Lockdown may be starting to ease but I'm sure there are some of us who are still feeling a little anxious about re-emerging after hiding away for so long and may be wanting to stay at home a little longer.
Lockdown may have meant longer hours at home than anyone ever expected and in turn this has meant we've become fast friends with various delivery drivers and Amazon Prime!
Sometimes the smallest things in life which can mean the most and help us get through tough times.
Today I wanted to spend a little time talking to you about some of the ways I've been trying to find joy in lockdown and introduce you to a couple of small businesses which have helped to make me smile over this past year.
I guess there are fewer ways to bring joy to your lockdown life than by ordering yourself some tasty goodies to enjoy and I've managed to find one or two of the best places to fulfill those deep seated cravings for something sweet.
As seen on my Vegan Easter Gift Guide, Ditto Bakes are the purveyors of some of the best vegan brownies and blondies I have ever eaten and they definitely brought joy to my face when I received the box and smelt the delicious freshly baked goodness.
The brownies were deliciously decadent and were even better heated up and served with vegan vanilla ice cream and date syrup. I urge you to find anything better, I'll wait.
Bubble Trouble Bath Bombs
I don't know about you, but during lockdown I've taken more baths in this past year than I ever have. I've always enjoyed a bath, somewhere to escape to when everything else is too much, or a place to soothe my aching muscles after a run.
I'm fairly new to using bath bombs as I don't like Lush so struggled to find somewhere to buy good quality, vegan bath bombs from.
Step in Bubble Trouble, so good I've ordered from them not once, not twice, but now, three times! If that doesn't show how amazing they are, I don't know what to tell you!
Not only do they smell amazing, but the colours are beautiful and they also leave my skin feeling incredibly soft afterwards. I urge you to try them and tell me I'm wrong.
Throughout lockdown I've been lucky enough to spend time with my work wife and her two beautiful dogs. I've known them all for 5/6 years now and they've been a solace to me throught the last year.
We meet up once a week and head to our local Valley Gardens to chuck the ball for the boys, walk them in the woods, snuggle all the beautiful dogs we see there (just me fyi!), before buying a coffee from the Magnesia Well Cafe and sitting on a bench, catching up with everything all whilst feeding the dogs treats!
It's become a real highlight in my week and one I look forward immensely.
Craft Gin Club
Now, I've wanted to try Craft Gin Club for so so long, it was only natural that I'd ask for this as my birthday present last year. I've now been having a box virtually every month since November and I for one am so happy to have found them during lockdown.
Their boxes always bring a smile to my face whenever they are delivered and the gins/tonics inside never last long either! I love how the gins are all different and made exclusively for Craft Gin Club each month, it's a great way to taste/find new gins.
There are plenty of rewards available when you become a member or refer someone else who does! If you're a gin fan and are looking for a way to taste new gins from around the world, then I can highly recommend checking out Craft Gin Club!
Baking and Cooking
I've always enjoyed getting in the kitchen and whipping up a treat, like my vegan cookies or perhaps a delicious dish from a Hello Fresh box I've had delivered.
During lockdown, I've had more time (obviously) to be in the kitchen and try out different bakes and meals from my vast collection of vegan cookbooks, Speedy BOSH! is my favourite at the moment as the recipes are easy to do and tasty too!
I've definitely been trying more baking recipes because, well, it's where I feel safest and have managed to find a new (& better!) recipe for both cookies AND cupcakes! I'm well happy - and so are my family and friends! I've even tried making my own falafel! How very vegan of me!
Another lockdown discovery! (Yes I've noticed how many of these are food/drink related!) Who wouldn't want as-good-as-it-is-in-Italy-Pasta delivered straight to your door, all ready for you to cook?
I've tried them a few times now and can say that the pasta is just as delicious as that I had in Italy, which is probably helped by the trained italian chefs cooking each dish with as much love and care as their nonnas would!
There are always offers on your first box, like a free Aperol Spritz cocktail or a free Tiramisu dessert!
They're well worth having and the portions, even for one, are extremely generous and between my parents and me, we shared a double portion - which was plenty with salad and garlic bread without anyone feeling hungry.
If you fancy trying Pasta Evangelists for yourself, sign up via this link and we'll both benefit!
Here we have some deliciously tasty doughnuts which I decorated myself during lockdown in March 2020. Prior to this I hadn't tried DoughnutTime before, so was very excited when I won a competition to win a vegan home decorating kit!
They were incredibly popular last year, with almost everyone I followed on social media buying themselves, or gifting friends these kits.
It arrives with everything you need to decorate, including instructions and pictures of what the finished article is supposed to look like. I have to say that my favourites were the Sia Later raspberry doughnuts, as the tartness countered well against the sweetness of the doughnut and the rest of the toppings.
It was such good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself anyway and was very happy with the finished results!
So there you have it, just a few of the ways I've been finding joy in lockdown. We may be coming through the other side of it now but that doesn't mean we have to stop looking for ways to make each day a little bit brighter.
I hope I've perhaps given you a push to try some of these for yourself, I really can't recommend them highly enough, they are all wonderful!