Working From Home in the Age of Covid-19

Like everyone else right now, I am working from home.

And I’ve been reading a lot from people who have never worked from home before, never mind worked from home while sorting out children’s schooling.

And I’ve seen a lot of ‘treat it like a regular day’ sort of posts. There is no way of treating lock down like a regular day is going to work for anyone with or without children at home.

Sure, you can get up at your usual time, wash, put on makeup/shave, and dress in ‘work’ clothes. But you can’t do the school/daycare run. You can’t stop and have a chat with the barista at the coffee place. You can’t even chat in the break room with your coworkers about last night’s TV watching!

And those are the things that mean you don’t actually work the whole time you’re at work. Let’s say you work 8 hours a day. You have an hour for lunch, so you need to fill seven hours.

I have never met anyone who works seven hours straight. No matter how busy or important they are.

For one thing, I’ve never been in a meeting in my nearly 40-year career that didn’t start with at least 10 minutes of bullshit. How is everyone? Did everyone see Jim do that thing in the break room? ::laughter:: Anyone going to The Who concert on Friday? Bill, did I hear you’re off to Milan for your holiday? Etc etc etc.

And I’ve been at meetings with people from my fellow Admins all the way up to Chief Executives and Chairmen

of the Board. There’s always chat. In fact, back when I was pregnant and working at The Northern Ireland Science Park (now Catalyst) I had to pop into a high-level meeting to bring our CEO some papers. I was just going to sneak in, give them to him, and sneak back out. Ninja is actually in the Personal Assistant job description.

PA Ninja!!

But I was stopped by one of the people in the meeting, a member of one of the governing bodies of The Science Park, who interrupted the head of her department to ask me when I was due and how I was feeling!! NB: she’s also the one who I had on the phone a few weeks before who asked me ‘Did I hear that you are with child?’ which was definitely the quaintest way anyone asked me that question!

Even if you don’t have any meetings during your day, you are spending some part of your day chatting with your co-workers. In my current office and desk location there is probably at least an half an hour a day of golfing talk. Maybe a half an hour of children talk. Sometimes longer of TV show talk. So that’s what? One and a half hours right there? It may not be that length of time in a row since a phone will ring, someone will get an urgent email, or someone will come over to see one of us. But it’s easily that long over the course of the day. So now there’s only 5.5 hours of actual work being done.

Even when I was an hourly worker at Target I wasn’t working every minute of my shift. People would stop to chat with me, I’d stop to chat with people. I’d take at least five minutes of every hour to just sort of stare into space!

Of course, the real issue is company expectations. During normal times, companies absolutely should have the expectation that if you are working from home you don’t have children to care for. But reasonable ones still don’t think you are going to sit at your computer for eight total hours. That way lies madness.

The emails that my company sent out when they announced WFH for all said something like ‘you are expected to be available and working during your normal working hours.’ “Available and working”. I, personally, take that to mean ready to jump if someone needs me but if my kid needs me, he comes first. But remember, I’m an office manager, who currently has no office to manage. So it’s actually pretty easy for me to keep an eye on email/Teams while I am doing other things as I have access to them on my phone, my iPad and a computer.

When things are normal I never have notifications on for either of my devices, unless I’m going to be away from my desk for a long stretch sorting something out, then I turn on notifications for Outlook and Teams on my phone.

While my whole office is WFH I have notifications on 24/7. I rarely get anything on either but it was a good thing they were on when one of the office’s computers stopped working completely and IT couldn’t do anything remotely so they pinged me and asked me to go to the office and reboot the machine. On a day I had taken off. Which was absolutely fine. It’s why my notifications were on. I am only one of five people who have complete access to the office when it’s locked and the alarm is set. And I’m only one of three people who have access to get into the office and access to our comms room.

During that same trip to the office I looked over our servers and found one on the edge of collapse (there’s lights on them that indicate status; I am not a server whisperer) so I reported that to our server team and went back the next day to replace the server.

I need to be available right now. So I am.

But I am also helping Adam with school work, keeping the house in some sort of order (oh man do I miss my cleaner!) and doing all of the other things I do when I’m at home. With, of course, help from Simon who is also working from home for the duration.

So what’s my point? My point is that you are not superman. Or woman. Or kid. You’re just you. And you can’t do it all.

So stop trying. Do your best.

