Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day One - The Start Of A New Normal

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day One – The Start Of A New Normal

Hello lovely people.

Yes, I am fully aware that you now have Livin’ La Vida Loca in your head after reading that title and you are VERY welcome.

While I was working today I couldn’t get rid of the niggling feeling that I wanted to make some kind of record of what’s going on right now and, of course, I wanted to share it with you. These are very strange times and for the majority of us we haven’t experienced a lockdown before. While BoJo won’t explicitly call it a lock down it pretty much is.

So, I got the idea to start writing daily about my thoughts, experiences and once I came up with that title it HAD to happen. Is this going to be an enlightening read? I have no idea. Will it make you laugh? I hope so. I can’t promise that it will be constant laughs and sunshine, but it might give you some comfort from your own thoughts.

It also means that some days you might get 2 blogs from me, aren’t you lucky!

What Did Day One Have In Store?

As for most of us it wasn’t the most exciting day of my life but there were a few silver linings. I don’t know about you but my sleep cycle is broken right now meaning no matter how tired I am I wake up at 6.30am…even though I have nowhere to go (thanks brain).

First order of business, Disney Plus+, yep I literally woke up and signed up. I’ve been waiting too long to watch The Mandalorian and get started on the list I made.

I wish at this point I could say I got up and did Yoga or something like that but, alas, no I dozed for another hour while Ali recorded me snoring. Nice. As a bonus when I did drag myself out of bed I got to have some breakfast while watching The Muppets, not the worst way to start the day.

The rest of the morning was spent working, emailing and internal despair. Standard. Then I hit a bit of a rock. My mood plummeted and I felt absolutely exhausted. This shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did, stress makes my Fibro worse so all of this was bound to have an impact on my health.

I have come to realise that getting through the next few weeks is going to include daily naps. Which…is ok. I’m trying to tell myself that anyway.

While the afternoon was pretty similar to the morning I did get my boost of energy, managed to have a bath and even had a delivery of pads left at the front door (I really owe my family one for that).

Overall thoughts for Day One

I know my mental health is probably going to be very edgy. Going out and seeing my close family, visiting pets and going out for a drive when I’m not feeling great has been my way of dealing with it for years now.

It’s going to take work to stay mentally well during this time and I think the main thing is that I need to be kinder to myself. If blocking out an hour to nap gets me through this then that’s really not the worst thing I could do. If watching Disney and ignoring the news for 99% of the day makes me happy then that’s cool too. One day at a time.

More than anything though, I will get through anything to make sure the people I love are safe. Staying indoors for a few weeks vs losing someone I love? It’s really a no brainer isn’t it.

I’m not sure if these will be every day, even though that’s the plan but I’d love to hear what you guys are up to as well and how you’re doing.

Also, here’s Livin’ La Vida Loca for you, because you still have it stuck in your head and it’s a feel good tune. Until tomorrow all!

Things I Can't Wait To Watch On Disney+

Things I Can't Wait To Watch On Disney+

Today Disney+ came out in the UK, FINALLY. It’s come at a pretty good time when staying in an binging is socially encouraged. While I’m not normally one to watch a lot of TV, Disney is different.

Like many of you, this is what I was brought up on. Disney VHS tapes were piled up in my childhood home, my Mum and I went to Disneyland Paris whenever we possibly could (because coach trips to Disney were hella cheap in the 1990s…yes I am that old).

I’ve taken a peak at what we’re going to be able to watch and here are some things that I’m really looking forward to.

Star Wars (Obviously)

If you haven’t noticed I absolutely adore Star Wars. I have my own lightsaber, I cosplay as Rey and my hamsters past and present are named after characters. Am I going to sit and watch everything to do with Star Wars including The Mandalorian? Ummm yeah.

Marvel (Also, obvious)

Every Marvel film and I fully intend to catch up on ones that I missed and watch them in order of the stories. I’ve been waiting a long time to do this. Also looking forward to the new stuff that Disney will be putting out.

Hercules

So I’m planning to watch both the 1997 film AND the TV series because I absolutely love this movie. I know that it’s really inaccurate but it’s just so much fun and the songs were absolutely excellent. I remember watching a lot of the series on the Disney Channel growing up.

Robin Hood

C’mon own up, who also had questionable feelings for this fox? Go on, I know you did. Again this is another one I watched on repeat when I was younger, I absolutely adored it…or adored the fox. We’ll never know.

The Little Mermaid Trilogy

You might not have known there was a trilogy, so there’s an exciting surprise for you. The first Little Mermaid, the OG, has a huge place in my heart and is one of my favourite films of all time.

