The things that get me through lockdown

Here we go. Week 6! I should have been finishing the packing to go on an epic adventure with my family today. Well, that ain’t happening now! So I thought I would share what I other things are getting me through lockdown.

1. Skincare – I’m using this time at home to really invest in my skincare. Although I wear make up during the week for work, I have avoided it at the weekends and it’s really helped. Add in some strict skincare routines of twice daily cleaning and plenty of water, I’ve really seen a difference in my skin and it’s texture

2. Planning – I know there isn’t much to plan for at the moment, but feeling organised and focused throughout the week helps if I get too tired and start to loose interest. My Hinch Lists and a little planner love has been a highlight of my week!

3. Crafting – I need to do more of this now that work is a little quieter but when I have dabbled, it’s been very calming and relaxing. To be honest, even a bit of colouring in with Little PB has been incredibly mindful

4. Yoga – I’ve been really trying to get into yoga more. With all the DIY we have been doing and the “toddler” exercise, I’ve found I’m aching quite a bit so, some stretching and quieter time is really helping to reset

5. Reading – I finished my first book since being in lockdown and it felt so good that it’s got me back into a space of reading again which I love

6. My garden – I planted a load of seeds with Little PB as something to do, and to my surprise, they actually grew and I now have a plethora of veg and flowers ready for planting later in May. Working away in my greenhouse has been very satisfying and relaxing.

And finally – my family. I certainly couldn’t have got through the madness of work and the challenge of childcare without Mr PB. Little PB has been such a good little toddler and very patient with us – he makes me laugh every day.

I hope you are all staying safe and well


x PB x

Heading into week 5….I think….

Let’s be truthful. I regularly wake up and have to check my phone to know what day it is. Routines have gone out the window and it feels like a reoccurring Groundhog Day.

But we’ve achieved 4 weeks in the PB household with few arguments and tantrums to show for it which I’m pretty impressed with.

I certainly am starting to feel the tiresome nature of repetition going into week 5 and have had to give myself a good talking to.

I’m actively having to remind myself to do the things that I know make me feel in control and sane:

  1. Getting up before everyone else to have quiet alone time – tricky to do when we are working late but worth it if I can force myself
  2. Reading time and a beautiful cup of tea
  3. Getting dressed like I’m going to work (sort of) – this means no tracksuit bottoms and a slap of make up!!
  4. Drink plenty of water and minimise the snacks!!!
  5. Plan my week/day to ensure I’m giving time to little PB in between the conference calls!!
  6. Exercise
  7. Self care routines – don’t skip this because of tiredness, always be bothered to do it!!
  8. Go to bed on time….not sure what “on time” looks like at the moment but I certainly do a happy dance if work ends before 9.30pm

We have another 3-4 weeks of this and so it’s important we remind ourselves that we can only do so much. Overloading the bucket creates tension so don’t compare and know that we are all doing our best in this unique of situations!

Stay safe

x PB x

A mix of emotions

Mothering Sunday 2020 – a day that a lot of us won’t forget. The Mothers Day where we all had homemade roasts and cancelled our plans to visit family.

Spending yesterday in the garden, you would be hard pushed to know there was anything wrong with the world – the sun was shining, the birds were signing, the toddler screaming (with joy!) and the faint noise of traffic in the distance.

And yet, around us things are changing at a pace that we can’t comprehend. Nursery closed, a growing amount of work to drastically adapt a business to the economic pressures around us and the freedom to pop to the shops or organise days out quickly depleting.

I am emotional on lots of levels – sad for the days we are losing without making the most of them, sad for the days we had that we took for granted and sad to know that I may not have a job at the end of all of this.

But I’m equally incredibly grateful – grateful to enjoy the sunny days doing very little with my family, grateful to make the most of my home and have the safety of it around me, grateful that we have a garden big enough to enjoy the fresh air, grateful that my husband has become the hunter-gatherer to ensure we have all we need, grateful that our little boy continues to be our wonderful, funny, energetic spirit, grateful that are parents are safe and well, grateful that there is no pressure to do anything!

So, whilst I may not continue to do the job I love by the end of the year, I do know that as a family we will be stronger from all of this and that is more important than anything.

Stay safe and be sensible

x PB x



My entertainment list

This may feel premature or even a bit daft….but….after this week, I’m starting to build the prospect of the very possible reality of a toddler at home due to nursery closures and my working from home pattern increasing.

So, I thought I would put a list together of ideas of how to entertain should the need arise.

For toddler:

  • Plenty of books
  • Colouring books/paper/card
  • Paints/pens/wax crayons for arts and crafts
  • PlayDoh and bits
  • Make a treasure map
  • Hide and seek
  • Lego
  • Board games
  • Den building
  • Bug hunting
  • Chalk painting
  • Bark rubbings
  • Wooden railway
  • Paper aeroplanes
  • Baking
  • Soda baking
  • Make some jelly
  • Hot chocolate and marshmallows
  • Jigsaws
  • Make your own jigsaw
  • Plant some seeds
  • Bike riding around the garden!
  • Football or rugby games
  • The inevitable TV and NowTV
  • Be in a band!
  • Create a mini disco
  • Teddy bears picnic
  • Paper plate family
  • Finger puppet show
  • Dress up
  • Make postcards to send to family & friends

So that’s one day done…… 🤦🏼‍♀️

For me:

  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Sanity

x PB x

Lessons from Life

A stormy rainy day in Saturday and Mr PB and I ventured into London. We were headed for the Barbican Centre for day 1 of the Sunday Times Life Lessons. 

