4. Lessons from a year of lockdown

with Yvadney Davis on practising self love

Welcome to Notes On, the newsletter from The Imposters Club. Every other Monday we’ll be sharing what’s on our minds, what we’ve been loving, and thoughts & tips from our community.


SEASON 4 IS COMING SOON - and we need your help!

We want to hear YOUR voices and share them on the podcast. Over the coming weeks we'll be asking for voice note submissions of your experiences, thoughts and stories on different topics that affect our lives. So, we'd love to know: 

What does success mean to you? 

What were you brought up to believe about success? Has that changed? Do you feel pressure to be successful- and who do you feel it from?

Send a short 30 second voice note including your name and age to theimpostersclub@gmail.com and we'll feature as many as we can on the podcast!


Melissa: 52 lessons from 52 weeks since lockdown

  1. You’ve got things people want.

  2. People will always have things you want.

  3. We’re allowed to feel sad and grateful at the same time.

  4. Pink tinted glasses make you look like Peppa Pig on Zoom- trust me.

  5. The sound of waves is soothing to the soul.

  6. If I’m not going to put my old clothes on Depop whilst furloughed in a pandemic, I’m never going to do it.

  7. It’s a cliche, but focusing on my breathing helps calm me down.

  8. What helps you might not help someone else.

  9. Going out for a walk really can make things better.

  10. I never want to hear the phrase "it wasn't meant to be" again.

  11. Reading a book might be the only task I can do without getting distracted.

  12. Long rambly voice notes are a portal into someone’s mind.

  13. When all else fails, dance it out.

  14. Whatsapp Desktop is a vital asset to working from home.

  15. Trusting your instincts takes a lot of practice and is something I wish I'd started before a pandemic at the age of 31

  16. Insulated reusable bottles are great for keeping tea hot (be careful).

  17. Gel nails are worth every penny to me and I do them purely for myself.

  18. Dying my hair is worth every penny to me and I do it purely for myself.

  19. There are a lot of Jellyfish on Portland Beach in Weymouth; don’t dive in there.

  20. The leaves of Swiss Cheese Plants start life wrapped around the shoot and slowly unfurl. 

  21. I cry a lot.

  22. Being on hormonal contraception for a decade means that I am only now learning to read the rhythms and patterns of my body.

  23. Dating: No Filter is one of the funniest shows on TV.

  24. England is pretty beautiful.

  25. Instagram really is a lie. Like it really is. I need to remember this one.

  26. It’s OK to not be the strong one all the time and admit when you’re struggling.

  27. I can paddle board.

  28. It is possible to spend more money on takeaways in a month than you used to spend on travel. I cannot bring myself to disclose how much money that is- please respect my privacy at this time.

  29. I’ll sit and have a picnic in a rainy park for the right people.

  30. I do have the ability to look after houseplants.

  31. My Dad is pretty good at drawing.

  32. Stress doesn’t only come when things are hectic and busy.

  33. My eyes droop down at the sides.

  34. The Curly Girl Method is effective and useful, but not necessarily to be followed to a T i.e. not washing your hair for 3 months.

  35. Self-care is a productive use of my time.

  36. Working from home masturbation coffee breaks.

  37. It’s OK to make decisions just for me. No, it’s important to make decisions just for me.

  38. Glennon Doyle is an oracle. 

  39. Journalling can help you pin down the thoughts running wild in your head.

  40. My husband knows every word to I Feel Pretty from West Side Story.

  41. You’ll never be happy with your body in the moment- when you look back at photos you’ll be annoyed at how thin you were and how you still weren’t happy.

  42. My ability to make someone laugh is my superpower.

  43. Stress can live as physical pain in your body.

  44. It is possible to play golf in a one bedroom flat.

  45. Buying a house is a very stressful and emotional process.

  46. Reality never lives up to the image I have in my head.

  47. Dawn French’s autobiography and a Yeti Microphone box combine to create a stand for my laptop at the perfect height to ensure the camera doesn’t show my double chin.

