Slave To Elave

It’s not a generally held viewpoint, but I hate the summer. Don’t get me wrong- I love the fact that we can all dine alfresco, get the paddling pool out and relax but, there’s one main reason as to why I hate summer- eczema (yes, that again!).

Eczema can be worse in the summer or winter. Myself and Middle’s always seems to get worse the second the sun emerges. The thought of putting suncream on his skin when it’s so broken, fills me with utter dread. Also, as it’s on my hands too, I fear for myself. I’ve literally been going through psychological warfare with suncream for a month now. As stupid as that may seem!

Last week, the lovely guys at https://gardinerfamilyapothecary.com/ sent me some of their Elave products for us both to try- suncream, aftersun, moisturisers and bath products. I always go into these things expecting little….. boy, was I wrong! The packaging highlighted everything from the outset- organic, no sulfates, paraben or alcohol. All the things that typically exasperate any skin condition. This was looking promising.

Luckily for us, it was the best day weather-wise fell the following day. I braced myself to tackle Middle with the suncream. He usually starts crying immediately and runs like the clappers when he sees me brandishing any form of cream. I explained that this was a new cream and would help his skin whilst playing in the sun. No tears from him nor myself upon applying- that’s a first! At one stage he even asked if I could put some more on him!

We’ve used all the products for a week now and I have to say I’m majorly impressed. The suncream is amazing. We spent all day outside and no burning whatsoever. Both our skins felt hydrated and not at all irritable. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t fare the same way when at the beach but that gave me the opportunity to try out the Elave Aftersun on her. She too was impressed but I didn’t want to part with the bottle (sorry sis/auntie me me- I hope you slept ok and have forgiven my selfishness).

If you or your little one suffers from any kind of dry or sensitive skin condition, please try these products. I won’t be buying anything else after having used them. I love how they are organic- but, what I really like is the fact they actually work!

To all my fellow weary, homeschooling mums, check out their Sensitive Daily Skin Defence cream also. I’ve been using it after taking my make up off each night and my face is as smooth as Baby’s backside! Who needs botox?

You can buy the products at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, delivered right to your doorstep.  At the minute they have a fab offer on their two Sun Safe Essentials bundles at £35.99, a saving of over £5.50.  Both bundles contain Botanical Aftersun 250ml and Hand Sanitiser 100ml, with the adult bundle also containing an SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen and the baby/junior bundle also containing a Paediatric SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen.

Follow Elave Skincare on Instagram @gardinerfamilyapothecary; on Facebook at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com; and on twitter at GF_Apothecary, so you can keep updated on all their latest products and money-saving offers.

A miracle in tube form!

Things I’ve Learnt During Lockdown

  1. Lockdown is the absolute pits.
  2. Lockdown with kids is even worse than the pits. I mean, I’m seriously beginning to question the path I took in life and am fairly certain I should be in lockdown with Jamie Dornan right now. Fate dealt me a very cruel hand.
  3. I started off homeschooling like Miss Honey from Matilda but within two weeks had morphed into Miss Trunchbull. Flinging them out the back, minus the pigtails of course!
  4. I am a hairdresser, albeit the worse one that ever existed. The kids are walking around with haircuts that only Joe Exotic would be proud of. Thank god only the neighbours can see them! It’s Carole Baskin’s fault anyways.
  5. I tried to Tik Tok, I failed to Tik Tok, yet I’m now addicted and can’t help myself. I have officially fallen into the ‘over 30’s who are tik toking’ category and I’m not even ashamed. Eldest disowned me after I proudly showed him my Blinding Lights challenge that took me a week to master. Aw well, one less one to talk to.
  6. I miss my mum and I miss her helping me. But, the second this is over, the boys will be flung into her house and left for at least a week. She “misses them so much” after all. Let’s see if she is still saying that afterward.
  7. I’ve started to dance and sing along to the BBC news bulletin every time it comes on. This is uncool on many fronts but mainly because I’m trusting the BBC to disseminate information that isn’t biased. I can’t help it, it’s easier to get to as just after CBeebies on the guide.
  8. Routine is becoming harder and harder to maintain. I mean, I don’t even know what day it is! The BBC should add the day to their ticker that has the time on it. Maybe I should email and ask them?
  9. Mrs Hinch can f right off now because there is zero chance of me keeping my house in any kind of order at the minute. I’ve no sooner tidied one room, turn around and they’ve wrecked the next room. I’m too busy tidying, I haven’t even looked at my Zoflora or bleach. RIP the loves of my life. We shall meet again when this is over! Thank god for the robotic hoover.
  10. Boredom seems to cause children to eat your entire Tesco shop in two days. I feel like all I do is shout “but you only had a drink and snack five minutes ago!”. It’s driving me bat shit crazy (excuse that unintentional pun).
  11. Toddlers during lockdown are the absolute worse. I thought Baby was bad before all this but, tantrums galore! All whilst I try to homeschool. If he continues his shenanigans, I will post him to Boris who can deal with him personally. What’s one more to him after all?
  12. The kids moan all day to go out on their daily walk then when we do, it descends into chaos and at least two of them in tears. Baby also insists on bringing the electric quad every time, going at a pace of 1 mph. Arrgghhh!!!
  13. For all the moaning I did, thank God I bought that trampoline last year.
  14. I’ve learned that although difficult, I have survived and will keep on surviving. Did I just quote Destiny’s Child there? I’m such a philosopher! I really believe that one day we will look back however and will these days back- despite the stress and chaos. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

