Livin' La Vida Lockdown Day Thirty-Six: Being A Freelancer Right Now

Livin’ La Vida Lockdown Day Thirty-Six: Being A Freelancer Right Now

In August this year I will be celebrating 2 years of being self-employed, although probably not in the way I thought. 

While some friends of mine are being furloughed knowing that they were going to be receiving 80% pay others found themselves completely and utterly stuck – the self employed. 

Me, my fiancé, my dad and a large chunk of my friends are self employed because of the nature of their jobs. Ali works in live sound along with a load of other friends their whole income has gone in a matter of weeks for who knows how long. My Dad and other people I know are taxi drivers who are still working because bills and food don’t just wait for 3 months before they get any help. 

As for me I’m still managing to get some work, it’s not at my normal level and it is scary. I’m muddling through but still expected to pay full rent (that’s another post altogether). 

When you go freelance you know there’s going to be a risk, you expect it but as with anyone who starts a business you never expect a global pandemic and there isn’t really a way to plan for it. 

Being a freelancer right now, for me, includes varying stages including:

Panic, panic, PANIIIIIIIIIIIIC

Well known to all freelancers as a common based point.

Ok, it’s ok, I can get through this

It’s going to be fine, everything is going to be fine.

Work, work, work, work, woooooooooork

These are the waves where I can get loads done, lists upon lists are created.

What am I doing?

Accompanied by tears, blankets and a lot of snacks…a lot.

Check in on your freelance and self-employed friends right now, they might need it.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-Five - Alternative Ways To Cope

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-Five – Alternative Ways To Cope

I saw an Instagram story recently about ways to cope in lockdown, it simply mentioned crying and that yoga didn’t work for them. Which made me think, why do people recommend yoga for bloody everything? Now, if you enjoy it good for you. But if it doesnt?

So I came up with alternative ways to deal with lockdown* – you’re welcome.

Take screaming breaks

Feeling overwhelmed? People getting on your nerves. Grab that pillow and scream your heart out.

God knows I’ve been wanting to do it recently, particularly when a certain internet provider goes down and the internet is one of the few ways you can contact the people you love. 🙃

Create your own drinking game

Number of times you internet goes down in a day? Number of lies Trump tells in a day? Number of days you’re in lockdown? The possibilities are endless.

Mine is called drink Gin at the end of each day to take the edge off.

See how long you can stay in bed over a weekend

Snacks, way of entertaining yourself, phone. You’re all set for this kind of marathon. The only thing that may let you down is how many time you need the loo…

Learn 90s and 00s dance routines

Now is the time to perfect your routines. YouTube is your friend, but you *might* want to think before you put them on TikTok.

Cry – just bloody cry

Let it rip. I tried not to for a week, kept it down and well, you can imagine how well that worked.

We’re living through such weird and unpredictable times right now, if you need to cry do it. Plus points if your cry face is like Kim Kardashian’s because THAT is a real cry face.**

Get lost in a fantasy world and pretend you live there now

Preferably not one where a virus is taking over the planet, those aren’t great right now BUT fall into some great fantasy books.

Yes, yes you can go and climb into the familiar world of Harry Potter, that is more than a little bit allowed.

Do what you need to do

Ok the final one and the one I want to scream. There is no one way to get through this. Some people (the lucky bastards) are really incline to get fit and healthy, do a lot of exercise and get those endorphins going. My brain doesn’t work that way and wants stacks of chocolate.

Who am I to tell you what you should be doing, I don’t know you or your life and nor does anyone else writing lists about becoming our best self. You do you.

Any more you’d like to add? Let me know below.

*yes this is a joke and it’s satire, don’t @ me. I want to make people laugh.

**I love KUWTK and, by extension, Kim.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One - Getting Through Tough Days

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One – Getting Through Tough Days

I’m going to be honest with you all, I was dreading today. I’d been dreading it for a few weeks and until recently my plan was to spend the day hiding in my bed – I was in a much worse place mentally than I am right now.

Today marks 5 years since my life completely changed after a horse riding accident. If you’ve read my blogs for a while you’ll probably know quite a lot if not I started horse riding at university and loved it, 6 months into learning to ride I fell and broke part of my spine. It was a long recovery and I later developed Fibromyalgia.

