And then there is the good old L-word.  Lockdown. A precious opportunity to binge-watch our IQ's into single-figures, ditch the daily hose-down, and justify a midday cocktail because, well, it's Somethingday and it makes the allocated exercise hour that much spicier. (Just me?)


Hayley (right) in her jungly happy place before social distancing was a thing

But through the misty haze of house arrest arose *some* positives. And we thought it might be nice to share some of our staff's lockdown stories and reccos. After all, 2020 has not been a total write off. Yet...

First up, our Head of Yoga and all things Vibes - Hayley Kably.

Hey Hayley, how are you?

Hey Soul and Surf Journal, I'm kind of picturing this as an old MSN style chat where your mate writes "hey how r u?"  the very second you get home from school and log on to MSN, even though you've been together all day and they know exactly how you are, but you still answer anyway... lol!

That's what life feels like to me at the moment – one long and repetitive MSN chat! We're all feeling exactly the same as each other, having pretty much had the same experience (not ignoring the many that are suffering far more than I,) so even our most polite greetings have kind of lost their charm, don't you think?! IN SHORT- I AM FINE. Hahah

Where have you been for lockdown and how has it been for you?

I have been incredibly lucky enough to be in Sri Lanka with my husband and a handful of really good pals. Sri Lanka, in my opinion, dealt with lockdown very, very well.

For the first two months of 'lockdown life,' we were only allowed out once a week for essentials like food, water and gas canister refills for the stove, and if you ran out of any of that in between then....well, tough. But you know, back then lockdown was a novelty, everything was exciting – even getting up at 5:30am to go and stand in the supermarket queue was the new 'Friday night out-out.'

In those first two months the entire island did not have a drop of alcohol (unless maybe there was a black market– but I couldn't possibly admit to knowing about anything like that!) Whilst the reasoning behind the enforced alcohol drought was a very valid one (it's incredibly difficult to maintain social distancing whilst standing outside bottle shops over here,) the outcome for most of us expats was a pretty sweet detox.

That, coupled with the abundance of amazing yoga, fitness, and creative content that was suddenly available online, it completely masked the devastating effects of the pandemic-for a while.

After that, life found a new rhythm – we baked bread, did 'PE With Joe', enjoyed House Party and then left House Party – never to be seen or heard of again – and then finally moved into the house of Zoom. Permanently. Whilst wondering how Skype could have ever missed their ONE MOMENT to shine.

(that's not my joke, I stole it from Hasan Minaj) 

Because of that strict curfew and border control, some semblance of normal has returned to us in Sri Lanka. Restaurants have opened, we've begun meeting up with wider circles of friends, and Raff and I even took a little trip into the hills.

The only huge ongoing loss for us is that Soul & Surf real life is not open for business, and that is perhaps the hardest bit, not meeting, teaching and hosting our amazing guests everyday.


Pause - Our At Home yoga retreats

What have you been doing to keep sane?

I mentioned a few above already, but a half-finished psychology course, a short stint in drawing, some questionable oil paintings, one week of writing my 'coronavirus diaries' and lastly an intense passion for cooking the most elaborate Indian food.

How do you feel about the world slowly returning to something resembling normal?

I am equally ready and not ready. I wish dearly to see my family in the UK as this is the longest I've been away from them, but I respect the huge amount of research out there that suggests we need to take the journey back to real life slowly and carefully.

How have you handled the huge changes forced upon us all? If you've embraced it, and leaned it into it, tell us how?

My biggest thing was to not get too caught up in trying to be positive everyday. Some days I've felt pretty horrid and others bloomin' great.

On the days that I've felt the weight of the pandemic, and not been too bright and breezy, I stayed horizontal and watched my favourite shows – like Schitt's Creek (of which, I am not ashamed to admit, I watched the entirety, all six seasons, in 10 days.)

Others I've worked from 8am-1:30pm on Soul & Surf's 'Pause' weekends. I try to just take myself as I come, daily, without too much judgement.

Tell us about your Pranayama community service.

I felt a strong urge to reach out to those who were struggling and let them know that there was something they could do, that was free, that didn't need to have video on, and they needn't even get off the couch or out of bed.

Learning to breathe (properly) is part of a hugely underrated yoga practice called Pranayama, and we've been teaching it at Soul & Surf as a standalone class since day one. We see and understand the benefit of mindful breathing - it even weaves into surfing . So that's what my community service was – breathing, every Monday lunchtime.

Tell us about your podcast round-up (@poddyalert)

Gosh, you've just reminded me i need to get back to that. Poddy Alert is an instagram page born out of my obsession with podcasts. Raff and I worked out that some days I have headphones on listening to podcasts longer than I don't. Basically it's a round up of all my faves.

Any recommendations for us?

My incredibly talented husband recorded a mix back in May, which was a kind of homage to Andrew Weatherall.  (Listen here)

Oscar #Worldpeace is a big current fave of mine – and Loyle Carner, Syd, Little Simz, and Son Little are always on my daily playlists.

My favourite Spotify playlist currently is one called 'Choons with Monku' (you're welcome.)