2020 has taught me I’m only nice when I can go out!

Ugh! Day 45,765,024 of lockdown and now we’re under curfew here in Melbourne. A State of Disaster is currently underway! For most of us who have been doing the right thing, this is just another smack in the face from the assholes that seem completely unable to think about anyone but themselves. Yes I’m looking at you, the party people and the 25% of people with a positive covid test who didn’t stay at home and isolate! IMG_8161

As I now have even more time to sit at home, #thankyou, I thought it was probably a good time to find a space that isn’t covered with pencils, umpteen Apple devices and crumbs, open my lap top and write about what this whole covid-19 disaster has taught me and what, if anything, I have learnt.

 


Liv’s Lockdown Learnings

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From very early on in this whole debacle, I came to the conclusion that in order to be a great teacher you must have oodles of patience, you must be kind all of the time, and you must be gently accepting of handwriting refusal. I can confirm I am not a great or even a good teacher. I have found the whole remote learning thing intolerable, unrelenting and downright cruel. I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed a minute of it. Remote learning has left me even more in awe of what teachers do every day, and when this is over I will be making a placard and marching for better pay, even longer holidays, and regular expensive gifts for all teachers!!

Staying Home, Staying Safe

The novelty of “staying home & staying safe” very quickly wore thin in our house!! There are only so many movie afternoons, and sweet little family games of scrabble you can play before you start turning on each other and throwing monumental tantrums. Being Super Mum, arranging all sorts of wonderfully educational activities, very quickly IMG_4472turned into 9 hour stints on the x-box and days without even seeing the children leave their rooms. I have battled with the screen time thing, I have gained about 20kg from insisting we all bake together, and I have vacuumed the bedroom carpets so often I think they need replacing.  I understand we need to do this for the sake of humanity but staying home for this length of time is brutal… Let me out!!

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Working from home

Is there even such a thing anymore? How can anyone work from home, whilst the dog whines for another fucking walk, the children need help with their work, and snacks need to be made every 18.2 seconds?

I work from home even when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic and I’ve always been great at organising myself and my time, not anymore! The thought of actually having to get work done within any sort of time frame, has become a gargantuan task that feels like walking with my eyes closed, through treacle with splinters in every one of my toes. Yes, it’s that bad!IMG_3839

Meal times

Where do I even start? How can anyone even…….

Being nice

This far into lockdown, I have almost given up even attempting to be nice if I don’t feel like it. It’s all I can do to grunt at my family when I get up in the morning. The thought of what lies ahead each day literally mutes me from the instant my eyes peel themselves open through the mascara I’ve slept in. *Hey, don’t judge me, I’m living through a pandemic…  I appreciate we’re blessed to have a roof over our heads, to have food and warmth, but god, everyone is annoying me!! The way they speak, ask for food, drop stuff, trip over things, breathe, chew their food, change the channel on the tv, ASK ME QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME….. I’m a grenade right now and my pin has been pulled!IMG_4976

So, what have I learnt?

2020 has taught me I really, really like going out!! I like going out to eat, for walks, to socialise, to drink, to dance, to visit places, to travel, to sightsee, to explore, to meet new people, to work, to exercise, to shop; and if I can’t go out, I’m not a very nice human…….. So, for the sake of my family, please, please stay home, stay well and do the right thing. Our sanity is relying on you all!!!

 

 

Do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s called integrity!

IMG_7440Liv xx

 

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A cuppa with Molly from The Kirks Crazy Life

I spent a little piece of my week chatting to the gorgeous Molly from The Kirks Crazy Life. I met Molly a while back, and immediately I knew she was a lovely person. She’s one of those people who gives off a good vibe and you know instantly that you’re going to get along!  If you want to follow someone on Instagram who is ‘doing life’ with a passion Molly’s ya gal!


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Hey Molly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years now, and I am a mummy to my 9 year old daughter Audrey, my 5 year old son Marquez and my son Christopher who was stillborn 7 years ago. I moved to Melbourne 11 years ago from New South Wales and I now live in the outer Western suburbs of Melbourne. I love it!

Our family loves to travel, explore different places and DSC_0754create memories together. My favourite thing in the world is to spend quality time with my family and that’s how I make the most out of life. Of course, I also love shopping too!!!

So what inspired you to create The Kirks Crazy Life?

I originally started posting on Instagram when my youngest was born as a way to share photos with friends and shop small business. Fairly early on the children started repping for small businesses and helping to bring awareness of their products. After a while it evolved again to photos featuring the whole family, our adventures and all the products that I love and use. The inspiration really came from my love of fashion, travel and photography which I am really passionate about.

How are you coping with not being able to go far right now? I know you’re a big travel fan.

Staying home has definitely taken some getting used to. We are so used to getting away, so to not be able to do that has definitely been tricky for us. We, like lots of others, had the disappointment of having to cancel all our trips DSC_0812this year due to Covid, including a long awaited trip to Greece and Italy in May.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a little cry when I had to cancel everything. But having to stay at home is the best option for us right now and we’re definitely looking forward to getting away as soon as we’re able.

