Book Review: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Blurb: “Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again.”

Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction, War Novel, Novel

Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


This book was something special. I’ve never read anything quite as moving as this book before. I had literally added this book to my reading list and then the next day walked into Waterstones and it was there on the stand in front of me (pre Covid-19 lockdown 3 in the UK). So naturally I picked it up and bought it. I read it within 3 days. It was stunning and breathtaking so I’m going to tell you (and show you) why.

First I loved the way this book was written. It goes from the present to the past, Nuri and Afra’s journey travelling from Aleppo to the UK. There is absolutely no small feat about this journey, their motivation is inspiring. We see their time seeking asylum in the UK and between these chapters we learn about their journey to the UK and their struggles with PTSD, but the way this is shown in the book is pretty and nothing I’ve ever seen before. The last word of the present is the first word of the past flashback and is displayed in the middle of the page in a beautiful illustration as you can see below.

The journey itself that they have made is just incredible. From Aleppo to the car journeys through Syria, having to duck down in the back of trucks and lie about where they were going. To the boat crossings in their small dingy, wearing life jackets and the awful waves throwing people overboard. Potentially losing Mohammed overboard causing Nuri to jump in the water after him, Mohammed being a young boy Nuri has taken responsibility for after he was on his own, almost a replacement for Sammi without realising. And when they reach the camps, Mohammed disappears. So Nuri looses the one thing that even slightly brought him comfort as he resembled and was significant with the loss of Sammi. But when Nuri is in the UK, he still sees Mohammed in his dreams and feels Mohammed is trying to tell him something or point him back to the direction of his wife, back in the direction of goodness, although it doesn’t always end well once he wakes up.

The camps sounded horrendous and it made me realise that people are actually dealing with this in real life. It made me glad to hear that they were given shelter, food and clothes after their horrendous boat ride, but what about when these camps are full? There is a lot of talk through the book of ‘The camps are full‘ and ‘they’ve closed the borders’ so their next part of their journey will be a struggle and thats where the illegal smugglers come in. Giving these people their trust and their money to get them to where they need to be. there is a period of time where they are in Italy. They are sleeping in a park where the volunteers for Red Cross brought them too, and left them there. Afra does not feel safe yet they manage to make a friend as safety in numbers. But awful things happen here, and instead of waiting for salvation that never comes from the Red Cross Nuri takes it into his own hands and they pay a smuggler to get them to the UK.

I feel for me this book is eye opening. This is happening in real life. REAL people are going through REAL situations and trauma like this, and we are treating them like animals and not offering asylum when they people have experienced WAR and had everything destroyed. They have no where else to go. And although in the books they are offered food, shelter and clothes, are they offered this in real life? Most likely not. I’ll be posting some links at the bottom of this review if you would like to donate to refugee relief.

I sympathised with pretty much all of the main characters, they have all been displaced and hit with the horrors of war. A horror that I could not even dream of experiencing or knowing what they are going through. So when Afra originally refuses to leave Aleppo amongst all the ruins because it is where their son Sammi is buried after he was killed in a bomb explosion, my heart breaks for them. I feel so upset for them because they had such a beautiful life in Aleppo before, Nuri tending the bees with his best friend Mustafa, so passionate about the bees and learning their motives and harvesting the honey and Afra and their son Sammi dining and relaxing with Mustafas family. Everything was happy and bright and colourful. And it had all been left in ruins. I can feel the desperation through out the book for a better life, when Afra explains she “doesn’t like this place” or when Nuri explains she “lays in bed all day” I just feel deflated for them and all that they are going through. Their motivation to get to the UK is that Mustafa is there and has started a new business with the bees and Nuri is going to help him as soon as he can when he gets to the UK, some sort of normality and what they were used too in Aleppo. That small slice of home.

