Saturday 16 January 2021

77 Months #TBCSmiles January 2021

I'm a day late with the smiles this month. Life got in the way, or more precisely intermittent Internet and my eldest son's birthday. I could have worked till after the young boys were in bed, and finished the post last night, but sometimes other things are more important.

I think we're all better at picking out exactly what's important now. We've spent a year learning what has been essential for our wellbeing, and what we can manage without. We have definitely realised the value of people in our lives, and not only those we love the most. Humans need other humans, even if just to say "hello" as you pass by each other in the street. 

This time of year can be hard any time, during a pandemic virus there's a high chance it's more so. The lights and sparkly decorations are down, but it's still gloomy and dark most of the day. We're a bit bored of anything with marzipan or crackers, but picnics in the sunshine are a long way off. With Christmas gone, we have a long stretch ahead before Summer, and it can all feel a bit directionless and droll. Under lockdown that's amplified by about a bazillion. Don't you dare lose hope...

While the UK admittedly is in a pretty dire position right now, but it's exactly NOT the time to feel it's pointless. We can see the light at the end of Jonathan Van Dam's tunnel. We ARE going to be in a completely different position by Easter. Spring shoots and NHS jabs bring with them new hope. We WILL get a Summer, and next Christmas will feature far more humans. 

Christmas dinner in my household. Hectic scene with people putting food and crackers on the table, and a boy in the middle grinning with double thumbs up

Don't just sit it out, that always makes it last longer. Watch for Spring coming. Listen to those birds, squawking now to alert everyone else to a feast or a threat, but very soon they'll be looking for tufts of dry grass to nest. The insects are in hiding, but more closely you see cobwebs and miniature non-stop worlds. The trees are bare and the colours are gone from the garden, but the sprouts and greens of new life are already beginning. Take a moment to enjoy the freshness after the rain, the crisp cold of an early morning, and the warmth of the sun on your face in a gap through the cloud. We have hope. 

You can see the hope shining through in the smiles this month, and a huge thank you to everyone who joined in and shared theirs on Instagram with the hashtag #tbcsmiles. EVERYONE is welcome to join in. Any smile shared is a smile that makes more smiles, and that is always a good thing... 

Here are just 9 of the biggest smiles from the last month, and a special mention for all of you with the matching Christmas pyjamas! They may be irrefutably cheesy, but heck, if it's a reason to make sure you get a great photo of yourself every year, it's a definite win. 

77 months TBCSmiles January 2021 Collage of 9 photos featuring smiles

The above smiles, chuckles and giggles were shared by the following Instagrammers: 

_Moolboots / Casacostello / FamilyFever
Hodgepodgedays / EarthBasedFun / Hollybobbs
WeMadeThisLife / Over40andamumtoone / MummyMelton

My family made our own smiles too. Christmas was very special for us, as it was the first time in a year that our London Uni student was even able to come home, and the first time the rest of the kids have been able to get together since Spring. To have all of our children in one place laughing and chatting was something we'll never take for granted again... 

A collage of my family smiling, many taken at Christmas dinner

From all of us here at The Brick Castle. We can, and we will, get through this, and maybe we will learn some lessons about humanity along the way. 2021 will start badly, but it WILL get better. May our 2021 be substantially better than our 2020. Best wishes for the new year. 

small boy with fancy port glass full of cola chinking glasses in a toast with others off screen

It can be an especially hard time to cope with. Don't be alone. If you are struggling, there is always someone you can talk to. If you can talk to someone you know, please do. We're all struggling a bit this year, you may find more support than you imagined possible. Likewise, check in on your mates. 

If you don't feel able to talk to someone you know, then speak to your GP. Talking therapies can help, it doesn't mean they'll put you a prescription if you don't want one, and they can signpost you to local and online specific support. 
If you are really struggling, The Samaritans are on hand 24 hours a day. If you are a young person or are worried about another young person, you may feel more comfortable talking to Papyrus or Childline. But don't you dare give up. We can get through this. All of us. 

If you don't understand why you should stay, here are Five Reasons Why You Shouldn't Decide To Leave This Christmas Or In The period Thereafter.


  1. Always my favourite posts. Look at those beautiful beaming smiles. xxx

    1. They are lovely - as are you. Hope you are much recovered now xx


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