Things to do while social distancing.

Unless you’ve been in the desert with Jared Leto and you also didn’t have any idea about Coronavirus/Covid-19 sweeping it’s way across the globe.

People all around the world are being told to engage in social distancing not only for their own health and wellbeing but also to help stop the spread of this deadly virus reaching those with underlying health conditions, those with weakened immunity, the young and the elderly.

Beforehand, social distancing sounds like a term that Gwyneth Paltrow would use to excuse herself from an event she just didn’t fancy going to.

Social distancing is supposed to work by helping to stop the spread of this virus is by keeping more people out of social environments, public areas and anywhere that isn’t essential really, thus decreasing the amount of people that could potentially come into contact with someone who’s already got covid-19 and stop it spreading further. Oh and it’ll also help lessen the strain on the health services. Win win really!

As an introvert, you didn’t need to ask me twice to stay away from busy areas, stay indoors and read as many books as I possibly could. It hasn’t quite sunk in for me how long social distancing may continue and what I’ll do once I’ve reached peak levels of cabin fever and how I’ll cope being mentally and emotionally. But I do feel quite lucky that I live in a little village, I have a garden so I could go and exercise or get some fresh air on my own.

For those of you out there that are struggling with knowing what you can to do with your time I’ve compiled a list of things you could consider to do with all your extra free time.

Read. 

Now is the perfect time to finally start making a way through your ever growing To Be Read pile that is sitting pretty on your bookshelf. Download audiobooks, E-books and start ticking off some of those classics you’ve always wanted to read but never got round to, or read some non fiction greats and educate yourselves on a brand new topic.

Hive is a brilliant place to look for new reads as they support family, community and independent book sellers.

Similarly, most libraries have either an online service or an App you can borrow an e-book from.

Create.

If I hear one more time that William Shakespeare wrote King Lear whilst he was in quarantine from the plague I swear I’ll be splitting my possessions between the loved ones that profess the most amount of love to me and running onto the moors screaming and wailing like a banshee.

There’s a weird, little undercurrent of pressure now you’ve got all this spare time to be doing something useful and productive with your time rather than just eating malteasers and watching telly. If you’re a creative and have always dreamed of following this path then why not sit down and spend a couple hours jotting down any ideas you’ve got and seeing where you could take them.

I swear you can’t be a struggling artist/writer without a struggle and tbh I think being quarantined in your own home not really sure what’s going to happen next or whether you’re going to have to eat toilet roll sandwiches for tea is a pretty solid one.

(On a real side note though…What are all these people doing with all their panic bought loo rolls?)

Take up a hobby.

I for one have always wanted to be better at making my own things. I’d love to be able to knit or cross stitch, because, not only will I be able to make my own cosy knitwear (hypothetically speaking of course…as of right now I can barely even thread a needle) but also it looks so therapeutic. I’d love to be able to gift my wares to friends and family and they can wear my crafted, scraggly scarves with joy knowing I made it just for them.

Depending where you live and what the rules are at the moment, I know that a lot of places say that you should only leave the house for work, to buy food, go to the pharmacy or an emergency. But if you have access to charity shops, they sell so much wool, knitting needles and patterns. Not only that but a lot of charity shops could do with more support than ever right now even better if you can access them online.

Similarly, I’ve always wanted to be able to properly play a musical instrument or learn to cook and bake better. Now with all this extra time on my hands I’d love to be able to browse the interweb for recipe ideas that might take a bit longer than normal and spend a little extra time and effort curating a lovely evening meal for my whole family to enjoy (hopefully).

Use sites like Pinterest to get ideas or Etsy to buy arts and crafts from independent sellers.

Play games

There’s so many fun games you can whittle away the hours with. Whether it’s online games like The Sims (they are currently heavily discounted on Origin if you wanna be tempted even further to buy a game when it’s cheap) Xbox, Playstation or even board games are a great way from switching off from the ‘real world’ and immersing yourself in another for a couple hours.

