With two performing arts teenage daughters home schooling (and then on school holidays), I wanted to come up with a couple of projects that got them off their screens. So off to Spotlight for fabric paints, iron-on transfers and material to sew.
While we’re extremely busy at work, I felt like I needed a distraction too, so I dug deep into my memory banks and re-introduced myself to the click clack of knitting needles. With winter just around the corner I thought a blanket would be a good starting point.
A week in and I’ve completed about 30 per cent of my masterpiece (would be further along if it wasn’t for Truffle taking off with my balls of wool – can she smell the alpaca?). The only downside is, like reading a good book, I stay up way too late to finish ‘just one more row’.
With two kids, a dog, home schooling and pre-schooler-wrangling, iso life is far from a Utopian adventure of self-improvement. Instead, I see this period as an opportunity to lean into activities that take me away from screens, towards my family, and allow me to make and create while stretching myself.
Iso-baking is featuring heavily; with cakes, breads, biscuits and even a #smugbundt or two achieving a successful dismount from the pan and into the bellies of our family, and friends via contactless deliveries to their front doorsteps.
Taking our garden and greenery to the next level is another project, with herbs, seedlings and an increase in indoor greenery.
And finally, keeping physically active is our family’s number one project; as we all operate better with fresh air in our lungs and tired legs after our big family walk each day (and the occasional TikTok challenge videos with Mr 8 for comic relief!).
Watson and I have been spending some quality time getting reacquainted with the horses, sheep, cattle and roos to be found on our long country lane walks. Getting to know ‘Rona’ the baby alpaca born over the Easter Weekend has been especially sweet.
My husband’s daily runs are getting faster, helped along by the odd encounter with an Eastern Brown snake making the most of the warm autumn sun!
The piano could use a tune, but it’s doing a fine job helping to belt out a few Disney classics and nursery rhymes for my niece and nephew – although the neighbours might feel differently!
Slow weekend afternoons are reserved for diving into a cup of tea, an Agatha Christie classic or crossword puzzle.
I feel lucky in that I haven’t had one weekend of iso-boredom.
It’s been a busy few weeks – I’ve moved house (wouldn’t recommend it), dropped off weekly care packages to family (with social distancing of course), added far too many plants to my collection, battled with IKEA flat packs and honed my pinball skills. Yes pinball. Who knew that during isolation you could hire a top shelf (so I’m told), straight from the pub, pinball machine. Sorry neighbours!
Quarantine has been a really interesting time for me, it’s definitely led me to slow down a little more and get back into some hobbies I enjoy! I’ve been able to write and play music much more than I used to, as well as doing more cooking and baking!
I’m also consistently exercising and getting into my fitness a lot more, which makes me feel better about being stuck at home. Just trying to keep busy and do things that make me happy!
Coming from an arts background, it’s been exciting to have the chance to take up some old creative hobbies. Getting out the acrylics and painting some abstract pieces has brought me a lot of joy. Focusing on bright seasonal colours like orange and yellow, the weekends have been flying by!
I’ve also made time to continue my love of creating content by finally mastering a few TikTok videos!
What can I say about ISO life? It smashes all the rules about working with kids and animals. To break up the working day at home, I leverage the Maltese/Bishon pup we are looking after in lockdown to get myself and my son out for a walk in the outside world.
My son and I also play handball for a spot of high energy exercise and on the weekends, we’ve been doing ‘driveway drop offs’ delivering Tupperware containers of chicken soup to Grandma and some elderly relatives who have been requesting my home-made favourite. My son helps with the noodle component of the soup cooking.
Following the implementation of government restrictions imposing social distancing, like most I was feeling overwhelmed, a little lost and completely powerless; like there was nothing I could actively do to contribute to finding a solution.
I then read an article about how those working at animal shelters were pleading for people to adopt or foster their animals, as social distancing meant staff numbers (particularly those looking after the animals) were drastically cut.
Straightaway I reached out to a pound I had fostered from in the past asking if I could help. I received an immediate response and within 24 hours I had picked up our newest temporary recruit, Layla.
For the next few weeks Layla took up residence in our spare room where she made herself right at home. She also joined me in various internal team meetings but sat out of client facing meetings given she’s on the outspoken side.
Fostering Layla was a very healthy way to channel my anxious energy into doing good.
For me, isolation has been a calming break from the daily hustle and bustle of rushing to work, hitting the gym whenever possible and maintaining a social life at the same time. My newfound tranquillity inspired me to give meditation a red-hot go; something I had tried and failed to discipline myself in for years with the excuse of ‘being too busy’.
With a lot of extra time on my hands during isolation (and therefore no excuse), I committed myself to 30 minutes of meditation each day. As a results–driven, and somewhat impatient person, I was doubtful that I would be able to see and feel any immediate benefit. Happily, I was wrong!
Meditation has helped my quality of sleep, ability to concentrate and more importantly to take time to connect to myself each day. As I continue my journey in mediation during and post-isolation, I hope to learn and experience the full wealth of benefits that practicing mindfulness can bring.
During isolation, I’ve challenged myself to read one book per week – no skipped chapters, no excuses, no giving up on storylines that perhaps aren’t my usual cup of tea!
I’ve used this isolation as an opportunity to inspire my imagination with a range of book styles and learn a little more about the world we’re so lucky to live in.
The book that I’ve enjoyed the most has been ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estés which has been extremely thought-provoking and a source of motivation and sanity throughout this unusual period.
I’m thankful for the authors of the world who challenge us with words and stories, and for keeping me sane during isolation.
My time in isolation has consisted of many attempts in becoming the next ‘Claire Saffitz’ from Bon Appetit.
Finessing my baking skills to measure up against a professional pastry chef has resulted in only a few failures, or as I like to call them ‘practice runs’.
My baking endeavours have kept the peace among my parents and siblings. When our mouths are full of food there’s no room to argue – unless it’s over the last piece of sponge cake!