In the meantime I have started paying more attention to my indoor plant collection and keeping myself busy to avoid going stir crazy. Current restrictions have made creating the content I love to create difficult, but we all need to do the right thing and get through this together.

When you look back on 2020 what do you think you’ll say it taught you?

I have really embraced a quieter life for the time being. It’s nice to stop and be bored sometimes, it gives you time to think. Spending simple days at home or in the backyard reminds me of parts of my own childhood and the things I did with my family growing up. Most importantly I have learnt that it’s ok to have quiet weekends at home and we don’t always need to be on the go to make memories as a family.

I do love the fast life and fear it will probably come back with a vengeance once I have more freedom to travel safely – Molly

Since homeschooling, I have found a passion for teaching.

I have always wanted to train to be a teacher but have been too scared that perhaps it wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, some days remote learning with my daughter is testing but I am so happy to have been given the opportunity. Now I’m able to be more involved in Audrey’s learning it has taught us a lot about each other. I enjoy seeing how Audrey is progressing plus I get to learn more about how her mind works. It has definitely brought us closer together and I am very proud of how she is coming along with school. As for Marquez, he is loving having Audrey home more and adores spending time with her on her breaks.DSC_0255

Lockdown has also seen us enjoying new projects around the house, and involving the kids in what we do. I’m looking forward to renovating my laundry and repainting the kids’ cubby house which are next on the list. 2020 has also taught me that I probably didn’t need to visit my shopping centre daily!!!

Is there anything you have loved about being in lockdown that you’ll continue to enjoy when we finally get our freedom back?

One of the things I have really loved is being able to spend more time with the kids and just relax without any other pressures or time restrictions. I will definitely be making sure that once everything goes back to normal we will save some weekends where we do nothing at all and just hang out as a family. I’ve also really enjoyed paying more attention to myself and my skin care regime. Self care really helps me switch off and relax so I’ll be making an effort to stick at it.


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Follow Molly and her family enjoying their ‘crazy life’ full of awesome adventures!

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Connection is Key for Louise Larkin

I was lucky enough to steal some time from Louise Larkin, the heart and the brains behind Friend in Me. We had a chat about how she is coping during these uncertain times and how the restrictions have changed the way she is living her life. Louise is not only a beautiful mama and a rad business woman, she’s also an all round bloody good human.


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Lou Larkin – Founder of Friend in Me

Today I found myself listening to heaps of live music, and the memories came flooding in. You know those days where we could go and dance in the sun, be with our friends, listen to our favourite band belting out our favourite tunes, making memories. Yeah those days. 

I can’t help but keep asking myself, “when will we get the opportunity to do that again?” I feel a little sad.  Not only for our kids, but for our world and our future.Louise L

As I was driving to get necessities this morning, I looked out my window at a very grey Melbourne. I began to wonder what people would say if they knew I was leaving my home. Would they judge me?

As I looked ahead at the people walking the streets, some with masks on, I began to notice how afraid I am feeling. I am scared of the future, I am scared of the world we are living in today. I realised I’m scared of the “new normal.”

Who’s in control?

I regularly get asked how I am feeling and how I am coping through this pandemic and I can mostly say that I am remaining positive. It’s true, despite the words at the beginning of this article, I am trying my best to focus on the things I can control and not on the things that I cannot. I think that’s critically important for everyone, especially when we have children who are watching our every move and looking to us for words of support. 

I can control turning off the news and not getting caught up in the hysteria of media.
I can’t control what they’re saying or showing, so I just switch it off!

I’m immensely happy that I have a beautiful, healthy family who are safe, and I am aware that we are amongst the lucky ones. Rather than sit feeling sad for the people that have lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their independence, I am making an effort to reach out to them and offer kind words, and assistance where I am able. 

I feel happy that my mental health is stable and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however I am equally aware of the thousands of people who are suffering in a world of turmoil and darkness. There may not be anything I can do to dramatically impact their lives, but I support charities, I reach out to friends, I talk to my children about being mentally healthy, and I make sure that mental health stays a top topic in our house.  Lou3

I am happy that my organisation Friend In Me can still bring so much magic to children who are stuck indoors and cannot have that social interaction that they so deserve.  Friend in Me promotes inclusive communities and is on a mission of making sure no child is left behind, not just in this pandemic but in every day life. To be in this position of bringing so much joy to children’s lives, makes me realise how very fortunate we all are to be living in a time where technology allows us to connect despite the distances between us. Connection is key to getting through this. 

 So what do I do to cope?

I get so much joy out of checking in on my friends, my loved ones, strangers in the street, so I make sure this is a part of my day. **We need to do that more. Less hate. More Love. 

I don’t get caught up in scrolling through pages and pages of social media, ending up saturated with the doom and gloom. I limit my screen time, and stick to it!

I surround myself with positive energy. Whether it’s great music, relaxation exercises, or walking outside and really breathing in the air, taking time to find the positives in your day is incredibly beneficial.Lou5.jpg

I also regularly buy a coffee for my neighbour just to show I am here for her. #itsthelittlethings

I will be ok. We will all be ok.

Of course, I have no idea when this will all be over, or what the new normal will look like in 6 months time, I am however, certain that if we continue to put one foot in front of the other and focus on the job ahead we will all be better together. 

