The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 7

Lockdown: The First Week

Has it really only been a week since Lockdown started? It feels twice that. I’ve not seen the news much today but, when I have, I was pretty surprised actually to see that the Prime Minister has written to every household in the UK, apparently indicating that tougher lockdown restrictions may soon have to be introduced.

A letter from the Prime Minister to every household? Probably not unheard of ever but almost certainly a rare occurrence.

Tougher lockdown in other countries has meant people in some places not being allowed out at all, heftier fines and an increased military presence. Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of time before these tighter restrictions have to be introduced here too.

And no sign of Lockdown lifting anytime soon either it seems, with even the most optimistic estimates suggesting that they’ll last throughout May at least.

In case you’re running out of things to do, I’ve added a couple of videos to our YouTube channel under the playlist, Learn to Read Tarot Series. Even if you’re not thinking of learning to become a reader yourself, you might find it interesting to check the series out as there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what tarot cards are and how they work. And who knows, you might discover a new hobby:

Want to Learn More About Tarot Cards?

With 78 cards to get through, it should keep us going for a while!

And don’t worry if you don’t have a tarot deck of your own. Why not make one? Get a piece of paper and a pair of scissors and cut 78 “cards” out. For now, just write the names of each of the cards on each of the cards you’ve cut out. The first 22 cards will be your Major Arcana, as follows:

  • 0 – The Fool
  • 1 – The Magician
  • 2 – The High Priestess
  • 3 – The Empress
  • 4 – The Emperor
  • 5 – The Hierophant
  • 6 – The Lovers
  • 7 – The Chariot
  • 8 – Strength
  • 9 – The Hermit
  • 10 – Wheel of Fortune
  • 11 – Justice
  • 12 – The Hanged Man
  • 13 – Death
  • 14 – Temperance
  • 15 – The Devil
  • 16 – The Tower
  • 17 – The Star
  • 18 – The Moon
  • 19 – The Sun
  • 20 – Judgement
  • 21 – The World

The rest of the cards are divided into 4 suits of 10 cards numbered one through 10 plus 4 Court cards in each suit, Page, Knight, Queen and King. The suits are:

  • Wands
  • Pentacles
  • Swords
  • Cups

You won’t really be able to shuffle in the traditional sense but you can “stir” the cards round and round, face-down and select your cards that way. And now you’re all set to learn how to read tarot!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 6

First Weekend under Lockdown

Truthfully, today’s been like pretty much any other Saturday for me as I love nothing more than pottering about the house and garden on my days off, enjoying the peace and quiet in my own little kingdom where (mostly!) I am the boss.

I imagine it will have been much harder for those who like to maybe hit the shops at the weekend, catch up with friends, maybe watch a football match and have a few cheeky ones down the pub. Or for those that would normally be at work on a Saturday or visiting family.

This could be a real opportunity for us all to find different ways of entertaining ourselves, indoors for a change, if we’re not used to doing it. So far today I’ve cleaned out the garage, watched the live-action Lady and the Tramp Disney film, played a board game, played a bit of PS4, had a few rounds of German and Spanish on Duolingo and knocked out a blog post. Maybe time to just chill in bed for a bit and watch the Netflix documentary series everyone’s talking about, Tiger King.

I’m actually feeling really grateful today that, even in the middle of a global historic event, the like of which I don’t think I’ve seen before in my lifetime, it is still possible to have a normal, relatively uneventful day. Yes, there is still this awful virus sweeping the world, harming and even killing those it comes into contact with and sadly, it’s likely to still do so for some time yet. We cannot change that – other than by following government orders in an effort to minimise its reach.

For now, I’m happy to take the quiet, uneventful days where I can as it’s in doing so that I hope to have the strength to face the harder days that I’m sure are to come, if and when this disease affects me and those I care about on a personal level.

Now, if only I can remember how much I’ve enjoyed this family time today the next time they are all driving me mad!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 5

Coronavirus Infiltrates Downing Street

Breaking news today was that Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, have both tested positive for Covid-19 after displaying symptoms of the illness, with England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, also said to be symptomatic. Probably not a great sign for the rest of us then.

On a personal level though, today was a far better day with it being results day for the further education law students I teach across A-Level and Degree Level qualifications, all achieving a 100% pass rate and a good portion of those actually obtaining distinctions. Proud tutor moment!!

Today was the first day of the year when I actually took my yoga practice outdoors into the back garden to make the most of the glorious sunshine. Feeling the warm sun whilst listening to birds singing makes it such a different experience to indoor yoga that I’d quite forgotten how much I’d missed it through the colder months.

