My thoughts are with anybody who has lost loved ones during this difficult time.
My thanks are with every single one of the incredible key workers who are putting their health and wellbeing on the line for us all.
Life, as we know it, has well and truly changed forever. It is such a challenging situation, and everyone has their own ways of dealing with things. A bit like most people, I’ve had good days and I’ve had bad days. Without sounding too cliché, this last month (feels like much longer) has undoubtedly been a rollercoaster. I’m missing my family, my friends, my work and the normalities of everyday life, pre-coronavirus.
Sometimes it’s the soul-fulfilling things, like spending quality time with my mum. Other times it’s the tiniest things, such as nipping to Booths to pick up a newspaper on a Sunday morning. Different days hit me in different ways, which is how most people I’ve spoken to are feeling too.
I thought I’d share a little about my ‘new normal’ during the lockdown, as I’ve been enjoying reading about how everyone has been spending their time. I don’t want this to sound in any way frivolous – talking about baking recipes during a pandemic when people are losing their lives and livelihood. I just hope anything that can bring a little smile, or muster a little sunshine, as we all navigate this difficult period is a positive.
A daily walk or run is still one of the best parts of my day. I’m grateful that we’re allowed to go outside for one form of exercise, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be in places where it is banned. Fresh air and exercise have done wonders for my headspace during this time.
I found I’ve appreciated the simple things in daily life, like waking up to sunshine in the morning and hearing the birds happily chirping away.
Missing family and friends is one of the toughest aspects of lockdown. Although you can’t beat seeing them face-to-face, FaceTime chats have helped to fill the gap of contact. We’ve been doing fun things like quizzes and games, and we’ve planned a virtual afternoon tea for the May bank holiday.
Although my normal every day working life is heavily reliant on the news, I’ve cut down on my news consumption massively because it started to feel overwhelming. Setting periods aside to step away from my phone and social media has been a nice break too.
I’ve been getting back into running after two stubborn knee injuries over the last couple of years. *Touch wood* my knee has been holding up fine so far. I had signed up to the Southport Natterjack 10k in September which I’d taken part in previously to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Although it’s now been postponed to 2021, I’ve carried on with a rough running plan for it. My weekly ‘training’ has consisted of 2x 3k runs and 1x 5/6k run. I’m planning on gradually increasing the distances, depending on how my knee is.
I find that running is such a release, it’s the perfect stress buster. Pops and I go out first thing in the morning when it’s quiet, and we alternate our routes, so it doesn’t feel too samey. My music choice is mood-dependent, and my playlists vary from Rage Against The Machine to Calvin Harris.
I’ve been having a giggle at the memes about banana bread being the official sponsor of lockdown! I’ve been trying out a few variants of it – my favourite so far has been adding chopped dates, raisins and pecans. Baking can be a little challenging in our household as Tom is allergic to egg, so I’ve been experimenting with vegan and egg-free recipes. Some have been more successful than others(!) but a few of the successes include oat & raisin cookies, fruit & nut flapjacks, peanut butter & jelly traybake and lemon cake. Tom has also been perfecting his sourdough recipe, and I’ve enjoyed being a taste tester for it!
Another positive of lockdown has been the number of books I’ve been getting through. It’s been a nice mixture of reading new books, as well as those that have been sat on the shelf for a while. I like a bit of variation when it comes to genres, but you can’t beat a good thriller!
A few recent reads that I’d recommend:
- Cilka’s Journey
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
- The Art of Racing in The Rain
- Jonathan Van Ness’ book, Over The Top (a must-read if you’re a fan of Queer Eye!)
- The Silent Patient
- Then She Was Gone
- A Man Called Ove
- Good Vibes, Good Life
- Atomic Habits
My reading list just seems to grow by the day! But here are a few that I’m looking forward to reading:
- The Flat Share
- Hunger Games trilogy
- Where the Crawdads Sing
- All The Light We Cannot See
- Call Me Stargirl
- The Holiday
- The Beekeeper of Aleppo
- Everything is Figureoutable
Five of my favourite books I’d recommend:
- Catcher in The Rye
- The Book Thief
- The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud
- The Art of Racing in The Rain
- The Goldfinch
I’ve spent some of the extra time working on creative writing projects. There are a few that I’ve been working on for a long time because I’ve either procrastinated or just felt like I haven’t had the time – no excuses now!
I’ve been learning Italian for a few years and have been using some of the spare time in lockdown to progress with it. I’ve been working with a combination of Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and also watching TV box sets in Italian with English subtitles, or vice versa.
Speaking of TV, Tom and I have been enjoying binge-watching some great box sets. Of course, lockdown wouldn’t be lockdown without a Tiger King mention! (Check out Louis Theroux’s BBC documentary on Joe Exotic if you haven’t already watched it). We also really enjoyed Ozark and have been getting our travel fix through programmes and documentaries, as well as series one and two of Race Across The World on BBC.
When will lockdown end? And what will life look like post-lockdown? Who knows. One thing I do know is that I’ve learnt life lessons during this period that I hope I’ll never forget. Life is precious, and we get so wrapped up in things that don’t matter at all in the long run.
It’s easy to take your health for granted. It’s easy to take so many things for granted. I think lockdown has forced everyone to take a moment, count our lucky stars and appreciate what is truly great (and what really matters) in life. Even all those ordinary, everyday things – like speaking to someone you love and enjoying a walk in the fresh air. These are the important things we’ll remember when it’s over.
I’d love to know how you’ve been finding lockdown, and especially if you have any great recommendations for books, TV, music or film! Stay home and stay safe x