Hey! How is everyone? Hopefully you’re in good health and staying safe, wherever you are in the world.

I’ve read a few insight posts into people’s life during lockdown, and I find them quite fascinating, so thought I’d do my own. It will act as a diary entry when all this is nothing but a distant memory!

Working

I’ve been working from home for 7 weeks now. I was only 6 weeks into my new job at the time, so still fairly new to everything anyway. My employer acted really quickly – one day they were setting everyone up with the tech to work from home for a one day trial, and we just never came out of it. It wasn’t a huge change for me, as my role isn’t 100% office based anyway, but still a new way of working with everyone completely remote and only available by phone or video call. There have been frustrations as people try to adapt, but on the whole it’s worked out pretty well. I’m super lucky that I can carry out my role from home, and also that my employer doesn’t intend to furlough anyone, so I am grateful.

The husband is now furloughed, this is his third week, and there are times when I’m a bit jealous as he watches a film and I’m in the middle of another Teams meeting, but I just need to keep remembering that I’m fortunate!

Truth be told I’m thankful of the structure that WFH brings me. It means I still have to get up early every morning for our daily department call, I can’t have afternoon naps, and I don’t have a load of excess time to fill. When I was made redundant a couple of years back I had a lot of time on my hands, and that was much more difficult.

Eating and drinking

Eating out is one of my pleasures in life – not necessarily fancy restaurants, just good traditional pub food, bars and eateries. We eat out at least once a week, and it’s a highlight. So that’s been a big change for us. Our local indian takeaway closed after about 3 weeks due to Coronavirus, but luckily we’ve found another even nicer one. Chinese takeaway is out of bounds due to the husband’s gluten intolerance, but we do have a local restaurant that does Malaysian and Thai dishes which are gluten free, so that’s stepped into the breach.

Outside of that we’ve been doing burgers at home on the barbecue (thanks to the good weather), and truth be told Mr G cooks a better burger than any I’ve ever had in a bar or fast food place.

We bought an airfryer just before lockdown, which does the most amazing fries and, surprisingly, steak! So a weekly steak night has become a thing, with peppercorn or blue cheese sauce, and the added indulgence of truffle oil fries.

I seem to have slipped into a bit of a “we deserve it” mentality so there has been pate, multiple types of cheese and crackers and all the crisps – the kind of thing usually reserved for Christmas! But food is a big pleaser for us, so in the absence of other things, it’s worth it to make us happy.

Gluten related rather than lockdown related I have a list of things I want to try that the husband can eat, including cheese scones and flatbreads (we didn’t eat cheese scones before he was GF, so I’m not sure why they’re on my list now!) I made black pudding scotch eggs for the first time yesterday (we had to order gluten free black pudding online from the Bury Black Pudding Company – it’s really worth it if you’re a fan).

As for drinking, well I’m drinking too much and too often, and that’s that!

Reading

My first thought when I have time to myself is that I’ll fill it with books, but so far I’ve only read three.

RSVP by Helen Warner
A chick lit book with a bit of a difference. 4 different main female characters whose lives intertwine, and not always in a positive happy way. It was a nice read, not too fluffy!

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
This was a (requested) Christmas present, but I saved it for a time that was worthy, if that makes sense (I do that with much anticipated books). So, a few weeks ago, on one of the first Sundays it was warm enough to sit in the garden, I read it cover to cover.
I’ve been a big fan of Dawn for years, from her early television days, and read another of her books The Cows on holiday last year. I really enjoyed it, although didn’t like the characters as much as in The Cows which had a bit of an effect. Dawn is a fab writer though; I look forward to reading more of hers in the future.

Sisters by Rosamund Lupton
An oldie published back in 2010, which I picked up in Poundland. A psychological thriller and murder mystery all in one with a really great twist at the end I did not see coming. I read it cover to cover in one sitting (the best way to read a book, I find) which is testament to it’s un-put-downability.

Watching

I’m not a huge film and TV watcher, because I get distracted fairly easily! That said, there have been a few things recently that have really captivated me, and meant I didn’t reach for my phone once!

Gangs of London
A new 9 part series following a criminal family and their dealings – both legal and illegal. Very brutal and violent (with a couple of hide behind the cushion moments), but a brilliant watch.

