If you're currently self-quarantining at home, you'll know that the days can be long and the number of tabs open on your laptop at any given moment basically infinite. We’re asking our PF pals how they’re staying happy, healthy and informed during their time of isolation. This week, we chat with Amsterdam-based sweetheart and freelance stylist Lotte Wierenga about the life-affirming magic of sending postcards to your friends and the elderly during isolation.
Maddy Woon: Can you give us the Lotte elevator pitch?
Lotte Wierenga: My name is Lotte, I’m a 23-year-old Dutchie who spends her days gathering and collecting, and working as a freelance stylist.
When do you feel most alive?
I feel most alive when I feel like I’m creating something that brings joy, for both me and anyone who likes to see.
What have you discovered about yourself in the current absence of physical socialisation?
I’ve discovered that I value physical touch much more than I thought. In all of this, I really miss being able to give my friends a hug and a kiss when I see them!
Par Femme is all about pleasure, sensuality and empowerment. How has your relationship with these things changed over time? Why do you think these things have been taboo subjects, for women especially?
I think I'm one of the lucky ones, who grew up in a very open environment. No subject was really taboo — which was unfortunate for my younger brother, who was always sitting at the kitchen table across from me having to listen to these things. But I feel like nowadays, with so many magazines and websites discussing these subjects (hello Par Femme!), it’s helping to break down taboos and create open and safe environments for everyone.
What is the coolest thing you’ve learned recently?
I’m aiming to do a project a day, but the coolest thing i’ve learned recently is how to dry flowers! I know this is probably one of the oldest tricks in the book, but this is how I did it:
Now, the least fun part of this drying-flowers-project is the waiting game. My friend Google says it’s best to leave the flowers untouched for at least three weeks. It will be like opening a birthday present when you finally see the result and it gives you plenty of time to think about what you will do with the dried flowers, which means... another project! Yes!
What are some creative ways to stay connected during isolation?
I highly recommend sending postcards! I’ve joined the #postcardclub run by the super creative and lovely Maaike Riemens. She started the club to send postcards to the elderly in aged care homes, since they are the ones who could do with a nice postcards to brighten up their day! And since receiving a postcard is nice at any age, I’ve been sending my friends postcards as well. We’ve vowed that we will all continue sending postcards to the elderly and our friends, even when we are no longer in isolation.
Are you using this time to catch up on any to-do list items that you’ve neglected, both fun and admin-based?
There has been one thing on my to-do list for weeks now, and that is sending content to my lovely website lady so that she can update my site for me. It’s embarrassing how I’ve been dreading such a small task, I just have to get the ingredients and someone else will make the cookies for me! But my desktop is what hell would look like for OCD people, and I just know that I have to go down the rabbit hole to find the content I need. Any tips on how to keep your files organised?
How are you staying happy and sane during self-isolation?
Keeping myself busy does the trick for me. In what is now 19 days of self-isolation I haven’t been bored once. Every day I make at least one drawing and work on a project, like drying flowers, sewing a bag out of old fabrics, painting an old chair, or just putting my thoughts down in my sketchbook filled with pictures and other things. It has really helped me not lose my mind.
What are some simple ways to show kindness during these times?
I think kindness in these times is following the rules. We are all in this together, so we should be kind and respectful to both ourselves and others. And all play our part.
Can you recall something you’ve read that’s completely changed your perspective on the world, or on a particular subject?
“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” ― Bill Watterson.
What has the average day looked like for you this past week? Do you stick to a routine?
I am trying to stick to some sort routine — so far i’ve been slacking in time management BUT my aim is for each day to look like this: 8am: wake up, shower, drink a grapefruit juice, start one of my 100 projects I want to work on, lunch, play a game of UNO or Rummikub (the best board game, IMHO), work on another project, draw and post the drawing on my Instagram, go for a walk, another game, draw some more, dinner, then stop working on projects and do “nothing”. But in reality, I don’t wake up at 8am. Ever. I do a lot of projects, but all at the same time and therefore I don’t finish any of them. And then when I go to bed at night I often realise I’ve forgotten to shower.
How are you keeping your body and mind active during self-isolation?
My mind is overly active. Shamefully, my daily walk is my only exercise of the day.
Best documentaries/movies/books to read during isolation?
There’s this kids book by Maya Angelou with drawings of Jean-Michel Basquiat called Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. It’s truly beautiful for both kids and adults, and for me it has been very helpful in moments where I feel sad about what is happening in the world. I recommend listening to this performance by Maya Angelou also:
What are you looking forward to doing most when things go back to normal?
I am very much looking forward to going to the movies and eating popcorn at 10am, just because I can.