lifestyle
As the Coronavirus pandemic worsens, it seems that quite a few of us are going to be cooped up inside for the next few weeks. For some of us this means working from home, but for more and more of us this will just be time to kill before the world gets back to normal.


Things to do whilst social Distancing or self isolating on lockdown


I've popped together a list of things you can do to pass the time and ride this pandemic out. 
For ease I've spilt the list into two, things you can do if you're feeling productive, and things you can do if you're not, because in times like this it's okay to just chill the fuck out.

So what can you do whilst you are self isolating/ social distancing?



Things you can do if you're feeling productive:

1. Update your CV

2. Take an online course with Udemy 

3. Check your credit score

4. Plan a weekly or monthly budget

5. Get all of your washing done and change your bed sheets

6. Start learning a new language online

7. Tidy up your garden whilst the sun is shining

8. Do an hour of exercise

9. Delete the unwanted photos from your camera roll on your phone

10. Vacuum every room in the house

11. Organise your bookshelf by colour

12. Write a blog post

13. Update your media kit, or create one if you don't already have one

14. Tidy up and clear out your junk draws

15. Give the bathroom a massive spring clean and chuck out old products

16. Start learning sign language

17. Plan your meals for the week, making sure older food is all used up

18. Learn a new skill

19. Clean the bloody oven out, boring I know, but necessary

20. Create a 1 month, 1 year, and 5 year life plan

21. Check your bank account and move money over to a savings account if possible

22. Have a clear out of old things and start a charity bag to be taken to the shops once the lockdown period is over

23. Cut your grass

24. Unsubscribe to mailing lists you're no longer interested in

25. Cancel subscriptions to services you no longer want or need

26. Give your windows a good clean

27. Take out life insurance 

28. Create or update your LinkedIn account

29. Check your emails

30. Clear the stuff out from under your bed and give it a good vacuum 

31. Go through your calendar/ diary and make sure all the important dates are in there

32. Clear out any unwanted documents on your computers/ or hard drives

33. Open an ISA (if you can still do so online)

34. Polish your work shoes ready for when you can go back to work

35. Organise your wardrobe by; colour, item of clothing, occasion etc.

36. Check out the free courses at the open university

37. Take your curtains down and wash them

38. Unfollow the social media accounts that don't make you happy anymore

39. Bag up your lose change to take to the bank once you can

40. Clean out your makeup bag and brushes, and chuck away any old makeup

41. Delete apps you no longer use from your phone

42. Search for a new job online

43. Check how you can improve your credit score

44. Deep clean your carpets

45. Wash your car and give the inside a thorough clean too

46. Do an online food order so you don't need to leave the house for a little longer

47. Test all the chargers in the house and bin off any that don't work

48. Check you are up to date with any bills

49. Start writing a will

50. Pay off your credit cards

51. Switch your gas and electricity to cheaper suppliers

52. Flip your mattress

53. Clear out your attic/ shed/ random cupboards

54. Check when your car's insurance and MOT are due

55. Have a go at mending old clothes or turning up those trousers you've putting off doing

56. Set daily goals for yourself (and actually complete them)

57. Pack away your winter clothes

56. Ensure you have enough medication to last and order more if not

57. Return any online orders you don't want while the post office is still open

58. Sort through your nail varnishes and get rid of any that are starting to dry out

59. Start planning your side hustle but avoid MLM like the plague (Avon, juice plus etc)

60. Grow your connections on LinkedIn

61. Check your bloody emails, (properly!)

62. Help your child (or a friends child) learn something new

63. Volunteer to help the NHS



Things you can do if you're not feel productive:

1. Start a new series on netflix

2. Video call a friend or family member

3. Download TikTok and watch the hours fly by

4. Have a go at creating cocktails, or mocktails if booze isn't your thing

5. Start a new book

6. Treat yourself to a magazine subscription whilst deliveries are still available

7. Bake something you've never baked before

8. Go for a walk (away from other people)

9. Download Netflix party and watch a film at the same time as your friends who don't live with you

10. Call your elderly relatives or friends to check up on them

11. Try out a new makeup look

12. Binge watch Youtube Videos

13. Play dress up and have a mini bedroom photoshoot 

14. Start a scrapbook

15. Cook something new

16. Sign up to a dating app and chat with new people

17. Create a pub quiz for your friends and do a group video chat 

18. Set up an instagram for your pet

19. Try out a new hairstyle (but don't get cutting it yourself because the hairdressers are going to be closed for a while!) 

