Top Ten Tuesday #395

Hi everyone! I’m back from Scotland now, just got back yesterday and had a really nice time. Mum’s graduation was lovely (if a little wet, she had the bad luck to be graduating on the day with the worst weather out of all the days we were in Dundee) and it was really nice to catch up with Nicola again after so long!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, and time for another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is the annual Thanksgiving Freebie, another one of the ones that it gets harder for me to do every year without repeating topics, as I feel like there’s only so many options, plus I’m British, so all my knowledge of Thanksgiving comes purely from watching US sitcoms!

I did however manage to come up with something, after two years of Covid restrictions, there were a lot of things that I was very grateful to have back when they lifted, so I thought I’d share some of those with you today:

  1. Being able to see my sister for the first time in four years this summer

I’ll start with the most obvious one: Covid put a stop to our planned family reunion in 2020, and though we were hoping my sister might be able to come visit for my Dad’s birthday in 2021, that also wasn’t able to happen. But she was finally able to get back to the UK this summer and it was so nice to finally see her in person and not over a video screen. We’re also spending Christmas in Australia this year, which is our first Christmas as a family for about five years, so that’s going to be great as well.

2. Being able to see my friends in person and not over video chat

I don’t know about everyone else, but I got really tired of video chat! Sure we could spend hours and hours chatting over video as we would in person, but it wasn’t THE SAME. I managed to see both my friends a little over the summer and autumn in 2020 between lockdowns but it was so nice once the restrictions were finally lifted properly and we were able to see each other again more regularly.

3. Horse riding

It’s amazing how much my mental health improved once I was able to go riding again over the summer in 2020, sadly, it was short lived due to more covid restrictions in the winter, but when they were finally able to re-open permanently again, it was one of the things I was most excited to have back as it really did help my mood and my general mental health so much to be able to go riding every week, it added a little bit of normality back into my life when things were still all kind of uncertain.

4. Going to the theatre again

I knew I enjoyed going to the theatre but I don’t think I realised quite how much I loved it until I was suddenly not able to go anymore! I’ve actually been to the theatre a lot more in the past couple of years than I did before lockdown, I’d usually see one, maybe two shows a year, but in 2021, I saw four shows and by the end of this year I think I’ll have seen six? Granted I think part of that is now living in London and it just being more accessible to me, but I think since Covid, I’m also more aware of the importance of supporting live entertainment, so I try to as much as I’m able!

5. Having in-person book events and being able to meet my favourite authors and get my books signed, particularly YALC

In-person book events seemed to be one of the last things to come back, they only really seemed to start getting off the ground at the beginning of this year, so naturally my anticipation was very high. I’ve been to a few this year, and it was so nice to finally get to be in the room with other readers again, I don’t think I realised how much I’d missed it until I was back in the room with people at the VE Schwab London event back in March. I can’t even explain how giddy I felt walking back through the doors of Olympia for YALC this year, I think this year’s event had such a special atmosphere because everyone was so excited to be back and I definitely felt like I ended up with twice as many books as usual to make up for the Covid off-years!

6. Being able to spend time in places that aren’t my house

When I tell you I was ridiculously excited to get the job at the vaccination centre last summer just because it meant being able to actually leave my house everyday……

7. Finally being able to move house

This one kind of ties into the last one, our move back to London has been shifted so many times over the past couple of years because of Covid, but we were finally able to do it over the summer and it’s made me so happy! I really love being back in London, it’s allowed me to have more independence because the public transport system is so much better than in Cambridge, so it really doesn’t matter that I don’t have a driving license here, and there’s so much more to do! Everything doesn’t shut at like six o’clock! And you can go to stuff that finishes late without having to worry about missing the last bus home because the buses go after midnight.

8. Going to my first concert in about six years (ish)

Okay this one wasn’t entirely Covid’s fault, there obviously were concerts on between 2016 and 2019 but I was at Uni and couldn’t really afford concert tickets! So it kind of just happened that the first concert I went to in a while was one that was after the Covid shutdown, but it was still really great to get to go to one again and Mum and I had an amazing time at Queen + Adam Lambert. I’d love to say my next one will be whenever Taylor Swift tours the UK again, but having seen the car crash that was the US ticket sales, I’m thinking fat chance of that!

