10 Things I’m Keeping When Lockdown Ends

It’s shit basically, isn’t it? Coronavirus, and the subsequent world lockdown – there’s just no painting it pink and looking on the bright side really, no matter how many parents tell me they’re appreciating the time to bond with their families, nor how much businesses get excited about the opportunity to “pivot.” In fact, once lockdown ends I’m making an application to the Oxford English dictionary to ban the word pivot, that’s how sick of it I am. Pivot my arse – this is rubbish for the economy, and no amount of excitement over the variety of things that can be delivered online will convince me otherwise.


Things I’ve learned in quarantine

No. Whilst I’m happy for those of you doing yoga every morning, and using DT lessons to make your kids build an extension, I’m choosing some more basic things to revel in. And what’s more, I’m not giving them up when this is all over. Here’s what I’m keeping, and what I’m binning when Covid-19 is over.


Helen leans through a turquoise heart structure


1. Not wearing a proper bra

Who in their right mind would put metal in a bra? Instruments of torture that have to be whipped off under your top before you can relax in the evening. Why???? I’ve started wearing sleep bras instead – not in my sleep, that’s another idea that will guarantee you a sleepless night. I bought some for a holiday once, thinking no one needed to see the outline of my untethered boobs under a pyjama top as I ate pain au chocolat on my Eurocamp deck. I never wore them again, until lockdown! Turns out they’re super-comfy, and if you face your computer at exactly the right angle no one on Zoom can see that your boobs aren’t angled upwards with a rounded cleavage.

I figure instead of creative pivots, the thing that will revolutionise the business world is working from home, so I’ve thrown out all my structural support, and I’m wearing a sleep bra going forward. Maybe even a Tesco crop top…


2. Drinks on the Driveway

A bit like Friday Drinks in offices, but with neighbours. I reckon taking a deck chair and a G&T to sit at the end of your neighbour’s drive and have a good old gossip will be the new socialising after this pandemic. Remember when the Queen had her Silver Jubilee and all the street made egg sandwiches and jelly and sat out in the sun? Like that, only with Gin. Every Friday after your final Zoom call.


After lockdown I'm getting to know my neighbours better


3. Personal Space

I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t like it when people get too close to me anyway. With their breath and their germs, and their body odour. Ewwwww. Now I have the perfect excuse. Squashing in last minute on the tube? Sorry mate I’m perfectly entitled now to shove you back onto the platform. If you lean over me to reach the oranges my new normal will involve an elbow in the ribs. I can’t wait.


4. Thursday is Quiz Night

Remember when a night in used to mean pizza and Friends. Well not any more! The kids grumbled the first time I suggested the virtual pub quiz, but now they’re the first to remind me that it’s Thursday. Turns out there’s nothing teenagers enjoy more than watching an ordinary bloke sit in his ordinary spare room reading out questions with spelling mistakes and occasional wrong answers with poor sound quality. I should have co-opted Uncle Barry for virtual babysitting when I had the chance!

No, the new perfect night in involves clapping and waving at your neighbours, followed by Jay’s so average it’s incredible pub quiz, finished off with Friday Night Dinner. Tell me you don’t see yourself in one of those characters?

And while we’re at it, I think the Brits ought to refuse to sell Swiss cheese from now on until they rebrand it Emma Mental. After all, if they can do it to Jif and Snickers…

You might also enjoy this list of things for teens to do in lockdown to keep them busy and entertained.


5. Curtain-twitching

When I was young I couldn’t go anywhere without my Auntie Margaret knowing. She wasn’t really my Auntie, but she knew all our business because she lived over the road and chatted to my mum every day. My mum also chatted to Pep next door, over the fence as they hung out laundry. They relied on each other, swapped eggs for carrots when they’d run out. It was nice.

Since lockdown my conversations with neighbours have increased at least three-fold. Mostly in WhatsApp groups, but over fences too, and when we bang pans for the NHS every Thursday night. People know which food bin was scavenged by who’s cat, and who got missed out on a newspaper delivery. It’s a nice feeling, like someone’s got your back next door. It’s bloody brilliant and I’m keeping it.


6. Not having to “squeeze” someone in

Want to go out for drinks? Need me to chat with you on your podcast? Fancy a quick catch-up on the phone? No problem, how does this afternoon sound? I’m free as a bird. I can’t believe I used to have to give people 6 weeks notice for a meeting and I’m not doing it any more. I’m not booking anything in until I wake up in the morning.