And stay inside.

And wash your hands.

And don’t touch your face.

Hand drawn map of Scotland

Scotland Was Great But FlyBe Sucked

Let me start this by saying Vicki, Kelly, Lyndsey and I had an amazing time in Glasgow this weekend. We ate and drank and talked and laughed. We shopped and saw comedians. We stayed up way too late and slept in not quite enough.

But it almost didn’t happen.

Originally, our flight back was at 1050a. Perfect time to get us all back and into routines with our children and back to work and school on Monday.

Then I got an email. Your flight is now 810. Groan, but okay, good to get back early.

Then during the week another email. 1300. Which was find for me, Lyndsey and Kelly, but Vicki was supposed to be at work. So I called FlyBe and asked them what we could do. We could take a partial refund, so fly to Glasgow without a return, we could take a full refund, so cancel the trip, or we could leave at 1.

So I gather my ladies and we talked about it. (Okay, we did it on Facebook Messenger. Don’t pick nits!) Vicki was adamant she would just cancel her bit because she had just started a new job and didn’t want to mess them about.

However, the lady she works for is very nice and when she heard she said she’d cover until we got back to Belfast.

So we were off!

And then FlyBe started canceling flights. On the Wednesday they canceled Belfast to Glasgow morning flights. More panic. Was the whole thing being canceled?

Then I realized they were having trouble with early morning flights but they hadn’t canceled any at the same time as ours on the Friday.

And then it was Friday and we were on our way!

Now, I checked us all in online before we left on Friday and printed our boarding passes.

We had all agreed we’d only bring small liquids so we didn’t have to check any luggage. And we all got on the flight fine. Remember that. It’s important later.

We then proceeded to have an awesome weekend in Glasgow. Too much junk food. Too much alcohol. Lots of laughs and gossip and serious talk. The perfect Ladies Weekend.

So we head home. And I try to check us in via the App. Which tells me a new app is coming soon and to use the website. Except the website would only issue boarding passes to be printed. And we had no printer. So we all said ‘Okay, no problem, we’ll check in at the airport.’

We get to the airport and go to check in. I check in fine. They get to Kelly, and she can’t get her bag into their stupid metal bag measurer so she takes some stuff out and puts it into a plastic bag with her hand bag and then it fits.

Then Lyndsey. Manages to squeeze it in.

Then Vicki. Who knows there is no way it will fit into that stupid thing. And tells the man that it fit on the way over so what’s the problem? No pay, no boarding pass, go over there, it’s £40.

Now Vicki had put some of my stuff into her bag as I bought way to much, so I paid the fee. I wasn’t happy and I started Tweeting that I wasn’t happy.

So we get to the gate. And they announce that if you don’t have an approval sticker on your bag, come measure it. So people queued up. And then the FlyBe staff realized they had no way to take money so they waived all of the fees.

So we paid for Vicki’s bag and no one else (well one other person who had checked in at the desk) had to pay?

Then I really started raising a stink on Twitter. And was told it was policy. And that they couldn’t speak to others with their bags. And then they stopped answering me when I pointed out that every person who was suppose to pay at the gate got off scot free.

Then there was an incident after we boarded where one of the Flight Attendants was very rude to one of us, but that’s not my story to tell and it has been sorted anyway.

And FlyBe still won’t reply to my comments about their horrible procedures.

And suddenly their app is updated.

And I’m still out £40.

So my advice, to all is to not fly Fly Be (or Easy Jet, who apparently have done the same thing) unless you club together to pay for one case to be checked before you get to the airport so that you all can put your shopping in it on the way home.

And this blog post is going to be turned into an email to FlyBe.

To the highest person I can find an email address for.

And I am not the least bit surprised they have had to be bailed out.

A Change…

Today I have closed the Conscious Crafties Knitted By A Tee shop.


Lots of reasons. Mostly because I was paying for it and I wasn’t getting any work or sales from it.

So what if you want to buy something from me?

Contact me directly! will land you right in my inbox and we can work from there!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Okay, Yeah, It’s Been Nearly A Year

I’d say I’m sorry about that but really? I’m not. Things happen. Things don’t happen. Ya know. Life.

But I have just updated the privacy policy to align with GDPR (hey, I’m only 6 days late!). And some other bits and pieces, like the Welcome page and the About Me page, so I thought I’d pop over to here and give y’all a thrill.

