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Back to School

Back to School I remember at the start of my school summer holidays, many moons ago, lamenting the adverts that would prematurely appear in shop windows. “Back to School!” Who on earth wanted to think about buying a new uniform, pencil case and schoolbag in July? This year, things have been a bit different. Most of my prep for my son starting P1 was completed online, resulting in an onslaught of packages delivered by our long-suffering postie. I now have more grey boys’ trousers in a range of sizes than most high street stores. "Has the start of an academic term ever been heralded...

Staycation

A summer staycation It sometimes feels as if no part of our lives has been left unchanged over the last few months.  Balancing work with childcare has perhaps been the biggest challenge for many families, but I’ve been enjoying some of the little perks that come with staying at home.  With my partner around much more, we usually manage three family meals a day, and local exploration has introduced me to all our surrounding streets, short cuts and green space.  However, the summer is now well and truly upon us.  It’s time to escape, find cheap flights and hotel deals, dig...

THE APP IS LIVE: ALL STRONG – Mind & Body

We are super-excited and very pleased to announce that our app, All Strong Mind & Body, has gone live and is now available for download in the app stores! ALL STRONG Mind & Body is a community dedicated to recovery, self-management and thriving in relation to all aspects of mental wellbeing. Connect with like-minded others through a great range of activity and interest groups, allowing us to share the journey as we each develop our individual boxes of self-management tools. All Strong is a place to lift each other up, to not only support each other and ourselves through challenging life events,...

Homeschool’s out for summer!

So much has changed over the last three months, it seems we need a whole new vocabulary to express ourselves.  Shielding, social distancing, bubbles and … oh yes … homeschool.  Of course, homeschooling was a conscious choice for many families pre-2020 but, for the rest of us, it’s been quite the learning curve.  Despite this, I think my son, James, has emerged from my amateur tutelage unscathed, perhaps even edified.  His general knowledge certainly seems wide-ranging – I’d like to take all the credit, but he keeps singing the theme tune to ‘Maddie’s Do You Know?’ and giving the game...

Change – the only constant

Change – the only constant When my son was a baby we measured his time on the planet in weeks.  “He’s four weeks old!” made perfect sense but by the time he reached 20 weeks my brain couldn’t handle the maths and we switched to months.  Coronavirus, like a badly behaved infant, has now been part of our lives for so long that I’ve stopped counting the weeks.  Little pleasures I took for granted before lockdown – going to the cinema or out for coffee, making holiday plans, James hurtling around the playpark – seem distant and unreal. As government guidelines adjust...

Daisy Chain

Keeping on Keeping on

Keeping on keeping on At the start of our nationwide lockdown, I began watching the Harry Potter movies again, one every week.  I wanted escapism, immersion in a child’s world of chocolate frogs and butterbeer.  Now, our hero Harry has grown facial hair and developed muscles.  I’ve reached the end of the franchise and, back in the Muggle world, our lives have changed profoundly.  I find it almost impossible to picture the future, which is disquieting.  Face masks, social bubbles, plastic partitions…? How will a five-year-old make sense of such things? But my little boy takes life one moment at a time...

Working on Wellbeing

Working on wellbeing When my four-year-old left nursery some weeks ago, to be educated and entertained at home, I was resolute that we would cope. I thought an academic diet of counting and colouring would serve him well. Perhaps a few phonics. Plenty of fun and games too, of course, and lots of lovely bonding time and making memories. Last week, as I wearily gave James a pile of bubble wrap to pop and brewed myself yet another pot of tea, I wondered if I was losing momentum. Despite chocolate buttons in the fridge and biscuits in the fruit bowl, I...

Smarts & Crafts

Smarts and Crafts As lockdown continues, I seem to be adopting the moods of fictional dwarves. I was Grumpy in week one, Happy in week two, and Sleepy by week three. With normal routines thrown out the window, it’s only natural to experience some peaks and troughs in energy. Caring for a young child, with no respite available from nursery or extended family, can be hard work. I’ve always taken a fairly determined ‘Let’s get out of the house’ approach to parenting but, with classes cancelled and friends out of reach, I’m having to get creative. I’ve never been one for arts...

ADJUSTING to a NEW NORMAL

Adjusting to a New Normal by Alice Gall Where do I begin? A couple of weeks ago I was joking about panic-buying wine and chocolate.  I was seeing friends and walking my little boy to nursery.  Now I look out of my window upon an eerily silent street, I have a child who misses his pals, and a long day ahead.  My phone relentlessly spews bad news. Responding to the spread of coronavirus, the government instruction for us all to cease non-essential social contact has fundamentally changed our lives.  With the closure of schools, family life has been turned upside down. Personally, I am...