How’s Your Quarantine Life?

COVID-19 has thrown all of us into a new way of life. With that, I want to know what you have done with this ‘new life’? Have you completed Netflix? Did you learn a new language? Did you boastfully show off your basic banana bread on Facebook? Did you play salon and cut/dye your own hair? Did you throat-punch your way to the last toilet roll in Tesco? No? Just me? Okay! Whatever you did, I want to hear about it, see pictures and/or police reports about it. You can share in the comments below or on any of my social medias.

“But Charlotte, did you really throat-punch someone in Tesco?” Of course not. I’ve avoided shops like the plague and instead sent out the human I love the most (Steven) to go for me. That’s true love. It’s the same type of love that means I feel safer in bed with him laying next to me because I can use him as a human shield. Sounds selfish but it’s actually proof of how much I love him. Anyway, what have I been up to during quarantine? Well, owning a human that is 100% dependant on me takes up a lot of my time (and no, I don’t just mean Steven). Since he has been home, he’s helped me out a lot, allowing me to have some time to do other things like…

Cooking

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I cannot tell you how much more enjoyable cooking is when you aren’t tied to a schedule or have a kid hanging off of your leg. Before Lock Down, I was racing around from 5 pm prepping and cooking dinner to be on the table for 6 pm (when Steven gets home from work) while simultaneously entertaining a toddler, making sure she’s safe (not climbing on the dog) and listening out for the dog destroying something. That sound is absolute silence, by the way, so that means every 5 minutes I run into the living room expecting some sort of baby toy, bib or cushion in his gob that I would then have to prise out from between his teeth. Now? Now, I offload the gremlins, I mean, adorable daughter and pooch, to Steven and can just concentrate on the cooking and enjoy it. Sometimes, I even put some music on and pour myself a glass of wine. I know, quarantine has turned me into a party animal. I just find cooking so therapeutic and I always feel like I’ve done my family a service after making them a meal. I’ve put a bit of love into that meal for them and if they eat it and don’t contract horrendous food poisoning, then that’s a pat on the back for me!

Cleaning

One thing I am thankful for in Lock Down is the fact my laundry hamper has returned to a normal level. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not empty. It’s never empty, but seeing it at an acceptable level (i.e. not spilling out onto the floor) has made me feel a little more relaxed. Normally, I can see the wash pile in the corner of the room while I lay in bed, anxious. It’s like an unwelcome spirit at the end of my bed, haunting me, reminding me. You didn’t do the laundry today. You said you were going to do it yesterday and you never did. Feel like a failure? You should! And as it gets larger and larger, I worry it gets closer and closer until one night it might be standing over me, glaring, breathing on my face. Until one night, a pair of dirty Christmas socks wrap around my neck and suffocate me in my sleep. Now THAT’S a horror story for you. But, thanks to Lock Down (and the amazing weather), I have managed to sleep at night, looking into the corner of the room and seeing, well, just a laundry basket. Ah, peace at last.
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Disney and Day Drinking

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Haven’t we all?

A beer with lunch, a bottle of wine with dinner (on a Tuesday?!), Jack Daniels for breakfast? Why not?! There are no rules in Lock Down. I will stress for ‘those people‘ amongst you, that I do not drink alcohol for breakfast. My headaches in the morning are a result of caffeine withdrawals due to my coffee addiction, not a hangover. Having said that, my coffee intake has gone up since Lock Down.

Upon the news that Steven would be home for a month, we invested in Disney+. Oh boy (as Mickey would say), is it worth it! I am a huge Disney fan anyway, but it also has all of my childhood TV shows on it. So you can bet your ‘sweet nibblets’ (if you get it, you get it) that I’m going to binge those cheesey 00’s Disney Channel shows! Not to mention, it allowed me to do a little bit of Homeschooling myself. Giving Olivia an education in Disney Classics. Everything from the princesses to the more recent Pixar movies. Is she too young? Never! Does she understand it or even watch it properly? No! But I do!

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Anyway, I’m sure there are much cooler things other people are doing with their time than I am. Please share them with me so I can live a cool life through you? Maybe you have some amazing tinder stories? Did you text your ex out of boredom? Did you stalk that girl from high school that called you fat and bullied you and you found out she’s working for her Mum as an estate agent single and alone? No? Me neither…
Maybe you did something less dramatic, like take up gardening? Maybe you became an online quiz master? Meditate? Take up Yoga? Ate everything in sight? Painted that wall you kept meaning to? Literally anything. Tell me in the comments!

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How To Go Out But Stay In

Lock Down has cancelled a lot of our plans for 2020 but does that mean we still can’t do them? Well, sure you can’t go on your all inclusive holiday to Lanzarote but don’t let Lock Down tie you to your sofa!

I have thought of 4 ways you can go out without actually going out!

