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Life in lock down

Life in lock down | Hello! Hooray!

Well, I wasn’t expecting to write a post with the title ‘Life in lock down’ in 2020, but I’m guessing that this is pretty much how we all feel about the current situation! I’ve been drafting this post over the last few weeks, thinking about what to say about life in lock down. These are obviously unprecedented times for everyone, and with lock down easing recently (here in the UK at least) things feel even more uncertain in many ways. After much thought, I decided the best way to start was to ask: How are you feeling today? It’s a question I ask a lot over on my Instagram account, because I feel that it’s an important one to ask each other and particularly yourself. Personally, I’ve found that it is important to allow myself to feel whatever it is that I’m feeling. It has been a complete roller-coaster over the last few months, hasn’t it?! If I have tried not to feel angry or frustrated, I’ve actually made myself feel worse. So I hope today has been a good day for you. If not, there’s always tomorrow.

Documenting life in lock down

I really wanted to document life in lock down here on my blog, but as usual I’ve mainly been doing that on Instagram! Although not every day. Because being present in real life has felt much more important. Even though there hasn’t been much going on in the diary, there has been a lot going on in life. Two days before we first went into lock down back in March, we had to unexpectedly leave our house due to some unwanted visitors in our bathroom (an ongoing problem, but they finally got into the house – ugh!). On Mother’s Day, of all days! Don’t think I’ll forget that in a hurry. It was a big and sudden upheaval, and we were very lucky that we were able to go and stay with Tom’s Dad. It made a surreal situation even more surreal!

We celebrated both our kids’ birthdays during the two weeks we were there, I tried to keep my small business running, was in the process of final edits for my book (more on that later) and having to deal with sorting out the house remotely. But despite all the stress, it meant that we were together to adjust to life in lock down for the first two weeks and I think it actually helped us all. I look back on it now and it feels like years ago!

Hello Treacle lavender eye pillow

When we got back home, we then had to adjust to new normal again. This was the hardest part for all of us – Little One missed nursery so much, and I found it really hard to get my head around not being able to do normal things. This actually felt harder than adjusting the first time for me, and it felt like we were starting from scratch again. But it got easier, although it definitely comes in waves. Have you found that? Some weeks seem fine and then others are really hard. Someone described it as like having a newborn again, when the days are long but they weeks fly by. This sums it up perfectly for me! I’ve been trying to be extra kind to myself and take time off if I need to. Being self-employed now does make this more difficult, but I know I need to do this and have the evening off a couple of times a week to recharge.

One of the huge positives for us is that Littlest One has had the time of his life all the way through, which has been wonderful to see. He just loves that we are together all of the time. He has learnt to walk, explore and has started babbling away. It’s a reminder that in all this, there are some amazing things to hold on to! Another was a day spent celebrating a friend’s birthday with a relay run/walk (we obviously chose to walk). It was such a beautiful day, and we took a balloon on our leg of the relay too! So lovely to see photos from everyone else’s walk, and it felt like we were in touch with friends and seeing different places. Amazing!

Keep Going kit | Hello! Hooray!

Keep Going kits

You may already know that I went self-employed in January this year (I mean, what a year to choose, but never mind!). I miss teaching my workshops so much, and it has been sad seeing all the reminders popping up in my phone about ones I had booked in. One of the things I had wanted to develop this year was my range of hand embroidery kits, and this Keep Going hoop seemed like a perfect one to work on in lock down. Back in April, I launched it on pre-order and was so overwhelmed by the response! I needed to sell 10 to be able to afford to purchase the thread, and I had sold way more than that by the end of the first day. Incredible! I had a massive stress when the thread went back to France – twice – but thankfully, my lovely customers were so patient and kind. It has been wonderful to see people stitching them and knowing how much they are enjoying it during this difficult time.

If you’d like to purchase a Keep Going kit, you can find them here. 15% of sales in June will be donated to The Black Curriculum.

