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Things I’ve learnt in lockdown

Being confined at home has meant a mixture of soul-searching, recalibration and new skills learnt. After 8 weeks of lockdown, this much I know...


Next week Mr M will be auditioning for Avatar 2

I still carry the emotional scars of home hair cuts. My dad gave me the same Jimmy Krankie short back and side as my brothers until I was well into my teens. I hated it. So home cuts were a big fat no. Not even a fringe trim. So week 4 came as a bit of a shock, when I sheared the kids and dyed Mr M’s barnet (a mid-lockdown crisis or cry for help?). Following the theory that YouTube can teach you anything, I watched the first video I came to and set to work.

The results? Five-year-old Sam couldn’t care less what it looked like as long as he got a biscuit as a reward. Good job, as he now looked like Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber – but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Cutting the teenager’s hair? Defusing a landmine would have been less stressful. To avoid a lifetime of hatred we only shaved the back and sides. When we grabbed the scissors to hack away at the top, he ran off.

And then Mr M went blond… then silver. I’ve discovered with all home colouring, including my own, having a bowl and brush helps achieve better results. Then I committed the cardinal sin of cutting my own barnet. The trim is wonky and my attempt at a layered fringe is the nail in the coffin for my brief hairdressing career. Can you say you even did lockdown if you haven’t hacked away at the family’s hair? Hopefully, they all forgive me by Christmas.


kiss needlpointy

Bored or stressed, the result is the same – I’m usually reaching for wine bottle by 6pm (who am I kidding? 5pm) or hitting the biscuit jar for a sugar high to see me through until the kids’ bedtime. It’s a good job, I’m not heading off on holiday because a beach bod is not something I will achieve any time soon. However, as the old saying “The devil makes work for idle hands” – I took up needlepoint. I know! I don’t know myself right now either. But not only does it stop you from putting anything in your mouth, but it’s also relaxing and enjoyable. Bye bye Slimming World, hello cross stitch.

I ordered a beginner’s kit by Hannah Bass from Not On The High Street. Nothing too tricky or twee. It came with a canvas, wool, needle, chart and instructions – and like a good book, I didn’t want to put it down. Three days later, it was done. Night after night I nursed a G&T rather than guzzled it through a Netflix bingeathon. The only downside was that it was all over too quickly. So I’m waiting for my next project to arrive from Emily Peacock and 4lb down on my first attempt and hoping to be a stone lighter on the second.


Admittedly I was busy at work. Very busy. But now? Mehhhhh, not so much! So I’m trying to get into running. Anything to escape the family for an hour. But it’s hard. I don’t love it, I’m tortoise slow, but the endorphin shot at the end is good. Plus I’m getting better. I’m still doing it and praying it keeps the Corono stone at bay.

So what have I learned? Aside from the fact regardless of knocker size, you need a good sports bra, the main thing is that excuses are daft. Better to say it as it is. I didn’t see fitness as a priority. I valued work above health. I pretended I’d get round to losing weight when work was less frantic. I’m not going to come out of lockdown two stone lighter. But I’m almost certain to come out of it fitter. That’s enough.


Muddy berkshire make free skincare Beauty Pie products and Chanel perfume

My granny was never seen without a full face of make-up – a red lip, rouge and blue eye shadow was expertly applied before arriving downstairs to cook my grandad his brekkie. My standards are not that high, but pre-lockdown me definitely wouldn’t leave the house without something to hide the black shadows under my eyes and a slick of mascara. I haven’t worn slap for seven weeks and my skin is breathing a huge sigh of relief. To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone cared whether I had a full face on but me.

Also slacking on the slap, I have upped my game on skincare. I was never really one for a daily routine, but since meeting the skincare pros at Bridge Street Clinic and Aspire, if I want to hold back the years, it needs a bit of help. So my skin has got the VIP treatment – twice a day cleanse, SPF and Vitamin C rich moisturiser by day and Retinol night cream. Very few breakouts, smoother skin. Why am I only learning this in my 40s?


Marie Kondo declutter folded jeans in drawer

When the world was going nuts for Marie Kondo’s ‘spark joy’ monster tidy up, I rolled my eyes. Who has the time to thank all the crap in your house, before throwing it out? Well, no one. But I reckon one of the best things I’ve done over the last six weeks is decluttering the worst offending cupboards and rooms. The inevitable problem is that all that rubbish is now piled high in the garage.

Not having broken toys, stuff we never use and clothes that don’t fit in the house feels like a weight has been lifted. The house is cleaner. The kids are starting to get the tidy gene. More importantly, I realise we don’t need meaningless ‘stuff’. In fact, Marie, thanks to you, I’m not buying anything now that doesn’t give me the fuzzy feels. Shop better and smarter.


burnt cake

First is was banana bread; then sourdough starters; cinnamon buns and, if you get hold of yeast, bread – the nation has gone baking bonkers. But if there is one thing I know, I’m a terrible baker. I will never get a Paul Hollywood handshake or win best in show for my scones. Everything comes out of my oven like burnt or as flat as a biscuit. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t taste good, so I quit. *The fam breathes a huge sigh of relief*.

I’d love to hear what you’ve learned in lockdown – the significant or the banal, serious or daft. Just leave a few words in the box below and maybe we’ll all glean something useful from each other!

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3 comments on “Things I’ve learnt in lockdown”

  • Chantal Farquhar May 20, 2020

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing 😂😂

  • Chantal Farquhar May 20, 2020

    I cannot imagine you doing cross-stitch!!

    • rachel May 20, 2020

      Weirdly relaxing – although has a whiff of me slowly turning into my mother. YIKES


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