9. Being able to go on holiday again

I’ve been on a couple of UK holidays in the inter-lockdown periods and since lockdown ended, with a couple of trips to Stirling and the spa holiday with my friends last year which was AMAZING. But this year will be my first international holiday since I was in Cape Town in 2020 (and that wasn’t solely a holiday as I was doing volunteer work whilst I was out there, the family holiday part of that trip got stymied by Covid), my parents and I are going out to Australia to spend Christmas with my sister and her partner and I CAN’T WAIT.

10. Getting dressed up again

This is kind of a trivial one, but because I don’t tend to get dressed up much unless I have somewhere fancy to go, I didn’t really get to dress up, put on makeup, the whole shebang during Covid restrictions. So it was just really nice once restrictions finally lifted to get all dressed up, put some makeup on and just feel a little bit special and fancy again!

What have you enjoyed doing again since Covid restrictions lifted in your country? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Cozy Reads, which is a topic I’ve done before, and to be honest, I’m not sure I could think of enough books to do it again, my reading tastes tends to lean more towards the heart-crushing than the cozy! So instead, I’ll lean towards what I do well, and share my Favourite Heartbreaking Reads. I think I’ve probably done a list like this before, but I read a lot of books that crush my emotions so it shouldn’t be hard to come up with more!


43 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #395

  1. Shaharee 22/11/2022 / 1:55 pm

    I was stuck in Gran Canaria during the Big Covid Lock Down. Let me tell you that the rest of the world was worse off. First of all, the local lock down only lasted for about 3 months, but traveling wasn’t allowed. Nobody could leave or come to the canary islands. On the other hand: there were worse places to get stuck than a subtropical island with a functional infrastructure. We could already sit on a terrace while the rest of the world had was still locked up in their houses for 6 months (or longer).

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 5:07 pm

      Lockdown in a sunny subtropical island definitely doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world. Our old house had a balcony, and I spent a lot of time out there during the summer months in the initial lockdown, just because it gave me the illusion of leaving my house!

  2. Dini @ dinipandareads 22/11/2022 / 2:42 pm

    Great list! We had an extended family reunion last month and it was so great to see everyone again in person after the pandemic. As much as I’m a homebody, the pandemic really made me appreciate having the choice to go out if I wanted to as well. πŸ˜‚ I hope you have an awesome time celebrating Christmas in Aus! It’s gonna be a hot one!

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 5:05 pm

      Thank you! Ah that sounds so lovely, so glad that you were all able to do that. I mean I’m also quite happy to stay at home most of the time, but I definitely like it to be my choice! I hope so, one of the major perks is avoiding the cold here in the UK πŸ™‚

  3. lindseyhabets 22/11/2022 / 7:14 pm

    Love your post this week! We really have so much to be thankful for that they’re back after Covid – it still amazes me regularly how all these things we used to take for granted, weren’t available to us for so long, and now they’re finally back. Makes you appreciate them even more. Christmas is Australia sound amazing (it’s on my bucketlist for sure), hope you’ll have a great time!

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 5:04 pm

      Thank you! Honestly, I’m just glad anything opened back up at all, for a while there it did seem impossible that things would ever get back to anything like approaching the way they were before. Definitely, I feel since Covid, I’ve made more of an effort to do things I enjoy that I may have only done once in a while before (like going to the theatre) because I realised how much I missed not being able to do them for so long. I’m sure I will πŸ™‚

  4. anovelglimpse 22/11/2022 / 10:09 pm

    These are all really great things to be thankful for.

  5. Greg 22/11/2022 / 10:32 pm

    I’m so glad you’re going to be able to see family for Christmas! Plus Australia. πŸ™‚ And it is so nice to get back to live events again. I miss concerts. It’s unfortunate how expensice they’ve gotten though- so sad!

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 5:00 pm

      So am I! Yeah, I mean that’s largely why I hadn’t been to one in so long, more the cost than anything else, I definitely wish they were more affordable.

  6. WendyW 23/11/2022 / 1:21 am

    This is a great list. I love to see family and friends again in person too.

  7. Susan 23/11/2022 / 2:24 am

    What a great topic! I think COVID taught all of us to be grateful for the small things we took for granted. Some of the small things I’m grateful for post-lockdown are: toilet paper abundance, not having to wear a mask everywhere, seeing other peoples’ smiles again, and being able to see family and friends in person.

    Happy TTT!


