On the 24th July 2020, the UK government introduced restrictive measures for shoppers where face masks were mandatory to prevent the spread of coronavirus – failure to comply with these new measures can lead to a £100 fine.
I, along with countless others, wasn’t sure why there was a delay in this becoming mandatory, but obliged as Aaron and I were itching to get out of the flat for the day – we hadn’t spent any time away from our flat since lockdown restrictions were introduced at the end of March, except for socially distanced catch ups with friends/family and walks around our estate, so getting back into our weekend routine of mooching around the shops, having a nice lunch and stroll was essential!
We decided to head over to Hitchin as it’s just a quick 10 minute drive away and a lovely place to spend the afternoon (it also has tonnes of secondhand/charity/vintage shops and I was itching to buy some kind of clothing – lockdown made me realise I barely wear any of the clothes I own anymore!)
First stop was to Boots to pick up a cleanser and perfume as I’d run out of both (well, I’ve still got a tiny bit of my Gabrielle by Chanel left but wanted to save it for a special occasion). Boots in Hitchin is quite a small store, so shopping socially distanced was a challenge at times (especially when you’re searching for the Benefit products and little old Mary decides to barge in front of you to join the queue).
The shop was fairly busy and well stocked – I was planning on picking up the No 7 clay cleanser that I got for my birthday, but thought I’d try my first ever product from Pixi (their Glow Mud Cleanser) as there was an offer on the whole range. You’re not able to test the perfumes anymore and the tester bottles have been locked away, so I had to make a decision based on the smells I could remember – Sweetheart by Ghost is a perfume I used to love when I was back at college and I saw there was a variation called Sweetheart Forever that I thought would do. We had to wait a while before we could get someone to grab it for me and as soon as I got a quick sniff of the sample bottle (navigating it under the mask was fun), we were at the checkout and on our way to the next shop.
Next up we headed to our favourite little vintage store and had a mooch around at all of the random items (Aaron was laughing at a set of old fishing rods whilst I was flipping through all of the secondhand clothes). I managed to pick up an old Ralph Lauren sweatshirt (I know, me and secondhand Ralph Lauren has become a thing and I’m not sure why or how I manage to find all of this stuff) and an absolutely gorgeous paisley/floral print dress from Topshop that was about three sizes too big, but I decided it would look great with a belt to cinch it in at the waist. The shop set up had been changed and a one way system introduced with hand sanitiser as you walk in the door (mandatory masks of course), but there weren’t as many people as usual, so I didn’t notice people sticking to this new one way system set up (although that doesn’t mean that they weren’t).
After this we decided to head on over for our first meal out together since the restaurants reopened (I’d already been out for a couple of meals whilst out on site visits for work, so this wasn’t really new to me). There’s a Cinnabar in Hitchin so we thought we’d go for burgers, which weren’t all that great if I’m honest, but the whole experience largely felt the same, if you didn’t take into account the large plastic dividers between each table and the fact they would only give little sachets of sauce instead of leaving a bottle on the table.
Finally we went over to Scope and I managed to pick up loads of bits which I haven’t been able to picture, but I picked up a pair of trousers and three dresses – one of the dresses turned out to look shit when I tried it on at home which was a shame, but alas! This is what happens when you’re impatient like me and don’t try things on! To be honest this store is so small, it would be difficult to introduce a one way system around the store, but there was a plastic divider in front of the till and 2m stickers on the floor for shoppers to make sure they were keeping well distanced.
Overall, I was extremely happy with my haul and have been wearing pretty much everything I got since we went out.
Although part of me is glad life is slowly starting to go back to normal, I’m also worried for what that might mean later down the line as many people disregard the safety precautions, but nobody can say for sure what life is going to be like!
Have you ventured out since some of the restrictions were lifted and have you managed to pick up anything good? Let me know in the comments below.