Finished knitting the Easter Bunny for my eldest, Chloe all ready to make another one for Mia tomorrow.

My husband, Lee, went and did the weekly shop and had to do the whole queuing outside and being restricted to a certain number of items once inside. Nothing over the top mind – it just seems having chicken nuggets and chicken burgers is frowned upon currently! All in a good cause so I’m sure we’ll make it through the week without the burgers!

The lockdown restrictions are now noticeably being enforced with someone Lee works with having a family member fined for being outside inappropriately. Hopefully, the message starts to get through but I don’t know. Unbelievably people are still having BBQs on Winter Hill in Bolton, leading to a fire up there today, which our already overstretched emergency services had to then deal with. I’m almost praying for a change in the weather just to keep the selfish ones in.

We’ve big plans for tomorrow – clearing out the garage! To be honest, one of the real positives of this situation is that it’s forcing us to crack on with jobs we’d normally procrastinate about just to stave off the boredom. I’m a real homebody anyway with too many hobbies to fit into one day as it is, but I think Lee and the kids are already starting to climb the walls.

Myself, I’m quite ready for the Rise of the Introverts…

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 4

Clapping for our Carers

Yesterday I said that I hoped today would be quieter and it was. When I went for a walk this evening after finishing work, it was eerily quiet. I don’t know if it was just because I didn’t take the dog with me tonight (who, frankly, is starting to look as though she’s been walked within an inch of her life), so it was just me and my thoughts, or it genuinely was quieter than it has been the last few days.

As I started my walk, I saw a police car doing the rounds which isn’t that common a sight where I live. And even though it was my one and only time out of the house all day, I felt nervous and guilty to be out – especially without the dog. Whenever I did see anyone else out getting their daily dose of exercise, we were crossing the road to keep our distance. I even saw a delivery driver dropping off food at someone’s house, gloved up, mask on. It all made me feel incredibly sad. This lockdown thing suddenly feels real.

But there were positives in my day too. On my walk, so many children (ours included), have painted or drawn rainbows and put them in their windows as a symbol of hope. Then, just now, as part of the Clap for our Carers Campaign for our fantastic NHS workers, looking after so many of us now in our hour of need despite the significant risk to themselves, all my neighbours, me and my girls, everyone up and down the country on our doorsteps or at our windows/balconies, to say a heartfelt thank you and to stand in solidarity with them as they work tirelessly to pull us through this crisis.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/26/thank-nhs-tonights-clap-carers/

So whilst the novelty of lockdown wears off and the serious reality of the situation begins to dawn on me, I do feel very emotional this evening. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by this feeling so as I type I’m listening to Disney songs and planning on knitting a bunny – it is almost Easter after all.

If Disney’s finest and bunnies can’t cheer me up, maybe there is no hope!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 3

On Lockdown – with a Mouse!

If I thought Day 2 started strangely with a text message from the Government, Day 3 of Lockdown was about to knock my socks off. One minute I was sat chatting away to my 8-year old daughter, the next minute she was screaming “Mouse, mouse!!” as we both screamed and jumped on the couch – talk about a wake-up call.

Luckily, later on when we checked some traps we had put down when we thought we might have a little visitor a few weeks ago, there it was, large as life, ready for the husband to be a hero and release it safely into the wild. I’m still not 100% comfortable being sat in the living room on my own – just in case it had a friend!

The good run of weather has continued so after getting the usual times tables, Education City app, reading and spellings out of the way, the kids were more than happy to sunbathe in the garden. Time for a science lesson – I know they’ve been studying vertebrates and invertebrates so we made a list and they poked about the garden together looking for different bugs. It was on the list of things to do sent home by the school so she can build on this topic tomorrow by drawing and labelling a poster about her findings. Still learning but keeping it fun.

After school, a couple of parents had come up with the idea of a video call between the children in Year 3, using Zoom. It was actually really nice to hear how excited they were just to touch base with each other again. For the first 5 minutes or so all you could hear was them shouting “Hi!” to each other 🙂

Then, finished work to find out that the Prince of Wales has been diagnosed with Coronavirus – this thing really could alter the course of history now the heir to the throne is infected. Crazy times.

So what with mice, plagues and historical moments all happening at once, today had something of a biblical feel to it to say the least.

I’m looking forward to a quieter day tomorrow…!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 2

Limited Trips Out Only

The irony is not lost on many of us for a second, I would guess – the warmest day of the year so far here in the UK, with the toughest restrictions yet on our ability to leave our homes.

