My Thoughts on the Easing of Lockdown


Hey everyone!

Boris Johnson recently announced that as of the 4th July, 2020, many indoor venues such as cinemas, shopping centres, pubs, restaurants etc will be allowed to re-open in the UK, as well as the possibility of the 2m distancing rule being lowered to 1m. I have many thoughts, which I thought I would just let out on this space.

In all honesty, I am worried. Maybe I’m being too cautious, but I have a bad feeling that it’s way too early for this to be taking place. I know that in the UK, numbers have been getting lower with each passing day, but I just feel uneasy about things starting to go back to “normal”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I want more than to see my friends again and socialise somewhere that’s not a park… but considering the UK’s track record with how the government dealt with the virus, I just feel like we need to give it some more time before opening up the doors to the pubs.

I get that the economy needs people to go back to work, and buy things, and do the usual spending that we did before lockdown. I get that it’s important; hell, I’ve been unemployed for 3 months and all I want to do is know that I can go and work… although as an ESL teacher, my line of work is actually abroad… but that’s another story for another day. I do understand the importance of opening up shops and bars and restaurants, but I can’t help but feel that at this rate, a second spike in cases will be inevitable. I’d like to be proved wrong in the future, but right now no one knows what will happen. There is still no cure for this virus, and who’s to say that come winter, when people have got used to socialising again, that things will go back to how they were a couple of months ago?

I have a lot of thoughts, as you can tell, and I’m not sure how to articulate them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is in this mindset, and that is feeling a bit confused about everything that has been going on for the past few months. I know that I’ve definitely fallen into a routine of doing nothing, at least compared to my “normal” life before lockdown, and the thought of going back to that does excite me, but I’m just worried that now maybe isn’t the right time. We still know so little about this pandemic, and I guess it’s the not knowing that puts me on edge.

I’d be curious to know your thoughts on the easing of lockdown; are any of you feeling as uncertain as I am?

– Janet

8 Things I Want To Do After Lockdown


Hey everyone!

I’m sure, like many of us, I’ve been thinking about the light at the end of the very long, dark tunnel, that is this pandemic we’re living through at the moment. I often find myself daydreaming about things I can’t wait to do, and people I’ve been longing to see; I’ve imagined multiple emotional reunions with friends that I haven’t seen since October; and I’ve been impatiently waiting for that first Saturday morning when Parkrun is officially open again.

But I won’t give this whole post away, so let’s get straight on into the things that I am most looking forward to once lockdown is officially over!

Visit Winchester

Winchester is my home away from home. It’s where I studied my undergraduate degree, it’s where I met some lifelong friends, and it’s one of the most picturesque cities in England (in my humble opinion!) It will always have a place in my heart, and the longer I spend away from this city, the more I want to go back and visit!

Parkrun!

I already mentioned this earlier, but I cannot wait to go back to my weekly Parkrun! It was something I really missed while I was in Thailand, and it was one of the top things I was looking forward to going back to when I came home… so much for that! I have been trying to get out on runs whenever I can while I’ve been in lockdown, but it’ll be so nice to be surrounded by people again, and feeling that Parkrun buzz. I’m also excited to be able to sign up to charity races (or just general races), because I’ve only done two in the last year, and they were so much fun!

Visit friends

Again, this is very obvious, but something I’m excited for nonetheless. Like I said, there’s a lot of people I haven’t seen since at least October 2019, as I jetted off to Thailand for five months… little did I know I’d be coming back home into lockdown! I have been doing facetimes and skypes and zoom calls with a whole bunch of friends, which has been amazing, but nothing beats the feeling of having a good old fashioned, face-to-face catch up. I think this is one that I am most excited for!

