Cuddles, Zoom Fatigue & Missing Distanced Loved Ones: Getting Real About a Time Like No Other

If you’re anything like me, you love to read interviews of successful women answering questions about their busy lives, daily routines and how they make an impact in the world. The wisdom from those reflections is always inspiring.

So too can inspiration and understanding come from ourselves. Recently, Joanna Goddard urged us all to pause and reflect on how our lives are going in light of all the challenges.

I really loved the idea of bringing these ideas together and reflecting, with some successful women of fashion, on how we’re all navigating this difficult period of our history.

How are our lives right now? How have things shifted? How are we passing the time?

So, after taking a moment to reflect myself, I reached out to six inspiring women and asked them to share the joys and difficulties that the past few months have brought to their lives. Their responses are lovely to read – heartwarming and poignant – I’m so excited to be featuring these women along side me in this post.

Here are the questions I posed:

  1. Where in the world are you?
  2. Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)?
  3. Are you working or passing the time in other ways?
  4. What are you finding difficult right now?
  5. What’s bringing you joy?

I hope you enjoy what these inspiring women have to share.

Let me kick things off with my answers:

Where in the world are you? Sydney, Australia

Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I’m with my brood of men – my husband and our four (energetic) boys

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I work four days a week and deal with kids, housework & whatveewore on my days off – there are never enough hours in the day! 

What are you finding difficult right now? It comes in waves but the lack of certainty the pandemic has caused has made me anxious in the past few months.  I’m worried about my parents’ health as well as the kids.  It’s a bit maddening when I think about it for too long so I try to stay positive. 

What’s bringing you joy? Family time and FaceTiming with loved ones, reading books and my favourite blogs (some of which are featured here!), listening to podcasts (This Is Love with Phoebe Judge has been a favourite), devouring my husband’s freshly baked goodies and snuggling up on the couch with my husband watching something fun after the kids are in bed.

Tina Abeysakara, Stylist & Fashion Blogger, Trash To Treasured

Where in the world are you? Sydney!

Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? My husband Paul and my fur-senior Kalu (aka Old Mate)

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I’m working! Finally let go of my FT role in July to focus 100% on my styling and content creation business.

What are you finding difficult right now? Being away from family. My parents are stuck overseas due to Covid and what was meant to be a couple of months away has stretched into nearly a year apart with no end in sight. I know we are all in similar situations so just focusing on the things I can control- and being grateful for FaceTime!

What’s bringing you joy? Ahhh it’s always the little things isn’t’ it? Being ‘stuck’ in iso with my two best friends, decorating our new apartment, working on my dream job!

Jamie-Lee Burns, Fashion & Lifestyle Creator, Mademoiselle

Where in the world are you? Sydney, Australia

Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I live with my husband, six-month-old son, and our three pets – two cats and a dog!

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? People are always a little surprised when I share that I didn’t take any maternity leave. Working freelance, I’m generally “on” most of the time. It’s been a challenge finding balance between running a business/meeting client deadlines (along with updating my blog, Instagram and YouTube channel), and spending every possible second with our wee boy. I’m literally obsessed, and have become that parent who looks at photos and videos of him after he’s gone to bed for the evening. I’ve also taken on the task of starting up a childrenswear brand, so that’s also been keeping me busy during the little downtime I have.

What are you finding difficult right now? Being so far away from family. My husband and I both grew up in New Zealand, so the majority of our immediate family is there, however the circumstances with the pandemic mean we’re currently unable to travel home. I still FaceTime with my grandparents at least twice a week, but am desperate to see them (and for them to meet their first great-grandchild). We were fortunate enough that my husband’s parents were able to visit early on in the year, just before travel restrictions were put in place. And my dad and siblings live in Canberra so are only a few hours away. But distance from our loved ones is definitely the thing I’m finding hardest right now.

What’s bringing you joy? Cuddles and spending time with our baby boy; seeing the brand I’m building from the ground up come to life; getting to a local park at least once a week for a few hours in the winter sun; having my husband work from home every week; vanilla matcha lattes; and indulging in a glass (or two) of red wine over the weekend.

Nicola Harlem, Founder of The Curated

how is your life right now with nicola harlem

Where in the world are you? I am living in Asker, Norway

Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I am living in a house full of men! My three sons under six, my husband and Wally our new labradoodle.

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I spend more hours than I would like to admit on The Curated but otherwise I am trying to dedicate more time with my children and our home.

What are you finding difficult right now? I am incredibly close with my mother, so to not be able to travel and see her or vice versa is hard, especially at Christmas time.

What’s bringing you joy? My children are always bringing my joy (and pain), our new puppy Wally and I get so much joy from our growing team at The Curated and our community. It really gives me joy to connect with all kinds of people around the world.

