Little Lockdown Lessons 1

Setting Free our Inner Creative

Rainbows. I think this is where it all started for me (and probably for many others). I saw a rainbow in a neighbour’s window, and then came back from work to see that two had appeared in ours; ones made of some nice gooey playdough.

All of a sudden, windows on our street became full of colourful rainbows – I think the family down the road actually blocked the sunlight out with the amount they had. In fact, I’m still wondering if Derek at number 15 has a grandchild or just did a really bad rainbow himself. 

The stakes started to grow though, and whilst speaking with Jane, our Trail Writer in Yorkshire, she shared a picture of her brother’s fence… pretty impressive, I thought: 

Lockdown rainbow fence

We heard other tales from Kylie, who is part of the team at TT Towers: her sister had painted loads of cool stones that she left on her window for everyone to look at! After a few weeks she put on the local Facebook page that people could help themselves to a rock and she even got a thank you note through her door from some of the kids; it’s the small things. 

Lockdown Painted Rocks

Puzzle time: Rainbow themed, of course! 

Everyone knows that there’s a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow! But just how much gold is in the pot? Complete our Rainbow Trail to find out! You’ll need to travel around the world to find the answers!


Thanks for all your entries! And Congratulations to Vicki Reis who was chosen to receive a Treasure Trails gift voucher! 

You can now download the answers to the Trail here: Rainbow Trail Answers

Helen’s daily doodles 

One of the coolest things I think I have seen is from Helen, one of my wife’s friends from her Uni days. Okay, she is an illustrator by trade, but she decided to keep a daily doodle of one memory from each day during lockdown and beyond. I don’t think she realised she’d be doing well over a hundred illustrations. She’s just put these on her Facebook page for friends to enjoy and spark conversation over similar experiences, but it has kind of gone a bit nuts for her, with the local press and BBC doing features on her daily doodles.  

I just love her illustrations and witty comments and have included some of these to share with you. If you want to see more, have a look at this feature article that Chronicle Live wrote about her.

Keep your eyes peeled; she’s hoping to put these into a book as a memory for herself and her kids! I’m sure others would love a copy of this as well as it reflects so many peoples experiences. 

You can check out Helen’s website at

Helen's Daily Lockdown Doodles

I asked Helen to share why she started doing the doodles… 

“Drawing has always been a huge part of my life. As an illustrator, I’m always sketching for other people, but when we went into lockdown, I impulsively set myself a little challenge to try to sketch a happy moment from every day. I didn’t realise then how long lockdown would last for! Our family life is hectic at the best of times, juggling two energetic little boys, a crazy dog and our careers. So, it felt a little indulgent at first to spend a bit of time every day just drawing for me. However, I soon realised that this is my way of calming down the panic that was going on around me and also helped me to focus on the happier parts of everyday life – the boys giggling like crazy watering each other with the garden hose or how entertaining they would find the little things like the binmen emptying the bins!  

The more I drew, the more I wrote too, and my accompanying captions became like a little diary. And after a couple of weeks focusing on the happy moments, I had a down day where I struggled to draw something happy, so I drew that I was feeling sad and the response from people following the sketches on social media was overwhelming and made me feel that it was important I kept this up. I also felt a lot less alone with the emotional roller-coaster of it all.  A few weeks in, I had the thought that I would like to turn this into a book for the boys. I have the worst baby brain (my youngest is now two, but it is still there!), and I loved the idea of them having something to look back on in years to come and hopefully jog all of our memories of the strange time in 2020 when the whole world seemed to stop.” 

Helen's Daily Lockdown Doodles - hose fun

We have discovered this is a sure fire way to entertain the kids for a bit. The downside is a sodden garden and 2 very soaked, cold little boys but their giggles are so worth it… and they cleaned our windows.  Bertie kept shouting ‘it’s raining Neddy’ and then it really was, plus thunder and lightning. That was some rain dance they did! 

Helen's Daily Lockdown Doodles - sofa fun

I miss the sun. Everything feels easier when the sun is shining and you can hang out in the garden. Today has been a loooooonng day where cabin fever set in a bit. We walked Ralph and then the heavens opened. I got back home with 2 soaked little boys who were happy to hibernate after that. I felt too tired to think of exciting activities for them to do. In the end, after a failed attempt at building a den (seriously I am the world’s worst den builder), they entertained themselves bouncing on the sofa cushions for a while. It’s worked in our favour as the sofa is definitely looking more plumped up tonight and they tired themselves out.

Helen's Daily Lockdown Doodles

With the breezy weather today it was the perfect weather to try out the boys’ new kite on the field. It was so much fun watching it soar in the sky until Ned decided it might fly better if he let it go.  I have never seen Bertie move so fast as he overtook his bewildered little brother and took a flying jump to rescue it! I couldn’t work out if he was prouder of his flying skills or his ‘superhero’ kite rescue.  It certainly brightened up our Monday! 

Not quite so creative? Don’t worry, neither am I! 

Or so you may think, but actually look back on what you have achieved, and you might be surprised. 

I’ve entertained myself and the kids pretty well with some of the great things I used to do as a child but perhaps would have taken another five years to actually have gotten round to doing. I introduced ‘apple bobbing’ in the boys rather grimy paddling pool. We had some fun with eggs; a classic egg and spoon race, playing catch with them (uncooked of course), and bizarrely trying to crush one when placed between the fold of our forearm and bicep (I think this is a strength test which we all failed). We even built a bow and arrow courtesy of Mud and Bloom, who send out inspiring monthly kits for kids. 

I think I am most impressed with my standing desk set up I have created in my son’s bedroom though; although I doubt anyone else would agree (thankfully our office shed conversion is now complete!). 

Here are some of our creative escapades!

Lockdown frog creation

I think we saw this little fella on one of the children’s morning TV shows. After we built it, it created an obsession with frogs, which resulted in us collecting tadpoles and putting them in the paddling pool (no more apple bobbing). Over the course of two months, the boys looked after them so well and, to our amazement, we recently released a dozen froglets back into the local pond! 

Lockdown assault course

The garden assault course got pretty competitive amongst myself and my five-year-old son. It did remind me of the competitive dad scene from The Fast Show!

Lockdown greetings cards

My wife started making some positive greetings cards for others to send to bring a smile to their day. 

Lockdown volcano

The volcano explosion may not have required such serious eye-wear. Fun all the same, though!

Lockdown painting

Giant Jack in the Beanstalk painting – I’m still not sure where that paper came from! 

Lockdown birds nest

We went on a forage to collect something resembling a comfy bird’s nest for the two clay birds we made. 

Lockdown creativity - frozen toys

Frozen toy dinosaurs smashed up caused quite the afternoon of fun! 

Lockdown rainbows

And of course… I have to share our rainbow!