The second one is also brilliant and I still remember getting it on video and Christmas. The third one I didn’t watch as much but has a banging song. I would highly recommend.

Peterpan 1 & 2

Peter Pan is amazing which is why you queue so long at any and all Disney parks to go on the ride that has definitely aged and as an adult is slightly creepy.

Peter Pan 2 is set as Wendy is grown up with her daughter Jane who does not believe…have I hooked you yet? I hope so, I’m damn excited.

The Cinderella Trilogy

The same with our friend Ariel, there are actually 3 Cinderella movies that you might not know about. The second one is about her life learning to be a princess and one of the step-sisters trying to find true love.

Cadet Kelly

This was a Disney Channel movie that I had to watch whenever it was on. It stars Hilary Duff as a teenager who gets sent to a military school where her new step-dad works. I was (and still am) pretty much a sucker for anything with Hilary in it.

Kim Possible

What’s the sitch?

Not only was she a redhead spy school girl saving the world but she was also a cheerleader. Hellloooooo? Have you heard of anything more early 2000s. Kim was great and so was the movie which will ALSO be streaming guys.

Tarzan and Jane

This series was BANGING and much more fun than the film so I’m going to get through a couple of episodes and probably watch the film. Although that has *slightly* been ruined for me now I know Tarzan is Elsa and Ana’s brother.

Recess

Another of my Disney Channel staples, I always wanted to be a Spinelli, but I ended up being more of a Gretchen…

The Emperor’s New Groove

This is just so weird and so wonderful and a perfect distraction right now.

Freaky Friday (2003 version)

Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis absoultely killed it in this film. It was absolutely hilarious and is a pretty good feel good film and apparently as well as the original as well as a new version will also be available.

Herbie Fully Loaded

I really liked Lindsay Lohan ok?

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Four words. Sing to me Paolo.

Moana

I have a confession to make…I haven’t seen Moana yet. I know, I KNOW! But this is my chance to finally catch up and probably fall in love with it like everyone else.

The Muppets

There’s going to be Muppet Movies and Muppet Babies, although my favourite The Muppets Take Manhattan hasn’t been seen yet I’m hoping it will make an appearance.

Tangled

Probably my favourite of the new princesses and I really do love the soundtrack a lot, plus When Will My Life Begin is pretty apt for what’s going on right now I think.

Wreck It Ralph

Again one of my newer favourites but Vanelope’s sass can get me through pretty much anything. Also there is a whole land that is basically all puns and if you knew the guy I was marrying you’d know that was very important to me.

Toy Story

So, definitely the first 2 because I adore them both. Also, confession, I probably prefer Toy Story 2 because it has Jessie in it and she was my go to dress up character when I was 5, Princesses were out and Cowgirls were in.

As for 3, I don’t think I’m emotionally stable enough right now and I haven’t watched 4 because how can you top that ending that made me a sobbing mess? Exactly.

The Suite Life

Another Disney Channel throwback for me, this was another thing I watched all the time when I got home from school. I also had a crush on both Dylan and Cole and I was right to, have you seen Cole lately?!

Disney’s Fairytale Weddings

I was never going to have a big Princess Disney wedding, no matter how much my Mum dream and tried. That said I do think they’re adorable and you can bet I’ll be snuggling down with a cup of tea and a stack to tissues to watch this one.

The Simpsons

A classic and I am so, so glad to have them all in one place.

This was not spon, I wish it was, but no I’m going to be paying for my subscription just like the rest of you.

What are you looking forward to watching? Anything to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Good Immigrant - Edited By Nikesh Shukla

Book Review: The Good Immigrant – Edited By Nikesh Shukla

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

If you have read any of my other posts or follow me on any of my social media channels you will know that I am a white woman. I haven’t had to grow up having experiences based on the colour of my skin. Nor have I had to struggle because of racism in my life and the bias that people have.

So, why did I pick this up? Because I want to know more, I want to better understand what others go through and to be more educated on the subject. I don’t think there’s any excuse to be ignorant when we have such easy access to education in this country.

I listened to the audiobook of this collection of personal experiences and I highly recommend it because it made the stories come to life. Hear these from real people reminded me just how many people experience racism in their everyday life.

Of course, there were some parts which were upsetting and anger inducing at the unfairness people face for no reason at all. But, I actually found myself laughing along with some of the more silly stories.

One thing that made me burst out laughing was a slight rant on chai tea – which apparently translates as tea, tea. I laughed while shaking my head because, well, it was hilarious and I wonder how many other things like this there are.