Whether you want to stick to the classics like Monopoly, Cluedo or a humble pack of cards or trying something a little different and fun I’d definitely recommend having a look online or through Big Potato Games. I know I’ve mentioned them a few times but I love the creativity and imagination they’ve put into all of their games. You’d never be bored if you’re in isolation with your family or roommates with one of their products to hand!

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to relax and switch off too.

Learn

Do you remember when Kylie Jenner said that 2016 was the year of learning stuff? WELL turns out she had no blimmin’ clue what was coming up in 2020 did she? How is it that these past three months have felt longer and more problematic than so many previous years combined! We’ve had the threat of war between the US and Iran, the Australian wildfires were still burning and now a deadly pandemic. At this rate, would anyone be shocked if there was an alien invasion in April??

All jokes aside, if you are currently self isolating/social distancing/ in lockdown/ bored and don’t really know what to do with yourself than this might be of interest to you. The internet is a fountain of knowledge when you know where to find it all and my lovely friend Tanya, author of Glam Glitz Gloss and The Live Review,  has shared this brilliant idea with us all. The Centre of Excellence (an online learning centre) are currently offering courses for as little as £15. So if you’ve got the spare time on your hands and have always fancied learning something new or polishing up on some skills you’ve already got, this would be a fantastic way to go about it!

Money saving sites like Groupon, Wowcher and Livingsocial are also great places to look out for some good deals and they quite often also do heavily discounted online courses as well.

Use Youtube to your advantage and spend the time watching some TED Talks videos, or learn how to do some banging makeup looks from the plethora of beauty gurus on there.

Subscription boxes

Do you know how many different types of subscription boxes there are out there?? This is a rhetorical I have no idea and I can’t imagine anyone will know the exact figure either but there must be THOUSANDS. The possibilities are actually endless. Whether you’re simply obsessed with skincare, after the hottest makeup and beauty trends, obsessed with pale ales and craft beers, perhaps you’re a fan of Japanese candy and Japanese candy only or you want to do some art with the children there will be a cool subscription parcel making its way in the post to you.

I’ve worked with UOpen in the past (I shared my thoughts on the pub supper box)and was so impressed with the wide range of different boxes they offer to suit practically everyone.

Things to do

As much as I feel like I’ve seen so many examples of the worst displays of humanity lately, from people fist fighting over the last packet of toilet roll, a group of stupid teens spitting and coughing at an elderly couple or that people have been setting fire to or slashing the tyres of ambulances. I cannot simply comprehend as to why someone would do these things??? Especially at a time like this where simple decency and kindness goes such a long way.

To counteract all of this I’ve seen so many nice, random acts of kindness. I’ve witnessed so many genuinely good people wanting to help others and to all get through this and come out on the other side together. From local butchers and bakers offering home delivery services to their local customers, teachers running online classes for those missing out on learning, museums and art galleries are running online virtual tours.  If you want to use this rare, once in a lifetime moment and take some good from it why not see if there’s anything available for you to do in your local community. See if there are any voluntary roles available, check in with your neighbours especially vulnerable people or the elderly. If there’s not anything in place why don’t you offer to do a paper round, pick up essential groceries or walk dogs for those who can’t get out. Lots of supermarkets are crying out for help at the moment so if you’re really feeling the pressure of a lockdown and want to do something productive with your time why don’t you sling your CV that way and you’ll come out on the other side of this with a purse full of dolla.

Obvs it goes without saying I don’t want you to put yourselves at any extra unnecessary risk but it’s definitely something worth considering.

Watch

I am always the person in my friendship group that is behind the times. I haven’t seen a good majority of the cult classic tv series that is often met with gasps when I tell my friends I’ve never seen Lord of The Rings/Game of Thrones/Peaky Blinders/Breaking Bad/Orange is The New Black/Eastenders (Delete where necessary). Take advantage of that streaming service you fork out for every month and watch some of those shows or films you always want to but haven’t got round to yet. Disney+ has just landed in the UK sooooo I don’t want to tell you what to do with your free time but The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the greatest films of all time and if you want to solely watch that on repeat for the foreseeable future I totes wouldn’t judge you.