A range of inspirational speakers covering a broad amount of topics on how to make the most of your life – both at work and at home.

With a spectacular lunch at a local Italian in the middle of the day, the morning and afternoon seminars were extraordinary, mind-boggling and very insightful.

Here are my main takeaways:

– A working mum shouldn’t work like she doesn’t have children or have children like she doesn’t work!

– Be ruthless & respectful with your time

– Respect others desires for attention

– The opposite of stress is kindness

– Use controlled breathing to calm

– The smallest change you can make to your life that will have the biggest yield is going from sitting to walking

– Own your failures with as much conviction as your successes

We listened to Alex Pang, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Dr David Hamilton, Dr Rahul Jandial and The Amazing If.

Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon


Feel Better in 5

Little Book of Kindness

Squiggly Careers

I would certainly encourage you all to add their books to your Amazon wishlist!

x PB x

Friendship goals

I have spent an evening with a bunch of friends. Friends that are like family. Who let you into the fold no matter of the time that you’ve spent apart.

At the end of another eventful week of work and home, I could have quite easily put my pyjamas on and settled in for the night. 

But something makes you power through when you know the antidote is laughter, smiles and being yourself.

So, it made me wonder why some friendships last a lifetime through all the ebbs and flows and others disappear without any true understanding of why.

I have certainly lost friends at a time when I thought they needed me (and I needed them) but it was a friendship built on one sided compromise – a square peg round hole type

And yet, I’ve gained friends when I didn’t feel like I deserved them. Not being present, not making an effort and taking days to reply to one simple “hey how are you?”

But it’s those friends that seem to have stuck – through the thick and thin with me just being me, them being them and not giving too much but not taking too much either 

Relax into a friendship if you want it to last. When choosing where to spend your time, say no politely or yes with enthusiasm. Don’t apologise but don’t seek an apology either. We live our lives the best we can and the best of friends will make room for that no matter what.

To my bungalow bunnies and my BATS & NCT family 

x PB x

I was coasting through life

Before Christmas, I suffered with about 5 colds in 3 months and had reached rock bottom – I was trying to learn a new role in a big organisation whilst juggling the responsbilities of parenting. I think I must have slept through September and October because they are a blur in my memory. I was coasting.

I knew that I needed to change some things and some of these things needed to be drastic in order for it to feel like I’m actually a human being who can cope!

  • I started taking vitamins – the WellWoman multivitamins, one table a day, to try and boost my immune system and improve my energy levels.
  • I upted my water game, drinking at least 1 litre a day
  • I dramatically changed my eating habits – a cold turkey routine of no snacks (other than fruit or veg) and reduced my caffeine intake.

However, I knew that eating and drinking properly wouldn’t solve the juggling and trying to be in 2 places at the same time.

Something had to give.

An honest conversation with my employer reassured me that there were no expectations around working hours and truly I was putting the pressure on myself, so I started to say no more.

  • If I had a day working from home in the diary, I stuck to it and joined meetings remotely.
  • I ensured I left promptly even if it meant leaving a meeting early to make sure I wasn’t rushing in rush hour to get back to Little PB.

No-one blinked at any of this – it was all considered to be the means to an end when you are a working parent.

But most importantly, I asked for help. I realised that I am not invincible and there are family and friends who want to help, particularly if you are struggling.

In addition to all of this, I realised that what I was missing was time for myself and given I didn’t want to sacrifice time with Little PB either side of work, I needed to create that time either before Little PB wakes up or after he has gone to bed.

I did both.

Mr PB gets up around 5.30am to get ready for work. So I got up at the same time too.

  • Whilst he makes coffee and eats breakfast, I wash my face. I find washing my face as soon as I wake up, helps me stay awake. It also gives me a surge of energy and gives me proper time to enjoy the process too.
  • I make myself a tea and whilst its brewing, I’ll do some stretches, perhaps do some hinching and feed the cats (I like my tea strong so I leave it to brew for a good few minutes)
  • Whilst Mr PB is in the shower, I climb back into bed and read – I will read from Simple Abundance, a page a day book, and a chapter of my Mindfulness in a Frantic World book.
  • Once Mr PB leaves for work around 6am, I jump in the shower and have at least 40 minutes to make the bed and get myself ready for work before Little PB wakes up.
  • I don’t look at my phone until 7am at the earliest and deleting the Instagram app during the week has certainly minimised the draw for mindless scrolling

But in order to have an effective morning routine, my evening routine is where it starts.

