DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER - My loves (and loathes) of lockdown

February 14th, 2021 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

I’m keeping things real for Valentine’s Day and am hoping to make it to the supermarket alone. It’s all about managing our expectations!

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It’s Week 48 and for the week that’s in it I’m ready to declare my undying love for camping, crisps and coffee … lots of coffee

• LOVE it or loathe it, even in lockdown there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s Valentine’s (Day? Week? Season?). It’s not a day I ever got terribly excited about to be honest. I’m still a bit traumatised from my boarding school days when the arrival of the post on February 14th was loaded with expectation, and I’d be equal part furious and grateful to my mother for sending a card with her badly disguised writing saying ‘Guess who?’. This year I’d be deliriously happy if I could win the toss to do the weekly supermarket shop (pretty please?). Anyway, in the spirit of things, I’ve decided to come up with a list of all the things I’ve loved during lockdown. It took me a while but I got there in the end. Oh, and I threw in a few things I’ve loathed as well at the end in case you thought I’d gone all Pollyanna on you …

• Coffee: I’ve had a long love affair with coffee which started in my early teens. I remember thinking I was super sophisticated as I sipped my putrid Maxwell House (often times topped with a scoop of whipped cream). Now I take it black and strong and am pretty serious about the whole business, so much so that we actually bought our counter top coffee machine before we got the counter top. Anyway, that first coffee of the morning has brought me much joy over the past few months, usually accompanied by my first Insta scroll of the day (unless I’d slept badly in which case I’d have had a quick 3am check-in). Often times, once both were consumed I’d feel there was little left to look forward to, but then I’d make myself a second cup and things always looked more hopeful.

If anyone wants to splash out I’d love one of Gwyneth’s sauna blankets.


• Instagram: Some people have turned to podcasts in the pandemic, but I turned to the gram and will admit to being a hopeless addict, and sure what harm is it doing? Ok, it did ‘make’ me think I should buy a slightly pricey feather trimmed pyjamas the other week. It was one of those that you could actually wear outside the bedroom and it was fabulous. I sent a picture of it to my sister who was so alarmed she rang me straight away. After some discussion, where she asked me to come up with at least one place I could see myself wearing it to (she didn’t accept my suggestion of a themed party), we agreed that it would have to go back. I’ve currently got my eye on this infrared sauna blanket on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle shop Goop. It promises to reduces stress, releases happy hormones and burns calories, for around €800. I know, amazing right? Ah no, Instagram is harmless, for sure.

• Delayed gratification: After months of overdosing on Netflix I’m now into watching programmes in real time, with actual ad breaks (where you have to run to the loo at break neck speed, or even chance making a cuppa, for sure you’d need the kettle pre-filled). It’s so much fun and I totally recommend it (unless it’s something with a complicated plot and you can’t pause it to make your other half explain what’s happening). I also have this other thing where I see the post man arriving, but don’t actually go and collect the delivery until later on and we turn it into a bit of an ‘event’ (this is something I usually do with the four-year-old and not my husband). I’ll admit that it can be bone crushingly disappointing if there’s just something like an NCT notification waiting for us in the post box (rather than feather trimmed pyjamas), or worse still, nothing at all, but it gives us something to do mid-morning and we get a bit of fresh air. It’s the little things.

Prof Luke O’Neill

• Prof Luke, Dr Tony and Dr Cillian: How did I love thee (all) you might ask? At various times since last March they’ve all held a spot in my affections. There’s a few more too but perhaps I’ve already shared too much?  Era ok so, given the week that’s in it: also Ronan Collins (the tunes!), RTÉs Tony Connolly (making Brexit sound sexy!) and Derry Fleming (father of TikTok star Tadhg. All the LOLs). Not sure who is next, but Fergal Bowers is growing on me.

Lentil crisps and salted caramel M&Ms: I fell for the lentil crisps very early on in pandemic proceedings and kidded myself into thinking that they were actually a healthy snack. After much trialling I can state clearly that this is only the case if eaten in small quantities. So just to be clear eating the entire bag in one sitting isn’t to be recommended if you ever want to be able to breathe comfortably in your jeans again. As for the M&Ms, if you know you know.

• Camping: We had a trailer tent growing up and I’ve loads of happy memories camping the length and breadth of Ireland. Now that I’m a grown up myself I know my parents were mainly pretending they were having a fabulous time for our sakes, as it’s a lot of flipping hard work! But this past summer I rediscovered my love of canvas (specifically how insanely happy it makes kids) and we’re already planning our Summer ’21 pitches, which will be hopefully past the garden.

• And a few loathes: In case you think it’s all sunshine and roses around there were plenty of things I’ve loathed too. In no particular order they included: all arts and crafts paraphernalia but especially glitter and pom poms (they will take over your house and make you lose your mind); actually let’s just make that all arts and crafts activities full stop (just me or is it a case of the longer it takes to set them up, the shorter the time kids spend doing them?); also my house in general (after spending so much time in it, I want to knock it and start again, especially now that I’ve so many ideas courtesy of Instagram); Zoom quizzes (no explanation needed) and arranging for online purchases to be returned (a full time job).

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