    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you! Oh gosh, thankfully the days of toilet paper hoarding seem long gone now….those are all great things to be grateful for too πŸ™‚

  8. Carla 23/11/2022 / 3:16 am

    These are all things I would also be grateful for. Since covid restrictions lifted, I was grateful to be able to go south for the winter so I didn’t get depressed with all the gray, dismal days here. Eating out again, seeing friends, going to the theatre, going to church and being able to visit my 98 year old aunt again.

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:57 pm

      Those are all lovely things to be grateful for too πŸ™‚

  9. Terrie Purkey 23/11/2022 / 4:55 am

    Great list and I think we can all identify. I didn’t even think of that aspect in my grateful list – even just being able to get groceries (when they’re not out of stock!) is a bonus. Who knew we’d be hoping to be able to go grocery shopping? ! Have a terrific week.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  10. Louise 23/11/2022 / 8:56 am

    Wonderful list! Thank you gor sharing it. We’re doing a family Christmas away from home this year too, though no where near so far as Australia, only London.

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you! Ah that will be lovely, I’ve not actually spent Christmas in London since I was a kid, we only moved back this year and obviously we’re doing Australia. Hopefully one year my sister will come over to us and we’ll all spend it together here!

  11. Emily Jane 23/11/2022 / 9:15 pm

    A lovely list! You are so well travelled. I love London. I live an hour’s train ride away so it’s always nice to make the effort for the trip.

    Have a great week ☺️

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you! I’ve been very lucky that my parents really enjoy travelling so my sister and grew up going to lots of cool places and the travel bug kind of stuck. Plus when your sister lives on the other side of the world, travel is kind of must! I love living in London, it’s so nice to have everything just a tube or bus ride away πŸ™‚

      • Emily Jane 30/11/2022 / 8:40 pm

        Amazing! I would love to travel around, although with a 4 year old I might leave it a few years! My sister lives about an hour and 15 mins away which feels like travel to us these days!!!

        I love the idea of living in London, but I like the countryside here. I am only an hour’s train ride from London though so it’s not too bad.

  12. Leslie 23/11/2022 / 11:14 pm

    Lovely post! So many things to be grateful for after getting out of a pandemic!!

  13. Carol 23/11/2022 / 11:28 pm

    A result of this pandemic will be never taking get togethers for granted again! I also had a family reunion postponed for 2 years….just had it last July. We were all so grateful to be together!

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:49 pm

      Me neither! Ah that’s so lovely, glad you guys finally managed to reunite too πŸ™‚

  14. Meezan 24/11/2022 / 1:39 am

    Wonderful list. We’ll be gathering for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2019. I’m looking forward to it. πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:45 pm

      Thank you! Ah that’s so wonderful, I hope you all had a great time πŸ™‚

  15. Aj @ Read All The Things! 24/11/2022 / 12:55 pm

    Great list! I miss riding horses. I used to ride a lot when I was a kid, but it’s too expensive.

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:44 pm

      Thanks! Yeah sometimes I do wish I’d picked a cheaper hobby, and I had to cut down on how often I go in order to be able to afford the more expensive lessons in London, but thankfully I’ve managed it so far.

  16. kamifurr 24/11/2022 / 2:34 pm

    Love this list! I’m grateful for a lot of those things as well.

  17. hopewellslibraryoflife 24/11/2022 / 9:27 pm

    Those are amazing things to be grateful for! I love watching UK property shows so I’ll think of you when I watch one on moving to London again! Congrats to your mother!

  18. deanne01 26/11/2022 / 2:56 am

    I love your post, so filled with emotion! Beautiful!

  19. Elle - Unwrapping Words 27/11/2022 / 12:14 pm

    Great post – what a wonderful idea, and a reminder of the things we missed! I’m definitely grateful to have been able to go to the theatre a couple of times this year, and we’re going to see Les Mis (for the first time on stage!) in December. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas in Oz!

  20. masterspj 27/11/2022 / 11:22 pm

    It sounds like you have loads to be thankful for, especially being able to spend the holidays in Australia with your family! Thank you for stopping by my blog last week.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    • iloveheartlandx 29/11/2022 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I’m super excited, our first Christmas all together in years, and my first time out in Australia πŸ™‚

  21. Rissi 29/11/2022 / 1:44 am

    I’m so glad you got to enjoy time with family and friends again. Hope this continues for you. Being together in person is always the best. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for visiting my website on this week.

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