27 Oct 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: How Are You Feeling?

The "At-Home" Diaries : How Are You Feeling? on vickiarcher.com

How is the “Corona Coaster” treating you?
I read this term somewhere this morning and thought it very clever, for if nothing else it has certainly been an up and down, topsy-turvy year. Loop the loop has nothing on Corona. In some ways coming out of a severe lockdown has been even harder. I think because of the uncertainty, the fear – yes, there is a definite feeling of fear with the unknown – and all the changes the year has shown us. How we took for granted the “sureness” and “inevitability” of the way we lived?

How are you feeling?

A day can bring a million moods and what I once was so sure of, now I am not. I know the important elements in life – family and friendship – are even more significant since our world has been rocked by Corona. Health, diet and exercise are a priority as we try our hardest to support our immune systems and fight this nasty virus with all we have. The confusion is difficult around what is the right way to defeat such an enemy and each country takes its own approach and advice. I believe we have to be personally vigilant and make sure we are doing what is right for us. If you have been unlucky enough to experience Corona in the early days – I have – it is tough and not something I want to go through again. I’m absolutely fine but it has taken some recovering.

Physical recovery is one element but how we feel is another.

We need nurturing, we need kindness and we need an enormous amount of positive energy. Some need more of one and less of another but I do believe we need a focus on self-nurture. Not selfishness; that’s a whole other deal. If we are in the best shape we can be then our friends and families can benefit. Some of us are stronger than others and can handle more but whatever our life circumstances, this year has been a tough experience. I try to take away positives, which becomes harder every day as I watch our younger generation suffer emotional distance from each other and job uncertainty, work hard on those and retain my spirit. We are also allowed “down” days because it would be naive to ignore those.

“Home” is how I do it.

Never before has our everyday living been so important. A bunch of flowers seems to be worth the world, a painting can take on a whole new meaning and memorable objects even more precious. Where we found them, why they are important – these are happy reminders to days past and days to come. We are living and breathing our homes almost 24/7 in many cities and what we enfold ourselves in has never been more important; the ambience of our interiors has never been so consequential. Yesterday, as the darkness closed in on a very short day I focussed on the brightness of a bunch of hot pink roses and the fragrance of a rose-poivree candle. I added a cosy quilt to my bed – pink of course – giving added texture to the bedroom.

In the sitting room, I lit the fire, bought some pot plants inside from our terrace and lit tea candles on the coffee table – the small and insignificant actions sometimes yield the greatest benefit.

I guess what I am trying to say is we must look after us and if it means a new candle, a bunch of flowers or a re-arrange of our home – then let’s do it and in abundance. xv

One Way To Elevate The Mood

Often I am asked for candle recommendations so I am putting my top burners below. 

For longer life and a better, smoke-free burn here’s what I do:

The first light I burn only for one hour and then blow the candle out. Let the wax cool, straighten, trim the wick and repeat. I do this twice and then gradually burn for a longer period of time afterwards. It allows the wax to evenly melt and let the candle burn for its longest life. Wick trimming is essential after each burn. 

*diptyque oud ||  baies  ||  genevrier ||  **cire trudon positano  ||  **rose poivree  ||  le labo santal 26 ||  bully 1803 alexandrie

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Hi Vicki!

Thank you for asking us how we are doing. Things can certainly be worse here, chez nous…they are good. It has been a huge adjustment for me, however. I love being home and everyday that passes, I become more grateful that I have the freedom to do as I please (read, write, create) when I want. My husband and I have taken up dancing together thanks to Youtube and the endless music videos. On a deeper level, this entire situation has caused me to reflect on my worth. Sounds intense and may even concern a few, but when you put the brakes on a life out in the work force where you are involved in teaching and learning then find yourself at home, in the quiet, there are many permutations for a response. I found myself doing too much to try to prove that I have something to offer but crashed and burned from frustration and non-productivity. Now I realize that it is FINE to stop for a period of time to reevaluate, redesign and reconstruct one’s focus and during the course of it, to do it with grace.


That is the comment I want to read today Anita. Bravo for all that you do and even what you consider the “not doing”. It’s so much more and gives so much pleasure to many… enjoy the time to reflect… it can disappear very quickly once you start creating again :)

Linda B

Once again, Vicki, you have written just what I am needing to hear. . . What a roller coaster this year has been, indeed! There has been nothing like this wild ride in our lifetimes. Sometimes I feel like I am finding a way to manage, other times it is too much to handle well.

