Lockdown list #1

by mandybollegraf
This blog series is here to inspire you. In each list I’ll post a minimum of three categories headed by a ‘STAY…banner’. This time I chose STAY CHEERY, STAY CREATIVE and STAY CONNECTED. Above all, of course, I hope you and your loved ones stay healthy ♡ These lists hopefully bring you some love & light in dark times.

Since we’re all still in the midst of this pandemic, I decided to introduce something new on my blog. In the coming weeks (months?) I’ll post a few lockdown lists filled with positivity and inspiration. My tips, thoughts and ideas hopefully help broaden your world a little. Because what keeps me going, but also what helped me in my constant search for happiness and calm, might just inspire you too. Also: I’m so curious to find out what your lockdown/quarantine tips are. Big insights, soothing thoughts, tiny or guilty pleasures… let me know! We’re all in this together… More on that later on in this post.

Starting off my first lockdown list with these three categories.

I actually wrote most of this blog post a while back. But right before I finished it, my grandpa passed away. Only six months after we said goodbye to our grandma, his wife. My last grandparents… Suddenly working on this new series disappeared to the back of my mind. I do know that, for me, working on things I love like my blog, keeps me going. Life goes on… So here it is, the start of my new blog series, somewhat late, but since we’re still in this pandemic, these tips might come in handy…

Hello from Holland
I’m writing to you from my urban jungle apartment in the east of The Netherlands. Us Dutchies are in a nationwide lockdown since December 15th. All non-essential shops are closed, there’s a night-time curfew and we’re allowed one visitor a day. It’s a scary time, but I’m trying to stay positive.

February fun
The extreme weather we’ve been expieriencing the last couple of weeks here in The Netherlands, actually helps. We went from a winter storm which brought us heaps of snow to a sunny, but freezing week, to early springtime days with temperatures well above average. And this all happened in one month! I’m aware that these extreme weather events definitely are not a good sign… But man, I needed me some snow and ice! Where I live, cold and snowy winters sadly get rarer and rarer. I was born on a snowy February morning in the 80s, way back when winters were cold and white 😉 I feel old saying this haha! I guess that’s why I just love snow and why, all things considered, I’ve had a very good month.

My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoying this month’s snow and ice!

Which brings me to the first category of this lockdown list: STAY CHEERY. Those lovely winter and early spring days immediately made it to my daily list of happy moments. Since the end of 2019 I take the time to actually make that list every day using the app Happyfeed. I pick three moments, big or small, that brought me joy and made my day just a little brighter. It’s become a ritual which makes sure I don’t take those moments for granted. Every now and then I shake my digital happiness jar to view a random memory which always makes me smile. Here are four of them, right now I collected over one thousand. They’re in Dutch, but since I added photos, you get the gist 😉

Collecting joyous moments with the self-care app Happyfeed! I’ve been doing it for over 400 days 🙂

One thing we all had to become to still be able to celebrate from time to time, was CREATIVE. I do hope you still find ways to live it up, because maybe now more than ever we all need to have -socially distant- fun with each other and mark life. Luckily there still are great ways to make sure your special day gets that extra sparkle. I actually still like thinking outside of the box to try and find creative ways to celebrate!

Lockdown birthday
I recently turned 34 and had a lovely birthday. Not being able to invite party guests, didn’t stop me from baking a huge birthday cake like I always do. No birthday without cake! Or decorations for that matter! This year I ordered a gold backdrop that’s still hanging. When I posted a picture of it in my Instagram Stories, saying I don’t want to get rid of it just yet, a lot of people told me they’ve done the same this year. Some never even stored away their Christmas lights, haha!

COVID-proof partying
One thing me and my family started doing last year was online movie nights. We put on the same film and watch it ‘together’ from our own homes. For my birthday I made movie snack packs, including slices of my birthday cake, and brought them over to my parents’ and sister’s house. Since hey, SOMEONE’S gotta eat that cake and it’s not going to be just me and my boyfriend! (Although obviously, secretely, we ate waaay too much leftover cake, like all week…)

Netflix Party
Watching the same movie can be done by using the online tool Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party). It synchronizes video playback and even adds group chat which makes it extra fun! We didn’t use it though, because we rather watch films on our TV’s, and to my knowledge it only works if you watch from your computer. We did it by starting a group call on WhatsApp and clicked start on our remotes at the same time. Of course starting at the exact same time is a bit of a challenge at first, but that just makes it even more fun if you ask me!

Bond Bingo
Another way to add to the fun and keep everyone entertained is adding a game element to watching the movie. For my dad’s birthday back in November I organised an online movie night with a James Bond theme. I made Bond Bingo cards for everyone. Download my Bond Bingo including playing rules here!

COVID-proof partying with my family: simultaneously watching the same Bond movie from our own homes! When we did our first Bond night, I ordered foil balloons and made a Bond Bingo. You can find a download link in the text!
Made snack packs to go with the socially-distant movie night I organised for my birthday. Brought a snack pack to my sister and one to my parents, including homebaked birthday cake 🙂

And then there’s the last category of this first lockdown list. I do hope I can use this category in every list I’ll post. Because the connection I’m looking for is the one with you. Like I said in my intro: I’m so curious to find out what your lockdown/quarantine tips are. Big insights, soothing thoughts, tiny or guilty pleasures… let me know! We’re all in this together and I ‘d love to hear from you. Anything that helps you get through these crazy times. Send me a message and don’t forget to mention where you’re from, what your passions in life are and where we might find you on social media. I’ll post your tips in one of my next lockdown lists. Thanks so much ♡

Finding connection within myself
This category, ‘stay connected’, is not only about connecting to others, it’s also about staying connected to yourself. Only when connected to yourself you can truly relate to others, right? Last year I decided I wanted to listen more carefully to what a voice inside of me kept repeating since this pandemic started: “What can I do to help?”. After retraining I ended up working as a case investigator for one of our local health centers here in The Netherlands, focusing on our effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

In little over a year I went from writing a plant care book, to coming up with COVID-proof solutions and new ideas to keep our garden cafe up and running when the world shut down, to spending my days helping out with contact tracing. It’s been a hell of a ride, let’s put it that way. But I’m glad I’m able to do my bit and help out in this worldwide crisis we’re in. It keeps me grounded, grateful and connected to myself and the world we live in. My colleagues keep telling me I have to write a book about it, who knows, one day…!

We’ve come to the end of this first lockdown list of my new blog series. Thanks so much for taking the time to read it! I hope I inspired you and that my next lockdown list contains your tips as well! Stay safe ♡


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