20. Meditate

21. If the weather is right set up the tent and camp in your garden

22. Write a letter to a loved one

23. Give Yoga a try

24. Create a TikTok Video

25. Start a quarantine diary

26. Take an afternoon nap

27. Discover some new blogs and binge read their content

28. Make a list of things you're grateful for

29. Download a new game for your phone

30. Go for a bike ride

31. Keep in touch with work colleagues

32. Start a new Pinterest board  

33. Start planning your dream holiday for when you can travel again

34. Create some pretty flaylays for your instagram

35. Leave nice comments on blog posts

36. If you can afford to, treat yourself to some goodies from small online businesses

37. If the weather is nice, relax in your garden

38. Try out Latte art

39. Do a face mask

40. Watch a film

41. Paint your nails

42. Plant some flowers (if you have seeds lying around)

43. Post your favourite books off to friends to read

44. Order physical prints of your favourite photographs

45. Create a mixtape

46. Spend 5 minutes doing deep breathing exercises

47. Call your mom

48. Do a hair mask

49. Make a handmade body scrub with blended fruits and sugar

50. Do something creative like painting or drawing (even if you're not that good at it)

51. Have a BBQ in your back garden

52. Start a blog if you don't already have one

53. Play a board game with whoever you live with

54. Take a bubble bath

55. Pluck your eyebrows

56. Crop some of your t-shirts ready for summer

57. Put on a banging playlist and dance like noones watching

58. Dig out your old games consoles and have a play

59. Leave tripadvisor reviews for the last few places you've visited

60. Moisturise your hands as excessive hand washing is likely drying them out

61. Treat yourself to some gift cards for your favourite independent pubs/ bars/ restaurants for when they open again

62. Write some poetry (even if you think it's a bit shit)

63. Have a photoshoot with your pet


Just a note, if you're self isolating current government guidelines state that you should not leave your house for a certain amount of time. Make sure you keep yourself familiar with the latest guidelines and use common sense during this tricky time. 

So stay safe, stay sane, and try to make the most of this time. It will be over and in the history books before we know it.


What have you been doing to keep yourself busy lately?



Thanks for reading!


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126 THINGS TO DO WHILST YOU'RE SOCIAL DISTANCING/ SELF ISOLATING

In a neat little town they call Belfast, you'll find pubs and bars aplenty. Every street has a drinkery of some sort, each of them very different from the last. But it's no surprise that the northern Irish capital is packed to the brim with pubs, afterall drinking is basically their national sport, and something they do very well indeed. It's also no surprise that tourists flocking to the city want to eat, drink, and be merry the 'Irish way'.



The Duke of York, Belfast


So where are the best place's for tourists the live it up in Belfast?


Here are my top 5 Belfast Bars...





The 5 Points, or just The Points if you're local. It's the first bar my little legs carried me into when I landed in Beautiful Belfast and it's probably my favourite. Labeled a student bar by natives it does have it's fair share of young'ns but I wouldn't let this put you off because it cheap, it's near several other banging bars, and its open late. It also boasts live music every single day of the week which is exactly what I look for when I'm on my travels. If you're lucky they'll even bring the boards out and treat you to a little bit of Irish dancing!



The most famous bar in Belfast apparently, and I can see why. Before you even enter the pub you're wowed by the ally leading up to it. Everything about this place is instagram worthy, from the entrance, to the courtyard (which I think technically belongs to the pub next door), to the inside walls which are plastered from head to toe in beer mats. It really is a tourists dream. You won't get a cheap bevvy here but you will get some cracking photos and a good sing song so who cares?!



A bar created by a Catholic husband and named by his loving Protestant wife. History really does come to life in this bar and believe me when I say it's not one to miss. Even if you're not a fan of the British Monarchy, wipe your feet on the mosaic crown which lies at the entrance and get a drink down you. The Crown is by far the most beautiful bar in Belfast, maybe even the whole of the UK, it really is an absolute gem. Inside you'll be greeted by the most wonderfully intricate interiors, barrels of beer, and private booths all lit up with traditional gas lighting.




Kelly's Cellars is the oldest bar in Belfast apparently. This wonky little Belfast pub can be found hidden down an alleyway and nestled at the back of a much more modern shopping area. It's easy to see why it's so popular with both tourists and locals who come here for a bit more of an authentic Irish bar experience. Whilst you will find live Irish music here on the regular, don't expect it to be anythnig like Temple Bar in Dublin or you will be disapointd. The musicians here play what they want and don't pander to the public. The set up is also a lot more relaxed than in a lot of other Belfast bar's with the band huddled around a regular pub table instead of being up on stage. It's a great little place to enjoy a few pints, if you can get a seat that is!





