Strange times… things to do in isolation

What strange times we are living in right now. The last time I dusted off my laptop and wrote anything on this blog, life was normal and now, now we’re living in what feels like a movie and all anyone can talk about is the virus.

Currently the UK is on lockdown. No one is allowed to leave their houses apart from getting necessities (food and medicine), getting necessities for a vulnerable person, going to work (if absolutely essential) and we’re permitted one walk a day for exercise. It’s like some sort of dystopian future where people are dying in their thousands while everyone else is fighting over toilet roll and hand sanitiser, except it’s not the future. This is now.

It’s my birthday next week. We had planned a getaway to Amsterdam but now it looks like I’ll be settling for a takeaway indoors (if restaurants are still allowed to offer takeaway services by then! Things are changing so fast!). I’m sure it will be memorable, if not a little boring considering what we had planned, but then things could be a whole lot worse, so right now I am grateful for what I do have.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I myself have been on lockdown since Wednesday. I work with animals now (I had a whole big career change last summer) so obviously someone had to go in and take care of the animals, but now I’ve been told to stay away until further notice. Don’t worry though, my colleagues that are still working will take good care of the animals.

My husband is a Graphic Designer so at the moment (and for the last 2 weeks) he has been working from home, which means I’m pretty much left to my own devices during the day.

So here I’ve compiled a list of things to do in isolation.

1. Take an online course

I happened upon Centre of Excellence who are offering all courses for £29 each until the end of March using the code LEARNATHOME. I’ve chosen to do a course in Feline Behaviour and Psychology as it will be something I can add to my CV and will help me at work when I eventually go back. I am quite intrigued by a couple of other courses so I may purchase more.

2. Get creative

My weapon of choice is my ipad pro. I used to be a very creative child but lost that spark as I got older, however I’ve just got back into doodling again and have set up a new instagram account if you fancy a follow.

I use the Procreate ipad app to create my drawings and they’ve just launched a little treat – the Procreate Care Pack – which includes some limited edition brushes, a 2 month free trial of skillshare and a list of artwork prompts to create a bit of an online community in these stressful times.

3. Play games

My husband downloaded The Sims 4 for me onto his Playstation. I haven’t played that game since I had The Sims 2 on PC! I know I’m probably far too old to be playing that but it’s a nice little bit of escapism. And let’s be honest, they’re the only ones allowed out right now haha.

4. “Marie Kondo” my house

I am in the process of buying a house. I won’t bore you with the whole saga of it but now is the perfect opportunity for me to have a good clear out ready for when we do eventually start packing and moving. I spent a couple of hours sorting out just ONE DRAWER the other day but the way I see it is, that will save me time in the future when I will hopefully have better things to be doing.

5. Watch tv

I’m trying to avoid the news for good reason but lately I’ve been enjoying Neighbours (Neighbours End Game was fantastic!). I’ve also found a new guilty pleasure in The Best House in Town on BBC2 – a bit of interior design inspiration! Netflix has also been a saviour with season 12 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race having begun, plus we watched Harlan Coben’s The Stranger and Safe. We’ve also started rewatching Come Fly with Me because it’s funny and silly escapism. Oh and Friday Night Dinner starts again on C4 tonight! yay!

6. Talk to people

Check in on people. We live in an age where there’s no excuse not to pick up the phone. I rang my Nan the other day as she’s isolating on her own and doesn’t have the internet. There’s Whatsapp and Facetime etc etc. Stay connected.

7. Use social media wisely

I’ve had to distance myself from Twitter a little but at the moment I am enjoying creating Pinterest boards full of interior design inspiration. Moving house and decorating will be a fun, albeit stressful, thing to look forward to once things return to a relative normality so excuse me while I get excited about wallpapers and lampshades!

Well I think I’ve rambled enough now. Stay safe, stay sane and stay at home!

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

12 things I love about America

things i love about america

Happy July 4th to all my readers across the pond. This post is dedicated to you.

Things I love about America

1. TV shows

You gave us Friends, Pretty Little Liars, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, Catfish, Sex and the City, The Simpsons – have I said enough?

2. Junk Food

I’m quite literally like a kid in a candy store (or sweet shop as we say in England). America has about 52864 flavours of M&Ms and Pop Tarts, we have about 3 of each and if we want anything else then we practically have to take out a bank load to afford them.

Ok, there might be a few exaggerations above, but still, you get my point.

M&M World Las Vegas
M&M World Las Vegas

3. The Celebrations

You guys go all out. Or at least thats what the movies lead us to believe. Halloween looks like so much fun with everyone dressed up and I’m a total sucker for the cosy Christmases and holiday spirit you guys bring.