Try to make the best of it

I know it’s easy for me to say as I write this from the comfort of my own bed and as someone who still lives at home and gets along well with my family. But if we are all, globally, facing a health crisis where the government and hospital workers are urging us to stay indoors unless for work, to buy food or an emergency. Staying indoors and feeling a bit bored will be the least of your concern compared to the potential grisly alternative. If you’re blessed with good health and feel like this virus isn’t something that’ll necessarily affect you then I urge you to please share a thought for those that this will affect and have consequences for. Spare a thought for your elderly relatives, your friends relatives, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbours, people on low income, homeless people, I could go on but I hope you get the gist. At times like this, kindness and compassion is key; after all we are going to go through this together.

If you’re still feeling a bit uninspired feel free to browse this incredibly silly list beneath of alternative options; but please don’t hold me accountable if you dye your hair yellow.

  • Watch a film or tv show and ring a friend at the same time and it’ll be like you’re watching it together. ❤ Like the cliche moments in all the chick flicks I watched as a youth. Paul Rudd not included sorry.
  • Clean
  • Declutter your wardrobe
  • Do the cooking one evening
  • Take it in turns for your household to cook…Like come dine with me but if you rate your mam a 2 you’ll have to put up with the consequences a lot longer aaaaaaaand I don’t think you’ll get a cash prize.
  • Learn a language.
  • Give up learning a language cos it’s actually very hard
  • Watch Eastenders/Coronation Street/Emmerdale/Any other soap opera from the very beginning and try to catch up to present day
  • Give yourself a makeover
  • Get someone else to give you a makeover
  • Cry when you’ve given yourself a terrible makeover
  • Cry harder when someone else has given you an even worse makeover
  • Give yourself a fringe (DON’T! SERIOUSLY! Honestly unless you have Rihanna’s bone structure pls don’t come for me when this all goes wrong)
  • Watch every Youtube video in existence
  • Facetime friends
  • Ring your nan
  • Send a letter
  • Find a pen pal
  • Learn a dance
  • Post the dance on IG/TikTok
  • Realise no one actually cares for your dance
  • Ponder existence
  • Read all the books you’ve been hoarding
  • Eat lots of chocolate biscuits
  • See how many biscuits you’ll have to eat before you get asked to become the official face of McVities
  • Check in with your friends
  • Get the drinks in and facetime your friends and it’ll be like your having a right royal knees up
  • Learn all the words to any good song so when lockdown is over and we’re allowed to go out to play again you’ll kill it at Karaoke night
  • Wonder why you ever got rid of your PS2 cos The Simpsons Hit n Run was the best game ever to play.
  • Do a puzzle
  • CHECK IN WITH ALL YOUR LOVED ONES
  • Have a pamper night
  • Try to disengage with the news if you’re finding yourself getting anxious and stressed more often
  • Make a playlist of happy songs
  • Start a podcast
  • Make stopmotion videos
  • Paint
  • Get some outside time if you can
  • Do a buzzfeed quiz
  • Meditate
  • Take up yoga
  • Stargaze
  • Appreciate how quiet the world is without all the traffic and noise
  • Go for a walk early in the morning and see what the world looks like at 5am
  • Listen to the birds
  • Do something for charity
  • Write
  • Start a lockdown diary
  • Check in with people
  • Write positive reviews for all your fav pubs,bars and restaurants so when they reopen they’ll see all the nice things people have said about them.

 

On a real note though. I hope everyone is okay and is staying safe and well. I’m sending you all so much love and light at these difficult times and hoping we can all get through this together. I hope that if we can take anything from these darker times of life is that we cannot take anything or anyone for granted.

