- Saturday, 11 April 2020

Spellbound #9: lockdown edition

sneak peak: this edition of my spellbound series covers what life looks like in lockdown for COVID-19

It will not have escaped anyone that life right now is a little bit all over the place. Or rather, it's all in one place - your home. While some people are taking the opportunity for some peaceful relaxation (at last! nobody can disturb me! I can finally relax in peace!), others are hunting about for new ways to pass the time.


I'm very lucky to be in a secure job that isn't going anywhere and, in fact, has ramped up the busy factor by about 100, but have still been trying to make the most of not having to commute, and being in the house 24/7 (well, 23/7 really - we'll get onto that later). I came home to Edinburgh nearly four weeks ago now, just before lockdown measures kicked in, and am THRIVING now that I've got unlimited access to canine cuddles as well as all the bakey, crafty, makey stuff I have been missing whilst in London.


However, please note: this is not supposed to be fuel to the fire of people feeling under pressure to start some ambitious creative project, or become a master of sourdough, or think up an ingenious way to make money during the crisis but still be ethical. Please feel no pressure to go and do something just because other people are talking about it. Doing something is good, doing nothing is good, neither of those things is better than the other and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


This is simply a collection of things I have been spending my time on that might be useful for other people who also, like me, enjoy being busy all the time. If you are not bound by this restlessness, I salute you, and would very much like some of your zen.


Spellbound #9: lockdown edition, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk



Here are 10 things I have been enjoying, interested in, and otherwise spellbound by over the weird old time that has been COVID-19 so far.


1. nothing

There is so much talk about being productive during lockdown and maximising the opportunity and blah blah BLAH and I'm so fed up of it. Doing nothing is so much more than actually doing ~nothing~, it gives you time and space to reset, relax, catch up with yourself, and just breathe. Before you do anything, do nothing.

2. fresh air

Ah yes, the 23/7 point. People are referring to this as the allotted daily *exercise*, but that doesn't mean you have to spend the entire thing sprinting at full pelt in order to comply. I'm thinking of it as daily fresh air, because I am not a natural cardio enthusiast (sorry but I just find running quite.. monotonous  and YES I'm probably doing it wrong and I would like to enjoy running and every so often I do but equally every so little-bit-more-often I don't). My daily outing is a dog walk, yours might be a stroll through the nearby streets, a jog around the block, a HIIT workout in the park, a cycle along the coast - whatever it is, getting that daily fresh air will help inject a sense of routine into a lifestyle that, at the moment, has none.

3. life admin

Dull as it sounds, my brain feels decidedly calmer and more smug now that I have brought my journal up to date and filled in the numerous gaping holes in my budget spreadsheet. Needless to say, said budget spreadsheet is looking much more streamlined now that I'm not a) commuting, b) constantly finding new cafés and restaurants to add to my 'to visit' list, or c) popping in to Little Waitrose 'just to see what's reduced'... I've chased up getting refunds from trains I could no longer take and flights I could no longer get on, and am trying to plan for what my life will look like once this all goes back to 'normal' (whatever normal will be...), although that's proving easier said than done. Either way, I'm trying!

4. exercise

Exercise is a key part of my routine in London, so I've tried to keep going as closely as possible to that routine now too. Instead of getting up and going to the gym before work, I'm getting up and doing a home workout before work. I know that, for me, getting active and moving first thing helps me feel awake and be productive for the rest of the day, so it's something I am prioritising. That might look completely different for you, and that's totally fine. (I've switched from Natacha Océane's Build. training guide, which requires a gym, to her Home. Reload one, which doesn't - and if you want a review of Build., then you're in luck!) I've also been doing yoga twice a week which, again, gives me a sense of routine, keeps my mind happy, and allows me to support my London yoga teacher who has moved her classes online (highly recommend!).