4. Orlando

Disney, Universal, the amazing villas… the sheer excitement of it all. Orlando – you turned me into a theme park snob with your awesomeness! Plus we got engaged here, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Castle at the Magic Kingdom

5. Las Vegas

Basically Orlando for adults. Vegas gave me the same kind of buzz too. Big, bold, brash – but I love it! We even have goals to renew our wedding vows there one day.

The giant slot machine at Ballys Las Vegas
Next to the giant slot machine at Ballys

6. Warner Bros Studio Tour Hollywood

I love, love, loved this place! I got to see the streets where they filmed Pretty Little Liars, tons of props from the Batman and Harry Potter movies, I saw the working set of The Big Bang Theory, got to hold an Oscar (they are heavy!) AND sit on THE Friends sofa in Central Perk!!!

You can sit on the Friends sofa at Warner Bros Studio Tour Hollywood

7. This

Marshmallow madness - no more picking cereal out of your marshmallows
Marshmallow madness – no more picking cereal out of your marshmallows

8. Breakfast cereal

Hell yeah Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms and Apple Jacks where I don’t have to pay £8 for a box!

Lucky Charms breakfast cereal
The breakfast of kings

9. Shopping

I did, like most people, indulge in a bit of shopping when I visited New York. But I’m telling you, you can get everything in America. Every nice thing I find on Pinterest is from the USA and when I was into jewellery making a few years ago, all the stuff I wanted came from the States. Which leads me to…

10. Hot Topic

I went there for the first time in Los Angeles and loved it, especially the Disney aisle. I bought myself a Cinderella inspired dress which I wore to a Christmas party. I got so many compliments on it. Which brings me on to…

Cinderella dress from Hot Topic

11. Disney

I grew up on a diet of Disney. I remember my parents taking me and my brother to the cinema to see The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King – I even had The Lion King soundtrack! Those movies are timeless.

Meeting Beauty and the Beast at Epcot
Somewhere between a beauty and a beast…

12. Pop culture

Movies, music, movies, music. In fact, this July 4th we’ll be having an American themed fancy dress day in my office and I’ve decided to go as one of the most famous American pop culture icons of all time – The King of Pop!

Happy 4th July y’all! Check out my USA Pinterest board

 

12 things I have learnt about British summers

It’s true what they say, us Brits are OBSESSED with the weather. So while I’ve been enjoying a slice of British summertime I got to thinking of all the things I have learnt about British summers.

1. Make the most of every sunny day
…because you never know how long it’s going to last!

2. Spontaneous barbecues are a thing
Planned barbecues will inevitably summon the grey clouds, so spontaneity is the key here. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve hot-footed it to my local Morrisons for burgers and corn on the cob as soon as the sun gets his hat on.

Camping in England

3. Spontaneous anything, really
Beach, park, camping – go, go, GO! Of course, the rest of the country will most likely be there with you crowding up the place, but that’s a small price to pay for some vitamin D.

4. Make full use of all barbecue opportunities
Yes dessert could be toasted marshmallows but how about alcoholic bananas? Seriously, slice the banana in half down the middle, soak it in vodka or rum, sprinkle with brown sugar, wrap it in foil, bung it on the barbie! That’s my dad’s recipe. Get creative, doesn’t all have to be burgers and sausages.

Toasting marshmallows over a barbecue
Toasting marshmallows 🙂

5. Summer clothes are cute
Pretty dresses, cute skirts – makes a pleasant change from living in jeans and jumpers! Plus I always get told I look nice when I’m wearing my summer wardrobe. A girl loves a compliment, amiright?!

6. Pimm’s and pub lunches are necessary
Ooh I love a Pimm’s with bits of citrus fruit, mint, cucumber and strawberries floating in it, it’s the ultimate summer drink. Team it with a ploughman’s lunch while sitting in a pub garden and you’re onto a winner!

Anyone for Pimm's?
Anyone for Pimm’s?

7. Hay fever is why we can’t have nice things 
We can’t enjoy anything can we? When the winter cold season is over, the sneezing isn’t and it brings along its irritating cousins – itchy nose, throat and eyes.

8. Approximately 76% of all picnics will be spoiled by wasps or unexpected rain
Ok I made that stat up but it’s probably true.

Hot and bothered cat tries to chill in some shade
Hot and bothered!

