Life on Furlough

In this post I am going to share with you all how I have been using my time on furlough. I will give some of my tips of how I have kept myself busy during this crazy time. I hope you enjoy!

Since being on furlough and being off work, I have used this time to make sure I have been self caring and being productive so I can use this unprecedented time to my full advantage.

Self Care

At the beginning of the year, I set out my New Years resolution to be a year of self love and self care. In the first three months leading up to lockdown, I had used the time to sign up to my local leisure centre for swimming and to join a Korfball team (a post about Korfball will be uploaded in the upcoming weeks). Prior to lockdown I was doing swim sessions 2-3 times a week before work and 1 – 2 hour Korfball session, but I really wasn’t seeing any benefits. As I was seeing minimal results, I took the opportunity with resources being provided in lockdown to workout 5 times a week and to try and walk at least a mile a day (Joe Wicks and his PE Sessions have been amazing and are free). To me this was a major increase to my fitness and I have seen such big results in my physical and mental wellbeing.

Additionally, in the last month I have changed my eating habits to try and eat cleaner and healthier food. Before lockdown, I would find myself eating out at least once to twice a week which I have seen the effects this can have on your body, mentally and physically. Using the app MyFitness Pal has been a fantastic help, ensuring that I don’t exceed calories on too many foods, as well as being able to track my weight loss. Now I am not saying that I am eating perfectly everyday, as sometimes you do need to listen to what your body is telling you. A treat every now and again is going to do you the world of good too, I personally just try and think of the journey I have been on and how far I have come and I now know when to stop.

Something else that has been essential to my self care mentally, is making sure that you have time for family and friends. I try and remember that I am not the only person going through this and that my family and friends are too. One way that I have kept in touch is by doing weekly quizzes. This is something fun you can do in an evening for an hour or too and to catch up with your loved ones. Zoom is a fantastic video platform that is free and allows all of your friends and family to join in at the same time.

Being Productive

From the beginning of lockdown in the first week or two I really did struggle to be productive. However, I knew that I couldn’t keep that up lifestyle of staying in and watching TV all day. I really needed to do something with my time, the first thing I thought of was what can I do to strengthen my professional skills for my career? As someone who works in the marketing industry I had a look at some free courses to do on LinkedIn. One of these was a beginners guide to Google Analytics, which is free to do and I have so far completed over half of the course. At the end you receive a certificate to say you have passed the course, and will be something I will be able to add on my professional CV.

If you are reading then you can also tell that I created this blog! The reason I did this is because I love to read blogs and I want to be able to connect with readers like yourselves and become part of a wider community. I have opened my mind creatively too, which when you are doing your full time job can be sometimes hard to do, so I have really enjoyed created this blog.

If I was to give any advice of how to spend this time productively, it would be to write a list of what you want to do. I started by making a 10 year plan and ways I can help achieve that plan. What stages I need to take and at what times to make this 10 year plan successful. But also making smaller lists that can be down during being off work such as reading more, doing an online course, or even organising your space better, just so you have a sense of achievement when you are able to tick them off your list.

Good & Bad Days

During this unprecedented time we are all going to have good and bad days, you are only human! Something that I have learnt is that not every single day is going to be productive, and that is OK. Somedays I wake up and feel amazing and have so much energy for the day, but then others I have no motivation and I want to lounge about watching Netflix all day, and that is OK too. You just need to take each day as it comes, no one expects you to have this new way of life figured out and that is OK too! We will all get through this together and will come out stronger on the other side.

Thank you for reading, I hope you are all staying safe.

America Part 1: Anaheim

So today’s post I thought I would give you my tips and experiences from my visit to America, where I visited Anaheim in March 2017. This was part of a trip with my university course (there will be a part 2 focused on my time in Los Angeles). So I hope you enjoy part 1, happy reading!

The flight was from London Heathrow and I thought that it was a pleasant experience considering it is the biggest airport in the UK and normally I would fly from Birmingham International which is a lot smaller. There was plenty of places to eat (although as expected did come with a big price tag), places to shop and browse before your flight. Everything went very smoothly and there was no delays.

