Friday 29 May 2020

Why it's ok not to have a master plan during lockdown

"What have you been up to?"

This is the question we find ourselves being asked - and asking others - on a daily basis. And with it comes pressure, an expectation. There is this idea that we need to be learning a new language, instrument or skill, taking on home projects, and constantly learning and improving ourselves.

First be honest with yourself and identify how you as a person work.

Me personally, I love cats and hot chocolate

If your coping mechanism is keeping yourself busy with home projects / cleaning furiously / writing the next big thing / learning a new instrument / whatever else floats your boat... good on you.

If however you want to catch up on throwback TV and films and be glued to your sofa, that's absolutely fine too. Don't beat yourself up or see yourself as a failure if you're not doing much these days. It's ok. Take things at your own pace. Do what feels right for you. And can I add, just because everyone is playing Sims 4 and Animal Crossing at the moment, doesn't mean you have to too. You do you.

I've been in both camps. Some weeks ago I was restless and couldn't face sitting around doing nothing. I tidied the house. I cooked up a storm. I didn't want to sit around watching TV because I felt guilty if I wasn't doing anything. I woke up at 4am or 5am a lot because I was so wired and couldn't sleep. I had so much excess energy.

Lately I've taken it down a notch all in the name of #selfcare. I still cook and tidy and busy myself, but I try and balance my day with both work AND down time. Getting into a morning routine really helped. I get up early each morning, drink a ton of water, do 20-30 minutes of exercise followed by a 30 minute yoga class, eat a nutritious breakfast and get dressed. Some days I wear pyjama trousers or loose trousers, but mostly I get dressed as I normally would to try and keep a sense of normalcy. I re-discovered old games like the original Sims (imagine!), Theme Hospital and many more which I have been trying to play in compatibility mode as touched upon here. I've also been watching lots of interiors shows (crazy happy that Your Home Made Perfect is back!) and discovered Masters of Flip #obsessed

Whilst my mind never completely settles, taking some time out with a candle / book / film / episode / magazine and a mug of tea / gin is a good first step. Taking time for yourself is not laziness or failure. It's about respecting your body and keeping it fully charged at this uncertain and let's be honest, mentally exhausting time.

What have you been up to? I'd love to know!

Thursday 21 May 2020

The Amazon wishlist items I opened on my birthday

This year's birthday was bit of a different one (as touched upon here). The best possible gift would have been to see friends and family, but alas the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown cruelly shut that down. I mostly had cheques and vouchers this year which will come in useful for pending building works (once we can start the build...) I didn't want anyone to risk going to the post office or post box on my behalf, so set up an Amazon wish list this year which friends and family kindly ordered from. Some gifts are delayed due to lockdown snail mail so here's a small selection of what I opened on my birthday...

Drink Tea, Read Books, Be Happy tee

Slogan tee

Can we please talk about how cute this tee is? I love a slogan tee and I love crisp, white t-shirts, so this ticked all my boxes! I have the small which is the smallest size they do, but at a glance, it does look quite big and like it will be more of a relaxed fit. Also available in other colours like black, pink, blue and grey (seriously tempted to order more in other colours!)

Clinique products

Clinique products

Fun fact: I've never tried any Clinique products before, but have always wanted to try products from their moisturizing range, so am pretty excited to try these out! My skin has been extra dry since lockdown (excessive hand washing no doubt the culprit here) so these moisturising products couldn't have come at a better time! I will do a separate review post on these products as Clinique isn't cheap and I don't know about you, but I'm interested to see if they're worth the money!

Clinique redness solutions
Clinique moisture surge overnight mask
Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion
Bumper pack of Aero bubbles

Aero Bubbles

Aero Bubbles (the originals not the mint ones, blergh) are my absolute favourites. I could easily get through an entire sharing bag to myself so it takes some real restraint ;) I see the mint ones EVERYWHERE - in cinemas and at the shops - but rarely the plain ones. This bumper pack of - I kid you not - EIGHT BAGS will keep me going for a while. Maybe ;)

Busy B weekly planner

Busy B meal planner

I have been using these planners for years and they are an absolute godsend when it comes to planning meals for the week ahead. One side has a seven day meal planner, the other, a shopping list. It also comes with cutesy fridge magnets so you can tear off the current week and stick it on the fridge along with your shopping list. This French feel Breton stripe planner is my favourite but they also have in several other designs here.

