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Wednesday 18 August 2021

Lockdown: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in high summer garden, wearing all-white with a Beetroot wrap and gunmetal wedges,

Normality is returning in most countries around the world, after months of lockdowns and sanctions to deal with Covid-19. A lot of the pages in the UK papers are devoted to reports on other countries too, and Australia is going through a difficult time, as is Israel. 

I pay close attention to the situation in Israel because their vaccination rates are excellent. They were the first country to introduce more freedom, but now they are considering another lockdown because of problems controlling the Delta variant. 

This gives us food for thought in the UK.  Our "Freedom Day" was a month ago and it seems that Covid is on the retreat. While the number of cases is still high, they are mostly among younger people and hospital admissions have fallen. 

I thought it was timely to look at some of the results of lockdown:  the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. How many of these do you recognise in your country?


More cooking

This wasn't true for me, I have to confess, but a YouGov survey showed that 73% of people enjoyed doing more cooking over lockdown and 91% said they would continue to cook as often this year. 

A family cooking together. Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

During the first lockdown in particular, the only way to maintain or increase fitness was doing sport outdoors, so many of us turned to walking or running for the first time.   In May 2020, 36% of people responding to the People and Nature Survey by Natural England said they were spending more time outside during the pandemic than before. This rose to 46% in July 2020.   

This was true for me:  last year was the first time I finally completed the Walk 1000 Miles challenge.  This year I'm aiming for 1,500 miles but may be a couple of hundred short, particularly with two or three days in the office on the horizon.

I set off at 8 o'clock usually, and am back by 9.30. It's no effort now, I enjoy the me-time and opportunity to listen to podcasts, as well as looking at nature and seeing the changing seasons.

More International TV

Many of us watched more TV than usual during the lockdowns (see "The Bad"). With so little new TV being made, streamers began searching other countries for dramas and quirky programs they could start sharing. My mum has long been a fan of Nordic Noir, which has been shown on BBC4 for years, but I was late to this party and how I loved getting into The Bridge, The Killing, Borgen, The Investigation, Spiral, Shitizel and many others.  I'm so desperate for international fare I follow many of the Scandi stars on IG to see what they're currently filming!

Better Work Life Balance

Working from home for many was a bit of a shock. I was used to it, having always had two or three days at home over the last decade because I live a long way from my current and previous employer.  But once people got used to it, they liked it. That commuting time could be turned into a walk or yoga, and cooking dinner from scratch.

Employers are finding it hard to get their staff back to work. Workplace activity in London, New York and San Francisco is still 50% below its normal level, according to mobility data from Google, which tracks the locations of its users. 

Online Shopping Boom

Woman doing online shopping on her bed surrounded by parcels. Image by  Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

With most shops closed during lockdown, online shopping boomed, and for once we were always in to receive the parcels! 

New ways to have fun at home

The Zoom quizzes and family meetups soon lost their gloss but the hospitality industry found some new ways to make money and feed us.

Occasions like birthdays and Valentine's Day could be marked by a special delivery of a three course dinner from a top restaurant, including wine if needed.

Meanwhile many people - particularly those on furlough with time on their hands - took up new hobbies: making sourdough, learning a foreign language, crochet or knitting.

Reduction in Pollution

The roads were much quieter during the first lockdown with schools being closed, and there was a resulting drop in pollution levels.  During the spring 2020 UK lockdown, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) decreased by 52 per cent on average compared with only 28 per cent on average in the lockdown which started in January 2021. NO2 is a key pollutant caused by vehicles and other emissions.


Non-Covid Cases Neglected

During the first lockdown it seemed virtually impossible to see a GP, even over Zoom. Many people with symptoms that needed investigating went unseen.  Cancer treatment stopped in some cases;  operations were cancelled. It seemed as if the only priority was  Covid patients. Many people died of cancer, of heart attacks, of strokes, when they could have lived for longer.  Today, the NHS waiting list is at a record level, meaning millions of people will have to struggle for possibly years. 


It started with toilet rolls and then flour in the first lockdown. More recently, many supermarkets have bare shelves again but it's caused by workers having to isolate for 10 days when pinged by the NHS app. Science Direct, studying cities in China, found bad mood and herd psychology are factors contributing to panic buying. 

Educating children at home

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Up to 80% of parents were educating their children at home during the first few months of the pandemic, according to the World Economic Forum.

A University of Michigan report revealed that: 
  • Half of parents felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities to educate their children at home and one in four felt they did not have the resources they needed for at-home education
  • About 24% of parents indicated that their child was fearful or anxious and 30% of parents indicated their child was nervous, high strung, or tense
  • Two out of every five parents met the criteria for major depression and criteria for moderate or severe anxiety

More Pressure and Inequality for Women 

When parents were both working from home, the burden of educating children, and childcare, fell mostly on women, even when they were working full-time. In fact the Coronavirus pandemic could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality, new global data from UN Women suggests.

