Social distancing has been in place since March here in the UK. And as such, at the time of writing this blog post, it’s been three months since the pace and routine of life has been ‘normal’.
Like many people there are elements of lockdown which I’ve struggled with: Not seeing friends and family, the anxiety surrounding the state of the World, and not really knowing ‘what comes next’.
Equally there are things I’ve enjoyed! And I think many people have felt the same. Namely: Stripping things back to ‘what’s important’. A slower, quieter pace of life. More time with Oli. More time outdoors. A much greater sense of gratitude for all the things in life we do have to be thankful for.
As restrictions have begun to loosen up of late, I’ve been reflecting on some of the things which have made the last few months a bit better. There are certainly things I’ve added into my routine – be it a habit or purchase – which have made me happier and feel more positive.
Here are ten good things which have made lockdown a bit brighter in casa Welburn-Leggett! And I’d love to hear of anything you’ve found to make your days brighter too.
10 Good Things Which Have Made Lockdown A Bit Brighter
1. A Daily Walk
My daily walk has become the focus point of each day. At first this felt like the one slice of ‘normal’ we were allowed to incorporate, given the Government’s lockdown guidelines. But truth be told, it encouraged me to walk outside a lot more than I usually would!
Taking a daily walk helped to lend a little routine to mine and Oli’s new lockdown groove.
And, turns out, it has so many more benefits than just exercise.
A daily walk is meditative, it’s time to think and chat, and it’s also given me a whole new appreciation for the gentle shift in nature. Case in point: there’s a vineyard near us which had teeny tiny seedlings for vines at the beginning of lockdown. Now? They’re luscious leaf-tangles and I’m just waiting for the first bottles to be created . . . any time now . . . ????
2. Slowing Down For ‘Mundane’ Tasks
What’s the rush ?????! The smallest of ‘mundane’ tasks, like taking a shower, clearing the kitchen, even watering our potted plants, has taken on a slower more leisurely pace. And I’m not mad about it!
If anything, being truly ‘present’ for said tasks has given me more time to think, and to enjoy them.
I mean, not the clearing of the kitchen (though listening to a podcast whilst doing so helps!), but taking a shower and watering our plants for sure.
On the shower note, I’ve really enjoyed adding some more boujis products into my roster. Molton Brown’s Luxury Shower Gel & Body Washes are amongst my favourites, in particular Flora Luminare and Fiery Pink Pepper. I’ve also been using Beauty Pie’s Soul Provider Bath & Shower Oil which is designed to help you to relax.
3. Quay Blue Light Filtering Glasses
You may have seen me post about my Quay blue light filtering glasses on Instagram.
Intense screen time is part and parcel of my work, and oftentimes (prior to my new glasses!) by the evenings I’m wiped out. And/or my eyes are stinging with tiredness. And and/or by the time I get into bed, I don’t want to risk looking at my phone for fear of the screen’s glare keeping me up.
All of the above are no longer a problem. Sweet Charlotte (who I can’t wait to work with again! Soon!) recommended Quay’s blue light filtering glasses to me and I am a TOTAL convert.
You can choose from a huge range of styles, and the special lenses filter out the blue light which your technology (phone, laptop etc) emits. This helps to quell that tired-but-wired feeling when you go to bed, and ease the tension on your eyes.
I have the ‘All Nighter’ style. And there are dozens of others to choose from too!
4. Making Dinners-At-Home Feel Like Dinners-Out
Oli and I don’t eat out a whole lot anyway, but any restaurant dinners we did have planned came to a halt amidst lockdown.
Fortunately for us (and I think, mainly me! Ha!) Oli is an amazing cook, and he often cites cooking as one of his favourite ways to relax. Durning lockdown we’ve (Oli has) pretty much cooked every meal from scratch. This is a good thing health-wise (since we know every ingredient going into our food), and it’s been something to look forward to every day.
On my end, I’ve kept up my contribution to the dinner-at-home routine, periodically laying a tablesetting as if we were having friends over/we were on a night out. I’ve found that by laying a beautiful table, it acts as a segway from my ‘work headspace’ into my ‘home headspace’ (more on that below!). Plus it lends a feeling of occasion to our meals together. It doesn’t take a lot: A small cutting from the garden in a vase, a tealight candle, napkins, a good playlist on . . . I’m already looking forward to our next dinner-in!
