5 WAYS TO TACKLE STRESS AND AXIETY DURING LOCKDOWN

The Coronavirus Pandemic has had an impact on all of our lives one way or another. Making our anxiety and stress levels reach that all time high. Some of us, feeling worried as we are not sure what tomorrow’s news may bring, bored by staring at the same walls day in and day out. You may live alone and feel lonely, which can then turn into frustration as all you want to do is see and hug your loved ones. For most of us, these feelings will pass and we have for you a few easy little steps you can do in the comfort of your home and to help point you in the right direction.

Meditation: Finding time for you is always beneficial and meditation is a way where you can do this. Meditation can be practiced at any time of the day, we’re not saying to spend hours meditating but, ten minutes a day will keep those cobwebs at bay. A good time to practice is first thing in the morning or just before bedtime. Even If you need a few minutes to yourself during the day, doing a short meditation on your lunch break will give you that time out you need. There are great meditation apps for mindfulness such as Calm and Headspace. YouTube is a great way to find short meditation videos too.

(Photo credit: Lesly Juarez)

Stay connected with friends and family: We have all been using Zoom more than ever this past year. Whether that being holding evening quizzes, meetings, celebrating birthdays and baby showers. We all need to feel connected, so keep in touch with friends and family and try reconnecting with old friends. Doing this more times than not should make you feel a little better as you can catch up and have a good laugh, which is so needed.

Physical health: Our physical fitness has a major impact on how we feel, so looking after our bodies the best way we can is important. It’s so easy to fall into unhealthy patterns in lockdown but you have to just have the mindset to keep your physical fitness going. Try to exercise regularly, this can be as easy as an online ten-minute Yoga and Pilates class, a high intensity half hour cardio session, hitting the pavement for a jog, a daily walk or bike ride helps with fitness and also clears your mind. Eating healthily and preparing a well-balanced, nutritious meal always makes you feel great. As well as drinking lots of water.

(Photo credit: Greg Rosenke)

Make time for yourself: This can include anything, think of things that you really enjoy and that relaxes you. Listening and dancing around to your favourite music always helps, as well as releasing those feel good endorphins. Doing this for as long as you want whilst dancing around like no one is watching is the best thing ever! Reading books can make your mind wonder to a different place. A great book is a good feel factor and whilst doing this why not run a hot bath and enjoy your book whilst soaking your body at the same time. Pamper yourself. This can be facials, giving yourself a manicure and pedicure, masks and hair masks. Looking after you is the way forward. Lastly try out that new recipe you have seen. Cooking a great meal or even baking for yourself and for those you live with is a good way to get those culinary skills on point as well as having a full stomach too!

(Photo credit: Sam Loyd)

Organising your space: They say an organised space is an organised mind, the more clutter you can see around you, the more easily you’ll find yourself distracted. Start by getting rid of the things you don’t need. There is a variety of different online ecommerce websites where you can sell clothes, electrical goods and many more. You may fancy a little revamp, why not give a room in your home a whole new makeover. Doing this will make you feel as though you have got something done, whilst feeling great about yourself at the same time.

Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR ANTIGUA GETAWAY

Happy Sunday everyone, we hope that you are all keeping well. Like many, we are missing travelling. Scrolling through old travel pics, and reminiscing is making it even harder! We came across pictures from our Antigua holiday back in 2016 and thought to share our experience with you.

With over 365 beaches, rum punch and good food, we were certainly looking forward to our stay. So if you want a chill break and a slower pace of life, Antigua is the holiday destination for you.

Where to stay

We arranged our trip through Travel Counsellors who are absolutely fantastic. They specialise in bespoke luxury travel and tailor everything around your needs to make it a worthwhile trip. We stayed at the Verandah Resort and Spa, which is an all-inclusive resort with spacious villas that offer sea views. It is an eco-friendly resort, that boasts a spa, all-inclusive water sports and a variety of food options. The hotel also has two pools and two beaches. It definitely is a resort that attracts honeymooners and wedding parties. The resort itself, is a great place to stay but is a little bit out of the way if you want to explore the island.

Where to go

Shirley Heights: If you want to see spectacular views and stunning landscapes, then you must visit Shirley Heights. Overlooking the English Harbour and Falmouth, the views are absolutely breathtaking. If you love photography and capturing nature, Shirley Heights is the place to snap the perfect sunset. We recommended visiting Shirley Heights from 4pm on a Sunday because, once the sun goes down the music turns up! Shirley Heights is a favourite spot for both locals and tourists. The local steel band provides Caribbean music and not long after that the DJ set begins. You can party up until 10pm (a little early for us) but the atmosphere and vibe is so good . Also, we have to mention the BBQ which offers everything from fried fish to jerk chicken and of course washing it down with a glass or two of rum punch. Trust us, when we say, you will not be disappointed.

There are other activities that you can do while holidaying in sunny Antigua. For the adrenaline junkies out there, you can try diving, snorkeling, zipline through the rainforest or sail out on the calm Caribbean waters.

Where to eat

There are some great places to eat that serves the most delicious Caribbean classic dishes. The quality of foods is amazing from curried goat to fish dishes. You can try Papa Zouk where there’s a great selection of tasty seafood, or Trappas Bar & Restaurant, a casual restaurant near the English Harbour and the cocktails are pretty strong which is always a good thing! One of our favourite restaurants was Nicole’s at The Verandah Resort & Spa. An a la carte restaurant that served up some of the tastiest seafood and steaks that we have ever eaten.