Lockdown Log continued….

Day whatever (have lost count of days)

Have five kids six and under to look after whilst my midwife sister goes to work. Wake up already dreading the day ahead. It’s hard enough to keep three boys entertained daily let alone one more plus a girl. How will I even homeschool? Decide that homeschooling can royally f#ck itself today as keeping them all alive is surely more important. Start the day with Joe Wicks to expel their energy. All receptive to begin with. From yesterday however, Eldest has suddenly started ‘working out’ after watching something on YouTube. He therefore performs Joe’s workout whilst weight lifting Baby’s trike. All of us struggle for space to perform said workout and, at one point, I realise that my two-year-old niece can do push up’s better than me. Send them outside afterward so I can puff and pant like the unfit person I am. Call them back in to watch Maddie Moate’s science show. She has found some poo in her garden apparently and we should all be riveted by this. Kids all watch it for ten minutes. Kids all f#ck off. I am still watching however as seemingly I have gone mad and can’t stop watching until I am certain which animal said poo belongs to. Oh, it belonged to a deer! Close YouTube whilst realising it’s obvious Maddie has no kids as she is very relaxed and happy 24/7. I hate her.

Next day

Feeling bolstered by the fact I kept five kids alive yesterday, including two two-year-olds. This surely warrants me receiving the Victoria Cross? Make breakfast, get them dressed and attempt some worksheets. Middle laments the fact that he can’t do them. I tell him he can. He glares at me and tells me, quite matter of factly, that I am “an idiot”. Resist the urge to reply. I mean, what would a teacher do? Deep breaths. Eldest has navigated his sheets himself and all is in order. But, he has chosen a maths-related worksheet and that’s his strong suit. Make him do an English one. Well, what a bad idea that was! He’s now crying and so am I. We cannot ‘English’ together. Some things never change, lockdown or not. As if that’s not bad enough, I appear to be unable to bend down to pick things up. Which is not okay when every bit of Lego they own is over my whole downstairs! Have a slight panic that this could be some kind of unreported symptom of Coronavirus. Remember that it is more than likely Joe Wick’s fault. Good looking man- very bad on the body however (I imagine his wife would say otherwise). I think you might have to shove your workouts for the foreseeable Joe and I will stick to making your rather epic chicken and leek pie! #Foodoverfitness.

What day is it even?

It’s the start of a new week, hooray! NOT! Even worse, it’s raining. What the hell do I do now? Eldest has now taken to walking around brandishing the trike and the quad to “make his muscles bigger”. He is six. Yes, six! Tell him he needs to calm down then remember the Tae Bo obsession I went through at fifteen. Was so obsessed, I was tae boing from the living room to the kitchen (to eat a burger probably). This whole experience is showing me that they are so like me. Middle is correct, I am “an idiot” and should never have had kids.

What day is it still?

It’s 3pm and I have retired to the bathroom to have a sob and some tranquility. The door is being pounded by one of them. “Mum, Mum, come out! My tooth has fallen out!”. Quickly pull myself together. Open the door to be greeted by Eldest brandishing his tooth like he’s Charlie from Willy Wonka and has just won the golden ticket. Dissolve back into tears. His first tooth gone! Why am I crying over a tooth? Tell him the tooth fairy will visit tonight. He keeps asking when he can go to bed. That one loves money, especially when it isn’t his own! All to bed and hunt out £2. Pour a glass of wine.

Next day

Eldest awakes. He informs me that the tooth fairy has been. Thank god she is still classed as a key worker! He tells me he will put his newly acquired funds in his money box. Watch whilst he does this. Realise quite swiftly that there is a £10 note in it. “Where did you get that from?” I ask whilst seething. “Oh, I took it out of your purse the other day, hid it in the photo frame so you wouldn’t find it, then transferred it to my moneybox”. This kid has been here before. Not even starting with coins but stealing notes! I had been scratching my head the last few days wondering where on earth I’d spent that. Realise a good life lesson for him right now is to steal from the rich as opposed to the poor. Download Robin Hood onto his Kindle.

Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..