Normally, I’d make sure I treated myself on the day. If I could help it I wouldn’t plan anything but I’d maybe go to my local shopping center and let myself buy a few things, go to a coffee shop and maybe see a friend or my family and get through the day. Obviously I couldn’t do that today.

I woke up and checked my social media and BAM Facebook memories, thank you very much for the picture of me riding. Thank you indeed. So I got up, got my cup of tea and let myself have some time to sit and think – feel how I needed to feel. I did get teary and emotional thinking about all the changes, everything that happened.

I’m working through the event, what happened after and my Fibromyalgia diagnosis in therapy. I do think that had helped this year. I let myself feel and then got up, got showered and dressed. I worked all morning and went out for a walk to feel the sun on my skin.

While I was walking I thought about how far I’ve come. Some days I can’t do that, other days (in non lockdown times) I can go to the gym. Each day is different but I think I’m doing well. Would I have got through today a few years ago? I don’t know.

It’s a bit of a rambly post, but I expected that. I’m proud of myself for where I am. Does that mean I don’t struggle? No. I struggle mentally and physically with the fact my life has changed forever and I’ve had to change the future I thought I would have.

That said I’m trying. I’m taking it day by day and I’m proud of myself for getting through today in a totally weird and stressful situation.

Peace out.

Livin' La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Two What I Read In March 2020

Livin’ La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Two What I Read In March 2020

Better late than never, right?! March was a strange month and I found myself in a slump, particularly as news about the virus started to pick up speed. That said, I managed 4 physical books, 2 ebooks and 1 audiobook. Pretty good going, huh?

First up I finished my book club read of The Near Witch by V.E Schwab. Now I have loved everything I’ve read by Schwab but because of that I put off reading it until right before. In the words of Hermione Granger what an idiot. For a first novel this was pretty amazing and it was a 4.5 star read for me.

Next up I got to Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill that I borrowed from my friend Fred. I find Nikita Gill very hit and miss and this was no different. It was a 3 star read for me, while it was good I didn’t really know enough about greek mythology and had to keep stopping to look stuff up.

I got to a highly anticipated read of mine, partly because I knew the author at university and that is The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. Two guys move to a NASA facility as their parents have been chosen for a space mission. There’s a love story, social media and space – the last of which I didn’t realise I’d be that interested in. A 4 star read for me and there’s a review coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Another LGBTQ based book which explores the world of drag – The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. This is a novel written in verse and while it did take me a little while to get into and get a rhythm with it. Because of the breaks I took while reading it I gave it 4 stars rather than 5. It also has a review coming soon.

I finally got around to getting to one of my Sara Barnard books that I won in a Twitter giveaway. Now, fair warning I love A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard book a whole lot. It features a girl who has selective mutism and a guy who is deaf and it’s their story of getting to know each other in a hearing and speaking world. It was excellent and, of course, it got 5 stars from me.

I also got Scribd in this month which meant I could catch up on some poetry collections I haven’t been able to get hold of or been able to afford before. Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace is the start of a new collection and it was okay. Again, this is another poet I have mixed feelings about. This collection was a 3 star read for me as the collections are starting to feel quite repetitive.

And last but not least another Scribd read and a book I’ve been curious about for a long time it’s The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. This romance was excellent and I absolutely loved reading it. It’s enemies to lovers, it’s passionate without being over the top and I want to read more Christina Lauren soon.

Did you get through many books in March? Any recommendations for me? Let me know below!

Livin' La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-One An Average Weekday In Lockdown

Livin’ La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-One An Average Weekday In Lockdown

What is life like for me in lockdown? What do I get up to? I thought I’d write about it because, why not?

I warn you – it’s not the most interesting life…but who’s is right now?

7.30/8.00am

Wake up, no matter what day it is I will wake up at this time. It doesn’t matter if I have any plans, any calls or if I have slept my body just seems to wake up at this time.

8am – 9am

After Ali has kicks me out of bed, my first port of call is to feed the Hams who act as if they have been starved for weeks, despite the fact they will have food in their cages.