Until next time x

BOOK REVIEW: Reader, I Married Me!*

*This post contains a gifted item*

Hello, hello! It’s been a little while since I properly shared a book review on here, I posted all the books I read in 2019 in a long old blog post (here) but it wasn’t hugely in depth on each read, so I thought I’d share with you a little write up on the book; Reader, I Married Me! that I read at the very end of 2019. I’m not sure how to best go about reviewing this as I’m cautious I’m going to just end up giving every little detail along the way. So I’m hoping I’ll say enough to entice you to pick it up but leave enough mystery and surprise to leave you all happily hooked on what happens!

I was kindly sent this by Sophie, the author and my new second sister! We got chatting and emailing back and forth and soon realised that we actually have SO much in common. Not only do we share similar outlooks on life BUT also happen to share the same surname and her Mum lives not too far from where I live too! I’m not sure I believe in fate and all things like that but what a weird coincidence all of this has turned out to be?! Between our natterings, Soph, told me all about how the idea of this book came about. It’s ever so slightly based around her own true life events, she decided to pen this book after going through a particularly bad break up. As many people can sympathise with, it genuinely can feel like the worst thing in the world had just happened. But looking back and reflecting on it she discovered it was one of the best things to have ever happened to her! She chose to stop chasing the ‘happily ever after’ and start living for herself and for the ‘happily ever now!’. What a babe!

Sophie discovered she really didn’t need someone else to ‘complete’ her or for someone to be her ‘better half’ so decided to take vows of self-commitment and married herself in sunny Brighton in 2015.

Some people reading this might now be thinking that sounds a liiiiiiiiiittle bit mad! But Sophie wanted to be able to use this and her platform to be able to start conversations about self love and why on earth shouldn’t you see yourself as just as important (if not more) than a significant other or why self love isn’t deemed as important as romantic love?

From an early age we are taught about, and raised on, the different types of love we will feel. From the love you have for your family members, to the love you have for friends, the love you have for food and the wonderful/sometimes less than wonderful romantic love you’ll share with someone special. 

But for some reason, self love, is still seen as a bit controversial or like a taboo subject. As if it’s a bit weird that someone actually likes themselves and wants to celebrate who they are as a person! Shouldn’t that be the love that we focus on and encourage from a young age, to inspire generations to have confidence in themselves and to be able to stand strong on their own no matter what life may throw at them? It’s certainly something to think about isn’t it.

Her novel, Reader, I Married Me, is very loosely based on Sophie’s own life experiences and her experience of sologamy (aka marrying yourself!). We follow the story of Chloe Usher, the loveable 35 year old lady, who’s happily sailing her way through life when she finds out the heart shattering news that her longterm boyf has cheated on her. She battles her way through modern day dating and using different dating apps. Then after one particularly bad date she heads straight over to her best friends house, trying to forget all about her rubbish evening with alcohol and karaoke! Booze fuelled she half jokingly suggests that she’s just going to marry herself and drunkenly shares her news with her loyal followers on her blog. Waking up the next morning with a fuzzy hangover head she’s greeted with the news that her and her solo wedding has become an overnight sensation; getting both positive and negative feedback from all around the globe. 

We join Chloe on her fabulous journey as she plans her solo wedding, juggling her own emotions as well as from the people nearest and dearest to her as they try and get their heads around her upcoming nuptials as a single woman. It’s not just Chloe we witness going on a personal journey either, she realised that we society might have conditioned us to be wishing our lives away waiting for the fairytale happy ending or waiting for ‘the one’ when, in fact, YOU are the one you should be soul searching for all along.

This romcom (without the typical rom) is a perfect read if you’re looking for something a little bit different or want to challenge ways in which we come to think about ourselves and the labels we put on ourselves and on love. 

So…you want to know my thoughts on it?

I read this within the space of about three days so if that doesn’t tell you something I don’t know what will! I really enjoyed this book actually, it’s a little bit different to the usual chick lit novel I’d normally read or you might normally see on the shelf which I actually really liked. Most of them have the usual element of ‘aaaaaaaaand the woman fell in love with the man, the man fell in love with the woman and they all lived happily ever after theeeeeeee end’ which is nice but those fairy tale stories never really happen in real life do they?

