Spring is in the air, we’ve taken our first steps along the roadmap, and a cautious sense of optimism is creeping into the national mood.
And that’s not all: tomorrow is officially the first day of spring and International Day of Happiness!
Here at Shooting Star it’s been a tough year for everyone, but our cheerful team has managed to keep smiling. And just like everyone else they can’t wait to emerge from lockdown!
We asked our colleagues what’s made them smile over the past year and what they’re looking forward to when Covid restrictions become a thing of the past…
The third lockdown for me has been the hardest, and I think that partly comes down to the fact that I was very optimistic at the start of the New Year – but this optimism just vanished into thin air after the latest lockdown announcement.
As a summer baby I’ve never really been a fan of the winter months so I’m really happy to see the longer days and nights! Among the things that regularly cheer me up are watching the sun rise (it’s the closest we’ll get to having the sun on our faces for a while) and really enjoying that first sip of coffee in the morning.
The enjoyment of all the days to come is what’s keeping me going!
This is by far one of the best times of the year for sugary snacks, and even though we’ve got a few weeks to wait until Easter, I’ll be enjoying some eggcellent delicacies in the run up!
An abundance of time in lockdown means I can also try out baking some Easter treats of my own, but the disadvantage of that is the effect it will have on my waistline…
Not all the treats are for me though! Another thing that brings me cheer is finding or making gifts for others, and I have loved making more of an effort to post gifts from a distance and spread a little joy to friends and family throughout the pandemic. Easter is another great opportunity to send (and receive!) some sweet surprises while we wait to see each other in person again.
Lockdown is tough but I always keep in mind that things could be a lot worse. Each morning I try to find something to be grateful for and appreciate. Living in the present and focusing on the good stuff helps me to stay positive. Today I feel lucky that my family is healthy and that I have a job I enjoy when unemployment is so high. I also appreciate not feeling hungover from my 25th birthday any more!
I am currently building a little cottage in my back garden which I hope to move into in the summer. It’s currently just foundations and huge piles of mud scattered around our ancient apple tree but I can’t help smiling when I think we might have moved in by the summer and be able to have friends and family around for a housewarming BBQ.
By the autumn I hope my little girl will be picking apples from the apple tree to bake up a storm in the new kitchen, and of course we will be making daily visits to the cows in the neighbouring field. Despite the piles of mud and mess, a few brave bunches of snowdrops have managed to fight their way through, which is a wonderful sign of spring and warmer days to come.
I’m looking forward to finally seeing my parents, who live in Scotland and Canada and have been shielding because of my mum's health concerns. The last time I saw them was in January 2020! My mum has recently had heart surgery, finally after many Covid-19 delays, and both my parents had their vaccination last week. I feel I am almost at the top of the mountain now and will get to see them in a few months.
After a year of lockdown I’m so excited for warmer weather, sunnier days and longer evenings to arrive soon. With the prospect of lockdown easing and being able to meet with more and more friends in outdoor spaces, my reason for being cheerful is knowing that soon life will begin to return to some normality, and at the very least we will be able to enjoy a summer in the garden with a gin in hand surrounded by our loved ones once again!
I’m looking forward to going away for a few nights with my children. We enjoy heading up to the North Yorkshire coast to eat fish and chips and ice cream and go on long windy walks during the autumn months. Not only do we like to explore the English coastline, but we also love heading out into the countryside where we enjoy nature trails and bug hunting. This is something I am really looking forward to getting back into over the next couple of months.
Family time is so important to me along with simple exercise for a great mindset. There will be nothing better after a long day than an array of smiles, a boot full of muddy shoes and a rucksack full of sandwiches to eat before the sun goes down.
As we begin to see a winding path out of lockdown coupled with the feelings of optimism brought by spring flowers, longer days, and lighter evenings, I’ve come to realise that this break from ‘normal’ life has actually provided me with more time to explore my own interests as well as cement relationships with those closest to me.
More free time has meant creating new habits, such as incorporating a quick yoga routine into my day! Being able to zone out from daily life and focus on stretching my brain as well as my body has been really beneficial to both my physical and mental health, and offers a few minutes’ breather from the day. I’ve also been able to spend more time with my younger sister who would normally be working full time in hospitality. Going on long country walks and spending quality time together has helped us learn new things about one another, given us loads of laughs, and allowed us to grow closer as friends too!
I’m a lockdown cliché – I bake sourdough bread, I own a dog and I love trips in our VW campervan! In my defence, however, I had got into all these things long before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19. All three have helped keep me sane over the past year. I walk my little dog Luna twice a day, and it’s great to get out on the common, watch her charge around and blow the cobwebs away. She’s also been good company for me while I’ve been working from home.
Baking bread has become a weekend ritual for me, and it’s something I find very satisfying. It allows you to switch off from your normal cares and concerns and just focus on turning flour, yeast, salt and water into a delicious loaf!
And Reg our campervan was a godsend in the summer when restrictions eased a little and campsites opened again. We had a lovely trip to Norfolk and managed to get a summer holiday of sorts before the next lockdown.
Later on this year I’m looking forward to getting back in the pub, going to the theatre again, watching some live sport (I’ve got a ticket for the test match against India in Leeds) and spending time with the friends and family I’ve missed so much.
I’ve really enjoyed spending time with my family during lockdown. Normally we’re busy working but because my husband’s business has been closed and I’m on maternity leave, we’ve been able to spend lots of time at home with our two young sons which has been brilliant. However, I have really missed seeing my friends so I’m looking forward to being able to meet up with them for a meal or a drink. I also can’t wait to go on holiday abroad again. I love travelling and have really missed being able to get on a plane and visit other countries. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can do that again!
And while working from home has its advantages, I’ve really missed the social side of going to work. We have a great team and all get on really well so I can’t wait until we’re able to reopen the office.