It is interesting to learn that Afra is blind due to the horrendous things she has seen. She witnessed the bomb kill her child. War destroy her city. Due to this trauma she is blind, but not blind. She is blind and cannot see from trauma, but her sight will come back over time. This was interesting to me as I did not realise this could happen but it very much can when dealing with immense amounts if life changing stress which made me sympathise for her more. But what made me really feel things is when even though she could see, she still coloured in the colouring books Nuri bought her.

They have also come away/apart from each other in a time where they need each other most. All the way through you can see that Nuri loves his wife, but he has moved so far away from her as Afra has from him. They are withdrawn from each other through this trauma although they rely on each other more than ever. So when at the end, after making it to the UK and seeing Mustafa again, they are drawn back to each other with that feeling of hope and happiness to help them it makes me so overwhelmingly happy. They went through so much together so to finally find themselves back in each others arms made me so elated and honestly, I cried.

This book is eye-opening, harrowing, and with so much depth, an absolute testament to the triumph of human spirit and motivation. I voted this book 5/5 and say that you go and get this book now and Ive never felt so passionately about a book in this way. If you would like to donate to refugee relief there are some links below for you.

Let It Snow, Lockdown Edition

With Lockdown being in full swing here in the UK there really isn’t too much to do outside of the house other than to walk and exercise! So when we were forecast snow I was so excited as I am very furloughed and very bored! Usually wherever I am, it doesn’t snow. So when it started snowing here in Cambridgeshire I was so, so excited.

I Love the snow. Its so exciting! So when it started snowing BIG flakes and SETTING on the ground as well I was straight out for a walk looking at the park and the river, it looked absolutely beautiful! Although I love a warm trip away I also love the cold, so I had my coat on, my timberlands, my white fluffy ear warmer, fully kitted out! Especially because I had really lost all my mojo being in the house alone whilst Brad was at work, so when it started snowing I was so pleased. Such a nice break in the monotonous weeks I had been having.

It had stopped snowing after the first day of it pouring down and the next day Brad had a day off work. So we went to the park where all the snow had set and there was also some ice puddles and like the big kids at 23 we are, we of course were crushing the ice, throwing snowballs, seeing how deep the puddles were and Brad was trying to piggy back me across the deep puddles in his boots.

It was a great laugh and I just feel where there is snow there is positivity.

On the third day of having the snow around I met up for a socially distanced walk with one of my friends at a beautiful nature reserve in walking distance of home for us both! The snow across the fields looked stunning and we even saw a baby deer! Although the walk we usually took had been closed off, so with no idea where to go next we walked an extra 3 miles on accident! But that meant we got to spend some time in some proper crunchy snow and enjoy the nature reserve in all its snowy glory!

With there being snow over a majority of the UK, and also worldwide as well! I reached out to my Twitter followers to send me their snowy shots! And they absolutely did not disappoint, here are some of the shots I received from my lovely followers!

This stunning photograph was taken by Nat at NatPackerTravel! You can find more from Nat at these links below!

Instagram.com/Natpackertravel

Twitter.com/Natpackertravel

NatPackerTravel Blog!


This snowy Shot was taken by Miamii Mansour, you can see more from Miamii on her twitter link below!

Twitter.com/Explorewithmii


The photos above are from ‘Make Them All Trips of a Lifetime’ and you can see more at the links below!

Twitter.com/ThemTrips

http://instagram.com/makethemalltripsofalifetime


These beautiful and playful shots above are from Kazans Derbyshire! So Much colour and fun, so much happiness and positivity in these shots!

You can find more from Kaz here: The3amDiary.com & instagram.com/snowkazadventures

twitter.com/snowkaz84


These stunning shots below were taken by Jupiter Hadley! My favourite is definitely the horse in the snow! You can find more from Jupiter at her blog here Jupiterhadley.com and her twitter here, twitter.com/Jupiter_Hadley


A beautiful snowy car shot from Anisa & Russell at twitter.com/norfolklocal and norfolklocalguide.co.uk

The Peak District – Ladybower Reservoir Walk

The next day we went for a less mountainous walk but definitely a long one. Recommended by both my stepmum and my sister to myself and Maddie had also seen this walk online, we headed to the Lady Bower Reservoir! We parked up again in a lay-by on the side of the road and there was a lot of parking so it wasn’t hard to get a space. We unpacked, re packed and put on our boots and were ready to go!