5. virtual socialising

Thank the heavens above for video calling. Chats with my friends, also known as people within my same age group, have gone smoothly and without the slightest sign of a hitch. Chats with the family, also known as a sizeable group spanning several generations, have not been quite so smooth. They have, however, been wildly entertaining to the point that we have got very little actual news from each other because there has been no capacity for it in between the hysterical laughter coming, delayed, from all directions. Sometimes all you need is to see someone's face, hear their voice, and have a good can't-quite-breathe laugh.

6. food

Cooking it, baking it, and most importantly, eating it. Quite a portion of our time has been spent flicking through recipe books, choosing our menu for the week, writing a shopping list, getting whatever food we can find (which invariably ends up looking nothing like the shopping list), and then embarking on making the aforementioned recipes with ingredient substitutions here, there and everywhere. For a collection of the recipes Mum and I made during March, and reviews of each of them, have a look at my Recipe resolution: March post.

7. hobbies

In normal life, I do have a tendency to embark on all sorts of things that can come under the all-encompassing umbrella of ~hobbies~. Recently, I bought a sewing machine and have so far made: a skirt from an old pair of jeans, a scrunchie from the offcuts of said jeans, and a crop top which was supposed to be much more interesting than a plain old crop top but didn't go exactly to plan. I've been squeezing my hobbies into bright early mornings, lunchtimes, and evenings, because work is very much still part of my daily routine (counting my lucky stars). I've also been making youtube videos (yep, again), Mum has been gardening and doing online learning courses, we've both been singing, and Gracie has been Gracie-ing.

8. spring cleaning

The local charity shops are in for a surprise when they reopen because I have a WHOOOOOOLE LOT of stuff to donate. I haven't done a big clearout like this since childhood, so I now have a whole suitcase of clothes to put on depop, and about five bags more to give to the charity shops. I've also waved goodbye to my old desk and dressing table, which have both gone to happy new homes. My bedroom now looks transformed into a grown up bedroom rather than a bedroom I left behind at 17 and never changed since.

9. watching and reading

Firstly, books books books. I tend to read a lot anyway but lately have got into a habit of putting my phone away around 9pm, out of my room, and reading for an hour before going to sleep. As a result, I'm going through books like nobody's business - my dreams have also been extraordinarily vivid lately and I'm not sure if these two things are linked?... Mum and I also hugely enjoyed netflix's Love is Blind (honestly, just watch it) and are currently loving ITV's Belgravia, which is a scandal-filled period drama set in London (but filmed in Edinburgh!), based on a book by Julian Fellowes who also wrote Downton Abbey. It's fab.

10. household bonding

It's at times like this that I'm extra grateful Mum and I get along so well, because I can only imagine the chaos if we didn't. It's just the two of us and Gracie (mini Australian labradoodle and therefore immune to ever being annoying in any way), and it's so lovely being able to spend time together, because usually when I come home it's for a weekend so we cram it full of things to do and then before we know it, it's finished. If there's any silver lining to lockdown, for me, it's that I'm locked down at home (~home~ home) and can spend so much time with Mum. It goes without saying that it would be nice to have the freedom to see the rest of my nearest and dearest too, but if that were the case, it would mean we weren't in this situation, and I wouldn't have a reason to be at home for so long in the first place.

Again, just to reiterate for anyone in the back, this is only my experience of COVID-19 lockdown and will not be the same as anyone else's. My priorities will be different, my job situation will be different, my living situation will be different, my choices for how I spend my time will be different, and this should not be taken as any sort of right/wrong guide for how to 'do' lockdown. I'm emphasising this so much because there is a big conversation going on about how we are all, as a collective, approaching this weird new way of living, and I feel very strongly that it isn't fair for people to impose a certain standard of productivity on anyone else.


Anyway, with that said, I would love to hear what you are doing during lockdown, whether that is taking the time to chill out, tackling a stack of unread books, or baking lots and lots of banana bread. Let me know in a comment!


Lots of love to all, stay safe, stay home, stay connected, and look out for anyone who might need a helping hand or a friendly face. And may the nation's dogs continue to relish the constant presence of their humans.

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