Are you heading again towards another lockdown? Here is my edit of lockdown essentials.
What is a lockdown essential? My definition is simple: something that brings some joy during the times we have to stay at home in order to halt coronavirus infections.
In no particular order, here are my lockdown essentials.
Send yourself beautiful flowers
I started subscribing to Freddie’s Flowers during the first lockdown and 2020, and they certainly are one of the highlights of each week spent at home. We have always bought fresh flowers each week, but this is a whole different level – and we don’t even need to think.
You can send them as a gift (a friend recently got a year’s worth of flowers from a friend), as a one off or as a subscription (but you decide how often you’d like to get them).
The cost is £25, but if you use my code AnaO44, you will get your first box for £12.50 and so will I.
Pick a mood-lifting candle
Home fragrance is one of my favourite things and I do like to keep it simple. Every evening, we light up a candle in the living room before we have dinner and then get to enjoy it each evening. Whereas I keep my base home fragrance the same (diffusers), I do play with the ‘scented candle of the day’ depending on how we are feeling.
Click here for my luxury home fragrance edit.
For something incredibly heart warming, I love The White Company’s Winter candle, which is great value as well, starting at £20. They come in a variety of sizes and the tea lights are also divine (obviously).
Buy a fab handwash
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. With so much (necessary) hand washing, spurge and buy a luxury hand wash – it does last long and as it has become quite a meaningful part of our lives, make them count.
Don’t forget the hand cream
All that hand washing requires extra moisturising, so obviously, a hand moisturiser is a must. I have been on the hunt for the best hand creams and would love to share my hand cream edit with you.
I love La Mer’s hand treatment – it is on the pricier end of the scale, but it does last you a few months. Also, I have rounded up my favourite hand sanitisers (how very 2020).
Look after your hair
I got into a little routine and thanks to lockdown 1, I now just wash my hair twice a week (down from 3) and once a week I fit into a bath and put on a face mask and a hair mask. And guess what? It makes a huge difference.
I have rounded up my favourite sulphate free shampoos and other hair products (and was incredibly surprised about how popular this blog post was).
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No pedicure? Get a foot peel
This was my lockdown 1 discovery and probably the most bought item by my readers during this period (which I also singled out as a Summer beauty essential, but in all honesty, every season I will be doing one no matter what).
PS. This is a unisex exercise. I will never forget how my husband forgot about it and a few days later came to me very worried as something has happening to his feet.
The best lounge trousers
Some people prefer leggings (get any of these from Sweaty Betty), others want something a bit different. I have found 2 great options at M&S (of all places, as I don’t really shop there normally), which I would love to share with you.
Their straight cotton joggers are £12.50 and come in black, navy and grey, 3 great base colours for an at-home outfit. They also come in 3 lengths (I am short, ha) and curvy. I buy one of each every year and cannot recommend them enough.
If you are looking for something warmer, they also do some nice cashmere joggers – I would prefer them to be straight leg, but they are really good nonetheless. As much as I love cashmere, I am not willing to spend £300 on a pair of trousers which I will be wearing at home. I have before and found that they will rub in between your thighs no matter what. So £99 for these are a good compromise.
At home jumpers
Again, simplicity is best (for me, namely now with a baby at home who loves burping and dribbling on my shoulders! Zero complaints on that one for now!)
I have bought a fair isle jumper at M&S which is machine washable and really nice (and under £30). In fact, I liked it so much I bought a second one ‘for next year’.
Other great recent purchases include a grey jumper (wool and cashmere) from The White Company (£149), an oversized roll neck from N Peal (£995 but mine was 60% off at Bicester Village), a mock turtleneck jumper from Vince (£340 from Net a Porter). My favourite was a cable knit wool jumper from Massimo Dutti (£80). Worth looking at their jumpers this season.
These are not of course, only lockdown essentials – check out my winter jumpers edit.
I like them whilst watching TV on dark cold winter nights only – and I know most people love them but I get too hot! Mine are from N Peal (£59) and come in a variety of colours.
I now really want their Cashmere Slippers.
All our other socks are from Falke (and Baby S loves them too).
The most comfortable underwear
Who knew Skims really were not all hype? I ordered 2 ‘fits everyone triangle bralettes‘ directly from the USA (with outstanding and seamless international shipping and customs clearance) in the middle of the first lockdown and I think I have worn them every single week.
If you like non wired bras (and why wouldn’t you!), I highly recommend giving KKW’s range a go. I only have this model and it has recently launched in the UK exclusively at Selfridges. The bras cost £38 and I bought an L – they go up XXXXL and they fit beautifully. They come in every single shade of nude – and that is one of the things I really liked about it. My nude is darker than white white nude and I love them.
They ship globally from the USA website and the bras cost $32. When I ordered from the USA, total cost was $98 including shipping and duties, so $45 each (the same as the UK price, so if you want a size they don’t have here… just order).
Net a Porter also stocks the range.
As far as knickers are concerned, I have been a very loyal customer of Intimissimi’s cotton seamless range (USA) (click here for UK) which delivers exactly what the name suggests. They cost £10 each and they usually offer a discount if you buy in multiples.