Being able to travel

Although I’m excited to see people here in the UK, I can’t wait to be able to travel again! And I guess that also includes travelling around the UK. In line with the previous point, I would happily do a week-long road trip across the UK if it meant visiting every single friend who I haven’t seen in ages! And of course, I can’t wait to be able to travel internationally again. As a TEFL teacher, a lot of my work is abroad, and I did have travel plans for August of this year- still TBC- and it was something I was really looking forward to. It will be so nice to be able to travel without feeling terrified or anxious or guilty during this pandemic! This also means visiting family and friends who live in South Africa, other friends who live abroad, and hopefully one day being able to travel back to Thailand!

Get a job!

This might be a surprising one, but something I’m excited for anyway. Like many people at the moment, I am technically unemployed. I tried and tried (and am still trying) to get online teaching work, but it looks like everyone is in the same boat, and there’s very little work going. Surprisingly, I miss working! As much as I have enjoyed chilling out at home – it was definitely needed – I miss having a sense of purpose. I also found that I really love what I do, and now that I’m not doing it, it’s all I want to do!

Go to the cinema

The last film I watched at the cinema was Joker, before I went to Thailand. It was great, but little did I know that it would be a verrrry long time before I’d set foot in a cinema again, with that smell of popcorn and sugary drinks… Going to the cinema is one of my all-time favourite pastimes, especially when there’s a really good film on. So of course, this is something I’m looking forward to doing once this has all blown over!

Sit in a cafe with a friend (or a good book)

I just want to sit in a cozy little cafe somewhere off the main hightstreet of a city, with either a good friend, or, if I can’t find one, a good book. I find it so relaxing sitting with a hot drink, a sugary snack, and someone (or thing) to keep you entertained for hours, with the dull background noise of people talking, and barristers making coffee. Ah, bliss

Browsing in Charity Shops

I love going into charity shops, and having a look around at all the things they have to offer. I will almost always go to the books section of any charity shop, and happily spend hours and hours looking at all the covers. I’ve had to make do with buying my books online for what feels like the longest time, but I’m so excited to finally go back and support the local charity shops in my area, who I’m sure will be delighted to let customers back into their doors.

I’d be interested to know if any of them are similar or different to the things you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

-Janet

Some Lockdown Essentials


Hey everyone!

I thought I’d write a post listing a few of the things that have been getting me through the recent lockdown extension in the UK. For those who don’t know, we were initially under a three week lockdown, which has now been extended to a total of six weeks… at this point, no one knows if it’ll be extended any further! But these things have been a bit of a foolproof method of keeping me somewhat sane with the lack of socialization due to social distancing.

Technology

Obviously, I have a blog as well as a Youtube Channel (which you can check out here!) so having some standard pieces of technology are quite essential! I use the Canon EOS M3 camera to film vlogs and videos on for Youtube, and I do also use this to take pictures for my blog, as and when I need to!

Of course I do also have my laptop and my phone for general social media browsing purposes, and if I’m being completely honest, I use these things the most! As much as I’d like to try and reduce my screen time on my phone, in times like these it is important to keep in touch with loved ones- be it friends or family, or anyone else!

Arts and crafts

So this is basically a section dedicated to my bullet journal, and all the stationary I have to create spreads! For those who don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s essentially this system of organising your life in a diary of some kind. I am currently using a dotted notebook from Typo, and it’s okay but not my favourite. It serves it’s purpose, so I can’t complain.

Although I don’t necessarily have anything to plan while in lockdown (as I’m currently still unemployed) it’s still nice to have a creative outlet that doesn’t require a screen. I always loved drawing and doodling at school, so this is a really nice outlet for me to carry on doing something that I would otherwise neglect.

The majority of my coloured pens are Crayola supertips, as well as some Stabilo point max pens that I’ve had for about two years, and they’re still going strong! Another firm favourite of mine are the Stabilo Boss original pastel highlighters, which again have lasted well over the past couple of years.

Fashion

Of course, I couldn’t talk about the current lockdown situation without talking about comfy clothes. My entire wardrobe is full of comfy clothes, with a few things for when I occasionally go “out out”. But, as we’re not allowed to go “out out” those will have to remain in the wardrobe for the forseeable future!

