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The Lockdown Diaries – Acknowledging Anxiety in Isolation (guest blog)

Words and images by @chameleoninhighheels

When the government (quite rightly) extended the lockdown a couple of weeks ago, I wondered whether this was the perfect ending to a day I’d rather forget. To be brutally honest, it was a shite day. On the surface it was lovely: sunshine, a walk, a socially distant conversation with a friend we met in the park, time in the garden, meals together, family time. Bliss. Only it wasn’t. In my head, it was hell. Doubts about myself and others, returning to normal life, staying locked up, it was all a big, scary, chaotic and scrambled mess.

The familiar lump in my chest and stomach resurfaces, it spreads its claws uncomfortably around my organs and renders me unable to think straight or to see sense. I try to work out if this is related to lockdown, or if there are other demons at work. I think it is both. The fears and doubts have been there a long time, but now are magnified by a world that projects fear and cannot be a safe place for us right now. I try and rationalise my thoughts and talk myself through what I can and can’t influence. I listen to the conversations in my head and weigh them up. I counsel myself and know that the shrink in me is right and wants to kick me off the imagined couch, but I am not ready to leave, not prepared to say: Yeah, I am fine now, thanks for the session.

My thoughts are as stubborn as the monster inside my body. Normally I would schedule a meet up with one of my closest and most trusted friends. Such things have to be talked about in person. But I can’t do that. I would probably also start doing lots of things to distract myself. But today I can’t do that either.

All the dinner is cooked, there is no more food to cook because the fridge is empty, I had my daily exercise and colouring pictures with my daughter gives me more time to think than I can handle. I tentatively tell one of my friends via text and it helps, she is understanding and downright fabulous. She doesn’t try to fix things for me. She is just there. I can breathe more easily. And then I just do something I read the other day by Glennon Doyle: Sit with it. Sit through it. Experience it. And let it pass over.

It’s a bit of a challenge to sit in peace when you have two kids crawling and climbing over you and a puppy chewing on your clothes. But I sit, and I allow myself to feel crap and I endure those feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and anxiousness. And I survive. I still don’t feel great and am far from being a bundle of positivity, but those inner restraints have loosened a little. I am aware that lots of people will be feeling up and down during this time, and many are feeling like this all the time. I also know that everyone’s experience is unique and personal and definitely valid. My feelings may seem ridiculous to some but they are real for me and I have the right to those experiences.

That doesn’t make me weak, stupid or unloved. I am strong – I will get through this day and others; I am knowledgeable – I am aware of my mind and I know that not all feelings are real but they can seem so; and, most importantly, I am loved – not by everyone and that is ok, but I am no less worthy than the next person.

This has been a deeply personal account of what is going on inside me, and I know that I have made myself more vulnerable with this than ever before. I am never dishonest in my blog posts, but there are many things I do not share as freely as others. Whilst I am always scared of repercussions, I am not afraid anymore of revealing a bit more. We are locked up, but we are not silenced. And I have been silent for too long. 

We all have good and bad days, and from now on I will be more willing to openly share the good and the bad, without holding back, in the hope it will speak to other so they know they are not alone.

Read more from Chameleon in high heels here- CIHH instagram

Family time, Playtime

Play Village- Warwick

For the both Dorothea’s second and third birthdays we have taken her to the Warwick play village. we think for her it offers the perfect day out; she loves pretend play, and this place offers every version of pretend play you could want!

From memory these are the different areas:

  • School
  • Post office
  • Theatre
  • Beauty/hair salon
  • Vets
  • Hospital
  • Fire station
  • Cafe
  • Supermarket
  • Ice cream van
  • Picnic area/bbq
  • Building site

The play village has two available sessions- morning or afternoon; each gives 2.5 hours play. It’s £10 per child and that gives entrance for two adults also. Parking is free and plentiful.

Within the play village there’s an awesome cafe; so you can have coffee and cake with a view of the play area. They do a full range of breakfasts, lunches, cakes, hot and cold drinks. The coffee is pretty good too.

Whilst kids are left to play as they wish, the team at the Play Village also organises activities; singing, dancing, stories and treasure hunts. On both occasions we’ve been for Dorothea’s birthday, they’ve sang to her and given her a card; a sweet touch!

2nd birthday in the beauty salon

Any negatives??? Well one; this place is soooo hard to find, the sat navved postcode will lead you to a services on a nearby dual carriageway. Instead type in Hampton rd and wing it. The play village is down a little Lane; you will think you’ve gone the wrong way, but it’s worth it when you get there promise. ( allow a little extra time for getting lost! The staff informed me they should be getting a brown road sign soon.)

The different a year makes- the shop aged 2

To make a full day trip the nearly towns of Warwick and Leamington are both beautiful; with varied shopping streets and places to eat/drink. In Leamington we recommend https://www.cote.co.uk/restaurant/leamington-spa/ and in Warwick http://www.theoldcoffeetavern.co.uk

https://www.childrensplayvillage.co.uk

Dots outfit from https://jujuni.co.uk