Some of you might have noticed that after a very consistent eight weeks, I haven’t blogged for a while. That really wasn’t my intention but as blogging is a hobby, I tend to write when I fancy and never put myself under pressure if I don’t.
Although restrictions have eased a little, I’ve found the last couple of weeks particularly hard. The novelty of Zoom quizzes has worn off, home-schooling is not particularly effective and our business is stagnating. I therefore thought it might be beneficial for all of us, to focus on some of my ‘Little Loves’ during this lockdown period. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration if you’re also feeling somewhat lack lustre.
Shall we get on with the show?
Read in Lockdown
During the first few weeks of lockdown I found it impossible to concentrate long enough to read a book. I discovered a 6-month subscription to Red Magazine at the bargain price of £6 and this kept me going for the next couple of months.
But I missed books too much! Since then I’ve managed to read and actually finish a couple. My favourite was Half a World Away by Mike Gayle. I really love Mike’s writing style and am in awe of his ability to write consistently good books at such a pace. This one was about two adult siblings, adopted from a young age into separate families and thus brought up in two very different homes. It’s an emotional story of resilience, redemption and reconnection. I couldn’t put the last 100 pages down!
I’ve really enjoyed catching up with blogs again during lockdown. Mummy Barrow has been publishing her Coronavirus Chronicles every week. Forever Amber has been writing The Lockdown Diaries, and my most favourite of all – Gail from Wellies on the School Run – has been documenting (so beautifully) life in lockdown through her Hibernation Diaries.
If you’re ever at a loss of which blogs to read/follow, some of my favourites are in my sidebar →
Heard in Lockdown
It’s been hard to find moments of solitude during lockdown hasn’t it? I was concerned that this might mean my podcast consumption would have to be reduced but where there’s a will and all that. I’ve found podcasts to be great company as I’ve driven around our local community delivering food to those who are shielding.
I’ve devoured so many over the last few months. No doubt I will have forgotten some of the best but I can highly recommend Brené Brown’s, Unlocking Us. Every episode I’ve listened to is inspirational in some way but a few of my favourites have been the episode with Glennon Doyle and also the one with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington (who play Elenor and Mia in Little Fires Everywhere).
A new podcast to me is Fortunately, with Fi and Jane. I love their humorous banter and particularly enjoyed listening to their relaxed chat with Sara Cox – great company on a dog walk.
I’ve listened to this incredible version of The Blessing (originally written and performed by Kari Jobe of Elevation Worship) over and over again during lockdown – so many amazing UK churches involved! I defy anyone to listen to this and not be moved.
Watched in Lockdown
In terms of world events, the last few weeks have been a tumultuous time. I’m ashamed to say that it took the senseless murder of George Floyd for many white people to finally realise how riddled with racism our world really is – and no, it’s not just in the US! I guess you could say that I’ve been ‘woken from my slumber’ and I don’t think I’m alone.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading, watching and listening to the many black voices around the world, who are speaking up in an attempt to demonstrate what it’s like to live as a black man or woman in the 21st century. If you too are realising your ignorance needs to be addressed, I can recommend a couple of things I watched recently that are well worth seeing…
Sitting in Limbo on BBC iPlayer is the true story of Anthony Bryan, a Black African man who was part of the Windrush generation. Arriving in England on his mother’s passport at the age of 6, the drama shows him wrongfully detained by the Home Office, 50 years later. Watching a desperate man lose everything, most of all his dignity, is truly devastating. Anthony is just one of that many victims who are still awaiting compensation for the nightmare they went through at the hands of the British government.
Another important film to watch is Just Mercy, currently available on Amazon Prime. This true story follows a newly-qualified, young black attorney who takes on the case of a black man who is awaiting his fate on death row after wrongfully being convicted of murder. The injustice of this story will make your blood boil and it is certainly not an isolated case!
Right at the beginning of lockdown, I was utterly gripped (like most people were) by Normal People – the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s book. Unusually, I have yet to read the book but if the TV series is anything to go by, it’s on my TBR pile. I’ll just give you one word of warning – don’t watch it with your teenage (or any age) children!
Have you watched Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime yet? If not, then you absolutely must! My daughter and I watched it as soon as it became available and we were completely absorbed from the get go. There were quite a lot of deviations from the book but in some ways they enhanced the storyline and made it more topical. It was every bit as good as the book, which is rare in my experience.
