sick. (That's another blog post!)

When the school holidays officially start in two weeks, then the time-table will be dropped. It's only to be used during official school periods. I'm not that mean a mum!

At the bottom of the table it reads:

Remember to wash your hands regularly and not to fight. You don't want your mum turning into an alcoholic. 

Ben put: No that would be bad! (lol!)

I will try to stick to my rule of no drinking on a school night!

In September, I'm wondering if I'll be glad to see the back of them, when they return to school, or will I miss my children? Five months is a long time! We are going to form a new routine. Life is having to change for the next few weeks/months... (God, please don't be years!)

I have a feeling my writing time might be depleted. Though if I'm not heading out to work on a Sunday - which I've offered to do - I could write then.

Stay safe, everyone. And stay home!

September I might be a lot greyer!

Thursday, 5 March 2020

World Book Day 2020

Happy World Book Day!

What are you reading? And where do you love reading? Bath, beach, by the pool or on the train to work? Or last thing at night, tucked up in bed? 

Or, what are you writing? 

Without authors there would not be books! We provide escapism, other worlds to explore, other lives to live. We enable adventures, reveal secrets, create suspense, and characters to fall in love with. We can even help shed a tear - of laughter or sadness. We evoke emotions.

Do you remember the first book that made you cry? 

Do you remember the first book that made you laugh out loud - in public? 

If you're fed up with this rain - will it ever stop? Should we build a boat? - and looking for a summery read, both Plus One is a Lucky Number and Meet Me At Wisteria Cottage are available in Kindle Unlimited. Just saying. 

Happy reading and/or writing!