29 June 2020

How I Stay Sane in Lockdown | Part 2

lifestyle blogger, favourites, round-up, waterlow park
Waterlow Park
If you read my first 'How I Stay Sane in Lockdown' post, you'll know that I have had a lot of spare time on my hands that I needed to fill. Since then I have even more books, podcasts, an online course and various other things to update you on.

Over the past weeks, we have also witnessed the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement on social media and on our streets. I have used my time this month to educate myself further on systematic racism and how to be an anti-racist. Within the below round-up, I have highlighted in yellow resources which bring awareness and education to these topics. I am donating 100% of earnings from affiliate links in this post to the Runnymede Trust, UK's leading independent race equality think tank.

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LEARNING
In the last month I completed MSE's Academy of Money online course with the Open University, which is a free course on personal finances, from spending and saving to mortgages and pensions. It is made up of 6 sessions, so you can choose to study the whole course, or just focus on one session (e.g. budgeting). When I was at school, we didn't learn about any of this so whilst in lockdown it's a great time to educate myself on managing personal finances. I'll come back to the course later on in life as well, to refresh my understanding of mortgages or pensions for example. Knowledge is power, and being able to confidently manage your finances is a great asset, so I'd highly recommend trying out this course.

LISTENING
On the subject of MSE (Money Saving Expert), I really enjoyed listening to Martin Lewis' episode of Desert Island Discs. Other podcasts that I have been listening to lately are:

I Weigh with Jameela Jamil - I first became aware of Jameela Jamil on Instagram, where she is outspoken about body image and feminism among other pertinent topics. On her new podcast, I Weigh, she interviews inspiring people from various walks of life. I really enjoyed the Reese Witherspoon and Roxanne Gay episodes and I'm looking forward to listening to the episode with ALOK next.

Work in Progress with Sophia Bush - Actor and activist Sophia Bush would be one of my dream dinner party guests. Not only is she dedicated to activism (spreading this to her followers via her social media accounts - follow her on IG now), she is thoughtful, inquisitive and kind which comes across on her podcast. Sophia's guests are varied and interesting and she always has gripping discussions with them on important issues. With Covid-19 she has produced an episode with an infectious disease specialist and with the recent rise of the BLM movement, she has had discussions with several black female writers, film-makers and organisers - I would particularly recommend the episode with Dr. Melina Abdullah. The discussion on defunding the police and reinvesting funds to other services using real life examples is eye-opening and logical.

Grounded with Louis Theroux - I mentioned this podcast in my last round-up, but I wanted to give a quick mention to his episode with Rose McGowan which hadn't been released when I published that post. A gripping episode where she discusses her childhood in a cult, her work in Hollywood and taking on Harvey Weinstein.

READING
My pace has picked up on the reading front and I am astonished to say that I have read 3 books since my last post. I honestly can't remember the last time that I've read that many books in succession but I'm really enjoying reading in the garden or before bed. First up, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo* (joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize) follows characters of different ages, generations and backgrounds who represent the different facets of black womanhood in modern-day Britain. Next up, Small, Great Things by Jodi Picoult* also tackles the issue of race, this time in America. I don't want to say too much to avoid giving away the plot but the novel explores white supremacy and the subtleties of racism in various areas of work, the court and daily life. A thought-provoking read. I also read Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge* which in my opinion is a necessary read for everyone in Britain. The book gives a comprehensive overview of racism in the UK and how British history has produced the inequalities and systematic racism we see today. It is an engaging and informative read and I urge you to prioritise reading this. While you're here... please sign the following petition to include this book on the GCSE reading list, to ensure it is studied in schools. Click here

COOKING
To be honest my enthusiasm for cooking earlier on in lockdown has waned slightly. I haven't been trying out as many new recipes but the ones I have are definitely ones to share! I've listed the ones you need to try below:

Persian Barbari Bread - I found this recipe via @sw3kitchen, who has made this recipe multiple times according to her feed. The IGTV for the recipe is linked here which gives the overall gist of the recipe but visit the webpage when you attempt this as the video doesn't include all of the steps! The first time I made it, it turned out really well - it was easy to make, looks beautiful and is delicious. Also it uses plain flour instead of strong bread flour, which is a bonus as most people have it in their cupboards.  

Masala Omelette - This Nigella recipe is the perfect light lunch - it's tasty, spicy and protein-filled. I normally eat this with chopped salad and flatbread. Also I am obsessed with fresh coriander at the moment so I love an excuse to scatter it over a dish!

Honey & Sesame Halloumi - Okay so this might be a bit of a cheat. It's not technically a recipe but it's game-changing. If you like sweet-and-salty combinations then you need to try this. Fry the halloumi as you normally would in a pan. Once it is crispy and golden, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds then fry for about a minute longer. Georgina Hayden has saved a Halloumi story to her IG highlights which shows how to fry with honey so check that out too.

WALKING
Lately I've been obsessed with tracking my steps on the iPhone Health app and I'm trying to hit 10,000 steps a day. Luckily in my patch of London, I live near lovely green spaces. I've listed a few of my favourites below:

Parliament Hill - It takes me around half an hour to walk to this landmark hill, which is part of Hampstead Heath. It has stunning views of the central London skyline, ponds and plenty of lush green space.

Highgate Cemetery - Near to the lovely Waterlow Park, Highgate Cemetery is one of London's smaller but incredibly beautiful Victorian cemeteries. It is well-known for housing Karl Marx's grave. You can now book online timed-entry tickets on weekends, which are spaced apart for social-distancing measures. When I visited it was quiet and peaceful and came across very few other visitors.

Clissold Park - I walked to this park via the New River Path, which was really interesting as I'd never done this before and it takes you through different parts of North London (starting way back in Hertfordshire) following along the river. This is a great park for a picnic with plenty of green space to pick your spot (read my latest post on How To Have The Perfect Picnic). I would recommend stopping by the Clissold Park Tavern for a post-walk takeaway pint.

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So that's what I've been doing with my free time for the last month or so. From the 4th of July in the UK, pubs and restaurants are allowed to open and people from 2 households can meet inside, so we shall see how that affects London. This may be my last lockdown post! Anyway I'll keep you updated on what I'm getting up to in future round-up posts - what should I call them? Monthly Favourites seems a bit retro. Hmm... watch this space...

This post contains affiliate links, denoted by an asterisk (*). As mentioned at the top of this post, all earnings from this blog post will be donated to For more information, please refer to the disclaimer on my About page. 

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