The Last Day of Furlough

I haven’t written much during the coronavirus pandemic. I don’t know whether that’s because I haven’t wanted to, haven’t felt able to or what. I just know that this place has been far from my mind. I think there have been so many voices speaking that I haven’t felt the need to add to it. Tomorrow, I’m back at work for the first time since March 17th.

I’ve been on furlough for about nine weeks, with the three or four weeks before that being a “work from home” type of scenario. Despite the fact that it’s near impossible to do my job from anywhere other than my workplace. I’m asthmatic, so my manager and I had made that decision based on risk and me not having my own transport to get to work. I would have had to take the tube, and I don’t know how many of you have seen the images from early on in the lockdown when the tube service was low, but it wasn’t a pretty sight. It’s quite scary to be on a list of people who are “vulnerable” to something viral. I know the research has come to a point now where mild asthmatics are not considered as vulnerable, but that initial “I am on that list” was quite scary.

One of the last days that I was at work (March 16th) was the day the theatres shut. That really got me deep in my tummy. For me, London’s theatres are part of its very heartbeat and knowing that every theatre in London had gone dark was horrifying. It hurts that they still remain closed now. I went out to pick up some food and on the way there a couple walked behind me who were excited about seeing a show at the Vaults, which is next to Waterloo Station. While I was out, I read the announcement about theatres and on the way back I saw the same woman crying and saying “what are we going to do now?” At the time I thought it was a little overdramatic, but I realise now that I don’t know her story. She could be one of the many people employed in the theatre industry who find themselves out of work for yet another month.

Social Distancing – Am I doing it right?

I still think March was the longest month on record. Each day was fraught with anxiety and it just felt like the world was changing around us. I remember the utter stupidity of people rushing out for “one last hurrah” when it was announced that bars, clubs and restaurants would need to close a few days later. I remember Aiden saying “why are they having a daily briefing? Do they think we’re all going to gather around the TV and watch it nightly?” and we both laughed and rolled our eyes. Needless to say, we spent the end of March and a lot of April tuning in every single day, before reading the more sensical updates from Jenny at The Brick Castle. Mid way through April, I ditched the briefings and mostly got my information from Jenny’s Facebook Page updates.

Water fight with Daddy. Guess who eom?

Despite the anxiety of the whole situation, I think there have been good things that came out of being furloughed. I have probably twenty bags of clothing to donate as soon as we are able to. Washing through them all and sorting them has been a real pain – especially the four years worth of Eden’s clothes – but it’s nice to get rid of the clutter and I know it will bring joy to people. I feel like Aiden and I are closer. We’ve actually had time to be in the same place at the same time, and it’s been refreshing. We’ve had time to do some training with the dogs and Loki isn’t as bothered about the yappy shit next door any more. For the first time in quite a few years, I haven’t been tired all the time. I haven’t been as stressed. I haven’t been constantly worrying and my mind hasn’t been racing. We’ve just been at home. No throwing Eden between us because we need to work. No night shifts. No worrying about getting shift swaps for childcare reasons. No trying to plan everything in life at least six weeks in advance. That side of it, to be honest, has showed me what I’m missing by having to work.


Eden has struggled. Her theatre school Zoom meetings on a Saturday were getting her through near the start. She was putting on shows in the living room and learning dance routines from JoJo Siwa’s Youtube channel. Every so often she would ask if we could go somewhere or do something and we always had to say no. We did explain to her why, but I think it’s hard for a four year old to digest. Especially when we are saying no to her friends coming over, yet others in the neighbourhood seem to have a steady stream of visitors coming to play with their kids. I remember one day when she broke down. She literally laid on the floor and screamed and shouted about how she has no friends and nobody wants to play with her. That was bloody hard. It was hard to say “you do have friends, but they can’t come here. We can’t meet them at the park. We can’t see them at all.” She’s struggling less since being back at the childminder on a Monday and Tuesday, but it was hard going for a while.

Curly Curls

Highlights for me, except for not feeling stretched as thin as a person can be stretched, have been many. I’d almost forgot about Tiger King until I saw my “Carole Baskin did it” window sign and laughed. Who could forget that utter cluster fuck? I sorted out my hair. Lockdown meant that I had time to get through the uber frizz phase and let my curls do their thing. My hair feels healthier and looks so much better now. I know it’s a small thing, but it’s taken me thirty two years to properly own my curls and I’m intending to stick with it this time. I started writing again. I haven’t written fiction really since my mum died in 2007, so that’s a big deal. I found an old draft and couldn’t shake the characters out of my head, so I decided to rewrite. I’m not going to say it’s been easy because it hasn’t, but it’s certainly been satisfying. In the last two weeks I’ve started doing 16:8 fasting and I’m down 3kg so far. If only I’d started at the start of lockdown!

