Category Archives: Family cooking

3 things for World Mental Health Day

It was World Mental Health Day recently and I couldn’t help thinking that there has never been a more apt time to be reminded of its importance. Here in the UK, it is difficult to describe what it has been like living through the past seven months of the Coronavirus pandemic and its effects without resorting to using too many swears. But it has been said more than once by far too many politicians that these times are ‘unprecedented’. Certainly, the stress of living through the Covid pandemic has been felt by most. Whether you are a healthcare worker caring for Covid patients while trying not to bring it home; a student returning to uni who is facing virtual classes and lockdown measures while taking the blame for Covid outbreaks; a worker who is trying to keep their job or their business afloat or still adjusting to months of isolation while working from home; or like most people, just trying to navigate themselves and their families through these strange times when changing government strategies seem to fail and only delay the return to normal life even further; it would be fair to say that most people’s mental health has been tested in some way.

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(Fallen) down but not out

What has always attracted me to running is that it is not cycling. Because cycling inevitably involves you falling off your bike at some point and that really hurts. Speaking as someone with much experience in this area, hitting the tarmac at speed, skidding into a tight bend and catching some ‘road rash’ or simply toppling over at a complete standstill is a much more painful experience when you are an adult. Of course, you don’t have worry about any of that when you go out for a run. You can completely relax as you jog along and enjoy your surroundings. Because unless you try to introduce a little parkour into your workout to mix things up, the act of running, itself, is a relatively safe endeavour. Or so I thought…until I fell over while out running not just once but twice within weeks of each other.

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When Lockdown leads to panini pressure

Week 6 of the Coronavirus lockdown and I detected a bit of tension among my 3 captive children. They had been bearing up pretty well until now despite their new home-based routines. The elder two, whose courses had been cut short, had mostly adjusted to living full-time with family members again rather than with their uni housemates. Like most students, they had gotten used to living with different standards of hygiene, tidiness and cultural norms. To be fair, cleaning up after yourself is hardly a priority when you are studying for a degree and who remembers that at home, full-scale burping can reverberate beyond a bedroom wall? Luckily, we already avoided their bedrooms so it was only in the shared areas of the house where there had been some slight clashes. Particularly, in the busiest and most often populated room of the house – the kitchen.

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Stir crazy

What a long 3 weeks it has been in the Coronavirus lockdown but I am slowly becoming accustomed to the new normal. Like many families, it was a bit of a shocker at first to suddenly have a full house again after the schools closed down. Balancing work with family life has become slightly trickier with everyone working from home but my main challenge at the moment is actually feeding everyone. With the big eaters from uni now back 24/7, the demand has ramped up exponentially with no plateau in sight. As for the supply, I have had to rapidly up my game by buying and cooking much more food to slow the perpetually emptying fridge. But that’s easier said than done. In a time of Coronavirus, the usual weekly shop is more like a secretive slow-motion game of tag.

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Jog on Coronavirus

I recently watched what was probably my children’s last rugby fixture to go ahead for the foreseeable future due to the Coronavirus outbreak but at least it was very memorable. Last weekend, I joined a slightly inebriated crowd of students at The City Varsity to watch the annual rugby head-to-head, clearly before social distancing was trending. As I watched Imperial College London’s1st team pummel the London School of Economics, rival crowds swayed and chanted to each other in a leery competition of who could sing the loudest and most outrageous lyrics. With the final whistle of the match, everyone surged onto the pitch to continue their messy celebration with the teams. After finding my son among his fellow players and congratulating him, he embraced me in a massive bear hug while coughing furiously. I reeled back in alarm and looked at him but he said quite confidently, ‘Don’t worry, it’s mucous-y!’ before grabbing me again.

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