It is all in the best cause though so we will all just have to man-up, grin and bear it.

Today has been much the same as yesterday but rather than taking the dog for a walk before and after “home-school”, me and the youngest took her out this morning, with my eldest out with her now, following carefully the latest government guidance/instructions.

Similar home-school programme to yesterday too, more times tables, reading, maths and adding to our rocks and minerals topic before revisiting our spellings and rounding the school day off with some PE (aka skipping and running about the back garden whilst mummy conducted a remote assessment with a student over the phone!).

Today was easier on the home-school front as we had a bit more of a routine.

On the other hand, come lunchtime the last few days, I’ve had a blinding headache so I think it’s going to be a case of being careful not to try to do too much each day. We’re not teachers; just parents trying our best to keep our kids safe and occupied whilst minimising the ongoing effect on our children of this whole sorry situation. I always start the day with a bit of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, even before all this, (which is something I highly recommend for anyone interested https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene) so maybe tomorrow I mix things up a bit by swapping my morning walk for an evening one to better spread my active time throughout the day.

So overall, Day 2 of Covid-19 lockdown was a bit of a non-event for us – the day did start slightly strangely though, with a text message from the government(!), which I’m fairly certain is a first here, setting out the new rules. It would all feel very 1984 if I didn’t agree with it all so strongly. Maybe if the UK creates its very own Room 101, we’ll have folk less inclined to flout these very necessary rules without good cause. I always thought I’d be more like Winston or Julia to be honest, but with the daily death toll steadily rising, I feel no shame in following the government’s advice.

More of the same for Day 3 planned but, at this point, I’m not sure there’s much point in planning anything! Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 1

Surviving the Outbreak

As I write this, technically the UK is not yet on lock-down, although an announcement on tougher measures is expected within the next 30 minutes. Personally, I welcome it. Some people simply cannot or will not follow basic, straightforward advice even when it is for their own good.

I count today as Day 1 of Covid-19 as, for me, this was Day 1 of “home-schooling” whilst also working from home.

I’m lucky enough to work from home at least 3 out of 5 days of the week anyway so that side of things have been easy enough for me. What I have seen change in, however, is how my contacts are having to quickly adapt to an ever-changing situation, many of whom were not equipped to begin working from home at all, never mind with the speed that the urgency of the situation requires. That of course is affecting my job as every meeting I’ve got booked in is quickly being cancelled on me even though I’m ready and able to go ahead remotely. For now, I’ve plenty of work to be getting on with that, actually, a few cancelled/postponed meetings are really, in the grand scheme of things, a bit of a blessing in disguise.

Home-schooling though – that’s a whole different breed when combined with me actually trying to work as well. My eldest is 18 so obviously not an issue; the 8-year old is generally pretty easy going too but needs a fair bit of guidance on tasks. We’ve put together a weekly timetable based on a homework grid issued by the school so today we had:

  • Walk the dog (just like we do before school every morning – bit of exercise to start the day!);
  • Times Table Rockstars (app recommended by the school);
  • Reading (Mia actually chose one of my books from when I was a kid, Tales of Mr Pink-Whistle by Enid Blyton);
  • We tried another school recommended app – Education City – but that wasn’t accessible, presumably because we were all trying to access it at once!
  • Instead looked at Rocks & Minerals with Mia before packing her off to the garden to see what different rock types she could find – igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic!
  • Spellings – had a look to see what typical Year 3 spellings we could focus on this week and decided on the -ing suffix words e.g. “come” to “coming” and even threw in “accidentally” to keep it interesting, clapping out the syllables to try to help with this one!
  • My Maths app – money: adding pence and pounds;
  • Be Kind story on YouTube followed by writing a song/poem or rap! Think I impressed her with my rapping skills!

Obviously plenty of breaks and lunch and snacks thrown in for her. For me, I had to fit this in round my working day which then meant a late finish for me. Luckily her dad will be off work from Wednesday for a few days which will be a big help.

There were definitely times today though that I felt like breaking down, so if you’re feeling that way too, you’re not alone.

I’m not easily freaked out by things like this and I know that if we all follow the advice, stay home as much as possible, wash our hands frequently throughout the day, exercise and look after each other, we will all pull through this. But it’s scary. I don’t remember a time in living memory for me that something affected the world on this scale. More frighteningly still, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen governments looking so scared – and that’s what makes me most worried, because we know there’ll be things that they aren’t telling us.

