TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

Welcome to the first post of my new series – Wellness in Lockdown (2.0 edition)! Over the course of the next four weeks whilst the U.K. is in lockdown, I will be bringing you daily content to help inject some positivity into your lives. From wellness, lifestyle and some food for thought for your day, expect some new posts (and videos) coming your way!

Today I am sharing with you my top rated series you most definitely should binge this November. Whether you are in the mood to belly chuckle, be on the edge of your seat, or maybe even shed a few tears- the below list has you covered!

  • This Is Us

Genre: Drama, Romance
Series released: 5 (new episodes out now!)
Watch on: Hulu and Amazon Prime
I mentioned this series in my post on life in lockdown, but for anyone who missed it or is yet to watch, it is an emotional rollercoaster. There is a reason the show was nominated for 10 Emmy awards in 2017. Filmed in different timelines, the writers cleverly keep you guessing throughout as you follow the story of Jack and Rebecca and their three children throughout their lives. I will not share any spoilers here, but one piece of advice I will give you is to get the tissues ready.

  • Grey’s Anatomy

Genre: Medical Drama, Romance, Comedy
Series released: 15 (16 is out in the States on 12th November)
Watch on: Hulu, Netflix (US) and Sky Go, Amazon Prime (UK)
I first began watching this series back in 2016 and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Follow a group of (good-looking) medical graduates as they try to navigate their way through their intern year in Seattle Grace Hospital. Expect the unexpected! You will form a bond with each character and will have more than enough episodes to keep you busy!

  • New Girl

Genre: Comedy
Series released: 7
Watch on: Netflix
Tag along with Jess and her 3 male housemates who live together in a loft in Los Angeles. At only 20 minutes long per episode, this series is an easy watch and you will be sure to have genuine LOL moments. Rewatching this show over lockdown made me also realise how we each have a bit of Schmitt in us, especially after the type of year 2020 has been!

  • The Morning Show

Drama, Soap Opera
Series released: 1
Watch: Apple TV
A gripping series complete with the brilliant Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston who play morning news hosts. The show examines the theme of the Me Too movement as well as shedding light on the truth of the industry. With a second season promised, this ten part series can easily be watched in a weekend!

  • Little Fires Everywhere

Genre: Novel, Domestic Fiction
Series released: 1
Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime
Based on the book by Celese Ng, this show was produced by Reese Witherspoon’s production company. The actress herself plays a lead role alongside Kerry Washington and focuses on themes such as motherhood, secrecy and rules.

  • The Sinner

Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
Series released: 3
Watch: Netflix
The series follows Detective Ambrose uncover various crimes. Jessica Biel stars in season 1 as a very troubled woman who stabs a man to death, unbeknownst to her why she committed the murder. This show has many tricks and turns up it’s sleeve! I personally enjoyed season 1 & 2 the most, but it definitely had to be featured on my list!

  • Dead To Me

Genre: Dark Comedy, Tragicomedy
Series released: 2
Watch: Netflix
Christina Appelgate and Linda Cardenelli star as two grieving women who meet at a grief support group. In this hilarious dark comedy series (which is also produced by Will Ferrell), despite the two characters being polar opposites, they end up bonding and forming a close friendship. However will it last when they discover the huge secret that lies between them?

  • My Brilliant Friend

    Genre: Drama
    Series released: 2
    Watch: Amazon Prime , Sky
    Based on the book written by Elene Ferrante, this Italian series is subtitled and follows the friendship of two girls Lila and Elena (also known as Lenu). Beginning in 1950’s Naples, you are immersed into a fascinating world which examines culture, friendship, class and the disappearance of the tenacious Lila.
  • The Body Guard

    Genre: Drama, Political Thriller
    Series released:1
    Watch: Netflix
    Although I watched this series back in 2019, I wanted to add this show to this list because it is so fast moving and captivating; a perfect recipe for a lockdown binge. Richard Madden (known for his work in Game of Thrones and Rocketman) stars as the lead, playing a Scottish war veteran who suffers from PTSD, who must protect a governmental figure he despises.
  • Schitt’s Creek

Genre: Comedy
Series released: 6
Watch: Netflix
My final choice on the list is the show I am still working my way through, but I guarantee that you will enjoy! Schitt’s Creek is based on a wealthy family of four who lose their fortune, and now must live in a small town that they once bought as a joke for his son. The show was created by Dan Levy (who writes, produces and stars as David in the show). Dan Levy’s real life father Eugene Levy, also plays his on-screen dad, Johnny. With witty writing and humour, the sixth season alone recently received 15 Emmy nominations; a record for the most Emmy nominations for a comedy series in it’s final season.

I hope the above recommendations will help you stay entertained over the coming weeks!

If you enjoyed this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about and remember there will be new content coming to you every day this month!

