We’ve been busy here at Future Planning. While working remotely, and in line with government guidelines, we have built a new website, conducted video interviews with our clients, and continued to provide the great service you rightly expect from us.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we are delighted to let you know that the office has reopened. The safety of our staff is paramount, and social distancing is being observed and the space has been made Covid-secure.
It’s been great catching up with our colleagues and we look forward to welcoming you for a face-to-face visit in the future.
Returning to work also gave us time to reflect on our lockdown experiences and we’d like to share some of those with you.
Our favourite films, TV shows, and books of lockdown
Managing Director, Sanjay, and Head of Strategy, Ana, both recommend Ozark.
The American Netflix series starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney sees a financial planner head to a Chicago resort community after incurring the wrath of Mexican drug lords during a botched money laundering operation.
The show has just returned to Netflix for a fourth and final season so if you’re looking for a new show to binge-watch, look no further.
Elsewhere in the team, Financial Planner Anil spent his screen-time catching up on Game of Thrones. He also recommends 12 Years a Slave and The Pianist, and the documentaries The Last Dance and How the Universe Works.
The Future Planning team found time to offer their lockdown reading recommendations too.
From self-help (The Power of Now) and autobiography (Mud, Sweat, and Tears: Bear Grylls) to exam textbooks (Level 6 Pension Transfers), it’s a varied list.
Senior Administrator, Cejay, recommends the international bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Based on the true story of Holocaust-survivor Lale Sokolov, the book has recently been followed by a bestselling sequel, Cilka’s Journey.
What we missed during lockdown… and what we couldn’t wait to do
We’re an active bunch here at Future Planning and Anil and Cejay found it particularly hard to spend so long away from the gym.
But we’ve also been waiting, like much of the country, for the reopening of barbers and hair salons.
Sanjay is looking forward to a haircut and beard trim, while Mortgage Advisor Sian, and Business Administrator Hannah, can’t wait to get their hair and nails done.
As a team, we’re also looking forward to catching up with our loved ones again and a few of us have holidays to plan. Cejay is hoping to travel to Italy later in the year.
The odd jobs we found time for
Whether gardening, interior decorating or catching up on paperwork, we all found time to complete those jobs around the house that we’d previously been putting off.
Anil spent his spare lockdown hours painting, gardening, and filing paperwork. Sian also spent time in the garden, planting new flowers, and painting her fence and chiminea.
Sanjay and Ana took ‘odd jobs’ to a different level. In the middle of a house move and property renovation, Ana has been Project Managing the build while lockdown has also allowed Sanjay to spend more time on site.
Star Bakers and Kitchen Nightmares
When lockdown was imposed on March 23, the whole nation retreated to the kitchen.
The BBC’s Good Food site received 7.8 million page views in one day (beating Christmas, Easter, and Pancake Day) and the number of people watching the video ‘How to make bread’ rose nearly 700%.
There was also a change of approach for many TV chefs – from home recording their own shows to foregoing exotic ingredients for back-of-the-cupboard staples.
The Future Planning team was no exception.
Ana rustled up some homemade butter Viennese cookies and was very happy with the results: “I think I smashed it with them!!” she says.
Ana’s pancakes, on the other hand, were a mixed bag: “If I get it good, I get it really good. But if they’re bad, they’re REALLY bad!”
Sanjay’s culinary highlight was vegan Chinese duck, using jackfruit, while Sian’s was Chinese-style noodles and a Surf ‘n Turf using fresh-caught lobster.
Cejay and Hannah both raided the back of their cupboards and found the ingredients for Pasta Bakes, Cejay adding a final flourish of crushed Doritos!
While Hannah went from strength to strength, baking a batch of Kinder Bueno brownies, Cejay’s success was short-lived: “I almost set the kitchen on fire grilling sausages.”
Keeping in touch
At the height of lockdown, with households largely confined indoors and family members self-isolating or shielding, the country turned to technology.
Keeping in touch with family and friends ‘virtually’ became the new norm.
Whether via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp, the Future Planning team kept in touch with loved ones, engaging in family quizzes and night’s out from the comfort of their sofas.
We took up new hobbies too
With the gym off-limits, we’ve all had to find new ways to keep fit.
Anil and Sian have been jogging regularly and Hannah has been cycling. Sanjay, putting us to shame, has been doing a bit of both, while also using the home workout app Auro.
Elsewhere, Ana was determined to master gardening and Cejay has been tie-dying and customising her own clothing.
Looking for positives at a difficult time
The coronavirus lockdown has been a trying time for everyone, and a tragic time for many.
For the Future Planning team, it has been a time to reflect on the things that matter most to us and this reflection has led to some unexpected positive consequences.
Sian says: “It’s re-enforced my belief that materialistic things mean nothing to me, but family and friends mean everything.”
Cejay too has missed her friends a lot but enjoyed “being able to spend more time with my family, partner, and dogs!” Anil, too, has been spending more time with his dog and appreciating the simple things in life.
Sanjay and Ana have been busy with their house renovation project but Sanjay also found time to work on Future Planning, ensuring that all of the team were there for each other, and you, during a really difficult time and making the office safe for our welcomed return.