Times are weird, unsettling, emotional, frustrating. There’s not actually one word to fully describe what we’re all going through at the moment, and everyone’s experiences differ during this rather chaotic and unpredictable time. If you’re having a good day today then well done, it’s important to try and stay as positive as possible, however, if you’re having a bad day then that’s completely okay, just know that you’re not alone in feeling that way, you really just have to take each day as it comes and try to find some good within a negative situation. If you’re learning a new skill, language or just being super productive then give yourself a pat on the back, if you’re not and the most you’ve done is gotten out of bed, got showered and dressed then give yourself some credit too. Times are tough and the more it goes on, the more we are all starting to feel the effects of this so my advice is to not compare your time in lockdown to another individual’s.
It’s difficult when you’ve been stripped of your daily routines and schedules and all of a sudden you’re left trying to find ways to pass the time, keep your mind busy and to generally just keep yourself entertained day in and day out. I’m the type of person who struggles to stay indoors for more than a few hours, I constantly want to be on the go, keeping myself busy and making the most of my time outside of work. However, with our time outdoors now being restricted, I’ve been finding ways to ‘try‘ and keep myself occupied, and the reason for emphasising the word try is because I am trying. I can’t say my attempts work every day, some days I feel less motivated than others but that’s completely normal given the current situation. What gives me peace of mind is that I’m not the only person going through the emotions, the whole world is going through them too.
For this post I thought I would focus on my lockdown recommendations and what I’ve been doing to get through this period of uncertainty….I’m really just trying to wing it though.
LONELY PLANET COLOURING BOOK
I can’t say I’ve opened a colouring book in recent years, in fact it’s probably been well over 10 years since I’ve even attempted to colour, but what better time to start than now. Adult colouring books are now a big thing, being referred to as ‘art therapy’ as they’re ideal for relaxing and destressing the mind.
There are so many to choose from online, but I wanted to make sure I purchased one that was very me and that I’d actually look forward to using. Due to my love for travel and the lack of it that I’ll be doing for the remainder of the year, I opted for the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist Colouring Book, in hope that my mind gets whisked away to the destination I’m colouring in. With 100 best places on the planet to colour in, these are great for taking an hour or two out of your day, giving your mind something to properly focus on. Trust me, you really do need to focus as it’s hard trying not to venture out of the lines (my 5 year old self would be screaming at me). Just a couple of days ago I was sat at my window enjoying the very rare bit of warm weather that Scotland gets all whilst colouring in, and I can honestly say I’ve not felt that relaxed in a good while so I would highly recommend getting your very own adult colouring book.
I’m a sucker for a scrapbook, and a perfectionist too when it comes to this little hobby of mine. I take SO many pictures on my trips away that I never want them to go to waste by simply uploading them to an album on Facebook or sitting on my phone being untouched and not appreciated, so what better way to document my trips than with a travel scrapbook. I also keep any bits and bobs such as boarding passes, travel cards, attraction tickets, leaflets, literally everything and anything from my trips that I can stick in as an additional memory and to jazz the pages up.
What I love the most about scrapbooking is that it’s my own little project I can continuously work on over time, and something that I can one day look back on and reminisce on all the good times I had. This is something you really have to have the patience for though as it can get fidgety and surfaces can get messy from having pictures, accessories, scissors, and glue everywhere. That’s why I tend to only do a couple of pages at a time, and this appears to be working out for me with my travel scrapbook as I’m only having a couple of pages dedicated to each country/city that I have visited. This is a good hobby that can be picked up at any time of the year and can be spread over a certain amount of time to go back to when you feel like it.
LET’S GET BAKING
I can’t say I’m Mary Berry and I definitely won’t be appearing on Bake Off anytime soon (ever actually) but one thing I’ve been enjoying recently is baking, only the Betty Crocker baking kits as these are very straightforward for my lack of baking skills, but still. There’s nothing better than a kitchen that smells of freshly baked brownies or cookies. Am I right?
I’ve found that baking is another way to get you out of the one room you’re probably spending most of your day sitting in. Mines is my bedroom since I’m working from home and my desk is located in there, so it’s nice to get to spend more than 30 minutes or an hour in a different room, especially since we don’t have a garden to sit in and get some fresh air (you garden people are blessed). A few good recipe sites in case you are looking to get your bake on (or off) are:
Just because you’re not learning a new language, taking up knitting or doing daily workouts (I’m DEFINITELY not doing those), it doesn’t mean you aren’t doing this right. Whether you’re working from home or not, take the time to have a much needed break. Have a nice relaxing bubble bath, pamper yourself – hair masks, face masks, foot masks, cucumbers on the eyes, go all out. Have your own little spa day, whilst saving money because you’re not paying spa prices. Allow your body to have the down time, especially during a time like this when there may be days we feel a little less positive than usual, or a little more lonely than the week before. I know for a fact there’s certain points of the year when I burn the candle at both ends and my body is crying out for a rest, so I’m making sure to give it that well deserved break.
I’ve spent a lot of my time in lockdown obsessing over skincare and I’ll have a post going live on this over the coming weeks, it’s been good going makeup free and experimenting with different products to see if they benefit my skins needs. With physical social interaction impossible at the minute, unless it’s with the people in your household, make sure you give yourself a little more self love than usual. You want to be coming out of this lockdown feeling the best you can, especially mentally, as it’s obvious unfortunately that things aren’t going to go straight back to the way they were before.
