Life

Marie Louise McConville: No celebrating here - just sad and lonely now that the kids are back in school

The return to school has left me with very mixed emotions
Marie Louise McConville

It's not at all how I expected it to be.

I thought I would be on top of the world, definitely on top of the tables, singing and dancing in celebration of my new found freedom.

Despite the kids going back to school this week, I didn't feel one bit like celebrating.

I left them both into school last Monday and it felt like the first day of school for both of them, and me, all over again.

It was only my deep breaths that stopped me from fully breaking down at the front door - not at all what I had expected.

After having spent much of the last year home schooling them both, my heart was breaking sending them back to the classroom.

I felt no urge to sing or dance or drink gin.

I just felt sad and lost and lonely.

While the last year has been quite the challenge, it has also given me something special - bonus time with my kids.

I've been able to work from home and while it has been hard at times to juggle working with teaching, deep down, I have loved my time with them.

Yes, there have been raised voices and stressed out times and tears at points but at the end of the day, I have been able to play a part in moulding them and helping them and educating them.

Aside from the homework, we also enjoyed many laughs, impromptu dance routines, Ninja strike downs, tea parties, art classes, trampoline bounce-offs and most importantly, extra cuddles and kisses.

On Monday, it was hard to have to say goodbye to that and let them go back to their real teachers - the qualified ones.

I spent the rest of the day counting down the minutes until it was time to pick them up again.

First day done, I thought it would get easier as the week went on but every morning at the school door, it was just the same.

It's just as well us parents have had to socially distance in the playground because I have been an emotional mess.

I just came home every day and buried myself in work until it was time to see their beautiful faces again.

I really missed them terribly and was relieved when this weekend arrived so I could spent time with them.

And of course, to make matters worse, the return to school has also meant the return to extra laundry thanks to uniforms and daily lunch-making - things we didn't have to bother with when home schooling.

It's funny because for the past year, all we have wanted and prayed for was a return to normality but now that the steps have begun towards that, I don't want it any more.

I just want the kids here with me, at the kitchen table where we can navigate split digraphs and learn about magic 'e' together - wow, now that's not something I ever thought I would hear myself say.

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I've finally found a fantastic new detective series on TV.

Now, when I say new, it's not exactly new as it is now in its second series but I think McDonald & Dodds is just brilliant.

The ITV series sees shy and enigmatic Detective Sergeant Dodds, played by the fabulous Jason Watkins, partnered up with the wildly ambitious Detective Chief Inspector Lauren McDonald, played by Tala Gouveia, to solve crimes in the very picturesque city of Bath.

The relationship between these two, which is kind of weird but comforting and sweet in a way, has me hooked on this series.

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There was great excitement in the McConville household this week with the return The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer.

I always feel uplifted when we step inside the famous Channel 4 baking tent and come on, what can be better than watching a host of celebrities baking up a storm in the kitchen - and messing it up?

This year, 20 famous faces have signed up for the charity version.

Each episode will see four celebrities battle it out over three rounds in a bid to be crowned Star Baker.

And, once again Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood are judging and Matt Lucas is hosting.

This week, it was the turn of singer, Alexandra Burke, Star Wars actress, Daisy Ridley, comedian Rob Beckett and TV presenter, Tom Allen and I have to say while the baking was less than impressive, the four of them were so much fun to watch.

The quartet had been challenged to make millionaire shortbreads, chocolate and raspberry tarts and a 3D cake showing what really irritates them.

Poor Daisy and Tom had a nightmare all night and while Rob began well and was hilariously funny, in the end, it was Alexandra who scooped the `Star Baker' apron.

It's great to see the Bake-Off back and I'll be tuning in next week to watch round two.

**Competitions will return in the coming weeks.

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