The Lockdown – Day 3: Home Schooling Is Harder Than It Looks!

23rd March 2020 – Monday

Good morning guys!

Hope you are all safe and more importantly at home. I give so much credit to those who still have to work. All the key workers particularly the NHS staff and teachers, our delivery guys, shop workers, those who work in the civil service amongst others. They are the heroes of our country and deserve so much more recognition and thanks! They put their lives at risk to make sure we are fed, watered and safe.

Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister made an official speech today regarding our nation not listening to the social distancing advice. People can still be seen going to the park and the seaside. It’s ridiculous! Why are the British people so difficult? First they stockpile and then they don’t listen to the advice to stay at home? I don’t get it? Also, the street food markets are still running, like Broadway Market and Victoria Park Market. Why are people still going to these things? It is actually unbelievable!

So Boris is announcing that from midnight tonight all non-essential shop will be closed, like clothes and electrical shops. I’m not sure about the markets though. The only shops allowed to be open are supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and funeral parlours (obviously). People can only go out if they need to get food and medicine, exercise once per day only amongst other things. I still think it’s not strict enough but what do you expect from “BoJo“? And even this advice will fall on deaf ears!

Today was the first day of home schooling. I thought it was going to be a breeze but damn …. it was such hard work! In my head I thought I could just leave them to do the worksheets and I could potter about and do some chores. It was impossible … especially with them asking me questions every 5 minutes. I bet teachers all around the country are laughing at our poor attempts at home schooling! I wasn’t sure what I was doing so I just printed off a whole bunch of worksheets from The School Run and Twinkl and just gave it a go.

My daughter said the work was boring but my son enjoyed it. I think I’m being too hard on myself. This is the first time we’ve even done a whole day of learning … from 9am to 4pm (including an hour of Kumon) actually, so to be fair they did good. They didn’t complain and just got on with it. I think I just need to get organised and plan our days. They speculate that this could go on for at least 12 weeks! Eeeek …. three more months of this.

Skye feels sad that she didn’t really get to say a proper goodbye to her school friends. She is in year 6 and in her final year of primary school, heading to secondary school in September. She believes that she won’t be going back to her primary school, that she will miss her end of year disco and she won’t get her personalised sweater that each child in year 6 gets on their last day.

She won’t have the teary farewells, the hugs, the promises of keeping in touch. I feel for her, I really do.

I made lasagne for dinner today. It is one of Skye’s favourite meals that I make. I’m using my kitchen a lot more these last few days, baking and cooking. It’s quite refreshing – albeit hard work when you make meals from scratch. I love making food from scratch. It’s much more satisfying and nutritious … particularly for my children. Don’t get me wrong, we do splash out on takeaways usually every Friday night, but with the lockdown in place I don’t think we will be getting takeout for a while.

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Homemade cheesey lasagna

Oh and my manager from work called me today to check in on me and update me about life back in the office. Our office is still open and has to remain open because we are part of the civil service. He told me that alot of staff were being sent home even if they have minor underlying health issues. He also said to me that due to my childcare issues and my serious underlying health conditions, he doesn’t think I will be in work for the forseeable future. Eeeeek … that could mean after the summer holidays! I am one of the lucky ones though because I do have a good job (I’ve been there for 12 years) and I still get full pay for not working during this uncertain time so for that I am grateful to where I work. I am grateful that I will still have a job to go back to when all this is over.

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

I hope you are all staying safe wherever you are. Stay safe and look after each other and remember this pandemic won’t last forever if we all do our bit! We need each other now more than ever before. Stay  home … please!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown – Day 2: Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls In Session

22nd March 2020 – Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day to all … I hope all you amazing mums celebrated this day in the best way you could have today … and I hope you all STAYED SAFE!

The best Mother’s Day present right now is health. Stay healthy so that you can still celebrate Mother’s Day next year with your babies!

I slept quite late last night, I guess almost 3am. I was reading Jojo MoyesAfter You” the sequel to “Me Before You” which I really loved. “After You” is not as good. It didn’t pull on my heartstrings and make me cry like its predecessor did. I guess someone has to die [spoiler alert] to make me shed a tear. Oh dear.

Devon woke up at 6am this morning. Like seriously, there is no school so why is this dude awake and watching YouTube so loud?

My Tesco grocery shop came this morning. My fridge was a little bare and yesterday’s dinner involved defrosting unidentifiable meat from the freezer and hoping for the best. It worked out ok … the meat turned out to be lahmucun (Mediterranean pizza) meat that I made a few weeks back. I had left overs so just froze it to be use on another day. I just fried that up with a side of eggs, sugar snap peas and my MIL homemade Vietnamese ham – with rice of course. My kids were fed and happy with it and that’s all that matters right?

We always get excited on a weekend because that is when our grocery delivery comes. I’ve been ordering online groceries for years … I just can’t face supermarkets. It’s too much hassle and a waste of valuable weekend time. I either buy from Tesco or Ocado, it depends on what I need or feel like eating. Tesco is good value and you can get all your basic foods at fairly reasonable prices. Ocado for me is a splurge. They are not cheap but their range of foods is unreal! I just love it there and don’t mind spending that little bit more for something a bit special. I only buy groceries once a week usually … maybe pick up one or two things during the week … but I do plan and budget my weekly grocery shop. I am super organised like that I guess. How much do you spend per week on groceries?

