What I’ve Learnt Whilst Being In Lockdown.

What I’ve Learnt Whilst Being In Lockdown.

Hello my lovelies! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far and that it’s not pouring down too much! (That being said, I kind of love thunderstorms..) So, this week shops have begun opening again and lockdown measures are beginning to lessen, which is great news; and if you’re off out to them, please be safe and wear a mask! It’s amazing hearing that lockdown is sort of at its end now, and with shops opening it certainly feels a lot more like how it used to be; but at the same time it feels so strange because I’d gotten so used to everything being shut and no one going out!

Being in lockdown has allowed me to do a range of things I’d either forgotten about, didn’t feel like I had time for and has given me some time with myself and my thoughts. And with everything that’s happened (and still happening), if I didn’t take care of my mental wellbeing, my mind would end up a bit like this:

Naturally, having my mind acting like that is not ideal, so I’ve been taking care of myself by doing all sorts to manage my wellbeing; and I’ve learnt quite a few things about what makes me feel good and sets me up to have a good day.

So, what have I learnt? Well…

  • Something as small as a good cup of tea can work wonders when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

I’ve been trying all sorts of teas during lockdown and have finally landed on one that I absolutely adore, redbush tea. It’s naturally sweet and smells great. Plus it’s naturally caffeine free, and as someone who has anxiety, decaf is all I drink. I also used to have a heavy sugar and then sweetener addiction, and during lockdown I’ve managed to curb that to the point of only needing one sweetner in my tea since redbush is so naturally sweet. Anytime I feel like I need five minutes completely to myself, I go and get myself a lovely cup of tea and chill out for a few minutes.

  • Audiobooks are a great escape from the news.

The news has gotten so overwhelming and is the same thing repeated over and over again, so I’ve been limiting how much time I spend listening and watching it and have been listening to audiobooks instead. I found they’re a great way to escape the never ending covid news and just tune out and chill out for a bit.

  • Plants are an incredible way to brighten up any space and simply put, bring me joy and peace.

I have fallen madly in love with house plants over lockdown. Maybe it’s not being able to go outside much or something else, but I’ve gone from having three fake plants to over 10 alive ones during my time at home. I’ve found they’re a great distraction from everything going on, and they’re something you can focus your energy on even when you don’t feel like looking after yourself. And on top of that you’ll breathe easier with more plants in your space!

  • Redecorating is a great way to feel refreshed and give you that new start feeling.

I had been in the same space for several years, and it was a pretty dark room due to there being slanted ceilings and only one window. My brother had had the smallest room in the house for years and long story short he kept asking me when I was moving out (gotta love saving for your own place..) so he could have my room. So, I thought about it and decided it’s about time he got a big room. And so, over the course of a weekend we painted, moved furniture and reorganised each others room; now I’m in the smallest room in the house. You might think having a tiny room with only enough space for a clothes rail, bed, desk and bedside table would feel cluttered and give you anxiety; but it’s actually been incredibly refreshing and has encouraged me to completely declutter all of my belongings to what I actually need. My room feels fresh and bright and is the new beginning that I needed.

  • No one is looking at my scars when I’m out without makeup on. My skin looks fine with and without makeup.

Since we’ve all been inside for a long time, a lot of us who would normally wear makeup regularly have reduced our days wearing makeup to virtually zero. And as nice as I feel when I’m wearing a full face, not being able to touch my face for fear of my makeup coming off everywhere just isn’t worth it anymore for me. So now I only wear a full face when I’m doing a photoshoot. And even then it’s a much paired down makeup routine to my previous one. When I do go outside I wear a tiny bit of clear brow gel, clear mascara and lipgloss; and even then that’s a rare occurrence. At first I was concerned that my acne, rosacea and psoriasis scars would make people stare at me, but to be honest, no one really cares at all. And now I don’t even wear foundation in most of my photoshoots!

Light Projector
  • A light projector is a great way to rid you of night worries.

I picked up a light projector from amazon after switching rooms with my brother because I had individually stuck 800 glow in the dark stars to my old ceiling and my new room felt weird without them, so this was a great replacement. The light can change colours, project water and stars around the entire room. Plus this projector light is also a speaker and has a timer setting so you can leave it on when you go to bed without fear of it staying on all night and overheating. I like to put on a mix of red and blue light with the stars whilst I listen to meditations or read before bed. It’s super relaxing, and I’d recommend it to anyone who struggles to get rid of worries before bed.