1. Coffee With Friends

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I love nothing more than catching up with friends over a coffee. It instantly lifts my spirits and sets my mood for the day. Before Lock Down, I would meet with one of my mummy friends every week for a walk and a coffee and have a good ol’ chit chat. We had organised a girl’s night out for a huge group of us but that got cancelled (thanks Corona) so we, instead, had a zoom chat. It was like meeting up in a cafe with the girls. We all sat at our laptops with cups of tea and coffee and giggled together. It made me so thankful for modern technology allowing us to actually see each other and talk in a big group. I left that zoom chat feeling my usual uplifted and refreshed self after seeing the girls.

2. Date Night

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I don’t know about other Mums, but I love having a date night every now and again. A little break from the little one, a chance to reconnect with my partner and, more importantly, eat something I didn’t have to cook or worry about the washing up! Well, that’s just another thing Corona has mucked up for me! So, instead, we put the baby to bed early and tried to have a date night at home!


We ordered a take away (so that took care of the cooking problem) but I didn’t want it to feel like another night on the sofa. So, we got dressed up like we would on a normal date night. I put make up on and Steven even put on after shave! I lit candles, switched on the fairy lights, laid out a blanket on the floor and dished out the take away into fancy dishes (like we were in a real restaurant) to set the scene. I even put the wine on a fancy tray. Simple, yet effective. We then sat down, watched TV and had our fancy Chinese take away picnic!

3. Boozey Lunch

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If Lock Down isn’t an excuse to day drink, then I don’t know what is! Steve and I love going to the pub at lunch time when the weather is gorgeous. Sitting outside in the sun with a cold beer and nibbles, bliss. So, when Olivia was down for her nap, I laid out some nibbles (all fancy like, so it felt like we weren’t at home) and opened up a couple of cold ones. We turned on some music and sat under our pear tree and I swear, it felt like we were on holiday!

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Even Cody wanted to join us.
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4. Trip To The Cinema


Wanted to go to the cinema with the kids? Now you’re stuck at home and the weather is horrible? 3 words: At, home, cinema. And, no I don’t mean stick a film on and sit on your sofa. What do kids love to do? Build a sofa fort! Grab bed sheets, sofa cushions, chairs, anything you can find and make a fort with your kids. Add blankets, pillows, fairy lights and snacks! Movie snacks are essential. Turn off the lights, turn on the fairy lights, sit on the floor in the fort and watch a movie with your kids. Doesn’t sound like much but you’ll be surprised how much they love it. My little girl is only 18 months and she absolutely loved it!

You could go a step further and set up a projector (you can even buy projectors for your phone). This would be so fun to do outside, too. Like a sundown cinema experience!


So, what have you done to make this Lock Down experience more bearable? Share your experiences in the comments below!

 

Star Wars Day: Wookie Cookies

I know. You’re surprised to see Star Wars content on this blog. I haven’t even seen a full movie (don’t come for me). However, Steven and his family are Star Wars fans, verging on super fans. So, I thought this May the fourth, I would cheer them up with these! I first saw this idea on Pinterest and wanted to recreate it with my own recipe.

I have previously made other Star Wars themed bakes for Steven’s brother’s 40th birthday. We organised a Star Wars themed kids party (with no kids) in our new home (at the time), which included: Pin the Lightsaber on Yoda, Star Wars pun food (Ham Solo sandwiches), inflatable lightsabers, homemade photo booth and a Millennium Falcon cake.

It’s a relatively simple recipe but, nevertheless, may the force be with you! See? I can do Sci-Fi!

Recipe

You will need:

Ingredients

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 180g Butter (soft)
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Golden Syrup
  • 190g chocolate
  • 100g white chocolate chips

Method

  1. Sift the flour and spices together in a large bowl.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add egg and golden syrup to creamed mixture and combine well.
  4. Gradually add in the flour and spices until fully combined and makes a loose dough.
  5. Split the mixture into 3. Wrap in clingfilm and chill overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170° Fan.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  8. Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut out your gingerbread man shapes.
  9. Using a fork, make impressions in the dough to look like fur.IMG_8379
  10. Bake on a lined baking tray for 8-12 minutes (depending on size of cookies and whether you like them soft or crisp).
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack.IMG_8382
  12. Once fully cooled, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between until fully melted.
  13. Leave the chocolate to cool slightly before pouring it into a piping back (or you can use a zip lock bag)
  14. Snip the end of the piping bag (or the corner of the zip lock bag) and pipe a diagonal line across your gingerbread man.
  15. Place the white chocolate chips along this line. I used white candy melts because my cookies were quite large (and it’s all I had in the house #QuarantineLife).
  16. (Optional) pipe two eyes and a nose on your wookie with the chocolate.

So, there you go! Absolutely delicious wookie cookies! Not bad for a non-nerd, aye? I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you recreate these, please share the pictures with me! I would love to see your quarantine baking!

Happy Star Wars Day!