Pour the first big cup of tea of the day – there is no time for

9am – 10am

Shower, get ready in whatever form that’s going to be for the day. Check my emails and LinkedIn to see if anything has come in overnight, make my list for the day. If I have work to do I’ll try and start in this window, if not I’ll take a scroll through YouTube to entertain myself or carry on with whatever I’m reading.

10am – 12pm

This definitely depends on what I’ve got on. I’m still getting some work, although less that normal so this will be the block where I work on it, have any calls or catch ups etc.

That said there are more days than not where I don’t have much to do and will alternate between cleaning (still boring), watching something or reading.

12pm -1pm

Pop out to sit on the grass for a bit, talk to my neighbour from a distance – if I’m feeling up to it I might even try and go for a walk but this obviously depends on how I’m feeling.

1pm-2pm

Remember I haven’t eaten lunch yet and I should probably do that… Also look at what I have for the afternoon. Prioritise my tasks and check LinkedIn again. If there isn’t anything I’ll try and find something to read/watch for a bit.

2pm-3pm

If I’m not working this is optimal nap time if I feel I need it. Now, this isn’t because of the pandemic. I have a condition that causes fatigue – when I was working full time in an office I’d have to try and have naps on both days of the weekend and early nights most week days.

When I work from home I can have my ‘lunch break’ as a nap if I’m feeling particularly rough. That said you don’t need a chronic illness to enjoy having a nap – especially now. Probably less so when you get back to work unless you have a REALLY good hiding place. 😉

3pm-5pm

More searching for something to do, aimlessly looking out of the window and reminding Ali that our next place needs to have a garden – this is coming from someone who is not an outdoor person and never has been.

Also, if my family is dropping food off for me it’s normally around this time.

5pm – 6pm

This will be around the time I log off for the day if I’ve been working on anything, although that’s not every day! I’m slowly trying to accept doing nothing and just trying to enjoy that. I might go for a walk if I haven’t already.

6pm – 7pm – Dinner, Brooklyn 99 and more importantly, GIN. Yes, I’ve definitely drank more Gin in the last few weeks with an evening meal than I have in my life with meals.

7pm -10pm –

This can vary, sometimes I’ll be on my laptop chatting to friends, I might be on the phone to family or just hang out with Ali. There have been evenings where we have caught up with some kind of streaming. Sometimes I even do exercise.

Also blogging, obviously.

10pm – 10.30pm –

Start getting ready for bed, play with the hams for a bit.

10.30 – 11pm – Try and sleep…sometimes it even works

What’s happening with your daily routine right now? Let me know below!

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty - How I Did With The Easter Readathon 2020

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty – How I Did With The Easter Readathon 2020

Hello, hello, hello!

While I intended to writer yesterday on Easter Sunday, when it came down to it I didn’t want to. It was a pretty weird day for me – the first Easter I’ve ever spent without my family. We’re not religious but like to get together for any occasion that we can make fun. So, for now, the egg hunt has been postponed but I did get a special delivery.

Apparently the Easter Bunny does delivery now, who knew? But I am very thankful for the bag of goodies that arrived on our doorstep for me and Ali to enjoy.

Not going out meant that I could spend the whole day reading and cracking on with the Easter Readathon – my first one! And it was definitely a great one to start with. While I didn’t tick off all the tasks I think I did pretty well. So – what books did I get to and finish? Well, since you asked so nicely…

Day One & Two

On day one I started Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan, a novel about a group of teenage friends who want to do more to support women’s rights in their school. I think this would work maybe for a younger reader who is looking for inspiration on setting up a feminism club or similar. For me though it didn’t do anything new or memorable.

This was a 3 star read for me and was 1 book down!

At the end of day 1 I also started one of my most anticipated reads for a WHILE…

Day 3

The Eve Illusion - Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

I got an ARC of The Eve Illusion which is the follow up to Eve of Man which was a 5 star read for me back in 2018 and while at first I had to really remind myself of what had happened at the end.

As much as I want to rave about it I can’t say much without ruining the first book for those of you who haven’t read it but once again I couldn’t put it down. Also, this gets darker but in the very best way.

