Guest Blog by Mel Osborne, of Sneyd Green, Stoke-on-Trent. Mel is a freelance writer and a Film, TV and Radio graduate from Staffordshire University. Mel lives with her husband, Simon and two children. Here the 44-year-old shares her fabulous tips on what to do to help try and keep everyone busy, and how to have fun during lockdown…

“At the beginning of this year, if you had said that I would have been spending spring time in lockdown, with my children off school for an indefinite time and eggs and toilet roll were luxury items then I would have thought you were describing a plot of a terrible film…

“Like many I had lovely plans for the spring including a trip to Cornwall and day visits to Trentham gardens. As a mother of a 10 year and a 13-year-old the thought of being isolated for a long period of time with them is a little bit daunting. As much as I love my family, the thought of 24/7 declarations of boredom and constant snack making is a lot to deal with, not to mention homeschooling.

So how do we keep well and stay sane? I have been scouring the internet and talking to friends in other countries to find out just what they are doing to cope.. and I have created a list of things to do..Stokie style!

1) Keep a routine. Lazing around in pyjamas is okay for a small amount of time, but the novelty wears off. Get up, get dressed, even if it is just to read your daily dose of positive news on BabaBaboon.co.uk!
2) Create a project for the children to do. If like in our house board games sometimes end in squabbles, why not try to encourage children to write a diary – write down their thoughts and ideas – be creative, rearrange bedrooms, or empty the box of Lego and build a huge creative building or maybe even a Potteries Bottle Kiln?
3) Were you training for the Potters Half marathon, or another big race? There are plenty of online exercise routines available and you could have a steps challenge with your family – pacing through the house and garden.
4) Use some time to catch up with some films. A play version of the film “Marvellous” is being performed at the New Vic Theatre later this year – but meanwhile why not catch up with the video online and learn about the Stoke City hero which the play and film is all about – Neil Baldwin.
5) Missing your oatcakes? Find a recipe and challenge yourself to make it to perfection!

“After week three of lockdown we started to fall into some version of normality. Whilst my husband is a Keyworker, I stay at home with the children, homeschooling. We take daily walks together when we can with our dog – something which we may not have generally done together! And we have enjoyed watching films together also!
“One of the reasons I chose to live in Stoke many years ago was because of the community spirit and kindness of others. Every day I am seeing posts on social media of local people trying to organise ways to get food to our vulnerable members of society. I think it’s important we stay in contact with people as much as we can, keep in contact with those alone, ring them, message them and maybe send them picture of your oatcakes attempts!

As stressful as this is, we will get through this and hopefully it will make us appreciate what we have in our lives even more…Thank you for reading my guest blog, Mel!

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