  • Yoga is a form of meditation for me.

Before lockdown I would practice yoga on and off every now and again, but about halfway through lockdown I started practicing yoga for 30 minutes each day to chill out and reset. I’ve been watching Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and am about 3/4’s of the way through her 30 day yoga practice/challenge. These have helped me unwind after a day at my desk and spend some time acknowledging my thoughts and feelings and let them be what they are. Yoga is something I don’t go a day without now because it allows me to release and explore anything I need to without pushing my feelings down until they inevitably explode out of nowhere.

  • Just because I’m not going anywhere doesn’t mean I can’t look cute.
Shaved head

Something I used to do before lockdown was wear simple outfits during the work week with a hint of my unique style, and then go all out at the weekend. But since we’ve been inside an awful lot, I have taken pleasure in dressing completely unapologetically in my unique style, going all out with my outfits every day. Gone are the days where I would save outfits for an occasion; because after all, you don’t buy clothes to have them stay on the hanger only to be worn once in a blue moon.

  • Shaving my hair off is the most freeing and liberating thing I could have ever done.

As you probably know, at the beginning of lockdown I shaved my head. It was something I’d always wanted to do, and lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity to do it. Shaving my head was scary yes, but oh so worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat because I’ve never felt more like myself. It’s helped me reassess what about my appearance I relied on as a comfort blanket and how I feel about how I look. I feel beautiful with and without hair and let me tell you, not having to do your hair in the morning is an incredible feeling.

  • Time really does heal.

So, at the end of February my ex and I broke up. We’d been together for over 8 years, since we were 15 years old. He was my first love and to be honest I think we weren’t sure what we wanted anymore. To tell you the truth one of the good things about going into quarantine is that its allowed me to process my feelings and work through what I needed to work through, and now, four months on I feel amazing. Time really is a healer and quarantine is the enforced time I needed for myself.

  • Days doing nothing are necessary.

Looking online I saw so many people talking about how they were working on their next project or finding a side hustle during their time at home, and it made me feel like having a day to do nothing was a waste of all of this new found spare time. But, as someone who hasn’t actually been furloughed and worked the entire way through lockdown whilst simultaneously running her own business, my spare time actually felt shorter than ever before and I began feeling guilty for wanting to spend the day in front of the telly. However, if you don’t take time to look after yourself and recharge, you’re going to burn out. So, I ended up taking a few days holiday during lockdown to literally do nothing. And they were just what I needed to recharge and refresh myself ready to get going again. You haven’t always got to be doing something!

  • Photoshoots are a great way to boost your mood.

Something I’ve been doing is having photoshoots with no real goal or purpose in mind other than to turn up some music and vibe; and let me tell you, it is such a great way to give you a mood boost. Plus, you get some super cute photos out of it too! I like using this as a tool for testing out new outfit ideas I’ve had as well, and the second I’m vibing in the outfit, it instantly brings a smile to my face making everything even cuter.

  • Family quiz nights are perfect for catching up with family without the awkward ‘how’s your love life?’ questions.

Most of us have been talking to family and friends even more than before over the last few months, and for my lot, we’ve been having two different game/quiz nights, one board game night on a friday with one side of my family and a quiz on the saturday night with the other side of my family. I love a quiz so these have been so much fun, and since we’re all focused on the game/quiz, all awkward questions you don’t want to answer hardly ever get asked.

  • Skincare routines are a small way to show yourself some selfcare.

I’ve taken this time at home to fully delve into my skincare routine and find things that truly work for my skin. In the morning I use my Carbon Theory soap bar, followed by a serum or complete care cream (I alternate these daily) and then in the evening I use an aloe vera cleansing foam followed by an aloe vera moisturising gel and then my adapalene retinol cream. I’ve stuck to this routine for about 3 months and my skin has never felt better. Yes, I still have my adult acne, but the texture of my skin has changed and I think my skin tone has evened out a bit. 5 minutes in the morning and evening to look after yourself can really work wonders.

Tarot Cards
  • Tarot card readings help me feel centered.

This one isn’t for everyone, but I personally love doing tarot readings. I like to burn some incense sticks, put on some relaxing music and then give myself a tarot reading, focusing on whatever question or worry I’ve had going through my mind. The cards don’t give you direct answers of course, but they can give you a gentle nudge into a direction you could take. And I personally find a little bit of calm in allowing other forces (believe what you want to believe.. if you don’t believe in that sort of thing that’s your choice and you do you) to give me a bit of guidance on what I can do.

