by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:19th January 2021

Our 10 ideas to survive while we stay at home

With another tricky few months ahead, we are all trying to fight off those lockdown blues. So many incredibly imaginative ideas have emerged to ensure we fill our days as productively as possible.
Your sourdough has risen to great heights, and a newfound love of banana bread has become one of your 5-a-day.

With the continued well-advised instructions of ‘stay at home’, we’ve put together our suggestions to creatively fill your spare time and give you a sense of achievement along the way.

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While we are unable to travel around the world and broaden our global horizons, this is an ideal time to buff up our language skills.

In my opinion, as we are native English speakers, we should not take it for granted that others will speak our lingo.

When Gary and I are travelling, we always make an effort to learn some key phrases or at the very least the fundamental words for basic etiquette and common courtesy.

Amazingly, a little effort can go a long way. Imagine your friends and family's reaction when you are on holiday if you suddenly started having a conversation in another language.

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(Amazon Link)
That would be such a thrill.
Once this world gets back to some sort of normality, Gary and I will jump at the opportunity to head across the English Channel to France.

Ohh to sit outside a local French bistro and sample their delicious cuisine again.

We know it’s just a matter of time; however, while we put our travelling plans on hold, there is no reason why we can’t conjure up some French Fancies at home.
A cookbook that I’ve fallen in love with is Rick Stein’s Secret France. We’ve made quite a few dishes from this book, and they have all been delectable.

A cube of bread, on a skewer, dipped in melted cheese from our fondue.
The French Fondue from page 44 of Rick Stein's Secret France
 If you can catch the TV series that accompanied the book, you’ll be heading across the Channel too. But Rick Stein’s books are so much more than just recipes, they take you on a journey through the incredible French landscape, and you can imagine being there with him too.
One of my go-to lockdown escapes is to break out the jigsaw puzzles, it must be a family thing as my mum loves doing them too.

As the first lockdown was looming, I managed to grab a couple of puzzles before the prices seemed to sky-rocket. I’m pleased to say that they appear to have come back down to normal now.
I find the process of completing a jigsaw puzzle very therapeutic. My latest sense of achievement was a scene of the romantic canals of Venice.
Go on give it a go, it’s a great thing to do as a family too.

Listening to podcasts leads very nicely on from the jigsaw puzzles above.

This is an ideal opportunity to sit and listen to your favourite podcast presenter while immersing in another world.

I’ve never really listened to podcasts much prior to lockdown, and now I’ve become a little obsessed.

Some of my favourites are Richard Herring, Adam Buxton, Louis Theroux and ‘Off Menu’ podcasts by James Acaster and Ed Gamble.

There may be a bit of a comedic theme here, but hey there are some fantastic and often bizarre stories to listen too.

Just search for podcasts on subjects that interest you, and away you go.

Kent coastal road trip

When we’re permitted to travel further afield discover 11 of Kent’s charming and historic coastal towns on a road trip. Uncover the delights of Broadstairs, Deal, Margate, Hythe, Folkestone and more.

A scenic coastal road trip around the shores of Kent, UK

by Janis on  14 Jul 20

Apologies, a bit of an eighty’s throwback there.
So, perhaps this may not be the healthiest of lockdown options, but hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world. Oh ok, let’s save it for the weekend.

Gary has loved making cocktails for years now, and he especially likes trying them. I’ll leave the story of a messy night in New York, for another time.
Whether a Mojito is your tipple a Singapore Sling or a Cosmopolitan, let’s break out the cocktail shaker and get those hips moving around the kitchen.
We’ll make a mixologist out of you, yet.
I must admit my favoured cocktail at the moment is an Espresso Martini, ohh it’s delicious, and it doesn’t even taste alcoholic, but believe me, it is.

Lockdown is the ideal time to take up a new hobby, and the art of photography is perfect. While out on your daily exercise snap away at the delights of nature, striking architecture and just quirky goings-on in day-to-day life.
A wilted bush in the sand in front of a dune in Sossusvlei, Namibia
A shot & memory from our trip to Namibia

As they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words".

It doesn’t matter if you only catch someone’s feet, just delete and give it another go.

Gary has been capturing shots for the last 30 years from our travels, and they hold such incredible memories. Long gone are days of switching rolls of film between shots and waiting weeks for you beloved photos to return from Boots, only to find they were overexposed.

It’s remarkable the technology now and the quality to be gained from a DSLR is tremendous. Gary’s go-to brand of camera has always been a Canon and has never looked back.

Yes, your chores are done, the dog has been walked, and you can settle down with a mug of coffee and the contented feeling that you can snuggle up on the sofa with a good book.

Whether your go-to genre is a thriller, travel, romance or history, it’s always lovely to know that the time is yours and you can immerse yourself into another world.
I’m getting quite a collection of books stored up on my Kindle now, the one that I can’t wait to start reading is Richard Osman’s ‘The Thursday Murder Club’. It looks like it’s going to be fun.
Although I love reading novels on my Kindle, there is something to be said about a good’ol hardback book. I would always buy a book on history, cooking, or travel in hardback form. There’s something quite engaging about flicking through the recipes and maps.

Did you like the pun?
Baking is a pastime that so many of us turned to in lockdown, me included.

A glass cake stand loaded with homemade Rocky Road squares
Homemade Rocky Road on a LSA Glass Cakestand
I will say upfront, choux buns are not easy to make, especially chocolate eclairs. Yes, they were very tasty; however, visually, they were a bit of a disaster. Although I think I made up for it with my Rocky Road, cookies, flapjacks and muffins.

If there is one baking bible, we should all have in our kitchens then it has to be from the queen of baking herself, Mary Berry. Full of classic recipes, easy to follow steps and delicious results.

Grab your hardback copy here and start to bring those cakes and bakes alive.

I know it may sound like quite a small win for some of you, but this Christmas we even made our own sausage rolls. They barely managed to cool down, before the only traces left were flakes of puff pastry.

Building my family tree and researching historical records for my ancestors, is one pastime I absolutely adore. It probably helps that I have a love of history; however, it fascinates me how my family once lived and their surroundings.

I have been compiling records for my family tree for years now, using a combination of birth, death and marriage certificates. An invaluable source of information is from, you have to pay for a subscription, but I love it.

If it’s of interest to you, I highly recommend getting started, particularly if you have a lot of time on your hands, as it just eats away the hours.

Digging into my ancestry records over the last couple of centuries, it appears that my family haven’t really ventured too far, we’re British through and through.

So, I thought I would treat myself to a DNA test kit, which was extremely easy to do. When the results came back, yes, it confirmed my findings, I am 54% English of which the majority is Kent and Cornwall.

The other larger region was Ireland, which was 26%, which left smatterings across different north-western parts of Europe.

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It’s just a matter of time before we are permitted to grab our passports and venture overseas again.
So, this is an ideal time to start creating your travel bucket list, we’ve compiled 14 Destinations to visit near and far in 2021.

Gary and I love our road trips through Europe, and we can’t wait to jump in our car and head across the English Channel again. There are so many exciting experiences to be had and varied cultures to enjoy, all of which will fill you with heart-warming memories.

We often use the DK Eyewitness travel guides; they give some great advice and tips, also highlight places to visit that you may not necessarily have thought of.

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