It took over a quarter of a year, but in July 2020 lockdown finally eased enough for us to spend quality time with friends and family.
A few weeks on from the end of most lock-down restrictions, it's time to take stock of all the things we can suddenly do again, and a few we still can't.
Can't do: A Hug
It's been a long few months, and not being able to share a hug with family has been tough, especially for the kids. As soon as we can we plan on giving parents, siblings and relations a big squeeze just because we can. For now, only those living on their own may hug somebody from another household, an adherence with the Government's 'support bubble' rules.
Can do: A Family Photograph
This may not immediately spring to mind but looking back through my phone in the past few months I've got lots of pictures of family – but none of us all together. Photographs will go on to become treasured possessions so I can't wait to document the first time the whole family gets to meet up -- even if it is at a distance.
Can do: A Meal Out
It is now possible to enjoy a meal out, so long as we stay at least a metre from anyone who is not in our immediate household.
Can do: A Shared Holiday
At last, holidays look like they're back in business which means that annual family holiday can be booked. Bring on the lazy mornings crammed around the table, the sneaky nights out thanks to built-in babysitters and someone else to amuse the kids when you're on your fifth teddy bear's picnic. Don't fancy leaving the country yet? Try one of these top UK destinations.
Can do: Lending a Good Book
If you prefer the pages of a physical book over the tap tap tap of an electronic reading device then the chances are you got many of your books from family who would make recommendations and lend you copies of books they've enjoyed. As fears over the virus spreading diminish a little it looks as though lending books and magazines can happen again and we're sure our bank accounts will thank us for it.
Can do: Sharing a Cake
I don't know about you, but I've spent much of lockdown upping my baking skills and then having to eat my efforts with only my household. We can now share our edible creations with loved ones without fear of breaking the law (and obviously we hope to wow them too!).
Can do: Hitting the Spa
Spas reopened in mid-July. If anyone needs a relaxing trip to a spa it's all of us for enduring the tough conditions coronavirus enforced on us! We can't think of a better way to relax and enjoy time with family then wrapped in a snuggly dressing gown, cucumber slices on eyes and a glass of fizz in hand.
Can do (soon): The School Run
If you live locally to family and have children of similar ages then the school run was the ideal time to have a quick catch up and coffee with relatives. With schools planning to resume fully in September, the school-run meet will be back on, hopefully.
Can't do (yet): A Family Trip to the Panto
We've had our panto tickets booked for ages and we're keeping our fingers crossed that all goes to plan, with some indoor venues starting to reopen. Sadly we missed out on many family theatre trips in the past few months, so a fun-packed panto trip will make up for that.
Can do: Planning An Easter Egg Hunt
So we know Easter has already passed us by – and the annual Easter egg hunt and choc-fest fell a bit flat this year without loved ones around us. We intend to remedy this with a family treasure hunt with chocolate treats to find for all.
Can do: Impromptu Coffee Dates
How we have missed those days of spotting Auntie Doreen in John Lewis and grabbing a coffee and a slice of cake for an impromptu catch up. As town centres slowly start to return to a new normal and cafes open up to customers who want to eat in, we'll hope this will be back on the menu too.
Can do: Cooking a Family Roast
While lockdown may not have prevented us from enjoying a roast it has meant that we'd not been able to gather all of the family together to enjoy one. As restrictions ease it is now possible to gather our nearest and dearest and dish up a hearty Sunday roast that we can linger over and enjoy together -- though remember to keep a separation of at least a metre.
Can't do (yet): Celebrating Missed Birthdays
We're surely not alone when we lament all of the missed birthday celebrations. This can only be rectified by one enormous missed birthday celebration. A chance for loved ones to raise a glass to being one year older. While small gatherings are now permitted, a full-on children's party is still not really an option... and forget about the softplay.
Can do: Catching Up on the Gossip
Weekly Zoom sessions just aren't conducive to staying in the loop with family going-ons. As soon as we can meet we'll need several days to catch up on everyone's news.
Can do (sort of): Planning a Play Date
Most parents will, by now, have got together with at least one other family for a play date. Having fun in a park, garden or even home is now perfectly allowed, although children and their parents should try to keep members of separate households at least a metre apart.
Can do: Enjoying a Family Wedding
If wedding plans were shelved when coronavirus hit, now's the time to get them back on track. With (socially distanced) weddings now permitted once again, we can't wait to hit the dance floor for a boogie and to raise a glass to the happy couple.
Can do (sort of): Bringing Together Grandparents and Grandchildren
Those with young children will know just how hard it has been for grandparents and grandchildren not to physically see each other. One of the first things on the post-lockdown list is to meet with grandparents so they can marvel over how much their grandkids have grown/learned/changed during lockdown. Note that hugs and kisses are still against the rules (see top of list) for most households.
Can do: Booking a Night Away
I'm secretly looking forward to the day when I can ask the grandparents to have the kids for a night so we can sneak off to a hotel for a child-free evening.
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