  • Routines are necessary to keep me productive on weekdays.

As nice at it was to work in my pyjamas every single day, it stops the day from being broken up and you can lose a sense of what day it is. So, I’ve created a routine which I stick to every weekday to help my days stop blending into one. I wake up at 6.30am, go get breakfast by 7am, have a cup of tea and then wash my face and brush my teeth; then I watch some youtube or tv and then start work at 8am. I then work until 4pm with a lunch break in the middle and then at 4.30pm I start cooking my tea. By 6pm I workout and shower, then play some animal crossing, watch some tv and then get ready to go to bed and then go to sleep by 10pm. Having structure has helped keep me productive and make sure I’ve scheduled in some time for selfcare.

And those are what I’ve learnt from being in lockdown!

I feel like I’ve grown a lot during lockdown, at the start of lockdown it had been about 3 weeks since my ex and I had split, I was in a completely different space mentally and physically, I was surrounded physical clutter too and I was stressed about all sorts. But now, I’m single and happy, I’ve moved into a new space, I’ve thrown away and donated the majority of my belongings by going minimalist, I’m finally on top of my savings and can manage my finances with (some level of) confidence and I’m now adult enough to keep plants alive and I give even less of a care about how others view my appearance!

Looking back at who I was at the beginning of lockdown is truly like looking at a different person. My family and friends have said I seem more like myself and happier than ever and I can’t help but agree with them. Truth be told I think lockdown was the time out from the outside world that I didn’t know I really needed.

What have you learnt from being in lockdown? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great weekend my lovelies and happy pride!

Love,

Victoria Blog Signature
What Is Classed As Selfcare?

What Is Classed As Selfcare?

It’s #SelfcareWeek ! And it’s got me thinking, what do we actually think classes as selfcare? For me, I typically start thinking about face masks and bubble baths. And well yes that can be classed as selfcare; but as amazing as those things are, there are hundreds of other things you can do. And over the last few days, I’ve been partaking in a few of these myself.

The thought for this post came to me whilst I was walking home from the gym; it occurred to me that even though I think of lots of luxurious things as self-care, there are lots of small things I do for myself that make me feel good, and these count too.

Here’s a few things I’ve been doing for myself that aren’t always considered self-care:

  • Going to the gym, and doing what I want there, if I don’t feel like doing the stair climber today, I just don’t do it and I refuse to feel guilty about it!)
  • Buying myself a hot chocolate when walking home after going to the gym.
  • Putting on my moisturizer.
  • Listening to the Peptalk app (I highly recommend this one for when you’re commuting and walking anywhere, it’s a great motivational tool!)
  • Watching videos by Glamour, Ladylike, As/Is and the Try Guys.
  • Self Affirmations.
  • Watching Nikkietutorials (believe it or not I watch Nikkie’s videos when I’m at the gym and they make me so happy!)
  • Cleaning my room.
  • Playing with makeup.
  • Putting on makeup when I’m not going anywhere!
  • Lighting scented candles.
  • Having a bubble bath.
  • Unfollowing any social media profiles that make me feel bad about myself.
  • Watching my favourite films.
  • Cooking my favourite food.
  • Singing in the shower.
  • Talking to friends.
  • Finishing work ON TIME.
  • Related to the above – not looking at work emails when I’m off work.
  • Making myself a great breakfast.
  • Blogging.
  • Painting, drawing and being creative.
  • Getting 7/8 hours sleep.
  • Wearing thermal socks.
  • Using a 99p face mask.
  • Chatting to my sister.
  • Seeing my Niece and Nephew on FaceTime reeking havoc in my sisters house.
  • Driving round to look at Christmas Lights when they go up.
  • Making myself a cup of tea.
  • Meeting up with friends for a chat/food/movies (basically spending time with the important people in your life)
  • Wearing my favourite clothes.

Honestly the list could go on and on. I love selfcare, sometimes I do still feel selfish or guilty for spending time on ourselves, but we really shouldn’t. We’re stuck with ourselves for life so we better take care of that person we see in the mirror.

And at the end of the day, if something makes you happy and feel good, it’s probably your own version of selfcare. We’re all different so it’s impossible to say that one thing will work for everyone; telling someone to go take a bubble bath to relax if they hate having baths is pretty pointless. It’s a personal thing.

