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Tea Is At Home

Tuesday, Three Awesome Things I’ve Done in February

I feel I was a bit too harsh on February in my last post. I don’t want to look back at it with too many negative thoughts, so here are three things I thoroughly enjoyed last month.

My First Lockdown Birthday!
Last year I was walking around in York – where a few weeks earlier the first UK covid case was confirmed. This year’s low-key activities included a long sunny walk to an undiscovered wood, a huge takeaway platter eaten at a film screening inside a blanket fort my boyfriend created and last but not least, the most delicious and light Esterházy cake. Also, all the best presents, thoughtful cards and virtual greetings helped me cope too.

I didn’t expect to feel the birthday vibes in times like these, but then I remember I felt all the vibes during the three wartime birthdays I lived through, and I gave in and accepted it.

I Did Pretty Well At A Virtual Macaroon Workshop
I’ve mentioned the amazing workshops the events team in my office building organises in previous posts… well they did it again with a raspberry macaroon workshop by Great British Bake Off’s Dan Beasley-Harling. It was very hectic and everything that could go wrong went wrong. I didn’t have a mixer, then it took forever to whip up the egg whites, then I added in the sugar too early and had to whip even longer, and to top it off I didn’t receive the food colouring so mine looked a sad grey/beige colour.

BUT all that doesn’t matter because they tasted SOOOOO scrumptiously good and now I understand the technique I’m going to make use of that in the future. I also have so much raspberry cream left that I might make raspberry / pistachio or raspberry / white chocolate sometime soon. I just need a good reason for it.

The Ever-Changing Weather
Mainly the snow at the start of the month and the sun towards the end. Not only do the trees and plants in bloom give my daily walks around the blocks a change of scenery, I also loved bringing out my spring bedsheets, the first day of not wearing tights under my skirt and savouring a morning coffee in a sun-lit garden. I welcome it all.

What was your February highlight?

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Thing I’m Looking Forward To This March

I didn’t plan much for February, wanting to take things easy, but then halfway through the month it really hit me and I got completely stuck in a rut. In order to get through the last month of lockdown (whoooh) I’m going to overstuff it with things to keep me busy in the evenings and weekends so my mind doesn’t have time to wander off.

Welcome daylight savings time. Not only is it the last month of lockdown, it’s also the month when the clocks go backwards again and we’re gaining that bit of extra daylight in the morning. I know it’s only the end of the month, so I’m going to enjoy the journey towards it as well.

Go out and do some foraging! Wild garlic and nettle leaves are on my hit-list. Can’t wait for wild garlic and home-made feta pastry pita. And washing my hair with young nettles. I just need to find my local spots as I can’t take the train to my usual places.

Also, planting my next batch of vegetables. Sugar snaps, tomatoes and tomatillos are on the list for March. I’m still not sure if I’m putting too much pressure on myself for this, but I figured it’s better to have a variety of veggies to the test.

Stay creative. I can’t go to New York to see the real Starry Night by Van Gogh, so my friend got me a paint by numbers set, so I can make my own! And I should give it a try if I can get the confidence. For now, I might just stick to the colouring books.

Put out new clothing items. A new season means a new capsule wardrobe! I’m not too strict about the amount, it’s just what fits on my clothes rack and drawer. Either way, it’s exciting to add some softer fabrics and maybe more colour or florals to the rotation.

New movies! From Raya and the Dragon to Gaia and Potato Dreams Of America. But I’m most excited to see Amy Poehler’s Moxie that’s coming to Netflix next week.

What’s March going to bring you?

Tea Is At Home

Hobbies and Trends I Haven’t Jumped On

Patty & Bun home kit

Do I love jumping on every lockdown hobby / trend? As read here, here and here… YES I DO. As long as it promises to keep me busy for a bit and isn’t too hard to source I will give it a try. But over the past months, I must admit I have said no to a few lockdown hobbies.

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Weekend Happy List!

As part of the staying sane in January project I’ve been writing happy lists like crazy. Here are some things that made me happy over the weekend.

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Lockdown Hobbies I Tried And Liked

Doing things with my hands makes me less worried and stressed. And with the extra time I’ve had, plus the extra worries, there’s been nothing better than trying new things to keep me busy in the last several months.

Aside from crying, baking and scrolling, these are the 10 hobbies I’ve tried and liked, so I wanted to share in case they inspire you too.

Cross Stitching
A £5.99 set that I bought a few years back kept me entertained for a few summer afternoons and has helped me be more innovative. Since then I’ve found some questionable but cute designs on eBay and have even made my own very basic template!

Puzzling
I was halfway one when the first lockdown kicked in and it definitely kept me stress free for a few evenings. I love how it’s fun and cheap, but it does make you question yourselves at times and takes up space. Good thing there are puzzle mats to solve that issue. I also like that you can trade it easily, keeping it budget friendly.

Knitting
Every autumn/winter I have this urge to knit, so I have a simple set of needles and a ball of wool I got at a charity shop that I’ve been re-using for years. I’ve finally been inspired to finish a scarf and think this is it for the season. Someone in my village in Bosnia still makes wool, which I hope I can get my hands on. My dream is to eventually knit a pair of thick wool socks just like I had as a kid.