This felt a lot more relatable. As nice as it is to read lovey-dovey romcoms with princesses, princes and prince charming riding in on a white stallion at the end and saving the day  they’re not as thought provoking because to me, that isn’t normal or reality.  With this, I felt like I really empathised with Chloe and I felt like I understood her character as someone I could relate with or someone I could imagine myself being friends with. I liked that this book really has stuck with me and has made me think about the different ways I view myself and the outlook I can have on love and relationships.

It struck a chord especially as quite often, self love, self worth and loving yourself can be placed further down the pecking order, or you can be seen as big headed or with an ego the size of the moon if you actually really quite like yourself. Which is quite bizarre when you think about it really? In the UK, at least, if you aren’t self depreciating there must be something wrong with you!

It’s made me want to challenge myself and how I view doing things on my own. I think being content in your own company is one of the most liberating things a person can do. From small things like going for a coffee, a lunch or to the cinema on your own to a holiday or living by yourself. Once you’re at that stage over no longer caring about whether people are looking at that poor love sitting and eating on their own or being financially independent enough to be able live on your means and not have to argue over what to watch on telly it’s like the next shift change in your life begins.

This is something I’ve been trying to get better at and a solo cinema date really is on my agenda for 2020.

This book, will definitely be the type that I’ll recommend to a lot of my friends and readers on here to read. It’s something that has really challenged the way I think and view things, which is really the type of books I long to read anyway! It’s not written in a preachy sense it’s still got the elements of the rom com without the typical ‘rom’ bit!

Life is one of the longest things we’ll ever do but it’s also one of the shortest, try to spend that time being kind to yourself, kind and loving to others and being able to stand tall amongst the crowd, adjust your own fabulous crown and fall truly, madly, deeply in love with yourself; as beautifully, strongly and eternally as you’d love someone else too.

AD| Testing Out The Pro Co’s Cruelty Free Facial Serums*

*This post contains gifted items from a paid collaboration*

Helloooo! How are you? Here’s a fun fact for you all…Can you believe this is my 100th blog post on here! One hundred?! How mad is that? I thought, what better way to celebrate this milestone than with a fresh new beauty post. It’s been a while since I’ve shared something beauty/skincare related so I’m super eager to be able to write about some new products I’ve received recently and share my thoughts on them with you all.

I’ve become something of a skincare aficionado over the last few years, it’s how I destress and I see it as my time for some self care. I can sit back, relax, pamper and reflect on everything going on in my life and have a few moments of solitude. I started out with a rather simplistic approach, thinking face wipes were the best thing since sliced bread and the occasional dollop of moisturiser here and there. Nowadays i’ve got enough lotions and potions you might mistake my vanity table for a miniature apothecary or just a small Boots store.

When I got offered the chance to try out some new facial serums from The Pro Co I couldn’t believe my luck so of course I said yes pleeeeeaaaaaase! I will admit that this company is one that I hadn’t actually heard of beforehand but nevertheless I’m really glad I’ve discovered them now! I know that sounds dead cliche when it comes to reviews you read online and it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t say that or say something that’s just a non stop glowing report! But I genuinely mean that. I really like the morals and ethics this company holds and they align with those that I look for before purchasing any new beauty products. I’ve been transitioning over to cruelty free brands this year so I was so pleased to see they are one too!

  • As a brand it’s got a much lower environmental impact compared to some others which gets major brownie points from me! The packaging is 98% plastic free.
  • It’s cruelty free.
  • Paraben and SLS free.
  • Vegan.
  • Made from clean ingredients.
  • Good value.
  • Made in the UK too!

I was looking to buy some similar serums in TK Maxx just the other day but as it’s so close to Christmas; I was hoping Santa might have popped some in my stocking! So it was like December 25th came early when I opened this parcel at the weekend.

