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This time of year is usually dedicated to spreading our (aeroplane) wings and getting a head start on our base tans, but with our travel plans on pause, we’re using this time to slow down, reconnect and get a dose of inspiration. To keep cabin fever at bay, we’re picking up past passion projects (read: dodgy DIY), flexing our culinary muscles and sashaying down Margate pier (for one-hour a day) in our finest loungewear.
Passion projects, culinary experiments and the SUITCASE team’s top lockdown tips
Serena Guen, Founder
Keeping a positive attitude and mindset has never felt so important, so I’ve been using my five-minute gratitude journal from Intelligent Change every morning and evening. I’ve traded in my usual travels for a little armchair adventure – it’s a great time to research around the destinations I want to visit. I’m also raising the bar on my workout game with online pilates classes and hopefully some dance lessons soon, as well as going on walks – staying two metres away from other people, of course.
India Dowley, Digital Editor-in-Chief
I’m holed up in incredibly sunny but very windy Margate, using my outdoor allowance each day to go for a bracing march along the pretty seafront. They have several seawater swimming pools here, but I’m yet to pluck up the courage to dive into the icy-looking waters. Having somewhat neglected cooking for myself due to busy London life, I’ve thrown myself heartily into cooking three proper meals a day – thrilled to say I nailed my first attempt at pork crackling last night; mushroom stroganoff on the menu tonight. A friend of mine has started an online pub quiz which has swelled from five people to 50 in a matter of days, so I’ll be tuning in to that tonight, after I’ve watched James Blake live stream a gig.
Otherwise, I’ve set up a lovely little work station by the window, and look forward to seeing my team’s smiling faces on video calls throughout the day. We’re doing our best to keep spirits high and keep you lot entertained with plenty of armchair travel, as well as suggestions for reading lists, podcasts, and what to wear on your virtual hangouts (don’t forego your bottom half, I’ve already heard one horror story about this). If there’s anything you’d like us to feature, let us know by sending us a DM @suitcase.
Robbie Hodges, Assistant Digital Editor
I’ll have endured 10 days of working from home and 12 days of social distancing by the time this is published, and I have to say, I’m not entirely hating it. For the most part, I’m tapping away from my pop-up SUITCASE HQ – opening the window intermittently to expunge scented candle pollution – and wobbling down to Sainsbury’s for my daily fill of Oatly. This is what happens when Soviet Russia and North London collide, folks.
I would have spent the past week monging about in my pyjamas if I had any; having not worked from home much before, I missed the memo. To rectify this, I’ve ordered an excessively long ream of white cotton which, in the coming weeks, I plan to refashion into a two-piece PJ set – my unofficial quarantine uniform. Most likely, I’ll get frustrated and divert my energies into making evermore experimental, microwaveable mug cakes. But if I nail it in eight weeks, that’ll give me at least four weeks of expert, hand-made slobbery. I can’t wait.
Rae Boocock, Sub Editor
I’ve decamped to my parents’ home in rural Lancashire, where, between my cats and their dogs, animals outnumber humans. I’m extremely lucky – especially as one of the dogs is a new puppy, Bertie. It does mean that isolation involves a lot more urine than I’d anticipated, along with monitoring whether one of Bertie’s undropped balls has finally made an appearance, but the snuggles make up for it. When not monitoring fur babies, my family and I have got seriously into quizzes. The Chase, University Challenge, Mastermind… you name it, we’re arguing over answers. Boggle is among my favourite no-screen activities, especially when I’m winning. As always, I have a good stack of books; I’m currently seeking literary refuge between the pages of Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light.
Fleur Rollet-Manus, Editorial Assistant
As soon as Boris started making his daily appearances on our TV screens, I hotfooted it to my boyfriend’s family home – knowing that there would be a full fridge and a family-size pack of loo roll waiting for me. I’ve been sticking (fairly) well to my daily routine (read: hitting snooze on the alarm five times), although I do feel like a Love Island contestant going downstairs to work in the living room with a full-beat face and matching outfit each morning. In the evenings, I’m being (forced) to learn how to make my Italian boyfriend’s family secret pasta sauce – I don’t like pasta nor do my culinary skills extend beyond making an omelette (that turns into scrambled eggs), but I’ve got nowhere to hide and can’t fake attending a gym class now. Who knows, maybe I’ll emerge from this as the next Gregg Wallace with an “Introduction to Italian Classics” cookbook under my still-in-its-bag apron… or simply a few kilos heavier.
Sebastian Bland, Creative Director
I couldn’t have picked a better time to move into our new flat. Having transplanted all our belongings, I’m channelling my energy into unpacking, painting and picking the exact spot to put the dining table, before putting it back where it was before. I like to think I’m a dab hand with a whittle, so I am going to try to get back into woodwork. I’m thinking big and want to have a go at building our own furniture or storage units.
Jacob Elwood, Senior Creative
“Staying sane” isn’t a term I’m all that used too. Even out of self-isolation I’m often found fidgeting, singing loudly (badly) and generally being a nuisance to those around me. Self-isolation has made me focus all this energy into my poor flatmate, luckily we’re cut from the same cloth – he’s also a keen creative with a passion for photography. Between turning our bin into a basketball hoop for banana skins and choreographing a dance routine to a song we have written about Gary the fly on the wall (our new third housemate that moved in since this all started), we have found time to revisit a lot of our old photography and quiz each other on editing styles. We’re learning how the other one works – picking up tips, tricks and knowledge. Normally we’re so caught up in our everyday life that we don’t share work, but now we’ve got time too. It’s been a great opportunity to learn different skills from each other and keep the creative juices flowing.
Linda Blank, COO
I’ve found that following (as best I can) my usual routine really helps me keep focused. I make sure to take breaks regularly, sitting outside on the balcony for five minutes and getting some fresh(ish, this is London) air and to soak up some vitamin D. Of course, the British weather would get nice now. I’m making time to have breakfast, instead of jumping straight on the computer and diving into emails. It’s so easy to just be on all the time but you need to create some boundaries for your brain to take a break between work and downtime. Usually, I get in my 10,000 steps with no problem but now it’s a bit more difficult. I haven’t got a home gym (sob) so I’m improvising by pacing on the balcony and walking the length of my living room – it all counts, right?
Caroline Baneth, Head of Content & Strategy
I’m using my time in self-isolation to watch Games of Thrones. I know. Having never seen a single episode, I’m practically living in the 1900s. I want to use my time to join the rest of modern civilisation and see what the cult-like obsession is all about. At least with the lockdown there’s no chance of anyone in the office blurting out spoilers…
Line Charles, Office Manager
How am I keeping sane? Eating, eating and more eating. I’ve always loved to cook, but now I’m really throwing my all into my imaginary YouTube cooking show. Sometimes I pretend I’m live streaming to my fans, when in actual fact I’m actually just talking to my partner. I’m balancing out all the grazing with a spot of yoga and morning meditation, it’s only seven minutes long but at least I can tick exercising off of my to-do list.
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