Lowlights have been realising exactly how selfish the human race is and how much our government don’t act with their people in mind. Chief Cheeto in the US has provided me a good few laughs, but I don’t discount exactly how dangerous he is. Some of the things he has said and done during this pandemic are almost criminal. Much the same as Boris “herd immunity” Johnson and his cronies. I’m sad that my former NHS colleagues have had so much of the burden of this placed on them. I’m sad that we’ve lost so many essential workers because of this virus and the government’s lacklustre response to it. We’re one of the richest countries in the world and yet we couldn’t provide those keeping the country moving with enough protective equipment to keep them alive. IT’s a travesty. Not to mention the amount of people who have seemed to ignore the rules from the start, only to them go out and clap for the NHS on a Thursday night. I will say that we only did it a couple of times, because I just could not bear the hypocrisy of it. The fact that people were breaking rules, having parties and making it harder for the very people that they were clapping loudly for was not lost on me.

I’m hoping transport is ok tomorrow. Most people are still working from home where they can, and I have a 6.30am start. I’m hoping public transport will be kind to me and that my fellow humans will wear their masks and keep out of my space. I’ve been amazed (although I shouldn’t be) about how our government have made mask wearing mandatory on public transport, but have completely failed to educate the general public on how to properly wear a mask. Chin straps and noses out all over the place. Almost seems pointless.

Anyway, that’s my roundup of what has been both the longest and the shortest couple of months ever ahead of going back to work. I don’t think we will ever face something like this again, but I hope that if we do we are better prepared. I know this isn’t over yet – it’s far from it. But I hope that we all have a little more armour going forward. The next couple of years are going to be tough, but if we all stick together (Whilst 2m apart!) we will get through it.

Wish me luck! I’m going back to the real world…

Posted in 2016 | 3 Comments

April is Adenomyosis Awareness Month

April is adenomyosis awareness month. Until I was diagnosed with this condition I had no idea that it even existed, yet according to the gynaecologist who diagnosed me, approximately ten percent of people with uteruses of childbearing age have signs of adenomyosis on ultrasound. Many cases are asymptomatic, so often people will go through life without it ever being picked up.

What is adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis (ad-uh-no-my-O-sis) occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced tissue continues to act normally — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result. My doctor described it as the evil cousin of endometriosis, where the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. Continue reading

Posted in 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

COVID-19 Lock Down

I haven’t posted anything about this particular Coronavirus. I’m not an expert. I’m not a clinician. It’s not my field. But also, I haven’t been able to collect the words together.

However, I was reminded today that we are living through history here. We”re living through what future generations will study. Even as soon as Eden’s generation, they will likely study this at school. They’ll talk about everything that went right and wrong, they’ll use it to explain germ theory and the story of COVID-19 will likely follow experiments involving glitter and hand washing.

Until today, we’ve been told to practise social distancing – standing six feet away from others that are not in your household, being inside as much as possible and only going out when necessary. This weekend was an alarming demonstration on the stupidity of human beings. Government advice stated that we could go out and about for a walk or exercise. The great British Public took this as “your holidays have started early! Feel free to flock in high numbers to beaches, parks and public spaces!” It. Was. Horrendous.

Aiden, Eden and I did not take part in the ridiculousness. Partially because we’re not dimwits, but also because both Aiden and I are on the list of vulnerable people. Aiden has been stood down from work and I am working from home – or at least I will be once they find me a laptop and things to do. I want nothing more than to be able to support my colleagues through this, but the underground in London is running a limited service, which means trains are busier and I wouldn’t be able to social distance effectively. I’m asthmatic, which means I am at higher risk of having complications or dying if I do contract the virus.

Since over a week ago, we have been advised that if anyone in our house shows symptoms of the virus, we should quarantine the whole household for fourteen days. This has lead to a LOT of people being off work. The idea of fourteen days is that the person with the illness can get over it and the others in the house can contract it and get over it. If you live alone, the advice is to quarantine for seven days. There are at risk groups, with the most at risk being told to fully isolate for up to twelve weeks. Those who have certain conditions are being told to be especially stringent in practising social distancing. This is the group that Aiden and I fall into.

