85 Things to do indoors during Lockdown

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

We're now into our 6th week of London lockdown. For those of you telling me you're bored, have a look at the list I put together and see how else you can kill some time:

  1. Tidy your wardrobe
  2. Tidy your shelves/bookcases/cupboards/drawers
  3. Tidy your room
  4. Tidy your flat/house - moving on to bigger things now! 
  5. Shred old documents that you no longer need
  6. Admin tasks
  7. Vacuum clean
  8. Do the laundry
  9. Do the washing up
  10. Fold up your clothes
  11. Clean light switches, door and cupboard handles
  12. Learn a new language or pick up an old language
  13. Learn a programming language
  14. Learn to bake
  15. Try out a new recipe - YouTube the recipe or look on the tasty food app
  16. Make a smoothie
  17. Exercise, got push up grips or weights at home?
  18. Create your own home gym
  19. Online workouts - we love Catalyst Climbing free live sessions 
  20. Yoga - we love Yoga with Adriene
  21. Meditation - download headspace/calm apps or YouTube meditation clips
  22. Relax
  23. Sort out your make up (get rid of old make up, clean your make up brushes)
  24. Work on your make up looks - perfect the cat flick or smokey eye look
  25. Create a new or work on your skincare routine
  26. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure
  27. Get your boyfriend/partner/husband to give you a manicure/pedicure - this one is even better than the one above as you can turn it into a spa day (light some candles and lie down)
  28. Cut your partner's hair (watch multiple YouTube videos before actually cutting their hair)
  29. Start a YouTube channel
  30. Start a blog/website
  31. Reach out to 5 friends and ask how their day went
  32. Use Zoom, Skype, Houseparty, WhatsApp, Messenger to have a catch up with friends and family
  33. Create a steam account and learn how to game
  34. Do an online course - there are so many free courses out there
  35. Download justdance on your phone and visit Just Dance Now to play - useful if you missed out on getting a Nintendo Switch before lockdown!
  36. Read a book - bought those books on your kindle and never read them? Time to start...
  37. Netflix/watch TV/documentaries/films
  38. Listen to music
  39. Sing - there are so many YouTube tutorials out there, especially warm up exercises which you can all do!
  40. Learn a new instrument or pick up an old instrument! Ukulele? Simple and easy to learn
  41. Learn how to knit
  42. Learn how to sew
  43. Uninstall phone apps you no longer use
  44. Clear out your old emails
  45. Unsubscribe from mailing lists that no longer interest you
  46. Cancel or pause unnecessary subscriptions
  47. Back up your phone data and photos
  48. Look at your old photos
  49. Make a photo album from the photos you download
  50. Board games
  51. Card games
  52. Do a puzzle
  53. Do crosswords or Sudoku
  54. Origami
  55. Water your plants
  56. Work on a DIY project
  57. Draw
  58. Colour in
  59. Have a bake off or host your own restaurant night at home
  60. Indoor picnic
  61. Online tours of museums
  62. Virtual gigs
  63. Watch musicals online
  64. Update your CV - may as well since you have time now
  65. Work on your interview skills
  66. Make a travel bucket list
  67. Write a gratitude list
  68. Keep a diary
  69. Indoor treasure hunt
  70. Take a nap
  71. Find a podcast to listen to
  72. Start your own podcast
  73. Design your dream house
  74. Create a vlog 
  75. Learn how to video edit
  76. Look up the meaning of your dreams
  77. Read up on your horoscopes
  78. Write a song
  79. Write a poem
  80. Write a short play
  81. Write a novel
  82. Plan what outfits you'd wear once we're out of lockdown
  83. Plan out your perfect day
  84. Read my blog and watch my YouTube covers
  85. Do nothing

How to survive lockdown with your partner

Saturday, 25 April 2020

During this lockdown, you've either decided to spend it with your partner or without your partner.

Whichever you've decided, there's pros and cons to both...I am spending it with my partner and although it's strengthening our relationship, it also highlights how bizarre these circumstances are since we are seeing each other pretty much 24/7 surrounded by the 4 walls.

Here are some tips which have worked well for us:
  1. When working from home, I work in our room and my partner works in the living room. This means we both have our own space during the day and we have lunch and dinner together. For those who are living together in a smaller space, try and separate the room if you can so you both have your own "work area". 
  2. Being in the same space as your partner means you notice their idiosyncrasies. If you argue or have disagreements, don't give each other silent treatment! Sit down and have a calm conversation stating what you didn't like what the other did, apologise and talk about ways to resolve it so that it doesn't happen again in the future. Silent treatment isn't useful in the long term as you never solve the problem in the first place. 
  3. Split chores! Since you'll be at home a lot, the amount of chores will naturally increase, from the washing up to the laundry! Best thing to do is to split chores, if one cooks, the other should wash up. If one loads the laundry, the other should hang the clothes to dry. 
  4. Yoga or stretching. There is something really relaxing about this, we do this either in the morning before work or before dinner in the evening. If it's in the morning, we like to draw the blinds up so we get some natural sunlight; we do yoga with Adriene on YouTube.
  5. Take a morning walk or evening stroll. We go at these times as less people are out and we'll take the trash out as well then do a quick loop around the block. It helps just to stretch a bit as we're seated for most of the day. Remember to maintain social distancing and wash your hands/shower as soon as you get back! 
  6. We game online together. I installed Counter Strike on Steam and we played a round. It helps to destress from the lockdown and instead of arguing, we shoot each other virtually instead. It's also a good laugh, even if I die a good 90% of the time. 

