16 things to do during lockdown

Life is on hold, but you don’t have to be 

 

Stuck indoors and looking to relieve the lockdown boredom? If you’re struggling to find a series on Netflix you haven’t watched, it’s time to think outside the box. Staying in doesn’t have to be a waste of time – why not discover a new skill or hobby? Not only will lockdown fly by, but you’ll come out of it as a new and improved version of yourself – win, win! 

Train your pooch! 

Give your pup some love this lockdown by giving them some behaviour training. Whether it’s combatting aggressive behaviour or teaching them basic obedience commands, dog training can lead to your pup living a longer and happier life. If you’re not sure, hire an online dog trainer and learn the most effective tips and tricks.

Learn a new language

Being stuck indoors is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your language skills. Long gone are the days of dusty old language books – there are now endless ways to learn a language online. Whether it’s watching foreign language shows on Netflix (with subtitles, of course!) or listening to podcasts, language learning doesn’t have to be boring anymore. 

If you’re serious about improving your language skills, hiring an online tutor is a perfect way to add some structure to your learning. They’ll also hold you accountable on the days where vegging out on the sofa is much more tempting! 

Set goals

If you enjoy living life in the fast-lane, lockdown might feel like it’s been put on pause. But having the time to slow down and reflect can be really helpful when it comes to understanding where you are in life and where you want to be. 

Whether it’s working towards financial independence or trying to live a healthier lifestyle, setting goals and breaking them into small daily tasks will help you to feel focused and productive. If your goals seem unattainable or you don’t know where to begin, why not hire an online life coach? As long as you’ve got a strong internet connection you can have consultations via video call, or over the telephone. 

Try a healthy new diet

One of the upsides of lockdown is that you can spend more time in the kitchen, try out new recipes, and kick-start healthy eating habits. If you have difficult dietary requirements or need help controlling your calorie intake, start your journey the right way by getting a nutritionist or dietitian.

Balance the books 

Okay, so not very exciting – but hear us out! Lockdown is the perfect time to get on top of those boring financial tasks. If your business has been affected by Covid-19, it might be time to reassess your financial situation. If you need some help getting your affairs in order, an online financial advisor will be able to help you manage a number of tasks, including cash-flows and reassessing your budget. 

Get the boring stuff out of the way so you can free up time for what’s important when lockdown ends! 

Kick bad habits 

Did you know it takes 21 days to break a bad habit? Lockdown is an ideal time to say goodbye to bad habits and form some healthy ones! The first step is identifying what you want to change and what your triggers are. 

Once you’ve figured that out, there are lots of exercises to help you combat a bad habit. A tried and tested one is replacing a bad behaviour with a good one – if you find yourself regularly reaching for the cookie jar, why not replace it with some dried fruit? Alternatively, you could hire an online hypnotherapist to help you with the legwork. 

Learn to code 

Coding is an incredibly sought after skill in our digital world, so why not give yourself a head start and give it a go? There are tonnes of online coding courses out there, or if you’re looking for more personal support, you can find an online coding tutor. 

Learn a new instrument 

Ever committed to taking up piano or the guitar only to find that you simply don’t have the time to practice every day? With so much time on your hands, lockdown is the ideal opportunity to get your daily practice in. Struggling to find your inner Beethoven? Find an online music tutor. 

Revamp your living space 

If you’re sick and tired of being stuck at home, maybe all you need is to give it a new look! Interior designers are now providing their services online – designing a ‘virtual’ room and filling it with real-life items available to purchase – pretty cool right?

Learn to draw 

Okay, so you may not be the next Picasso, but drawing is a great way to pass the time, and has been proven to help with anxiety and stress. If you’re serious about improving your sketching skills, it’s worth hiring an online drawing tutor to help you hone your craft. 

Give your website a face lift 

If your business has had to come up with new ways to connect with customers remotely this year, then having a great website should be at the top of your priorities. Whether it’s improving user experience (UX) or refreshing your content, investing time into your website will help to attract and retain new customers. But it can be a tricky task – especially if you don’t know the basics of web design. Hire a web designer to ensure your website gets the high-quality finish it deserves. 

Get fit 

With an abundance of online fitness classes to choose from, there’s no reason you can’t get fit from the comfort of your own home! Grab some household objects as weights and get moving! Getting an online personal trainer is a great way to add structure to your workouts and help you to achieve your fitness goals. 

Get party planning! 

Whether it’s a birthday, wedding, or anniversary, lockdown is a perfect time to start planning your next event. Yes, the world seems uncertain, but there’s no harm in giving yourself a headstart for when normality resumes. If you need a helping hand, why not hire an online event and party plannerFrom scoping out the best venue to finding decorations, it’s easy for them to tick off their to-do list from home. 

Update your CV 

Smash the job market as soon as you get out of lockdown by updating and refreshing your CV. Not sure how to make the most of your CV? Online CV writers are on hand to ensure your CV is perfected and polished – highlighting your best bits!

Write a novel (or a blog) 

There’s no better time than during lockdown to get those creative juices flowing. Pick up a piece of paper and a pen (or your laptop) and start working on that novel you’ve been meaning to write for the last five years. Or if you don’t fancy yourself as the next William Shakespeare just yet, maybe ease yourself in with a blog post. 500 words are very different from 500 pages, after all! If you need a polished blog for your business, you can find online blog writers to do the hard work for you. 

Try out yoga 

Lockdown is the ideal opportunity to find your inner zen. Whether you’re an experienced yoga-lover or a complete beginner, there will be something online for your age and capability. All it takes is a quick two minute Google search. Alternatively, you could hire an online yoga instructor – they’ll be able to ensure your form and techniques are spot on, saving you nasty injuries later down the line. 

 

 

 

 

 

Elite Pro Interview: How to hire a great interior designer for your home

Hiring an interior designer is a smart move if you want your home to look its best. Even if you have a natural flare for decorating, drafting in a professional can be an easy way to save time and money.

Whether you already have an idea of what you want, or are starting the project from scratch, a skilled interior designer will work with you to create the home of your dreams.

Here’s what three of our Elite Pros have to say about the best way to hire an interior designer for your next home makeover project.

What services can an interior designer provide?

You can hire an interior designer for projects of all shapes and sizes, from renovating a single room to an ongoing relationship to help you reimagine your living space many times over the years.

But whatever the scope of your home improvement project, the role your interior designer will play can be broken down into three phases: 1) concept design, 2) detailed specifications and 3) implementation.

“Implementation sources and delivers all goods and provides input to the build process on site if required,” explains Decodence’s Elina Helenius. “The concept provides an idea of the desired end state – finishes, materials and layout. The detailed design provides drawings for layout changes.”

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Decodence cultivated an air of class for this boutique winery

What should you ask before hiring someone as your interior designer?

Before you begin contacting interior designers, you should have a rough idea of what your home improvement project will involve. Take a look at the space and think about which features you’re ready to change, as well as what impact your lifestyle will have on the finished space.

“Give the designer as much information as you can – including budget, styles, colours, any photos, swatches anything that inspires you,” says Hazel Nutting from Hazel’s Interiors. “And don’t forget to mention any items that you may want to keep.”

She adds: “When choosing an interior designer, you will need to find someone that you get on well with. I believe that if you like their portfolio it will help the process.”

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Hazel’s Interiors created this light and airy country home

When you book an interior designer, what happens next?

When you find an interior designer you think you can work with, the next step is to meet in person and hammer out the details of your project.

“The process starts with a first consultation to find out the details of your project and your personal preferences,” explains Dennis Teepe, from Bespoqe Interiors. “Once appointed as your Interior Designer I will provide you with first design ideas and drafts.”

He adds: “After the concept design has been agreed, I will prepare a detailed design including colour schemes, fabrics and furniture recommendations. Sourcing suitable suppliers, overseeing the order and delivery process as well as project management is all part of our service.”

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A stylish fireplace centrepiece courtesy of Bespoqe Interiors

How much does hiring an interior designer cost?

The cost of hiring an interior designer can vary wildly depending on the scope of the job and the experience of the professional in question.

“Anyone can set up as an interior designer, and there are many advertising their services who are both untrained and unqualified,” says Hazel. “Their services may be cheaper but the service you receive will be very different and may not meet your requirements. I would make sure that the designer you choose is both qualified and insured too.”

Every interior designer will work differently and charge accordingly – either by the room, on a percentage basis, or even as a fixed lump sum. Comparing quotes from a selection of qualified pros is the best way to ensure the job is done at a price that works for you.

Find interior designers

Why should you hire an interior designer for your next redecorating project?

Hiring an interior designer to remodel your home does more than just save you weeks of time and effort – it can also save you money.

“Updating and decorating your home can be a daunting process for many who just don’t know where to start or how to make the best decision,” says Hazel. “Interior designers are professional people who will take you through the process without any frustrations.”

She adds: “An interior designer can save you both time and money, providing you with a professional design within your budget and timescale with no costly mistakes.”

Find interior designers

The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY: When to Leave It To The Expert

Let’s be honest: We all fancy ourselves as a bit of DIY genius. No job is too complex or great. When it comes to doing it yourself, any danger of causing serious injury or seriously botching up a job goes out the window; it’s all about ego and proving that not every job requires calling ‘The Man’.

In the real world, however, there is only so much the common homeowner can achieve when deciding to do a touch of handy work around a property. More often than not, it pays to get the expert in. Here’s a list of some household tasks that shouldn’t be too difficult to handle, and those that most definitely require a professional. If you’re one of those who thinks you’re a DIY jack-of-all-trades, look away now…

Don’t Get Wired On Electrics

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Anything electrical in your home that requires attention is best left untouched. Not only do you skirt with the obvious risk of electrocuting yourself, meddling with the wires behind that dodgy plug socket could wreak havoc on your home’s entire wiring. The appeal of deciding to fix a light fitting without the costly expense of calling in a professional may seem alluring, but just think about the potential spiralling costs in the event you botch it up and need to find a professional electrician to rewire your whole home. Bottom line: Don’t fiddle with electrics.

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Leave electrics to the expert

Different Strokes

Moving on to something a little safer, there’s nothing wrong with attempting painting inside your home. Obviously there’s more to it than simply taking a pot of paint to your walls, but it’s certainly one of the more ‘doable’ DIY projects. As Interior specialist Gemma Cheney writes in the Guardian, there are tricks to adding a professional touch to your painting: “preparation is everything”. For ease and for covering a larger area, a roller is probably best, but for the more intricate jobs, a paintbrush is more ideal. The beauty of it all is that even if you do somehow manage to make a hash of it, you can always hire a painter and decorator to save the day.

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Unleash your inner painter

Avoid the Waterworks

When it comes to plumbing, there are a handful of simple jobs that do not require a plumbing service: a leaky tap, installing a new shower head or unclogging a drain are all perfect and scalable jobs to keep you occupied at the weekends. However, the more complex tasks will require a professional plumber. Much like trying to fix a problematic wire, fiddling with your home’s plumbing could have disastrous consequences that could leave you more out of pocket to fix than if you called the plumber in the first place. Moving away from the job at hand, hiring a plumber has other benefits. He or she will help you stay within your planned budget and will likely get the job done within your envisioned timeline.

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Time to call in the Plumber?

Take it Outside

Of course, DIY isn’t just contained to your home; the garden represents a wide range of DIY jobs you can do yourself, from mowing the lawn and painting the fence, to the more difficult bricklaying or pond installation. You may laugh, but there is a method to mowing the perfect lawn, but it’s probably not worth calling in the man. However, installing that nice, new water feature or building a new shed is probably better left to the professional – Bark can help you find local Bricklayers if you need them. Regardless of perfecting the bricklaying when building a new shed, there are also legal complication such as obtaining planning permission that a professional will know inside out and offer guidance. On top of all that, there’s the slight issue of landscaping. We’d all love a garden that wouldn’t look out of place at the Chelsea Flower Show, but left to your own devices you could just as likely end up with the garden from hell. Again, probably best to hire a landscaper for that major redesign.

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Shaping your dream garden

Inspired to Do It Yourself? Consider calling in a local professional first. Bark.com has a wide range of house and home services to help spruce up your property.

For more Bark.com tips and insight, why not check out our other blogs?