Anyway, people have been crying out for lockdown for at least a week now, and tonight our Prime Minister finally pulled the plug.

There are very few places to actually go if you’re not squabbling over pasta in a supermarket. Restaurants are closed, as are pubs. On Friday night, pubs were ordered to close and people rushed out to get their “last orders” in. Some pubs even put on a “happy hour” for the occasion. For a few days, food places were operating take away only but that isn’t happening now. Our local McDonald’s closes tonight and last time I checked there was still a queue of cars around the block going in for a “last hurrah”. Starbucks closed last week. All gyms are closed, as well as libraries, soft play centres, leisure centres and places of worship. After today’s announcement, playgrounds will be closed too. Theatres closed last week, which was a particularly low moment for me.

What I’m hoping, is that this means people will stay home. That’s my hope. But, as those on my local Facebook group are keen to point out, we don’t have enough police to fully enforce this. Although we don’t have a huge number of them, police have been given powers to enforce these new rules.

On the plus side, people are doing some awesome things to help. My former NHS colleagues have been swamped with thanks and gifts to hospitals and such, which is amazing. But on the flip side of that, some NHS workers are being threatened with eviction by landlords who are scared of their property becoming infected. Eden’s theatre school have put out some of their show dances and songs online so that they can continue to learn. Audible have made kids books free to listen to. Education apps have become free and schools are sending home things for kids to do. The community spirit around this has been fantastic, even though we cannot physically be close to one another. Last week, JoJo Siwa did online live dance classes, which Eden absolutely LOVED.

At the time of writing, the UK is reporting 83945 tests, 6650 of which were positive and 335 of these positive tests resulted in deaths. We are not testing as much as other countries are. Leading experts are saying this will be our downfall. We have no idea how many cases there actually are in the UK.

That’s really all I have for this. We’re scared, yes. Not like full on terrified, but certainly anxious and certainly not sure of this world ahead of us. None of us have lived through anything like this. Some grandparents lived through the Blitz, but this isn’t like that. Honestly, I never thought we’d have another pandemic like this. It’s terrifying and it really has highlighted the stupidity and pigheadedness of the human race.

Until next time, stay safe and I’ll update again soon.

Eden practising her show dances
Posted in 2020, Covid-19 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Matilda, Eden & Me.

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with Matilda. The book, the movie, all of it. On watching the movie a few weeks ago I realised that even now, I still know most of the script!

As a child, I was very much like Matilda. A bookworm, who was bullied at school and wanted desperately to fit in. I wanted desperately to be recognised for something or other and I’ve always had a very strong sense of what is right or wrong. Something that has carried me well in the last few years, in fact. Continue reading

Posted in 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Theatre, Eden & Me.

Since being a child, I have loved the theatre. We didn’t really go when I was growing up, but I remember absolutely loving the idea. I’ve always loved musicals in particular, having spent much of my childhood learning every single word to all of the songs in The Sound of Music, Carousel, Oklahoma and many more. I studied drama at GCSE and A Level and actually moved to London with the intention of auditioning for drama school.

That didn’t pan out for many reasons, but since being down here (twelve years now!) I have seen a lot of theatre. I’ve worked at a few theatres. It’s part of London for me, with the West End being one of my favourite places in my city. Aiden and I met for the first time at a theatre and a few years back we had a successful theatre blog and were reviewing shows three or four times a week. You can see why that wasn’t sustainable with us having two full time jobs as well! Continue reading

Posted in 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Aiden’s One Year Transition Update

Well I am fashionably late with my one year update!!!

I have been living in my affirmed gender now for sixteen months. SIXTEEN MONTHS!!! But it feels as if Aiden has been a part of me for my entire life. Some people have told me they feel like their “old self” dies and they mourn that death to a certain extent but I dont feel like Amy died. I feel like Amy was always Aiden and has just evolved from basic form, getting ready for that final Stage evolution. (Pokemon reference for the geeks among us) Continue reading

Posted in 2020, transgender | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Being a Siwanator, Eden & Me

“Just be kind”.

Something we are telling Eden a lot at the moment is to just be kind. She told us the other day that there’s a kid at her childminder who always wants to play Power Rangers with her, and she doesn’t like him so she says “GO AWAY!” I don’t know this kid at all. I’ve heard his name a few times, but this is the first time Eden has ever spoken like this about one of her peers. It’s the first time, really, that she’s expressed dislike towards another child.

