How is everyone doing? Navigating the times we live in with deft precision or, like me, hopelessly adrift with no routine or sense of order? Honestly I’ve tried, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Things keep cropping up to throw me off my plans. My back was a big contributor to that. It’s much better by the way, but I am still sitting here typing this with a back support on so it’s not totally there yet.
The recovery from my back left me flat on my back in bed, or, on the sofa. So any semblance of structure or routine went out the window. Not really being able to go out either had made it tricky to get a regular routine going with exercise or shopping etc. Honestly, the less I go out the more inclined I am to think I would rather stay at home anyway.
I made a start this week to try and get things back on track. I have gone out for two walks in the last week and did some supermarket shopping too. The walks have been lovely. I discovered a whole area of what I can only describe as countryside, about a 5 – 10 minute walk from my house. I have lived in my current home for about 3.5 years and honestly never knew this area of woods and fields existed!
I had gotten a bit paranoid about going to my local park or walking along the tow path along the river because both of them were always so busy each time I went and people didn’t seem to be observing social distancing so I stopped going. One day on my way to the park, just by chance, I walked down a road I had never walked down, partly out of curiosity and partly because it seemed like such a quiet road and there was this whole beautiful open green space revealed to me. So sometimes it pays to take a different road some days. I’m loving it. There is a bluebell wood and a pasture field with horses in it, as well as a large open field full of wildlife. It is great. When you are walking near the periphery, there are roads running alongside it – we are in London after all – so you can’t quite feel like you’re in the countryside. When you get away from the edges, however, you could imagine you’re in the middle of the countryside. I’m so grateful to have found it. It can still get a little busy at times so I am careful, but I am also incredibly happy to have found it. It only took 3.5 years! I can’t quite believe that! You can see some video footage of the bluebell wood over on my Instagram page @miceal_murphy
The beard of laziness continues to grow, but the more it does, the more I dislike it. The novelty is wearing off. I fear its days are numbered, despite the fact so many of you have said on social media that you like it. Still think I look scruffy with it. I guess if the hairdressers etc were still open and I could get it professionally trimmed and groomed I might feel differently about it. Watch this space.
For those of you interested in men’s grooming, we have some great pieces from some of our biggest brands available online. If someone you know is growing a beard during the lockdown, there is a beard grooming kit available from Debonair online at a clearance price. Or maybe try the Elemis Smooth Result Shave and Beard Oil.
My plan to instill some kind of routine continued at the weekend when I got stuck into getting the balcony under control. It’s been so sadly neglected for the last two years (I’ve had a lot going on!). My plants had died and it was all a really sorry sight. I got rid of the dead plants and cleaned up the containers. To get me started, I got a couple of dozen geraniums from my local supermarket and planted those up.
Now I’m going to be ordering all sorts from QVC and if I’m honest, I’m impatient to get going now that I’ve started. I have to say, spending a couple of hours on the balcony mooching about and listening to the radio whilst I did it was very therapeutic.
Richard Jackson has some gorgeous plants he is bringing to us now on Q, including his Scented Cottage Garden young plants, which includes gorgeous lavender and dianthus. All with gorgeous scent, and you know how much I love fragrance!
Geraniums, though, are going to be key for my sun-exposed south facing balcony. Both de Jager and Hayloft Plants have got geraniums available with us right now so don’t miss out. The Hayloft geraniums are the Antiks tall geraniums and will grow really tall and really strong with loads of gorgeous colour and they’re drought tolerant. The de Jager ones are the zonal mixed young plants. So full of colour, compact and low maintenance, they flower and flower all summer long for you.
Do check out our gardening section on our website – there is so much to see there and all delivered direct to your door. I suspect, like myself, many of you will suddenly become gardeners this summer in a way that none of us really have been in the past.
One last thing about lockdown and a lack of routine has been the tendency not to bother dressing smartly or even bothering to dress at all. I’ve mostly been in sports gear or pyjamas if I’m honest, but the other night I decided that enough was enough and got myself into a shirt and tie for one of the Zoom/HouseParty catch-ups I was having with friends. It made such a difference.
I even put fragrance on and remembered how much I had missed it. The smell of the fragrance was like greeting an old friend after a long time. It was immediately heartwarming and comforting. So if you are at home and feeling a little low, the lack of routine may be a big contributor, so even starting by dressing smartly or even applying some nice fragrance is a great place to start to lift your mood.
That’s it for now. I’ll be starting back with my fitness on Instagram this week, so check that out too.
Until next time.