  48. Ronan Keating was right: life is a rollercoaster and you do just have to ride it.

  49. Memes about Theresa May and fields of wheat will never stop being funny to me.

  50. Sometimes the best response to someone getting hangry is “uh-oh”.

  51. It’s important to pause between copy, paste and send, otherwise you run the risk of sending a link for lube to your boss. 

  52. It can take a global pandemic to get the apology you’ve been waiting half a decade for.


Sinéad: An ode to casual acquaintances

Last summer, when the isolation of the pandemic was really getting to me, my three oldest, closest friends embarked on a perilous journey across the river to South London to meet me for a picnic. In the rain.

We used a plastic-backed blanket as a makeshift gazebo roof, taking it in turns to shelter each other while we sliced cheese for crackers and dunked crisps into hummus. We laughed at the bonkersness of it all, the fact that in any other time we would have cancelled the picnic and just hung out in the flat. We cried because it had been so long since we saw each other.

This was the friendship - the sisterhood - that my heart had been crying out for all spring. These were the women that I would call in tears after a tough day, or send cheering gifts to when they were struggling. These were the friends I needed.

The pandemic has shone a light on the relationships that mean the most to us. After a long day of Zoom meetings that, let’s be honest, could have been emails, there are very few people any of us have the energy to stay on Zoom for. And if we weren’t able to see the most important people outside scheduled video calls, what happened to the others?

On a typical day, we interact with up to 16 casual acquaintances- the pandemic has evaporated those interactions. With restrictions still very much in place, we’ve had to prioritise the relationships that mean the most. My pilates teacher, a woman pretty well acquainted with my mind and body, isn’t in my bubble. I miss her; I miss the people who don’t fit into our newly narrowed social circles.

I haven’t seen the colleague whose desk I’d drop by for a natter while I waited for the microwave at lunch for over a year. Or the lovely Australian guy I used to chat to every morning as he made me a flat white. It really has been too long since I saw the school friend I’d meet once a year for drinks, spending the whole night talking about how we must meet up more often. I wonder how they all are.

What’s happened to those casual relationships? They pepper our lives with lightness, an easy intimacy that gives us human connection without the responsibility. We ask after each other’s parents, murmur sympathetically when the other is going through a breakup, but ultimately we joke, we enjoy the connection and we don’t worry. Too many pastel Instagram quotes instruct us to focus only on ‘our people’, the people whom we share deep emotional connections with. It’s easy to conflate fairweather friendship with toxicity, as though the only type of friend you need in your life is the one that will pick your mum up from the hospital. 

These relationships serve a purpose, and that’s usually a fun purpose. Just like I never drink a cold cider anywhere other than a pub garden on a hot day, there are people in my life who I just wouldn’t call at 3am in a crisis- and that’s fine. Sometimes we need the ease of fair weather.

This year has felt so heavy in part because we’re all so worried about each other. The people we’ve prioritised are the people whose wellbeing directly impacts ours. When one friend’s dad got sick, I worried about him. When another lost her income, I racked my brain to think of ways to help. We’re operating in the 3am crisis realm of friendship- the deeply emotional, rewarding closeness that gets us through dark times.

But I miss those summer cider friends too. The people you chat brightly to on the way to work or who you only go to festivals with. The people who you put on a happy face for and help pull you out of a funk- they give us the tiny lift we need to handle the heavier times. They keep us going just as much as the deeper connections. 

Spring is here, and I’m so excited to share the joy of restrictions lifting with my closest friends, and to have fun with them again. I’m excited to be able to give them lightness and relief as well as support. But I’m also excited to see the people I don’t need to call at 3am, and who don’t need to call me; for rapid-fire highlights over a bottle of rosé, light anecdotes and bright enthusiasm when you see each other. It’s been a while.