Useful Tips

We recommend using US dollars, although the official currency is EC dollars. You can take both currencies but we found that things are lot easier to pay for using US dollars, especially when tipping vendors. Always check the exchange rate before travelling and go for the better rate.

We hope you enjoyed our short but sweet travel guide. When things get back to some normality and you want to spend time in paradise as well as enjoying a bit of luxury at the same time, look no further than Antigua.

Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR TOP SIX WINTER TV SERIES

OUR TOP SIX WINTER TV SERIES

1: EMILY IN PARIS

This American comedy-drama kept us highly entertained. We literally binge watched all ten episodes for three days straight! Lily Collins stars as Emily, a young American woman who moves to Paris to provide an American point of view to a French marketing firm. She struggles to succeed in the workplace while searching for love and exploring the beautiful Paris. The first season ended on a cliffhanger with Emily sharing a night of passion with her neighbour Gabriel, who is staying in Paris to take over a restaurant. Gabriel is also the ex-boyfriend of Emily’s best friend Cami, who sent her a text at the end of the episode asking for a chat. We hope to not be left hanging for too long. luckily, Netflix announced in November that Emily would be returning to Paris for a second season. Which is great news for us.. and the show of course.

2: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT

Now, this is a series you cannot miss. We were pretty early to the game with this one lol and started watching when it was released back in October. Set in the mid-1950s which proceeds into the 1960s, The Queen’s Gambit follows the life of a nine-year-old orphaned chess prodigy. Having lost her mother in a car crash, Beth Harmon is taken to an orphanage where she is taught chess by the building’s caretaker. On her rise to becoming the world’s greatest chess player, Beth struggles with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. This is a definite must watch for everyone. After four weeks of viewing The Queen’s Gambit became Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries.

3: THE CROWN

The Crown has been a popular show in our house from season one. Everything down to each actor portrays the royal they are playing effortlessly and on point. This isn’t a show for everyone but if you’re into history, or just enjoy a good royal story then this is definitely one for you. The historical drama follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding to The Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, until the early 21st century. Seeing through most of the prime ministers from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher. We’ve just finished the fourth season that premiered on Netflix in November. The latest season is set during the 80s and focusses on the relationship between Lady Diana and Prince Charles, along with the births of Prince William and Harry. This was yet another binge session, we got through all ten episodes in five days! We literally have to wait a whole year for The Crown season five which will be released in 2022!

4: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR

Here’s something for you horror fans out there, created by filmmaker Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting anthology series follows the 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House but, the two series narratives are not connected. The story follows a young au pair hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after the kids parents are killed and they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, the au pair is unaware that the manor is haunted, she then begins to see strange occurrences that proceed to haunt the premises only to discover the estates history. This drama is a horror which turned out to be a love story in the end. This drama will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and as the series comes to a close be sure to have your tissues at the ready.

5: SMALL AXE

Small Axe is an anthology film series based on the real-life experiences of London’s West Indian community and is set between 1969 and 1982. Created by Steve McQueen the anthology consists of five films which tell the stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London during that time. The anthologies range from courtroom dramas to love stories, some fiction, but also the dramas of real-life events and people. Starring John Boyega, Letitia Wright and Michael Ward. We’ve just finished watching the fourth episode of Small Axe that tells the true story of Alex Wheatle, now an author who turned his life around after being jailed over the Brixton riots in 1981.

6: THE UNDOING

The Undoing was one of the most talked about mystery psychological thrillers of the year. Everyone had their own theories and thoughts as to who murdered Elena Alves. We tuned in to the six-part series starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Manhattan couple Grace and Jonathan Fraser whose lives turn upside down when he is arrested for the murder of his lover Elena. After the death there was a number of potential suspects but Jonathan always remained the prime person of interest in Elena’s death as he stood trial for her murder. We won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet tuned into the finale but put it this way.. we were so disappointed!

Shelley & Michelle xx

A NIGHT SPENT DINING AT DUCK & WAFFLE

A NIGHT SPENT DINING AT DUCK & WAFFLE

It’s quite difficult during these times to do the things we are so used to doing. As England is now in lockdown for a month, a couple of weekends ago we decided to have an early evening meal at London’s Duck & Waffle. It was a night spent eating in the clouds… literally. The restaurant is set on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower which stands at 755 feet, making it the tallest building in the City of London. Before the pandemic Duck & Waffle were one of the only few restaurants open for 24 hours, serving great food round the clock.

Your experience begins as soon as you arrive. Have your phones at the ready, as you enter one of the two panoramic glass elevators you will be whisked from the ground and taken up, it’s like you are watching London go-by from the ground all the way up high. We booked our table in advance and was lucky enough to get a window seat and watch the sunset whilst sipping on a chilled glass of wine.

Duck & Waffle have a varied menu from lamb chops, sea bass, steak or roasted corn fed chicken. The menu is also split between tapas-style small plates and larger dishes for sharing. We went for their signature dish the Duck & Waffle which consisted of crispy leg confit, fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup, everything tasted so delicious and the combination of the duck, waffle, egg and maple syrup complimented each other really well.

Curfew in England was at 10pm at that time so unfortunately we couldn’t be out till the early hours, but we made the night as good as we could. After dining we walked downstairs to the 39th floor and enjoyed a cocktail or two at SushiSamba which was so vibrant and full of energy. There was a DJ playing in one section of the venue whilst we were taking in the atmosphere, scenery and enjoying the vibes, socially distanced of course.

SushiSamba London features the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe, offering 360 degree views of the City which was the perfect way to end the night.

Shelley & Michelle xx