Eight weeks into lockdown here in the UK and life seems to be settling into a bit of a routine. In some ways, I have been trying to recreate things I’d normally be doing in the outside world using new technology… work, training, catching up with friends. At other times, I’ve been discovering the benefits of slowing down, staying in and taking up a new hobby or two (in amongst chasing after my two children, who are keeping things… interesting!). One thing I have rediscovered for certain is that having the right tools alongside me enables me to get on with life with much greater independence and, therefore, enjoyment. So I thought I’d share with you my typical routine and a few of the things that help me day-to-day; items that are essential and ones that have helped to enhance it as I’m spending my time at home.
Our toddler loves the mornings – really early mornings! So I need my morning routine to be pretty quick and easy as I’m often bleary eyed to say the least! Getting dressed and ready for the day seems to include a lot of tricky jobs…buttons, zips, laces, toothpaste tubes are all a bit of a nightmare when you have reduced hand function, so I’m very grateful to have a range of simple but effective gadgets that mean I can get on with our day with minimal fuss.
Once we’re all up, we’ve been trying to start each day with some family exercise in an effort to tire the kids out (spoiler alert… it never works, they still have LOADS of energy!). Mostly, Joe Wicks has been keeping us motivated…even the smallest member of our family quite enjoys PE with Joe!
Working from home
After an early start, tea is definitely a must in our house before any work can begin! I used to really struggle with pouring boiling water from a regular kettle and once I’d made my tea, needed to ask my wife to bring it to whichever room I wanted to drink it in. I love the combination of this easy-pour kettle and a SpillNot, which means I am completely independent when making hot drinks now. So much so, the wife has put me on tea-duties for the foreseeable! I have always spent a significant percentage of my time working from home. It really helps that my home office is set up in the best possible way for me. So the transition to full-time working from home has thankfully not been too tricky. There’s just one small difference these days. While our eldest gets started on schoolwork with my wife, Jo, our little one often pops into the office to ‘help out’ by watching some cartoons on my computer.
I’m happy to admit that I really am not the greatest chef in the world and cooking complicated recipes is certainly not my ‘thing’! Many of us struggle with the processes involved in food preparation due to reduced grip, tremors or difficulty with fiddly fine-motor movements. However, despite being a pretty reluctant cook, there are a few tools that are now indispensable to me in the kitchen. Lunchtime is generally a time for relaxing at our house after a hectic morning of juggling work and children. With a good chunk of luck, the little one will go down for a nap, the eldest gets some screen time and it’s time for the grown ups to breathe!
Prior to lockdown, the gardening was generally Jo’s department. But this extra time at home has definitely opened up more time for pottering at home and consequently, some new activities have arisen. We’ve been so lucky with the warm weather recently – I find it makes a huge difference to my mood – and so I’ve been taking a break from work most afternoons to play out in the garden with the kids. We wanted to clear a little area to grow some new plants and put a big toy storage box, so Jacob and I got to work with our tools. The Right-Angled Trowel I’m using in the video is really effective and combined with our General Purpose gripping aid is easy to grip and use. I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed doing this gardening task. Working in the sun, with the kids, was a lovely way to spend time together and I definitely think this is something I’ll do more of in the future.
For me, exercising regularly is absolutely vital for my physical and mental well-being. I am a wheelchair racer and as part of my training, I would normally visit the gym once a week and train on the track with my wheelchair racing team twice a week. The other days are spent in my garage, which I’ve converted to a home gym. Now we’re home full time, I’m really grateful for zoom sessions with my racing team and have extended my usual routine to try to include a few of the exercises I’d normally do at the gym. Our set up is a little messy… the kids’ bikes and toys are slowly taking over but it doesn’t really matter. I just really value the opportunity to wind down from work and family life and to work hard physically. I try to workout 6 days a week and vary my exercise as much as I can.
If we’re lucky, by about 7 o’clock, the kids are ready for bath, story and bed… precious family time! Once they’re both sleeping, Jo and I have a well-practiced routine of wine, chocolate and some TV. It’s not exactly the wild nights out of our youth! But time to relax together and catch up is important…and to debate whose turn it is to do the early morning tomorrow!
Products used in video: Cutlery with Loops