So today I spent most of the day in the kitchen. The kids wanted chocolate cake so I made them one with some cherry coulis. Devon doesn’t like coulis so I ended making him his own cake just covered with chocolate ganache.

My Ancestors Would Be Proud

I took on a challenge today. The challenge was to try and perfect the ultimate Vietnamese recipe. The dreaded “Banh Cuon”. It is super hard and one of the most trickiest techniques to master. It is steamed rice rolls filled with meat. It’s tricky … you should check it out on YouTube … it’s too tricky for me to explain. It is actually harder than it looks. This is one of my favourite dishes though. My mother-in-law makes the most amazing banh cuon and she kindly let us borrow her equipment. I did pretty well to be honest for my first try. There is a cheat version … instead of steaming, you could just just “fry” the batter in a pan. It’s quick, easy and pretty much fool-proof. But I prefer a challenge and wanted to make it the traditional way. It tastes so much better!

I think I’ll do a recipe post on it soon … what do you think?

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Traditional steamed banh cuon

Day two of lockdown and Skye said she is getting bored already. At least another month to go girl. Devon has had a good day. I bought him a new football and he has been playing with that most of the day. Just give him a football and he is happy! I’m actually enjoying the time off to be honest. I love being at home so it doesn’t bother me too much (right now). The way I see it is that I pay so much for my mortgage I might as well spend as much time within these four walls as possible! Haha! My hubby keeps falling asleep on the sofa. I think he’s suffering from some kind of narcolepsy … he sleeps standing up sometimes. It’s true!

The kids played football outside in our front yard this afternoon. It is the perfect place for them to play because it’s away from people and it is right outside my door so it’s supersafe and all my neighbours are lovely too and don’t mind them making a little noise outside their doors. This is the only place I feel safe for them to run around and play for a while whilst we are in lockdown.

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

I hope you are all staying safe wherever you are. Stay safe and look after each other and remember this pandemic won’t last forever if we all do our bit! We need each other now more than ever before. And please can we all just stay home (unless you have to work obviously) so that this pandemic can be over? I had to cancel my Easter holiday roadtrip and I am super mad. The way this situation is going I may have to cancel my August holiday too!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown – Day 1: Anxiety and Bread

21st March 2020 – Saturday

It’s been almost 3 months since the first case of the coronavirus (Covid-19) was noted in China. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been infected and thousands of people have died around the world. There is a lot of fake news out there which is hard to control and causes panic and anxiety in those particularly with mental health issues. What we do know is that it is a very infectious virus and currently there is no known vaccine for it.

For the sake of my mental health, I have decided not to read the news too much. The constant bombardment of new cases and deaths on a daily basis has started to trigger my anxiety. So I am going to stay ignorant in my bubble for a while. [Hackney has recorded 52 cases so far … check your area on the BBC website if you’re curious].

So I thought I’d create this mini blog on what the day to day life is like in our household during our lockdown. An online diary if you will … a record of the pandemic that will (hopefully) only happen once in our lifetime. I hope it provides some comfort to you knowing that you are not alone.

The Beginning

We live in Hackney, East London UK. My husband has been on lockdown from work since Monday the 16th March. He works for Transport for London and they have closed his office, he is now working from home. I have been on lockdown since Wednesday the 18th of March. I work for the civil service so our doors will remain open throughout this pandemic, but I have underlying health issues so I was sent home on medical grounds. My kids, Skye who is a super mature 11 year old girl and my adorable 8 year old boy Devon finished their last day of school yesterday. Their school will be closed until further notice, but their doors remain open for the children of keyworkers and those who are entitled to free school meals.

For the purpose of this blog I am going to count today as Day 1 of our lockdown. So far there have been no tears or tantrums. Skye usually has gymnastics at Little Socks Gymnastics today but it has been cancelled until after the Easter school holidays (at the earliest). Devon usually has a piano lesson at East London Piano School but they are now carrying out their lessons via Facetime or Skype. I had to stand there holding my phone trying to film the lesson in my son’s bedroom. It went well but my wrist was achy after a little while.

By the afternoon Skye was getting restless and I can see in her face that she wanted to go out. She loves going out and this will be a challenge for her. Devon loves home and is happy to stay home and chill out so I think he will be ok. We have a little garden where he can go outside and practice his kickups.

Food Shortages

This morning I noticed that we were low on bread and I couldn’t be bothered to pop out to go get some at our local cornershop. The last time I sent my hubby he said there was no white bread and he came back with brown bread which the kids hated.

So I had flour and yeast in my cupboard so I thought I’d whip up this beauty, a crusty white cob loaf. I haven’t made bread in a while because it is time consuming, but it is worth it. Crusty on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. It was delicious and my family devoured it.

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Crusty white cob loaf

I guess this will be our life for the forseeable future. I am fortunate enough to have the equipment and knowledge to bake so you will see alot more homemade yumminess.

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

I hope you are all staying safe wherever you are. Stay safe and look after each other and remember this pandemic won’t last forever if we all do our bit! We need each other now more than ever before.

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx