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News > Alumni Events and News > Read how some of our alumni are spending their time during lockdown

Read how some of our alumni are spending their time during lockdown

Our fantastic alumni community are a pretty enterprising bunch! Read on to see how they are making the most of lockdown.
"I’m managing to juggle my time in lockdown as a single mother, artist and carer to my mother who has MS and lives down the road from me in Fulham. I have found that online Fiit videos are really helpful for indoor training when I have time, as is Vedic meditation for 20 minutes twice a day. When my toddler Freddie sleeps (he will be three in July) I am painting little watercolour sketches and selling them via Instagram in support of The Artist Support Pledge. Here is some information about this:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have found themselves without work, teaching, technical support, gallery work, exhibitions and sales have disappeared. In an attempt to help alleviate some of this stress @matthewburrowsstudio has instigated the #artistsupportpledge The concept is a simple one. You post images of your work to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping.) Anyone can then buy the work. Every time you reach £1000 of sales you pledge to buy another artist's work for £200.

Many artists are taking part in this and it’s a great way of supporting other creatives.  My instagram address is @alfelstead.
Very best wishes, Anna-Louise Felstead

"I am a teacher normally, so definitely a big shift now that I am ‘working from home’.
I want to make the most of this opportunity which will never happen again, so I am:
- doing the couch to 5k programme (I will finally learn how to run properly!)
- finalising my wedding plans (and probably replanning them as my wedding was due to be in June)
- learning calligraphy
- giving myself a baking/cooking challenge each week (I have learnt how to make puff pastry; toffee; lots of different cookies)
- completing open university courses to improve subject knowledge for areas of interest
- enjoying the free museums that have been made available online, in particular loving the Georgia O’Keeffe
I am excited for term to start again so I can rebalance back to teaching students from afar whilst necessary, and going in when needed for key workers’ children."
Jo Paterson

"Hello from Canada!
Wishing everyone safety and wellness and a Happy Easter, however you can celebrate.
I have the good fortune to live near a forest and a river and walking there is permitted on a daily basis.
I am continuing tutoring Maths from home via the phone and computer ( thank you Miss Sifleet! ) and engaging in conference calls with two Boards of Directors of charities on which I serve. Like all charities and not for profits , many difficult decisions around how best to support vulnerable people are being made and revised on a frequent basis as we journey with this epidemic.
I am keeping in touch with friends and family by telephone – I think I have spent more time on the phone in the past three weeks than in the previous whole year!
It is good to be in touch."
Warm regards,
Karen Ann McKinna nee Arbuckle

"Well here we are stuck inside. Last year I joined a small art class as a complete beginner. We meet each week and spend 2 hours working on something selected by our teacher. Since lockdown she has given us a word a day to interpret as we choose. I am loving it as it has made me do something every day and I know I’m getting better. We have a Zoom meeting each week to share our work. I have made new friends and found a hobby that I will carry on using for years to come."
Cynthia Prince

"It's 10 p.m. here and and I'm still trying to put the Holy Week worship services together. Yesterday I wanted to try that virtual tour but the things that needed to get done that day were too many. So my great accomplishment of this new isolation lifestyle is that I am learning to facilitate worship, bible study, meetings, childre's church, and maybe even contemplative prayer via zoom, using it to maintain a sense of community among people who are used to being able to hug each other. (As a bonus I set up Easter hors d'oeuvres with my extended family via zoom.) Also the half of the power that makes our appliances function went out as I was starting to cook supper so that was weird. Neither creative nor enterprising I am hanging on by my fingernails and the idea that on the Monday after Easter we can give the dog a bath."
 Grace & peace,
Shannon Tennant

"A short introduction; my name is Mansi Patel. I finished school in 2013 and am currently an NHS general dentist practicing in central London. Throughout lockdown I have come to realise that life with a routine is vital for maintaining mental health. The silver lining this virus has given us; is time. Simple goal setting allows me to wake up in the morning and think I can achieve something today. Not every single day has been productive for me and nor do I expect it to be looking forward. The uncertainty of how long we will be required to remain quarantined for is scary, however, I like to see it as a blessing. I am grateful that I have a home to isolate myself in, I am thankful that I am able to purchase foods that I need, and I am beyond appreciative of the support network that I have.

In the spirit of being a proud Francis Holland alumni member, with a fellow audience of other female alumni’s, I thought I'd disclose some of the new skills I've been loosely complying to. First off, I usually start my day with a light hearted podcast on the ‘Guilty Feminist’, which is a refreshingly frank interaction between women with wit. When I’m not updating my knowledge on current events unfolding due to COVID-19 (whether it is affecting the world, the UK, or the NHS) I am reading a feel-good romantic novel that I always told myself I never had the chance to read. I have (like everyone else) attempted to bake banana bread whilst drinking that fancy looking yet surprisingly easy to make coffee that seems to be trending on Instagram. In the evenings I’m cooking (more than I ever thought I would care to admit) with of course the aid of my mother. A now well enforced household rule is that she must stay 1 meter away from me at all times during cooking hours to prevent any potential arguments from developing in the kitchen. For the level of perfection my mother has consistently delivered over countless meals throughout my life, she expects very little from me, which probably explains my overconfidence when presenting the food.

Fun tips that keep me sane: bit of painting and journaling here and there keeps a part of my brain (I can feel slowly shutting down cell by cell) active. My once a day government permitted outdoor exercise normally consisted of a brisk walk, failed rollerblading session, or yoga and meditation regime. Due to the excellent weather there are a fair number of people I have seen wondering (but thankfully not congregating) around Regents Park. I am now limiting how many times I exit the house per week in order to maintain social distancing. I’m now opting for saving lives and flattening the curve by doing ‘Yoga with Adriene’ and HIIT workouts with ‘The Body Coach’ on YouTube, at home.

Over the last few weeks I have had trouble with my duty as a healthcare professional. Unfortunately, the unprecedented times that we are in have forced the Chief Dental Officer to make some challenging decisions and stop all face to face dental care unless deemed as a true emergency. This has impacted me immensely. As a practising dentist I no longer get the pleasure of treating my patients in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these decisions were made to protect the public and prevent the spread of the virus, which in turn I personally think is treating patients in their best interests and fulfilling my duty as a dentist by putting patient care at the forefront. As per recent guidance I now provide telephone triaging to patients with urgent needs, also offering advice, analgesics and antibiotics where appropriate. Currently the dental profession (as a now newly available and highly skilled workforce) is waiting to be redeployed to the front line and support the NHS in any way possible.

My family is quite unique in the sense that my parents have a pharmacy and I am a dentist. We all feel this magnitude of responsibility to ensure we are doing right by our customers and patients. As a family we discuss our impact on others around us and hope that we are making the right sacrifices when going into work. I know that we, the human population, will get through this stronger and kinder. I think that we’re all already becoming a better version of ourselves each day by giving up the normalcies of our lives for saving lives.
That’s my story!
Kind regards,
Dr Mansi Patel"


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