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
I Took An Intolerance Test!

I Took An Intolerance Test!

Hey everyone!! So this week I’m going to be talking to you about intolerance tests. Why you’re asking? Well because my mum and I have suffered with annoying coughs for months on end for no apparent reason (the doctors said it’s nothing) and we both suffer with psoriasis which can be triggered from certain foods, stresses and other things! And to be honest, we both love sending stuff off to get health results!

So, the labs we used are called ‘Test Your Intolerance Labs’ or ‘TYI Labs’ (very creative name I know..). Also, just for the record, this isn’t sponsored, but if any labs wanna send us away for health tests feel free!!

We bought the ‘essentials’ test, partly because they were on offer for £29 instead of £39 at the time. Also, if you recommend the test to a friend you get £5 off so that’s what my mum did for me so it was even cheaper which is also a bonus.

Intolerance Tests

So how did the test work, well, it was super easy and wasn’t painful at all; all they needed from us was around 5 strands of hair, ideally from the root (so we gave a few more just in case). Then we had to send off the hairs to the lab’s address ourselves; we’d recommend putting your hairs in a small clear bag and writing your order number on it just to ensure it doesn’t get lost (we wanted to make sure we got our results as quick as possible so took all precautions to make sure it didn’t get lost!), and then we put it in an envelope with our order sheets and send them off!

After a few days we got emails to letting us know that the lab had received our samples and then after that it took about 10 working days for the results to come through, online it said between 7-10 working days for your results to come through so we were prepared for having to wait a bit. The good thing is that they email you your results so you get them as soon as they are ready in a pdf; and it helps the environment by not sending out paper!

I will admit that I was a bit impatient waiting for my results but that’s because I sent them off just before a bank holiday, so I had to wait a little longer for my results because we had a 4 day bank holiday which is obviously non-working days!

Once I got my results it was pretty surprising what I am intolerant to, and it was the same for my mum! We found out that foods and ingredients in foods we were eating everyday we are intolerant to and that may actually be causing our psoriasis to flare up and these annoying coughs!

Here’s my results:

Intolerance Test Results
My Intolerance Test Results

Here’s my mum’s results:

My Mum's Intolerance Test Results
My Mum’s Intolerance Test Results

So, this is what we found out! Turns out my mum is intolerant to basically all plants near us which definitely explains why she has all year round hay fever. Also, turns out she’s intolerant to buttermilk and mustard which she eats ALL THE TIME. So that has been a fun thing to try and cut out for her..(I’m joking, it’s been a struggle but she’s finally used to it!). And we did find it funny how my mum is apparently intolerant to gin, just because she loves a G&T every now and again!

For me, we found out that I’m intolerant to pears, which I absolutely love! That was disappointing but I figured I could manage a few weeks without them to see what difference it would make to my health. I’m also intolerant to butter lettuce which was something I was eating nearly everyday as well as pears; so it’s no wonder why I was feeling bloated and coughing all the time alongside my skin flaring up. One thing I couldn’t believe was that I’m intolerant to cat hair; especially because I’d never even considered being intolerant to certain pets and I love cats and my boyfriends cat seems to love me!

After getting the info back, we decided that it’d be a good idea if together we gave up all of our food intolerances (well at least for a while as an experiment). For my mum it meant changing a huge amount of her diet, you’d be surprised at how many things mustard is in!! It’s in everything!! And it’s the same with buttermilk, also in everything! Gin and everything else was easy for my mum to cut out just because she wouldn’t have that everyday anyway, so that was no big deal. My mum began taking antihistamines in the morning to help with her other intolerances and that has definitely helped her a lot.

For myself, I cut out butter lettuce, which was pretty easy because there’s so many other salad leaves you can have instead! Pears were also pretty easy to cut out, but I definitely miss eating them because they’re so good when in season. Everything else on my food intolerances list didn’t really make any difference to me luckily just because I don’t like those foods in general (I’m a fussy eater, and for once it’s a good thing!). Obviously I’ve not cut out my boyfriend or his cat haha.. I love them both way too much to do that!

So… how has cutting these things out helped us? And how long did it take for us to feel a difference?

Well, for one, it took about 4 weeks for us both to feel a difference in ourselves. Cutting out these foods made a big difference for us both! For me, it actually stopped my annoying cough altogether! For my mum and my own skin, it definitely helped with our psoriasis flare ups, obviously it isn’t a cure for it (partly because there is no cure unfortunately) but it was something we found that helped a little. And now that I think about it, my mum hasn’t been coughing as much anymore either to be honest!!

So what should you take away from this weeks blog post? I would definitely recommend taking one of these tests if you’re suffering with a health issue that doesn’t appear to be caused from anything; and then trying out something like this to see if it makes a difference! And if it doesn’t, keep going to you GP until its resolved.

I think I’ve babbled on for long enough now so I’ll let you get back to your day; but I’ll ask you this, have you tried any health tests? If you have, which ones? And finally, do you want my mum and I to try some more to see what we find? Have a great weekend everyone!!

Love,

Victoria Signature