Furlough diaries

From voluntary work to homeschooling, the finessing of baking skills to scrubs bags stitchin’, the team at mark-making* have been navigating life in lockdown in a multitude of ways. Over a spot of Humpday Tea, Account Manager Fran caught up with mark-makers Emily, Amber and Anna to find out how they’ve been keeping busy and making their mark while on Furlough…

Creativity for a good cause 

A temporary break from the studio hasn’t stopped designer Emily from turning her hand to creative challenges throughout the lockdown period. Alongside the odd upcycling project or refining her baking skills, Emily has volunteered a (very skilled) lending hand to local projects that are in need of a creative touch. 

First up was a fantastic initiative inspired by @little_lantern to supply local NHS key workers with scrubs bags to house used uniforms post-shift; an important measure in preventing contamination while in transit. Collaborating as part of a virtual dynamic duo, Emily designed uplifting, mood-lightening illustrations that were transferred onto materials, hand sewn into drawstring bags and posted to NHS teams across the country. Want to support the initiative? Get started by downloading templates here, and get stitchin’ for your local Trust!

With her first task complete, Emily has since been supporting an independent business on a pro-bono basis, by developing a brand identity for wellbeing festival, ‘Love Dot’ that is in the early stages of development. To keep up-to-date with the outcome, as well as for creative lockdown inspo, you can follow Emily’s very own furlough diaries at on Instagram.

A helping hand for the community

When the NHS called for volunteers to support vulnerable members of the public back in March, Business Development Director Amber was amongst the 750,000 individuals across the UK who rallied to support their local communities. 

Now enrolled onto the NHS volunteer app, Amber is able to receive job alerts that can range from transporting medical equipment for the NHS to delivering prescriptions to people isolating at home. To date, it has been the latter that Amber has supported with; but the role extends further than just dropping a bag on the doorstep.

Each time I deliver I have to show my ID on the NHS app from a safe distance. I’m also encouraged to have a chat with the patients, find out how they are doing, and report back if they aren’t coping or need more support.

Amber, Business Development Director

While she waits for further job alerts, Amber has been making the most of the temporary ‘new normal’; from utilising the free time to attack those ‘obligatory, sorting-the-house’ jobs, to taking a slower, more mindful approach to the days through exercise, reading and connecting with family and friends (through a virtual, socially-acceptable distance, of course!).

Back to school

Lockdown life hasn’t meant a slower pace for Office Manager Anna, who is temporarily trading mm*om duties for daily homeschool teaching with kids Jenson (year 7), Tilly (year 6) and Seb (year 4). Add in to the mix additional roles of caretaker, dinner lady and counsellor, the odd 5pm G&T is definitely a deserving one! 

With homeschooling comes the challenge of adapting to different teaching methods and expectations from schools across the year groups. Whereas Jenson’s daily tasks (managed through a fantastic app called Show My Homework) are deemed compulsory, Tilly and Seb are given the flexibility to complete as much or as little as they the family (with the good grace of their teachers) think necessary from their schedule. 

Amongst finding the balance and ensuring that core subject study is maintained, there have been the rare few days where Anna and the family have done very little; with the exception of making copious amounts of rainbows using plant matter, cake, paint, toy cars and anything else available to hand. Spending time with family, enjoying a new-found appreciation for the beauty of nature (and getting the odd Zumba class in!) have all been blessings, and ones that are all being revelled in whilst lockdown continues.

With all that is bad with our world at the moment, what is prevailing is the kindness of most people. I just hope that people hang on to the positives that this frightening time has afforded us. This time is likely something that my children will describe to their grandchildren – that’s pretty special. Having said all that and with everything that I’m grateful for (health, FaceTime, Zoom, gin etc), I’ve realised that I’m still no good at maths!

Anna, Office Manager aka mm*om

About markmaking*

mark-making* is an award-winning creative agency specialising in branding, campaigns and communications