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22.05.2020- Lockdown Lunch #4: Lillian Zahra

The end of another week! I think I've found this week the toughest so far to be honest- today I was supposed to be heading to Northern Ireland for the long weekend, and losing that trip has made me feel a lot sadder than I was anticipating- probably because I (probably a little bit naively) thought that we might still be able to make it over for a much-needed trip to the beautiful Causeway Coast, replete with plenty of Taytos! I've also found myself getting quite frustrated with a few work situations this week too, so it's sort of perfect that my guest for this week's Lockdown Lunch is someone who has completely switched up her career over the last year or so and has got the perfect perspective on life just now. Like all of my guests so far, I met the wonderful Lily through blogging what feels like a million years ago, and although she's now living in Dubai, it's been lovely to catch up with her virtually of late:

How are you coping with things at the moment?

Given the strangeness and uncertainty at the moment, I think I'm coping well. I sadly but not unexpectedly lost my job (I was teaching yoga full time for a gym chain in Dubai) at the end of March and while it is unsettling to not have something to go "back" to, it has pushed me to find ways to fill my days. I started offering yoga sessions via Zoom a couple of weeks in to lockdown and this has been amazing, my sessions are the highlight of my days and it's great to be able to share my practice and feel like I'm continuing to learn as a teacher, despite not being able to teach group classes anymore.

What are you missing most about life as it was?

As a yoga teacher I was used to meeting people all of the time, from new students in my classes to my regulars who I saw daily. Teaching online is great and I'm so happy that we have the technology to make it possible but it's definitely not the same as being in a room together with my students. I also miss the normality of the world before, just little things like running downstairs to the Starbucks in my building without having to pack a mask, gloves, hand sanitiser...and not seeing posters and signage everywhere reminding me that we are in the middle of a global pandemic! 

Which foods and recipes have become your go-to dishes? 

I've been making my own matcha lattes each day and putting them in my reusable coffee cup to replicate the coffee shop experience! It's definitely the little rituals right now that make things feel as normal as possible. I also love making raw vegan treats, dates are in plentiful supply here in Dubai so blending them up with nuts, coconut and whatever else we have in the cupboards makes a great snack (and my very much non-vegan boyfriend loves them too). 

What small things are making you happy right now? 

My kitten, Antonio (aka Kit), who is endlessly naughty, cute and entertaining. I used to not think of myself as a "pet person" but now I can't imagine not having a little furry presence in the house.

What is the first thing you're planning on doing when lockdown is eased? 

That's such a hard question! I don't quite feel ready for lockdown to end yet as it doesn't feel like there is a way to go back to how life was before, or to enjoy some activities in the same way? I am looking forward to eating in restaurants again, I don't think I've eaten all three meals at the table at home since I was studying for university exams ten years ago!

A big thank you to Lily for taking part! You can find out more about her online yoga classes on her Instagram here. She's offering thirty and sixty minute yoga sessions for anyone who is in need of a break from their desk and screen, and your first thirty minute session is free! I would definitely recommend them- it's amazing what half an hour of stretching and getting back to breathing properly can do!

(Image credit: Lillian Zahra, please do not reproduce without permission.)


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