How to save money during lockdown times

Friday, 24 April 2020

It's week 5 of London lockdown. We are slowly getting used to the new normal, finding out the best places to buy fruit and vegetables, household supplies, adapting to working from home and being in the same space with your family, partner, flatmates for extensive periods of time. This is a time of both uncertainty and reflection and many have been affected financially, whether that be being made redundant, furloughed or on a reduced working hours contract which means reduced pay temporarily.

Here are a couple of things which may help you save money and reduce your spending during lockdown times:

  1. Pause/cancel unnecessary subscriptions and direct debits - whether that be your contact lenses, apple music, spotify, Netflix - if it's just you watching, have you switched it to the Basic £5.99 plan compared to the Standard £8.99 plan? You'd save £3 a month if you downgrade and that means £36 a year which may not be much but it's still money!
  2. Reduce your phone bill - for those of you who are on a pay monthly contract, if you have finished that pay monthly contract, you can usually reduce the price as you've finished paying for the phone! 
  3. Commute money - unless you're a key worker, you most likely no longer need to commute on public transport which means you're saving money. Put this money in your emergency savings fund or use this money towards your monthly food shop instead!
  4. Check holiday/concert/events/travel refund options - see if you're able to get your money back
  5. Before you order from an online retailer, ask yourself - do you actually need that item?
  6. Budget - work out how much money you need to use per week and stick to it!

2020 Goals - completed 3 already!

Monday, 3 February 2020

I created a list of my 2020 goals and out of the 6, I've completed 3 already - 2 on the same day!

These were:

  • Baked banana bread (same day)
  • Completed a red climb (same day)
  • Started a new sport (yoga)

I'm slowly coming to terms with my stomach issues. It's not been fun but I've calmed down a lot and also got used to the feeling of the bloating, cramps and nausea. Not exactly what I imagined I had to deal with but then there are worse situations. Guess I have to think positive and look on the bright side. I've already started going to therapy for it as it's left me with some health anxiety where there are times I can get super nervous/anxious about how my day will go but for now, a good day is me getting through the day and making it home again. I used to be a lot more social and I miss that but I can't force myself to do things I used to be able to do, such as party all night, go out and drink. I simply do not have that energy anymore and as much as I'd like to do those things once in a while,  I've decided to focus my energy on my work, health and mental health because it's not worth the risk of backtracking my progress.

I know I look healthy but I've definitely lost weight from this and it's been a real struggle to put it back on. I'm working on it though and it will take some time. It's not easy to understand this, especially if you've never been through this before and I'm not expecting you to either. I'm grateful to both my online and offline friends who have reached out to check up on me every now and then, especially those who have been so understanding and compassionate or been in similar positions and being so accommodating - letting me pick a restaurant for example. Thank you - you know who you are and it's the small things that's made such a big difference and made me feel so appreciated and loved. 

Last weekend, we made dairy-free banana bread! It took roughly 1 hour 10 mins and it was super easy to make. We followed Jamie Oliver's recipe and here's how it turned out:

 I'm super pleased with the results and so glad that I can still treat myself to snacks like these when prior to all this, I wouldn't even have thought twice about what I should/n't eat, especially being such a foodie. Cutting out dairy has helped a lot, I think this was one of the things that caused these flare ups so I'm probably still dairy intolerant. 

Just hoping in the next couple of months, more progress will be made! Fingers crossed! 

Stomach problems - part 2

Sunday, 17 November 2019

It's November now - I've seen my nutritionist and had the bio-resonance test again. Most things seem to be ok apart from dairy. Last weekend, we were in Valencia and it was so good to get away from London. London life can be very fast paced but in Valencia, we didn't know anyone there so we were able to chill out, relax, see the sights and enjoy the food. There was no rush to be anywhere at a certain time and that was a good feeling. 

Speaking of food...as I almost felt normal again, I decided to go for a waffle with dark chocolate and lots of sprinkles and marshmallows. Now usually in London, especially after all the trouble I went through, I would think twice about eating something I used to enjoy without thinking about it. On the weekends, I will try to have a donut or apple crumble with custard just to slowly ease myself back into eating this kind of stuff and I've been ok so far so I thought this time I'd also be ok.

