What a time to be alive huh?!? If someone told me 6 moths ago a pandemic would keep us all at home, no matter where you live in the world, I would have told you you’re nuts lol! I hope that whoever is reading this is ok and that your families are ok. So on that note, I wanted to do a post unrelated to beauty-things. The 5 things below are definitely helping me survive this unsettling period. Perhaps the list will give you an idea or just some encouragement… but please remember that I also don’t want to paint a picture that everything is rosy when it’s not for a lot of people (people are losing their jobs, are having to deal with added stress and demands at home if they have dependants/children and the worst… some people are ill or their family members are ill with the corona virus). We certainly aren’t on a holidays.
With this all in mind, I hope I am being sensitive considering all of the above and encourage you to do the same. Social media is the WORST because we (generally) only see celerities and others at their ‘best’. Everyone seems to be coping and living the high life even in these difficult times. It’s ok if you’re not, because most of us aren’t. Please remember that!
I can tell you that at the moment my motivation for life in general is really low. I’m just not excited by anything because we can’t do much… At the same time, I’m working from home full time but work is draining. It certainly doesn’t feel like I have a seperate ‘work’ and ‘home’ life, even though I used to work a lot at home before the pandemic hit. Everything just seems to be amplified and more stressful at the moment. Appreciating the little things in life have become much more important I think.
As I mentioned, the below 5 things are ‘things’ and activities that are helping me keep busy and relax. I try and limit how much news I watch and read, as well as how much time I spend on social media. Maybe you will find a tip or idea for yourself below ☺️🏠
1. Baking 🧁🥧🍰👩🏻🍳
I love baking! There’s something about following a recipe step by step, and watching all the ingredients turn into something delicious by the end of it all 🤗😋 There’s also an element of creativity in it all, and being able to share your treats with other that makes it really fulling for me. You certainly don’t need to be a pro or a Chef to enjoy it!
Ironically, I don’t have a huge sweet tooth at all – but because I like baking mostly sweet things, it means I can share my goodies with others liberally lol! We are living in a time that is PERFECT for sharing in order to show others that you care and that they can count on you. In Australia, some shops are still running low on essential items (toilet paper *face palm*🤦♀️ flours, sugar, pasta etc.) so leaving some sweet treats like biscuits or a cake on your neighbours doorstep is sure to bring a smile to their face and brighten their day!
Here are some goodies I’ve baked/made in recent months;
A few months ago (before this Corona business began) my neighbour came round to instal two light fixtures in my our home. The quotes we received from businesses to do this work were insanely high – and despite wanting to pay our neighbour, he refused payment. So I made him a carrot cake to say thank you, and he was sooooo happy! It really is true that most of the time, it’s not money that makes us happy. Sure, it makes life easier, but in and of itself it doesn’t. Showing someone you care by giving them your time and attention is far more valuable 💕
Some baking tips if you’re newbie;
- Start with simple recipes and work your way up! Cookies and simple sponge cakes are good to start off with.
- If a recipe doesn’t turn out how you imagined it would (or its a disaster!) try it again. Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes it’s easy to miss a step or ingredient when following a new recipe. If this wasn’t the problem, have a think about why it may not have worked (maybe the temperature of the oven wasn’t right, or maybe you took it out too soon and didn’t cool it down properly?).
- Once you have a recipe down pat – that’s the time you can begin to experiment by including different ingredients into the mix (your own creative touch! 😉🍰✌️).
- If one recipe is driving you crazy and isn’t working for you despite numerous attempts, sometimes it can just be a shitty recipe. Writing good recipes is very difficult, so bad recipes are a plenty, especially online. Compare similar recipes for the same items and maybe you’ll find what you’re missing!
- You don’t need all the fancy equipment and tools sometimes shown in cook books, online or on tv cooking shows. Sometimes you need to improvise. There’s also always a more ‘low-tech’ way of doing something and Google will be your best friend to find out how ☺️
- It’s all about practise! 😅
2. My Recipe Book 📖
Whether you like to cook savoury or sweet things, you may have thought about collecting all your favourite recipes in one book. A recipe book!
I could never find the right kind of book that made it easy to note down recipes. Recipes I love and want to keep and have on hand. I always ended up writing them up in different places. So when I came across an Etsy shop that hand made wooden personalised recipe folders (with specially designed paper for recipe note-taking) I put it on my wish list!
The recipe above for fluffy buttermilk pancakes is amazing btw! SO easy and SO buttery & delicious! 🥞🥞🥞🤤🤤🤤
Isn’t it beautiful?!? It was expensive though. These folders are hand made and crafted in Russia, so it took a while for me to save a little money and purchase one as a treat. Did I need it? No! Our mothers and grandmothers used exercise books after all and there’s nothing wrong with that! I definitely splurged because I think it’s really, really beautiful and well made, so I’m happy to support amazing craftsman when I can 👩🏻🍳 A folder like this would make an amazing gift for any avid baker or cook, young or old. You can choose the type of wood and colour/finish, the design for the front, as well as personalise it however you like (you can even put a quote on the front!). Expect to pay between $120 – $170 AUD all up depending on the design you choose. It’s definitely a keep sake! 🎁 Have a browse and maybe pick one up yourself via Etsy, from Eren Traut’s shop 💕🌿🎁
3. Fresh Flowers 💐
Since we are all self isolating, it can be difficult to connect with nature when most of us can’t go on day trips or travel. If you don’t have a garden or even if you do – I really, really recommend bringing flowers and plants inside where you can. I think having a bunch of brightly coloured flowers in your house does wonders for your psyche. Especially if you’re working from home.
