So, here we are, many (I have lost count of the exact number!) weeks into our new existence in lockdown land.
In some ways, it’s fine!
An opportunity to step back from the rat race, to relax, to reassess our lives, to take stock of what is truly important.
But in other ways, this new lockdown life is a serious challenge.
And it all boils down to choice!
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the bulk of humanity has been stripped of some of our very basic freedoms.
Quite simply, we can no longer come and go as we please.
We can’t work in the same way as before; many are working from home or have been furloughed, or, worse still, lost their jobs altogether!
Our children can’t go to school every day; they now learn remotely with the help of technology like Google Classroom.
Mass gatherings are not allowed to happen, so that means no more church-going, football matches, concerts, shows, events etc for the foreseeable future.
Haircutting, manicures and pedicures are now DIY jobs, that all too often go more than a little wrong… 😱
The summer is just around the corner…
Yet, we can’t plan any holidays, and certainly not abroad! 😢
Birthdays are difficult for the kids who have to go without their usual parties.
And when they wail in frustration, ”It’s soo unfair!”, it is difficult not to wail along with them.
Because it is all so very unfair, frustrating and, worst of all… it is beyond our control.
As much as we might be suffering….
As much as we might be fretting…
As much as the entire experience might be killing us….
We just have to accept that we don’t have all the answers…
Or, any answers at all!
Instead, the best course of action is to simply take a deep breath and step back from it all whenever we’re feeling overwhelmed.
It’s more important than ever to allow ourselves some space right now…
To just be free to forget about our current reality, to…
And my absolute favourite, no-fail way of doing that is to deep dive into the internet without coming up for air for… ooh… a while!
Here are some of my latest YouTube feel-good hits…
At times, the YouTube algorithm is truly your friend.
It will recommend all sorts of delights that you would never, in a million years, have discovered if you were solely dependent on the search bar.
Case in point: The Tonight Show: At Home Edition
Back in my college days, I loved The Tonight Show when it was still presented by Jay Leno.
I still loved it when Jimmy Fallon began presenting it, but as family life took over and I became removed from my old life as a journalist on a celebrity gossip magazine, it fell down the list of priorities of things to watch in my free time.
Fast forward to lockdown life 2020 and Jimmy’s Tonight Show thumbnail was intriguing.
Gone was the studio professionalism. Instead, a more casual Jimmy was photographed at home with his two daughters.
I had to click if only to see the inside of his house! 🙊
And when I did I was hooked!
It was the same Tonight Show, but sooo much better.
The home reveal, the cuteness of Jimmy’s young daughters, aged six and seven, who would sometimes collaborate perfectly with him, (holding up pictures, doing the music cues etc) and sometimes not (forgetting what they were supposed to be doing, refusing to laugh at his jokes, just being kids…), it’s all so sweet, so relatable…
The perfect antidote to our crazy reality at the moment! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Another great algorithm find comes from Nadia Sawalha of Loose Women fame.
The Sawalha-Adderlys is her family’s YouTube channel and is, like Jimmy Fallon’s, very relatable to families everywhere.
As I wasn’t a huge fan of Nadia’s Loose Women persona, which comes across as a little loud and overbearing, I was surprised to discover how likeable and relatable she is in her daily vlogs with her director husband Mark (who is also a very likable character), her two teenage daughters and extended family.
From their refreshing honesty about their cluttered home to their lighthearted kitchen banter to their candid late-night discussions about the coronavirus crisis, there is truly something for everyone.
A delight from start to finish! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When my youngest daughter was two she discovered the world of toy unboxing videos that was then taking YouTube by storm.
It looked fun and easy to do, so as a family we decided to try to create some unboxing kid-friendly videos of our own.
It was certainly lots of fun but not even half as easy as it looks. 😬
One short video can take hours of preparation, filming and editing, not to mention the promotion that we just never got around to. 😳
So long story short, we ended up with a half-baked channel that has been sitting there mostly unloved since around 2015.
Five years on, we’re in lockdown and suddenly have a lot more time to spare.
The girls were keen to revive the channel, we’ve been less enthusiastic but it would probably be a shame not to…
Here’s hoping lockdown doesn’t end before we’ve had a chance to pick up quicker editing skills… 🤞😬
I’ve always been a fan of Made In Chelsea so when I discovered that MIC regulars Harry Baron and Melissa Tattem had their own YouTube channels, I just had to have a peak, well, okay, a full-on marathon catch-up sesh. 😳
Packed full of healthy cooking, fashion, beauty and home decor tips, Melissa’s channel is helpful, cute and thoroughly addictive!
Love, love, love! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Now, this next one is a bit of an odd one for me because when I’m in ”escape reality” mode I normally steer clear of all heavy-hitting subjects like ill-health.