Although I spend a good amount of my days in leggings or baggy trousers, I am one of those weirdos who does spend all day in a pair of jeans… If I hadn’t spent five months in Thailand where I only wore my jeans a grand total of three times, I probably wouldn’t be wearing them so much now… but I kind of missed them? Jeans are a statement piece in my wardrobe so they have to be worn!

Next is my running gear! Since we’re limited to the type of exercise we can do at the moment, I’m so grateful to have a good, sturdy (if ancient) pair of trainers that are getting me through many a kilometre! If I’m not out running, I’ll probably join my parents on a dog walk, which is just as enjoyable.

And finally, here are some honourable fashion mentions:

  • My dressing gown
  • My pyjamas
  • My numerous pairs of fluffy socks

TV, Movies and Books

If you haven’t already read my post about things to keep you occupied in lockdown, you can read it here as it has some other things that are similar to this post… and more! One of those things being reading. I’ve always been an avid reader, for as long as I can remember. Lockdown has given me an amazing opportunity to fall back in love with reading, as I now have the time, and I don’t feel like I need to make up excuses as to why I “can’t read this or that”. Plus, it’s a great chance for me to finally get through the books that have been sitting on my shelves for years.

I’ve also been watching a lot of TV and movies over the past few weeks, and I’ve been on and off catching up on old episodes of Glee. My sister has now overtaken me, and I’ll probably just end up watching episodes whenever she’s watching them. We’ve also been watching some DVD’s, as we have collected so many over the years! We’ve been watching old, beloved films that we’ve seen countless times (such as Forrest Gump) as well as some newer ones that we never got the chance to watch.

I class this as an essential during lockdown, because like with reading, now is a better time than any to do these sorts of things without that little voice at the back of your head making you feel guilty.

Skin/Body Care

My skin care routine (both morning and evening) has always been relatively basic; I wash my face with Simple face wash, and then moisturize with either the Simple hydrating moisturizer, or I’ll use the Body Shop seaweed moisturizer because I just want to try and use it up. I don’t really want to use much else, because my skin is super sensitive, but I feel so much more human once I have washed my face and moisturized, and even if that’s the only productive thing I do all day, I know I’ll feel better for it. I class it as some self care, so I try and make sure I do this!

I’ve also been making the most of my leftover bath products. Aaaaages ago I got a frosted berries scented bubble bath from the Body Shop, which I just used up last night, and I’ve also been using some of the Body Shop’s candy cane scented bubble bath too. I know it’s not exactly the right season for candy canes, but it’s basically just a minty scented bubble bath and I am here for it. Unfortunately, I don’t have any face masks, but the second I can get my hands on some, then I will!

So that is all for today’s post! Let me know what some of your essentials have been during lockdown in the comments!

-Janet

Some Movies I’ve Watched in Lockdown


Hey everyone!

Lockdown has really been an excuse for me and my family to have a movie night almost every single night. This is by no means me complaining! It’s been really nice and relaxing to sit together after we’ve eaten our food, and catch up on classics, new releases, or anything in between that we would never have the chance of watching all together beforehand. I’ve decided to list some of my favourite movies that we’ve watched so far, and share some of my thoughts on them.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Of course, I had to include this one. It is hands down one of my all time favourite movies ever, and I will never get bored of it. The story follows Forrest Gump, from his childhood years, to college, to fighting in Vietnam, and beyond. It is honestly one of the most heart-warming and heart-breaking films you will ever watch, and you’ll find yourself smiling the whole way through. Plus, there are some classic quotes in there too!

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Again, this is one of my all-time favourites, and one I could watch over and over again. The story follows Ralph Fiennes’s character Monsieur Gustave H. who is framed for a murder, and the new hotel lobby boy Zero, on their adventures to set things… right? Kind of? If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I mean! It is hilarious, quirky, and artistic and just so much fun to watch. It’s one that I doubt will ever get old.