Fibber Mcgee's is a cracking pub situated just behind The Crown. Here you'll find pretty traditional interiors, banging beers, and friendly bartenders, it's a great all rounder. It's also another Belfast pub where live music is promised 7 days a week, what more could you want? There is also host of Titanic memorabilia on display here although I didn't get to see any of it as I was a too preoccupied having a good sing along.


So there you have it, my top rated Belfast bars! The city is covered in pubs, clubs and bars, so it's likely that I've missed out some fab little establishments, but these are the places I think of fondly whenever I remember my Belfast travels!


Think I've missed out a banging bar? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter!

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5 BEST BARS IN BELFAST FOR TOURISTS

Are you ready for this? I thought to myself anxiously as I stuffed my bikini into my rucksack on the morning of my booking at the Bear Grylls Adventure. I'm a naturally anxious person but I'm also a thrill seeker and unsurprisingly these personal qualities don't always go well together. But on that morning, as I prepped myself, I knew I was more excited than nervous, afterall I was about to experience something I'd never done before.



A few weeks before I had been asked if I would like to try out some of the activities at the Bear Grylls Adventure* over by the Birmingham NEC, and of course the answer was a resounding yes. I'd been the year before to try out the base camp (Fear Zone, Escape Room, Assault Course, and Archery) and the iFly (indoor skydiving) so I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that the Fear Zone and Escape Room had recently been relaunched. I booked myself and my family in for the two newly revamped activities and something else a little more show stopping - Scuba Diving. 

The Fear Zone was very similar to before with only a couple of minor changes. The walk through activity focuses on several common fears as you pass through it, and whilst it is a good bit of fun I did think this particular activity is more geared up for the kids. That's not to say adults won't enjoy it, if you've got a particularly nervous, jumpy, or squeamish individual in your group it can be a laugh.



Now the Escape Room at the Bear Grylls Adventure had been completely switched up from what I remember last time. Although I don't remember all that much (memory like a sieve over here) I do know I enjoyed the theme a lot more this time. You do have to really use some brain power for this one and working as a team is also a must if you want to crack the codes and escape within the 60 minute time frame. We did end up having a bit of help from a staff member every now and then but for most part the five of us were hard at work solving puzzles and hunting for clues. We got out in around 50 minutes I reckon. 

The highlight of the day for me and my family really was the diving however. As a family who have spent many a sunny beach break feeding fish in the hot mediterranean sea, it was going to be a real treat to actually get up close and personal with the creatures. Diving in a tank might seem 'less authentic' to some, but I thought this would be a great way to try out a new activity in a safe space, plus the Bear Grylls Adventure tank is huge!


Although I was beyond excited to become a temporary mermaid I did think my nerves might get the better of me and once I was all geared up and in the water my anxiety did nip in to say hello. It took me a little while to get used to the equipment and calm my breathing enough to feel comfortable under the water. It was clear I was nervous and so a second member of staff took me aside to talk me through everything one to one. 

Once I was calm and ready to go I submerged myself into the tank to meet up with the rest of the group and for the remainder of the activity I couldn't have been happier. Sharks and various other fish swam around us oblivious to the amazing experience we were having under the water. Although I was an anxious wreck at the start of the dive, I now can't wait to get back in the water and wouldn't hesitate to dive again in the future as it really is just an incredible, surreal experience. I do have the diving staff to thank for that as they were just so helpful and patient with me as I struggled to calm myself.



So Bear Grylls Adventure? Almost completed it mate, just the Climbing, High Ropes, and Shooting to do before I've ticked off all of the activities. Would I recommend it though? Honestly yes. I know some of the adventures can come in quite pricey however, so make sure to look out for deals or use your Merlin Pass of you're a passholder! 


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* My tickets were complimentary however all opinions are my own and I would never promote anything I didn't believe in.

BEAR GRYLLS ADVENTURE - SCUBA DIVING, ESCAPE ROOM & MORE*

At the start of 2019 I decided on a slightly unusual new year's resolution. I wasn't going to lose weight, I wasn't going to find a new job, and I definitely wasn't going to be moving out, nope, I was going to take a trip in every single month of the year. Yes it was going to be a very tricky, very expensive new years resolution, but I was determined.



Well 2019 is dead and buried so let's have a little review of the last 12 months. Where did I go? And did I manage to take a trip every month?

January

In the first month of the year I nipped over to Belfast. Ah Belfast, the rainy city that stole my heart and left me longing to return. The Northern Irish capital was the setting of my first ever solo trip and although there were a couple of blips, (see here for a very dramatic story) I had the most fanatic time. 