Some of the things in my list you might not consider to be selfcare, but for me, they are. Just doing one small thing for yourself a day can make such a difference to your mood and wellbeing. And myself from a year ago would say something along the lines of “I’ll start next week or in the new year”, but that’s not how I think anymore, the time to start is now.

That’s all from me today, I’m off to go get myself a hot chocolate and sit in a blanket with a book. Have a great weekend lovelies! You’re all amazing!

Love,

Victoria Blog Signature

P.S. The UK Blog Awards are now open for voting! It’d mean the world to me if you could vote for me my lovelies!! 

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A Letter To My 10 Year Old Self.

A Letter To My 10 Year Old Self.

Dear Victoria,
It seems a bit bizarre writing this letter to you, since I am you(just older), but here we go. It’s been 12 years since I was 10 years old, and it honestly feels like a lifetime ago; so try not to waste a moment. You may not realise it now, but time is a truly precious thing.
There are so many things I want to tell you about. You’re 10 years old at the moment; which means you’re about to go through some pretty big changes soon, like moving up to a big secondary school, becoming a young woman, finding love, creating friendships and so much more. You’re going to get stressed about grades, homework, being bullied and getting a boyfriend. Try not to freak out at this point. I know it’s already sounding like it’s the end of the world moving schools and growing up, but there are so many great things that come from it. I’ll tell you about them a little later on.
One thing you should know; all of these worries and stresses you’re having, well.. everyone around is having them too. Yes, even the ‘cool’ girls. And believe it or not but the second you go to secondary school you’ll understand. Speaking of secondary school, there are some things I’ll let you know about in advance.
  • The FIRST day.
You’ll spend the majority of this day learning teachers names, trying not to get lost, finding your form group (and yes, you will have to put up with them for 5 more years.. so do your best to make friends!), your timetable and clinging to the one person you recognise from primary school. Oh and just a heads up, you’re gonna miss the bus home.. yes, on the first day. So when this happens don’t panic. Mum will come and get you within half an hour and all will be well. Just know that when you miss the bus again (you only do it two more times so you can breathe a bit haha) you’ll know what to do and not to freak out.
  • The Bully.
You’re going to come across bullies in all walks of life. Sometimes you’ll know why a person wants to pick on you, other times you wont. What’s important is that you don’t let it get you down too much(easier said than done I know), because you are worth so much more than that. And yep that’s right, you do get bullied. (I know, I can sense your heart sinking already). Don’t dwell too much on this. It actually makes you a better person in the end and we meet some great people who are going through the same thing. Also, I’m not proud of it, but one day you will hit a bully back. Hard. Then you’ll apologise profusely. It just goes to show that we’re a good person because even when we hit someone back after being repeatedly punched and kicked in the ribs, head and back for a laugh, we still knew hitting someone was wrong. On the plus side, you’ll learn that you’ve got a fairly good right hook if you ever need it.. haha. The bullying will end once you leave secondary school, and although that seems like a long time, you’re better off for it. It’s made us who we are today.
  • Picking your GCSE’s.
You’re going to be stressed and think you’re picking the wrong things and you’ll question yourself a million times. Just know that mum and dad are here for you and will help you through it.
You’ll find that they’re the most supportive people you know, and if you ever have a row it’s usually because they want whats best for you(and they’re right..). They’ll encourage encourage you to take the subjects you enjoy. I want to say right now, do the subjects you enjoy. Taking subject you enjoy is so important especially if you don’t know what you want to be when you’re older, which I’ll say right now is not the end of the world. I thought it was the case for a long time, but in the end, everything works out alright!! And if you decide at a later date that you want to go down a certain career path, you can always go to college or university in specific subjects. It’s not all worry and stress with GCSE’s though, because you’ll actually find that you love school and learning; and you’ll work hard and pass them all(go you!).
  • You. You and more you.
So, since you’re 10 at the moment, you’re going to be going through puberty pretty soon and with this will come a few things, body hair, getting smelly, getting boobs, spots and hormones going mad. I know it sounds like a lot. It doesn’t all hit you one morning like a slap in the face, don’t worry. You’re going to want to change your body all the time, you’ll hate certain parts of yourself and I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have a lot of bad hair and makeup days. But you know what, when you’re older you’ll realise that the things you wanted to change about your body are beautiful as they are. And you are unique, clever, strong and pretty. Don’t think that you need to look like girls and women in magazines or on telly, they’re photoshopped and fake and are there to make you want to buy stuff. You’re going to be scared to experiment and go against the flow of what everyone else is doing. But please do it anyway. You’ll find that you will enjoy yourself more and love how you have something different about you. Find your own style, however weird and wacky it may seem. After all, you’ll look back at those times and smile because you’re only a young kid once.
Remember when you’re going through tough times, just think, it’ll all work out in the end. Because it will. Because you’re smart, beautiful, independent, have a top notch personality and can do anything you put your mind to. When it all feels like it’s getting too much, you can always turn to mum or dad and there’s loads of people you can call up for free just to talk. Don’t take them for granted, you’ll appreciate how much they mean to you and how much they do for you as you get older. And lastly, don’t waste any opportunities, you’ll be terrified of doing something wrong or making a fool out of yourself, the only thing you will do is regret not taking a chance.
So, that’s basically it from me. You’ll realise when you’re older how amazing you truly are, it may not seem like it always, but you are. And it’s important that you take time to take care of yourself and love yourself for you. No one else.
Love,
Victoria x Blog Signature
What I Learnt From Doing Shift Work.