Coco (2017)

This is one of Disney’s newest releases, and definitely one of my top Disney movies to date. It is set in Mexico, and follows a young boy called Miguel, who gets stuck in the land of the dead. He has until sunrise to get back to the human world, and set things right with his family. The first time I watched this movie about two years ago… I cried. I don’t usually cry much when I watch movies, but this one got to me, and I think that’s why I love it so much. It’s so sweet, and the music is fantastic, and the story is just so heartwarming. It’s definitely a nice family movie to watch together.

The Departed (2006)

This was one I watched a few weeks ago for the first time, and I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg and it’s essentially a movie about cops, moles, and gangs in Boston, USA. The whole movie has you questioning the character’s motives, and once it really gets going, you’re left wondering which mole is going to rat the other out first. I found that part of me wanted one to be ratted out, then the other, then the other… none of the characters are really perfect but I think that made it more real. If you’re wanting a bit of a thrill, then this is a good one to go for!

Shirley Valentine (1989)

I watched this for the first time with my mum and my sister, and it was a lot of fun. It’s got proper British comedy, and it absolutely shows the stereotypical British tourist on holiday too…! Shirley has always wanted to go to Greece, and so one day she goes with a friend of hers. Shirley learns a lot about what she wants in her life back home in her time away, and meets some wonderful locals. I loved this film, because I felt a bit of a connection with Shirley, especially in my own travelling adventures.

I’m going to leave it there for now! Maybe I’ll do a part two for this post in the future. Let me know about the movies you have been watching during lockdown! Have you seen any that I have mentioned?

-Janet

Book Series I Want to Finish in Lockdown


Hey everyone!

I’ve been thinking for a while about all the series that I’ve started and have never finished, and since we’re in lockdown, it’s a better time than any to get all that reading done! I’m currently plodding my way through The Bloodprint which is apparently going to be the start of a series… but I don’t think it’s one I will be in a rush to continue with…

So, here’s a list of the ones that I do want to finish!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I have read the first book in this trilogy, I have owned the second book (The Rosie Effect) for several years, and I recently discovered that there’s a third and final book! (The Rosie Result) I remember really enjoying The Rosie Project when I first read it a few years ago, but just never got around to reading the rest. So, this is definitely one I want to get through during lockdown!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read The Maze Runner while I was in Thailand, as it was yet another book that had been sitting on my shelves for several years! I got through this one really quickly, and I was actually disappointed at my past self for not reading it sooner. I think I really would have loved it as a teenager. So, I have now got my hands on The Scorch Trials, and when I finish that one, I’ll order the next book in the series!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Again, this is a series I started a long time ago, but just never got around to finishing it, or keeping up with the new releases. I read the first three books (Throne of Glass, Queen of Midnight and Heir of Fire) and the prequel, and although I adored these books, life just got in the way! So I’m hoping to start the series from the beginning, and actually make the effort this time to finish the series.

The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley

This one technically doesn’t count as a “series I want to finish” but it’s a series I want to re-read during lockdown. These were my all-time favourite books as a child, and I really think they deserve more credit. I think this was really the series that got me loving books and reading (although I loved reading anyway, this book was very much a game changer). I think this will be quite a quick re-read, as I’ve already read them in the past, and they’re children’s books, so it’ll be fun to take a trip down memory lane!

So those are all the book series I want to finish in lockdown! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these, what you thought, and if there are any book series you’re planing on finishing during lockdown!

-Janet

My Lockdown Faves


Hey everyone!

As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying safe during lockdown, and that no matter the situation where you are in the world, that you’re all keeping as happy and healthy as possible!

Today I thought I’d write about some of the things I’ve been loving during this lockdown period. I saw this post originally over on Jenny’s blog (Jenny In Neverland) and I thought it was a really nice idea to try and appreciate the things that have been getting me through, and combatting the boredom of being inside for 90% of the day!