You’ve all probably heard of this at some point recently, whether from friends or scrolling through social media. Netflix Party is a new feature that has come just at the right time. You simply install the extension which will appear beside your search bar in Google Chrome and you can stream a movie to watch with your friends and family at the EXACT SAME TIME. Literally. When one person pauses the show or movie, it pauses for everyone. Although you can’t physically see each other, there is a chat feature at the side if you want to do your usual commentary throughout a movie like I tend to do in real life. I tried this out for Tiger King and it worked well, although there can be times when it buffers if someone’s internet is maybe lagging, but this is definitely something to look into for during the lockdown period.
Yes, every Disney lover’s new obsession. “This is what dreams are made of” I mumbled whilst living out my childhood and picking the Lizzie McGuire movie as my first watch on Disney+. This new streaming service has everything from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and even National Geographic.
Costing only £5.99 a month or £59.99 for the year, this streaming service was a complete throwback for me, seeing some of my favourite Disney programmes I spent watching before and after school like That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zac and Cody, and Hannah Montana, I was in my element. You can get a free trial for one week to see whether it’s up your street, trust me you will be taken to the Disney side. I spent the first night on this going through absolutely everything and adding movies or shows to my watchlist. So far I have watched:
- The Lizzie McGuire Movie
- Mrs Doubtfire
- Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
I can’t wait to work my way through the rest of my watchlist during lockdown, we all know that classic Disney films are feel good movies so some of them will be sure to lift your spirits.
TRY OUT SOME NEW SNACKS
Does anyone else have a lockdown snack? At first mines were either scones with clotted cream and jam or pitta bread and hummus, but then I obviously ran out. Dilemma. Just recently though I was sent some snacks from Plant Pops and these have become my new go to lockdown snacks, but what exactly are plant pops?
- Popped lotus seeds
- Gluten free
- Less than 100 calories
- No artificial ingredients
I’ve never tried lotus seeds before and if I’m being honest I hadn’t actually ever heard of lotus seeds until I was sent these snacks, so I was curious to find out what they’d be like given that I can occasionally be a fussy eater. I was sent three flavours, 1) Himalayan Salt, 2) Smoked Chilli and 3) Peanut Butter. I thought I would take a packet in my jacket pocket for during my daily walk in case I got peckish and I’m glad I did. I tried out the Himalayan Salt first and I can agree that these are unbelievably delicious. I don’t know how to describe them, but they’re not as daunting as I thought, in a way this flavour in particular reminded me of salted popcorn. The seasoning just makes these the most delicious guilt free snack.
You can order these online for a reasonable price and they are now offering a Plant Pops & Chill’ snack pack or a ‘Plant Pops Work From Home‘ snack pack which is very creative and enticing….watch this space I’ll have one (or both) ordered by this time next week.
GET CREATIVE WITH TECHNOLOGY
Last but not least, simply get creative and bring any of your ideas to life. Although we can’t go between households and meet up with our friends, we’re so lucky to be in the age of technology, we can pick up the phone from wherever and whenever we like, and we can hold video chats with several people at the one time – it’s these little things that we should be grateful for. Technology has been my lifeline over the past few weeks so I’ve come up with a couple of ideas to mix things up a bit from your usual daily calls.
VIRTUAL AFTERNOON TEA
Tregothnan are currently selling a Virtualitea Afternoon Tea with Friends Box that comes with 10 teabags, 2 of each kind such as Earl Grey and Great British Tea. When I came across this I instantly thought that hosting a virtual afternoon tea would be something different to do with my friendship group. Each of us have now purchased this box which only costs £5, and even better, there are NO delivery costs, and we plan on hosting a virtual afternoon tea next weekend. We’ll be sipping on some good tea, a glass of Prosecco and even baking some sweet treats for the occasion. Yes I’ll be baking cakes to sit and eat all of them in front of my friends on my own in the kitchen, but will I regret it? Most certainly not. My idea went down a treat with my friends and I’m now looking forward to next Sunday for some pretty tea cups and pinkies in the air.
FACETIME DINNER DATE
Not in lockdown with your partner and your relationship has now turned into a long distance once? Communication and effort is key for keeping the romance alive. Why not order each other food if there are any food places in both of your areas that are still delivering and have it delivered as close to one another in regards to time. Once it’s arrived, eat your dinner together over Facetime with a little glass of wine, or make some cocktails with any ingredients and alcohol you may have lingering around the house. If you’re feeling extra romantic you could always add a little candle in to the equation.
Ideally, we all just want to fast forward a couple of months and be out of this situation for good (trust me, I know the feeling), but we just have to keep our chins up and try make the experience as positive as possible. That little bit of positivity you continue to hold onto may help someone else remain positive so look out for one another, check in on friends and family by text or call. It’s a strange situation for everyone but we will come out the other end of it together and hug your loved ones tighter than you could ever possibly imagine – what a day that will be.
Hopefully I’ve given you at least one suggestion for something to do during lockdown. What are your lockdown recommendations and what have you been doing to keep yourself busy during these times?