Beneath The Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire

I also finished listening to Beneath The Sugar Sky, the third installment of the Wayward Children series – I’ve actually got through all three in lockdown so far and I’m pretty sure I will have listened to all five by the end of the week…

This was a 4 star read for me, another excellent addition and I wouldn’t advise listening on an empty stomach.

Day 4

Today was probably the hardest day, I didn’t finish anything although I did start Before The Coffee Gets Cold and The Love Hypothesis so that’s a start!

Overall, I’m pretty happy it’s definitely kick started my reading mojo again and I’m sure I’ll be back on it tomorrow, starting with the 4th Wayward Children book to listen to…

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Eighteen - Reading The Time Away

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Eighteen – Reading The Time Away

As I mentioned in my last blog, I decided to take part in the Easter Readathon! Five Prompts, four days and me. As of writing I’ve finished one book, Watch Us Rise, and I’m 60% through my second and I think that’s pretty good going, especially seeing as I struggled to get into the reading mindset today. While I woke up early my brain needed frequent breaks – one of which made me very proud of myself.

I’ve been struggling a lot with going outside, something I touched upon in previous blogs because of anxiety and panic attacks. I wanted to get out in the sunshine but taking our normal route made me feel uncomfortable because it’s around and through a big park…which meant idiots. Lots of them.

Now, we don’t have a garden. You can bet if we did I would have been sat there with a pile of books and a large glass of something depending on the time of day. What we do have, however, is a little bit of grass to the side and behind our building. I decided it was a good test of my levels right now and made sure I could get some air.

It worked! I managed to sit out for about an hour and not once did I have any kind of panic attack. People ask but why do you have them? I wish I could tell you. Anxiety and panic attacks are rarely logical – that’s the most frustrating thing.

Coming back inside I sat down and read, and I mean really read. I got through almost 50% of The Eve Illusion in a few hours and felt my superpower coming back. My mountain of books I haven’t read now seems like a challenge rather than a guilty secret.

This reader is back guys!

Beneath The Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Seventeen – Easter Readathon

Two bookish posts in one day!? I know, I’m spoiling you all. So, after seeing over on Kate’s Twitter that she is hosting an Easter Readathon I thought why not join? I’ve never seriously done a Readathon before and I think now is a great time to try…because I have no other obligations what so ever -yippie!

So how does it work? The Readathon runs from 12.01am on Friday 10th and finishes at 11.59pm on Monday 13th April. You can find more info and Kate’s post here, make sure to give her a follow too!

As with most Readathons there are prompts, for this one they are:

[Image description: Post reads Easter Readathon 2020 Prompts 1. Read a book that gives you Spring Vibes. 2. Read a book about new beginnings. 3. Read a book that’s under 250 pages. 4. Read a book with yellow or green cover. 5. Read a book involving family/friends.]

I’ve had a look and I’m going to try and complete the challenges – but if I get a load of reading done that’s absolutely fine with me!

Read a book about new beginnings

The Eve Illusion – Tom and Giovanna Fletcher

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this today and while I can’t say too much as it’s a sequel there’s definitely some new beginnings in it.

Read a book that’s under 250 pages

Beneath The Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire

Beneath The Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire

Ok so *technically* I started this before the Readathon started and it’s an audiobook BUT I’m desperate to finish it!

Also reading about a candy land over the Easter weekend? That seems too good to pass up.

Read a book with a yellow or green cover

Watch Us Rise – Rene Watson

It’s on my April TBR and I really enjoyed the last two Rene Watson books that I read and they were quick reads so I’m hoping this will be a fast read.

Read a book involving family/friends

Crescent City – Sarah J. Maas

Ok it is a STRETCH but this is, another one I’ve already started but I’m really into. Also, do I think I’ll finish this over the next few days? No, no I don’t. That said, it’s started to get interesting.

Read a book that gives you Spring vibes

This is one I need a few recommendations for – please leave them below!

Are you joining in? Also leave your suggestions down below!