Go gently Friends, the world needs us all to unite and please, please always be kind – Louise Larkin


 About Friend in Me

The Friend in Me organisation brings together children of all ages, nationalities and abilities to dance, play, sing, create and most importantly, make lifelong friends and memories they will cherish forever. These events will ensure “no child is left behind”. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

SIGN UP HERE FOR THE FRIEND IN ME DIGITAL DISCO SATURDAY 25TH JULY AT 1PM

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Life, Loves and Lockdown

Lockdown is well underway *again here in Melbourne so it’s a perfect time to see how others are doing it!! Here’s a sneaky peek at ‘Lockdown Life’ from Melbourne’s best local biz cheerleader, charity fundraiser and all round good human!

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Liz Paganoni – Life Loves & Liz 

Staying home and not having to interact with others face to face, is the stuff Liz’s dreams are made of. Mostly. Wow. Is Liz a crazy lady? Sort of! She is an introverted homebody, so lockdown isn’t that uncomfortable for her in all honesty.

I’m now going to stop referring to myself in third person, because ‘weird’, and delve a little deeper into the situation. I’ll start with a brief introduction. My name is Liz. I’m a wife to Tom and mum to three babes, Ella (11), Alex (10) and Anna (about to have an iso 7th birthday).  We are a fairly regular family. We work hard, and we play hard! We enjoy spending time with friends and family, we love food and drinks and hanging out together.

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When Lockdown 1.0 hit, we were in the midst of a bit of a health crisis. Given it wasn’t mine, I’m not going to go into it any more, but suffice to say ‘Lockdown’ was somewhat of a blessing in disguise. We were able to block out all outside pressures and work through what happened as a family. Gone were the external pressures of work, school, sport and social things that pretty much kept us busy 7 days a week. So, it was a great chance to heal. On the flip side, not being able to access outside help was hard. Thankfully, with the assistance of a medical team (via phone), friends and family and plenty of messages, we were able to deal, and I am actually somewhat grateful for the lockdown. It was like a giant pause button had been pressed and we had time to stop.

Lockdown wasn’t all healing and dealing though, we also had the time to do other stuff, like clean out the pantry…and the plastics cupboard….and all the other totally boring stuff that ordinarily, the craziness of life helps you to put off.  

For the kids, not going to school was HUGE. They’re all baby nerds and absolutely love school so they were devastated at not being able see their teachers and friends every day.

Liz8When the whispers of no school first began, we whipped up some lists and schedules quick smart and got into a great routine. We all had chores to do every day, we all had time allotted for exercise and we all made time for work. The most important aspect for us was the exercise component, making sure the kids (and I) got outside each and every single day for fresh air and movement. It’s easy to forget how much incidental exercise kids do every single day at school, before school and during play times as they run around doing whatever. 

On the subject of school, we are really lucky. Our kids LOVE school (I’m yelling that out because that is how they actually feel about school), so remote learning wasn’t all that bad for us. Ella and Alex are very self motivated, sat down every day and smashed out their work. I’m so grateful for these two and how well they did over the period. Anna was a bit harder to work with but at that age, it’s to be expected. She’s in grade 1 and I’ve discovered she likes things done a certain way, at a certain time on a certain day. And boy, if you deviate from this unknown schedule, things are not going to be done! However, she must have learnt something as her reading has skyrocketed right up to grade 2 level.  #WinningLiz4

I could probably write a 1000 page thesis on my thoughts about lockdown and iso but BORING. I guess my main points about getting through lockdown (which is actually me living my best homebody life) are these;

  • View it is an opportunity. An opportunity to ditch all the external pressures that take up so much time. An opportunity to bond as a family. An opportunity to clean the bloody plastics cupboard out.
  • Schedule your days. Schedule in chores. (The kids are home more thus can do more chores).  Work in exercise/movement time (we found 2 x 1hr blocks within the day worked for us and work/school blocks. Having a schedule means you don’t turn into a PJ wearing couch potato *not good for your physical, mental or emotional health.
  • Set goals. This time round I’ll be walking every single day working up to running. You can check up on me on Strava if you like (Liz Paganoni) and keep me accountable! Walking each day means I have at least an hour away from the kids, self care, which helps me stay sane. 24/7 with the kids is hard right?! I also have work goals too. Lockdown is a great opportunity to work on things you might not normally have time for.
  • Make friends with online shopping…. and your local bottle shop. But also make sure you have AFD’s each week…because, balance! Buy from local businesses who have probably had the worst year ever between bushfires and COVID. You have plenty of time on your hands to find rad new biz’s to support after all! Spread the word of the local businesses you use. They will love you for it and you’ll feel good to.
  • Check in with others. Introvert or not, you still need to interact with others. A text convo here, a Zoom chat there, it benefits both parties. Make it a goal to chat to a different person each day?

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Lockdown is hard but we’ve done it once and we can do it again, as long as we support each other. I believe in you all. And if I can help in any way, please let me know.

Liz xxx 

You can follow Liz and her journey through life, loves and Lockdown via her website and on her socials below xx

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