Life before COVID definitely feels now like a lifetime ago now. I can’t even believe between Jan to March this year I managed to go on a skiing holiday, two work trips to Sweden and Finland, trial three different gyms, have a meltdown in February and emerge in March going all out for my 25th birthday. I often wonder, once we’re out of this mess, how we’ll all look back on it one day, and how it will impact our habits going forward. The next swine flu or COVID-23 that attacks society – how will we deal with that? Are lockdowns going to become common practice when they strike again? Or will this one day fade into a very distance memory that we use as an antidote to tell our children about how tough life was growing up.
Timing shall tell.
Despite spending most of the year literally at home, in my bed, on various video calls and zipping through Netflix how – I do still feel like 2020 has been a good year for personal growth. Maybe it’s hitting that 25 mark that has done it for me, but me now and me pre-COVID… they’re not totally the same.
One thing I can say is that the situation that has ensued this year has gotten me to slowdown and “smell the roses”. I have always been a go-go-go type person – before COVID, I woke up at 6am a few times a week to lift heavy and sprint until I felt like I was dying at the gym, I worked 10-12 hour days, travelled every other week or so abroad for days packed with client meetings, was always planning my next personal trip abroad and how I was going to make my summer holidays absolutely spectacular. Amongst this all – Skylish, my fitness page, other side hustles and my career in general also needed to be kept churning in the background.
This situation has gotten me to slowdown, appreciate my life and just reflect, I guess. Some of the things I’d been trying so hard to get to (like “silver level” at BA) – start to feel so frivolous in a world where a virus has literally torn apart industries, families, and kept us all inside for months on end. It’s really a “see the bigger picture” type of year, and in that sense, there has definitely been some things I have taken from it.
As we dive into our second national lockdown in the UK, and with the last 8 months bringing so much change to me personally, I wanted to write up a long and overdue Life Lately update.
Lockdown and working from home
When I first heard we might be working from home (before cases really picked up), as great as it sounded, I screwed up my nose a bit. I had worked from home on weekends before and it was always such a struggle. Working on my laptop without a mouse would literally mess with the joints in my hands, and our internal online system was so archaic back that often, it was easier to just go into the office if I had weekend work.
That said, over the months I’ve really gotten used to it and honestly – I love it. I love the flexibility that working from home gives. I love that I can make my own lunch and breakfast, take a break to get in a workout, and switch up the location in I’m working. Working late from home is also 10x less painful that working late in a office where you’re probably alone, feeling quite bitter that you’re still at the office and knowing a journey back home still awaits you. I don’t feel like I’m missing out socially during the work day, as honestly, myself and Levi have enough jokes over the day to keep me chugging along. Then on the weekends (when I could), I see my friends. I really do hope that once life returns to some normality – working from home is kept as a staple in all industries; it doesn’t need to be an every day thing – one or twice a week sounds optimal to me!
Going into this second lockdown definitely feels different to the first. During the first lockdown, my flatmate when home to her family and I basically was living with Levi, his flatmate and his flatmate’s fiance. It was 2 bed new build in East London, and often when I told people this was my living situation they’d cringe at how cramped it all seems. And yes – it was pretty cramped. I basically lived in a small bedroom for 4 months, with the main room really just there for dinners and socialising. I don’t even think it settled it how squished it all was until I moved to my new place which has an actual office room and a lot more space. But – it was cute. We ate dinner together every night and on the weekend we’d drink and play poker and monopoly until 5am in the morning. It was a unique experience and a cute little makeshift family we formed, a memory that I think will make us all do a cheesy, warm smile forever.
Moving to a new place
As mentioned above – I moved! I’d been living at my old flat since 2016, and I never expected to come out of lockdown somewhere totally new. I really do love where I’m at right now though, the area has a lot more of a vibe, the flat is super spacious, I have my own vanity now and an little “office” which is amazing, and sometimes it’s just good to get a change. I think where I was living was amazing for me for those years that I lived there – I could literally walk to work and compared to anywhere else I’d lived since leaving home – it was a MAJOR upgrade. I’d never lived in a new build before/during university – I spent my first year out in halls, then I moved to have a run down place if I’m honest and then finally moved to an ex-council estate in Russel Square which was small but cute (and location was amazing). I’d never even lived in a place with a living area at uni (because – who really does at uni? You utilise that as a spare room and save some Ps, please). So moving to my now old new place just felt like – “wow – is it a whole me that’s living here?” Because of that, the place will always be very special to me.