Things we’ve loved

Listening to Sentimental in the City - a special series from the brilliant Sentimental Garbage, hosted by Caroline O’Donoghue and Dolly Alderton. This smart and funny podcast reads and discusses the Great American Novel that is each series of Sex and the City with characteristic humour. SKK

Watching Taco Chronicles on Netflix - a documentary series looking at the culture, history and deliciousness of tacos, and interviewing the people who make them. Tip: never watch this with dinner as you’ll be sorely disappointed if you’ve made anything other than tacos. SKK

Reading Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts - Lots of Dolly this week! This story about being a 30-something woman is funny, relatable, and so astutely observes our social anxieties, inner monologues and interactions. A well-deserved bestseller. MM

Sweating with Alice Liveing’s Instagram March Challenge - Throughout lockdown Alice has been offering free live workouts 3-4 times a week, with a new programme each month. Alice is such a supportive and knowledgeable coach and she takes us through the exercises so clearly. She kicks my ass daily whilst starting my day with a smile. Join us for her April Challenge starting Monday 5th! MM


The Club: Yvadney Davis on practising self love

Yvadney Davis is a Fashion Stylist, Artist, Entrepreneur and soon-to-be lecturer. She is the founder of blog and Instagram community Mums That Slay. She lives in South London with her husband and two kids. Here, Yvadney talks us through practising self love to help you feel grounded and authentically yourself.

Self love can feel like such an overwhelming concept. Is it having a nice bath with candles on? Is it meditation? Is it having a motivational graphic on your phone screen saver? Self love can be all of those things and none, because self love comes down to one thing and that's you. What are your needs? What is your reality? Who are you? Once you answer those questions you can start to find ways in your life to ensure you feel grounded, safe and authentically you. Self love is more than feeling joyful, it's about feeling whole. So how do you bring it into your life? Here are some tips:

GET REAL

You can't practise self love if you don't know what your needs are.  So spend some time by yourself in critical reflection. I love journaling for this, as I can keep it real and as the pen flows, so do my thoughts and realisations. I can see the gaps in my life that need tending to; that could be being overwhelmingly busy, it could be feeling lonely, insecure or having a dream I'd love to see come to fruition. Take note of all the things that come up and then look at how you can meet them. 

BE INTENTIONAL

The act of self love is not something you should squeeze into your days. You have to create space for it. It should take priority, greeting you as you open your eyes in the morning with a silent affirmation and embracing you as you wind down for sleep. People often say they're too busy or it's all a bit narcissistic, but if you can find the time to scroll aimlessly through Instagram looking at other people's lives, or you'd easily pour positivity into your best friends' ears, why can't you turn the attention on yourself? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. 

WORDS HAVE POWER

I'm a big fan of speaking positive words over myself. They draw a line in the sand of who I say I am. It could be as simple as "I am kind," "I am overflowing with creativity," or"I am one in a million with a purpose on my life I am bringing into fruition every day”. I physically speak them to myself in the mirror; I integrate them into my vision board that is just above my desk; I write them on post it notes and stick them inside my wardrobe and around my desk. I also set them up as notifications on my phone to give myself a pep talk throughout the day. 

SELF CARE

Now you have internal stuff taken care of, you can focus on the physical. This is where you draw up a list of practices or experiences that tend to your needs; they may bring you joy or they may simply care for you. Some of mine includes having a daily shower rave, where I dance to my feelgood playlist on my waterproof speaker, so I feel energised and pumped up for the day. Another is waking up an hour before my family on the weekend and curling up on the sofa to listen to music, watch a documentary or read with a piping hot cup of tea in peace. I also like to make my lunches interesting; so spiced dressings on a salad, eating good colourful veggies, so that I mark the middle of my working day with a nutritious and filling lunch.  The list is endless and so personal, so no doubt some self love seeds have been planted today for you.


Listen to The Imposters Club

Beta Lucca on Self Care, Getting Weird and Changing the Game

It’s been a long year of lockdowns. Back in last Autumn’s lockdown we caught up with tech entrepreneur and host of the Hyper Curious podcast Beta Lucca, to talk through choosing adventures, changing the gaming industry and the weird and wonderful freedom of improvisational theatre- yes, really. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts.