28 Feb 2021

Sunday Small Talk #5: On The Importance Of Celebrating

The importance of celebrating

February saw the return of something: hope. January 2021 was officially the Hardest & Darkest month on record for, like, everyone? But February shoved January out the window and came dancing on in with celebratory days, longer hours and the weirdly satisfying exactly-four-weeks-starting-on-a-Monday-ending-on-a-Sunday thing. 

I’ll admit: at first, I wasn’t feeling February. January being shite and hard was one thing, but February rocking up meant time was still passing whilst we continued to live this lockdown life with no end in sight. My birthday was about to arrive and the thought of what it would look like compared to previous birthdays, plus the gloomy state of affairs around Covid being actually worse compared to this time last year, made me uninclined to celebrate. 


The alternative was to ignore it altogether though which goes against my very essence, so Gary pulled out all the stops with presents and pink balloons and gold glittery candles. We made pancakes, opened presents, ate Guinness cake, walked in the sunshine, ordered food in from the local deli and pasta evangelists, drank aperol spritz, listened to good tunes… And, what do you know, taking the time to celebrate within our means and regardless of the State Of The World, broke the monotony and lifted the spirits.  


Since then, we’ve celebrated our six-year anniversary in our usual way, made mountains of pancakes on pancake day and had a hangover-inducing pasta-making, wine-tasting virtual party with the girls. There was a lot of laughter in February. It moved faster. My mood lightened along with the longer days. And it meant I celebrated other, smaller things; snow, sunshine, good food, finishing a work task sooner than anticipated, making friends with local cats, warmer temperatures, lighter evenings. I felt cautious hope at the roadmap announcement. We’ve dared to make tentative holiday plans and put dates in the diary with friends. 


It feels like we’re playing a waiting game at the moment, but time keeps moving and significant dates keep coming around whether we like it or not. Let’s celebrate milestones and little daily wins, and the feeling of hope for the future. They were the best things about life pre-covid and, despite a smaller scale, they can be now. 


26 Feb 2021

What I'm Looking Forward To

What I'm Looking Forward To

Hugs. Allll the hugs. Trips to the seaside. Dressing up for date night. The smell of cinema popcorn. Visiting my dad, and squishing the cats. The first sip of something cold in a sunny beer garden. A crowded room with no anxiety. ‘Just popping round.’ Unexplored cities. Holidays. Squishing my sister, my friends, my friend’s pets. Leaving the house for a reason other than ‘a walk’. Inviting people over. The freedom to see people without double checking rules and masks and distance. Pub food. Getting on a train. Browsing shops. Writing in a cafĂ©. Wedding speeches. Sipping cocktails. Barbeques. Spontaneity. The ability to plan ahead. Weekends away. Staying in someone’s house. Bonfire night. Picnics. Sharing food. A haircut. Restaurant menus. A drink poured by someone else. Hopeful feelings. Varied days. Appreciating every little thing more than ever before.

23 Feb 2021

Photo Diary: Birthday Celebrations, Lockdown Style

At least it was only my first lockdown birthday; my thoughts are with you March/April/May babies. We ate, we walked, we ate and we - you guessed it - ate some more. It wasn't the most exciting of birthdays but making the effort to celebrate means the day felt different and shiny compared to the groundhog day we are all currently living through. Here's to the last year of my twenties and a very different landscape on my 30th. 


Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

Birthday photo diary

17 Feb 2021

Those Little Lockdown Joys

Those Little Lockdown Joys

Fresh blue skies first thing. Hard-to-put-down books. Your oldest, comfiest sweats, freshly washed. ‘Miss you’ texts. The smell of freshly baked bread. Zoom-gone-wrong viral videos. Unexpected post from a friend. The first sip of wine on a Friday night. Crisps served in a bowl. A freshly painted room. Meal kits through the letterbox. Forehead kisses. Hot cookies, fresh out the oven. Flowers in a jar. Snowdrops pushing through the snow. Smiling at a podcast. Friendly cats on the daily walk. You-must-watch-this TV. Blankets and fluffy socks. A smiley postman. A good story idea, scribbled down late at night. Licking the baking bowl. A bath with too many bubbles. A huge to-read pile. A delicious new recipe. Dancing in the kitchen to old music. Fairy lights and candles. Flipping pancakes. Newly painted nails. Unexpected laughter. Lighter, warmer mornings hinting at the better days yet to come.  


Inspired by The Leopard News  

7 Feb 2021

Sunday Small Talk #4: Call The Asthma Nurse, Make Bao Buns, Take A Deep Breath

Sunday small talk

For a while now, I’ve felt like I probably need to sit down and take a deep breath. I’ve been coming to the slow realisation that lockdown has ruined my ability to relax properly. The lines between work and hobbies and switching off have blurred somewhat whilst all living on top of one another with no breaks or change of scenery. I have been trying to ignore this because my tactic during this winter lockdown is to stay busy/distracted, but then on Tuesday morning I woke up and realised that I couldn’t actually breathe properly. Honestly, there is nothing like the inability to take a deep breath to focus one’s mind.
 

All hail the NHS - an hour after logging a ticket on ‘ask my GP’, I had the asthma nurse on the phone (saying words like ‘inflamed airways’ which is always reassuring) and an hour after that, I had a big pack of new drugs in my hand. I was desperate for that deep breath, and I felt somewhat daft for leaving my inexplicably worsening asthma to continue to worsen over the last couple of weeks before doing anything about it. 


Because I was so darn tired from spending most of the week focusing on my breathing, this weekend I gave myself permission to do absolutely nothing. There was no bare minimum; I didn’t even have to get out of bed if I didn’t want to (which I didn’t until about 11 on Saturday) and it was nice to remember that lockdown weekends can be lazy too rather than trying to always be busy. After spending the day doing nada, we made bao buns and gyoza for the fun of making something new at home and, in our steamy kitchen, I was able to take a deep breath again. 


If you can, right now, I urge you to do the same.