What a rollercoaster it has been for us all since March. I've never used the phrase 'taking each day as it comes' more than now, and have found it challenging and rewarding working my way through the world enveloped in the pandemic. As you'll know we closed just days before lockdown hit the UK, and are at present unsure when we are likely to open again, and what will come when we do. Whatever our experience of the last couple of months one thing has united us: the need for some kind of 'normal'.
At first I thought about all the extra time I'd have during lockdown to crack on with a huge list of objectives. I tried to do it all at once while attempting to look half decent, and burned out. Everywhere I looked there was advice to seize the moment and achieve everything we've ever wanted to. The reality being that the majority of us are struggling with time. Time for ourselves mainly. We have time for family, friends, work, pets...but if you're like me you'll probably spend about 10 minutes a day thinking of yourself, enjoying a cup of tea and another "macascone" (which is what we named my attempt at scones when they ended up crispy and sized like macarons) and then you have something else to get on with.
TOP BAKING TIP: forget to put the currants in your fruit scone and just place them on top of the mixture before baking, they end up chewy, caramelised and delicious, totally by accident!
With Alicia's Dad still WFH full-timeI have taken on most of the parenting. Work is a juggle, with no set clocking on or off time. I exercise by running to the shop to pick up orders. I'm so thankful we have been able to keep trading online, feeling exceptionally lucky. Helping customers is what we love the most at ALC and being able to do this, albeit at a distance, has really helped me through tough moments. I've been hand delivering to some customers and it's great to keep in touch, even if we only get to chat for a short time. Finding a new way of communication through IGTV has been a lifeline, even if it does mean I have to face one of my biggest fears: public speaking. Of course I'd rather we just had a good old catch up in the store, but this is the next best thing.
The next IGTV is all about dressing up! Just before lockdown Juan and I cancelled some nights out, so we made up for it with a fine dining take away from In Take Out. It was delicious. I booked a week in advance so had been looking forward to it, and would highly recommend giving at-home fine dining a try! Of course I couldn't sit in my pyjamas to eat it, so I popped on my fave Essentiel Antwerp dress in pink spots. Just swap your heels for slippers and you're good to go. I had forgotten the joy of putting on a nice outfit, it really did lift my mood and made the experience all the more normal. Click on the image to see more info on the dress.
I hope you're enjoying our communications and would love any feedback you'd like to share, or any suggestions for what you'd like to see next. By the time you read this we'll be in Phase 1 of lockdown easing and hopefully we'll all be spending a bit more time outdoors in the Summer sunshine with our loved ones. If I can help at all with styling you for these mini occasions please do get in touch! I can't wait until we can see you all back in the shop. We're also doing new online gift cards if you'd like to treat someone before then.
In the meantime, I'll be on ZOOM this Saturday 30th May at 1pm discussing the future of retail beyond the lockdown with the lovely Sarah Connolly of Sarah C Lingerie (formerly Odyssey Boutique) and Laura Russell AKA Satisfashion, Personal Stylist and Shopper. Dial in details are ID: 982 1277 5738 Password: 033940 and will be available on Instagram on the day too. Please send in your questions for us, we'd love to chat!
Stay safe and look after each other,