At first glance, The Frey Life centres around the lives of a young married couple in their thirties.
But they are a married couple with a difference, as Mary has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that mainly affects the lungs.
When I initially clicked on their thumbnail I thought it was a surviving Coronoavirus vid…
(I know I was supposed to be switching off from all that but I just couldn’t help myself! 😳)
A few minutes in, I was hooked by the sweetness of their relationship, their relentless positivity and the normality of their everyday life and all this despite of the pressure of Mary’s lifelong health problems and the global pandemic.
A truly uplifting and inspirational watch!
I don’t normally have the time to watch James Corden’s chat show, but if his Carpool Karaoke pops up, I will make an exception.
And especially if it features Niall Horan, one of my current fave celebs.
(Please don’t judge me! 😳)
Celebs in cars, comedy, karaoke and camaraderie…
Who could resist!
(Not me, obvs! 😊) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As many of you will already know, my dear readers, I have three kids under twelve and while not the biggest family in the world, I still struggle to find much time at the end of each day to do much of anything apart from collapse into bed.
At times, I need to switch off but cannot risk broken teeth from my phone falling on my face when I doze off mid-vid…
Happens all the time… 😬
So this is when Instagram is truly my friend.
I can just dip in and out of accounts for the very best fashion, beauty and distraction tips the net has to offer.
Amanda West (@almost_readyblog) is a US fashion blogger and one of my absolute faves for totally wearable fashion and beauty tips.
View this post on Instagram
Currently watching random cooking videos with Sophie and have zero plans to do much else 😆☕️🌧 Just saw my jeans are back in stock in a bunch of sizes and BOGO 50% off 🙌🏼 My cardi is on sale too and I went true to size in everything ☺️ Hope you all are having a great start to your day! Xo 💗 http://liketk.it/2NvDO @liketoknow.it #liketkit #LTKsalealert #LTKunder50 #LTKshoecrush
Her Stories also show heartwarming snippets of her everyday life with her husband and tween daughter.
A definite must-watch! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The next few accounts I am about to mention have a heavy Irish bias, but I am locked down and homesick, so have felt the need to immerse myself in the all-familiar lately! 😊
Vogue Williams is an Irish model and TV personality who is married to Spencer Matthews of Made In Chelsea fame.
They have an adorable toddler called Theodore and a baby girl on the way.
Dip into her account for fashion, fitness, beauty tips and lots of love and laughs!
Always a hit! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Suzanne Jackson-O’Connor, aka Sosueme, is one of Iteland’s most successful bloggers.
Take a peak at her account for great home decor and #ootd (outfit of the day) inspo as well as makeup tips and tricks.
Always a treat! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cute crafts and TikTok
This next account comes from one of my oldest and dearest friends in the world, Catherine Keher.
We’ve been friends since Cath was two and I was four and even though we don’t live in the same country anymore, I will always count her as the sister I never had and always wanted. 💕
Check out Catherine’s account for amazing home decor inspo.
She is currently renovating her period townhouse and her Stories are jam-packed with fabulous craft and reno tips and tricks, like how to make the beautiful stair runner featured above.
She has also recently been nominated for the Image Interiors and Living mag Instagrammer of the year award.
So a definite must-follow! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
My final Irish Instagrammer mention goes to Louise Cooney who I happened to stumble upon through the Instagram algorithm.
(Probably the only time the Instagram algorithm has ever been good to me! 😉)
Louise is, like Suzanne, one of Ireland’s best known bloggers.
She was based in New York until the lockdown where she regularly blogged and vlogged about life Stateside.
Since returning home, she’s been vlogging about tie-dying some of her clothes, among other things.
It was also through Louise’s accounts that I discovered, much to my tween’s utter disgust, how much fun TikTok can be.
All round cuteness! ❤️❤️❤️
Louise and TikTok, in turn, led to my discovery of @inthefrow, aka Victoria Magrath, a successful UK fashion blogger.
View this post on Instagram
Good morning! Yep I just dabbed for the first time. I hope this gives you a smile as much as it gave me a lot of lols. Also Alex shouting up to me that I sounded like an elephant was tres amusing. I’m @inthefrow on tik tok and yes I may do more dancing because this was hilarious 😂 #whoevenami #stayathome
I’ve lost many hours to TikTok on account of Victoria… attempting to perfect the Blinding Lights routine…
But, alas, to no avail…
Because, unlike half of the NHS, I’ve got two left feet and the fam finally intervened and told me…
Oh, dear! 😬
How am I going to distract myself from the pandemic panic now?
At least, we’re all in the same boat…
As long as we remember that…
United we stand, divided we fall! 🤗
We will get through this, one (non-choreographed) step at a time!
In the meantime, happy internet surfing, everyone! 😊
Until next time,
💋 Mostly Mum