Monday 8 February 2021

 [This is a collaborative post but all words and opinions are my own.]

The last year has been a challenging time for many of us, and I really feel for those who are still in complete lockdown and who live on their own. A lot of people do tend to enjoy their own company, but we also know that human interaction and socialising is needed for our happiness and wellbeing. We know that we're all staying home to help beat this virus and save lives, but your mental wellbeing should be just as important as your physical. With that being said, I wanted to include a few ways to make sure that you're taking care of yourself during lockdown. 

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1. Try and think of the positives in your life. 

We all know that the way you perceive a situation and how you think about it has an outcome on your moods and how you handle things. So instead of thinking, how horrible it is being home everyday or all the things you can't do, try and flip the situation. Instead think, I get to have all this extra quality time to myself or with my family, I have time to read more books or finish series, I'm saving money by staying home and not buying a Costa coffee every morning! 

2. Try and schedule social things with friends 1-2 a week as you would in 'real life'. 

I know the novelty of Zoom quizzes kind of wore off after the first lockdown, but my group still love it! If it's not your cup of tea then you can also virtually watch a movie with friends or your partner through Netflix Party. Or buy yourself a bottle of wine and play some drinking games on FaceTime! I have a post on 40 things to do in lockdown if you need some more inspiration. 

3. Make future plans. 

Personally, I think the key to being happy is always having things to look forward to. Which obviously isn't very plentiful right now! With the vaccine being rolled out, we are looking at things slowly getting back to normality around Easter time. So get on SkyScanner and start planning that post-covid trip you'd like to go on at the end of the year, get yourself excited for something. Just make sure your flights are refundable if you plan on booking everything. 

4. Find a way to exercise that you enjoy. 

I bought myself a FitBit last month, and it has actually made me more motivated to work out at home as you can actually see the results of it. Before I always thought that my home workouts weren't really doing anything, but my FitBit proves otherwise. If you have a Nintendo Switch, then I recommend buying Just Dance! It's fun and an hour of dancing burns around 350 calories. 

5. Go on your walks. 

I know it's cold, and a lot of days staying home in your pyjamas seems more appealing. But you need your fresh air and a change of scenery too! Download a podcast or listen to an album that you haven't listened to in ages. Or if you're allowed to walk with a friend do that. If the weather truly is horrible outside, then something to consider is using oxygen cans or an Oxygen Concentrator UK which is also becoming popular with a lot of athletes. 

6. Talk to people about how you're feeling. 

I know a lot of times it's very easy to feel like you're alone with this or how you're feeling. A quick look on Twitter or anywhere else shows that a lot of us are feeling more anxious, down and like life just isn't very exciting at the moment. The worst thing you can do when you're feeling like this is keeping it to yourself and being alone with your own thoughts, so reach out to a friend or family member and tell them about what's worrying you or what you need. 

As much as the situation sucks right now, just think how far we've all come from when this started. The light at the end of the tunnel also feels a lot closer now, so it won't be long until we're all drinking in the bar with our friends! 


Sunday 7 February 2021

[This is a collaborative post but all words and opinions are my own.] 

As I'm sure most of you feel, I can't wait to finally be able to buy an overpriced coffee at the airport, get on a plane, look out the window listening to my music pretending I'm in a music video and arriving in a new country. That day is getting closer, but for now the safest thing to do is explore your own backyard. I always find we tend to want to tick off all these exotic locations and then end up neglecting the closest places around us because we can 'go any time'. So here are a couple of trips to consider once restrictions ease and we're allowed to travel again, that are a big closer to home!

1. Edinburgh

I took a trip here back in 2012 when I was checking out a few universities, and although I loved the city for a holiday, I don't think I could have survived the harsh Scottish weather on a daily basis! Here are some of my recommendations for a visit:

  • Stay close to Princes Street, the heart of Edinburgh.
  • Put your trainers on and take a hike up Arthur's Seat.
  • Scroll through the Old Town.
  • Eat an 'infamous' deep fried Mars Bar.
  • Find out some horrors about Edinburgh with the 'Edinburgh Ghost Tour'.
  • Explore Edinburgh Castle.
  • Have a picnic from Calton Hill.

2. London

I think no matter how many times you take a trip to London, there's always new things to discover and quirky restaurants to visit (or take pictures for Instagram in). I even wrote a 
London bucket list back in 2016, and it definitely needs updating! When in London:

  • Get a central London hotel, or you'll spend most of your day commuting between places!
  • For some vintage finds, head to Camden Market or Notting Hill. 
  • Get your museum fix, my favourites are the Tate, Science and Natural History Museum. 
  • Visit Neal's Yard for some quirky photos for your Instagram feed. 
  • Take a Ghost Bus Tour around London and hear stories about the infamous British characters like Jack the Ripper. 

3. Belfast

This is on my bucket list and I'm really hoping I can make a trip there this year. I'm sure anyone who is a Game of Thrones fan wants to come here for the filming locations, but the scenery and landscapes also look breathtaking. I've also never been to Northern Ireland or Ireland, so this one is high on my list! When in Belfast:

  • Take a visit to the Titanic Museum
  • Have drinks in Cathedral Square for the best atmosphere
  • Walk around Belfast Castle
  • Take a Game of Thrones guided tour around the city
  • Go on an official 'Irish Pub Crawl'
  • Climb your way up Cave Hill

4. Gibraltar 

So geographically you won't be in the UK for this one, so you'll have to catch a flight to get to this overseas British territory (also my home!). Gibraltar is a popular tourist destination located on the southern tip of Europe, bordering Spain. The great thing is you don't need to practice your spanish before your trip because english is the first language here! When in Gibraltar:

  • Get the best views of Morocco and Spain by taking a walk up the Rock of Gibraltar. If you're feeling up for the challenge walk up the Mediterranean steps to the top of the rock.
  • Go and see the dolphins on a dolphin safari.
  • Have a picnic in Alameda Gardens.
  • Try some local favourites - calentita, torta de acerga, croquetas and torta de patata! Sun-Cola drinks are also a favourite with locals!
  • Spend an afternoon at Sandy Bay beach
  • Celebrate National Day by wearing your best red and white attire, and joining in the all-day festivities on 10th September. 

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