The walk around the reservoir is at least an hour and a half to two hours and when we started the sun was shining. the walk itself is fairly flat except for once you reach the other end of the reservoir and there’s a slight including to then get you onto the next section of the walk, the walk back to where you started along the other side!

The views around the lake are gorgeous, you go from walking out in the open at the start and then walking in-between high fern trees, then out in between bracken as you walk beside the open water, then back into the thick trees again until we reached the opposite end of the reservoir. We decided as the heavens opened and there was a couple of benches shrouded by the trees we could stop for some lunch!

Once we were back on the walk we passed the information centre and as we kept walking along the path you could hear the water before we saw it. In between the trees you could see this huge waterfall ahead of us, although it wasn’t a waterfall, it was the Derwent Dam! Derwent Dam is in between the Derwent Reservoir and Lady Bower separating the two bodies of water. Lady bower being the final reservoir the water flows into out of the three (the first being Howden Reservoir, then Derwent and finally Lady Bower). It had rained so much that the dam was actually overflowing which was a really cool sight to see as not everyone is this lucky!

Once we had marvelled at the Dam and the sign post in front of the dam which was obviously well aged as if you swam in the water it was only a £5 fine, we decided to continue on our walk around the reservoir. Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky this time around and when we thought the rain had stopped over lunch the heavens opened again! The walk back in the rain was just as pleasant because we were all so kitted out and prepared for it. It was just as lovely with our hoods up and muddy boots. The best part about walks like that are that once you reach home and your cold and wet you can get all cosy with a cuppa tea by the fire and a book.

BUT it was way to soon once we had finished the walk to go back and chill by the fire so there was only one option for it, PUB! We headed across to the Lady Bower Pub which is just off the reservoir and it was perfect, well priced, big car park and only two minutes away. we had some pints, a cuppa tea and some hot food, NACHOS. Well deserved.

THEN it was time to go home and really curl up by the fire this time. Last stop on our trip is Bakewell! Stay tuned for our food adventures there.

The Peak District – Cottage Living

After all of us being put through our paces since being back at work a well deserved Covid 19 permitted trip was definitely on the card. After Jack and Maddie had stated they were going to the peaks for a week and an invite later we were on our way to Eyam in the peaks for 4 days to do some walking, talking and chilling.

So a little bit of history! Eyam, where we stayed for the week, in the Peak District is also known as The Plague Village. After being able to keep themselves free of the Bubonic Plague a tailor received a fabrics delivery from London. Making clothes and other bits for the villagers the tailor unknowingly spread the Bubonic Plague around the village after the fabric contained lice and other factors which helped contribute to the spread of the disease. The village itself saw more death than London itself! The village is really historical where you can visit the museum and learn about how the village made a comeback. There’s also lots of historical plaques outside houses where you can learn who died there and how, what their trade was etc.

Maddie found the cosiest cottage to stay in! It was absolutely so beautiful, it had a fireplace in both the lounge and the kitchen which made it super warm. it had everything we could’ve asked for, there was even enough beds for our friend Mason to join us on the Thursday night!

There was a beautiful pink themed double room that Brad and I stayed in, there was another triple room for Maddie and the boys. There was a really lovely outdoor seating area upstairs but we didn’t use it once as it overlooked everyones garden so instead we used the outdoor seating area outside the front of the cottage which was just as lovely. There were two bathrooms and the sitting room had a beautiful open fire and enough seats to relax, stay warm and catch up, plus a fully stocked book shelf! The kitchen was also fully operational, we had all the pots and pans, literally the works so we could cook every morning and night and prepare lunch for our walks. We had all sorts, Maddie cooked the first night, Brad the following and we also met my sister and her man for some pub grub! We had some really lovely food, Jack was on cocktail duty and I made pancakes on our last morning in the cottage!