During my trip I saw a hell of a lot of Irish history, watched the sun set over the Giant's Causeway, and drank in some fantastic pubs, but most importantly I started to find myself again and my confidence blossomed. I wanted to take a solo trip for the longest time and I'm so glad I chose Belfast to be the setting for that.



February

The second my plane touched down at Birmingham Airport I knew I would be back to Belfast, and so I booked to go back a just few weeks later. This time I visited the Titanic Museum, the Ulster Museum (and the Game of Thrones Tapestry), and drank in several other banging little bars. Oh and I did it all alone again.

Whilst in Northern Ireland I also wanted to take a day trip to Derry as my history mad brain always manages to get the better of me. Ignoring the advice I received to stay well away, I popped myself on a train and off I went to see the city which became infamous during the troubles.

I actually visited just weeks after a car bomb was detonated in the city centre but that honestly didn't deter me and I'm go glad it didn't. What I found on my trip was a place rich in history and culture, and welcoming locals who were very aware of the cities bumpy past. Whilst a walk down the bogside might be shocking to brits who grew up in mainland Britain, it's so important that we understand the events which took place here.



March

In March I zipped over to little old Bruges in beautiful Belgium. Bruges is a fairytale town and one which has been firmly on my to do list for what seems like years. So at the start of Spring myself, my mom, and my sister jumped on the Eurostar for a long weekend in the medieval city. We climbed the famous bell tower, explored the winding streets, toured a chocolate factory and a brewery, took a boat trip, visited a museum dedicated to chips, and so so much more. Bruges is just bursting with things to do and it is impossible to get it all done in one trip.

My advice for anyone wanting to take a trip to Bruges? Enjoy the city for what it is, a beautiful tourist trap, but don't paint it as a storybook town because you will be very disappointed. I loved every second of wandering this picturesque place but in all honesty I won't be in any rush to return.



April

In April funds were tight and so was time. I wanted to take a trip so badly but my little trip to Belgium absolutely rinsed me and so my only choice this month was to take day trips.

I managed to fit two day trips in over the bank holiday weekend, the first of which was to lovely Liverpool. It's a city I've wanted to see forever and although I'd technically been before, I spent all of my time in the World Museum and so I didn't actually get to see the city. So what did I get up to? In between taking a wild amount of photos with my little angel Tori, I saw the docks, viewed Liverpool from the radio city tower, snapped some beatles statues, went on a walking tour, and had a few too many bevvies around Matthew Street before heading home on a train full of rowdy drunken Scousers. Fucking brilliant.

I also managed to sneak in a much more relaxed day trip to Bridgenorth, a small town about 45 minutes up the road from Brum. It was an absolute scorcher of a day, so myself, Mom, Dad, and the Dog mostly just wandered around before calling it quits and heading to a pub by the river.



May

By the time May rolled around I was ready for a few nights away, and as the weather had been glorious in the weeks leading up we decided to brave a camping trip. We popped down to the lovely Shell Island in Wales. It's the biggest campsite is europe apparently and my god does it show. Although there are toilets throughout the campsite, a midnight trip to the loo felt more like an expedition when you're cold, alone, and can't see anything further than the light from your torch reaches. Oh and we all thought we were genuinely going to die on the first night as it dropped down to 4 degrees. I wish I was lying.

That being said it is a cracking campsite, directly next to a beautiful beach, and just up the road from the little seaside town of Barmouth. Would 100% recommend staying there, but probably when you're not likely to freeze to death in your tent.



June

When people used to say they were going on holiday to Spain I would always secretly judge them, I won't lie. I would always just imagine built up holiday resorts full of Brits acting badly and that is not the kind of place I would want to holiday. So when I saw reasonable flights to Almeria at the start of June I wasn't sure, but my god was I pleasantly surprised.

After just a few hours in this Spanish seaside city it was evident that few people spoke English, and tourists were not catered for here at all. Jackpot! Myself and Tori soon learned to communicate with locals using google translate, and we even managed to (mostly) work public transport out. The city is absolutely buzzing with life, and history, and it is JUST SO HOT.

I'm not sure I will be able to do this paradise city justice in just a few paragraphs so I won't even try, but between sizzling on the beautiful beaches we explored an ancient fortress, shopped till we dropped, took a day trip to Malaga, hiked up a FUCKING MOUNTAIN in flipflops, took a tour of the civil war bunkers in Spanish, pretended we were cowboys on an old movie set, and danced the night away with pretty Spanish boys who showed us all the best bars. Would I recommend a trip to Almeria? In a heartbeat!



July

Honestly all I managed to do in July was a night out in Stafford. Wild I know. But I did stay overnight if that counts? AND I managed to crawl out of bed in time to treat myself to a Wetherspoons brekkie in the morning, so I did get to see some of the town.

