31/05/2020

Life Update | May 2020

Life Lately May 2020 Keep Smiling Lisa Valentine Blogs

Traditionally, May is always my favourite month of the year. The weather starts to perk up, the promise of hot summer days and beach holidays is peeping around the corner, the East Lancashire Railway host their magnificent vintage weekend, combining my love of vintage, history and steam trains perfectly, and my birthday lands smack bang in the middle of it all. Of course, I didn’t anticipate a global pandemic coming along in 2020 and shitting on just about everything we had planned for this month but here we are and there were some lovely moments regardless.

Feeling

I cannot share this post without addressing the horrific, racist police brutality that continues to cost lives. George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis earlier this week after a policeman knelt on George’s neck until he could no longer breathe. A bystander had videoed the incident and as the footage circulated, outrage quickly spread across the world. Sadly, this is by far an isolated occurrence.

It’s barbaric that we live in a society where people are in danger every single day because of the colour of their skin. I’m a white woman living in England but that doesn’t mean I can’t be an ally; we should all be shouting and screaming and holding those who behave and think in such unacceptable, draconian ways to account. There are some useful ways you can help support the Black Lives Matter movement here.

May has also been tinged with sadness on a more personal level as earlier this month, our next-door neighbour died in hospital from a confirmed case of coronavirus and his wife is very poorly. Our little community is going be a darker place with him and his chats on the doorstep. Then my dad text to say his next-door neighbour had also died from the virus last week and we both quietly panicked a bit. It’s almost easy to forget that there is still a very real threat posed at the moment, regardless of how corrupt and spineless relaxed our current Government may be about the whole situation.

On a lighter note, I found out that three of our close friends are expecting babies this year which provided some welcome and much-needed good news. I’m also eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new nephew and a friend’s baby who are both due in June; it’s so exciting to think that by the time I write next months update, I’ll be an auntie again.

Doing 

Lockdown = not much. I’ve been lucky enough to keep working from home since the world was turned upside down back in March but had begun to feel to the threat of burnout looming due to the additional pressure that came along with it. I used a week of annual leave this month which provided me with a welcome break and gave me time to properly rest, reset and go back to work armed with a little more resilience.

I spent part of my leave making a start on a digital SEO and marketing course that I’d been meaning to sign up to for months; even though my day job in communications mainly consists of creating content for traditional, digital and social media, it never hurts to keep on learning and growing and I felt a lovely sense of achievement as I added another string to my bow.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and it turned out to be a flipping fantastic day. Adam and Lucie decorated the house and bought a massive chocolate cake. I was utterly spoilt with surprise parcels, cards and calls from my loved ones throughout the day and we finished up with a picnic tea in the garden. Having a lockdown birthday was alright after all and I felt overwhelmed by the unexpected displays of love and friendship.

I finished some more embroidery projects but that also means that my bookshelf is running out of space so I’ve taken to gifting them instead. I’ve been averaging about three pieces a month and started creating my own templates and designs. Me and Lucie finally perfected a cheese and onion pie recipe – something I’ve been trying to do for years – so I’m going to share that with you in a dedicated blog post soon.

I’d earmarked a day to spring clean the house because apparently that’s something fun to do on leave when you’re a grown-up and, along with disinfecting even the deepest, darkest corners of our kitchen cupboards, I tackled the alarming cluster of stinging nettles that have been gradually growing against our garden fence – and of course, I got stung. I found a dock leaf after remembering that old snippet of childhood advice but it did fuck all to help the burning so I think it may have been an old wives tale after all.

I also met up with my uncle and dad since the lockdown was relaxed a little bit in England and my goodness, I will never again take something so simple as going for a walk with a relative for granted again. After more than ten weeks apart, it was much-needed and I have a renewed motivation to keep going with the lockdown until it’s safe to go back ‘to normal’, whenever that may be.

Life Update May 2020 Happy Birthday Lisa Valentine BlogsLife Update May 2020 Embroidery Lisa Valentine BlogsLife Update May 2020 Lockdown walks Lisa Valentine Blogs

Watching

I’ve not been quite as busy with binge-watching this month as I was in April.  Lucie and I watched White Lines on Netflix which had me invested from the get-go, what with the Manchester affiliation but to be honest, I started to lose interest after about Episode Six. The slightly gratuitous, unexpected and very graphic sex scenes also proved painfully awkward for my 16-year-old to have to sit through with her ageing mother so we both whipped out our phones as a distraction and avoided eye contact for a few days.

I watched ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ which is based on a true story about forged letters. It was a slow burner but recommended and it was novel (no pun intended) to see Melissa Macarthy in a serious role as opposed to her usual slapstick stuff. I also smashed through Season 2 of ‘Selling Sunset’ on Netflix which made me pine for a lottery win and the ability to walk effortlessly in stilettos.

‘The World According to Jeff Goldblum’ on Disney Plus is one of the best things I’ve seen in ages and brought us some light relief. I also walked to the shop for ice-cream after watching the Ben and Jerry episode; apparently, I’m very easily influenced by Mr Goldblum but given his charisma and knowing, soothing voice, can you really blame me?

I hope May has been kind to you and I look forward to sharing more snippets of my day to day life with you again in June.

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