Sally Mackinnon, Personal Stylist, Styled By Sally

Where in the world are you? Melbourne CBD

Are you living on your own or with others? With my husband

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? Working from home since mid-March (apart from the 3 weeks between stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions) 

What are you finding difficult right now? Not being able to spend much quality time my father (my mum passed away last year so this is very challenging for him) and not being able to travel to Brisbane to visit my brother and his family. Generally speaking, not being able to see family is very hard. 

What’s bringing you joy? I’ve finally got around to starting an IGTV channel. Having to cancel all client appointments overnight (twice!) has meant I’ve had to find new ways to share and demonstrate my styling skills. Instagram has actually been the silver lining of Covid as I’ve found a whole new, highly engaged and supportive audience through my styling videos. I am confident my business will continue to boom after this is all said and done… and I have the attention of my styling mentor Trinny Woodall so who knows what might come of that.

Paige Griffith-Carmichael, Marketing & PR Manager, Marks & Spencer Australia

how is your life right now with paige griffith carmichael

Where in the world are you? Coogee, Sydney

Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I’m living with my boyfriend Steve who I met on Portobello Road in London 3.5 years ago today! I like how it started off all romantic Notting Hill and went downhill real fast once the pandemic started and the ugly, stretchy track pants came out. 

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I’m very grateful to be working non-stop at the moment. I’ve been working remotely for M&S for the past 2 years as my office is based in the UK, so my day to day routine hasn’t changed too much. I’ve found that I’ve been even busier since Covid, as we’ve had to pivot to keep the brand relevant in the current environment. 

What are you finding difficult right now? Lack of travel! Last year I spent a third of my time in London to attend press showings and reconnect with the wider M&S team. Steve and I were actually there in March when it all kicked off and had to cut our trip short, it was a surreal experience. I remember the day of my flight back to Sydney, the British Prime Minister was on every TV screen and radio announcing the closure of all public venues. I was alone as Steve had taken an even earlier flight home to avoid the two week quarantine, and I stole a moment to go and visit my favourite park and soak it all up as I wasn’t sure when I’d be back. Closer to home, I also miss my family who all live in Queensland. This whole pandemic has really made me appreciate air travel, I can’t wait to get my hands on a soggy Jetstar cheese and tomato sandwich again. 

What’s bringing you joy? Helping my little brother start an online business during the pandemic. It’s crazy, scary, and exciting all at the same time but it just made sense to establish his business online. Something like half of all Aussie small businesses do not have an online presence so I definitely see that as an opportunity for both businesses and digital marketers like myself who want to help.

Louisa Hatt, Personal Style Blogger,

how is your life right now with louisa hatt

Where in the world are you? I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Are you living on your own or with others (and if so, whom)? I live with my husband. 

Are you working or passing the time in other ways? I’m an accountant and have been working from home since mid-March. Thankfully I already had all the hardware and tech to work from home so it was a smooth transition. I’m in a fortunate position that I can work from home and I’m grateful for that.

What are you finding difficult right now? I’m definitely suffering from Zoom fatigue. It’s tough having so many Zoom calls and many times back to back Zoom calls. It can feel relentless and I sometimes end up with a numb bum from sitting in the same spot for hours on end! I miss travelling and spending time with my family that don’t live in the UK.

What’s bringing you joy? Spending time with my family that live nearby brings me joy. With restrictions loosening I’ve been able to visit my mum and dad which has been amazing. Eating together and catching up face to face has brought me so much joy. Taking day trips with my husband to explore areas of Scotland we haven’t visited before has been brilliant. As we live in the capital city of Scotland you can sometimes forget how vast and scenic Scotland is.

So, how is your life right now? I hope that wherever you are in the world, you’re staying positive amidst all the challenges that we’re facing.

P.S. How a typical day plays out for my family since the pandemic and finding a work/life balance during lockdown.



  1. September 4, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    Loved reading this blog post and being introduced to some phenomenal women! Being an expat in Amsterdam, I already saw my family only once a year and now that’s also cancelled, so definitely resonate with everyone that not being able to meet your family is the hardest part. I missed my sister’s wedding this summer, which was difficult emotionally but my mom had me on FaceTime all through the wedding and that was unbelievably hilarious! I had no idea she had the technical aptitude to pull this off.

    Also, I’m trying to use the time that has freed up from my commute to study for an exam I’ve wanted to take for years. Fingers crossed I can take it next year!

    Always enjoy your content so much. Have a lovely weekend, Vee! xx

    • September 4, 2020 / 3:34 pm

      Thanks Komal – I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this one. I really enjoyed putting it together! It must have been so hard to miss your sister’s wedding but I’m glad you found your silver linings with your mum’s FaceTiming! Also, it sounds like you’re making great use of your time at home with the additional study xx

  2. September 4, 2020 / 9:47 pm

    Life right now is really feeling like a caged animal. You must sit back home for your safety measures provided by the government , you can’t go outside anywhere, you can’t sit out with your friends chilling at the bay or have some of your favorite dishes enjoying parties with your friends. Life has really boring these days. I hope these pandemic ends soon and we could enjoy our lives again as we used to do before.

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