On our first night we decided to go for a walk around the village! We headed up the hills behind the cottage and had a cute rendezvous with some sheep in a field which were really cute. We then found a pub just down the road so we sat outside and had some hot and alcoholic drinks. I wish I had more pictures of the village but I did get plenty of video footage! So it is definitely worth heading over to look at my youtube footage of the trip!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 7 – Bath, Stonehenge, Home

The dreaded last day of the road trip, it definitely had a downward feeling about it. I wish we could’ve been going for a little bit longer and seen a little bit more!

So after spending a nice relaxed morning we decided to head for some breakfast which was included in our stay at the Pig and Fiddle. Breakfast was SO tasty, so well cooked and beautifully presented. It tasted absolutely amazing and perfect kick starter for the day ahead!

We had some time to explore Bath so decided to go for a wonder and see the beautiful sandstone bridge that is Pulteney Bridge and the water running underneath! We walked over the bridge as well! We also had a look at the parade gardens and definitely had a look at the beautiful Bath Abbey as well. Bath has some of the most beautiful architecture of any English city I have seen so far. Just absolutely breath-taking.

Once we had had a small exploration walk around we decided to go for a pint at The Boater which boasted the largest beer garden in Bath city centre! It was a lovely day so we had some refresher drinks before we packed the car up and headed onto our last stop of the whole trip! Sad times!

Last on the agenda once the car was all packed up, was heading to Stonehenge!

Now I’d always wanted to go to Stonehenge so I am so glad we managed to go when we did, it was nice and warm as well! When we arrived, because you have to pre book tickets, we got all check in at the ticket desk and received our welcome packs. I believe the tickets, of the top of my head, were £24 per person. Now personally, I felt it really honesty wasn’t worth this price. But to see and help British heritage some things have to be to be done in the name of tourism!

Once we headed through we had a look at some of the history behind Stonehenge, they had huts which they believe those who created Stonehenge lived in and also a demonstration of how they believe they moved the stones to where they are now. It was really interesting. Once we had brushed up on our history it was time to go to THE Stonehenge. One thing they forgot to mention? THE WALK.

Easily a mile and a half and took us a good half hour 40 minutes especially in the heat. You could have gotten the shuttle bus to and from the stones but with Covid-19 so prominent then and the social distancing on the bus it would have been quicker for you to walk. So that’s exactly what we did and my god it was so LONG. Although halfway you do learn about the surrounding areas and how the people who created Stonehenge also adapted farmland, I just couldn’t get over the distance you had to walk! Only when you get there to continue to walk around it! But that was fine because once we were there it was really nice and so cool to be up close to something so historical! Then the dreaded walk back, which went fairly quickly!


We arrived back at the car and realised this was it. It was our last part of the trip before we headed home. It was a sad moment as we drove past Stonehenge (as you can see it clearly from the road as well!) and realised it was back to normality, or as normal as it could be right now.

I’d never done something like this before and since doing this I’ve had road trip fever, to the point that I’m looking to go to Iceland and road trip all of Route 1 around the country. It also made me realise that there is SO MUCH in this beautiful country to see, you just have to get up and get going! We definitely want to do this again, so many great and fun memories, all the things we’ve experienced and the friends we’ve seen, next time I want to go up north and explore Scotland and the highlands, especially John O’Groates! The most Northern part of the UK! This is on experience I don’t think the two of us will ever forget.

Here is to ‘Visiting England’ as they say and making more of my home country!

Thank you so much for reading my road trip series, if you’d like to check out the Video head to the link here! 🙂

The Peak District – B29 Overexposed wreckage walk

Once I got wind we were heading to the peak district ironically, a Tiktok came up on my feed about a crash site up in the mountains! The B29 Bomber plan crash and i love dark tourism so this was an awesome find. So upon learning it was also half an hour away from where we were staying I had to suggest it to the group and luckily they were down for it.