I had to think a little on this one, because as much as I believe she doesn’t have to play with everyone who wants to play with her, there’s no excuse for rudeness or for excluding other kids unfairly. I was excluded a lot at school and bullied horrifically, so I know how it feels to be that kid who just wants to join in. Admittedly, we’re talking about three and four year olds here, rather than me as a ten year old, but I think my point stands. Continue reading

Posted in 2020, eden, JoJo Siwa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Eden’s ENT Appointment

Those who have been following our Facebook page or Instagram will know about Eden’s regular bouts of tonsillitis. She had her first diagnosed case just before her second birthday. It led to the majority of our Florida holiday being spent in the hotel room as she was just so poorly, but the antibiotics had her right as rain in no time at all.

Since then she’s had it every couple of months. Touch wood, we are in a phase at the moment when it hasn’t appeared for some time. Her last case was in October 2019, which was number eight or nine since she was two. Just before we went on holiday last year, I booked her into the GP to see if we could get antibiotics to take with us to save her the USA urgent care visit. We left that appointment with not only an antibiotic prescription, but a referral to Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic as well. Continue reading

Posted in 2020, eden | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Welcome back again!

Once again, it’s been a LONG time since I posted here. I was dilly dallying about still having Mama, Eden & Me as a web address, so when the domain expired I bought the new one and here we are. I know I could have bought it regardless, but I guess I was having a bit of writer’s block. So, if there is still anybody out there who has bookmarks pointing to this page, be sure to update them.

Welcome to 2020! A new year. A new decade. It’s crazy how quick time goes. I wanted to do a little round up of all the things that we didn’t blog about in 2019.. I spoke a lot about these things on our Facebook Fan Page, but it’s been radio silence for a bit here. So, let’s get caught up. Continue reading

Posted in 2019 | Leave a comment

#AD Review – The Dream Pillow

Sleep. Everybody loves sleep. Except for toddlers, it seems. Being a shift worker, I could literally sleep pretty much anywhere and at any time. Unfortunately, Eden doesn’t appear to be taking after me in that respect.

As a baby, Eden loved sleep. For the most part, it was easy to get her to drift off to sleep and once she was out, she was out. As a three year old, life is a little different. Once she is asleep, she will sleep for hours, but getting her to go to sleep in the first place is often a challenge. The insatiable thirst that only comes at bed time, mixed with the fear of bad dreams or monsters usually keeps us all up for a little while. When we were contacted by the folks over at The Dream Pillow, we figured it was worth a shot.

What is The Dream Pillow? Here’s what they say on their website…

For children, the Dream Pillow is a toy. It makes going to bed fun, encouraging kids to craft stories to “dream up”. For parents, a dream pillow™ is a tool based on a proven technique to help kids sleep and dream good dreams, The Dream Pillow helps practice positive imagery before bed. The Dream Pillow also teaches children about their power of their thoughts, the importance of good sleep, and positive thinking. This bed time ritual will create memories for years to come.

Eden was sent the Original Dream Pillow, which she loved from the moment she set eyes on it. I opened it while we were getting a drink in Costa Coffee and when I told her that it was called a “Dream Pillow,” She asked me “can I take a nap right now?” In the box, you get the pillow, a pack of note cards to write your visualisation on, and a book about a little girl who keeps having nightmares and the Dream Pillow saves the day.

Eden sleeps with her Dream Pillow every single night. She also often requests it for naps, along with her favourite blanket. We don’t always read the book or use the notes, but the pillow has become a comfort tool all of its own. Sometimes, we sit down and talk about what she would like to dream about and write it out on the notes. It’s particularly helpful in times where she is worried about something or is particularly overtired. It helps her focus and calm down enough to be able to drift off to sleep. I’m looking forward to bringing it on holiday with us as I think it’s important to bring some home comforts, and The Dream Pillow is definitely small enough to bring along without affecting luggage allowance or being a pain.

My one reservation was with the pillow being white. I worried that constant washing would ruin how snuggly it is or cause the fluff to fall out. I needn’t have worried. It has been washed many times since we got it – including after a particularly explosive vomit situation – and has come out as good as new each time.

The Dream Pillow is now one of our favourite bed time tools. I love encouraging Eden to develop her imagination and storytelling skills, whilst also helping her to feel secure at night and comfortable enough to get a good night’s sleep. After all, nobody likes a sleep deprived three year old!

You can pick up your own The Dream Pillow at The Dream Pillow Website. They retail at £19.99 and are available in several different designs.

We were sent this product for the purpose of an honest review. We received no financial incentive for this review and it reflects our honest opinion of the product.

Posted in 2019, Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment