Lockdown - Musings and Update June 26, 2020 Well its been three months since Lockdown began, three months since I closed up and changed to homeschooling for my two kids. Years ago doing just that, stopping working, would fill me completely with dread but with this I didn't give it a seconds thought. My kids come first, always will do, so I did the right thing and shut up shop to care for them. Also staying indoors back then was exactly the right thing to do, we barely left our house for at least two months, in fact we still stay home where possible. My hope is all our sacrifices will allow us all to return to a normal life again soon, I know I've missed many things I took for granted and my children surprisingly are desperate to return to school!Unfortunately all my jobs I had booked in had to be postponed and it is only now I am slowly returning to work, albeit on a vastly reduced schedule. Schools and childcare are still closed, as of 19th June, I am only working two day weeks until this changes so until then any work already booked in are prioritised. Which is very frustrating as I am chomping at the bit to get back to it! I decided early on in Lockdown I wanted to use this time out as a reset, or remodel should I say. As you can see I have changed my logo to something more modern, following on from this I've invested in new workwear to represent a fresh new image. I've invested in a new spray machine to upgrade on the one I had, new storage facilities for my materials, replenished my sundries stock, new lines of brushes and rollers and I took part in several online courses run by Dulux Academy to expand my skillset. Just waiting for the opportunity to visit Slough again for more hands on courses and some cake!!It's also been hard seeing so many fellow tradespeople suffer during this, either mentally or financially, having your income taken away from you through no fault of your own is so disheartening. So many of us live week to week so just two weeks out of work can really affect people and it's been hard witnessing others virtue signalling because they have no real experience of this. Not everyone is in the fortunate position to be financially secure and I think some can look at their own attitude throughout this and think they should be ashamed. I know personally I struggled the first few weeks of Lockdown and right now I still get the odd bad day, but I knew I had support from friends and also within the Dulux Select Community. I haven't mentioned this on my blog, my facebook and instagram followers know, but in February I took part in a mental health first aid course and volunteered to be one of 16 Dulux Select Mental Health Ambassadors. We are available for anyone on the scheme to talk to and be a ear for them, possibly point them in the right direction to get further help if needed. It was also something close to home as previous blogs have touched upon and knowing who and where to turn to is invaluable. Anyone reading this who feels they are alone, you aren't. There is always someone to talk to so please reach out.While I am off though the usual excuses of not finishing jobs around the house weren't usable so I have cracked on. The living room and my bedroom have finally been completed, my bathroom and kitchen are next on the list. I thought it would be the right time to try out a couple of different paints, Tikkurila Anti Reflex for my ceilings and Optiva 5 for walls. I'd used Optiva 5 before but not in a colour mix so really wanted to see how it held up against Dulux Diamond Matt. The consistency was nice, even with a slight easing off the opacity and coverage were good and I'm happy with the finish. Compared to Diamond Matt I'd put it on a par with Armstead Durable Matt rather than the Diamond Matt. Thats not to say it was bad though, I will happily buy it again but for colours I will stick to Dulux or Johnstones for a bit longer. The Anti Reflex however I think is my new favourite for ceilings. My living room ceiling looked horrible before, a sand down, fill and then two coats of this and it now looks dead flat. The paint went on lovely, dried quickly, can be touched up with no flashing and can easily be two or three coated in one day. Price wise granted it does cost more than some other white emulsions, so far that extra is worth it. Woodwork wise I still can't look past Benjamin Moore Advance, just love the stuff, but I will try Scuff-x soon as I keep telling myself!Tool wise I brought some Oldfields brushes, love them! So much so I can see myself buying a lot more over the next year. They feel good in your hand, flow out the paint evenly and smooth and get great lines cutting in. Also brought some Tadpole tape cutters, haven't had the chance to road test these so will update next time.Hopefully by the time my next blog rolls round we are all back to normal, enjoying a meal and a drink in restaurants and pubs, going to the cinema, football etc and enjoying spending time with friends. Stay safe all.