Cruelty free serums

I received an eye serum, a retinol face serum and a vitamin C and hyaluronic acid super serum too. Each bottle is priced at £7.99 currently and I think considering it’s of good quality and you get 30mls that’s really good value. When you twist the lid off, inside is a squeezy pipette. A little amount goes a long way so this type of investment would last a long time.

Cruelty free serum

So first things first, The Pro Co. recommend you to start off using 1 to 2 drops of the Cruelty Free Super Serum to a fresh, cleansed face first thing in the morning. This’ll set you up for the day giving you a gorgeous glow through whatever life throws at you. The 20% vitamin C serum contains Kakadu plum; which is one of the richest sources of vit C don’tcha know! It also contains orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon, jasmine, fennel, bergamot and olive extracts giving it a lovely citrusy scent making it super refreshing and the perfect thing to wake you up and refresh you in the morning.  The benefits of this serum are:

  • The vitamin C and all of those gorgeous extracts is that it not only makes it smell amazing but is crammed full of antioxidants which helps with increasing circulation and calming any inflammation too.
  • It also contains hyaluronic acid which helps enhance your skin’s natural radiance and luminosity giving you that fresh, everyday glow.
  • This in turn then helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and dull looking skin.
  • It also helps to boost hydration and elasticity by stimulating the production of Pro-Collagen-I.

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Once the Vitamin C serum has had a chance to soak into your skin a little bit, they recommend dabbing one drop of the eye rescue serum gently into the skin around your eye (funny that!). This serum contains cocoa butter which helps to reduce signs of aging, as well as grapeseed oil and seaweed extract which can help sooth irritations as well as improving circulation too. This serum and the clinically proven ingredients used within it help to defy signs of aging as well as fading dark circles using advanced lightening effect technology tackling pigmentation and poor microcirculation.

You can use this serum twice daily, if you notice you’re looking a bit tired and weary after a long day dab another drop between your fingers and gently rub in. The skin around your eyes is incredibly delicate so take extra care when applying any lotions and potions in this particular area.

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Step three is applying one to two drops of the retinol serum all over your face just before you go to bed at night to help achieve that much longed for youthful glow. I was really excited to try this as I was eyeing up a retinol serum just the other day and by chance I get sent one so I’m really thankful for this turn of events.

I won’t lie, sometimes in this day and age it feels like you need a chemistry degree to understand half the stuff you’re supposed to be slapping on your face each and every day to look like your own personal Benjamin Button. I’ve heard rave reviews from so many people about the transformation retinol has made to their skin so ever since then it’s been something I’ve been desperate to add into mine.

Retinol is found in the compounds of Vitamin A which is tremendous for skin, hair and nails. It’s a proven anti-aging powerhouse and the Pro Co. have managed to develop their retinol to be micro-encapsulated using carnuba wax, meaning it’ll be extra gentle on the skin as well as penetrating much deeper through the many skin layers so the effects you’ll see when using this will be much greater and last much longer too.

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I’ve only been using these serums a short while so I can’t give you a detailed synopsis of how my skin has benefitted from using all three but I’ll keep you all updated with my thoughts in the coming weeks about using this.

Something that really swayed me to these products, other than how they apply so nicely to my skin, I’m left feeling very smooth and not at all greasy all day long, which is something I’d usually expect more so from a luxury beauty item. But their ethics surrounding this brand is something that makes me very happy indeed. Plastic pollution is such a hot topic at the moment and it’s something that is at the forefront of my mind quite a lot when I’m doing any form of shopping. So as these products are 98% plastic packaging free it makes me feel a lot less guilty about indulging and treating myself!

If these The Pro Co products sound right up your street or you’re thinking about treating someone to a nice gift you can currently purchase them for £7.99 or if you use these links beneath to get 20% off bringing them to just £6.39!

Vitamin C Super Serum

Eye Serum

Retinol Serum