Some people will consider buying fresh flowers a splurge and this used to be me.. but now I can’t stop lol! 😅 Once you get to know a local florist and what your supermarket sells, you tend to pick up what’s seasonal and reasonably priced. You also start to pick out flowers that haven’t been arranged into a special or extravagant bouquet, and this drives the price of flowers down a lot. If you can go out and some florists or supermarkets are open, see what they have on offer. A small business would certainly appreciate your support and a bunch of flowers will no doubtably brighten your mood in unexpected ways!
I love nature and think that we can learn a lot from it. When I pick up a new type of flower, I look it up online to learn more about the plant itself. I try and appreciate its form and colour. It’s SO amazing to notice all the different types of flora that are out there – and to think that you can have them in your home… just gives me a buzz 🥰🥰💐
Fuchsia coloured Dahlias. Aren’t they glorious?!?!
4. Music 🎶🎶🎶
Another way to ‘escape’ reality for a little while, away from technology (well, as long as you’re not watching a screen!) is to listen to music. When is the last time you listened to an album from beginning to finish??? Doesn’t that remind you of bygone days? I think so – and I absolutely love putting on a cd and just blocking out the world for an hour or two….
I’m also a cd collector, because I’m lame like that haha! And I love to collect Australian music in particular. I recently bought two albums by Leonardo’s bride. They were a band who released songs in the 90s and early 2000s. They only recorded two studio albums and some EPs, but despite this, one of their songs ‘Even When I’m Sleeping’ was voted in the top 30 Australian songs of all time (voted and decided by very important ‘people in the know’ I’m sure!). I absolutely love the song, but also their other less known songs. Have a listen to Even When I’m Sleeping here:
The other cd I recently purchased was Amiel’s second album, These Ties. Also an Australian singer, Amiel also only recorded two studio albums. Her first album Audio Out was a big hit in Australia, but after recording her second album something went wrong because Amiel cut ties with her record label (despite have a 5 album contract or something along those lines) so her second album was only released in Japan (random right lol…). It turns out her second album is so so good, it makes me sad she hasn’t released music since 2005 😞 I try to enjoy her second album as much as possible, with the little hope that one day Amiel will tell her story and maybe release some more music 💖💜🎶
5. Sunshine ☀️
Since we are all cooped up inside every day (mostly) enjoy the sunshine whenever you get the chance! Be it on a walk in your neighbourhood if it’s allowed, by your window when you have a cup of coffee, in your garden or on your patio… wherever you are, you can enjoy the warmth of the sun! There’s something reassuring knowing that each day the sun rises again to give us a new chance to try again ☺️💕
There’s a good reason why sunshine makes us all feel better: sunshine increases the brains release of serotonin (a hormone). Serotonin is responsible for boosting our moods, helping us feel calm and focused. Without enough serotonin, our moods can become erratic and dip. One of our ‘modern tragedies’ is that we spend SO much time indoors, glued to screens. I know I’m guilty of this too. What scientists have started to discover is allll the different ways sunlight helps our body to function normally and better. It’s really important.
So without going into all of the reasons sunlight is so important for our bodies, I think in these times, the best motivation for us is to remember that it increases our mood and helps us feel more positive and calm! ☀️ Who doesn’t need more of that?!? 😜 If you can, make sure you expose some of your skin (be it your legs or arms) to the sun for 10minutes daily. This may not be so important to do if it’s summer and it’s incredibly hot, but it does become important no matter where you live if you are indoors for most of the day and – even more so if it’s Winter or getting colder. This is definitely called ‘controlled sun exposure’. I generally keep my face out of the sun and still wear sunscreens on the up part of my body. Even sitting in the shade (outside) on a very sunny day can do wonders for your soul! ❤️
I’m also LOVING the sun and clear skies in Sydney at the moment, after the most horrendous bushfire season on record (we had weeks and weeks of smokey skies and haze – it was awful…). I’m looking forward to Winter this year, probably because of the terrible summer we had. At the moment the weather is beautiful – crisp cool air, but the sun is warm.
My cats certainly LOVE sunshine! They sun bake in short intervals a few times a day when the sun is out 🥰🥰☀️ Another good idea is to take your dogs out on a walk in the sunshine if it’s allowed. I’m sure they will enjoy it as will you!
And that’s my list of 5 things I am loving at the moment 💕 I hope they gave you some ideas on what’s bringing you comfort at the moment (and please share these with us!) as well as maybe giving you some tips if you feel in a ‘rut’ or just low currently. It’s good to reflect and appreciate what is good in life when it seems that the world has lost the plot! It doesn’t mean that everything is peachy, but it helps to get us through that’s for sure.
I hope you enjoyed this post and let us know how you’re doing! xo
Catch ya next time,