Are you thrilled?

For the record, I keep almost no data on anyone. My digital data is kept by Conscious Crafties. Anything physical I have is under lock and key and I have the only key.

So your data is safe with me.

So what have I been doing?

Some of this. Some of that.

Some of the other.

I’ve been knitting and crocheting and turning 49 and planning Adam’s 9th and just general living.

I’ve had incredibly pain-filled days.

I’ve had perfectly normal days.

I’ve had mentally bad days.

I’ve had mentally good days.

I’ve just been being me.

How are you?

My BuJo

Me and My Bullet Journal

So, I don’t know about you, but my handwriting sucks.

It hasn’t always completely sucked. At one point, during my university career, I spent a lot of time working on it so it would pass my drafting teacher’s exacting standards.

And I did take my graphics classes at the juncture between by hand and by computer and back then I drew much better than I do now.

But in recent years, between arthritis and typing, it has deteriorated. A lot.

And so when I look at Bullet Journal (“BuJo”) layouts on the web, I am totally intimidated by how pretty they are!

BuJo Menu Plan Layout

My menu planning for the month.

The perfect handwriting. The beautifully drawn pictures, the various fonts! Fonts! Handwritten FONTS! FFS

And so it took me ages to start a BuJo. Because I knew I didn’t have the time, or the hands, to make one look like the pictures.

And then I saw one that wasn’t perfect. It was still nicer than I can do these days, but it was far from perfect.

And I started my own.

And I love it.

And I don’t follow any of the ‘rules’ of BuJos because, really, isn’t that point of one? You add to it what you need at any given time.

BuJo Goals Layout

My monthly goals. Spin is not exercising. It’s wool spinning!

So long as you title the page and number it and add it to your index, you’re good to go.

So, do you want to BuJo? Then BuJo!

So…What’s The Craic?

First of all, the sharp-eyed among you will realise that the URL of the site has changed. My former web host, aka my brother, decided to shut down his server and so we’ve migrated to a new host (NameCheap, if anyone cares) and given me a new URL. Which is actually my same URL that I’ve used for the company website since I started it seven years ago. Six years ago? Some amount of years ago.

But don’t worry about changing your bookmarks or that you’ll miss something because will get you directly to That’s the front page of the entire site now. It’s a nice picture of me, yeah?

Of course, if you don’t care about looking at my working or buying things from one of my shops (And why not? Huh?) you can add a new bookmark. To get directly here, to the blog, you need to use

Or you can come through the front door. That’s okay. 😀

Let’s see, what else…

We’ve purchased and moved into our new house. OUR new house. As in, we own it. Weeeeelll, us and the bank, at least. But we can do whatever we want to it. And we are. And we will. And it is awesome in be here. I’ll be posting some before and after pictures at some point. Major changes coming, actually, starting with a complete bathroom refit.

My mental health is good. My diabetes seems to be under control. My fibro/early degenerative disease/arthritis kicks my ass and steals my spoons on a regular basis.

But I’m knitting. And crocheting. And doing tapestry. And sewing. And being a mum and a wife. And I have just bought a drop spindle and some wool and a book and I am going to learn how to spin.

I wonder if Simon will notice if I put a new shed up in the garden to hold a spinning wheel and a shuttle loom…

Or maybe convert the attic? Image source:


Hooks, Eyes and Fine Motor Delay

As most people who read this blog know, my son, Adam, now 6, is Autistic. As is common with ASD, he also has some physical issues, including a fine motor delay.

This delay means he cannot button buttons or do hook and eye fastenings. He has just recently nailed snaps and zips but even those can be a struggle at times.

The other thing you may know is that Adam is tall for his age. Very tall. As in just over 48 inches tall. Yes. Four feet. At 6 years old. Never forget; I’m only 62 inches myself. So yes, he’s nearly to my shoulder.

In any case, this means that I could not find any school trousers without hooks and eyes for him this year. Luckily some of last years trousers were fine in length at the beginning of the school year. But, as he always seems to do, 4ish weeks into the school year he had a growth spurt and those trousers went from fine in length to borderline to nearly flood water length in the space of, I swear, a week. Or maybe even a day.