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Opening Up| How I Began Exercising Consistently – 6 Month Fitness Update!

In January 2020 I set myself the challenge of getting back into fitness, shaping up and living a more active lifestyle. To sum it up with one word, my workouts up until this point were inconsistent. In my childhood and teenage years I had always loved being active. I played everything from football to cricket and competed in Athletic competitions, and I loved every single second of it! (I even somehow got scouted for Crystal Palace F.C.) As I joined the world of work, I began to learn and appreciate the benefits from exercise on my mental health. It relieved stress after a busy day of work and in that 30 minutes alone I would find complete stillness and peace of my mind. The pressures and challenges I encountered that day were all of a sudden a distant memory. However, there had always been an issue – I hadn’t found my groove. (Side note – Define groove as according to Urban Dictionary: a verb meaning to smoothly interact, maintain or improve relations with business associates, a person, or a situation). My workouts were either always too repetitive and boring or too challenging and off-putting. There was no real structure or guidance of where to go after those first few sessions. I mostly trained as means to an end and thought of exercise only in the short term, this basically being for aesthetic reasons to slim down or tone up before a holiday, a wedding or a party etc. I had no real, sustainable incentive or intrinsic motivation to make me want to exercise. There was, as I say, a lack of groove!

I had never been a huge gym-goer, preferring home workouts, the odd gym class, or run instead. I liked my workouts to be convenient, time efficient and resented having to hold myself accountable for letting my gym membership fee go to waste. I would typically go through a couple of months (most likely timed before the aforementioned holiday) where I would attend workout classes feeling like a boss because I managed 3-4 days that week. Only for this hard work to soon be diminished, as I’d then break the routine for several reasons (and excuses). Maybe I had over-trained and overdone it with the weights at the start of the week, which would leave me sore and unmotivated to ever look or think about lifting a weight ever again. Perhaps I had a bad night’s sleep and the dreary Winter months were just too depressing and cold to take myself for a run. Or it could have been that all the classes were over capacity and I was going out after work. Then there was the classic, “I am too busy”. Truth be told, the majority of my actual thought process went a little something like this…

I could not be bothered to do any exercise because then I would have to wash my hair and that is simply just too much effort. In the meantime I would probably embarrass myself in front of a large group of people, as I displayed my uncoordinated self. My arms and legs always somehow manage to move in different directions! I’ve had actual fitness instructors and some of my pals laugh in amazement, at my interpretation of moves. Then there is the pressure of what or what not to wear. I would inevitably turn up in my not so chic or highly unflattering workout gear which displays all my sweat (which then also would need a wash!) Plus I’ve already gone on holiday this year, so can’t I just stock my body up for Winter now?!!!

So that’s just what I would do.

Then rolled in January 2020 and with it, so did the New Year resolutions. By this time I had shifted my perspective towards exercise and what I wanted from it. Sure, I still wanted to trim up and for my jeans to fit a bit better after Christmas, but recent family health matters had reminded me how important my actual health was over vanity. There was also this pandemic I had heard about and I thought there is no time like the present to look after myself better. I also knew from past workouts, the power exercise had to “reset”my mind. How it can completely change my attitude to the day. The idea of what I could achieve was also very appealing… maybe my fastest 5k yet to date or perhaps I would finally attempt that 10k I was always too scared to try? If I followed the right workout and did something I enjoyed, maybe I would stick to it consistently. All in all, I was set and clear on what my motive was. I wanted to feel healthier, fitter and begin to live a sustainably active lifestyle.

With step one being complete (establishing my new exercise intentions), I needed to action step two… which workout plan I would commit to! Having not stuck with purely running or YouTube workout based videos in the past, I decided an e-book or fitness app would give me the kick start I needed. Lo and behold, Sarah’s Day a holistic health & fitness YouTuber that I had followed for the last 2 years or so, had a sale on her 8 week fitness guide e-books, Sweat It To Shred It & Sweat It Reload. As an even bigger incentive, all the proceeds were being donated to the bush fires in Australia. At £22 per book, that worked out to only £2.75 a week – a cheap cost for something I was determined to stick to (and didn’t have to leave my house or pay a hefty fee to participate!).

Now fast forward to June 2020, I am by no means a fitness expert, but the 16 week guide gave me the push and motivation to be consistent in my training. Here I am 6 (nearly 7) months later since I set on being more active and I feel better than ever! Despite the challenges that came with the pandemic, the lockdown actually really assisted me in finding time in my day to exercise. So how am I doing and feeling? Well, I genuinely look forward to each workout; I even slowly built up into now training 6 days a week! My workouts are habitual and mostly take place in the morning. This helps me feel like I’ve achieved something and leaves me feel motivated, recharged and ready to tackle the day ahead, as I continue to work from home for the foreseeable. After completing the 16 week guide, I mixed in some 5K runs and can actually confidently say I can do several push ups! I have now moved onto Shaun T’s Insanity Workout which I am also loving, although I’ve never sweated so much in my life!

