Rather than a round-up of products and things we’re loving this month, we thought we’d use May’s first blog post to spotlight some of the great things we’ve seen coming out of lockdown. It’s a tough, tough time, but, in amongst it all we’ve seen some real gems – some incredible people, initiatives and movements starting up. Even our intentions for coming out of lockdown seem to be wholesome and rooted in nature, so we’ve plonked a few of those in there too. Here’s hoping you’re all healthy and coping with this new way of life. Right – on with the show!
Looking out for one another
In amongst all the awful headlines and devastating statistics, we’ve seen some really beautiful moments of solidarity and support. Think Made.com donating furniture and accessories to NHS staff rooms. Think Design Havens for Heroes – the initiative where you can nominate a key worker for a room makeover. Think Thursday evening clapping and Captain Tom Moore raising £33million (and counting). Artist John Pedder designed a blue T-shirt called Miracle Workers, with all profits going to careworkers charities, Charlotte Jacklin sold back issues of Betty Magazine to raise money, and so many people put their time to incredible use, putting on free classes, running story times for kids and generally helping to scoop the country up. Honestly, the thing we’ve learned most through this time is that if there’s a way to help, somebody out there is probably trying to make it happen. And whether you started your own thing or supported other people’s, we very much salute you.
Food glorious food
Robyn: When you’ve got to grab those joy nuggets while you can and you’re trapped indoors endlessly, making your meals becomes Really. Freaking. Important. It carves up the day and gives you something to look forward to. We instituted #pastawednesday cos I LOVE pasta and all I want to do is go to raucous Italian restaurant where I have to yell my order at the waiter as he cups his ear in vain and we all laugh heartily ‘ho ho ho, pass the Cinzano’. Instead, I’ve just cranked the tele up and enjoyed Pasta Evangelists which is the absolute best (and easiest) pasta that comes to your door, or through it via the medium of the postbox. A delivery of Lola’s cupcakes made me weep last week and meant I had a great present for my intrepid postman. One only, I’m not that nice. On the cake theme, ordering a Bodoh Bakes Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen and Lovejoy cake for Emma and seeing her reaction to it was priceless. Then there’s coffee, we’ve become coffee connoisseurs, comparing tasting notes in a vain effort to have something actually interesting to talk about. We’ve sampled all the Monmouth has to offer and now we’re itching to try Girls Who Grind. Oh and the booze travels to you now too. Whether that’s classy cocktails winging their way across the UK via Bottleshop, fine wine coming atcha (like Cleopatra) from Bedales Wines or, if you’re a SE London local, Little Nans is putting together the most OTT party packs with cocktails included. Only to be consumed listening to Agadoo.
Emma: I think the world is pretty evenly split into people who’ve relished life slowing down a bit, and those for whom the pace has been unbearable. I’m in the former category. Life before lockdown now feels so unfathomably fast-paced – I’m really hopeful that those of us who need to will be able to take a bit of a step back and be more mindful with our time going forwards. Take more moments for ourselves; really stop occasionally and just be.
Emma: Lockdown was an absolute shitter for mental health, wasn’t it? I’ve never been so regularly up then down, then on edge, then down again since I was a teenager. But having all that time has taught me a thing or two about how I cope in a crisis (badly) and what I need to get myself back on track (structured days, walks, alone time). If you’ve struggled through lockdown or if you’re struggling coming out of it, now’s the time to seek out a professional to lend a hand. I think of my own therapy like personal training for my mind – I have to work at retraining my brain out of 35 years of problematic thinking, and into healthier practises. This website is an incredible resource for finding support. Write to or a call a few therapists who catch your eye, chat with them first and choose the person you feel most comfortable with. It can be a bit of trial and error, and will likely be hard work, but – in my book – is the best gift a body can give themselves, especially after a global crisis.
Exercise is ace
Robyn: Man, oh man. I am lazy. Reeeeally lazy. But I also hate rules. So put a restriction is place and I will rail against it. I did some long-ass walks during my lockdown. One a day and never bumping into anyone but lengthy as you like. It made me realise all the places I need to walk to more cos, well, birdsong and quiet and joy. I also took up running again cos I knew my mental health was holding on by a thread. It has helped. Goodness me, yes. If you’re frightened, as I was after a three year break, just hop on Couch to 5K – very, very easy easing into running and you can choose the voice of your in-phone cheerleader. I implore them to add Sue Pollard. There have also been some amazing illustrations of how exercise can be accessible whoever you are and however you live. Sadie from Fix Up Feel Good and Maz from The Wooden Hill have been schooling us all in the art of at-home Pilates while Mr Crap Flat, the man mountain, He-Man for the generation Z, Achilles 2.0 etc etc (I’m sorry Matt) has been doing some banging breath work workshops for appropriately named Workshop Gymnasium. Whatever your exercise ability, there are ways to get moving online and athletic altruists willing to show you how to do it.
Creating for coronavirus
Some brands have stepped up, exercised the old mind tank and created ranges made specially to fundraise for issues around coronavirus. Take clever old Earl of East and their pals at Uncommon London came up with a series of lockdown candles inspired by the scents we miss in our solitude and with proceeds going to Hospitality Action. Loads of beauty heros created handwash – Tanluxe, Pai and Oskia to name a few. And last, but by no means least, In Good Company worked with artists Morag Myerscough, Luke Tonge, Studio Build, Rebecca Strickson Illustration, Anthony Burrill, FYI , Craig Black and Risotto Studio to create banners designed to raise spirits and money for the NHS – bloody genius.
Tiny moments meant a lot
Robyn: Nothing has felt sweeter than the moment I got to sit on a wall with my friend George. Until I got to sit on a large concrete rectangle with El Crappo. Now if I could just sit at the bottom of my dad’s garden with the man himself. I hope you’re getting little moments to connect with the people who matter too.
The end of the commute?
One thing that’s really bloody exciting about this new world order is that we may be able to look at more flexible ways of working. Coronavirus has proved that being physically in the room is not actually essential for a good chunk of us, so hopefully we can look at creating a working day that actually fits around our family life. And for major cities, perhaps a welcome move towards a safer cycle. We’re both a bit terrified of being crushed to mush on the perilous London roads but soon we might be able to zoom into town on the jazziest of jazzy bikes. Or the beigest in Emma’s case. Bobbin bikes are giving me a boner at the moment but we’re yet to find a taupe trike for Lady Crap Flat.
Heading for the hills
Emma: I do not have a garden, therefore have not been able to have any real sun or outdoor time, other than walking to the shops, or around one of our local parks. So once we’re allowed, I’m going to hire a car and head straight for some big long walks. There’s the Seven Sisters National Trail that takes in cliff tops, sea views, and ends with fish and chips on Eastbourne pier. Or Box Hill with its stepping stones. And Hastings National Park. Where are your best UK country walks? Leave any suggestions in the comments!
Emma: I’m moving to a flat with a garden. The end.
We hope our little summary of how we’re getting through lock down was helpful. We’re just like ‘what the fuck’ to all this too so it could be utter tripe but hope it was worth a read for the plentiful gags as least. Stay safe and see you on the other side!