It’s been suggested I stop feeding him, but that seems a bit drastic to me. 😀

So I needed to solve the problem of how to get a hook and eye off and a snap on. I took a seam ripper to one of the pairs of trousers only to find that Marks & Spencer has some magic way of inserting the halves of a hook and eye through the fabric so I would have to cut the fabric to remove them. I made a face, sewed the seam back up on my machine and started thinking.

And this is what I came up with:

Final snaps
Snaps over hook and eye.

So, how did I do it? Let’s see!

First I gathered some stuff:

What I used.
Fabric, measuring tape, thread, needles, pins, snaps, seam ripper and cutting matt. Not shown: cutting wheel and yard stick.

Then I cut the fabric to size. I realized long after I was done cutting that it would have been neater if I’d allowed a bigger seam but by the time I realized that they had all been cut out and zigzagged stitched and I didn’t have the time to start over. Note: Yes. I used Avengers. No, it’s not technically part of his uniform. But since no one would know but us? I thought it would please Adam. And it did. 😀


Measuring the fabric
Measure twice. Cut once.
Fabric cut to size
All cut out with my wheel cutter, which is photobombing at the top there!
Close up of zigzagged edge.
Close up of zigzagged edge.










Snaps on fabric

Snaps in position for hand sewing. Yes, one of them is backwards. Again.

Next I hand sewed the snaps to the fabric pieces. Top Tip: Check you have the snaps the right way around. Then check again. And then again. I had ripped them out more times than I care to admit.







And finally, I machine sewed the strips over the hooks and eyes.

Snap, well, snapped.
Snap, well, snapped.
Final snaps
Snaps over hook and eye.












And when a small but very tall boy tried them on? Perfection!

The Process Series – Episode 1 – A Pocketful of Dandelions

This will be the first in an ongoing series about how the creative people in the world get to their finished product, from first thought to finished piece.

A Pocketful of Dandelions is a fantastic blog that is written by Vickie.

A Pocketful of Dandelions Logo

Vickie describes herself as “…a 40-something wife and mum from Hampshire. I’m a crafter and a self-confessed makeup horder. I write a little bit about everything I love, including the adventures I have with my daughter Bubs…”

Vickie just recently started filming both her unboxing of scrapbooking kits and showing how she uses the kits (and tons of other stuff!) and uploading to her YouTube channel.

What I love about her videos is that she doesn’t just show you the beginning and the end with maybe a tiny bit in the middle of where she puts items, but actually discusses the items, both ones that she used and ones she decided against, and shows her placing things around the page until it looks the way she wants.

Interspersed through out are her tips and tricks for layout and using various embellishments. For example, at 3:46 she is seen putting foam tape on the back of her central photograph and says she does this so she has room to put embellishments behind it. Granted, I’m not a scrapbooker, but that would never have occurred to me. I would have put the embellishments on first and then put the picture on top!

Final layout - Happy Scrapping - Don't look Down!

Happy Scrapping – Don’t Look Down!

This way she can place the picture and then see how various embellishments will look behind it.

She also mentions that she sorts her embellishments by colour rather than subject and we get to see her sort through her box of blue ones.

Watching her get to her final page is fascinating and her soft English accent is lovely to listen too as she talks through her whole process.

So head on over to A Pocketful of Dandelions and check all of her things out. You may learn something. I certainly did.

You can also catch up with Vickie on Twitter @vintagevicshop

Pic from Ikea

What I Did Today

I went to Ikea, is what I did today.

Pic from Ikea

I bought a few things.

On that cart are various bits and pieces, table tops and legs, chairs and storage to be turned into my ‘studio’.

I put studio in quotes because it isn’t going to be an actual room in the house, but an area of our dining room, against our back wall, which is glass and looks out over our back garden.

Our dining table will have to move just a tiny bit out and down (it’s hard to explain) but I have measure twice and shopped once (heh) and I’m sure it will all fit!

So tomorrow the nice Ikea delivery people will be bringing the table top, the legs, two storage units (Kallax, 4 cubes each) and a new comfy chair (in deep pink!) and I shall turn that end of our dining room into my studio.

I’ll still probably knit sitting on the sofa. And I definitely still use our dining table for laying out patterns.

But I soon will have 200cm long and 60 cm wide for my sewing machine and my yarn winder and really? Anything else that strikes my fancy.

More pictures when it’s done!