More TV, More Alcohol

Woman drinking wine on a bed with chocolates nearby. Image by Pexels

Ofcom in the UK says that adults watched an average of 5 hours and 40 minutes a day in 2020,  up by 47 minutes on 2019. 

While watching TV, people were also eating and drinking more. 

Research from independent alcohol education charity, Drinkaware, revealed that around two in five (38%) of people on furlough and a third (33%) of parents with at least one child under 18 is drinking  more alcohol now than since the start of lockdown.

This is significantly higher than the national average. Overall, more than a fifth (22%) of people in the UK – around 11.7 million – are now drinking more since the lockdown began.  

More Pets Left Unwanted or Stressed 

The first lockdown led to a surge in people wanting pets as companions. The RSPCA's dog welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines, said: "There was a huge surge in demand for dogs during lockdown as families made the most of spending more time at home. What concerns us is what's happening to these 'lockdown puppies' now and what will happen to them over the coming months."

One in four dog owners have seen a worrying change in their pet's behaviour since the beginning of lockdown, a study by the Dogs Trust has found.

The pet welfare charity surveyed over 6,000 owners back in May this year about the impact lockdown measures have had on their pups. And, sadly, 26% reported a rise in problematic behaviours, including barking, biting and whining.


Increases in Domestic Violence

The Crime Survey for England and Wales showed that 1.6 million women and 757,000 men had experienced domestic abuse between March 2019 and March 2020, with a 7% growth in police recorded domestic abuse crimes.

Although there is limited official data so far on the impact of lockdown on domestic abuse, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report that in mid-May 2020, there was a 12% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases referred to victim support. Between April and June 2020, there was a 65% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, when compared to the first three months of that year.

Rise in Global Extreme Poverty

Global extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic started to compound the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress, according to the World Bank. 

Littering and Worse

The UK has seen a huge increase in the amount of litter and detritus being left behind when people converge on seaside towns or the countryside at the weekend and for holidays. During the first lockdown, we weren't supposed to travel very far, but people still went to beaches when the weather was good.  Public toilets were closed, and the outcome was disgraceful. 

Meanwhile people who would normally have gone abroad for their holidays had holidays in the UK instead, and there's a new phenomenon around people leaving everything behind: their tents, sleeping bags, utensils.  One campsite in the Lake District had to close because it couldn't cope with the amount of rubbish.

What do you think of my list?  Did I miss anything? Was there anything else good that happened in your region or home? Let us know in the comments. 

Today's Outfit Photos

Is This Mutton reviews nearly two years of lockdowns, the good, the bad and the ugly. Gail Hanlon wearing all-white with a Kettlewell beetroot short tie wrap and Vionic wedge shoes,.

Although many regions have suffered intolerable heat, devastation and even deaths, summer appears to be petering out in the UK and we haven't had a decent day of sunshine for a couple of weeks or more. Transitional dressing with cardigans and jackets are becoming the order of the day.

I love an all-white outfit in summer and added a Kettlewell short tie wrap in Beetroot, plus two chunky pearl necklaces, to make it look less beachy.

Plenty of pearls: Gail Hanlon from is This Mutton with her trademark necklaces of chunky pearls

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the link-up where where readers can find new blogs and bloggers can find new readers.

Last Week's Readers' Favourites - Most Clicked

The favourite post by far was "White Denim Outfit Ideas" by Kellyann at This Blonde's Shopping Bag. A great suggestion too from Kellyann to buy new white denim in August when prices are reduced. Styles don't change very much so you'll still get a lot of wears next year and beyond. 

"August Stylish Monday - Work Wear" from Amy's Creative Pursuits was very timely, with suggestions of what to wear at work. Amy shows an outfit she wore to church which is highly suitable for the office, or for teachers.  This was a bloggers' challenge, so to see what the other bloggers came up with, check out my post and linky from last week. 

Is This Mutton's Pick

It's always great to welcome a newcomer to the  link-up, particularly when Chanel handbags are being discussed! Bauchle Fashion brought us "Chanel's Take on Modermism: The 6 Bags I'm Obsessed With." 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. This is such a fabulous outfit. I love your sense of style. Happy you enjoyed my post :)

  2. I think this is a pretty good list. We don't read nor hear what is happening in the UK. Have to watch the BBC for it. We are starting to get to normal here too, there is even a consideration that the 1,5 meter distance will be not the norm in september.


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