Lockdown Life: Week 3 of our feature with Ant & Sara

Ant & Sara Shelton

S& C Southern Sales Reps
(hardest working team, hands down!)

What have you been up to during lockdown (baking, gardening, painting, exercising, reading etc)

We spent the first two weeks completely re-painting the house, and having a massive declutter. Once the weather improved we put our small garden into shape, and we are lucky in that we have an allotment, which we share with Sara’s parents. As they are in complete isolation we have done a lot of digging, weeding & planting. Both of us like to stay fit, so we’ve been running 3 times a week & Sara does a lot of yoga, and her teacher moved the classes on line. Ant is a keen artist, so he has been creating a whole series of oil paintings from photos that we had previously taken or that we took on our daily outings. Podcasts, we’ve been listening to various different ones across the weeks. We have a lovely wood & lake where we live, so we have been walking down there in the evenings to sit in the sun, sometimes accompanied by our 2 cats.

How have you been keeping in touch with others? (friends work colleagues etc)

Sara’s sister lives in Canada, so we are use to face timing the family over there already, but we have now been face timing relatives in the UK.  We have been setting up zoom groups to speak to friends & family.  Microsoft Teams to speak to work colleagues.     

What new habits have you formed, and which ones do you want to keep in the future! (or try to break again!)

Other than the discipline of running, 3 times a week, which we would like to carry on with.  We’ve been shopping locally, supporting the smaller business’s, we recognise how difficult it is for all retailers, and all our local stores really stepped up. They organised deliveries to the vulnerable & elderly, and we would like to continue to support the independent retailers in the future.  We have been spending less money. Sara like the rest of the country started baking again although we’ve been quite good at leaving the fridge alone between meals.

What have you learnt from the lockdown that will shape your life in the future  What have you discovered about yourself!

Couple of big things – life is really short, time is precious and although it has been really hard the slower pace has been good, we should do things that make us happy.  Most people are kind, and helpful, our community has really rallied together, and our suppliers in the wedding industry have been amazing, with many of them making scrubs for the NHS. We all appear to have reverted back to the 1950s’ where we clean houses constantly, bake, use left overs, and mend things, we love the Repair Shop and wish we could have the skills & patience they have. We really don’t need as much stuff as we all have, the environment appears to be better, we live near Heathrow airport so the lack of planes has been nice. We will try and relax, and switch off a bit more.

What challenges have your faced (technical Video calling issues, parenting, etc)

Like a lot of people we have had to teach our older parents how to join zoom meetings. Sara’s mum in particular is good at making FaceTime calls instead of a phone call so we spend a lot of time looking at her ear or the ceiling.  Long distance care,  is a challenge.  Sara’s 88 year old uncle was already in hospital when he caught the virus,  We’re very fortunate in that he survived, and was sent home, but its been a real challenge, setting up the home care, power of attorney banking etc. when all the offices are closed.       

What have you been missing most?  What have you missed most about work?!!

Hugs.  We both miss being able to hug our families and our friends. We like to meet up with friends socially for an evening  of food, drinks & laughter, even though we’ve done the zoom meetings it’s not the same. We would usually have a big family BBQ with Ants family in this lovely weather. 

Haircuts – Ant is growing his to show as some sort of Isolation trophy, Sara has hacked at her fringe! 

Holidays – we had to cancel a week that we had booked on the Northumberland coast with friends & family, the weather would have been perfect.  Can’t wait to try for next year.

We have developed close relationships with our work colleagues & boutiques over the years, and especially at this time of the year we move from boutique to exhibitions, travelling extensively around the country we’ve missed seeing the beautiful countryside, especially the coastline, as well as our “work family”.

How are you feeling about getting back to work – what are you most looking forward to? (or dreading/not looking forward to!)

We’re optimistic but cautious. The virus rules have had to be written quickly and they change almost daily, as more becomes known about it. Sara’s parents have isolated due to age, an health conditions, so we will continue to utilise social distancing guidelines.  We’ve become used to the roads not being busy, so traffic as it builds back up is going to be a challenge. We’re keen to start seeing & helping our boutiques again.

Is there anyone you would particularly like to shout out to for making your time (or someone else’s) in lockdown a little bit better or easier?

We’ve come into contact with a number of NHS workers, who have gone out of their way to help our family at this difficult time.  Like most of the country we owe a lot to all the key workers, and we include the retailers/shop workers in that.

What is your favorite shoe in our 2020 collection / What is your favorite Dress in our 2020 collection?

Difficult to choose only one of each, love Ella in the shoes as it has a slightly vintage style, but is elegant & simple, but also love Zara the new boot.

Dresses –  The bespoke collection, we have launched a New Lace 5 which is modern and beautiful, so that would be my favourite new line, but we also have a new dress 9623, which is simple and I think is going to be one of our best sellers. In the signature collection – 83168 I think is completely on trend, with the asymmetric skirt & the soft floral appliqués.  It really is a beautiful dress. 

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your lockdown time?

 It has taught us how important social contact is both professionally & socially, we’re both people people, in that we love talking & chatting to our customers, friends, etc.  We have relatives & friends that live on their own & they have struggled with the social isolation, so we’ve made a point of video calling them so they can see someone rather than just hearing someone . It’s taught us that we really need to stop and enjoy the little things a bit more, rather than be constantly running around. We would like to get back to normal, but the new normal, a kinder, slower version but they may just be a nice dream.  At the beginning of the lock down we created a wish jar, and overtime we caught ourselves saying of thinking oh I wish could…. we wrote it down & put it in the jar.  We look forward to picking a different one to do each week when we can.

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