So here it is...what I chose and what hurt me for a couple of days:

Sugar overload but I did try my best to knock off some of the sprinkles. If you know me, you would know why this would appeal to me. I just wanted to be normal - like I was before this happened. 

Couple of hours later back in the apartment, I felt heavy, cramped and gassy. Wasn't a good combo. After lying down for a couple of hours, the heaviness passed and I was able to head out for dinner. I was very lucky that there was no vomiting (just a bit of nausea). In fact, through all of this, not once have I vomited - it's just been bouts of nausea which has, with time, decreased. 

But imagine this. You wake up, have breakfast (nakd bar and water) then feel nauseous, as if you're going to throw up, but you never do. It's just the feeling that you MIGHT. You walk to the station to go to work and the nausea hits you again. You reach work and you're able to survive until lunch where you have a jacket potato and baked beans (boring but safe) and then nausea hits again. It eventually passes so you take a walk around the block (sometimes, if I'm lucky, nausea doesn't happen after lunch) but as soon as I finish eating, there is that 1 hour window where I'm panicking about whether I'll be ok after! This is not the way I want to live my life! If you've ever seen Stranger Things on Netflix, that monster inside Will is what I can describe it to you as. It triggers whenever it wants and I can't stop it.

It is a pain to live with - I hate it. It is a distraction and in public, I'm on "high alert mode" when it hits, just hoping it will stop ASAP. I would feel so much better if I didn't have this. People tell me, don't think about it - I'm not, it just happens. Usually within 5 - 10 minutes or so, I feel ok again, ready to operate for the day. That's what got me so upset a couple of months ago, I felt like I would never fully heal. The nausea slowly decreased but now it's back again.

All of last week I've had nausea every single day and this time it has happened after lunch (twice) and also after dinner (once). I haven't had it happen after lunch or dinner before so naturally, I was more worried. 

But what can I do? Just hope for the best and go back to a calmer diet. It's frustrating. There isn't a cure and I wish there was an immediate one - I know I'm not the only one suffering with these symptoms so I feel what you're going through. 

I'm very lucky to have my support network and people I can trust who won't judge me. Having them reassure me and tell me it's going to be ok is enough. The rest, I have to get through myself. 

Things I do which I think help with nausea:

  1. Lie down 
  2. Eat an ice-lolly
  3. Breathe
  4. Distract myself (reading/music/online shopping)
  5. Fresh air
  6. Taking a walk around the block

What happened to me after I drank a bubble tea...

Monday, 23 September 2019

Many of you have been asking me what's going on, why I've not been as social lately and whether I've fully recovered. So instead of repeating myself over and over again, here is what happened:

28/05/19 = Drank a bubble tea (standard milk tea with pearls) and had dim sum. Dad also had dim sum but no bubble tea. He was fine. We went home after and left again to celebrate my birthday with family. At this point, I still felt relatively normal. It wasn't until I got on the tube a couple of hours later that my stomach was churning and I urgently needed to go. On the tube, I kept on having to get off every couple of stops as I felt incredibly nervous about my stomach. Eventually made it to restaurant but went couple more times. :( Didn't vomit like usual food poisoning. 

29/05/19 = Better but not great. Knew I wasn't fully 100% but felt better than the day before. I managed to get on bus and run some errands. 

30/05/19 = My birthday. Felt ok, was alive but knew I still wasn't feeling great. Was very careful about what I ate. 

31/05/19 = We went out to see a musical and I remember eating a plain tofu udon. I do remember being very nervous on the bus as it was shaking and my stomach was feeling gassy and just not 100%. Was ok during the musical so thought I had recovered. 

03/06/19 = Went back to work. Work was busy that week so didn't have time to think about how I felt. I thought I had surely recovered by then.

12/06/19 = Went home from work. Stomach ache in afternoon

17/06/19 = Went to GP in the morning. First strong signs of nausea. Was told to keep a food diary and come back in 4 - 6 weeks if symptoms were still there. Felt better after the morning

Managed to go into work the next day but that week my bowel movements had already increased from my usual and I knew something wasn't right. Lost my appetite for 2/3 weeks or so and as a result, started losing weight because of it (3kg roughly. If you see me, please don't tell me because a) I'm well aware b) I'm trying to put it back on c) makes me feel more paranoid about myself).

24/06/19 = A repeat of last Monday - like deja vu! Went to GP in the morning. Felt nauseous again but didn't actually vomit. Took calpol and slept. Felt very weak. Diagnosed with IBS. Didn't think much of it as I thought it would go away after a while.

25/06/19 = Did a stools test

By this point, my brain didn't know what my body wanted. It was almost as if it had disconnected and I couldn't tell if I was unwell or hungry or whether I needed to go for number 1/2. Overall it was like my body had shut down on me and I had 0 energy left. I was no longer in control of my body. 