Just saying aloe

How cute is this pot plant?! I've always wanted an aloe plant for the kitchen as I watch a lot of cookery shows and I've seen how aloe plants can help with burns. All you do is a snap off a piece of the plant and use the gel to help soothe your burn.

The kit comes with pot, aloe plant, compost discs and googly eyes. All you need to do is re-hydrate the compost discs in water for 2 hours minimum or ideally overnight. These little discs soon expanded and once done, I cut them free of their netting and crumbled them into the pot, introducing the aloe plant. If you're bad with plants, this is a fairly hardy variety and only needs watering once a week (or so the accompanying manual tells me!).

Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate

Hotel Chocolat is one of my favourite places in town to go for a hot chocolate (it's just sad that you don't see many of their cafes around!) so I was interested to see if this product compared (especially at a rather pricey £9 price point!). Inside the pack are the most divine smelling chocolate flakes which you stir into hot milk (dairy or dairy-free, the choice is yours!). And yes, I can confirm that the at home version of their hot chocolate is every bit as special! I have the Hotel Chocolat classic hot chocolate but they also have other varieties like chilli chocolate (not my cup of tea!) and salted caramel.

Sweary cook book

What the f should I make for dinner?

The most hilarious cook book I've ever laid my eyes on! Open the book to a recipe and if you don't like any of the ingredients (or the meal itself), the book repeatedly uses the f word and will refer you to another page later in the book. I tried it out on Mr Curiouser and Curiouser and the book swore at him and referred him away to a basic chicken soup recipe! You can find more excerpts of the book here.

Carbonara recipe

Gardening treats

My lockdown gardening endeavours meant lots of things were gardening orientated this year! From catnip to grow for the cats, a garden kneeler to ease my yoga punished knees, and get this - a fig tree! Fresh figs are one of my favourite things. I just love them with mozzarella and prosciutto, either simply on the plate with freshly baked bread, or on pizza.

Grow your own catnip

Fig reed diffuser

Wax Lyrical exotic fig reed diffuser

I have always loved candles (and still do!) but lately I've been OBSESSED with reed diffusers (which I think I made pretty clear here ha). I love how they can change up the feel of a room when you introduce a new scent. I love citrus fresh scents in the bathroom and kitchen, and something a little spicier and more unisex in the study. Fig is another fresh scent that I love which lends itself well to candles and reed diffusers. I cannot wait to open this up and get this bad boy started!

Links to everything are above in case there's anything you've seen that you would like to add to your own Amazon wishlist!

Which items are your favourites?

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Monday 18 May 2020

Lockdown diary // dealing with anxiety and trying to find home delivery slots

How has life changed?

Life has obviously changed, but in other ways, life hasn't changed at all. Mr Curiouser and Curiouser usually works from home four days a week and now he works all five days from home (so hardly a big change for him!). We have always been happy pottering around the garden, cooking together, sorting bits around the house and huddling under blankets watching episodes and movies. So being enforced to stay at home isn't a big deal for us compared to couples who go out lots or take lots of holidays who will have more of an adjustment at this time. I just feel so lucky that we live together and have each other. But like I spoke about here, there are aspects of 'before' that you suddenly feel all the more grateful for.

Home delivery slots are like gold dust

The shift we have been finding difficult is getting our hands on supplies. At one stage we weren't able to get a home delivery for love nor money. At the start (before the #stayhome enforcement) we would stay close to home, picking up supplies from the local shops. When it all ramped up, we collectively agreed not to go out as it wasn't worth the risk. Then there was a surge of crime of opportunity with local muggings and house robberies (just disgusting), and 'delightful' groups of teenagers spitting on people ("now you're infected!"). So understandably we have zero desire to step outside for the foreseeable future. But if supplies ever ran out, we'd of course have to reassess that.

This has been easier said than done. All home delivery slots were snapped up. Certain supermarkets weren't accepting new customers and would boot you off the site if you tried to sign up. Others were prioritising the vulnerable and NHS (this I applaud and can't get mad at).

After a few sleepless nights, we were up early one morning and by stroke of luck, managed to find a home delivery slot FOR THE VERY NEXT DAY (how we managed this, I still don't know). It was the biggest (well, most expensive) shop we've ever done as we couldn't guarantee when we would next be able to get food. Only six items couldn't be delivered and we had 16 substitutions - so overall we were really impressed with our first ever Asda home delivery.