So we jumped in the car with our packed lunches, walking boots in the boot, our raincoats and drove down Snake Road and stopped on the side of the road which has limited parking as it was basically like a lay by either side of the road, right at the start of the walk!

It wasn’t the most beautiful sunny day and it had been raining the day before so the main pathway was like a mini waterfall with water running along side and down the actual path itself. Nothing too unbearable for us in our walking boots, although I did feel sorry for Jack who was in just his NIKE trainers for the walk. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and had a beautiful hike, it was so much fun to do because I’ve only ever been to the lakes before with my parents for Christmas and New Years not with friends so it was such an enjoyable walk.

Once we got to the very top we came across the B2 Bomber Plane Overexposed crash site. It was definitely an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

So a little history. The B29 Bomber Plane was making a renaissance journey back to base with 13 passengers on board, including the pilots. Unfortunately the visibility was incredibly poor that day and its believed that they didn’t even see the ground before they hit it. The plane was destroyed and all 13 of the passengers died on impact. The wreckage is still up on the moors to this day (of course we you can walk there!). Its incredibly interesting and there is a mural for the remembrance of these soldiers.

Once we had walked through the wreckage of the plane we walked to the summit which was literally just beside the site. The views were absolutely outstanding and it was decided our lunch spot for the afternoon! Once we were done it was time to make our way back to the path! Now admittedly we when en route to the site went only slightly of piste, and because of this decided we could do the same walking back and in the process got, not exactly lost? But we definitely went the wrong way, we even climbed up a waterfall in the process! it was fun and exciting and just when Jack and I were looking at the map to find the path both Brad and Maddie turned around and were like guys, we found it!

We managed to stay dry most of the day as well until literally 30 metres from the car jack decided to stand in a large deep puddle. So nearly all of us stayed dry the whole way!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 2 – Durdle Door, Exeter & Torquay

After an awesome first night in Bournemouth Brad and I were up early (which makes a nice change) and ready for our next adventure to Durdle Door, Exeter and Torquay all in one day!

We decided to get some food once we had arrived at Durdle Door so skipped out on breakfast to get on the road. It took us about an hour to get to Durdle Door from Bournemouth and once we arrived it was already getting busy! We paid the £5 car parking fee for 4 hours and headed down the big cliff to see the sights! Before you make your way down the cliff there is a cute little ice cream shop and a pasty van so we made note of those to make sure we grabbed some food once we made it back up to the top again.

Fun fact: Durdle Door is part of what is known as the Jurassic Coast! What is this? 96 Miles of English Heritage Protected Coastline!

Top tip. DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS. The views are beautiful and its really pleasant but the pathway down in white gravel and I nearly fell down multiple times I had to hold onto Brad basically all the way because the one time I let go I fully nearly stacked it. Once we made it to the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach we were in awe. On the left was Man O War Beach and further down from that was St Oswalds Beach. The water was beautifully blue and clear we could’ve been in another country! Then to our right was the monument itself, the beautiful Durdle Door and beach! We headed down the steps to the stoney beach to get a closer look. The waves were crashing and we took a seat right on the shoreline to enjoy the sun. We then headed up the beach to enjoy and sit in the small caves in the cliffs too.

Finally we grew an appetite and it was back up the hill (which was a struggle in the heat and flip fops) and onto the next part of our journey. NOT BEFORE a pasty and a sausage roll overlooking the Jurassic Coastline.

Then it was my turn to drive the 2 hour Journey to Exeter. Unfortunately for us Exeter was not what we expected and we didn’t find all that much to do. We headed over and saw the cathedral in all its glory which was an absolutely phenomenal piece of architecture.

Once we had seen the cathedral the town centre was pretty quiet so we decided to head to a riverside pub for a light snack and a pint (or a cup of tea if you’re me). We walked towards the River Exe and walked past what is known as and what is left of the old Medieval Exe Bridge which has been around for centuries. It was really cool to see the last remains of this piece of old historic architecture! We then walked along the river until we arrived at The Mill on the Exe pub and sat by the river to enjoy our pit stop!