9. Sleeping is difficult when it’s hot
Alright so it only happens about one night a year, probably mid-July, but that one night (ok maybe two nights) when it’s too hot with the bedroom windows closed but too noisy/bug infested to leave them open is tough!

10. Air conditioning is a blessing and a curse
So our houses here in Blighty don’t come equipped with air con as we rarely have the need for it. However, most workplaces these days have it, which is great when it’s a glorious 25 degrees outside and you’ve just arrived feeling a bit hot and bothered. Not so great an hour in and you’re sat there dressed for the outside when it’s about -5 in the office and your goosebumps have goosebumps!

Hands forming a heart shape at sunset

11. Nothing beats a cold shandy on a warm day
I don’t even really like beer/lager/whatever – it all tastes the same to me! But top it up with some lemonade and you have the second best summer refreshment right there (after Pimm’s of course).

12. We Brits will always moan about the weather
Everyone: “It’s too cold/rainy/grey, typical crappy British weather!”
cue day 1 of hot weather and sunshine
Everyone: “Yay! Summer’s finally here!”
cue day 4 of hot weather and sunshine
Everyone: “It’s too hot”

View from the London Eye on a dreary day in June
View from the London Eye on a dreary day in June

So come on tell me, what have you learnt about British summers? Or summers abroad? Leave me a comment below!

10 ways to embrace your inner child

As it’s my birthday this week (and I am alot older than I look and act!) I thought I would write something a little bit different to my usual travel tips and tales.

Even though I am married and have responsibilities like a job, house and mortgage, I feel far from being “a proper adult”. I am not someone who knows about the current interest rates on an ISA or whether we should be in or out of the EU.

Mr Potato Head figure in Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida
Me and Mr Potato Head in Florida

I should probably think about growing up soon but then again, as my past self once said “Immaturity is the key to a youthful complexion”. So I’ll save that for another day and instead share with you 10 ways to embrace your inner child!

1. Grab some junk food and have a Disney movie marathon. If Disney isn’t your thing (what are you doing here?!) then indulge in some classics from your childhood. For you 80/90s kids, how about Home Alone, Big, The Goonies, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters?

2. Go to the park, play on the swings and feed the ducks (although not bread as apparently this is bad for them).

Cute dog on a swing
Image via unsplash.com

3. Summer? Have a water fight! Winter? Have a snowball fight!

4. Go to an ice cream parlour and have a massive sundae for lunch.

Sour Candy Hit Sundae from Creams Cafe

5. Listen to a song that brings back nostalgic memories then dance around like a nutter or sing along to the top of your lungs.

6. Spend the day at the zoo/funfair/theme park.

Waltzer ride lit up at a funfair

7. Play some video games. I’m a fan of the Nintendo Wii.

8. Blow bubbles – either from a pot with a wand or through the medium of bubblegum.

Blowing bubblegum

9. Get creative. “The creative adult is the child who survived” – Ursula K. Le Guin. So write a story, paint a picture or just get messy with glitter! Unleash your creative spirit!

10. Go to a fancy dress party. Or just dress up for the fun of it.

Taking my fashion cues from Minnie Mouse at the World of Disney Store in Orlando
Taking my fashion cues from Minnie Mouse at the World of Disney Store in Orlando

What’s your favourite way to embrace your inner child?

10 ways to embrace your inner child
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If you liked this post then you might enjoy Alphabet Dating – K is for Kids for the day.

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You know you’re a travel nerd when…

You know you're a travel nerd when...

You have a shelf full of travel books.

You own at least one item of clothing with city names written on it.

You know about attractions and things to do in places you’ve never been.

You know the capital of <insert random country here>.

There is at least one globe or map in your home.

Infact, you love anything with a vintage map on it.

You scrapbook your adventures.

You have a years subscription to a travel magazine.

You even own a sweatshirt sporting said magazine’s logo.

You collect foreign currency.

Your fridge is covered in magnets from your various trips.

Your Travel board on Pinterest has thousands more pins than the rest of your boards.

You watch all the travel programmes on tv and wish you had the presenter’s job.

You can recognise an obscure landmark in a photo, even if you’ve never visited there.

You love listening to other people’s travel stories.

Your bucket list consists of travel-related dreams and your wishlist is as long as your arm.

You have a travel inspired tattoo.

You keep your old passport(s) for all the nice stamps.

You have at least 10 travel apps on your smart phone.

Whenever you see an aeroplane flying overhead, you always wonder where it’s headed to or where it has come from.

You write a travel blog.

So come on wanderlusters, how many of these apply to you? And what have I missed? Answers on a postcard (or just leave a comment below!)

Image via Bigstock