What I Learnt From Doing Shift Work.

Shift work can be amazing for some people, whereas for some people, like me.. Its not. So, a bit of background on me. Once I’d finished school, sixth form and college, I went on to a steady 10-5pm Monday-Saturday retail job and then to a supermarket for shift work, and finally where I am now; an Apprentice in a 9-5pm job and I’ve never been happier to go to work in my life.

For me, working at a supermarket doing shift work was good for the first few months, I was on good money and didn’t mind the bizarre hours. After a little while however, I was switched to doing 10 hour night and some day shifts 5 days a week without being able to have my weekends just didn’t work for me; I work better with a steady routine and I just need my sleep. Although my time wasn’t great when I worked shifts, there were still a few things I liked about working shifts.

Some people unlike me, prefer shift work, and I admire these people because its just not for me. Lots of people need to do shift work as it works around their childcare, other jobs and is just how they like to work.

So what did I learn from doing shift work? Well let me tell you..

1. Keep a record of your rotas.

This is something I learnt very early on. Take photos or notes of what your hours are for the month as soon as your new shift rota is out so you can still plan your life around your shifts.

2. Track your hours.

If you’re like me, money has never been something I’ve been good at monitoring. How much money I was owed was never something I kept track of or checked (it’s bad I know). When I started my shift work I downloaded a clocking in and out app which I could input my hourly rate, and this worked wonders for me.

3. Book your holiday at work in advance.

The amount of times I was denied time off was crazy. And that was partly because it was too short notice or there were already loads of people booked off for the time I wanted. Get your holiday booked in early and you wont have the disappointment of being told no, give it in at least 5 weeks in advance.

4. Prioritise your downtime.

You’ll feel like you’ve got more time off if you prioritise what you want and need to do when you’re not at work. I found to-do lists extremely helpful and making sure I’d planned meeting up with friends and family in advance, which certainly helped my wellbeing because I was still able to have somewhat of a social life and chill out time.

5. Enjoy going out during the 9-5 hours!!

Something I loved about working shifts was the fact that I could go out shopping and to do stuff during hours that the majority of people worked. Shops and car parks were always empty which meant no queues!!!

6. Remember to take some time for yourself.

This was something that I would do in my time when I woke up before work if I was doing the afternoon shift. I would literally stay in my bed until about 11am and then sit around just relaxing. It made going to work and doing 10 hour shifts a bit more bearable!

7. Plan your meals ahead.

One day a week I would batch cook and plan my dinners for the week. When you work weird hours, this can be a real life saver! Just knowing that you’ve got something yummy to eat during or after a long day is a lovely feeling!!

8. Finally, make those weird working hours work for you.

If you end up working 3pm-10.30pm some days and 6pm-4am others, make those hours work for you! Get yourself into a pre and post work routine that sets you up for the day ahead so you don’t feel completely scattered.

So those are a few things that I learnt whilst doing shift work.. Whether you’ve done shift work before, are still doing it or are planning to do it, I hope you are able to find these tips helpful!! The funny thing is, I didn’t actually realise I’d learnt and likes doing these things until I’d stopped doing shifts!

If you have done shift work before or are still doing it let me know what worked for you!! Have a lovely week everyone!!

Love,

Victoria x Blog Signature