Blogging

Of course! I couldn’t get through this period without my blog. It’s been incredible seeing the amount of positive posts online, and some of the recommendations that people have been sharing- whether that’s health, skin care, books, movies, food… you name it! There’s always something to keep you busy, even if it’s just for a short period of the day!

And of course, there’s the actual writing of my blog that’s been an all-time fave. Considering that this year marks the 10th anniversary of me being a “blogger”, I don’t know who I’d be without my blog. Wow. Lame. But I’m being serious. My blog has grown with me, through school, university, and out the other side into the big wide world. I love this space, and even though I’ve had my doubts in the past, me and my blog aren’t going anywhere!

Youtube

This one goes hand in hand with blogging. I love that people are being creative during lockdown, and sharing their thoughts and feelings about this process. I love that people are actively trying to take people’s minds off the realities of the coronavirus outbreak by posting fun videos that act as a distraction for so many.

If you didn’t know, I also have a Youtube Channel and I’ve really enjoyed filming, editing and uploading videos, as well as writing on my blog. It’s another escape for me, and it’s like an extension of my blog- so if you like what you see here, then go and check out my channel too! I’m by no means an expert when it comes to Youtube, but I find it really fun, and if I decide to film, edit and upload all in one go, it can definitely take up most of my day so that absolutely keeps me occupied!

Reading… Duh

If you’ve ready any of my other lockdown related blog posts, reading has come into all of them! So instead of repeating myself, I thought I’d quickly share a few of the books that I’ve read! Most of these books I have also written a review on, so I’ll leave those linked too if you’d like to give them a full read!

  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – review
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – review
  • A Gentleman in Moscow – review
  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Underground Railroad

Movie Nights

Although my dad isn’t usually much of a “film fanatic”, my family have had many a movie night during lockdown. We’ve got so many movies in our DVD collection that are still in the plastic packaging, so this has been a great time to watch classic movies that we’ve never seen! (Some of these include many a Leonardo Di Caprio film!) We have also watched a few firm favourites, such as Forrest Gump and Clueless, because we definitely need some films that feel comforting in one way or another.

My sister and I even had a weekend long Harry Potter Movie Marathon, which was ever so slightly draining because I didn’t leave the house for three days, and my bum definitely went numb… but it was really fun! I’ve never watched the movies in such quick succession before, and it was interesting to talk to my sister about each of the movies because although we are both Harry Potter fans, I feel like we’d both agree that I’m more of a Harry Potter nerd than she is!

Enjoying Nature

I’m so grateful that here in the UK, we still have the privilege of being able to get outside once a day to do some form of exercise. I wrote recently how it’s a great form of self care for me, and I don’t want to take this for granted. I usually do make the most of getting outside, whether it’s sitting in the garden on a sunny day, joining my parents for a dog walk, or going out for a run.

I’ve said before how lucky I am to be living in the countryside during lockdown, and how easy it is for me to just walk out the front door and take in my surroundings when I do my daily exercise. In saying that, it’s perfectly okay to spend the day indoors if you so wish. Everyone is different! But I know for me, I always feel much better if I can get outside and breathe in some fresh air.

So those are some of the things I’ve been enjoying during lockdown! I thought that, before I end this post, I’d list a few honourable mentions:

  • Painting my nails
  • Baking and cooking new meals
  • Going make up free – although, this isn’t revolutionary by my standards
  • Bullet journalling
  • Spending quality time with my family

-Janet

Reducing Screen Time in Lockdown


Hey everyone!

I had a surprising notification on my phone the other day, saying that my screen time was down 17% last week, in comparison to the week before. I feel like since the majority of the planet is in the same situation at the moment, with many countries in lockdown and people self-isolating, most of us will be going to our phones as a way to pass the time.

