Monday, 25 May 2020

How to Keep Busy in Lockdown

I probably need to take my own advice if I'm writing this blog post as I have most definitely been guilty of boredom throughout lockdown. Don't get me wrong, I have been trying to amuse myself but after however many weeks we've spent social distancing the momentum and motivation are beginning to dwindle. Here are some suggestions of things to keep you occupied if you find yourself looking for something to do, but also remember, it's okay to do absolutely nothing and take time for yourself.

1. Something Arty
Art has never been my strongest subject, I was never awful but also never brilliant (everyone I know will remember the wonderful tree I painted for my GCSE that was promptly cut out by my art teacher) but lockdown has been a time to whip out those old paints again. I made Easter cards for my boyfriend and nan that turned out rather well and I also bought a paint by numbers which I'm slowly working my way through. Equally, if painting isn't your thing then you could get a colouring book, some engraving or sequin art or just plain old pens and paper. Now is the perfect time to get creative even if it doesn't go particularly well.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

DIY SOS: Lockdown Edition

Myself and my mum absolutely love anything interior design-esque and we both constantly want to update rooms in our house by painting them again or just adding a few new bits and bobs to spice things up a bit. With lockdown at the moment, this has only made things worse and we've found ourselves browsing the boards of Pinterest for inspiration and this was the result.

We wanted a slightly tropical theme but mainly just lots of splashes of bright colour throughout the room. It isn't perfect yet as we'd like to get different cushion covers and a brighter vase for the bedside table but it's a work in progress in quarantine. As soon as the shops are open again we'll be straight out there hunting down the finishing touches for the room, but, for now, we're fairly happy with it.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

How to Host an Online Quarantine Quiz

I'm a huge fan of any sort of quiz, though I'm not 100% sure why as I don't tend to do all that well on them. Since the UK's lockdown, there has been a huge increase in the number of quizzes, quiz questions and ways to make the best quarantine quiz possible. Naturally, myself and my friends hopped on the bandwagon and I decided to make a quiz for us to keep us amused through the many weeks of lockdown. Here are some of my tips on creating the best quiz possible!

Monday, 11 May 2020

Students Amidst a Pandemic

Amongst this global crisis, it's clear to me that one group in society seem to have been forgotten and left to deal with the consequences of the virus both academically and financially alone. The government have, so far, failed to address any of the issues that university students face at the moment with the policies across universities also varying greatly.

Life as a student at the moment is confusing and frustrating, to say the least. Some universities have continued to work to regular deadlines, others have chosen to extend, others have scrapped exams and assignments entirely, some have decided to adopt 'no detriment' policies and others have made assignments compulsory but they do not count.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Best Lockdown TV Shows

Lockdown has been a time where its been even more acceptable to binge-watch shows more than usual. I've watched some great tv shows in recent weeks so I thought it would be nice to share some top picks of things I've watched and thought were amazing! Without further ado, here are my top recommendations.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Top 5 Quarantine Reads

Note: Affiliate links are used on this page where I may earn money for products mentioned in this post. However, I will only recommend products that I wholeheartedly recommend and believe are of value.
During the current lockdown in the UK, I've been finding myself reading a lot more - which is quite the achievement considering I'm an English student and should be reading a lot anyway! It's been so nice to have more time to read novels for pleasure rather than for a module and I've been well and truly taking advantage of this and have found myself reading some books I've thoroughly enjoyed.

For that reason, I thought I'd share my favourite lockdown reads so far. I'm sure they'll be plenty more by the time we come out of lockdown! Incidentally, there are only three of the books mentioned in the picture below but that's due to the fact that the others have been lent out to friends before lockdown!

1. The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary
The Flatshare focuses on the lives of Leon and Tiffy as they navigate being flatmates who have never actually met each other (at least to start with). They're also not flatmates in the traditional sense as they also share a bed, though not at the same time, obviously... The Flatshare has been a book that I have found myself devouring, willing the characters to meet and get on. The notes they leave around the flat for each other are my favourite part of the novel and I loved watching the relationship between them blossom. If you're after a book to get you feeling more positive during quarantine then give this one a go!

