It’s August (how?), it’s raining (probably), and we’re all coming out of lockdown (we think..?). It’s been a quiet affair over here on the blog over the past few months, but we are BACK and ready to rumble. Or, if not rumble, talk about some of the best things to do with our newfound freedom.

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White chalk cliffs at sunset

Going for walks

We’ve been trapped indoors for months, we’ve barely left the one-mile radius we like to call home, and nature calls. Not in the bathroom sense, but in the wilderness, wolf-howling-at-the-moon, sticks-underfoot, shout-off-a-cliff, run-down-a-hill and get-out-among-it-all sort of a way. If lockdown’s sent you absolutely 100% loopy, being out in nature is a tonic. There’s something about that dappled sunlight through trees that feels like exactly the right thing to be doing. So find a walk, grab your hiking boots, slap on an unfeasible amount of sun cream and off you go. Sore legs and much satisfaction awaits.

Getting your skin in order

I don’t know about you but heatwaves play havoc with my skin. It’s all the really high factor SPF, brings me out like I’m 15 all over again (this is Robyn by the way, Emma has the complexion of a goddess). So autumn is all about getting my face back to normal. Step one: pop back in the exfoliation – I get really paranoid about chemical exfoliation etc when I’m out in the sun but now it’s resolutely grim all the time I’m ramping up my Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum. Between that and their, and I am not exaggerating when I say this, life-changing Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum, and a dose of The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution every now and then my face should be blemish free by Bonfire Night. Step 2 is to crank up the moisture. My go-to method is Beauty Pie’s Triple Hyaluronic Acid and Lipopeptide Serum morning and night, Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Cream before bed and Avene Soothing Moisture Mask every few days.

Trying out the pointless shit you ordered in lockdown

The needlepoint sweater you finished in week three; that handmade wizard’s staff you bought on your first Zoom hangover; the jewellery you made using bits of old kitchen lino – now’s the time, dear friends. Put them on, wear them out, let the world marvel at your wonder.

A lamp sits on a white desk in front of a white wall, and the desk has all white things on it, including a stack of envelopes, white pen and silver bulldog clip. The lamp is an oval-shaped white glass orb on a round brass base with a round turny-knob on it.

Buying more wisely

Once you’ve grown weary of your lino earrings, one thing I (Robyn again, Emma’s mastered this already) want to become better at is buying in a more mindful way. I’m all about instant gratification but with the world falling apart, the social and environmental impact of fast fashion is feeling more and more inescapable and I need to do my bit. Whether that’s hopping on Depop to pick up someone’s last season high street cast offs OR heading over to Parisian Sweet to pick up a bag for life. And by that I mean a Chanel heirloom not another cotton tote. I’m not saying I’m not shopping. I’m saying I’m trying to a. reset my head so I don’t need the eCommerce endorphins and b. amend my thought processes so I’m buying better to Last Longer. Of course this could be an excuse to just buy exclusively designer but that’s FINE. Not every superhero wears capes, some wear Vivienne Westwood.

Falling back in love with your home again

Yes, it felt like a prison sometimes, and yes, you wanted to burn it all down multiple times every week (just me?), but your home’s still your home, and it’s time to find ways to love being there again. Whether it’s the extension you’ve been planning for years, the big purchase you put off while you were on furlough pay, a new paint job, or an accessories refresh to help it feel like a brand new space, there are precisely one million ways to make your home feel like a place you love again. Here are a couple of things on our shopping lists:

Emma: The LSA Cut Glass Mixer Glasses. For water, naturally. The Menu JWDA lamp, which I’ve had my eye on for so long it’s threatened to take out a restraining order. And this little Raawi ceramic bowl that I definitely don’t need, but would look SO DAMN GOOD in a shelfie.

Robyn: I am ALL about making the bedroom feel like a sanctuary, because the outside world all feels a bit Mad Max at the moment, so I’ve been lusting after all the best bedroom buys. There’s the La Redoute Shigeko headboard of dreams, sexy sheets from West Elm, a couple of Beauvamp lamps to give things that luxury touch and, of course, a Woodchip and Magnolia mural for maximum escapism. Oh and these lovely beautiful Sleepy Wilson pyjamas to lounge about in because you must always #dresslikeyourhome.