I found myself learning a lot about other cultures, how people within those cultures grow up and some of their experiences. Can I say this really encompasses what it’s like to grow up as an ethnic minority in the UK? No but I do feel as if I’ve learnt from it.

I gave this 4 stars. An interesting read and something I think we need more of. Of course, there were some essays I liked more than others but that’s inevitable Again I’d really recommend the audiobook it was a brilliant listen and I learnt a lot.

10 Things You Can Do If You're Stuck At Home

10 Things You Can Do If You’re Stuck At Home

I don’t want this blog to become a place full of fear and anxiety. While I can confirm I am anxious right now and my mental health isn’t at its best with the current situation I want this to be a place where you guys can get away from the news, doom and gloom.

So! Let’s find some positive and fun things that you can do if you’re stuck or are going to be stuck indoors.

1. Read

Come on, what do you really expect from this blog? Of course I’m going to encourage reading! I’m really into fantasy at the moment, because it’s a total escape from reality and the 800 pages of House of Earth and Blood is keeping me company.

Pick up something you’ve been meaning to read, listen to an audiobook or download something new on to a Kindle app. Books are a great way to escape and just breathe a little bit. Also if you need recommendations hit my up – it was my favourite part about working in a book shop.

2. Catch Up On TV/Movies/Podcasts

I am really bad at being up to date on TV and movies – my friend Joe regularly makes fun of all the films I haven’t watched. With Netflix, Amazon Prime and the like if you love films and TV now’s your chance to get all caught up.

3. Learn Something New And Allow Yourself To Be Bad At It

We 👏Don’t 👏Need 👏To👏Be👏Good👏At 👏Everything👏

There’s an idea that all out hobbies we should be the best at and let them become a side hustle. Do something and be gloriously shit at it. Don’t feel that you need to post it on social media or talk loads about it – do it for you.

4. Make The Most Of The Bedroom

Yep, the kind of alone time which means taking your pants off – it gives you endorphins and is meant to boost your immune system. Realistically by getting down to it you’re helping yourself.

Although, if you’re planning on getting those endorphins going with another person make sure it’s protected so you don’t end up having a C-19 baby at the end of this year/beginning of next. Yes, they will have a stupid media nickname when the baby boom hits…think of the children!

5. Make a Fort

Because why the hell not? Get out all the blankets, duvets, whatever you have an get that fort set up. They said we have to self-isolate not that we have to be boring about it.

6. Do Some Life Admin

It’s not the most exciting way to spend your time but if you’d got nothing else to do sorting some of your life stuff out could be a blessing.

I might even do some goal setting stuff, although I’m fully aware of how wanky that sounds.

7. Home Workouts

So I’ve just got into going to the gym and getting those endorphins going. While at the moment it’s perfectly ok to go for a walk for most people if you are indoors there’s a lot of workouts on YouTube that you can do at home.

OR the much more fun option is have dance parties to your favourite upbeat songs to keep spirits up. I can confirm that this works a treat, particularly while blasting music through your headphones.

8. Movie Marathon

Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, Twilight (not for me but who am I to judge). There are a lot of good movies you can binge, also, Disney + comes out next week and I am VERY excited about it because I can basically relive my childhood – there’s a whole post coming on it.

9. Get Around To Something You’ve Been Meaning To Do For Ages

It might be organising your wardrobe, looking into at home pilates, starting a book you keep saying your going to write (yes this one is for me, yes I’m trying).

10. Sweet Damn All

That’s right. Nothing, when you’re not working you can get some sleep, chill out or do nothing and that’s totally ok. People have been making sweeping statements about all the great things they’re going to do to improve themselves but it’s ok if you don’t want to do that.

Is there anything you’re going to do that’s been left off of the list? Let me know in the comments below.

The Dylan Thomas Prize - Surge By Jay Bernard

The Dylan Thomas Prize – Surge By Jay Bernard

This year I was invited back to read and post about one of the nominees for the Dylan Thomas Prize Blog Tour- The world’s largest literary prize for young authors. Again, I chose to focus on a poetry pick, that being Surge by Jay Bernard. So, what is it about?

Jay Bernard’s extraordinary debut is a fearlessly original exploration of the black British archive: an enquiry into the New Cross Fire of 1981, a house fire at a birthday party in south London in which thirteen young black people were killed.

While reading this I was shocked that I had no idea what the New Cross Fire was, even after a Google search I found little information about the fire itself and more about the activism afterwards. It seemed crazy to me that so many young people could die and so little seems to be said about it.

Of course, I’m no expert, but it does come across as something not being right. Officially it says that the fire was caused by an armchair but that many people being killed by one fire? It doesn’t seem to add up.

