What are your memories of lockdown life?
Think back to this time 2 years ago. November 2019. We probably wouldn’t believe then if anyone told us that a national lockdown was on the horizon. We couldn’t see that ahead of us was a period in our lives when we’d be working full-time from home, unable to see our friends and family, with shops closed and the children at home.
Fast forward to the present day, and we can reflect on this unique time in our lives. Whilst each of us has different stories to tell, and many people experienced pain and sadness, we did come out the other side. At times we possibly even enjoyed the surreal experience. And moving forward, many of us will have taken onboard new ways of working and living.
As we head towards the close of a year that began with a national lockdown and ends with much of working life back to normal, we caught up with the Light Locations team to explore their lockdown memories.
Across the country, many of us made the unexpected shift from office life to working from home. And for some, March 2020 saw the beginning of a furlough scheme.
After an initial furlough period, as our industry ground to a halt , we continued to work from home. After a bit of trial and error, we developed new ways of working and keeping in touch.
So how did the Light Locations team adapt to working from home?
(Katie) Initially, I worked on a desktop computer on a little table in my bedroom, which was okay but not ideal. When Sophie suggested laptops for us, it meant I could move my ‘office’ downstairs. This gave me more room, and I could be with the children, which worked much better.
(Sophie) I was working on the kitchen table, which was great as it’s the most lovely, lightest room of the house. It also has beautiful views through the large window of the garden, which definitely helped my state of mind. On a side note, it was super convenient to be near the kettle and fridge for teas, coffees and more than the usual amount of snacks!
(Madeleine) I mainly worked in my lovely office, which we decorated during lockdown. But occasionally, I’d venture downstairs and work from the sofa if I was feeling lazy. And on those many gorgeous sunny days we had, I did work outside on our patio, which was lovely!
(Sophie) I’m naturally very motivated and productive. And I wanted to help my business through this challenging period, so I didn’t have a problem. But having to home school my 10-year-old made it very difficult and frustrating at times. As a result, I couldn’t be as productive as I wanted. So, I would end up getting up at the crack of dawn or working late into the evening to catch up. I have to say it was an exhausting time!
(Madeleine) I actually found I was really motivated at home, as I could easily crack on with work. My office looks out over my garden, so I enjoyed the view. And most lunchtimes, I would head out on a run or dog walk, which broke the day up nicely.
(Katie) Working provided structure and routine, and it was good to have a sense of purpose after a couple of months off work (after furlough). I think it also helped the children to see me working. It encouraged them to keep going with their online school and university work.
(Sophie) My lovely team! Seeing their smiley faces and our chats first thing in the morning and at lunchtime! I also missed those times when you spontaneously bounce ideas off people and talk through things with them. However hard you try, it’s not the same on zoom.
(Madeleine) I missed the social side of things, having others in the office to talk to and our communal lunches and teatime. We’re a small team, so it’s like a little family, and it was strange not seeing everyone every day.
(Nicola) I really missed Sophie, Madeleine, and Katie…. Oh, and the boys from DBT! I also missed not being able to just chat through jobs face-to-face or enjoy lunchtimes in the orchard!
Another lockdown challenge for many parents took the form of home-schooling. Children taking online classes as parents juggled their own day.
For the Light Locations team, Sophie, Katie, and Nicola joined the armies of parents who turned into part-time teachers. They helped their children stay on top of schoolwork, entertained through endless days and out of mischief (where possible!).
So how did they adjust to their temporary teacher roles?
(Sophie) I had a 14-year-old who luckily was totally occupied by his school. So, he only required feeding, which was actually a pretty substantial job on the daily list! Our 10-year-old relied much more heavily on me for schooling as she had no remote learning. To keep us both sane, we created our own schedule and worked for a certain amount of time each day, covering things I could confidently help her with. Dog walking also became part of the school day, so we got lots of fresh air.
(Nicola) To start with, I had all three children at home as the schools and nursery were closed. It was a really tough first day trying to work and juggle keeping them occupied. It was easy with the older two as they were happy to sit and watch movies. But my youngest, who had just turned 1, was climbing everything and drawing all over the wall and floor and just needed constant attention. Fortunately for me, I could be furloughed, which was a saving grace. I’m not sure how I would have coped with work in the mix.
(Katie) I wasn’t home-schooling as such, as both Tilly and Henry were old enough to manage their work themselves. Having said that, I did have to encourage, incentivise, and cajole the children into keeping going and staying engaged with their school and university work.
(Katie) Being with the children without the pressure of the frantic morning routine of a race to school or work, together with a more relaxed evening routine, was lovely. We walked and talked together, cooked together, played ping pong, badminton and watched films together. We did jigsaw puzzles and lots and lots of learner driving once we were allowed to leave our homes.