  • I will head to bed around 9.30pm.
  • In addition to the usual skincare routine, I will get my clothes ready for the next day and pack my bag.
  • I will also write my to-do list for the following day , reviewing my meetings and the top 3 things I want to achieve. This helps me sleep better, knowing what I have ahead of me – I appreciate that some people prefer not to know!
  • I’ve also created a evening routine station on my dressing table – eye cream, moisturiser for my feet, hands and face, cuticle oil, sleep oil, lip balm & sleep spray.

Climbing into bed around 9.45pm, I read a chapter of my book and drift off. Unless Lilttle PB stirs in the night, I will comfortably sleep through until 5.30am.

By giving myself this time both in the morning and evening has transformed my energy levels and focus during the day as well as my overall mood.

I hope this helps to inspire some of you who perhaps feel somethings needs to change

We are all here for each other

x PB x



New Year, New Me, blah blah

In the eve of a new decade, social media is plastered with far-reaching goals and habits that probably won’t stick beyond January 2nd along with the usual reflections of how good or bad a year 2019 has been.

And I am not alone with any of the above. I looked back on my year in photos and there have been plenty of wonderful moments mixed in with some moments I’d like to forget and not repeat. 

One photo in particular was of a mug of lemon water taken on 6th January waxing lyrical about how I had a new habit and was starting the year off right. That habit lasted a week I think.

For 2020, I’m not setting goals or intentions. I’m not launching into a new routine or thinking of habits to try to stick to. My life is busy enough.

So, I’ll be doing what I’ve done every morning and every evening but a bit more consciously and with a bit more enjoyment about it. I’ll try to rush less and embrace my love of being organised along with some EARLY NIGHTS!

There. Done. May 2020 be filled with laughter, enjoyment, smiles and happiness and if there be tears, let them be short in duration followed by a comforting hug.

x PB x

What would you do with 12 hours?

Well, apparently, I spent it doing nothing important.

I discovered the screentime function on my iPhone the other day….and I learnt that I spent nearly 12 hours in a week on social media. 12 HOURS!!!!

I then found myself trying to justify it – well, its how I keep in touch with my friends (cough “rubbish” cough), but it’s good research for me to see what others are talking about in the planning world (cough “rubbish” cough). Ok, but if I didn’t look at social media, how would I know what’s going on in the world (cough “rubbish” cough).

I succumbed to accepting that the reason I was on social media that much in a week is because I was filling my empty time (and maybe even my family time…..ok, actually my family time) with mindless scrolling and comparison.

How did something which didn’t exist 10 years ago now take over my week quite so catastrophically? I heard someone say that we don’t open our door every 5 minutes to check if anyone is there so why check our phone?

And to be honest, it scared me. What had I missed in those 12 hours? What had I not paid attention to? What could I have been doing in those 12 accumulative hours that was valuable and important. Well, I could have been writing this blog post for a start!

So, I thought about what I should do – and I didn’t start mindless scrolling to avoid making some decisions.

Don’t think that by realising my failing, I STOPPED and deleted my Instagram account in a vain attempt to think it will help or threw my phone in the bin. Because it won’t help – I’ll find another way to look, be it logging onto the computer at home or peering over someones shoulder on the train, or even just uploading the app back onto my phone.

That’s what people with addiction do. They look for the loophole. And yes, I said addiction because actually, the thought of being without my phone and being connected to the world wide web, freaks me out and if I haven’t looked at my phone for a good hour, I feel lost – like I haven’t ticked something off the to-do list.

So, let’s get real – my phone IS a way of connecting with my friends and family – sharing family photos via WhatsApp, creating something and sharing with all of you on Instagram – as well as checking the weather, my bank balance or my train time. The honest truth is without our phones, things would be pointlessly difficult and painfully slow so I’m happy to embrace that part of technology.

But I do want to reduce my mindless comparison time – because that is what it is – comparing yourself with the world as much as you may think its about admiring other peoples talent and it makes you feel pants. Research has suggested that Instagram is the worst for young peoples mental health with negative results such as anxiety, depression, dysmorphia and FOMO (fear of missing out).

As a mother, the above worries me more for Little PB than me – so I need to change my habit drastically to ensure he understands the positives you can gain from technology in your pocket.

These are the steps I’ve taken and you are welcome to do the same:

  • Deleted my Facebook app – I really don’t need to know (or even slightly care) what a school friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to for 15 years ate for dinner last night
  • Filtered my Instagram – if I felt a sense of comparison or frustration with a series of posts from someone, I have unfollowed them – its no different from what happens to me by others and its widely accepted as OK.
  • Set limits on a my ScreenTime function – 20 mins of social media a day and once you are over that, it reminds you (and effectively tells you off for trying to access more!)
  • Set a downtime on my apps between 9pm and 6.30am so all my non-important apps become inaccessible during that time to avoid scrolling before bed and first thing in the morning
  • Rearrange my home screen so I’m only focused on opening apps that are useful and beneficial to me – Audible, podcasts, BBC News and the weather app
  • Just turn my phone off (I used to make the excuse that I had to keep my phone on if Nursery called – I just changed the number to my work phone because they will only call me during working hours anyway!)

I’ll be sure to update you on my progress but please also share your views & comments

x PB x