Light at the end of the tunnel 

Life, as we know it, is very different right now. A big part of me thinks it will be very different after we finally get out of this situation. I also think that a lot of those long term differences will be positive ones. For starters, standing at my front door at 8pm last night to hear the whole of Walthamstow clapping the NHS was the most incredible moment that I have ever experienced. 

Whilst the light at the end of the tunnel is still very dim and distant, some positive things have already occurred, and I am sharing those with you today. I honestly think that adopting these into your new quarantine lifestyle will make the light at the end of the tunnel shine just a little brighter. 

Mindful Chef

You cannot hide from the fact that shopping for food and essentials seems to have brought out the worst in people while, largely, pandemics such as this tend to bring out the best in us. However, for us, food shopping has been easy to manage and with minimal fuss because of Mindful Chef. The opening line on their website sums up what they do very well, "We deliver fresh, delicious, nutritious recipes to your doorstep." Bosh!

We have been using them since January and just knowing that 4/5 meals’ worth of healthy, fresh ingredients, along with the detailed recipe for each dish, will be delivered to your door during these times, has been an absolute godsend. I couldn't recommend them enough. All the recipes are targeted for 30 minutes or less cooking (1 hour 30 minutes if you're my wife) and for every meal you buy, they donate a school meal to a child in poverty. 

The only downside is that they don't deliver toilet roll. Apart from that, it is a no-brainer. Catch £20 off your first box here (using my email as the code).

A Morning Qua-Routine

My typical morning routine goes something like this: alarm goes off at 6:30am, a snooze or two later, I get up, feed the kittens, get dressed, commute to the office, go to the gym, shower, change, grab a coffee, get to my desk for around 9am. Everything is rushed, I feel groggy and tired, and I spend most of that day dreading the inevitable need to repeat it the very next day. 

My personally branded Morning Qua-Routine is a far cry from this and I'm loving it. Here goes. 7am alarm, I get straight out of bed, I go into the lounge & kitchen area where the kittens are kept, I sit on the floor and cuddle and kiss them for 10 minutes. It is excellent and they love it (I think). I give them their breakfast and take a few minutes to watch them and smile. My wife and I then do a live stream HIIT class on the decking of our garden, with my gym who have superbly moved everything online (shout out Manor London). We then sit down and stream the Daily Calm (with the Calm app) through the Sonos and do a 12-15 minute meditation together. Then we have a leisurely coffee and breakfast, with our phones away and make a plan for the rest of the day (lunch/run etc). This week we have even been lucky enough to have breakfast outside in the sun. Then I shower, get dressed and I’m at my desk in the spare room all before 9am. 

It has been bliss. Who knew mornings could be so slow, stress free, healthy and enjoyable. AND you're at your desk ready to work at the same time. What have I been doing with my life? 

Financial Foreplay

Not easy to make money sexy - but I've given it a go.

In this time where your discretionary expenses are effectively banned and the only thing you can spend money on is the very basics, it has really made me realise how much money I wasted. I have therefore already increased my monthly savings standing order to double what it was before and have directly wiped that off of my standing order to my monthly spending pot. This is a huge shift from 'spending money now' to 'saving money to spend in the future'. 

Depending on how long this lock-down lasts, it really could put me on a different financial path to the one I was on. The foreplay to a new financial future. 

This is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend less now. I therefore encourage everyone to use this time wisely to be kind to your future self and save and invest more money, right now! 

Alfie Mullan, March 2020