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Sixteen - Life With A Chronic Illness Right Now

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Sixteen – Life With A Chronic Illness Right Now

I woke up this morning properly and about 90% of my body hurt. I knew what was happening before I even opened my eyes. I’d spent most of the night tossing and turning, fully aware of what a pain in the arse I was being but I couldn’t get comfortable. Fibro has been rumbling along during all of this but today, again, it decided to kick my arse.

I’ve been debating about whether to write about Chronic Illness right now when so much has been going on health wise. Does it matter? Fibro doesn’t put me at a higher risk (asthma is another story) but as with any illness, Fibro would put up a fight at the same time taking me longer to get better. So I’ve been relying on family, friends and food deliveries.

That said, pandemic or no pandemic I’m still living with it every day. I know things could be worse, but that doesn’t take the pain away. Right now I’m not taking my painkillers of preference as they are part of the ibuprofen group which people have been advised to avoid. So I’m plodding along with paracetamol – which doesn’t do much at all.

I’ve felt for a while I couldn’t talk about Fibro or how it is right now, despite the fact that stress is a huge trigger for a lot of people with the illness. I thought, well when people are dying I can’t seem like I’m complaining but that was incredibly isolating. Slowly, I’ve seen other spoonies say that they feel the same way.

So I guess I wanted to write for my fellow spoonies or anyone living with a long term illness to say that it’s ok to still feel frustrated, sad or fed up with your illness right now. It’s ok to struggle with your health in another way because our illnesses don’t care if there’s a worldwide crisis, our bodies are doing what they’re going to do.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Fifteen - What I've Been Binging

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Fifteen – What I’ve Been Binging

Now, this is optimum binge time whether that’s TV, Films, YouTube or Books whatever is getting you through the days is a great way to distract yourself and beat the boredom that I know a lot of us are really starting to feel. Also, if you’re so distracted by your screen or page then you’re not going to want to risk going outside, it’s a win win.

So, here are some of the things I’ve been consuming and for once guys, I’m on trend with something that’s on Netflix (this never happens):

Tiger King

I kept seeing people talking about it and I wanted to have a day to just do nothing and this was the perfect distraction because it was so damn insane. I can’t believe this is part of real life and these things have actually happened?!

I thought of doing a whole post on my thoughts on the show, if that’s some lockdown entertainment you’d like then let me know below.

ANYWAY I digress, this was bat shit insane and I just couldn’t stop watching, I spent 7 hours of my day watching – who even am I at this point?! I just have to say though, no one on that show can call themselves a rescuer of big cats. They’re all pretty terrible.

Brooklyn 99

We started watching 99 before the lockdown as something to watch while we ate dinner now we’re back – to the point where Netflix has asked if we’re still watching…

Of course we’re still watching, what else is there to do right now?!

Stranger Things

I know, I KNOW. Where have I been? It’s taken me this long to watch Stranger Things but that’s mostly because I am a huge scaredy cat and when I tried to watch it a few years ago the first part of the first episode I wasn’t sure if it was for me.

Then after the encouragement from friends I started watching it and did 3 episode in one sitting, only stopping because it got dark – I’m not watching it in the dark because I’d like to be able to sleep at night without staring at the walls.

The Boys

So, what if superheroes were celebrities? They were real an in movies with their own sponsorship deals. What if they weren’t as good as they seem. Ali and I watched the entire first season pretty quickly on Amazon Prime and the cliff hanger at the end had me shouting at the TV.

This is definitely adult viewing and can get pretty dark but it just works.

Wayward Children Series

Now for a book series, come on you knew it was coming. I recently got a free trial of Scribd because I kept seeing a lot of booktubers talking about and thought I might as well now I have the time.

These books are so strange but so good. It’s fantasy with a bit of a horror element about children who go to magical worlds and what happens when they come back.

I also love the audiobooks, they’re 4-5 hours long and I’ve been listening every day and I’m now on book 3. Hooked.

Poetry (General)

While I’ve struggled to sit and read full books at the moment but Scribd has so much poetry and I’ve been making my way through the collections. Some of them I’ve meant to read forever but seeing as poetry is quite expensive I can’t always get them but this is a great way to spend time.

What have you been binging and what should I get through next?