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At Home With SBC – 3 Months On…

Three months on and although things have changed a little, we are still very restricted by the global pandemic. So, I thought I would give a little update on what life is now looking like for me.

I am continuing to work from home most days, although there are times when I need to be in the studio for product shoots. I look forward to these days and getting away from the house. With social distancing observed, SBC’s Cleanse & Protect Hand Sanitiser and plenty of our hand wash on hand, we have set up a new way of working, with just two of us in the studio. Last week was great as I got to see three of my colleagues during one day. Although we are using Zoom and Teams for video meetings, there’s nothing like seeing someone face to face.

We’ve been busy with new product launches and I have been using and loving two new collections. Including, the Acid Collection, this trio is fabulous and I am a fan of the light, fresh fragrance. I start with the Salicylic Body Wash in the shower, use the Glycolic Resurfacing Serum on my entire body once dry and then pop on the Hyaluronic Gel Concentrate on both face and body. When I use the trio depends on the day and weather. During the hot, sunny days of May, during the weekends I used them at night, to avoid any potential issues with skin burning after glycolic use. This left me to indulge in my Cotton Bath and Shower Crème in the morning. On weekdays and dull weekends, I swap them around. To read more about the Acid Collection click here.

I am also enjoying the new Hydra-Collagen Balms – I use the Cleansing Balm each night and love the way it melts into the skin. I then remove it with a face shammy. Twice a week I follow this with the Exfoliating Balm to remove dead skin cells and gain a smooth base for those days when I am actually wearing make-up.

My new working day sees me getting up later than I did in the early weeks of lockdown, but I still do an online exercise class before work and at the weekends. I’m lucky that my gym moved classes online with a wide range of live sessions, a ‘catch up’ service, and a library of ‘on-demand’ classes too. I thought I would try something different from those I attend at the gym, but other than one Blaze class and a couple of dance sessions, I’ve stuck with yoga and Pilates, along with core exercises and some short, focussed sessions – such as those for abs, glutes and legs.

I am pleased to say that I haven’t gained weight since staying at home. I think the recent good weather has helped, as I spend the weekends in the garden, cutting back shrubs, hedges and trees, mowing the lawns and generally pottering about with a watering can!

My fruit and veg beds are doing well. I also have a pot of salad leaves close to the kitchen which has been wonderful. I just pick as needed and it keeps on providing more. I’ve harvested seeds from tomatoes, chillies and red peppers from my (online) supermarket purchases. The tomato shoots have come through the compost, after two weeks germination in my little greenhouse. However, I fear that they will be too late to produce fruit this year. The others haven’t taken, but it was worth trying.

The strawberries, now protected from birds and the cats next-door, have given me the first sweet, juicy berries of the season. My mass of raspberry canes have started to produce fruit and I know I’ll be sharing these red delights with the birds. However, I think there’s enough for us all. Alongside these, the redcurrants are ripening nicely too. I love these fruits as they look after themselves so brilliantly!

My decorating has seen less success. I blame the good weather and wanting to make the most of time in the garden. A decoration job I started in February, has still not seen the second coat of paint on all walls. I mulled-over painting some recessed shelves for a while. These are now complete and painted a lovely dark blue to match one wall, the cheap shelves have been transformed. This led to a dilemma on the floorboards in the recess . . . I should have tackled this job first but ended up sanding away layers of varnish and paint off the boards. It took hours and filled the room with dust that I’ll be cleaning up for weeks. I then repainted and waxed the boards. Now, all it needs is some big cushions and it’ll be a lovely little reading nook.

Before
During
After

Now movements are less restricted, I have had a social distanced walk along the seafront with a friend, which was lovely after so long not seeing any friends or family. During half-term, I had a day off to tackle more jobs in the house, then met my daughter and sat apart whilst enjoying a take-away pizza. At the weekend, two of my sisters and I visited my parents to celebrate Mum’s 81st birthday. The weather made a planned picnic impossible, but we found some shelter and enjoyed lively conversation over our individually prepared lunches. This will be a new normal for some time, I think.

There are a lot of things I thought I would have done by now, but haven’t. Like – Experimenting with different hairstyles. I ordered scissors and have trimmed my fringe several times. My hair hasn’t been cut this year, so the shape and style has disappeared. My hairdresser was unwell back in February and I didn’t trust anyone else to touch more than the fringe, then we went into lockdown. I’ve tried plaiting my hair – difficult when it’s layered. I tried to curl it with my straighteners. Er no, that wasn’t a good look and there’s so much hair it would have taken me ages. So mainly it’s just tied up.

Tried new recipes – well I have cooked a lot. I’m enjoying the sourdough, thanks to making the starter. I ran out of bread flour some weeks ago, so switched to plain. My sister lives in Turkey and they only use plain flour there, so I’ve followed suit. Last weekend I mixed seeded bread flour with plain flour in an experimental move. The result was a rather flat loaf, but it tastes fine. I’ve also used the starter to make flatbreads and naan.

I’ve been inspired by Jamie Oliver, James Martin and John Torode and have tried lots of new recipes. BBC Good Food has supplied some great ideas too. The Subway Double Chocolate Cookies; Wagamama style Chicken Katsu Curry; Saag Paneer Curry; Pizza; Biryani; Banoffee Cheesecake; Carrot Cake and Marble Cake have all been wonderful. My first attempt at a vegan chocolate mousse, using ‘aquafaba’, was tasty but grainy. I’m going to attempt a new version this weekend.

I thought I would have made choux buns and fresh pasta by now, but they are still on my ‘to do’ list.

Despite living alone and not seeing many people, I am pretty happy in lockdown. Not seeing people that don’t live close by is the biggest drawback, but we chat regularly via text, WhatsApp, email and Zoom. Thank heavens for modern communications.

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