Another thing I’ve watched a lot of during lockdown, is my daughter painting! Her A level art came to a rather abrupt end, so she decided to start painting pet portraits and has had a steady stream of commissions ever since. Watching her talent progress has been one of my favourite pastimes during lockdown and she’s managed to earn enough to keep her clothes- shopping addiction in full flow!
Wore in Lockdown
Talk about a game of two halves – the first half of lockdown was all about shorts and flip flops, the second half featured raincoats and wellington boots!
I don’t think we can really complain though; the weather during April and May was phenomenal and definitely made the whole thing more bearable. Shame we didn’t have anywhere to go to show off our tans hey? I’ve heard it under good authority that the hot, sunny weather is back this week and I for one cannot wait.
Made in Lockdown
Way too many meals! I know that in theory it’s only the same number of people to feed as normal but shopping, cooking and feeding everyone has felt never-ending some days. With very little going on, there’s been a lot riding on that evening meal!
As this is supposed to be about my ‘Little Loves’ let’s move on to banana bread which seems to be the only way I can get bananas eaten in this house. I’ve also made actual bread for the first time ever, I think. It was a bit dense and needed eating the same day but that didn’t seem to be a problem for my crew. Lockdown cliché right here!
We also made mojito cocktails which were the perfect refreshment during those long hot days in May. If you’re interested, I used this recipe and definitely recommend purchasing sugar syrup (available in most large supermarkets) instead of just using normal sugar.
I’ve talked about doing it for a year or so but lockdown finally nudged me into giving our front door a Frenchic (if you haven’t discovered this paint yet, it is AMAZING) make-over. I shared a picture on Instagram Stories last weekend but I am waiting on some plant pots and a door knocker to arrive, so keep an eye out and I will do the big reveal in a couple of weeks.
I’ve found the last few weeks of lockdown harder than all the others put together and if social media is anything to go by, I’m not alone.
At the end of a recent post, I mentioned some of the items in my lockdown survival kit: jigsaw puzzles, Zoom, nature walks, the Bible app, gin and tonic, chocolate, the Fiit exercise app, sunshine and music.
It dawned on me earlier in the week that I’ve not been making enough time for some of the more wholesome items in my survival kit (alcohol and chocolate rarely gets forgotten!). I’ve tried to rectify that over the last couple of days and feel better already.
I’m really keen to hear some of the things you’ve been loving in lockdown; please do share them in the comments below. Thirteen weeks in and I think we could all do with some fresh inspiration 🙂
Gail Brown3 years ago
So nice to hear all your news, Suzanne, and thankyou so much for mentioning me here, that’s lovely! Like you, I’ve been really missing books these last weeks – I get most of my reads from my local library so these past months I’ve been working my way through any unread books on our shelves at home. I think I’m going to have to buy some new books soon though – that Mike Gayle one sounds like a great addition to the reading list! Like you, I loved Little Fires Everywhere and Normal People (you’re right though, the latter is definitely not family viewing at all!) I have a few other podcasts and films to try now having read this, so thankyou. And what a bargain on the Red magazine subscription! Have a lovely week – I hope you get to enjoy that lovely sun. xx
Suzanne W3 years ago AUTHOR
I am currently waiting for my 3rd Red magazine to drop onto the door mat! It’s been something to look forward to every month. It seems quite strange that libraries are still not open. Obviously they don’t make money but they do enhance people’s lives. I hope it happens sooner rather than later. xx
Sarah MumofThree World3 years ago
What a mammoth read this time round! I hope you start to feel more positive soon. It is a rollercoaster time and it’s bound to have its ups and downs. I think I will have to put that book on my list! I’ve seen a lot of people reading it. I need to catch up on Sitting in Limbo and I’m gutted that we cancelled our Amazon Prime just before Little Fires Everywhere came out! Your daughter’s pet portraits are absolutely stunning! She has a real talent.
Suzanne W3 years ago AUTHOR
Yes do watch Sitting in Limbo, it’s a really important watch. I was shocked by the content to be honest. Thanks for the compliment on my daughter’s paintings. She’s slowed down now but still doing the odd one – socialising has taken precedence!
Liberty Henwick3 years ago
What a great compilation and a lovely record of this strange time at home. Your daughter is amazingly talented – well done to her for earning herself extra pocket money! I absolutely loved that Blessing song too, Kari Jobe is one of my favourite singer songwriters and I was fortunate to see her live in concert in Dublin with Matt Redmann!
Suzanne W3 years ago AUTHOR
Oh wow that sounds like it would have been an amazing concert! She’s kept up with her artwork throughout lockdown and beyond so hopefully it will continue 🙂