Odes To Lockdown's Favourite Things

By Lucy Harbron - 17:10

Seeing one year roll into the next from the comfort of my living room suited me fine, allowed to slip from a 0 to a 1 without the pressure to do too much summarising, or make big promises for the year to come. While 2020 ripping away any chance of ticking ‘travel’ off your resolutions list was rubbish, it did have a knock on effect for those of us that out too much pressure on checking boxes we drew ourselves.

Something it feels like no one really wants to admit, but lockdown has been something of a haven for me. I slipped easily into routines that allowed me to give all my time to myself, no longer stressed about sacrificing writing to my social life or vice versa. I filled a whole notepad and sent words off to homes across various pages and places, I painted more, I got my skincare routine down; and at midnight I pulled the Knight Of Pentacles, he told me to keep doing what I’m doing for 365 more days. And so for January, I’ve just been standing still. Working through my weeks, writing when it hits me, eating croissants on Saturday mornings and seeing out nights with films. While I miss the pub and laughing in sunny weather and being able to make plans without everything feeling like a pipe dream, almost a year into all this, I really like how my life circles around little things. Always reaching for more and looking for next steps, I’ve got a new appreciation for small details, things that would’ve been footnotes in my week now coming to be bolded titles.

Allow me to write them some odes.

Dr Martens

There are things in life that are so shrouded with stories and culture, that you almost pause to consider if you’re worthy of them. I’ve had years of wanting them and not getting them, remember well the year seven heartbreak when my request for sleek patent white 1460 boots was reject by my parents. After, my confidence was knocked, not sure if I could carry them with the attitude they deserved. But when chance came knocking, with the smiling face of my friend and her sweet staff discount, they were finally to be mine.

Lockdowns have given me a new appreciation of walking. Before I would’ve shrugged off the activity but by April 2020 I was stomping laps round the city, and I’m so glad I have these docs as a companion. Pre-lockdown I invested in some cowboy boots which while beautiful, felt a bit too boisterously clompy for the silence of the start of it all. So instead, I swapped to these Dr Marten Church leather monkey boots, thankfully broken in before all the madness broke out. They’re the comfiest shoes I’ve ever own, finally allowing me to understand what everyone’s been raving about all this time. But they also go with everything. I’ve now worn them through every season with everything from jeans to outfits in the brief period where we could get dressed up to go to bars still. They’ve carried me through all my walks, my one brief get-away to London, rain and heatwaves. They’ve made my daily exercise a pleasure, something I never thought I’d write.



Your letter comes, speaking as you

I never got a pen in primary school, still writing is scrolling scribbles that get less readable as I get more passionate. I start neatly, ‘Dearest…’ but by ‘yours…’, you’re squinting. But at least you know I’m there, a little piece of me packaged up and sealed with a sticker, usually slanted and telling you of the last week’s thoughts that are now past for me and present for you, opened anew.

During lockdown, myself and my friend Holly launched Address, a bi-weekly newsletter based on letters. We’ve written to each other regularly for over two years now, and lockdown has made letters feel more important than ever as a token of presence. For my birthday she got me this Andy Warhol letter writing set, and I keep it more my most important correspondence, like sending new year’s affirmations to my best friends and when I didn’t think ahead enough to buy birthday cards before we get put up a tier. I now know my best friends’ handwritings, can tell the sender just by my address. I think that’s so rare now, but so beautiful. I write long 3 page letters on nights I can’t keep up with the instantaneous nature of messages, make sure to ask questions to be answered, and check my mail box every day.

Canned Cocktails

I sip pandemic nights away like cocktails, from a can to a glass, trying to make something out of not a lot. But it tasted great anyways.

There’s going shopping, and then there’s going shopping shopping. My Friday night Tesco trips have become the most dystopian highlight of my week, never before been so excited to pick out some slightly more extravagant essentials, browsing Linda McCartney’s newest offerings, spending a bit more on wine. Canned cocktails have never been high on my radar, generally preferring a neat cocktail over something fruity, and usually just opting for wine or a spirit. But suddenly, canned espresso martinis are an essential pillar of my serotonin. The crack of the nitro can, the slow development of the foamy top in my one martini glass, the way in looks on my bedside table in pink light. Suddenly my bedroom is a bar, and I’m such a VIP I didn’t even have to change out of my PJs.

Makeup on a weekend

‘The sun doesn’t like me’, I’ve laughed before. I’ve diagnosed myself allergic as the heat makes my skin scream and I spend holidays hiding under umbrella. When I was younger it was a vanity thing, I wanted to be pale and fragile like all my favourite girls from films and magazine, and any hint of sun would ruin the mystery I thought I was making. But now, I want to radiate, want to look warm with blushing cheeks hiding under a mask like a secret. Or maybe I just like the irony of the process, erasing everything to add some life back in. But I love drawing on cheekbones I don’t have, patting sunshine into my face that’s been outside for less than an hour in days.

I really love my renegotiated relationship with makeup. Putting my face on has been relegated to a weekend treat, or an activity for when I want to feel instantly better about myself. No longer having to sleepily slap it on before running for a train, I like to take my time and consider myself for a little bit. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, I dress up for brief walks then sit in bed like the most glamorous woman to ever rest, punctuated days of nothing by wiping it all off again. But now I don’t do it every day, the process feels so luxurious, and in turn I’ve started buying more expensive products to use slower and even found myself experimenting with a routine that has been the same for years. I use blush now, patting Glossier’s Cloudpaint onto my cheeks to blend into my faux warmth from a Milk makeup bronzing stick. My eyebrows stay hidden under an overgrown fringe, but trust me they look great, set in place with soap like TikTok taught me, perfected with a tiny brow pen. Soft fake freckles and occasional lipstick hide under my mask and I think it all feels so much nicer now painting appearance isn’t a daily routine but a weekly indulgence. 

The Bakery

There’s romance even in the words. ‘Going to the bakery’, it feels French and special even if in reality you’re nipping round the corner. And so I dress up for it, curl my hair and put a nice outfit on to go stare through glass and point at pastries. In summer I’d sit by the canal, try to read but get distracted by other people’s conversation. Now I grab the bag and retire back to bed, getting a coffee on the way home to sip as I sit up against pillows and enjoy a chapter or two, daydream about a different timeline where I work there, where I know the magic it must take to make a croissant so perfect. When I was younger sometimes on a Saturday my mum would do a chocolate bar run, ask me what I wanted and return from Tesco with a treat. This feels like that, a grown up more accomplished version, because somewhere in the romance of ‘the bakery’ is also a touch of success, of riches, of Marie Antoinette feasting on cakes at a banquet like I do with two brioche rolls in bed. Something about the bakery feels like making it, something cinematic in food so perfected and pretty that I let my week center around it. I work all week, crawling towards Saturday's small luxury, I pass my pay-slip to the bakery for pastries with no regret.


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