Okay, confession time: this post was totally going to be called 'cutting OUT dairy', but as it turns out lockdown is really really hard, and after months and months of being pretty much completely dairy free (apart from the odd biscuit or milk powder in something), I've started eating little bits of dairy here and there. It's hard to keep control of everything at this weird point in history, and honestly if making millionaire's shortbread over a weekend makes me feel better, then I'm going to do it.
I mean, if it's not obvious I intended to post this weeks ago and then life* (*staring at tiktok mindlessly for hours on end and eating snacks) got in the way, then I don't know what is. I've had a mixture of lots more time for bullet journalling since lockdown started, which is great, but also feeling massively drained and un-creative, the more so as time goes on. I feel like in a few weeks I won't be picking it up at all, but I'm hoping I instead start to feel a bit more inspired again soon.
Between shops being closed because of lockdown and feeling a need to save money where I can because the future feels more uncertain than ever, I'm practically dreaming of a time where I can stroll back into a bookshop and pick up something I've been lusting after.
I haven't done a book of the month in a long time, but Where the Crawdads Sing was such a beyond beautiful book I had to bring it back. This book is like nothing I've read in a long time, and more poignantly, like no recent publication I've come across. I feel like it's reminiscent of American literature from the 60s-80s and it was honestly the kind of soothing read I needed at such an intense time.
I know the days are all blurring into one a bit because every lockdown day is the same but wow I actually struggled to recognise where the cutoff between March and April was when it came to writing this roundup. This was a really GOOD month for reading for me and I'm honestly not convinced May can live up to it. With three 5 star reads and 2 four star ones, there's a whole lot I really want to recommend here!
I've been meaning to write something about this for a LONG time because wow millenials are really pressurised into turning every single moment of the day into productive time and every hobby into a money maker, huh? Anyway, during lockdown we've all been bombarded with even more messages of 'OMG now's the time to take up that hobby you've been talking about/do home workouts/get skinny/finally make a PROPER use of your time' and it's really a bit much isn't it? It's a time for all sorts of companies who are losing money on us not buying things from their stores to encourage us to shop online - you can't do weights training at home to get fit without buying some first can you? But also, the pressure seems to be coming from everyone. We've all seen how many sourdough loaves are being made on social media (no shade here, I love the idea of making one) and have been asked by our families if we've found any new hobbies yet.
It's creating this weird divide around lockdown and how we're all coping. For starters, there are people who really have way less time on their hands now (honestly I've never been more glad to not have children) and are being bombarded with all of these mixed messages about what we should be doing when they have even less spare time. Normally no one sits you down and asks if you're using every day to its advantage, but that's what social media and often people we're in touch with are doing at the moment.
Lockdown is being branded as a 'rare opportunity' - it's a time to call your grandparents when you're normally too busy, or finally learn how to knit, download Duolingo and get cracking on a new language or finally discover your abs. On the flip side of that, it's this massive time of crisis and uncertainty. A lot of our identity is wound up in the way we interact with others, our jobs or schoolwork, and how we present ourselves to the world. With a lot of those rugs pulled from under our feet we're all entering into this weird time of having to get to know ourselves better (which absolutely makes me want to retch) without any of those distractions. It's intense.
And whilst yes some people have more 'free time' to do things they normally wouldn't, we're also using up all this headspace to think about ourselves, the lives we've created, and have moments of existential crisis about our futures facing Covid-19 and the issues its creating. It's tiring and it's a difficult thing for anyone to have to face, although much more difficult depending on your circumstances.
I really come to writing this with a lot of privilege. I still have my job, I live with my boyfriend so I'm not feeling too isolated and my mental health prior to this whole situation was the best it's been in years, probably all of my adult life. And yet, almost every day I'm having to remind myself that I don't have to do it all. Yes, I love to bake and I've taken up yoga again to help with my anxiety, but I'm also ignoring all of those damned Duolingo reminders (what an angry little owl) and I've had so many days where I'm too tired and frustrated to do anything but mope and mindlessly half watch TV.
What I'm really trying to say is just don't beat yourself up. This is a scary time and just by getting through each day you're really overcoming something challenging. It's nothing that we've ever experienced before or could have anticipated (I would have a LOT more jigsaw puzzles in my house if I had done). If scrolling through Tiktok for hours or napping or watching old boxsets from the start again is making you feel better then do that, and live your teenage dream.