When I got this notification, it got me thinking… how many things can we do during lockdown, that doesn’t require a screen? It may sound really obvious, but in the social media age that we’re in, a lot of us rely on our phones more than we’d like to admit. So, I’ve compiled a list of things to do that can hopefully help you reduce your screen time during lockdown!

Bake something

Although some people may rely on their phones to get recipes and methods, baking is a really fun way to practice a skill that you may not otherwise have the time to do! There are some really easy recipes that you can try out, and the list is endless! Most evenings we have ended up baking our own desserts; last night we had mostly vegan pancakes, another evening we made chocolate and coffee cupcakes, we’ve made our own bread, my mum’s made scones… but make sure that when you’re out buying the ingredients, you’re being sensible about it!

Read a book

Again… maybe you have a kindle, or listen to E-books. But reading is something I’ve really been getting back into while I’ve been at home and self-isolating. I’m trying to power through some of those books that have been collecting dust over the years, and I’ve always said that I’ll read it one day! I know reading isn’t for everyone, but now is such a good time to try and get into it, and you can’t use the excuse of “I’m too busy to read!!”

Get outdoors/Exercise

Whether that’s running, cycling, walking, or just sitting in the garden for half an hour, getting outdoors is such a good way to just be. In fairness, I do use a running app on my phone to track my runs, but I don’t look at my phone when I’m running to check other apps. I love being able to just walk out my front door and go somewhere for half an hour, and it’s so important to not feel trapped during this time. If you are able to get out, then do it!

Learn a musical instrument

I learnt the piano from the ages of 6-18, and did 5 practical piano grades in that time. Although I did enjoy playing, I’ve really enjoyed the freedom of not having to practice for a grade, and learning popular songs that I can play to my friends, and we can have a bit of a sing song! More recently, I’ve picked up my ancient ukulele and I’m trying to become a bit more confident in playing this! Again, you may need a phone or a computer to check out tutorial videos but once you’ve got the hang of some basic chords, you just need to practice!

Declutter your wardrobe

This is definitely something that’s become popular after Marie Kondo saved us all! It’s something that can take as much or as little time as you want… depending on how much you’re prepared to throw away! But when I’ve gone through my wardrobe, I’ve always felt better for it, and it’s so nice to be able to put clothes away without having to shove them in!

Practice yoga

This is something I’ve been doing most mornings for the past week or so, and although I’m definitely a beginner, I really enjoy doing it! It reminds me to breathe, and I like being able to stretch out every morning. Again, I do watch Youtube videos when I do this, because I’m not confident in doing my own yoga, but I watch 10 minute long videos, and then I’ll leave my phone upstairs while I get ready for my day. I know for some people, yoga sounds like such a “soccer mom” thing to do, but I’ve definitely felt some of the benefits!

Play board games

I’m a sucker for a good old board game. Our family has somehow ended up with a huge collection of board games over the years, but it means that we won’t run out of things to do during lockdown- especially since we don’t know how long it will last! Of course in playing certain board games, you run the risk of ruining friendships or family bonds… but it’s all just a bit of fun at the end of the day!

Get crafty

This is a particularly good one if you’ve got kids who need to let their creative juices out! See what things you have around the house that they can make into something else – if you’re stuck for ideas, Pinterest is an AMAZING place to see what people have made with paper plates, egg boxes, glitter and pipe cleaners! Obviously you don’t need to have kids to do things like this, but it’s definitely a fun thing to do when you start to feel a bit bored!

Do some painting!

And finally… why not try to paint? You obviously don’t have to be an expert, and you don’t have to be hoping to get these pieces into an art exhibition. But it’s something fun and creative, and it’s a new skill that you can try and master, especially while we’ve got all this time on our hands! I want to try and paint something while I’m in self isolation because I really can’t remember the last time I picked up a paint brush!

So those are just some of the things that I’ve been doing while I’ve been in lockdown… what things have you been doing that don’t require you to be on your phone for hours? Let me know in the comments!

-Janet