“Home making” takes on a whole new meaning in this context. . . Lately my whole life has revolved around this actually. You may recall that my husband and I had the opportunity to sell our house and move to a condo. It has been quite a process but the good news is that we arrived in our new home three weeks ago and though we are not quite finished moving our belongings out of storage, things are moving along. The painters were finally finished yesterday, and now we really can get fully settled. I am happy to report that all the planning and purchases I achieved ahead of time have worked out beautifully. There will be more to accomplish (yes to new candles!) but after all the challenges this year has brought, I am so happy with this new home. I still appreciate the encouraging words that you wrote about this move, back in the laste spring!

Before I go now, I have to ask–from what you wrote it sounds like you yourself got Covid. Oh my! I am so glad if you did that you have recovered.


So glad you are entrenched in your new home… that is exciting and a lot of work but what a great way to expend energy by creating a new chapter. I’m so happy for you. :)
Yes, I did have Covid – but I am fortunate to be all better now. Thank you xx


Hello Vicki, so sad to hear you were infected with Covid but happy to read you are recovered. I have had one heck of a roller coaster ride during Covid. I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and spent the Autumn and Winter in chemo- bald, sick, and staying home. And just as it was hitting here in the US, I had a mastectomy. My husband could not come in with me and let me tell you, terror is sitting alone in ER prep, saying the rosary and wondering if there would be bad or good news when you wake up. I did get ‘good ‘ news, it has not spread. Radiation followed and now I am on an oral chemo pill that has some very “I want to just stay at home’ side effects. So we have been social distancing for over a year, and will continue until I am recovered enough to get the vaccine. This , I estimate will be in about 8 months. I visit on the front porch with neighbors, I chat on the computer with distant friends and family. I am starting to feel well enough to join my sister in a Squat Challenge. My goal is 50 a day, and I am up to 20. I am sad that my formerly flexible and strong pilates body has become a stiff pile of mashed potato. Happens awfully fast. Also starting to take an interest in trying to style my new curls (Thanks to the chemo) and putting on makeup again. I like to feel ‘normal’ so I do my face every day. Closet cleaning, clothing sorting, and lots of reading are on my schedule.


What a roller coaster Meg and how sorry I am you have been through all this and then some… as long as you are well now.. then that’s the prize. 50 squats… uugh.. that sounds like a challenge to me…you will regain your strength in the right time and be better than ever. Your schedule sounds very good to me. xx


Caught the Covid in February. Relatively easy ride especially given that I have an autoimmune. But by June, I started feeling run down. Rash appeared. So tired that I could barely get up to eat. Load of blood tests etc. Covid triggered my autoimmune to attack my bone marrow – similar to leukaemia but not the Big C. They are now working out how bad it is as to the treatments I will undergo but this will permanently affect the rest of my life. Protect those of your family and friends who have autoimmunes. Having said this, do I waste my previous time or keep fighting? It will be the latter. Enjoy every bit of life that you have and never take anything for granted.


I’m so sorry Alexandra to ear this… It was tough for me at the time and took a long time to disappear – I still have days where I don’t feel quite “right” – but nothing compared to the attack on your autoimmune. It is one to be avoided as we never know how it will show its ugly head. I know friends who have had mild symptoms and others more like me… Look after you and continue your fight… I know you will win. xx


beautiful empathic thoughts and words from soul to soul and thank you too for the tip
how to make candles burning longer. Stay well

Michelle à Détroit

My husband and I are still pretty much in isolation, except for absolute essentials such as vet or doctor’s visits. I am having a much easier time dealing with the fear of the virus than I am having with the ugly political climate here in the US. It feels a bit like I imagine the wild west must have felt back in the 1800’s. I cling to the belief that this too shall pass.


Our lives here are pretty isolated too – we do the basic things but pretty much stay home most of the time. I can imagine as time ticks towards the election the tension must feel very palpable. I am thinking of you. xx


Coming out of our lockdown in Melbourne Australia, as you know Vicki most states in Australia did well but Victoria didn’t do so good and a second wave came through. As we come out of our cocoons this week I find I am far more anxious than during the worst days we had (my husband works in the ED too) I don’t really understand why but berate myself for it and Tell myself to rejoice my young adult children can resume a reasonable normal life. Home was our cosy castle candles and all but I must be careful I don’t treat it like a cell I’m afraid to leave. I’m glad you came through relatively unscathed and hope the family stayed safe.