My flight lasted roughly 9 hours 45 minutes, despite it originally planned to take 11 hours 10 minutes (which was an added bonus after an early set off at 3am). I arrived around 3pm at LAX which was rather weird, as it was the first time I had encountered an 8 hour time difference. At the airport there was a long delay getting through security and passport control, eventually taking over 1 hour. By the time we had all grouped together, we got an Uber to our hotel based in Anaheim, called Kings Inn Anaheim (Uber was our preferred travel for long distances as it works out cheaper if you are in a group). Take a look at some of the amazing views from the flight:

From the Airport it was around a 1 hour 10 minute journey to the hotel due to peak time traffic, which was ok as it meant I was able to have a look at the surroundings. The hotel cost around £60 a night and I shared a room with two other people which made it much more affordable. It was around the corner from restaurants, a 15 minute walk to the gate of Disneyland and a 10-15 minute walk to the Anaheim Convention Center it was the best location for us (even better that it also had a hot tub and a pool).

My first night consisted of going out for food as a group and unpacking, as we was going to be here for five nights before moving to Los Angeles for the remainder of the trip. For food locations there was something to cater for everyone including, Chinese, IHOP, Denny’s, Bubba Gump and a CVS & 7-Eleven if you were just after a sandwich or snacks.

The first day in Anaheim was one of my favourite days from the entire trip, I went to DISNEYLAND. As a major Disney fan and going to the original Disneyland it was just incredible. It took around a 15 minute walk to get to the gates of Adventureland and Disneyland, I had purchased a ticket for Disneyland as I wanted to see the castle and the fireworks at the end of the evening. Although if I had been there for an extra day, I would have loved to have gone to Adventureland too.

I went on all the rides I had wanted too from Peter Pan, the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Goofy’s Drive School and so many more. Something that stunned me the most about Disneyland after visiting Alton Towers for over 10 years I had become accustomed to the long queues most of the time taking over 1 hour. However, I don’t feel I ever queued too long, especially considering the amount of people at the park.

Food at the park was somewhat how you would expect, unhealthy, fried and expensive food. But for my first day I didn’t seem to mind (the one thing I loved was the size of the meals as it reduced the amount I needed to buy and kept me fuller for longer).

The evening ended with fireworks by the castle, which was great! The best firework display I have ever seen (and even better that from the hotel at night you could see the display too). Even though Disneyland was a dream come true and I loved it, it was a very exhausting day. You spend around 10-11 hours here and I do not recommend doing it the day after you arrive and being jet-lagged. If I was to do it again I would have preferred to have gone a few days later so I could enjoy it even more. Have a look below at some of the pictures from the day:

The following three days was spent at WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center and the reason I was on this trip with my university. As someone who has never really took an interest in Comic Cons, I must say I was pleasantly surprised and it has completely changed my view on attending them in the future (just maybe different ones).

As I knew how expensive it was inside Disneyland, on my walk over to the Convention Center, I passed a CVS that sold sandwiches crisps and drinks. This was something that I did for my remaining time in Anaheim and something I did in Los Angeles too. I was saving at least $5-10 dollars each time by purchasing food from a store than when out and about. It also gave me a break from the food at night as compared to food in the UK it was very greasy and heavy.

The Convention Center itself was great and had so much to look at and different panels to attend, the fact I had three days there meant I was in no rush. One thing that I found to be great was the air con in the building, as at that time of the year it was around 20+ degrees so it was nice to go into a cool building. Although I would recommend taking a jumper/jacket as after an hour of being in the main hall I was cold and found myself wondering outside to heat up on the first day.

Some of the stalls and panel talks were great and even found myself enjoying my time here. I met fans of Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and sat watching the panel of the new Prison Break along with the premiere episode, which was awesome.

Although I really enjoyed my time at WonderCon, I can’t see myself wanting to attend in the near future, as I feel like it would have to be a spectacular panel to make me want to go. Otherwise, I don’t feel like much would change each year except the panels. But I would have a look at other Comic Cons to see what they had to offer. Have a look at some of the images that I took during the convention:

After the convention had ended, the next day I left to move onto our next part of my trip to Los Angeles, which will be in my America Part 2.

I really hope you enjoyed the insight into my experience and tips for visiting Anaheim, including visiting Disneyland and WonderCon. Don’t forget to like, comment and share your travelling tips too.

Part 2 will be coming soon!

FRIENDS

Hi and welcome to my first post! In the entertainment section of the blog, I will take the opportunity to share some of my favourite films and TV shows and why they are my favourite. Please don’t forget to like, share and comment your favourites too!