2. Black-Eyed Susans - Julia Heaberlin
Tessa, dubbed a 'Black-Eyed Susan' by the media is the only survivor of a serial killer. Years later, the black-eyed Susans so-called killer is about to be executed but Tessa knows that this isn't the right man. Someone has been leaving her flowers in various places in the years after the trial and the novel slowly reveals the real killer as more evidence and forensics come to light. I did not expect the ending at all with this book so that's always a plus and I found myself guessing (incorrectly) right until the very end. If you're a psychological thriller fan then definitely check this novel out!

3. Where Angels Fear to Tread - E.M Forster
If classics are more your thing, or you fancy trying something a little less contemporary then any novel by Forster is fantastic (his A Room with a View is the inspiration behind the blog name). The story is set in Italy and follows Lilia as she falls in love with Gino but it is not all smooth sailing. She soon marries him and becomes pregnant, but Lilia's English family disagree with the marriage and believe that the child would be better off brought up in England so they embark to retrieve the child from Gino's care. It's a novel concerned with societal expectation, family and love. Despite being a 'classic' it's very easy to read and digest and it's also an incredibly short book with a twist that I didn't see coming.

4. Queenie - Candice Carty-Williams
If you're looking for a bold and vivacious character then look no further than Queenie. The story follows Queenie as she navigates life in London as a Brit of Caribbean descent. She's just split up with her boyfriend, Tom, she's struggling to be noticed in her job and her family don't seem to listen to her. If that isn't enough, she's trying to fit into a world that can never understand her. Queenie is a novel that examines life in both a comic and dark way, exploring issues of race, sex, love and family all in a deeply gripping and highly enjoyable way - I would definitely recommend!

5. The Tattooist of Austwitzch - Heather Morris
The Tattooist of Austwitzch is a remarkable novel, based on the true story of Lale Sokolov who worked as the tattooist in the most formidable of concentration camps during Nazi rule. The book follows his encounters and story through the many gruelling years of camp life and the desperate need to survive. It is a novel that reminds you never to give up despite the adversities you face and prompts a reader to never lose hope. It's such a touching and unforgettable story which everyone must-read!

Those are my top picks at the moment for books. What have you been reading?

Saturday, 2 May 2020

losing friends and why that's okay

Female friendships, in my experience, are never plain sailing. Primarily throughout sixth form, there were, shall we say, difficulties in my friendship group. These so-called 'difficulties' resulted in a meeting between the said group and someone from our school (a meeting I am still salty about because there was no need for it to happen and for school to be involved as we were all adults but that's another story..). But that is beside the point. Since going to uni these friendships have drifted quite considerably and I've realised that's okay.

For some context, there were 9 of us in this group and we had all been 'best' friends since we met in reception. So we're talking about 15 years of friendship here. But as we grew up we began to split apart into 2 sub-groups. It just so happened that the majority of one sub-group went off to uni this year and the other did not, perhaps cementing the split?

So uni started and everything was fine, or just papered over the cracks fine maybe. We'd all vowed to keep in touch and for a while we did. For my birthday in October friends from home came to visit me and made my birthday such a lovely day. We spoke occasionally and when I came home there were meet-ups if others were back as well.

But as the year progressed, the conversations stopped, the meet-ups were arranged and uni people who were back were often not there or invited and things changed. It became much more of an effort to talk and make conversation. I felt like things became one-sided, it became down to me to start up a conversation, to check up on someone, just to ask how life was going or to make the effort to actually keep in touch and suggest meeting up rather than it being a two-way thing. It came to a point where I decided to just cut people out, whether that's right or wrong, it's what I did. I became fed up of constantly being the person maintaining things and now that I had new flatmates, course-mates and a boyfriend, I didn't want to feel like a nuisance. Plus I had so many new people to juggle that we stopped messaging.

Don't get me wrong I still have friends from back home. Those of us that went to uni made such an effort to keep in touch and we saw each other regularly whilst being away and when back at home. These were the types of friendships that I wanted; it didn't feel totally one-sided and that we were friends for the sake of history. We both genuinely wanted to keep in contact so we did and things still work between us and we're all very good friends.

So first-year resulted in me gaining and losing friends and that's okay. People move in and out of your life constantly and whilst we had so many good years as friends and fond memories, I know that now, whilst we will always be friendly and civil (probably), we will never be as we used to be. As we've all gotten older we've drifted in and out of friendship with the starting of university being the final nail in the coffin so to speak. Losing friends and drifting apart doesn't make either of you bad people. Sometimes it's better to lose those where things just weren't quite working in order to make time for those where it does. But most importantly, it's okay to lose friends. It happens.

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