A warm throw or blanket
Something we didn’t need during Lockdown 1 in England for sure, but necessary for the second one. Depending on your preference (and how you wish to care for it and/or spend on it), I can recommend a few options (which we have purchased).
For my readers in the USA, RH Modern also has some great ones (we have 2 navy ones and they really are good, from $299).
Falke home pad socks
Get a Peloton bike
I keep telling people that it is more than just a bike – the Peloton app itself has thousands of hours of floor exercises such as yoga, meditation, core challenges and more. We ride a couple of times a week (as I do other forms of exercise such as Reformer Pilates) and it has become a part of our lives.
The bike I have costs £1750 but you can split the payment over a year interest free.
Online fitness and mindfulness classes
The other ‘good thing’ about lockdown is that Bamford turns its fabulous class schedule online – I not only loved their online retreats (something I never thought I would say), but I got into some mindfulness sessions led by the fab Akshai. I highly recommend you have a look at the schedule – classes start at £9.50.
We continue to train with our Personal Trainer virtually once a week and now join her Monday Zoom Kettlebell classes (which she continued to run after lockdown as they remained so popular). We also do 2 matt pilates Classes a week – one of which we continued to do after the first lockdown. But I do miss reformer pilates!
Magazine and Newspapers Subscriptions
Something I definitely did not do before and I absolutely love it – so it became more than a lockdown essential. I subscribed to Hello magazine (with a saving of 50% on the cover price) and I then found out a website which lets you order and/or subscribe to pretty much every international print magazine (and I like real magazines), which has been fantastic. I get one Spanish Hola a month (not weekly as too much) and from the USA, I get Real Simple, Good Housekeeping and sometimes Martha Stewart’s Living at almost cover price from Newsstand.
For my USA readers, Real Simple can be ordered from Amazon for $5 for 6 editions now, which is pretty fab.
Some readers also found some very clever ways to access media from around the world. If you subscribe to Apple News + (£10 monthly), you have access to a whole range of digital publications (magazines and newspapers), which I had no idea about. If you have a UK library card, you will also have free access to Press Reader, so worth investigating.
Organise a meal delivery box and other local services
There are quite a few meal kit companies, but our favourite is Mindful Chef. The meals are around 500-600 calories, have few carbs, no allergens and can be cooked in under 30 minutes. They source their food really well – and offer a lot of options for vegan and vegetarians (which we are not).
I find portions quite generous and we often order a meal for 1 and share it between both. Cost per meal is around £8-12 depending on the main protein. You can do it weekly or whenever you want – and I also found it handy to send it to friends (as a one off) as a little pick me up.
My Mindful Chef referral link gives me £10 credit and offers 25% off your first 4 deliveries.
One of the best things to come from lockdown (using the word ‘best’ in a loose way) was the fact that we discovered local businesses we never knew existed. We have a fishmonger that comes to our house every Thursday morning (hence #PrawnThursday on Instagram), we have wonderful meals cooked by Persian Delights (which is a lady in Henley who makes incredible Persian and South Asian dishes). We have also tried takeaways from local restaurants and had a chef experience.
We have also discovered Pond Farm Cottage, which started delivering fruit and veg boxes but now are trying to find the very best of local producers – so we have cheese from 5 miles away from us, eggs from around the corner, and omg let’s not get started about the baked goods. Lockdown 1 ended but we continued to use all these companies and will absolutely do so in the future.
When is it gin o’clock?
One of my favourite times of the day, although I am only trying to indulge at weekends only. I love gin and tonic and my go -tos in the world of gin can be found here.
If you want to learn a bit more about gin, I teamed up with Hendricks a while ago and they created a fab Beginners Guide to Gin.
If you are looking for wine ideas, our current go-tos (which are great Tuesday, Wednesday but also Friday wines) are The Waxed Bat and The Black Stump. These are wines we get by the case and we always have at home. We then get more creative at times, of course. (PS. Use Amex20 as a discount code as it still works).
As far as champagne is concerned – always splurge but buy at a discount when it is possible. I have been shopping around for champagne as there have been some outstanding deals around, and have a round up of my favourite champagnes on this blog post.
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate
This has been one of my downfalls – and without apologising, I have enjoyed every bite.
We are big fans of Hotel Chocolate’s ‘Selector’ boxes, but sadly they don’t sell them online, which is a greatly missed opportunity, in my opinion.
I have also never had a bite of a Charbonnel et Walker truffle I didn’t love.
Amazon Prime Membership
Sounds silly, but it isn’t. Amazon Prime delivers value for money at all times – and even more in lockdown, plus of course access to Prime Video.
In order to minimise deliveries, I now add things to my basket and order once a week only. Click here to sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime UK or Amazon Prime USA. If you’d like to see my Amazon UK Shopping Edit, just click here.
I hope we don’t have any more lockdowns, but if we do, I hope this blog post gives you an idea or two of how you can make it a little bit more comfortable. In other words, my lockdown essentials.
I share a bit of my lockdown life, namely on my Instagram Stories, so do follow along.
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