August

In August I planned to go to Prague, its another beautiful city which has sat on my to do list for years and so I was determined to visit it over the summer, that was until the cheapest flight I could find was £150, err no thank you. So myself and one of my oldest friends Lucy booked a trip to Dublin instead which cost less than £150 for my flights AND accommodation, banging. Yes I'd been to Dublin a few times before, and no I wasn't sure if I would have anything new to see, but you know what? I went and it was fantastic. I took a walking tour which I've not done in Dublin before, I indulged in Whiskey at the Jameson's Distillery, I saw an original 1916 Irish Republic proclamation poster, and you guessed it, got very very fucking drunk. I left poor and hungover but it was bloody worth it!

Not content with just a few days in Dublin I also took a day trip to London at the end of the month. London is a city I've seen a thousand times before, but one which could never bore me. Even if taking a ride on the tube is like travelling through the fires of hell I will always return to our dusty capital. On my little day trip I explored the Tate Modern, got lost in some posh charity shops, wolfed down some fantastic grub in Camden market, and got pissed in various locations across Landannn town. Oh and I sank a couple of bevvies in the brand new Hard Rock Piccadilly which marked my 15th Hard Rock Cafe.



September

One friday evening, as just as I was getting home from work I was told to pack a case as quick as I could because we were off to sunny Somerset. Well you better believe I packed my bag in record time and we were on the road around an hour later. My parents had booked a last minute weekend break at a small holiday park in the outskirts of Cheddar and although I'd been a few times before I was very excited to be making full use of the hot tub beside the static caravan we would be calling home. I spent the first night bathing away with a glass of fizz, and then the following morning, and then the next night too. Basically I hopped in the tub whenever I had a bit of spare time and it was great.

In between enjoying the bubbles we went to Wells, Cheddar, and even spent a few hours around Western-Super-Mare, or Birmingham by the beach as my Mom likes to call it. We had a cracking weekend away and I would absolutely love to take more spontaneous UK trips like that again in the future!

At the end of September I was lucky enough to take another trip, but this time it was a little solo trip. So I had conquered Belfast alone and now I was ready to take on somewhere new, somewhere I couldn't speak the language, and somewhere I thought would probably push me out of my comfort zone. Krakow just happened to be the right price at the right time and so I booked a weekend trip on my lonesome.

Although short, the whole trip really was incredible, but not without its challenges. From being locked out of my apartment at 2am on the first night, to complications with Uber drivers, and the obvious language barrier, it wasn't a smooth trip but my god was it a confidence building one. I also had plenty of fun and got to see some amazing sights on my little city break. I fell for Krakow so much that I slapped up a pretty long blog post about it which you can read here if you'd like.



October

By october I was poor and tired so I didn't actually manage to book an overnight stay anywhere. I did take a day trip to rainy Blackpool however, which mostly involved wandering around the Blackpool Tower. It's no Paris, but the view from the top of that thing it still pretty decent, even if it is pissing it down, which lets be honest, it usually is.

On the way home from Blackpool we took a little detour up to Blackburn for the Scare Kingdom. There was a total of 5 scare mazes if I can remember right and it really was good fun! You can't beat a good scare night to get you in the mood for Halloween really can you?



November 

November was also an uneventful month for travel, not only because I was pouring my money into everyone's christmas presents, but because I had a drunken fall in the middle of the month which resulted in me cutting my hand open quite badly. It would render me pretty useless for the next few weeks and even see me on the operating table for the first time in my life. But that's a story for another blog post!

So where did I go in November? Well I took my mom off to the lovely city of Nottingham for the day, just to have a wander around really. It's only an hour or so away from Birmingham but I'd never actually been before so it was nice to spend a few hours exploring a local British city! We mooched around the German market (which is better than Birmingham's soz), took a tour of the underground cave system, and had lunch in the most beautiful converted church, amongst other things. It was a pretty great day!

December

I'm very sad to report that by the end of the year I was all out of money, time, energy, and effort. I didn't go anywhere in December and that was a real shame as it meant I didn't quite manage to take a trip every month which is what I had aimed for at the start of the year. But you know what I did do in the final month of 2019? I spent lots and lots of quality time with a whole host of fantastic people and that's what the festive season is all about really isn't it? Oh and I got fucking rat arsed pretty much every day in December which was fab.


For me 2019 really was the year of travel, and growth, and just doing exactly what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Every year I am evolving and really coming into the person I want to be which is amazing and scary all at the same time.
So here's to 2019, a funny little year that I will never forget.



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2019 - A YEAR OF TRAVEL

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