Then it was back to the car for the rest of the drive to Torquay to see my beautiful friend Tasmin! Tasmin lives in Torquay so it would have been SO RUDE to no pop in. To top it off she also did us a huge favour, saving us a fair whack of money on accommodation, and let us stay with her as a bonus. I’ll always be thankful as this also meant we got to spend more time together and it had already been 11 months since I last saw her at our graduation. The Journey from Exeter took us 40 minutes which was really nice and short! When we arrived in Torquay we had a dinner booked to get ready for!

Once we were ready it was into Torquay Harbour for a meal at Twenty 1! This restaurant overlooked the harbour and the 4 of us enjoyed beautiful sunset views, great food and drinks and even better company. We laughed all night and caught up with everything possible, it was such a lovely evening with friends and I was so grateful to be able to do this.

For dinner I think we ordered the whole menu. I had the Chicken and Chorizo flatbread pizza as well as the Tempura Halloumi and the Cheesy Garlic Bread (because no meal is complete without cheesy garlic bread). Another brilliantly priced meal as well with a good vibes atmosphere and great cocktails!

We walked home along the harbour back to Tas’ house well and truly full of food for a final late night cup of tea and bed ready for Tas to show us around Berry Head, Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor the next day! Another successful travelling day completed!

The Global Quarantine Diaries – Helen

Global Quarantine Diaries

Where in the world are you located?

I live in a sleepy little town in Cheshire in the UK. It is picture perfect and we absolutely love it here. Formatively, I have lived in many counties through out the UK due to my Fathers job. In fact this is the longest I have ever stayed in one place! 9 years and counting, for the first time in my life, I have a house that feels like my forever home. 

What is lockdown regulations like there? 

As I am shielding due to an on going argument with that thing known as The Big C, my lockdown regulations have been very strict. I have been unable to leave my home for over 10 weeks. This proves interesting when trying to homeschool 3 kiddies who want nothing more than to do fun stuff and play out with their friends! It turns out I am a terrible teacher, as they are students!

How are you keeping busy?

As a Mum of 3, I never have the time to keep busy! It is constantly a mad house, full of chaos, but most importantly full of love. On the upside, when we have been attempting homeschooling, it has given me the opportunity to think, create and write for my blog and side hustles. I have also taken on an absurd amount of DIY tasks, in the genuine belief we would be bored if we hadn’t got plenty to do. The reality of it is I don’t have time to be bored nor time to get everything done! Who knew how short 10 weeks really were when there was a mountain of things to do on The List of Doom.

What do you miss doing the most?

Having coffee with my girlfriends. In all the years of friendship I have been fortunate to amass with my besties, I have never had to go so long without seeing them. I struggle with zoom/facetime interactions as I find them stunted if there are more than a couple of people on them. I can’t wait to go for a walk with my pooch and a cuppa with my besties. 

What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?

Spend time by myself! It turns out I am a very solitary person, and I am really struggling being in a house full of lunatics 24/7. I can’t wait to drop the kiddies back to school (hopefully in September!) and enjoy the silence of the car journey home. Then I am driving straight to my aforementioned besties house for a long over due hug! Turns out for a loner, I really enjoy a cuddle.

Find me here:

https://www.instagram.com/alittlecupofhelen/

https://www.alittlecupofhelen.co.uk

The Global Quarantine Diaries – Amber

Hey everyone, my name is Amber and I run a lifestyle blog called The Unpredicted Page, where I give out my life advice, I talk about health and beauty and I also throw in my blogging tips that I have learnt along the way. I am so excited to get stuck into answering the questions given to me by Jessie! 

Where in the world are you located? 

I live In the UK in the Midlands. So, I am literally as far away from the sea and the beaches as possible. I am currently staying in lockdown with my parents, so I moved back to their home. 

What are the lockdown regulations like there? 