The earliest home delivery we could get after that was for a month later which came from Tesco and was even better (everything delivered and only 6 substitutions). I'm not confident how we will be looking this time next month, but I'm currently planning three weeks of meals at a time (largely thanks to this spreadsheet) so I'm prepared if we have a wait ahead of us!

Being resourceful

Amid the fear of running out of food, I have been saving scraps and seeds from fruit and vegetables and putting a few garlic cloves and potatoes aside, which fingers crossed I can grow more from. Fresh herbs from the garden have gone into meals (rosemary roast potatoes being a highlight) and I have also been ransacking the cupboards and finding out of date ingredients which are still perfectly fine. The out of date baked beans and ginger cake were both full of sugar, so perfectly preserved. I also found a TGI Fridays sriracha rub which expired in 2018 (ha). It used to be orange / red in colour and had clumped together into a sad looking grey colour. I scooped the contents out into a pestle and mortar, crushed it into a fine power and revived it back to its original colour (plus it smelt the same as it did before which is always a good sign!). I added a dash of olive oil and salt to made a marinade and added steaks which bathed in the mixture for a few hours. It was the highlight meal of the week (and still super spicy despite being years old!).

Panic (but not at the disco)

Around the time the lockdown enforcement occurred, I needed the post office and walked alone to our nearest one, only to find it was closed and not advertised as so online. I was panicked enough about going outside, so discovering I had gone outside for nothing, was frustrating. Particularly as the people I passed had no concept of social distancing.

I came back home, paid for online postage, walked down the road to the post box, and legged it back. Whilst I was quick and kept my distance from other people, the panic I experienced wasn't worth it. I came back and my head was pounding, my chest tight, and I found it hard to breathe. All classic signs of a panic attack. But naturally, I was fearing the worst at this point.

So whilst the prospect of potentially not being able to get a food delivery next month terrifies me, I know that going outside terrifies me more! I am already a hypochondriac and worrier by nature, but I fear once this is all over that I will be a fully fledged agoraphobic!


Nestled amongst the negativity on social media and tales of d**kery of some people, it's been lovely hearing about communities and families coming together (even if in different households). I received a call from my family one day saying they had managed to score a home delivery and was there anything I needed. I didn't want to take advantage so only asked for a few things that we couldn't get in our shop. My family stopped by the following day to drop a bag off at our door, plus collect the one I'd left for them (I didn't have much to offer them, but gave them fresh herbs from the garden, wine, books and magazines). Considering I'd only asked for a couple of things, I was blown away when I brought this bag inside:

Lockdown care package

I'd almost forgotten what fresh fruit looked like! It was a very emotional moment. Not just because of their generosity, but also the sadness of having to wave from the window and not be able to hug them or make contact. My Mum had even made a lemon drizzle cake and brought that round. She even apologised afterwards saying she took it out of the oven and it was under so she put it back into the oven and that was a mistake as it's now black around the edges. But that's the amazing woman she is. Always thoughtful and always thinking of other people.

How are you lovely lot doing?

Thursday 7 May 2020

The reality of a birthday during lockdown

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my birthday would be in the midst of lockdown. I naively thought that the lockdown measures would lift in April or something, and kept my fingers tightly crossed. Suddenly cocktails, dining out and catching up with friends was out of the question. I couldn't get a grocery home delivery near to my birthday so that ruled out cakes, decorations and the ingredients for my afternoon tea idea. The reality is I don't have access to gold balloons displaying my age, or huge gold letters spelling out HAPPY BIRTHDAY (so you won't find any of that sh*t on my Instagram). I don't have banners or bunting or fancy cake toppers or cupcakes. The only telling that it was my birthday was birthday cards coming through the post (now all stuck on the wall as a glorified wall mural like we did last Christmas with our Christmas cards) and a sh*t ton of deliveries. And with that, a diary of a birthday during lockdown...


Lately I've got myself into a morning routine of yoga to gradually ease myself into the day and then more strenuous exercise to fully wake up. It's my birthday so I feel I can be exempt from exercising on today of all days ;)

Mr Curiouser and Curiouser is working today, but I am not. He offered to take the day off but is there any point taking holiday during lockdown? It's not like we can go anywhere. I'm not worried as we know we can make an awesome day of it until lockdown eases and things start to re-open again.