And for good reason – just look at how daft we behave when we are frightened, hoarding and panic-buying! It reminds me of the film, Men in Black, when Will Smith’s character asks Tommy Lee Jones’ character why the government doesn’t just tell people about the aliens, saying that, “People are smart”. Tommy Lee Jones’ character corrects him saying:

“A person is smartpeople are dumb”

Agent K (Men in Black)

Mob mentality and scarcity fear takes over when people are afraid as we have seen across the world since this pandemic really took off.

I don’t know what is worse right now – mob panic or the ignorant few who flout the rules and are out socialising despite clear and basic guidance not to.

I’ll try to add a daily post each day; if nothing else, it will be interesting to look back on one day as we are living a moment in history that will not easily be forgotten for some time. Let’s make our future selves proud guys 🙂

Want to Learn to Read Tarot?

Top Tips to Get You Started

Whenever I tell someone that I read tarot, responses can be mixed. Some give you that strange look that very clearly tells everyone in the vicinity that they think you’re not quite firing on all cylinders. Others look at you as if you’re the very definition of evil and the spawn of the devil. Each to their own. They’re entitled to their beliefs, just as I’m entitled to mine.

But my absolute favourites are by far the majority I’m pleased to say – the ones that are curious and interested in the secrets and mysteries the tarot has to offer. Often these folk would just like a reading and that’s fabulous of course, but every now and then I come across a person who would like to learn the tarot themselves, to do their own readings. As a reader myself, that’s always something of a thrill to discover about someone.

But Where to Start?

It’s the same with any new skill isn’t it – there seems so much to learn and it’s not always obvious where to begin. When I began, I was 12 and got a free pack in a magazine so that’s always a good place to begin looking, just to see if you’re interested without spending too much cash.

The tarot is, by its very nature, deeply symbolic being linked to astrology and its various glyphs, myths and legends and can be interpreted both upright and in the reverse. With 78 cards in a standard deck, that’s 156 different meanings to learn! That’s before we consider different spreads, how the cards placements affect matters and how the cards can even affect/be affected by other cards in the reading.

A good alternative then might be to invest in Angel Cards, Goddess Cards or Oracle Cards as these often come with their meanings literally written onto the card.

If you’re interested in seeing how this works in practice, I have recently uploaded a video on this very topic to our YouTube channel which I’ve included a link to here:

A good way to get yourself started as a reader…

If you enjoy the video or find anything helpful in it, please do like, share and subscribe to help support the channel and of course feel free to share with anyone you think might enjoy the content themselves.

And, if you’d be interested in more of these “How to” videos, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Until next time…

Climate Change: Making a Difference

Be a Part of the Solution, not the Problem

Flicking through the news channels is enough to strike fear into the hearts of the best of us, at the best of times, which is why, as a general rule these days, I try my best to avoid them. What with Brexit, Coronavirus and usually at least one country at war with another country or even its own people, it’s enough to depress us all, or worse still, we become indifferent and immune to the suffering all around us.

Another reason I’m a news-avoider these days though is that I just don’t think that they concentrate on the things that truly will affect us all one day. Things like climate change for instance.

Whenever there are floods like there are in parts of the UK right now with it having been the wettest February since records began, yes the media reports on it. Same with the horrific bush fires in Australia these last few months or with the glaciers in the Arctic melting more and more each year. But these events are reported on as if they were isolated incidents with no connection to one another. Madness.

Towards the back end of 2019, activist group, Extinction Rebellion, made headlines with some fairly extreme levels of protesting. That too made the news. Just in this last week, following the Court of Appeal’s decision to block proposals for a third runway at Heathrow, this too made the news – briefly.

I don’t mean to downplay the importance on a day-to-day level that issues such as Brexit, Coronavirus or the like have on individuals and businesses that of course should be reported on. But I can’t help thinking that, in the grand scheme of things, compared with the issue of climate change that is already affecting some of us and that eventually will affect us all, the media is either being exceptionally short-sighted at best and downright deceptive at worst.

Climate change is not something that happened overnight. Nor is it something that we will fix overnight. I don’t say that to scare people unnecessarily. I’m a realist and I believe that eventually we will all be affected by this issue; it’s just a matter of time.

What I would like to see and hear more about in the news more often is about what is happening to reverse climate change, what is working, what isn’t and what the ordinary person like you and me can do to help the cause to avoid these extremes of weather or certainly the frequency of these extremes, because otherwise, not to scaremonger, but how is it going to improve?