Now it would be rude not to start off my with favourite tv show of all time FRIENDS. Some of you may disagree with my opinion, but as someone that has watched the show from a young age and have watched the series multiple times since, I have just grown up and revelled in the greatness of FRIENDS. From the characters to the storylines to me there is nothing more perfect.

So for those readers that haven’t watched or heard of FRIENDS, it premiered in 1994 (the best year in my opinion, not just because I was born) and lasted for 10 seasons eventually ending in 2004. It follows a group of six friends Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe & Rachel in their 20’s and 30’s living in New York. Where you follow their journeys through relationships, friendships and their ever changing careers.

So what makes it the greatest tv show in history (yes I have said it!)?

For me it is the best friendship that you will ever see between a group of people, yes there are moments where they do bicker and fall out, but isn’t that all friendships? But to know that in the end you will always be best friends no matter what. It is also in some ways the connection that you make with the characters. Myself personally, I don’t just resonate with one character but aspects of all of them and I think thats why a lot of people relate to the show so much, as it reminds them of themselves.

Additionally, the writers on FRIENDS make some comedy gold moments throughout the show, where later I will give my top three favourite episodes from the entire series. They make you cry with laughter and some moments make your heart melt.

In my final year of university I had the fantastic opportunity to go to Los Angeles as part of my Media & Film course where we went to multiple Hollywood Studios. But was so thankful that I managed to get tickets to do a studio tour of Warner Bros, which of course was where FRIENDS and many other great films and tv shows were also filmed (I will be sure to write my favourites of these too). During the visit I went past the soundstage where FRIENDS was filmed but also was able to go to see the original set of Central Perk with the original sofa too, it was a dream come true (and yes I am wearing an awesome Jurassic Park T-shirt).

One year later, I was also fortunate to get tickets to FRIENDSFEST that came to Manchester, UK and as a huge fan it was everything I expected and more…it was truly one of my favourite days. From a picture on the sofa, to sitting on Ross’s sofa, sitting in each of the apartments, seeing the famous Gellar cup and even sitting in Central Perk listening to a Phoebe Buffay tribute act.

As a fan of the show the visits to the original sets and to see other fans it was incredible and I will never forget. In some way it even makes me love the show more to know that I have been where the series was filmed.

So for the moment you have all been waiting for…Drum roll please…my top three episodes:

In third place we have The One With Unagi (Season 6 Episode 17)

For many reasons this episode never fails to make me laugh so hard. The episode features around Ross where he is determined to prove he can beat up Rachel and Phoebe after they attended self defence classes. Ross states that Unagi is a state of awareness and one is ready and prepared at all times after practicing Karate. However, the funniest thing of all is that Unagi is a type of freshwater eel that Rachel and Phoebe point out in the episode and mock Ross through his attempts to attack them both.

In second place we have The One Where Ross is Fine (Season 10 Episode 2) (SPOILER ALERT BELOW)

This to me has so many classic lines in and the comedy is at in my opinion one of it’s highest throughout the entire season. The episode revolves around Ross’s reaction to walking in on Joey and Rachel kissing, where Ross tells everyone he is Fine in a very high pitched squaky tone. He then invites Rachel and Joey over for dinner with his girlfriend Charlie (who is Joey’s ex) just to prove how OK he is with the situation (which he is not, when he wakes up the next day with no pants on after getting drunk on Margaritas).

If you hadn’t noticed so far that my favourite episodes feature Ross, and guess what, the best episode also features Ross too. Although he is not my favourite character (let’s be honest it’s Chandler), Ross has some very funny moments throughout the show which just make you fall in love with the character. So without further ado I now present to you first place:

In first place we have the unbeatable The One Where Ross Gets a Tan (Season 10 Episode 3)

Now this is just one of my favourite moments in television history, when Ross decides to get a fake tan after seeing sister Monica with a glowing tan. However, as the episode develops we notice that Ross faces many issues when getting a spray tan, and ends the episode significantly darker on only one half of his body (For your pleasure I have added the image below :D).

Now even though the series has been over for 16 years, they announced earlier this year that there is to be a reunion. Which you have no idea how excited I am for this to happen! So when the reunion has been aired, I will do a review on what i thought of the reunion and if it met my expectation as a fan.

I just want to say thank you everyone who has taken the time to read about in my opinion the greatest show ever. I hope that it has made you chuckle as well as reminiscence your favourite episodes or even watch it for the first time.

Thank you for reading and please don’t forget to like, comment and share your favourite films and shows too.

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