Here we go again, the first day of a second national lockdown. Only this time we’re seasoned pros, having learnt many a hard lesson since the spring.
To help you resist any embarrassing flashbacks, CLAUDIA CONNELL lists what you definitely shouldn’t do this time around. . .
1. PILE ON THE LOCKDOWN LARD
Confused and anxious, we all ate like gannets last time around, gaining an average of 7 lb (or 20 lb in my case). Comfort food made us feel good — the wardrobe full of clothes that didn’t fit, did not.
2. WEAR PJs FOR VIDEO CONFERENCES
It will be fine, you thought, people can only see the collar and they will think I’m wearing a check shirt. Wrong. The emails that followed showed that nobody was fooled and everyone knew you were conducting business meetings in your nightwear.
Claudia Connell said that one of the things she won’t be doing in the new lockdown is baking banana bread (stock image) or sourdough bread
3. FEEL THE KNEAD TO MAKE SOURDOUGH
Life is too short to worry about sourdough ‘starters’. At the end of the day, it’s a loaf of bread and you can buy it from a shop without having to fret about a jam jar full of gunk on your kitchen windowsill.
4. . . . OR GO BANANAS FOR BANANA BREAD
In a world full of delicious cakes, banana bread is about number 12,000 on the list. A cake should lift your spirits and tantalise your taste buds, and one made of mouldy, soggy fruit will never do that.
5. WORK OUT WITH JOE WICKS
Bless his heart, he kept the nation moving during the first lockdown. But he also caused you to put your back out and twinge your neck. Joe is bringing his PE lessons back with 6am Wake Up With Joe sessions on YouTube three times a week. This time, however, leave it to the children.
Claudia said she will leave the Joe Wicks (pictured) workouts to the children this time around
6. TIKTOK DANCE WITH A RELATIVE
When Dame Judi Dench recorded a dance video with her grandson, it was sweet and funny. When everybody else followed, it became embarrassing and try-hard. Dance, by all means, just don’t feel the need to share it with the world.
7. DRINK AT LUNCHTIME
Sales of alcohol soared during the first lockdown. Before long we were all living our lives like an episode of Mad Men, with the first cocktail of the day at lunchtime, followed by a steady flow into the evening. Let’s give the bin men (and our livers) a break this time.
8. JOIN A LOCAL WHATSAPP GROUP
What started off as an idea to support one another ended up with an endless round of people sending the same ‘funny’ videos and GIFs. The constant message alert ping drove you insane.
9. MAKE RIDICULOUS ONLINE PURCHASES
Giant paddling pools, £500 vacuum cleaners, 1,000-piece jigsaws etc. With all retail outlets closed, other than essential ones, we flocked to online buying, often acquiring daft stuff we would never dream of purchasing in normal times. My coffee stencils (cut-out shapes that let me make a nice pattern on my cappuccino) remain in the drawer unused.
10. BE A CULTURE VULTURE
WE did virtual tours of museums and art galleries. You watched online versions of plays and dance productions. But why? You never went when you could go to the real thing and (whisper it) they were a bit boring.
11. OBSESSIVELY CLEAN THE HOUSE
Unlike the first time, when rules were uncertain, we now know cleaners can continue to work at your home. Hooray! No need to work out what all those Dyson attachments are for.
12. EXERCISE EVERY SINGLE DAY
In lockdown 1, we made sure we left the house every day for our permitted outdoor exercise. Parks were heaving. When restrictions ended and we were free to go anywhere we pleased, we couldn’t be bothered.
13. PANIC-BUY AT SUPERMARKETS
Be honest, you still haven’t used all the loo roll and tins of tomatoes you stockpiled the first time round, have you? Queuing for two hours in the freezing cold to pile your trolley full of stuff you don’t need? Behave.
Claudia said there is no need to stock pile items such as loo roll (stock image) or tins of tomatoes in the new lockdown
14. ATTEMPT TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Earlier this year, everyone seemed to be wearing headphones and walking around repeating phrases such as Como estas hoy? over and over again. Determined to use their lockdown time wisely, many chose to study a language. But it didn’t last and, let’s face it, Un vino por favor is enough to get by.
15. GET A VEG BOX SUBSCRIPTION
Nobody knows what to do with squash, and anybody who tells you that turnips taste nice is lying. Plus, you never did manage to identify that weird, knobbly, yellow thing, let alone cook it.
16. CUT YOUR FRINGE YOURSELF
With nail scissors. Proper hairdressers’ scissors sold out, so we all hacked our fringes with any we could find lying around and ended up with the sort of butchered hairdos our mothers used to give us when we were children.
Cutting your own fringe (stock image) is another lesson learned during the first lockdown, and the advice for the new lockdown is not to do it again
17. MAKE FACE MASKS OUT OF SOCKS
When face masks got the green light, people invented ingenious ways of making their own. Cutting up an old sock was particularly popular, after a video went viral. The only problem was it looked exactly like a manky old sock you had attacked with a pair of kitchen scissors.
18. CONTEMPLATE GOING ON HOLIDAY
We were all fooled into thinking it might be safe to book a summer or half-term holiday abroad — only to have to cancel or return home early to beat the ever-changing restrictions. Stay home. It’s safer and cheaper.
19. FORGET TO ANGLE A ZOOM SCREEN
In order not to look like Jabba the Hutt on Zoom, it is vital to raise your laptop up on at least three hardback books. Cookery books are excellent for this. If you don’t, you look like a talking double chin.
20. SPEND HOURS BATCH COOKING
WE WILL not spend half a day cooking huge vats of chilli con carne and soup to freeze for later. It takes hours to prepare the veg, you get thoroughly sick of eating the same thing over and over — and your freezer is still rammed.
21. HAVE A GO AT DO-IT-YOURSELF
Out of boredom, you painted your living room and kitchen cupboards. Now you stare every day at dripped paint, areas you have missed, and brush hairs you’ve painted into surfaces. Leave it to the pros.
22. GO WILD SWIMMING
Pools may be closed but there is nothing to stop you from swimming outdoors in seas, lakes and rivers. Well, nothing apart from the desire not to suffer from hypothermia.
23. HOST A VIRTUAL DRINKS PARTY
In your head: a girly get-together with your friends as you drink prosecco and catch up on the gossip. In reality: six people all talking over each other and breaking off to shout at children and husbands to be quiet.
Claudia said she splashed £18,000 on a Mini Cooper (file image) during the first lockdown but having only driven it 300 miles in five months, she won’t be repeating her luxury impulse buy
24. SPLASH OUT ON A LUXURY IMPULSE BUY
With the future so uncertain, the urge to buy yourself an expensive treat was overwhelming. Buy now, worry about the bill later became the motto. I purchased an £18,000 Mini Cooper on finance. I love it, but I have driven a grand total of 300 miles since I bought it five months ago.
25. USE THE PHRASE THE NEW NORMAL
Unless it’s part of a drinking game where you take a slug every time somebody says it on TV. It’s annoying and there’s nothing normal about how we’re living.