Some will say that it is already too late and they may well be right. Personally, I am encouraged every day by what I do see others doing and they inspire me to also try to “do my bit”. What I’m finding on my journey to zero-waste living is that it is as much about lifestyle choices and awareness as it is about the big fundraising activities and protests.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start – here’s what I did/do:

  • Buying bamboo straws and making sure I take them with me when I’m out and about just in case;
  • Investing in a good quality water bottle (or coffee cup for those that like a brew on the go!) and taking it everywhere I go;
  • Taking a tote bag everywhere I go to put in all my recyclable stuff, straws, water bottles, coffee cups!
  • Switching off lights and unplugging chargers not being used;
  • Cutting down on car journeys and working from home as much as possible;
  • Thinking before buying goods – do I really need that or could I upcycle something;
  • Thinking about where my goods came from, were they ethically sourced and if not do I want to support that business or organisation just to save a few pennies;
  • Meat-free days each week that the whole family have taken up, even my husband who I never thought would be up for it!
  • Bugging your MP (so easy to do – sign up to emails from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, etc and they email you a link periodically that takes about 2 minutes if that to send an email/letter to your local Member of Parliament);
  • Share details of climate change and ways you can help with others on social media;
  • Educating yourself by signing up to climate change groups like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, etc;
  • See if you could switch to an energy provider that provides renewable energy – we recently did this with EON and saved money!
  • Up your recycling skills – most of us are probably pretty good at separating our general waste into paper and cardboard, food waste and tins/glass but what about the less well known but still fairly frequent rubbish items such as batteries – would you know how to dispose of these in an eco-friendly manner? Could you start a collection pile for things like this that you could drop off at your local recycling centre next time you’re passing?
  • Reduce chemical cleaning products in your home and challenge yourself to find the most eco-friendly yet still affordable and effective household cleaning products on the market. The choice out there is impressive and, as consumers, we hold a lot of power!
  • Learn to cook in an eco-friendly (and cost-effective) way. Turn the oven off shortly before the food is cooked as the oven is still warm and finishes off the cooking as a result; use pan lids to conserve heat and make use of your microwave;
  • Make your own health and beauty products – so many of these on the market contain bits of plastic like microbeads that are not biodegradable so hang around the planet for years and years. Learning how to use essential oils safely and effectively is my current go-to hobby and really makes you realise the absolute selfishness of some of the items we think we need to be beautiful;
  • Get a pet/get out into nature – this has been a huge one for me. Taking our dog out every day, in all weather, has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve been able to notice the changing of the seasons more than I normally would and you can’t help but gain an appreciation for the sheer beauty of the planet when you’re out in it every day (okay, maybe not during the trio of storms we just had admittedly!).
  • Turn the thermostat down and before you switch the heating on check if you’re wearing at least a couple of layers (t-shirt, jumper or hoodie), pants and socks and even throw a blanket over you first. You’ll definitely save a few quid!
  • Take part in Earth Hour on 28 March 2020: https://www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour

I’m always keen to learn new ways I can do more to help in the fight against climate change, so if you’ve got any ideas definitely add them in the comments so that I can start finding ways to build these too into my lifestyle, and for other readers too.

It would be great to know too which of the above ideas you think you could start adding into your life. Maybe sharing this article on your social media would be a fantastic place to start! 🙂

What’s Your Sign?

Check Out Your March 2020 Sun Sign Reading Now!

So, guess what – I did a thing. I faced my fears and created my very own You Tube channel today where you can find a reading for each of the 12 Sun Signs now available for your viewing pleasure.

We’re all busy people right? So, as much as I love to sit and watch long, in-depth reads if I have the time, there are times when I fancy watching a reading but haven’t got much time to spare. Hence why I created the “3 Cards 3 Minute” readings – tarot readings for busy people!

So whether you’re a Gorgeous Gemini, a Clever Capricorn, a Saucy Scorpio or an Audacious Aries why not go check out the channel and subscribe by clicking the little bell in the top right corner, which by the way is a great way to support the channel. An added bonus is that you’ll get notified whenever new content is uploaded so you don’t miss a thing (although you can alter this if you wish to in the settings):

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmooI7savAfP5lNHOZ8-zWg/.

As we’re in Pisces season, I’ve uploaded their reading to this post to say Happy Birthday to our Pretty Pisceans:

Happy Birthday Pisces!

Bearing in mind that none of this was planned or scripted content and was something I simply followed my intuition with today to just create, please bear with me in the You Tube content creating learning process!

Also bear in mind, that as these are general readings not all of the messages will resonate with everyone – for that you’ll need a private read, full details of which you can find on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HolisticLivingWithCarla/services. As such, take what applies for you from the free readings and leave the rest.

Other than that, I really hope you all enjoy and feel free to like, share and subscribe:)