Want to hear my review on Sarah’s Day E-books? Stay tuned for Thursday’s blog post!

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Finding Happiness in Being Alone

Winter time is often the season for nights in. The long dark evenings lead us to hibernate indoors with the excuses of saving money (or trying to do so) and the dreary weather at the forefront of our reasoning for this. Friends may even cancel plans on us, leading us to feeling secretly happy as we can now stay in guilt free and save even more money! As great as this can be on occasion, Winter time can also cause many of us to feel rather lonely. As human beings we are innately social creatures, regardless of whether we are introverts or extroverts. We instinctively crave the company of other human beings. In fact, being comfortable in our own company is possibly one of the most difficult things that I myself have had to work on. In the past, I really struggled with enjoying my own company and would do everything I could in my power to keep my social plans from been rescheduled or cancelled. I would feel quite distressed in even anticipating an evening in on my own, for when these hours approached, I knew I would feel both lonely and simply bored of my own company. As dramatic as it sounds reading this back to myself, I think this is such an important lesson we each should learn and with the first month of the New Year over, there is no time like the present.

Since my late teens and throughout my early 20’s I have learned (at times the hard way) how important it is to be happy with our own company. Often in relationships or friendships we find ourselves baffled when we realise that at times our partners or friends know us so much better than we know ourselves…something that I have definitely experienced in the past! It seems a very strange thing to comprehend, how someone who isn’t us, can actually predict or understand what’s going on in our own minds before we can.

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In between studying or working, I always viewed time that I spent not doing something as time wasted. If you read my blog post The Magic Statement you’ll know that I went into some detail about how I re-discovered what my passions and interests were. Since doing so, I can truly say that I have had such a better relationship with myself. I have also done a complete 180 degrees in my thinking and behaviour, in comparison to me at 18 years old. Now six years on, I actively seek time alone and what’s more, I really enjoy it. So from the fun to focused, I thought I’d share some of the things I really do when I’m home alone!

  • Doodle – From adult colouring books, doodling designs to drawing a rose in my notebook for the 1000th time, when I’m on my own I “try” to draw. I by no means, am good or talented in drawing … and I’m really not just saying that! At school, my art teacher and I both mutually agreed that unless abstract art was an official A-Level, I wouldn’t put my energy into it. However, the child within me still really enjoys colouring and finds it therapeutic. P.S. I still have to try really hard to stay within the lines.
  • Pamper – I feel like that us girls have 3 types of showers. The quick body shower, the slightly longer hair and body shower and finally the pampering shower. This is in effect, a collection of at home spa treatments. Exfoliation, face masks, hair masks, hair removal, moisurising, painting nails, you name it, it’s the full nine yards of pampering. When I’m alone, I love to spend a couple of hours just doing this. Not only do I smell good but I get the most rested sleeps afterwards too.
  • Try on clothes in my wardrobe – I love fashion. I love clothes. If I’m perfectly honest, I have found ways of cleverly storing them in my bedroom, to make space for all the completely essential items in my closet. Occasionally I like to dress up and give some TLC to these items that I simply just don’t wear enough. Say what you will, but I find clothes as a great way of expressing the different parts of my personality and style. Even if I’m just putting outfits together in my bedroom!
  • Watch interviews – I thoroughly enjoy listening and learning about other people’s stories. As a teen, I was a drama enthusiast. As I got older my love for the arts and entertainment shifted a bit, but I still can’t get enough of watching interviews.
  • Read the news – Every night before bed I read various news articles. At University I found that although I was studying at a higher level, I became cut off from the real world, the more engrossed I became in my little bubble. I try to work daily on being more consciously aware of the world around me.
  • Be active – I love a good walk and the fresh air.
  • Write – Blog posts, love letters, notes on my phone, schedules and to-do lists for the week, future business ideas no matter how adventurous as they may seem, I write as much as I can in many different forms. It helps focus my thinking and is very cathartic.
  • Podcasts – On my commute into and on my way home from I work, I listen to various podcasts. Please share with me any recommendations!
  • Sleep – When I am alone and have no weekend plans, I take advantage of an early night. During the week, I tend to average about seven hours sleep a night, however I love to get somewhere between eight to ten hours sleep if I can on the weekends. I am an early bird and I know I feel my best after an early night’s sleep.

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As cheesy as it sounds, being happy in your own company gives you the opportunity to build strength, confidence and to really get to know yourself. Whether it’s doing something silly and embarrassing like your own fashion show in your room, or actively participating in a hobby, you only have one life and the relationship you have with yourself, is the most important one of all. You speak and listen to that person all day, every day; it’s worth giving yourself the time and energy in figuring out how to be happy by yourself.

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