Surviving Lockdown Limbo

A Guide to getting creative and staying sane

These are such strange times. Just as we were coming to terms with being in lockdown and getting used to new routines and putting new habits in place we now have a shift to the guidelines. Or do we? I think we’re all a bit confused as to what the next few days and weeks will mean for us.

For many of the people I have been in touch with, lockdown continues, but with new worries about our safety as the restrictions look to be lifted in phases. I think we’ve all found new ways to manage our stress during these times. Below are some of my getting creative and staying sane coping strategies during this time of lockdown limbo.

Finding balance

I’ve been trying not to get bogged down with my list of things I’ve been meaning to do. There’s this weird feeling that we’ve been given this extra time that we need to use to either get lots of things done or do relaxing very well indeed and read lots of book. It’s too much pressure. Instead I’m looking for small, and more importantly fun projects that will feel like a manageable win by completing them. I found that just painting the front door a different colour (see previous post: Photographing The Home) made me feel like I was doing something productive without it feeling like such a big job that it stopped me from doing it. And the results are immediate. Doing things with an end result is much more therapeutic than doing things where you don’t know if it’s worked or not.

More manageable and more fun than a To-Do list is a ‘20 for 2020’ list inspired by Gretchen Rubin and her podcast ‘Happier’. This is a list for the year of things you can do that will help to make you happier. I have some work based ones on there because I know that by doing them I will be happier but most of them are enjoyable, easy things, like re-reading my childhood favourite book series ‘The Brambly Hedge’.

Get creative in the kitchen

There’s been a lot of talk about baking and bread making over the last couple of months. I’m both vegan and gluten free. I also have no willpower. So there hasn’t been a lot of baking going on in our house but we have created some new foodie rituals during this time, one of which is Monday night pizza night using the outdoor pizza wood fired store. My partner has a ‘normal’ wheaty cheesy pizza and I have a gluten free one with vegan cheese. And it is wonderful. And my clothes smell of wood smoke the next day.

If you’re struggling with ideas of what to make and want some healthy options using things you’re likely to have in your cupboards, head to Stephanie Harrison’s  How to cook Instagram where you’ll find recipes in the story highlights. The chickpea oat crackers are divine and so unbelievably simple to make. Utterly delicious paired with some homemade Mahammara (red peper dip) or wild garlic pesto (loads of recipes for these on Pinterest).

Start a small project

A small project which has a beginning and an end is a lovely way to enjoy all this stay home (or should I say ‘stay alert’) time. I find painting to be the perfect, mindless and calming task and I’m now going to take my paint brush to one of the living room walls and to one of our bedroom walls. And the side benefit of this is that as an interiors photographer who can’t currently get out to take photos, I’m more inclined to photograph my house if it’s looking a bit fresher!

If you’re looking for something of a bit more crafty nature then I can’t recommend Jenny Adin-Christie’s embroidery kits more. When we first met we discovered that we had a shared love of the Brambly Hedge series and having meetings whilst sat cross legged on the floor. We work well together.

I had the pleasure of photographing her delightful creations for her newly launched website and they made me feel like I’d entered an enchanted world. Pictured below are two of my favourites, the Hill Top Garden kit and The Wordsworth Harp Needlecase kit. Jenny also recommends making your own designs. Start by sketching a design with pencil and then just doodle with stitches …..”and the rhythmic motion of putting needle and thread through fabric is so soothing.”

“When I started stitching, listening to a good audio book at the same time, I realised that hours had slipped by and my heart rate had gone down, my mind felt freer and I felt generally a whole lot calmer and able to cope! - Jenny Adin-Christie

Instagram Challenge

My next instagram challenge follows on from our last one of looking for mundane corners of your home. This time, I’d like you to look at the mundane and find something enchanting or abstract within it. Reflections, light patterns, a washing line, evening light throwing shadows on the wall. But please don’t be a perfectionist about it, have fun and get posting using the hashtag #thelockdownhome.

Photographing the Home

A guide to interior photography during lockdown

Part 1

It isn’t just photographers that are stuck for a muse for what to photograph right now. We can’t go out except for the essentials, exercise, food shopping, medical needs. But taking photos is something we are so used to now in our daily lives. It can be therapeutic and it also provides us content for social media. There is often a challenge in photographing the familiar. Things we see everyday don’t grab us as something new can do. So how can we find inspiration for photos and creating content for instagram around the home?

Bertie looks majestically at the newly painted door

I’m getting to the point in lockdown where I’m missing working. I miss photographing homes for interior designers and of course that human connection of working together. These’s not much I can do about that last one but now is a time to embrace taking photos for myself. One of the added benefits of turning our cameras on our homes is that it forces us to look a little closer at our living spaces. This isn’t always a positive thing of course! I’ve had many a moment lately sat at my laptop pretending to work when my eyes start scanning the ceiling and wondering just why and when did all those cobwebs get there.

It’s also a great excuse for a project and when there aren’t that many ways to feel fulfilled with work right now, finishing a simple project around the home can be really satisfying. In one week I painted our front door (Little Greene eco paint in Goblin) and clipped Bertie’s hair myself for the first time (see photo). This gave me the false sense that I was quite good at cutting hair, which was later disproved when cutting my boyfriend’s hair this week.

Bring the outside in
We are missing the outdoors. I have been getting up extra early to walk my springer spaniel Bertie when it’s still quiet and that time outside is precious. But there’s something about not being able to get out whenever you want that of course makes you want to be outside all the more, having a picnic with pals or just lying in the grass with a good book.

I love collecting flowers and plants from my walks and from the garden and spreading them about in vases around the house. As I speak, I am typing at my kitchen table and in front of me are four vases full of blossoming stems. Plants and flowers make us happy. 

Watch your lines
One thing that really makes an interior photograph look more professional is straight lines, having verticals that are vertical and horizontals that are horizontal. If I have to prioritise one then I make sure at least one vertical in the shot is straight.

Go for natural light
Avoid that yellow tinge to photographs that comes from tungsten lights and turn those lights off -also good for the planet, win win :).

Enjoy the process 
Set aside the time to clean, tidy and style the area you are photographing. Don’t just make photos for the desire to have content. Create photos that make your creative soul happy and fulfilled.

Instagram Challenge

I’ve started the hashtag #thelockdownhome over on instagram and I’ll come up with a new challenge every couple of weeks. First up I’d love to see photos of a mundane corner of your home. Look at creating a beautiful space or keep it mundane. Either way I’m looking forward to seeing your photos.

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