04/07/19 = Stools results received. Stomach inflammation - which explains everything above.

The months of June and July were definitely not the best of 2019 or of my entire life so far. In fact, it's been the worst! The nausea, the increased bowel movements, extra gas, churning/bloated/cramped stomach, my mental health and my mind telling me that I'll never recover was really not helpful. I don't think I've cried so much or been so emotional in my life. Looking back at it now in September, I feel like I was a drama queen about the whole situation but thinking back (I'd rather not tbh), it really was a horrific time in my life as my health is generally in a good state and it really set me back from doing every day normal things such as going to work. I stopped dining out and seeing my friends. I stopped my dance classes and climbing. A good day for me was surviving and making it to the end of the day. 

I didn't want IBS. Before this, I've heard of it but never really knew what it was about. Now I am fully aware of the symptoms and just what a pain it is to live with! 

My blood test came back normal but I still didn't feel like myself. I am pretty sure the bubble tea was what caused this because that was the only thing that I had which nobody else did. I also didn't eat anything too out of the ordinary. 

I started taking buscopan with recommendation from my GP. Started on 1 pill before lunch and 1 pill before dinner then increased to 3 pills the next week once I tested to see if there were any side effects.  It has helped - I noticed that I was less gassy. I also saw a nutritionist who did a bio-resonance test on me and told me from this, I am most likely lactose intolerant for 6 months or so. She gave me some good tips on what to eat and what not to eat. I cut out dairy (haven't had alcohol since end of May) and also cut down heavily on yeast products - which meant bye to my chocolate bars and pain au chocolats which I'd have for breakfast in the morning. I switched it up with Nakd bars and smoked salmon instead. 

August 2019 = I felt super anxious about travelling on a plane as a) you're in the air and I have no idea how my stomach will be that day b) didn't want to use aeroplane toilets c) have to sit for 2 hours or so (but I fell asleep really quickly and had Ariana Grande's song Boyfriend on repeat) 

I saw the nutritionist the day before I flew to Rome so I felt slightly better about what I could/couldn't eat. Before we walked into restaurants, we would look at the menu and decide what I could have. If the menu had potatoes, we would go in! I've been having potatoes a lot lately. 

August in general was an ok month health wise. Some days I'd have little flare ups which included crampy and gassy stomach and some nausea but less than before. 

There have been some weeks where I felt almost normal (I say almost because my bowel movements have still been more than usual but less than what it was initially in June/July) and back to myself and other days where I feel rubbish and still get a bit afraid after I eat how my stomach is going to react. 

September 2019 = Still keeping a food diary, re-did stools test which came back normal (good news!) but some days still have nausea. It's something I've got used to now and I try to live as normally as possible. At the moment, I've started on the buscopan again as I had a little flare up last week but there is progress and although slow, I'm glad I've made it this far!

My friends have reached out and also shared their experiences with IBS with me so it's a generic thing as our symptoms have been varied and it's made me feel less scared about it. Let's hope by the end of this year I'll be fully recovered! 

Products that have made a difference

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Lately I've been shopping at SpaceNK. Here are a couple of products that I've enjoyed using over the last couple months...

Consistency is thicker than Dior's Forever Concealer but lighter than Estee Lauder's DoubleWear Concealer. Recommended if you need to cover dark circles and spot marks. Blends in nicely and doesn't look heavy. Price is £24 - quite a lot for concealer but if you have a NDulge card and collect points, you can use the points to pay (I got £5 off my NARS concealer!). If you are unsure, purchase the smaller travel size (£12) first!

My scalp was quite dry during these autumn winter months so I changed shampoo which made no difference. So I tried Bumble and Bumble Bb. Scalp Detox spray.  This is £25 and I use it once or twice during the week before I wash my hair. You shake the bottle, squeeze a bit of product into your hands and rub into your scalp. Wait for a couple of minutes before rinsing off and applying your shampoo and conditioner. I've found it useful. It has cleaned my scalp and I no longer get dry flakes.

In addition to using Bumble and Bumble Bb Scalp Detox spray, I also bought Ouai Scalp and Body Scrub. I use this after my BB Scalp Detox spray. It smells amazing, a soft coconut smell. After applying this to my scalp, I wait a couple of minutes before rinsing it off and applying my shampoo and conditioner. This also works as a body scrub and it's gentle enough to use on skin. I've found these 2 products work well together. Would recommend even though price is again quite high...£32. However, I've had this product for 2 months or so now and still have a lot of product left.

This has been so useful to take abroad with me to cleanse my face! I just use the travel sized Simple face wash with it. This is £29 but worth it! You can't replace batteries/charge like you can with the bigger products but I've used it a couple of times abroad now and the size and weight makes it super easy to take with you. The power button is a bit hard to press - it's on the back but once you press it, the product stays on until you switch it off!