My quarantine diary

A full time artist/photographer mum pictures her every day emotions during the covid-19 quarantine in SW France. Updated daily.

Day 1

Since I’m no longer allowed to go out and photograph people, I was encouraged by some lovely friends to take on a self portraiture diary.

I was feeling a bit down past few days. The really hit us all out of sudden here in France. We’re now in a complete lockdown. Last week it all seemed so surreal – we’re worried about our little businesses, holiday plans and making jokes about home schooling – now we’re worried about our friends and family health. 

Anyway, I’m working hard to stay positive. It usually comes very easily as I’m a crazy optimist, but maybe I need a bit more time this time…

‘Head up’, they say

I’ll make the most of the next month at home and make it fun for the kids, I promise.

Stay safe everyone

Day 2 

France is completely locked down from today – time to get creative!

There was no warning the shops would be closed so we couldn’t stock up on craft materials for the children. Amazing how much resources you can find at your home already! 

Today we’re making cute vases and bookmarks. Decorating old jars with scrap paper and pressed flowers from the garden, and finishing with glossy paint.

Time to find the inner child in ourselves!

Day 3

Spring is here!

Today the sun came out and I noticed our hedge has got some blossom. The little joy of spring we can see while in quarantine💚

Isn’t it funny how we see how much we long for something only when we can’t get to it?

Day 4 

Today I dusted off my sewing machine. 

When I was a child I loved watching my grandma sewing.

We’re mending our old clothes – today it’s all about saving lives.

We’re making safety masks for when we need to go out – they’ve run out of them at shops already.

Sometimes making something usual can be so entertaining and relaxing.


Day 5

My mission for today – food shopping

And here’s a little advice: please stop panic buying. There will be enough food and toilet paper for everyone. Just buy what you need and leave some for other people.

If you don’t need to go to a shop, stay at home. 

Don’t go to a supermarket for fun, only because it’s the only place you’re allowed to go.

Stay at home unless you really need to go and get your essentials. Food shopping is not fun at the moment.

Day 6

Gardening 

I can’t wait to see everything growing and blooming after the winter time.

This year I had no excuse to sort out my vegetable garden. 

And it turned up gardening is a great fun for the children too – nearly like playing on a beach.

I bet everyone’s gardens are going to look amazing this year


Day 7

“Mummy – what would you like for your Mother’s Day?”

“I just want a nice cuddle”

A week ago, when Macron announced the school closure, I was scared. I couldn’t imagine a month of not working and home schooling my young children.

Now I’m loving this precious time with the little ones. 

We have so much fun together. There’s no stress, no pressure to get up in the morning, no rush to make all the after school clubs and appointments, no tiredness.

I’m really enjoying being a mum again. I don’t think I had such a connection with the children since I finished my maternity leave. 

Life is much calmer now in some aspects.


Day 8

Holidays

We’re meant to be sunbathing on Bali now🌴

A dreamed holiday we’ve been planning for ages…

Now the closest to holidays is my own bathroom.

I think we all know our priorities now.

Bali and other holidays destinations will always be there.

What is your way to relax at home?


Day 9

I’m so blessed to be able to stay at home with someone I love💕

It makes me feel safer, much more secure right now.

Maybe some of you are together with your partners, families, friends or just alone.

I think collaboration is so important now. 

Collaborate well together at home: who’s working when, who’s looking after children, who’s cooking and who’s dishwashing…

Let’s collaborate as a society – we’re all working on one big project together.

They call it ‘social isolation’ but I think the global society has never been so close together.


Day 10

Today we’re baking.

Baking has always been a self comforting thing for me.

When I was a child, I loved watching my grandmas baking. The smells, the flavours, the magic of mixing ingredients together, and watching how the pastry grows in the oven. 

And then sharing the lovely cake with others – bringing lots of joy to a table.

I think baking is a gift of making other people happy.

Day 11

Today I was feeling a little bit tired.

I’m going through lots of ups and downs recently.

Spending more time with the children is lovely, but it can feel overwhelming at the same time. 

We can’t even take the advantage of all the exciting online courses and movies, as working from home and homeschooling leaves very little time for ourselves.

I’m trying to avoid all the news but I can’t hide from the reality.

Tomorrow is going to be a sunny day, I will wake up with more positive energy, I promise.

Day 13

‘If you give up something, you’ll get something in return’ – they say.

I definitely found a new fitness partner.

Day 14

I think the best way to bring music into your house is to encourage your children to play an instrument.

Day 15

We’re starting the week with lots of fresh energy.

Our ‘home schooling’ is in full swing.

Very often, instead of strictly following the pre-schoolers curriculum, we try to find other fun and educational activities. 

Today we travel the world reading an atlas. 

We look at other countries, write their names, draw or write what you can see if you visit them.

Maybe we can’t go out, but we have lots of other ways to see the world.

Day 16

‘Hope is more contagious than a virus’ – I’ve heard.

We saw people decorating their front windows with colourful hearts, rainbows and lovely messages. 

So today we decided to bring a smile to our neighbourhood too.