Australia has had a very different experience from much of the world and I feel for you Victorians – it’s been a very tough time.
I think it is actually harder out of lockdown than in. In, the choices were fewer and the days decided for us; we made the best of where we were and what we could do. Now we are in a half-hearted kind of restrictive world – we can go out but not really meet anyone unless they are from the same household. There are ways around but that’s when it is for us to decide how vigilant we want to be. London has not recovered and is a long way from it but it is a grand old city and will find a way of that I’m sure.

We are all fine – thank you, Ann-Maree. :)


Woman to woman, soul to soul , heart to heart. We are no different no matter what part of the planet we live. We must encourage each other to not grow weary, and not to feel alone. Thank you, Vicki ,for helping us escape a bit, which helps us all deal with reality of these times.


Exactly Suzanne and encouragement – none of us flourishes without and it means everything for all of us. Even if our connections are online I do believe they are meaningful and help in these extreme times.

Trish Murphy

Dear Vicki, So sorry to hear that you have had Covid . You made a big effort to keep us all engaged and cheery during this awful time for so many. I looked forward to your posts and lovely pictures of London and abroad.
I can honestly say that living in Sydney during Covid has been no hardship apart from not seeing my kids and beautiful Grandchildren for several weeks but FaceTime helped. Knowing that my family were all still working from home and had good jobs and positive made it easier. Keeping a very positive upbeat attitude was paramount when talking with my family. Sadly it hasn’t been easy for so many. Certainly a wonderful trip to Europe was cancelled but who wasn’t in this position. The most wonderful event we had to look foreword to was our daughter’s recent wedding which happily went ahead.
I really feel for so many families around the world who are now facing a long winter with lockdown looming or restrictions already in place. I also feel for the younger generation with so much uncertainty and worry ahead but Covid cannot last forever. It has been a time for all of us to reflect ponder and reevaluate our lives and purpose in our lives. We all fall into the trap of taking everything and everyone for granted and what a wake up call this has been. Take care Vicki and I hope that you fully recover soon. XxTrish


Hello Trish,
Sydney seems like it is a very happy place to see out the virus – apart from the separations and the inability to move anywhere else either interstate or overseas – I have missed my Aussie mates as there has never been such a distance of time where they have not been in Europe – Australians love to travel. I also find it hard I cannot come home when I want – a very strange feeling indeed. So many plans have been cancelled for all of us and so many disappointments for our younger generation but I believe in them and know they will do well despite the setbacks. As we will too – positive energy is everything. :)

Diane Ruebel

Good morning, Vicki, from Camano Island, WA. Your delightful posts always lift by spirits and I’m grateful that yours have rebounded after Covid. Creativity born of solitude is becoming my new way of life. My fifteen year old granddaughter inspires me with self taught design and construction of clothing from a variety of resources such as sheets, comforters and online fabric purchases. Her creations express an amazing originality born of joy. I’d love to encourage her with a Christmas book highlighting a woman clothing designer/s. Could you please send suggestions my way? Sending joy your way, Diney


Hello Diney,
What a fun project for both of you:)
Off the top of my head.. some female British designers, Italian and US…

Stella McCartney
Simone Rocha
Vivienne Westwood
Miuccia Prada
Maria Grazia Chiuri
Victoria Beckham
Claire Waight Kellar
Phoebe Philo
Vera Wang
Donna Karan

lea warren arabia

HI Vicki, from Virginia USA. Today we are getting the remnants of tropical storm Zeta. Rain, wind, everything that reinforces the desire to stay in! Thank you for your comforting words and inspiration…I’ve been reading a great deal which I adore; my daughter is in her first year of college and is fortunately living at home. Some classes online, some in (distanced) person. Husband working from home since March. I’ve been redoing several rooms in the house, tearing out interior design pictures from magazines, generally getting “some day” ideas. I confess I’m craving alone time though. Some one is always here! I’m not one for long baths soI can’t use that excuse to get away :)


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