After lockdown I'm seeing my friends more often


7. Feeling camaraderie about putting on weight

Everywhere I look on social media people say they’re gaining weight. It’s the sitting around, the not bustling about, no long walks from the Jubilee to the Metropolitan Line. And the extra wine, obviously. But the really great thing is that they’re laughing together over it. There’s a kind of conspiracy now, rather than a judgement or self-castigation. Even my teenage daughter (who is beautiful, has a tiny waist – I hate her – and is absolutely not putting on any weight) is in on it. I complained as we walked recently “Oh my god I feel so fat right now.” And she was quick in her reply. “Oh we all are, don’t worry about it. We’re going to end this lockdown enormous but it doesn’t really matter, does it?” (I love her.)


8. Kids making dinner

One night a week. Both of them. 2 nights off for me. No negotiation.


9. Washing our own cars

I made a big fuss about how washing the car was something to keep teenagers busy during lockdown, only to be told that it’s just what everyone used to do most Sunday afternoons. So that’s what we’re/they’re doing from now on. On sunny days only, obviously. I’m not that cruel.


Washing your own car - the new normal after lockdown


10. Shopping Local

If quarantine has taught me anything it’s that a big supermarket shop is not only unnecessary, it’s also not as good as buying from local shops I had no idea existed before this lockdown. The inability to get a delivery forced me to turn to local grocers, butchers and off-licenses who all were prepared to deliver. There’s even a Peddling Pizza man who comes round once a week, and a wine shop who for £29 will send you 3 bottles of wine with tasting notes, and host a Zoom wine tasting every now and then. I’m totally down for that kind of business pivot!



What else has changed for you that you’re going to keep after Coronavirus?

8 thoughts on “10 Things I’m Keeping When Lockdown Ends”

  1. Won’t lie i’m loving quarantine. Mum to 2 teenagers, my whole non lock down life resolves around going to work, and driving kids around. I’m loving the extra time at home not needing to be anywhere, not feeling guilty over not visiting someone, not spending hours driving kids around at the week. No stressing about GCSE’s, we can’t do anything about results now. We are all happy and content at home for now…..give me a world where i continue to work from home, that allows me to cook proper dinners as i’m “home” earlier, but open up there hobbies…and it would be nice to see my parents properly…i could live in that world for a good while yet….having set that….the economy, I’m genuinely concerned as we have a family business to that we’ve had to pause for now we need to get businesses up and running in a social distancing way asap but for now the government is taking care of us.

  2. I wish next door would get their kids on with doing DT lessons to finish their extension. lol Longest building project ever!!
    I have spent less time wearing a bra. I don’t think it will be doing my boobs any good, gravity and all that. I need a sleep bra or a comfy sports bra at least.
    I love your driveway, drinks outfit. Comfy then the heels.
    I am loving all the gossip with the locals on a FB group. There’s a real community spirit.
    Yes! I have found that shopping locally is doable as long as I can have one big online shop a month. We did it over the last month and we all survived. x

    • Actually our local Tesco have really nailed it with social distancing and I’d be happy to go there for small shops if I could guarantee a big weekly delivery. We need a system! Not sure if the driveway drinks is legal, but it was safe, and it was totally needed

  3. Wow, you really are embracing lockdown! I’m missing out here. I’m still wearing a normal bra (and my boobs are so tiny that I probably don’t need one at all) The only things that have changed here is more exercising in the garden, more home cooking and more reading. I also sacrificed my online Tesco deliveries I’ve been getting since 2006 so more vulnerable people could have them. I haven’t discovered any of these small businesses everyone else has found, so I’m doing two stressful big shops a week, armed with hand sanitiser and trying to keep only one hand on the trolley! I have one child who helps with the cooking, but now I think I need to get them to take over!

    • You are so good Sarah for giving up your slot. We’re trying to shield and I can’t tell you how grateful I am when I get a slot. And you definitely need a sleep bra, and kids who cook!

  4. YES! Although there’s obviously lots that’s a bit rubbish at the moment (understatement klaxon), on the whole there’s a lot of stuff about lockdown I’m loving and what to keep to. Like you, I’m not missing the constant pressure of squeezing things in or doing “stuff” all the time. I don’t need to do things now and just because I want to do/ have something, doesn’t mean I really need it. I’ve loved the camaraderie among neighbours, shouting over the wall at each to check we’re okay and automatically coming out if someone else is in their front garden to catch up and check in. I love enjoying the garden and sitting on my front step drinking tea in the morning as it gets the sun first. I think many of us don’t want the old normal, but something else moving forward. The goods bits of it all. There have to be some. We have to find the joy and the lessons, because we all have them, even if we have to rummage about to find them.

    • Exactly this. I’m really going to try and remember some of the things this time has taught me, and incorporate them in life going forward. It won’t be easy, but maybe we need to look at our commitments, and decide if we really want them…


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