Emma: keeping hold of the good habits you picked up

Lockdown’s been haaaaaaard, man. I think I hit some of the lowest points of my life, and that’s saying something. Having no real purpose to so many days played merry hell with my mental health, but I did learn a thing or two along the way that I’m going to put to good use. For me, it’s all about keeping space and time that’s all for me. Taking regular social media breaks long enough to stop reaching for my phone every five minutes. Knowing that it’s ok to say no to things. Going out for walks and fresh air every day. Using exercise to burn off adrenaline, instead of calories. Staying in bed or crawling under a blanket when the day requires it. Crying when I need to. Asking for what I need in a situation instead of defaulting to what I think other people want. Not using shopping to distract me. Sitting with uncomfortable things rather than putting them in a box. Taking my time. Putting that time and my money behind things I genuinely care about. Making time to find out what I genuinely care about. I’m conflicted about lockdown ending – my natural inner fear-monger is terrified things will go back to the way they were before, but maybe I can do a little check back on this list every now and then to remind myself of those good habits and try to keep them around. Whether you’re terrified (right here) or pleased as a magpie (not a real phrase) that it’s over, lockdown’s been a traumatic global moment for pretty much everybody. So, while you’re getting back to normal, cut yourself some slack if you’re feeling more stressed or tired or dizzy with joy than usual. After months of being told the world wasn’t a very safe place to be, it’s totally normal to feel a bit ruddy weird about going back out into it. If you’re like me and you want to hibernate for a bit longer while you re-test your boundaries, that’s ok. And if you’re all ready to go dancing in the streets and snogging strangers that’s ok too. Well, maybe don’t snog any strangers just yet, unless you do it through cling film* or something. We’re all going to be moving at different paces, and feeling a whole bunch of different ways, so, whatever your way, do yourself a solid and be nice to yourself.

*Please, please don’t do this.

Robyn: Running away from your problems

Not reeeally. Just run. Or swim. Or Pilate. Or Yoge. Or the verb of whatever form of exercise is accessible to you. Give it a go. As Emma said, lockdown has been a great reminder of what an absolute game-changer using your body, getting a bit sweaty or even just having a point in the day which is all about you can be. I like to share that time with Adam Buxton. Not personally, of course. He’s not my running buddy. Just my podcast buddy. Buddy might be a stretch… Adam Buxton is not my imaginary friend.

A wodden treehouse nestles into lots of lush greenery

Going away somewhere niche and beautiful

Not an ad, but have you seen Canopy and Stars? It’s the perfect coming-out-of-lockdown get-away site, with everything from tree houses and yurts to log cabins and outdoor baths. It works a bit like AirBnB, and they have locations all over the UK (and Europe if you’re comfortable with whatever an Air Bridge is). If you’re feeling the need to get away and don’t have wads of cash right now to do it, have a look – it’s a bit like camping for people who don’t like camping.

Robyn: Giving yourself a break

It’s been over a month since we posted. And you know why? Life. Emma and I write the blog because we love to write. We live to try and out-pun one another and we like to offer unsolicited advice on what stuff you should buy, see, listen to, eat and do. But you know what, my writing tap ran dry because of life. Because I was blue and then mid-range bereaved and working through all that. And then I was happy and I was just happy to be happy again and wanted to splash about in that for a bit. My point is, that’s fine. Sometimes you have to just put everything down, if you can, not probably, like your job but also totally your job if you need to, take stock and have a breather. Then it’s ok to pick things back up and say ‘I was a bit wobbly there, normal service is now resumed’. And I was and it is but I took the time I needed and I really think we all need to be better at doing that. My personal heroes along those lines this week are Mother Pukka, who told the world she had to press pause for the sake of her mental health and Remi Sadé for talking about stopping to look at what the end goal really is. Hat tipped to these two amazing women.

a boat is painted wit multicoloured patterns. Many people in reflective jackets and hard hats look on
We’re going to need a brighter boat…

Gorging on culture

Galleries are back! We’re so excited we could wet our pants. Not in an exhibition because you get thrown out for that sort of thing, but generally we’re off the charts excited. So far we have been to Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers at The Design Museum which was exceptional and Among the Trees at The Hayward which was very good. On the list for the next few weeks is Gauguin and the Impressionists at the RA, Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain, Kimono:Kyoto to Catwalk at the V&A and hopping aboard Peter Blake’s Everybody Razzle Dazzle ferry across the Mersey when Robyn ventures home again.

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