We are currently allowed to see up to 6 friends whilst staying two metres apart. I have been able to see my boyfriend for a walk after 10 weeks of not being able to see each other so that lifted my spirits. I only leave the house for exercise I try and go for a walk each day. My mum does the food shopping as only one person is allowed in the shop at a time for each household, so she is only leaving the house to do that. 

How are you keeping busy? 

So, I am someone who likes to keep busy. I actually started my blog at the beginning of lockdown as so I would have something, I could occupy myself with. I even decided to write a post about the positives of lockdown where I gathered people’s opinions on the situation. I am someone who always needs to be doing something, so starting a blog was the best thing I could have done I am absolutely loving it so far. 

I have also been getting back into reading which I have been loving. I am currently reading PS, I Love you – I recommend! Then last but not least, I have really gotten into paint by numbers. I bought one off amazon and it is taking a long time, but it is so relaxing. There are so many different designs so I will hopefully be getting more of them to try out. 

What do you miss doing the most?

I miss getting dressed up and putting my makeup on and feeling good. I have worn makeup once in the past 11 weeks on lockdown due to the fact I left all my makeup in my flat in a different city to where I am staying for lockdown. So, I had to borrow my sister’s makeup. So when this is over I cannot wait to stay dressing up again and having a reason to get dressed up. 

What is the first thing you are going to do once the lockdown is over? 

The first thing I want to do when lockdown is over is to move out to live with my boyfriend. I cannot wait to have my own space. Being able to spend time decorating the place will be so exciting. So that is something I am looking forwards to.

Head to Ambers socials below!  

Socials: Blog – https://theunpredictedpage.com/

IG – https://www.instagram.com/theunpredictedpage/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/unpredictedpage

Global Quarantine Diaries – Jessie (Me!).

Hello!

I am Jessie and welcome to my blog and my instalment in the Global Quarantine Diaries! To say I’ve enjoyed this time it would be a solid 50/50 split. I’ve loved being furloughed of work and having time to myself and to get organised but I’ve also been ever so slightly stir crazy with cabin fever. I can’t wait to get back to work, to see my girlfriends and family, going to the gym, my god I MISS THE GYM.

Where in the world are you located?

I am living in England in a small village in-between Cambridge and Milton Keynes.

What are Lockdown regulations like there?

Lockdown regulations here have been implemented and are very strict as it should be to prevent the spreading of the virus.

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

These are the main rules and regulations that have been implemented during our lockdown. We are now currently in Phase 1 (I think). In honesty I’ve been trying to stay on top of what is what but I’m trying to not keep too much of an eye on it, it isn’t good for my mental health, my family can keep me updated on the important bits of what we can and can’t do which I appreciate a lot.

How are you keeping busy?

I am trying to keep myself busy every day as I find I really lose the will and get cabin fever if I don’t keep myself amused. So What have I been doing?