Panel, panels, panels
Recently – I’ve been doing a lot of virtual panels. Usually finance related and just sharing my own experience, tips and tricks I’ve learned since I’ve been working. You can see everything I’ve been up to here. I always love panels as I think they’re a great way to hear some practical soundbites that you certainly won’t hear during an internship or assessment centre. After all, the more you know, the better prepared you are to take it all on.
Fitness and cooking
I’ve been training in the gym since January 2018 – the only time I took an extended break away from training would be when I was on holiday, and sometimes to be totally honest, I’d make sure to get a hotel with a gym. This was not because I felt as though I had to work out, just because quite frankly… I like working ouut. I like the routine, and I like it when I hit the goals I’ve set for myself. When the gyms closed in March – I was quite okay with it. After >2 years of training constantly – I welcome an extended breather. The breather turned out to be longer than I expected and it was a whole c.5 months before I picked up a barbell again. Whilst the gym was out of action, I did take a liking to home workouts. I loved getting out my yoga mat and switching on a Chloe Ting video, I loved doing some circuits with my dummbells and I even attempted jogging (that one, I didn’t love). I didn’t miss the gym at all, but once it came back and I restarted training – I realised what I’d been missing! The adrenalin and endorphins from a good session in the gym, it really is unmatched for me.
These past few months back, I’ve been trying to tweak my now new routine to work for me. Even though I was going to the gym, my activity levels were still below my usual just because I’m working from home, sometimes spending days on end not even stepping outside because my gym is in my building. Because of this, I’ve now incorporated frequent post-work walks into my routine. I like this also because it’s a time for me to listen to my eBooks or The Economist which I’ve struggled to do since March, with a “commute” no longer a thing in my life. I’ve also, on my days off from the gym, starting doing short Chloe Ting full body circuits to fill in the gaps. I picked up some bad eating habits since March – eating more red meats, not drinking much water, vegetables – what are those?! So over the past 2 weeks, I’ve started to clean that up too. Sadly, once I’m getting into my stride, the gyms close again! But hoping I can at least keep up the other healthier habits I’ve implemented recently.
I’ve also started to get into cooking. If you know me you know that whilst I do cook a lot (and I love my own food to be quite frank), I’ve never actually liked the process of cooking food. I’d much rather be doing something else. Because of this I’ve always stuck to the same old foods I’ve always cooked and never experimented with learning new techniques away from what I already know. That said, recently I’ve really been loving trying some new recipes and addicted to watching cooking videos on YouTube. I’ve started posting up some cooking Reels on my fitness page.
Blogs and ideas
And lastly – a quick one on the topic of all things side hustles and business! Even though my posting rate can be weak sometimes (ideally, I’d like to post once a week but I really do get bad writer’s block sometimes), The response I’ve had to the posts I have put out here and there has been great. I’m just trying to share more of what I’m learning going about my day working in Investment Banking, always with an eye on self-development, whilst juggling that with blogging amongst other things too. Be that a post covering tips to finding a place to live, how to make your money make more money, or how I’ve gotten to the position where I feel more confident in myself than I ever have before. I want to keep these sorts of topics at the forefront – which, to be fair, they have been for a little while now. Less of the fluffy stuff, more of the nitty gritty to make people stop, question and learn.
I also am of course always thinking side hustles & business. I always feel like with business ideas, it’s great if you can personally relate to the problem you’re facing. It feels a lot more organic when its done that way. I was working on a few things professional women’s clothing for quite a while but I also am now working on something totally fresh & new, closely related to one of the things mentioned in this “Life Lately” 😉 I’m super excited.
And – that’s you detailed round up of what I’ve been up to recently. 2020 definitely hasn’t gone as expected but at the same time, there are some things to be grateful about. ~2 months left of the year… let’s make them count.