// Let Light Into Your Lockdown By Getting Your Garden Just Right

The chances are that this year’s turned out a lot different than you thought it would when you were making plans back in January. Right now, you should be preparing for the perfect summer holiday and starting to enjoy fun in the sun with your favorites after a long, dreary winter. 

Instead, you’re looking down the barrel of a lockdown that looks set to last and staring wistfully at the glorious blue skies. It’s cutting, that’s for sure, not least because the sun waited until we couldn’t enjoy it to make an appearance. But, the good news is that all this madness doesn’t mean you can’t still catch a tan while those rays are out to play.

If you have a garden, then you’re one of the lucky ones. Okay, it might be cocktails on Malaga beach, but it’s better than staring at your four walls. Even if your outdoor space isn’t quite up to scratch right now, you’ve also got the luxury of having time on your hands to get it lockdown ready. 


Without further ado, then, keep reading to find out how exactly you can let light into your lockdown by turning attention to your garden space at last. 

Tackle those tasks you’ve been putting off
We’ve all got things we should’ve done in the garden ages ago, but it often seems pointless when there’s a perfectly good pub garden calling. Now, though, with that option off the cards, you’re in the ideal position to finally tackle those annoying garden niggles. It might be that you take this time to replace a fallen fence, or maybe you just get around to at last planting those seeds your mum gave you like five years ago. This could even be your opportunity to clean out your garden house so that you’ve got the outside den you always dreamt of.

The technicalities don’t really matter. The whole point is that you take this chance to get outside and get creating the dream garden you’ve never had until now. This provides long-lasting satisfaction, but more importantly, it gets you out right now. And, with the sun shining, that’s about the most important thing you could ask for. 

Create garden zones

Zoning your garden is always a fantastic way to add space, variety, and a little bit of spice. But, never has this technique been more vital than it is now. Let’s face it - even us lucky garden owners are sure to get bored staring at those same four fences every day. It’s hardly the hustle and bustle you’re used to when you’re sunning it up abroad!

Admittedly, creating garden zones isn’t some miracle fix that’s going to entertain you like touching down in Spain would have. But, it does at least ensure that you can use different sections of your garden as you fancy. Never underestimate how refreshing that option will be in a month or so!

Something as simple as zoning your garden with different layers could work wonders here, or you might want to go all out with different coloured plants in each area. You could even opt for au natural areas and more manicured sections. The point is that variety is the spice of life, and a zoned lawn might just become the spice of your lockdown while it lasts. 

Set up your perfect patio
Whether you’ve got a separate patio zone or are just making use of some paving slabs you’ve already got in place, setting up your perfect patio is also vital. This is, after all, where you’ll catch those all-important rays. You could even start to eat al fresco out here to mix things up a bit and get more fresh air into your days. Either way, you need a well-placed patio area to make it possible. 

Firstly, this involves cleaning up any weeds that have grown between those paving slabs and generally trimming back any overgrowth that we too often let take over outside spaces like these. Then, you simply need to look at sites like netvouchercodes.co.uk for the best possible garden furniture deals of the moment. Lucky for you, with gardening companies now relying solely on online orders, you could well bag yourself some fantastic bargains. Then, you just need to work out where the sun hits to make sure that your new lounger or dining set is in the ideal place. And, of course, check out a bit of Pinterest inspo to make sure your patio looks the part. Bathing by the pool, eat your heart out. Get this just right, and you might even find that your mates prefer to head here than to the beach when you can finally see them again. 

Invite as much wildlife as you can
Aside from the odd bird, you’re probably feeling a bit deprived of wildlife right now. That’s why it’s also vital you take this time to think about how you can invite more into your garden. As well as helping species in need, turning your attention here could see you feeling like things are a lot more normal. After all, the bees don’t know that there’s a pandemic going on. They’re just doing their thing, and watching them could be surprisingly peaceful. 

With that in mind, head to sites like eden.uktv.co.uk for a bit of inspiration. Bird feeders are the most obvious option here, and they’re easy enough to order online or even find in your local supermarket while you’re doing your essential shop. You might want to think, too, about plants which prove especially tempting to wildlife. You could even make a bug hotel out of old crates and pieces of wood that you’ve got lying around. Don’t forget either that, as the weather turns hotter, water is always sure to go down well, especially with birds. Why not fill up that ornamental bird bath you’ve never bothered using, or bring a washing up bowl filled with water out with you? It’s a simple solution that’s sure to entertain the birds and keep you amused for an afternoon to boot. 

Take some sunny snaps
Your summer photo album will probably be a bit lacking this year, so our last point for making the most of your garden this lockdown is just to take some sunny snaps out there. We aren’t saying these will make up for the vacation pics you would’ve had, because it won’t. Still, you’d be surprised at how good your pictures could be with a bit of smart positioning and a pair of sunnies. 

Make this a day affair by really having fun with your garden props and backgrounds. Share the best bits on Insta, and you might even find that you can give your friends some inspo about how best to use their gardens right now, too. 