5. A Weekend Routine
I wrote at length about creating a weekend routine during lockdown here, so I’ll leave you with the link to peruse.
In short, having a clear dinstinction between the working week, and the weekend, has really helped me to structure my time. And still look forward to switching off.
Friday I seeeeee you!
6. Forraging & Garden Cuttings
I’ve come to realise that (during more-normal times) I buy a lot of flowers! Whether it be for a photoshoot, for gifts or for peppering around the flat, I like to buy blooms often.
Cut to the first few weeks of lockdown, and I was missing the regular burst of colour and life which fresh flowers bring. And so, I got to thinking about other ways to welcome nature into our home.
Sure enough, I found inspiration on Instagram. I noticed that a few people I follow were forraging for fallen twigs in interesting shapes, wild flowers and other pretty pieces of nature which would look nice in a vase.
Over the past few months I’ve loved forraging for cuttings from the garden, and other bits when we’ve been out on our walks. One of my favourite foraging treasures has turned out to be various stems of wild grass, I love the way they look and they dry so beautifully too.
Moving forwards I intend to continue to forrage, as well as buy fresh blooms, since it’s more economical AND dried flowers last a long long time.
Full disclosure: Oli and I have had Netflix for a long time, and Amazon Prime for a year or so too. I did not think that we needed a new streaming service subscription. But, the prospect of months at home piqued my TV-viewing curiosity.
I decided to sign up for a 7 day free trial with NOW TV so that I could binge watch The Hills: New Beginnings. A decision I was very VERY happy with. After my trial ended I realised that there were still so many shows I wanted to watch on NOW TV’s Entertainment package: The Mindy Project, Broad City, Sex and the City! There are SO many amazing shows available through NOW TV.
And so, I took the plunge and signed up for NOW TV’s Entertainment Pass and I am so so glad I did. It’s added a whole new roster of show’s to my viewing possibilities and I’ve used it EVERY day since I signed up.
NOW TV kindly extended a Sky Cinema Pass to me too, and so Oli and I have been indulging in regular movie nights in as well! Highlights include Crazy Rich Asians (loved it!) and the full American Pie franchise which was so fun and nostalgic to watch.
OH! And Gangs of London was a harrowing and amazing TV series in equal measures.
If you’re not already signed up for NOW TV, and you’ve got the itch for a new show/movie, I can’t recommend it enough. Start wth a free 7 day trial and see how you get on.
8. The New ‘Friend Date’: Takeaway Coffee + Walk
As soon as we were allowed to take a socially distanced walk with friends I jumped on the opportunity! Where once we’d get together at the pub/over brunch/insert-other-social-activity-not-currently-possible, now we’re grabbing a takeaway coffee and going for a nice long walk. And I love it!
There’s something so simple about going for a good long stroll together, those powerful benefits of walking I mentioned in point #1 apply here too.
Plus right now it feels like we’ve all been stripped back a bit. Chats feels more soulful, lighter (in a way) and I’m so SO enjoying them. Not to mention that takeaway coffee tastes SO much better for having been denied it for a while.
We all know that picnics are GREAT, but over the last few months they’ve taken on a whole new level of loveliness in my eyes.
My top hack for creating an amazing picnic is to carry all of your picnic items in a crate, and then turn the crate over once emptied to create a little table for you to rest your wine glass/food/whatever on. Game. Changer.
At first Oli and I were enjoying picnic time in the garden solo, but as restrictions have loosened up we’re looking forward to having friends join us soon too! We just need the sunshine to come back . . . !
10. A Multi-Coloured Manicure
I’ll leave you with a fun last note: Multi-coloured manis! I don’t know why the mood struck me, but one evening recently I decided to try an ombre manicure. Cue five complimentary shades of nude and pink – and I happily painted my nails in alternating colours.
It was SO fun and I was surprised by how much I liked the result. Plus it has way more longevity than I thought it would.
I’m sure that there are lots of other lovely bits and bobs which I’m omitting from today’s roundup, but I wanted to put pen to paper as to some of the things which have brightened up the last few months, even on dark days.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
What’s been brightening your last few months? Any random things making you smile?
I’d love to start a list of mood-boosters!
Love, Monica x