This whole thing is a rough ride, and we don't need to beat ourselves up along the way for holding ourselves to a standard that we wouldn't do when we're not having to face a global pandemic. And yes, if you're finding you're capable of filling every hour with something productive and it's helping you, then that's great, but none of us should feel guilty for not doing 'enough' right now.
So last year and this year so far I've hardly blogged, which is why I bought these face masks in DECEMBER 2018 (Christ) and have been meaning to write a little something about them ever since then. Lockdown is doing wonders for me attempting to do all these things I haven't got around to yet, apart from any kind of long-standing cleaning projects I'm avoiding. Cleaning my oven is just too much of a commitment, okay?
A few weeks before coronavirus and then lockdown really kicked off in the UK, I helped organise a charity book sale where I work and I'm SO glad I did because what else is there to do indoors everyday other than read? I've got a whole bunch of books to take me to the other side of lockdown, and I'm just not sure what to read first out of these (although a lot of people have raved about The Cactus).
Wow, when was the last time I wrote a list post like this? I mean, not *quite* like this, for obvious reasons, but it feels like years. I'm reached that point in lockdown where I'm almost at five weeks inside (I started a week earlier as my partner and I had coughs) and honestly? I'm bored of everything inside our house, although I totally realise how privileged it is to have a home and not be alone right now. So I'm going to wallow a little and try to think of all the things I really want to do in a post-lockdown world that I'm hoping will still be vaguely recognisable as the place it was pre-lockdown.
I seem to say this every single time I sit down to write a blog post now, but it's honestly been forever since I last sat down to write. I put a whole load of pressure on myself to write something monumental (especially at the moment) and it seems pointless and trivial to just write something mundane and bookish. However, that basically sums up my life, especially in lockdown.
We've reached that point in Winter where it's just dragging now. I would like a bit of warmth, less rain and maybe to wake up to daylight? Phwoar. However, this time of year has one positive: I hibernate and read for months, which is slow bliss. I've managed to amass quite a few new books over the past few months either as Christmas gifts, charity shop purchases or from publishers to talk about on Instagram (I'm living my very own dream). So buckle up, and maybe grab a cuppa because I think this is going to be a long one. I'm going to go straight in now so let's get cracking:
My laptop is finally fixed and I can actually post again?! I've spent the last few weeks focusing on finishing my core pages in my bullet journal instead of posting on here or spending hours browsing recipes on pinterest. Maybe it was for the best I had a break. Anyway, my core pages in my bullet journal are the ones I'll use all year round - calendars, book trackers, film trackers, savings reminders etc. This year I'm still using a few bits leftover from 2019's core pages, so it's a pretty concise set up.
At the start of every new year I always seem to have a LOT of time for reading, and January often winds up being the month where I spend the most time indoors. It's wet and cold and no one has any money after Christmas, so staying in with blankets and books is the only answer. I read 7 books last month and although not all of them are going down as favourites for me, I'm pretty pleased with managing to read that many.
I'm not sure if it's for the best that I'm writing this at the end of January or not, because at the end of 2019 the dawn of a new decade seemed like we might be launching into things improving in our world. However, almost one month in and we're finally about to launch out of the EU, Trump's impeachment trial is getting shadier by the day, WW3 has already been trending on twitter and there's a deadly virus forcing people to be quarantined. 2020 is off to a stellar start.
2019 was really the year that 10 year old me emerged again with an INTENSE love for all things books. I delved into a whole lot of books that normally stay far far away from my radar, turned my instagram into a bookstagram, re-organised my shelves and *almost* hit my Goodreads target.
Every year so far undeniably has had rubbish parts, and 2019 was absolutely not without the glum days or weeks for me, but I love doing a little round up of all the highlights to remember. Hopefully in years to come I'll remember my 25th birthday spent with my sister, not the days I felt lonely or that time I had a really bad cold.
Anyway, that was a bit of a disclaimer for the post because it's a highlight reel that I'm so excited to share, but it comes with a little pinch of salt that nobody's year is perfect, no matter how good they try to make it sound online.