Black Lives Matter

We all need to be having more conversations about racism. Black Lives Matter. Over the last few weeks I have been reading, listening and learning to find out how I can be an ally and be actively anti-racist. I’ve posted once or twice about it on Instagram, but when I haven’t it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing something behind the scenes. I’m in this for the long run. As a white woman I can never fully put myself in the position of a Black person to understand what they experience every day. But I can recognise my privilege, speak out, apologise when I get things wrong (we ALL get things wrong – admitting it and saying sorry is important), and learn. We all need to do the work. Racism runs way deeper than you think. I am guilty of not realising this sooner, and I am sorry. If you think that this isn’t a problem in the UK, then you really need to read up on this and realise that it is something that we all need to work together to fight against.

I want to work out how I can use my work to support Black communities, and this is something ongoing. That’s why I’m donating to The Black Curriculum this month, and I’ll give you more info about what I’ll be doing in future when I can. There are lots of really helpful resources out there at the moment – Leonie Flower has shared some excellent ones if you’re looking for a place to start. I have recently discovered the work of Aurelia Durand, and you must check her out. She has illustrated some excellent books which deal with racism, which you should also add to your bookshelves. I’ll be talking about what I’m reading in a future post, but I’d love to know what you’d recommend so let me know in the comments.

Colourful Fun Embroidery | Hello! Hooray!

Colourful Fun Embroidery

I mentioned earlier in my post that I was editing my book when we went into lock down – well, here it is! Colourful Fun Embroidery will be released on 30th August by White Owl Books and I am beyond excited! It features 24 projects, and is designed to help you take time out to be creative. I’ll be writing a much more in-depth post about it really soon, but you can pre-order it now! I also have book and kit bundles that you can pre-order too, if you fancy getting some materials for one of the projects.

Handmade face mask

Easing into more normal things

I must admit that I feel a bit strange getting back into doing a few normal things. The biggest step for us was getting Little One back into nursery at the start of June. She was absolutely thrilled! We agonised over it to be honest, as the biggest challenge for us is getting her there on public transport. But thankfully, it has been quieter than we expected overall. Little One has been amazing at wearing her masks, and we couldn’t be more proud. She’s leaving at the end of the month, and we’ll be starting our home education journey. More on that in a future post too!

Being on the bus again has been weird. So many people without masks, even though it is compulsory (although I completely understand the bus drivers not being able to enforce anything). So many people with masks only over their mouths, but not their noses! I can’t get my head around that. We always wear them on the bus and in shops, and on the 2 occasions that I have braved the city centre. We don’t do these trips frequently, but without a car we have to do it sometimes now. Whatever you’re doing to keep your family safe, do what’s best for you. If you need to stay at home then do it.

Our key workers are absolutely amazing and we really do appreciate all that you do. Thank you!

I’ll probably leave it there for today, as I have rambled on for a while now (thank you, if you’re still here!). I wonder what it will feel like reading this on 25th June 2021?

What has your experience of lock down been like? How are you feeling about unlocking a bit now?

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  1. Tobia | craftaliciousme on July 5, 2020 at 6:18 am

    Oh yes this year is taken it all from us doesn’t it? I think you are doing a good job handling all. I mean you even launched a new product and then a book on the horizon. This is so amazing. I have had mainly good weeks but when the whole black life’s matters thing happened it kinda threw me off. I guess that was the drop in the barrel. I am doing better now but 2020 is a struggle not gonna lie. I will need to check out your kit ideas. I am still waiting for the perfect one I need to have and give this embroidery thing a chance.
    Happy second half of 2020

    • Clare Albans on July 11, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      Tobia, I know exactly how you feel and I appreciate your honesty! This year is a strange one for sure. I hope it’s the year that we make a big change in lots of things, particularly in terms of the BLM movement, but also with global warming and the environment and around lots of other issues too. I can’t believe it’s the second half of the year already! Time is a strange thing. I know you will love hand embroidery – hopefully I can help you to find the perfect project! Sending much love and positive vibes to you. Thank you for your continued support and friendship, it means so much xxx

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