After Life Season 2
I was so glad to see that this had made a comeback, after the absolutely brilliant first series. I wasn’t sure how it would fare, in view of how the last season ended, but it was as funny, heartwarming, heart wrenching, and tear inducing as season 1. I laughed, I cried, I snotted. Absolute brilliance and realism from Ricky Gervais.

Upright
This is a new series from Tim Minchin, about a man trying to drive across Australia with a piano. He ends up with an unexpected companion along the way and the 8 half hour episodes follows their journey – literally and emotionally. It was another laugh/cry/do both at the same time series, and I highly recommend you put it on your list (we binge watch it in one night).

Goodfellas
I have spent most of my adult life thinking I’ve watched this film, and agreeing with people in conversation about how great it is. We watched it yesterday afternoon, and it turns out I have never seen it! I thought I had because I’ve seen some of the iconic scenes, but for the main I had no recollection so it was all very exciting and new! Now I can genuinely say it’s a really great film. Never have I seen a film with Robert De Niro that wasn’t fantastic.

Shopping

I’ve settled into a similar routine of shopping once a week, which is unusual for me as I’ve always been a little and often type person (I go to the supermarket about 3 times a week with a basket rather than once a week with a trolley). Now though I’m trying to limit my outings, for obvious reasons. I’m also shopping for my mother in law, who is 80, and her next door neighbours/long time friends who are also in their 80s, and one of them has cancer. So off I go with my 3 lists – first to Lidl, then to Asda, then to a local shop for any bits that I couldn’t get at the supermarket. Mother in Law is a Daily Mail reader, so it’s with gritted teeth that I’ve been picking that up for her, and then delivering the shopping to both houses by leaving it on the doorstep.

None of them have left the house since mid-March, and I know it’s getting to them, but I’d rather them be safe than risk popping out for a loaf of bread.

Gardening

When lockdown started, one of the first things I was upset about was that my garden wouldn’t be full of pretties this year! Yes, I know it’s petty, but my garden is my hobby and knowing we’d be spending a lot of time at home meant I wanted it looking as nice as possible. On the plus side, the local shop I go to once a week also stocks a plethora of plants and I’ve picked stuff up from the supermarket during my weekly shop too, so I’ve been able to pot petunias, fuschias, geraniums and more. It’s a small thing, but it brings me joy, especially as we won’t be getting away on holiday anytime soon.

We bought a fire pit right at the beginning of lockdown too, so it’s been good to spend evenings outdoors with the warmth of the fire.

I’ve also worked on a small project that’s been brewing for ages, which I’ll share soon.

Things I’m missing

Family, obviously! It’s been a godsend being able to video call them, especially seeing my nephew as he’s started to crawl, but nothing makes up for a physical hug.

Afternoons in the pub with friends. You know the type; sunny days, overcrowded beer gardens, a buzz in the air, rounds of drinks, trays covered in booze and overflowing ashtrays. Who knows when we’ll be able to socialise that way again?

Holidays. Unusually we hadn’t booked anything prior to the virus hitting the UK, so haven’t had to cancel anything, but not knowing how things will progress for the rest of the year leaves uncertainty about whether we’ll be able to get away. I don’t think there’ll be any overseas travel this year, certainly not in the summer anyway, but hopefully we’ll be able to get away in the UK.

Our campervan! Strictly speaking I can’t really say I miss this, as we haven’t yet camped out in it, but I miss the freedom it would have given us. We’d certainly have used it at least a couple of times so far already this year with the unseasonable good Spring weather we’ve had. On both bank holidays we’ve reversed it up to our garden gate and used it as a little get away space for drinks, naps and even eating a takeaway but we’re yet to use it to its full potential.

Again it’s trivial compared to what many families have been going through, but I think in such a strange and uncertain time all feelings and emotions are valid.

Things I haven’t missed

Wearing a bra! 6 and a half weeks without one!

Wearing make up. Same timescale as above. Just goes to show that all that talk about women wearing make up for themselves is rubbish! I’ve never been the kind of person who won’t leave the house without make up, and because I’m not going anywhere apart from to the supermarket and delivering groceries I just haven’t bothered. Now it’s been so long I can’t help but feel I’ll look stranger with it than without!

Hairdressers. I’m scared of hairdressers and haven’t been to one in about 13 years. I was feeling a bit bored by my appearance so I gave myself a 6 inch chop and some layers through the front.

So, how’s everyone else getting on? Has your routine changed much? I’d love to know!

And thanks, as always, for reading. x

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