  1. Reading! – I used to read when I was younger all the time, all day every day when I could. Once I hit sixth form college and university I completely fell off it. I only ever picked up a text book that was relevant to my uni or college work and that was it. It wasn’t until my final year of uni I started reading again thanks to Majelle leaving a load of books here as she couldn’t take them back to Canada. That was it, I was off, I started slowly and now with lockdown I’ve read at least 19 books in the past two months and it has been amazing. Outside of lockdown and in total i’ve read 26 books this year and I absolutely love fantasy fiction. It made me realise just how much I missed reading a GOOD BOOK and there are so many I had been missing out on just because I couldn’t be bothered or found something on Netflix to binge watch instead. I even booted up my 2012 Paperwhite kindle which still works a dream and have been using it religiously. Its also so lovely to pass the time and also really helps with my anxiety.
  2. Working out! – I’ve tried to work out or run as often as possible. Im a bit of gym bunny so when they closed the gyms (which was of course a wise choice in the current states) I was a bit stumped. Running is hard with my achilles pain but its been well worth it for my weight and mental health. I’ve been following the likes of Joe Wicks on YouTube and doing DANCE workouts! I can’t even dance I have 2 left feet but my god am I SWEATING whenever I finish up! I feel it helps me get through the day a bit easier and allows me to eat all the cakes I make. I also enjoy walking, having the dog is helpful as we go on regular dog walks, I love going at sunset as its the best time of the day.
  3. Baking – If anyone knows me they know I despise cooking. But lockdown has helped me realise I love making desserts. I’ve got a speciality Victoria Sponge cake down and we’ve made cupcakes and brownies in tow! Thats another great way to pass the time!
  4. Blogging & Social Media – This time has been really good to take part in blogging collaborations, getting my blog all organised and posts written, just being able to promote my blog and engage with other bloggers has been so beneficial for me. Keeping my socials up to date has also been a positive.
  5. Spending time with the family – Sunday is a games night in this house! Im in lockdown with my boyfriend, my dad and stepmum. And not forgetting, the doggo! We’ve been cooking dinners, going on walks and bike rides and its been fantastic spending all this time together. Thats what I am really cherishing.
  6. I bought a Nintendo Switch! – So I’ve also been seshing Spyro, Animal Crossing, Pokemon, all of my favourite games on my switch! It was so worth the money and a great bit of kit. If anyone has any game recommendations please do let me know in the comments!
  7. Learning French! – Thats right, I’ve decided to teach myself French with Duolingo. I decided on this when we went to Paris and I realised my reading ability of french was actually MUCH better than I had ever imagined. I did French at school for 7 years and didn’t pick it back up in college or uni. I wish I knew another language so why not take the time now to learn a new language? Its great to pass the time and really push and motivate yourself as well! Its something I am really happy I decided to pick up. I’ve even learn how to flirt in french, Voulez-Vouz dancer aves moi?
  8. Zoom Calling! – Honestly nothing has made me feel more grounded than Zoom chatting my friends every Friday night and Saturday night. It gives me life, a good laugh and a chance to catch up with everyone all over the world and in the UK. Also a good chance to drink. We’ve been playing all sorts of drinking games and also doing a book club as well! It’s just so nice to see everyone and breaks up the week massively.
  9. Binge watching Netflix – I put this one last because I haven’t actually done much of this. Yes I have absolutely watched A LOT of tele but no where near as much as I would have imagined. I guess there is only so much you can sit and watch and I was already watching a lot of Netflix after dinner and before bed with my man. We are watching Outer Banks, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Brassic (which is FANTASTIC) and Lil Dicky’s new TV Show DAVE. What are you watching at the moment?

What do you miss doing the most?

Honestly I miss my friends. I miss my girlfriends who are in two different directions and distances from my home, and visiting my friends back up in my Uni city. I miss going to the pub for a pint, never again will I take advantage of a beautiful beer garden I will cherish it in my soul. I also miss the gym, nothing compares I find to the motivation I feel to workout in the gym. Once lockdown has started to ease and I feel more confident in myself I know normality will return at one point.

But you know what I miss the most? Travel.

I CANNOT wait to be on a plane again. Visiting places on my bucket list, touring the UK and Europe and more importantly my potential trip to Australia. I can’t wait to hear the words ‘Cabin Crew for boarding’ and “Can I have your passports please?”. I want to go back to exploring. I miss it so so dearly I feel I’ve lost a limb.

Luckily with the current regulations you can have 6 people socially distancing in your back garden which has been a nice change of pace. We met one friend in the park for the afternoon for a social distancing catch up and we also met two other friends for a social distancing kick about. Making sure to be as safe as possible whilst we do it. I miss normality.

What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?

Once lockdown is over I am going to go to my hometown on the East Coast and see my mum, sister and my friends down there. Then next on the agenda is spending time with my 3 best girlfriends that I have here in the UK. I miss those girls more than life and we’ve been trying to tour different UK cities together, most recently (Pre Covid-19) Liverpool. So who knows where we will end up next when we do all see each other.

I know it will be a long while until everything is back to normal but I can’t wait to be back to where we were. Back to work. Back to exploring and travelling. Back to Normality!