I love seeing so much positivity in the neighbourhood and on social media. It really feels like we all care and support each other, even from a distance. 

And thank you for all you lovely messages, comments and love you send to support my documentary project

Day 17

This is my lovely indoor cat Mia.

We want her to stay safe, so we never let her to go outside.

There’s so much danger in the world out there for a little cat like her. She could get stolen, injured, attacked or ill… 

So we keep her at home. We want to protect her.

Mia often looks through the window nostalgically. She’s a very curious and active cat. She longs to go out. She desires to be on fresh air, explore the world, meet other cats. 

She wants to be free. 

Sometime she takes an opportunity and tries to escape, but we stop her quickly. It’s for her best, we think.

And home is so nice for her. She has her cosy place here, she feels loved and safe. She’s got her food, activities, play and company. She doesn’t need to go out. 

This days I’m feeling pretty much like Mia. Can anyone else relate?

Day 18

Everything seems a bit blurry today.

I’m loosing the sense of time, can’t even remember what day it is today.

I wasn’t really in the mood of taking a photo today. But then I remembered how much this project keeps me going.

Day 19

I was thinking recently about those who are especially affected by the current situation. I know for some it’s very hard time now. I’m sending lots of love to you.

It’s easy now to allow some negative emotions. 

But please stay positive. There will be better days soon.

Instead of the bad thoughts, let’s try find some hope. 

There’s so much kindness, love, collaboration in the world right now. Things will get better soon.


Day 20

Everyday feels like a Sunday.

We quite enjoy that we don’t have to rush in the mornings. 

Days are very slow and easy for us now.

I think we will miss these days once things go bak to normal.

Let’s take the most of them.


Day 21

Today it was a very ‘social’ day.

I dressed up, put some make up on.

Video called some clients, friends and family.

It was nearly like a party day.

Day 22

We’re going into week 4 full of positive energy.

I fully accepted now that most of photo sessions and wedding will have to be postponed.

But I’m positive and thankful that I have my job, and eventually I’ll be able to come back to it.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to do something useful and helpful.

I offered to photograph some products for small businesses – I know it’s very hard time for them.

Day 24

Today I noticed our little cherry tree has lots of blossom on.

How beautiful?!

Amazing, how during the lock down we have more time to notice and cherish little things like this.

And here comes a little reminder, as it really surprised me some people I know still try to find a way to go out:

Please stay at home.

For yourself and for the others.

Please don’t treat it like a punishment. It’s not. It’s for your wellbeing.

If you feel frustrated/ bored/ anxious – find something positive around you. Find a project.

Stay safe

Day 28

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter weekend💚

Away from friends and family, but we’re still having lovely time together. 

We thought we could celebrate with a quick family selfie.

Guess how many chocolate eggs I had to pay for these photos

Day 30

Another month of a strict lock down here in France. 

But we can expect it will slowly relax from mid May…

Is that a hope?

No public gatherings until at least mid July. The boarders might remain closed for a while as well.

Our childcare arrangements already cancelled for the summer.

For me, a destination wedding photographer, it might mean no work at all this year.

I’ve already had to postpone ten weddings from this year to 2021.

It feels like 2020 is completely written off. 

Why did I even bother to buy a diary?

I’m so thankful for the help and security we’re provided here in France. 

I cried last night listening to the reassuring speech.

But it will be a hard time for families like mine and others. 

Please stay at home and please appreciate what you have💗

Or stay positive

Day 31

‘Stay on the sunny side’

I think I’ve calmed down after feeling bit anxious yesterday.

I’m trying to stay productive, find new solutions, focus on what we gain rather than loose.

And thank you for all your lovely messages

Day 36

I think I’m getting crazy… It’s been five weeks of a lockdown in France and another (at least) three weeks to go.

What a strange time… I was very scared at first but now I think I’m used to it.

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to have that much sleep, can’t remember feeling so well rested. 

I miss seeing people, friends and family.

But it will be hard to go back to the reality and the everyday rush after all of this. 

Day 41

Today I was meant to start my wedding season. Photographing a beautiful wedding in the stunning sunshine….

Instead, I’m wearing my old wedding dress and dancing can-can in our garden.

I was actually very surprised I can still fit in it😂

And it’s only 7 years later I realised how cool it goes with my favourite hat and leather jacket.

No, I’m not getting crazy.

Maybe a little…

Day 46

I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic recently.

Staying at home and not being able to do what I love, and not to see anyone is not the life I choose.

Things are planned to be getting slightly better soon.

But I don’t think they’ll will bring much change for people in my situation.

Still no work, no childcare and no chance to see my family for quite a while.

Day 55

I wasn’t feeling creative or even productive past few days.

I’ve been sitting still at home and I feel like I’m slowly blending in the decor.

1 comment

  • Pattie, I love how you express yourself. Through your photographs, your words, your emotions… You do it so sincerely and wisely. Keep going! I will follow. Because you do not only express yourself but also us who is living under the same circumstances and feeling the same way as you.

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