By Carnegie-nominated author of the Emily Knight middle grade/young teen fantasy fiction series, and prize-winning publishing entrepreneur, Abiola Bello
I found lockdown really hard. I am not a homebody. I love to be outside, catching up with friends over dinner and randomly doing 1am drives to get Bubbletea in Central London with one of my best friends. I knew lockdown had to happen but when it actually happened I was still surprised to find we were in lockdown?!
Funny enough I got busier during lockdown. I run my own businesses so luckily for us we were still able to function despite bookshops closing down. Staying at home gave me time to do things that I had delayed for ages. I'm one of those people who doesn't like to waste time so I wrote a list of the things I wanted to do during lockdown. I didn't do everything but I got through some.
I co-run a business called The Author School (www.theauthorschool.com) and me and my business partner had been saying we were going to do for an online course for years! We had one and then we decided we wanted to host it on another platform but it just seemed like there were a million things to do. I would start it and then get distracted by something else and it just seemed like I never had time to actually get it done. Now that we couldn't do live events like we usually would, we still had to keep our members interested. I don't have the setup for filming but I had to make one. Cue the grey fleece throw over, bookshelf in shot, a hairband for my need-to-get-to-the-hairdressers-ASAP-braid and I was good to go. It took a while to get used to the routine of filming, creating all the content and setting up on Patreon. Sometimes my cat would just walk through the shot but I'm really proud that we have finally done it (www.patreon.com/theauthorschool).
Once I realised COVID was serious, I thought that gyms would close so I brought a set of free weights. Everyone thought I was being extra. Then the gyms did close. I would go to dance classes a few times a month but all the studios closed so I went online. I did my friend’s dance classes via Patreon and YouTube became my gym. I actually stumbled across a fitness blogger called MadFit late at night because I was looking for a weights routine. Then I realised she had loads of videos: dance, Yoga, abs workouts and all to really fun, upbeat music. She is now my new Personal Trainer and I love her videos. I didn't even think to go on YouTube to work out and now it's my favourite thing to do. I even asked for a Yoga mat for my birthday!
I'm a good cook but I don't like to cook. During lockdown, I started cooking more… and baking! I am a terrible baker but one of my best friends is a brilliant one. I asked her to give me something that even I could do and she baked with me via WhatsApp. Luckily I had loads of flour in my cupboard from when I burned pancakes. I made a lemon cake! And no-one—including me—could believe how good it tasted and looked!
I spring cleaned my house. I threw out loads of clothes and old paperwork and reorganised my living room.
I started a book blog. Something I have wanted to do for a while now but I just needed a minute to sit down and do it. And I did it!
Lockdown has been tough. I miss my friends. I missed the birth of my first nephew and haven't even seen him yet (only through FaceTime and videos) and I just miss being outside and going wherever I want. But staying at home has had its benefits and I've got to hang out with my family. We would usually be so busy running around but we got to chill out, eat lemon cake and bond more.