Just what we all need right now: The Lockdown Survival Handbook

A single mum who has been furloughed from her job in Fishbourne, has published a family-friendly “survival” handbook – The Lockdown Survival Handbook, written in response to the current world crisis.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 7:30 am
Lucia Blash
Lucia Blash

It has been released through Ravengate Publishing and is available at £1.99 from Amazon.

Lucia Blash, aged 51, has co-written it with Giles Broadbent, 55 – despite living 100 miles apart. Lucia lives in Finchdean; Giles in East London.

Lucia explains: “The idea came from the new lives we are all living – this peculiar new normal. People are going through a lot of trials. Parents are anxious about their children, children are missing their friends, some are working from home, others are having to go to work, and everyone is trying to understand what’s going on globally and what it means for them personally.

The book

“But – and this is important – it’s not all gloom. Life is still full of variety. People are discovering true benefits from this new way of living – it’s still possible to have fun, and in many cases it’s a radically different kind of fun, a top-button-undone kind of fun they perhaps haven’t experienced for years.

“People are reconnecting with – and appreciating – loved ones in a way that isn’t usually possible because life is such a rush. We’re building important connections and memories.

“Our book tries to capture the totality of this weird experience. We wanted to provide useful information about nutrition and wellbeing, for example, as well as ideas to build on that sense of opportunity and joy.

“And once we had that initial idea – an all-in-one compendium of ideas and inspiration, delivered in bite-sized nuggets – the topics kept coming and the words kept flowing. That, of course, was also a necessity. We knew we were on a tight deadline and would have to turn the book around in about three weeks, which we achieved.

Lucia added: “I suppose our starting point was trying to find some answers for all these unusual questions, in a way that reflects that range of emotions and challenges.

“My co-author and I – living 100 miles apart as it happens – are going through very different Covid-19 experiences from each other. I’m a lone working parent, suddenly finding that rare commodity of time on my hands.

“As any working parent will tell you, having any kind of me-time is liking discovering the Holy Grail. I’m making the most of spending quality, in-the- moment time with my 12-year-old son, not being distracted by thoughts of answering work emails, cleaning the loo, doing the laundry … all the stuff that is constantly spinning.

“I’ve discovered that he loves baking – and just happens to be rather good at it (his own recipe chocolate and pecan cookies are truly scrumptious!). But before this crisis, I’m ashamed to say we’d never baked or cooked together.

“Giles, on the other hand, is a singleton in London. He’s working from home out of his flat. He realised he hadn’t seen or spoken to a person in 3D for weeks and wondered whether or not that was going to be his new norm, even after we’re through the other side of this crisis.

“We’re both former journalists so we did what we’ve always done – find and write stories. We explored topics surrounding it – we found strange true-life tales of people who have lived in extreme isolation, we asked ourselves – how would we fare in solitary confinement?

“Then there’s all the practical questions, such as what can we eat when the shelves are empty, how to cut your own hair, how to pass the time. Then we moved on to the usual things people talk about – the lists, the trivia, the fun facts. The best films to watch in a lockdown, the best books about solitude. The absolute key for us was variety. It’s a book people can dip into to suit any mood and any situation and find something to do, an inspiring or interesting fact or idea they never knew before.

“We are planning sequels in the form of the book because we believe the tone and the variety works so well. Of course, the subject matter will likely change because we are going to emerge from the coronavirus – but who knows what sort of world we may emerge into – in fact, we ask that very question in the book. There are plenty of challenges to come – and plenty more books, we hope.”

Lucia added: “This is my first book. Giles has written the fictional book Gideon Spoffard and the Perfectly Spherical Pork Pie, which is available to download on Kindle, also.

“I am a journalist by profession. So I’ve been writing all my life. For much of that time, I have been an editor of lifestyle and entertainment magazines so I am familiar with many of the topics I write about in the book.

“I have a special interest in health, nutrition and wellbeing which I get to write about in my current role as head of communications at Meyer Clinic, a private medical and aesthetic practice. And, of course, as a working mum with a boisterous 12-year-old son, I understand the pressures and joys of family life at the moment.”

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