I was in quarantine about 10 days before the country was ordered into lockdown. This was due to my partner falling very ill. He also comes under the vulnerable category so we had to be really cautious. Generally, I am a calm person. I am known to approach stressful situations at work rationally and in a relaxed manner, focusing on solutions. However, I felt a lot of people caused anxiety and worry within me at this time.

It was really weird when the “official” lockdown was announced as I had already been indoors for 2 weeks! My partner was shielding, so we were frantically trying to figure out how we were going to get the essentials we needed for our home! I genuinely did panic about the toilet roll situation – we were down to our last one! Thankfully, we have amazing friends and family who would do our shopping for us and leave it on our doorstep. I found myself thinking very practically about things at this time.

My partner recovered, thankfully – until this day, we are unsure if his illness was the virus, but it is very likely. I had also fallen ill, a few days after my partner. My symptoms were not as serious as his – but I definitely felt a strange feeling and overall tiredness.

My biggest fear through lockdown was of the unknown. The death rate was increasing rapidly and the infection rate was going up. What did this mean for society? For business? I’m at my calmest when I can figure out solutions – but of course no one could control this, so not knowing what the outcome was going to be, was unsettling. At this stage, I was just grateful for our health.

Through lockdown, I welcomed space – I am generally a home bum. I am happiest hanging out in comfy clothes, with my bulldog Russell whilst knitting or drawing. At tis stage, the lack of socialising was not an issue for me.

As I watched the news daily (just the briefing, nothing much more than that), I think I assumed I would be furloughed so this came as no surprise. However, I didn’t really worry for my job. I felt confident we would be okay as a business. My biggest emotion was guilt, for Dally, who I knew was working around the clock to keep things ticking over the best she could. As a team, we’re pretty resilient – and we have faced difficult situations before.

I found that it helped to stay in touch with each other. Dally would touch base with me a couple of times a week. She would ask how I was doing and if I needed anything. This helped me feel as if I was still part of the team and we had some of our usual banter. I felt really strange as it was time off but it never felt like it was, I couldn’t fully relax and I had a constant feeling of guilt that i should be working, helping the business get through this.

There were some aspects of lockdown I enjoyed. Especially sunlight, not sitting in a room at a desk all day. Dally always has to force me to move from my desk in the office and actually go outside for a walk over lunch…. but I have a habit of staying put!

The weather was good, I remember the last day of freedom I was in a winter jacket and mittens and then all of a sudden we are in lockdown and there is a heatwave! This enabled me to spend more time in my garden, connecting to nature, which was lovely. It was great to actually notice, noises and various things around me – slowing down helped me become more aware of my surroundings. I did quite a bit of knitting of garlands and flags, so it was nice to feed my creativity whilst in lockdown and not being able to work.

I absolutely love my bulldog Russell – he really is my best pal, so of course I welcomed this extra time to spend with him – oh yes, I enjoyed being around my partner more too (cough, cough)

Russell unfortunately did get very poorly during lockdown and it made me realise how difficult it was to get him the specialist care that he needed. It was also difficult as we were shielding, we couldn’t just pop out to the shops to get bits that we needed, but our family and friends were very helpful and would often leave shopping on our doorstep for us.

When I got the call to say I would be returning to work, my reaction was “OMG – Normality!”

I welcomed structure and getting my brain working again, however I was concerned about how productive I would be and how long it would take me to get back into the swing of things.

Moving forward, I am hoping from the pandemic there will be some positives. I hope people will be nicer, kinder and more understanding and that everyone will be more supportive of local and independent businesses (like ours).

Of course, I’m super excited about our new website and printed marketing material and strategy and the fact that we have all come back with a new lease of life! We are excited to take control and navigate through the rest of the year the best we can.

We have explored the flexibility of working from home and we know we can do it, which to be honest is useful – even though nothing beats our studio atmosphere, if we do need to work from home, we are geared up to do so!