My partner surprises me with a scroll and it turns out to be a love letter which he has done in the form of a poem (this guy is smooth AF and always has been!). He was sneaking about the night before, printing, and running up and down the stairs so it all makes sense now! He takes my hand and leads me downstairs where he has prepared pancakes for breakfast.

He makes the best pancakes!

Maltesers chocolate spread is always a winner!

We have two pancakes each and share the last one (that's love right there!). Very happy and in a mini pancake coma (poma?), I then start opening some of my birthday cards and gifts. Friends and family have been very kindly ordering from my Amazon wishlist so it's a bit of a mystery knowing who sent what and it turns it into a guessing game.

Mr C & C starts work at 9 and I take some time getting ready. Today I decide to wear one of my favourite Oliver Bonas skirts with a black cropped tee and a spritz of my favourite Chanel perfume. I also ditch my glasses - which I've been wearing for the last two months - and dig out the contact lenses again. It feels so good wearing them again.

It's a fairly slow morning. I reply to birthday messages, take some calls, discover some lovely messages from blogger friends, watch Catfish, but mostly do some writing.


Mr Curiouser and Curiouser asks what I'd like for lunch and I really fancy something crunchy with ketchup. I love, love, love chicken dippers, chicken nuggets, chicken goujons and the like, but we don't have any in the house. We do however have fish fingers which really hit the spot. Over lunch we watch one of my favourite shows and tuck into biscuits afterwards (standard).


As the day goes on, the realisation of having a birthday in lockdown kicks in. It's a weird feeling. I keep getting reminders on social media about how I was celebrating my birthday last year and on previous years. I see the pictures taken with friends. I see pictures of this wonderful plant based afternoon tea I went to with my sister last year. Whilst it sucks being stuck inside, I know it's the right thing to do.

With Mr Curiouser and Curiouser back at his desk it does feel a little lonely, but I count myself lucky that we live together and have each other. I cannot begin to imagine how people on their own during lockdown must be feeling. That afternoon friends and family call me to see how I am doing and with that the afternoon flies.

On my birthday I usually chance a lottery entry and this year is no different. The jackpot today is 42 million but to be honest, I'd be perfectly happy with two zeros let alone a six zero number (every little helps!).

I receive an email with a voucher for my birthday and with that I discover a John Lewis voucher I received for my birthday 2 years ago which has a life of ... 2 years. I can't recall using it and panic. Cue a panicked online shopping session to see if I can spend it still. As luck may have it, the voucher is still active and I get on it ASAP.


Dinner is a bit of an interesting one as I ordered a birthday meal (and pud) in our last shop but both went out of stock and couldn't be delivered. As luck may have it, I find some scallops buried deep in our freezer which I bought especially for Christmas and somehow forgot about. The main course is another case of digging about in the freezer, but to be honest, I'd be perfectly happy with a chicken kiev (breaded chicken again for the win!) or a pizza.

Tesco has imposed an item limit on their online shops so we didn't have any wine for a while (we instead prioritised the essentials). My partner raised a valid point recently: Order a box of wine and it will count as three bottles of wine but at the same time it will only register as only one item... GENIUS. So in our last shop we ordered some random box of red wine which we didn't have high hopes for, but it's actually pretty decent which is lucky considering we now have three litres of the stuff. For dessert it's a slice of the chocolate birthday cake Mr Curiouser and Curiouser baked for me (a cake meets brownie hybrid with tons of dark chocolate). It's HEAVENLY. Especially when heated (which is what we do).

You can't beat a chocolate cake!


A quick, early dinner means a good long evening. Later on we watch one of my favourite French films (which luckily Mr C & C likes too) with wine and blankets. Later still I have a video call with my family. The last big call we did was over Easter so it's lovely to be all together again. I hazard a guess at who ordered what from Amazon and some how guess all of them correctly! I'm not sure how, but we end up talking for an hour and a half and it's now pitch black outside.

Whilst I couldn't have predicted a birthday like this, I feel like we made the best of it and although simple, it didn't make it any less special. It just goes to show that it's not things that make a day special, it's the people in your life.

First image: twinsfisch on Unsplash 
All other images my own!