Playing Tabletop Role-Playing Games
I love board games and dice games. But now I’ve been able to give the tabletop role-playing games a try – I’m talking Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Humblewood and Gloomhaven – and have been loving it. Have I already bought a second D&D book, maybe…

Friendship Bracelets
Cross stitching threads brought me back to one of my favourite time wasters growing up: making friendship bracelets. I did a bunch over the summer and then forgot about it. Now I’m making my ‘winter collection’ using a new bunch of colours and I can’t wait to share them.

Lego Afternoons
Putting together the Lego sets sure has been fun, but pretty costly and takes up space. At least the Friends set and the London Routemaster Bus look cute. Will I keep up with it? I’ll let the three sets that are waiting to be built answer that.

Drying Flowers
It’s a slow and mindful process and leaves you with a nice something to keep the spring and summer alive! It’s seasonal, but definitely worth repeating.

Embroidery
Learning various techniques and creating the cutest things. I thought this would be similar to cross stitching, but I feel embroidery is more practical. I’m all inspired by this room at the Exchange Hotel.

Making Cheese
So far I’ve tried Bosnian soft cheese, Mexican queso fresco and ricotta. It’s fulfilling for both the mind and the stomach and I absolutely love it. This is also an important step into my low waste journey. Once I find bottled milk that is. And I also want to try making it from alternative milk drinks.

Clay Pottery
The kit from Sculp’d came on time and I loved the pots I made. I got a bit discouraged when checking the hashtag and seeing all the amazing creations other people made. Then I reminded myself I’m a first timer and that my next project – the Pinterest famous moon hanger – is something I can do.

What have your favourite lockdown hobbies been?

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20 of 2020

Though I only managed to do half of the things on my 20 For 2020 list, I wanted to look back at the 20 things that actually happened which I didn’t plan for.

I didn’t fly at all during 2020! This was my main goal for 2020 … of course it was meant to be a bit more of a challenge, but it worked out well. The plan was to embrace taking the train to South of France, Germany and to the Netherlands on a number of trips.

I finally had enough patience for baking – from Milk Bar’s Birthday Cake to hazelnut cake and the lockdown classic banana bread. Now that I got a proper digital kitchen scale for Christmas I’m looking forward to make even more things.

Finished Breaking Bad. A show I started watching 3/4 times over the years but couldn’t get through because it’s not a show I want to watch after a long day at work followed by a commute and cooking food. But turns out that minus the commute it was actually doable, and well worth it!

For a long time I just wanted to watch as many movies as possible at the London Film Festival and this year I managed to watch 11! And all of them without having to queue in the cold or getting annoyed by people talking.

Made Sunday Roast from scratch – from the gravy to the Yorkshire puddings and the stuffing … it was worth it and Easter Sunday Roast was one for the books (or blogs in this case).

Learned a few guitar chords. I’m still on 4 chords and need to keep practising before I continue with the remaining ones and get my first virtual gig booked in.

I also perfected my latte and mocha making skills. Now I know the skill and cleaning that goes into making one cup I’m never going to complain that my mocha or latte is too expensive or takes too long.

I didn’t follow the courses I wanted but before the lockdown I did follow two useful lunchtime workshops that were organised by my office building. One of them was making your own natural clay mask. I’ve purchased the ingredients and have been making my own masks to give my skin some much deserved love.

And then just in time for the first lockdown there was a fermenting 101 workshop which turned out to be a fun lockdown hobby. The fermented cabbage I made went well with Dutch mashed potato and a side salad with Bosnian bean soup and various stews. Ferment to extend!

I also started an Etsy shop to sell my some of my Polaroid prints. Starting an Etsy shop has been on my maybe someday list for a while and that someday happened to be in November. It’s closed for now as I’ve sold out of my first batch, but I’m planning to put on some London and Paris ones up there in the future.

This year I found the time to move all of my photos to one external hard drive, instead of having them on seven different ones. I also organised them by year and country and feel very content about it now.

Then I tidied up my computer desktop. It was getting embarrassing and was long due and now I just love staring at it.

I tried so many hobbies that I’ve been meaning to give a shot over the years, but never went for it. Turns out it takes a pandemic for me to sit down and try to be creative. My favourite new things have been pottery and cross stitching.

Then I went on and designed my own cross stitch pattern, in Excel of all places, which was such an amazing from someone who can never translate what’s in my head to what I’m trying to make.

Workwise, I adapted to working from home and aside from my day-to-day tasks, I led three roundtables at a virtual conference, gave a virtual talk and organised a virtual workshop.

I also expanded some of my other skills and did a Coursera on Tableau as well as some other random courses. I found it hard to work on them after a long day on the laptop, but being able to implement things for work definitely encouraged me to continue.

Visited a panopticon prison! When I was studying in Breda, my university was close to a panopticon prison and I’ve always wanted to have a sneak peek inside. Luckily for me the prison closed a few years ago and has been turned into a place for team building type of games. And yes! I got to play in the actual dome and the ground during a bachelor party.York Cold War Bunker

Visited York Cold War Bunker. Just outside the city centre I had a tour through Cold War bunker that was built in 1961 to monitor nuclear explosions and fallouts in the event of nuclear war. Rather small, but a very thought-provoking venture underground.

In 2020 I watched more movies directed by women. With so many streaming services it gets hard to pick something to watch. But what has worked for me in the picking process is having a theme. I shared some of the gems I saw in this list.

Oh and you know, I made it through a pandemic. And with only seven breakdowns.