(Katie) Low points were when the children began to really feel the frustration of being isolated away from their friends. And trying to keep them motivated with remote learning at the same time as working myself, was sometimes a challenge.
Whilst work and school took up a fair amount of time for the Light Locations team, it did feel like we had more time in the day. With no commute, no nights out or weekends meeting family and friends, time took on a new meaning. This was particularly evident in the first location as restrictions kept us firmly at home.
So how did the team spend their free time during lockdown?
(Sophie) Baking! This was definitely my highlight, and the kids loved it. And a double bonus was all the cakes made lovely content for the journal!
(Chloe) Lockdown gave me time to get creative. I started painting again and bought an iPad to start using Procreate to get back into drawing. I also went on lots of long walks around London.
(Katie) Walking, painting and decorating, cooking, sketching and puzzles.
(Madeleine) Time outdoors and appreciating the small things. I noticed things around me more. And I made sure that each day included a run or walk. Before lockdown, I perhaps was just in a routine of going to work, coming home and then starting all over again the next day.
(Sophie) Dog walking and running! I actually became quite fit and have managed to keep it up!
(Nicola) I have a dog, so he was getting much longer walks than usual. We explored our village in every direction and found some lovely new walks.
(Madeleine) I would run daily, and when it was allowed, I also ran with my mum. This was a great opportunity to catch up with her from a safe distance. We wouldn’t usually have seen each other every day, so it was lovely to share this time with her. In fact, it was something we continued to do well beyond those lockdown days.
(Chloe) I started doing couch to 5k and made sure I was walking at least two miles a day (this didn’t go to plan every day, though!).
(Katie) I did some Jo Wicks for a while and followed some online yoga classes.
(Madeleine) We re-watched the entire series of Friends / various sitcoms and films.
(Chloe) I binged watched Married at First Sight Australia, lots of documentaries, and I also read a couple of Dolly Alderton’s books.
(Madeleine) I began to do more baking. It seemed to be the thing everyone was doing in the first lockdown. There were so many posts on social media about banana bread I had to join that bandwagon, as well as trying lots of other tasty treats.
(Chloe) I had a phase of not cooking and ordering Uber Eats, so that was one of the low points of my eating. I got out of that phase eventually!
(Madeleine) Yes, we made some huge changes in our garden, landscaping and adding new flower beds and borders. We also moved our shed from one end to the other of the garden and laid a new pathway. I absolutely loved being in my garden during lockdown when we couldn’t go anywhere. Our little piece of tranquillity brought calm to each day when things were difficult in the outside world.
(Chloe) I spent lots of time moving stuff around in my flat as boredom took over. Changing your space was crucial in lockdown as we were all looking at the same four walls.
(Katie) Just lots of painting and repairs as well as decluttering. During the second and third lockdown, Henry and I built a little ‘sound booth’ in the cellar to practise his drums without disturbing the whole neighbourhood!
Hopefully, we’ve now moved on from lockdowns and restrictions. But there will be things each of us have taken from those times. To round off this insight into lockdown life for the Light Locations team, let’s wrap us with a few key memories of lockdown from Madeleine, Katie and Chloe.
Looking back, I quite enjoyed the early days of lockdown. It allowed us to just enjoy time at home and slow things down with no social engagements to go to or commit to. My fiancé and I had about 3 weeks off together where both of us couldn’t work, and that wouldn’t usually happen.
In the early days, obviously, none of us had any idea the pandemic would last as long as it has, nor how serious it would be, so the early days weren’t too hard. The roads were quiet, nature had a chance to grow in areas it wouldn’t usually, and we just enjoyed the little things more. But as time went on, it became tough not to see friends and family, and I really missed seeing everyone.
Christmas Day 2020 was different. We spent it outside around a fire pit with my parents, but we made the best of it and still created some lovely memories together.
Lockdown also meant we looked at our lives a little differently, with time at a bit of a standstill. We decided we would like to start a family, and I had my first baby in September.
The first weeks of lockdown were like a staycation. With the glorious weather and the children at home and none of the pressures of everyday life, it felt like a wonderful opportunity to relax and enjoy time together. I think we were able to appreciate it was an unprecedented time, and we should make the most of it. However, it was tough to see the children feeling isolated without their friends around them as time went on. And it became harder with no definitive end to lockdown or an indication of when ‘normal’ life might return.
Even though I was fed up by the end of it all, it made me realise that getting outside was crucial to keeping me happy. The best memories were the ones outside, having socially distanced picnics and discovering new streets around London.
If you’d like to find out more about Sophie, Madeleine, Katie, Nicola and Chloe, read the Light Locations story and meet the team.
And to delve into what makes the team tick, take a peek at more question and answer sessions with the Light Locations ladies.