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Things keeping us sane during COVID

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Sanitiser, loungewear and Ti-i-iger King, these are a few of our favourite things…

Whether we’re working from home, homeschooling or binging on Netflix, here are a few creature comforts keeping the HerCanberra team sane during lockdown.

Emma Macdonald

First of all, isn’t sanity just an abstract concept? I mean, are any of us REALLY sane? I’ve had some moments of deep reflection on this concept as I wonder why my children’s primary and high school online learning content is fundamentally beyond my capabilities—and yet I have a Bachelor’s Degree?

Also, why does my 5th grader keep referring to a rubric? Isn’t that a multi-coloured cube puzzle that I have never been able to solve? The thing is, my pride has been hurt by home learning. I just feel such a failure. On so many levels.

Maths, English (it’s taken me more than 25 years as a professional writer to come across the concept of “modality”, but there you are), Inquiry, Geography. But particularly Maths. Thank God for the Year 9 son who has been called in for regular tutorials. They just don’t teach it like they used to.

So I, for one, do not apologise for cracking open a champagne now that they are back. They prefer it too. Let’s just say Canberra’s education sector dodged a bullet when I decided teaching was not the career for me. And could I love our local school teachers any more than I already do? No. No, I could not.

But I digress. Loving the change in routine. It’s early days with the kids out of the house but things seem a lot easier in terms of being able to juggle work demands. And stay calm. And while I DESPISED packing school lunches until eight weeks ago, I have decided I despise making three lunches and seven snacks a day for children whose make-shift school desks are located far too close to the kitchen for comfort.

With all this “spare” time on my hands what have I been up to?

Working, peacefully, productively, without any family members crying (or, let’s be honest, me crying)…

What I am reading

Finished Where the Crawdads Sing and absolutely loved it. A beautiful read with a real twist. Am now halfway through Such a Fun Age. It’s fast and addictive, but not really life-changing.

Because I am preparing an Old Cuban cocktail for our Corona-Time Cocktail series tonight, I have immersed myself in Hemingway this week.

He is among my favourite writers and I somehow re-read The Old Man and the Sea one afternoon without thinking of the million other things I should have been doing.

If you haven’t read it—do. Truly, it is revered for a reason, as is my other favourite of his, A Moveable Feast. It’s good to balance the junky reads with the quality stuff.

Also, my absolute essential reading has been The Squiz each morning, as it connects me to the nation when most days I don’t leave the street.

A digestible news overview, The Squiz presents a lovely mix of light (Cottagecore—are you into it?) and shade (Donald Trump, China, the global economy tanking etc). When we fully emerge from this coronavirus bubble, I am going to be bursting with relevant current affairs content. And desperate for a chat. So watch out!

What I am cooking

Cooking. Yeah, yeah, aren’t we all.

This past fortnight I have embraced my inner pastry queen, mastering both puff pastry sausage rolls and the most kick-arse spanakopita thanks to HerCanberra Corona-Time Cooking legend Sarah Robinson.

I have to say that I have really loved hunkering down and preparing long and luscious family meals and trying all the new stuff that fills my Instagram grid.

Some of my favourite Instachef’s include @diannemorrisey and @phoodiegram and I am always inspired by the beautiful table settings of @everydaycurator.

What I am cleaning

Everything that isn’t nailed down. In fact, even the nailed down stuff. Oven, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher.

Yes, I have succumbed to new levels of OCD cleaning—the kind where until you’ve scrubbed the scungy stuff out of your clothes washer and seen your own reflection in your gleaming oven racks then you haven’t really cleaned it properly.

I blame my new addition to a motley collection of British clean freaks whom I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time watching on Instagram as they vacuum their crazy velour sofas and brush their rugs and scrub their kitchens every single day.

Do not click on these links unless you have bleach and rubber gloves at the ready—@mrshinchhome @cleaningwithmario—and if you are into pastel colour-coded butlers pantries then go no further than Iryna Federico @fromgreatbeginnings

What I’m Watching

I tell you what, The Bureau is not for the faint-hearted. We are still going with it.

Four seasons in and almost bilingual now we have absorbed so much French, I can’t think of a more intriguing or twisty-turning series to throw oneself into while couch-ridden.

But we did briefly divert to The Innocence Files which is a devasting series pulling apart modern crime-solving techniques in the United States.

What I am Buying

I figure that with all the money I am saving on going out and paying for petrol has got to go somewhere right? Are we all not responsible for keeping the economy afloat?

I may have made a few trigger-happy late-night online purchases this week (and it’s oh so tricky trying to get them in the house while my husband is working from home, right?).

Favourite among them are some new Hunter boots, which, while technically are gumboots, are the best all-weather footwear for the depths of a Canberra winter.

Also, could not go past a beautiful soft and sloppy cable knit cardigan from our friends Sally and Maha over at Swiish.

Don’t plan on leaving the house in July, but nice to know that if I have to then I will be warm.

Until next time, yours in isolation, Emma x

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