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Twitter: @Cook2903
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My Netflix List

Do you feel like you’ve watched ALL of Netflix this Lock down? I do. So, I thought I would share some of my favourites that are on my Netflix List. Obviously, I won’t be sharing the entire list because it is extensive but you might be interested in my highlights. From TV shows, binge-worthy box sets to Netflix originals and movies, here are my faves!

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

TV Shows

The Haunting of Hill House

If you’re not into scary things, don’t bother. If you are, definitely bother! The thing I love most about this series is that there are so many twists and turns. I rewatched this series while bouncing on a birthing ball trying to start my labour and I’m so glad I did because there were things in the background I hadn’t noticed the first time. Ghosts in dark corners or moving shadows. It is very much an edge-of-your-seat show.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Quirky. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of this show but I love the characters. In particular, Titus. Super sassy, super fabulous and super hilarious. The show is about a woman, Kimmy, who has recently been released into the ‘real’ world after being held captive in an underground bunker by her kidnapper. She has to adjust to reality and leave the ‘bunker life’ behind. Doesn’t sound like a comedy but I promise you it is. It’s just fun and light watching.

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Criminal UK

On Netflix, there are different versions of ‘Criminal’ but the UK mini series is my favourite. This is made up of 3 episodes, 3 different cases and you watch it as if you were a fly on the wall of a police interrogation. One episode has David Tennant in it, which sold it for me! You get sucked in and so involved with the characters. Good stories and all may not be what it seems!

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Shine On with Reese

Ok., here we go, the feminist Lottie is coming out. I love Reese Witherspoon. So when I saw she did a Netflix series, I had to watch it and I’m so glad I did. She interviews women who are killing it in their industry and how they got to where they are today. It is so inspiring and I urge you, if you have young daughters, watch it with them. It was so interesting to hear about their struggles and hurdles they had to jump over (just because they were a woman in a man’s world) but nevertheless, they made it.

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Orange is the New Black

If you haven’t seen this, I’m so jealous you get to binge watch it during this time. It’s an interesting look into a woman’s life in prison. This is a show you can really get invested in and invested in the characters. I was absolutely gutted when this ended and the finale had my eyes welling up a bit.

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The Ranch

Sam Elliot and Ashton Kutcher. Need I say more? Tennessee family of boys on a ranch, butting heads, drinking beer and eating steak. Boys being boys, they get up to all sorts of trouble but have their family’s best interest at heart. This show has a beautiful family feel with lots of hard work. Fall outs and make ups and a few laughs on the way.

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Movies

Love Wedding Repeat

This was very recently released and received mixed reviews. I, personally, enjoyed it. I’m a huge fan of Aisling Bea so I might be biased but I love a good Rom Com. A beautiful wedding with interesting guests and the seating plan decides how the day turns out. Ex partners, new potential partners, best friends and lost loves. Oh, and one drink with a high dose of sleeping medication in. What could go wrong?

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The Breaker Uppers

This is my dream job. Two best friends have set up a company for people to contact if they want to leave their partners but are too afraid to do the dirty work. They do everything from musical dump-agrams to faking a kidnapping for their clients. Does it always go to plan? You’ll have to watch to find out.

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The Spy Who Dumped Me

Kate McKinnon has a direct line to my funny bone, I swear. She does a lot of SNL and was in the female version of The Ghostbusters. Mila Kunis is also in it and in the movie she finds out her boyfriend is a spy but is he the good guy or the bad guy? Two best friends go on a wild goose chase across Europe (like every spy movie) to find out who should have the top secret information.

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Iliza Schlesinger

Iliza Schlesinger has 5 Netflix stand up specials. Honestly, any one of them are great. She is hilarious. She covers everything from hunting down a mate to getting married. She points out all the things that are messed up with our society and makes them into belly-aching laughter. 100% recommended. She also incorporates her most beautiful dog.

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Dawn French Live: Thirty Million Minutes

I saw this a few years ago on BBC and was so happy to see it on Netflix. It’s sort of like a stand up routine/autobiography. I am a huge fan of Dawn French, so this special was so interesting to watch. She talks about turning 30 million minutes old (about 60 years) and some of the things she has experienced and gone through, you would never think of. It had me laughing, crying sad and happy tears. It’s an all round beautiful way of looking at life.

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Miss Americana

Yes, the Taylor Swift documentary. It’s not all about Taylor, though. It covers a wide range of subjects like: the media, being a woman in the music industry, sexual assault, eating disorders, bullying, politics, true love and family. It’s eye-opening and makes you feel like we should all make an effort to make a difference.

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So that’s it! I hope you go away, watch some of these and let me know if you do and what you thought of them! Oh also, I know that some of the Gifs above aren’t from the production that they are mentioned alongside but nothing in life is perfect.

Happy watching!

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Instagram: @charlotterose293
Twitter: @Cook2903

Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

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2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

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3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

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4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

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5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

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6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

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7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

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8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

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9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

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So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.