Franci’s Lockdown Activities
We currently live in very scary times. Most of us are staying at home, taken out of our daily routines and having to find activities to do to survive each day, week or month. I am sure many of us have learnt many new skills, that we never thought we had to, due to the fact that non-essential businesses are closed. Here is a list of activities I have taken up during the past few weeks.
I read an article the other day how lunch has become the most ‘hated’ meal of households (I Miss Pret – How Lunch Under Lockdown Became The Worst Meal Of The Day). We are lucky enough at Cavendish Venues to enjoy our lovely chef’s cooking day-by day. I miss all the quiches, the mustard chicken and sheperd’s pies.
This is also the time to experiment with recipes, especiall those we were scared of due to the fact that they might be more technical or time consuming. I personally love cooking, not a big fan of baking, but would much rather bake a quick tray of muffins now, than have store-bought cakes, as I am more in control of all the ingerdients and know what I eat.
The other day, I was craving some pie. I ended up making a simple chicken pie but with a little twist that I learnt from Chef Nestor at the Hallam Conference Centre. Instead of simply putting the sheet of puff pastry on top of the pie, I cut little circles of it and placed them on op of my veggie and chicken filled filling. I wasn’t brave enough to experiment with making my own puff pastry though. It is too technical, and I think Mary Berry buys her puff pastry too!
I cannot stress how much I love going to the nail shop or any beauty salon. I have my nails done quite often. Nail salons are a safe space and lets us feel like queens when walking out with a newly done gel polish. Here comes the problem. For those of you who are not aware, taking gel polish off is not easy. So after 2 weeks into the lockdown, I had no other choice but to jump into the endless pool of DIY and ‘How to…’ videos online. I ordered a kit and 100% acetone and entered a war zone. I now have a new appreciation for all the people out there working in this industry. It took me a good hour to take all the gel polish off. It looks so easy on all the videos and in the shops!!
As I don’t want to do my own gel polish at home (mainly because of not wanting to take it off again), I decided to look for other options to brighten up my nail routine and to spare some time. The answer is simple: nail stickers! These are stickers that have to be soaked into water for 10-20 seconds, then applied to the polished nail with tweezers and finish it up with a top coat.
It wasn’t easy I must say. I have very shaky hands, so took a few attempts and a few stickers landing in the bin to achieve something presentable. I have a million other stickers to play around with, so cannot wait for the next time I am doing them.
Another crucial beauty problem many of us are facing is our hair. My hair is currently shoulder length and I had it dyed and cut dark brown (similar to my natural hair colour) back in January. Feeling the ‘lockdown blues’, one day I woke up and said that’s it, I am having rose gold hair by the evening. Again I turned to DIY videos for help. I found Brad Mondos videos (Hairdressers Guide To Coloring Your Own Hair And Not Ruining It) extremely helpful. He explains everything in a very simple way, so even someone like me, who has never done her hair at home understands. Given I have dark brunette hair, I needed to bleach it first and then I applied a pink permanent hair dye on the bleached part. I wanted to go for a ‘balayage’ effect, mainly because I was too scared to get anywhere near my scalp with the bleach. I watched way too many scary videos of hair bleaching going wrong. I am pretty pleased with the effect, and I don’t think it is a very bad first attempt!
If you ask anyone at Cavendish Conference Venues, they will tell you I am a fairly active person. I signed up to my local gym last year, and actually taking advantage of all the facilities (gym, swimming pool, classes). I also cycle to work, and would call myself an occasional runner. I run a few 10k races a year, but not a big fan of running. I find it a bit boring. Growing up, I was a very active kid as well. Up until the age of 10, I wanted to become a football player in Real Madrid, although, somewhere around that age, I realized I cannot really play football. I ended up sticking with dancing and gymnastics.
It comes to no surprise that I kept on staying active even when staying indoors the whole day. The first few weeks, I was only doing online classes. The two platforms I am following are: Valenfit & Les Mills – On Demand. The first account is my partner’s cousin’s company. He does HIIT type workouts online. If you are lucky enough, you might see a cute little baby in the videos every now and then. He does live videos, both low and high-intensity plus stretching.
The second platform I signed up for is through my gym. I attend one of the classes taught by a lovely lady from New Zealand on Mondays, and keeping to this schedule. Although, I don’t have a bar, kettlebells or dumbbells, I do have a few plates around my flat that I use during classes. I sometimes use my bicycle locks as well, they are fairly heavy.
I newly started taking barre classes which are a mix between ballet and strengthening. Due to the poses, I found these classes really helpful with strengthening my lower back muscles. Another extra coming from this class is that one of my really good friends is currently studying and practicing to be a barre teacher, so I have a personal virtual trainer as well!
Last but not least on the activities is running. A week ago, I went for a run. I just ran for no reason (other than cardio training). I came home, did my stretching and thought I need some order in my life. Running is a great exercise, but without an aim or a plan, it is not useful at all. Again, I turned to the help of the internet, and before I knew, I decided to start a 12-week program finishing with a half marathon. I am a big fan of pretty stationary, so pulled out these ‘get fit & healthy’ planners from my drawer and before I knew it, week 1 already finished!
I work out five times a week now. Monday is cross training, Tuesday is for running, Wednesday is my rest day, Thursday is running, Friday is either pilates or yoga, Saturday, again I rest and Sunday is my long run. So far, the most enjoyable part of running is getting to know the area that I live in even more. I must say, I cannot wait for my long runs to be more than 10k, so I can venture out towards Hyde Park, Regents Park or Hampstead Heath. Hampstead will be perfect for my hill training! I am not sure how long my enthusiasm for running is going to last but the stationary definitely helps.
All in all, it is great to have some time for myself and try some things that I would have never tried on my own. It just shows that we are capable of doing a lot more activities than we thought we could (still not planning on baking bread though…). We are all in this together, and even if I am enjoying my new daily norms, I cannot wait to go back to work in our wonderful conference venues, training rooms, meeting rooms and event spaces!
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