Life in Lockdown - Lucy Cleland, Editor at Country & Townhouse Magazine

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Life in lockdown


Each day we speak to a journalist about their new normal.


Today we hear from Lucy Cleland, Editor at Country & Townhouse Magazine.


What are you working on right now?
It changes every day. Contingency planning for our print issues – we’ve decided to publish our May issue a little bit later – and all the copy needs sense checking for the current Covid 19 situation. Luckily, the issue is perfectly pitched as it’s all about nature and trees. We have sustainability spokeswoman and all round super star and model, Arizona Muse, on the cover and I spoke to her at length on Saturday. The interview is going to be really inspiring about how we all live our lives. We managed to get the cover shoot in before the world turned upside down so it’s going to be a lovely issue.


What’s your new morning routine?
I get up earlier than ever to deal with teacher emails for my two children (six and nine) – I have to process that information and put it into a timetable per child dividing learning up into 20 minutes bursts, followed by a 10 minute break. Thankfully I have an au pair for five hours a day, so I do three teaching sections from 9-1030 and then she takes over. I have my father in law to start teaching my nine year old Latin on Zoom. It’s wonderful. I also do a fridge and larder check and add anything to a list – we will go to the shops once a week max so I keep a running list. At 8am, I do a 20 minute run – luckily I’m in the New Forest so have the space and ability to do this from the house. I do a daily “mile” run round the garden with the kids at 9am before we sit down for lessons.


Have you got dressed today?
Jumpers, sweats, gym gear, hair up – that’s it.


How has your working week changed since Covid-19 hit?
Unbelievably. We shut the office, we have to make sure all our staff are ok and have what they need. We’re on constant Zoom conference calls – it’s so nice to see faces but they are time consuming. I feel I’m busier than ever.


What are the current plans for filling your pages?
We are waiting to see – I’ve billed our summer issue as The Summer of Love – we won’t print a regular monthly at the moment but might publish one or two special issues. Once things calm, we are back in full swing and have huge plans and campaigns for the autumn. We are inevitably focussing a lot of our time and energy on online.


What does a work lunch look like these days?
Good! I make sure I stop as I have to prepare something for my husband, children and au pair. Last week we had tuna niçoise, sausages and veggies and pizza! Any thoughts of eating super healthily have disappeared and gin makes quite an early appearance in the evening.


What’s the biggest challenge for your desk/publication right now?
Advertising. Everyone’s worried and watching budgets unsurprisingly. We still want to support all our wonderful clients and brands however we can so are keeping in close contact with them.


Has anything positive come out of this?
Absolutely. Country & Town House feels like a tight-knit family. We are there for each other. We will (eventually) have time to reflect, improve and deliver an even better product. More importantly, I hope the world changes and we stop this freneticism – I think we should all slow down. Also, I’m hoping nature has a field day. Hedgehogs and toads can cross roads, bees can pollinate flowers, things can take their course without us interfering too much. Oh, and that we travel far more mindfully. Look how our emissions have fallen already and rivers running clear. Wonderful. I’m proud of how most people are behaving in these challenging times. Neighbours reaching out for one another. It’s all remarkable really.


What’s your top tip for PRs right now?
Pitch sensitively. Don’t panic. There’s a content overload and I don’t believe there is much time for digestion at the moment as everyone is trying to adapt to working remotely, putting in strategies – give yourself and your clients time to think things through. Don’t react – deliver what you do brilliantly and don’t make everything about Corona but be sensitive to it.


What’s your comeback plan?
A massive party!


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