Wednesday 22 March 2023

We're Back! It's Been a While...


I can't believe how long it's been since I showed the Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles blog over here a bit of love! If you are new here.... welcome! If you have been following us over on our socials, mostly on Instagram, then you may have been keeping up to date with what we've been up to over the past few years. 

So, where have we been?

A lot has happened over the last few years! I'll catch you up quickly, then you'll understand why we've a bit absent over here...

Covid Chaos

Our last post here was written on March 2nd 2020, and on March 11th the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Schools were shut indefinitely on March 18th and the UK went into its first lockdown on March 23rd... almost 3 years to the day!! And there began the chaos of home schooling my 2 children, whilst also still going into work as a primary school teacher to look after the children of key workers. What an incredibly strange and frightening time that was, wasn't it? 

I had also become a single mum just the June before, so navigating this new way of living was an interesting challenge in many ways! During the second lockdown, schools shut again in January 2021 forcing learning online yet staying open again for key workers. My time and energy was split between teaching in school, preparing, editing and uploading online lessons for those at home, and home-schooling my own children, while trying to keep everyone healthy, sane and alive! It was an uncertain time for us all and no-one could have predicted what the next year or so had in store for us!

Forest School

Way back in June 2019, I started a Forest School Level 3 Leader course which meant a whole week of intense training in the woods, followed by a 2 day Outdoor First Aid course, a written and practical portfolio consisting of 61 (yes... 61!) assignments, then a week of assessments back in the forest in November 2020! 

Covid of course stopped play at certain points along the way, but I eventually managed to complete my portfolio in February 2021! Receiving my certificate that July was one of my proudest moments! Blood (quite literally!), sweat and tears went into completing that qualification during a time of great stress and uncertainty, following the immediate break down of my marriage, starting a new life in a new home with my kids and then the onset of Covid and all that brought with it. Many, many times I almost gave up but I'm so glad that I didn't. Writing my "reflective journal" (one of our final assignments) was such a cathartic process, I spilled my heart into it and laid the emotions of the whole process bare. My trainer told me it was one of the best he had ever read and a real emotional rollercoaster! It certainly was!

Run Mama Run!

In April 2020, I decided I needed to find a way to quieten the mental load of motherhood and all the stresses of life at that time. Something told me to run. Fight or flight maybe? So I put on my trainers and did something I'd never done before... I went for a run! Well, when I say run, I mean a 40 minute pant around my local woods that nearly killed me! I ached, I felt sick, my lungs were on fire, but something strange happened... I felt euphoric! My head felt instantly lighter, and then I realised - when I was out there in the woods focusing on my footing and trying to breathe, I thought of nothing else! I noticed the birds, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the sound of the leaves and twigs under my feet, the fresh air in my lungs. I felt at peace. I felt alive. I wanted more!

By July, I'd completed my first 10 mile run and I couldn't believe how much I loved it! I signed up for my first ever event (a half marathon!) and threw myself into training for the Potter's 'Arf in September 2021. Every moment the children were at their Dad's, I'd spend running in my happy place by the canal. I just loved the release, shaking off the craziness of the day, being by myself, letting my mind go blank, listening to tunes and watching the world go by. Running certainly saved me from myself at a time when I needed it the most. If you haven't tried it, I recommend it to anyone! After an extended break from running (I'll come on to that next!), I cannot wait to dig out my running shoes and get back to it! You can follow my journey over on my Instagram if it interests you - I'll be sharing my running comeback and our running buggy adventures too! 

New Beginnings

Back in June 2019, I was in such turmoil that I couldn't even contemplate what the future for me and my 2 children might hold. I couldn't see the wood for the trees, at times I wondered if I'd ever be 'fixed.' Would I ever find my rainbow? But what follows is probably the happiest part of my story, and a part that I never expected would be mine to tell...

During Lockdown, I struck up a friendship with a 'friend of a friend.' We'd talk to each other through times of loneliness during what was an isolating and uncertain period for everyone. We had our first 'date' in my garden when the 'Rule of 6' (Remember that?!) was in force and from that moment onwards, as they say, the rest is history! I never thought I'd find someone to share my life with again, (who would want a mid-30s single mother of 2?!) but I'm living proof that good things do happen to good people! We bought a house together in September 2021, and welcomed our baby girl into the world last October! My puzzle is now complete and life of course is busy, crazy but very happy! 

The last 3 years or so have been a rollercoaster, a whirlwind and everything in between! It's not until you see it all written down that you understand how much you have achieved and how much you've grown as a person. I feel very much like I've emerged from my chrysalis a stronger, happier, more self-assured person with a brighter, more positive outlook on life! 

I am excited to start writing here again, to share experiences with you and maybe help one or two of you along the way. I hope you enjoy being a part of the Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles family... you're all welcome along for the ride!

Finding joy in the little things: I like to end my posts (where relevant) with a little positivity because as we all know, not everything always goes the way you had hoped. I'm a true believer that even in the darkest, most difficult situations, if you search hard enough you will find there is some happiness to be found. 

I guess my take away here is that, "You are capable of doing hard things." Times got tough over the last 3 or 4 years. Really tough. But the little things often pulled me through - hearing the excitement when the children were told they were allowed back to the park again, getting through one home-schooling session without an argument, hearing the birds singing after the rain on a run, pressing 'send' when finally submitting my completed Forest School portfolio, drinking tea in my garden with friends during lockdown, hearing my baby's heartbeat for the first time... Look deep enough and you will see there is some joy to be found in almost every situation! 

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