A final word
Lockdown is taking its toll on all of us and, while the Netflix marathons were fun to start, they’ve probably long lost their charm. At this four week mark, you might even feel like your skin’s so pale from sun deprivation that you’re starting to look ill!

Turn things around by turning attention to your garden at last. Remember, some people are stuck indoors with no choice but to open the window. You aren’t one of them, so embrace this opportunity. Even if you aren’t what anyone would call a keen gardener, taking this time could see you learning a skill you never knew you needed. And, of course, your tan is guaranteed to thank you for it.


// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// 3 Ways To Be Better Organized

It seems to be the case that you’re either naturally organized, or you simply aren’t. Some people chalk it up to how they were raised, others say it’s genetic, others claim your zodiac sign contributes to your organizational skills. Whatever your reasoning, it’s clear that some people are naturally more drawn to hyper-organization, while others are more inherently chaotic and all over the place.


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By the time you become an adult, you’ll know already whether you’re naturally one way or the other; if you’re on the less organized side of things, you may feel frustrated when you’ve tried to do better in this area. Those who struggle to organize their time, belongings and schedules have often tried to improve and found it hopeless. Here are three ways to be better organized, for even those who struggle with it!


Use Your Phone To Help You


You’ve got a smartphone - use it! Smartphones are designed to make your life easier and more efficient, and most of us barely scratch the surface in terms of utilizing the available organizational tools on our phones. You can use a personal calendar which sends updates and reminders, so you never miss a meeting. You can track literally everything - even down to your menstrual cycle - on your smartphone. If you struggle with scheduling and timings, your handy device has got your back.


Likewise, you can use tech to help you maximize efficiency for your home or office organization. An online mail sorting system such as https://physicaladdress.com/virtual-business-address/ sorts and scans all your personal and professional mail for you, providing a confidential service which lets you sort your mail from your smartphone while you’re on the go.


Take Your Time


Part of the reason people forget things or lose things is due to rushing around. Everyone’s guilty of this at some point in their lives, but some people spend each and every day rushing, instead of calmly taking things step by step. Rushing around creates chaotic energy which contributes to disorganization and stress. If you are prone to this, force yourself to slow down. When leaving the house for work, take five seconds before you go out of the door to think about exactly what you’re doing for the day, and what you need for it.

Making Lists


If you aren’t in the habit of making lists, start today. It is one of the most strangely satisfying things to do. If you have a busy life and you struggle to get through without forgetting something or missing an appointment most days, start listing what you have to complete in the day each morning. This will help you tick off tasks once they’re finished, and remind you through the day of what needs to be completed. This is a free, age-old organizational tool which isn’t used enough in this day and age. Bring back list making!


All in all, your organizational skills can be cultivated and practiced. Anyone can be organized with the right tools!


// this contributed post was written for this charming life.


// The Secrets To The Best Night's Sleep

As kids, we hated going to sleep. It seemed much cooler to stay up late playing video games, chatting with friends, or just puttering about because sleep was lame. However, as you get older and become an adult, you realize that sleep is crucial if you want to function as a human being. 


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This throws you into a slight paradox, though. You know you need to sleep, but knowing you're still awake makes you stressed, which stops you from falling asleep, and the vicious cycle continues. However, it isn't impossible to uncover the secrets to the best night's sleep. 


Regular Exercise


It's something that everybody already knows about, but it's also an aspect of a good night's sleep that always bears repeating. Regular exercise will boost the presence of melatonin, which is a natural hormone related to sleep. With this, you're able to get to sleep easier and with less shifting, twisting, and turning throughout the night. Whether a quick walk around the block or a full workout, you can still reap the benefits. 


Coziness and Comfort 


Everyone wants to be cozy and comfortable when tucked up in bed, but maybe your bedsheets, mattress, or environment aren't right for you. If you are using an old childhood bed, consider checking what size is a king bed and upgrade to something where you can sprawl and stretch out, even if your partner feels entitled to some space, too. It would help if you also made the room as dark and cool as possible without it being too cold, as this can also impact your sleep and cause restless nights. 


Bedtime Ritual 


Rituals naturally inspire people. We love the order and consistency that they bring, so just like you have a morning routine, whether that's a fresh cup of coffee while eating breakfast or doing some yoga in front of the TV, you should also try a bedtime routine. This can include meditation, reading a book, or putting your phone away until the morning. The more you follow this routine, the more comfortable you'll feel with it, and your brain will start associating sleep with this routine, which will help you get to sleep with fewer problems. 


Check-Ups


There are plenty of factors that could impact our sleep, too. These can range from snoring or sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome. It's possible that even with a regular sleep ritual, comfortable environment, and lots of exercise, you still struggle with getting to sleep. If this is the case, you can consult your physician to find out solutions to overcome these problems. However, this may not be possible if you live alone, so think about apps or devices that can monitor your sleep and identify the potential issues affecting you. 


Sweet Dreams


Getting the best night's sleep every night won't just help you feel well-rested. You'll also have more energy, be happier, and you'll be healthier, too. These combine to ensure you take each day by the scruff of the neck and overcome anything that gets in your way.