The way in which Bernard has shown this story to a whole new generation of people and has also linked it to Grenfell is incredibly effective. It really made me question how much has changed in this country in regards to racism. I’m a white woman, I’ve not been a victim of racism in my country but this gives me an insight, however small, into what needs to change.

As a debut collection Bernard has a strong voice and I can see more powerful poetry coming from them in the future. This was incredibly impactful and the writing showed extreme talent. While there were parts where I don’t think I fully understood what was going on, I felt that this added to the sense of disbelief.

I would really recommend picking this up if you want to learn about a chapter of history that I fear is often left out of the conversation.

Thank you to the Dylan Thomas Prize for sending me a copy in exchange for this review and good luck to all of the nominees! You can find out more about the prize here.

Book Review: What Kind of Girl - Alyssa Sheinmel

Book Review: What Kind of Girl – Alyssa Sheinmel

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions: Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true? Some girls want to rally for his expulsion – and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

As soon as I saw that there was a new Alyssa Sheinmel novel I jumped on requesting it from NetGalley where I was super excited to receive an ARC. I’ve previously read Faceless and thought it was incredibly well written so I wanted to give this a go.

For a chunk of the novel the female characters aren’t given names, instead they’re described by their traits which, although I found it hard to follow initially, I found to be an excellent way of writing. For me, it added to the idea that this could happen to anyone no matter how popular, smart etc – part of me wishes that this could have gone on for longer.

Of course it goes without saying that this is a tough book to read with mentions of violence within a relationship, self harm, Bulimia and mental ill health. If these are difficult for you I’d maybe recommend waiting until you’re in the right headspace.

This is, without a doubt, an important read and one that I hope gets a lot of attention. I think it shows that these things do happen to young people. It also makes you question your own reactions to these kinds of stories, who do you believe and why? Can you separate a person and an accusation? All of these questions will make you think for days after finishing it.

There were point where I struggled to read what was happening, I felt such a range of emotions while reading. For a book to make me feel like that was pretty incredible and I applaud Sheinmel for the writing.

I do wish there was more of a resolution at the end because I feel like it was left quite open and there are also some point where I’m not sure I completely followed who was who and what was happening. That said, the book itself was a good read.

This was a 4 star read from me and I’m definitely going to be reading more of Sheinmel’s books because she can transport me into a story and a person’s hardship.

My Love For Lucy and Yak

My Love For Lucy & Yak!

Chances are you’ve seen the rise of Luck & Yak, even if you didn’t recognise it. There is a dungaree revolution happening and I am all here for it! The best part about it? They are an ethical fashion brand. Win!

Here’s what their website says about their values:

– To create fabulous, high quality clothes and products that we love

– To be fair with everyone that has an input in the making of Lucy & Yak clothing

– To give every customer the most awesome buying experience every time

– To always be working towards a positive environmental impact

– To ultimately give back more than we take out

Finding clothes are are comfortable and look good on someone who is 5’2 with a big butt and boobs is not easy. A lot of high street stores seem to have a certain type of woman in mind. Why not just try petite? I hear you ask. That is a whole other situation, a note to high street designers – short does not equal the body of a child.

Anyway, I digress. I was nervous about ordering from Lucy and Yak’s website but I thought well it seems that there’s a lot of different bodies enjoying them online, might as well give them a go.

Inspired by my friend Emmi and Hannah Witton’s YouTube channel I took the plunge with a pair of black originals that were on sale. That was the first pair and I was amazed at how comfy they were and I looked…good. I felt cute in them. Then I got myself a blue pair, then I found a pink pair on eBay for a good price…oops.

My most recent buy though, which I didn’t intend to buy but I don’t think I’ve ever felt as attractive when I’ve put something on in a changing room, was my Juni. I’m already planning to buy them in each colour they release and I’m GUTTED I missed the khaki. Again when style is comfy I’ll buy as many as possible.

Also, the fellow Lucy and Yak lovers I’ve met are all so lovely. I’m part of a Facebook group that’s wonderful for advice as well as uplifting when you post your outfit of the day – I love reading through people’s posts. Also, when I was in the shop which is SO welcoming to people from all walks of life I was chatting in the changing rooms and just wanted to stay forever.

The fact they are ethical and fair means I’m happy to pay slightly more for them, as well as looking damn fine! It’s worth pointing out that this post isn’t sponsored, but I wanted to share with you something that has filled me with joy and given me self confidence in a body that I’m not always comfortable with.

Do I have any fellow Yakkers reading? Let me know your favourite below!