Rowena is the always-cheery owner and operator of the Jo Malone London and M.A.C stores located in Britomart’s Atrium on Takutai.
Hi Ro. Where are you on lockdown and who are you with?
I am in my lovely villa in Herne Bay – but sadly am on my own.
How are you doing? Do you need any help from the outside world?
So far so good but we’ve only just begun. I don’t need any help, but if I do, my daughter and her family only live around the corner from me and my neighbours have already contacted me to make sure I’m okay and offered to buy me shopping when they go to the supermarket. The upside to this virus is that it is bringing communities together. I’ve just met two lots of neighbours in my street just from chatting across the road!
Are you still working, and if so, how?
Well, working a little bit, but now that my stores are closed, there is not a lot I will be able to do, except rest up and be ready for the onslaught when we eventually reopen.
What will this situation mean for your business, and is there any way the community can support it when a little more normalcy returns?
Hopefully we will get some government support as I have two other stores outside of Britomart. That’s four rents to pay next week, with no sales coming in.
What are the main things you’re doing to stay occupied/positive?
It’s early days, but I am definitely going to spend time gardening, and it is a treat to have so much time to be able to do this, instead of trying to squash it in on the weekends! I have a stack of books to read, and I want to sort out lots of things, including my wardrobe. I think the charity shops can expect a bonanza of donations when we come through this.
What are you finding to be the biggest challenge and how are you handling it?
No big challenge yet, but I know that I will find it difficult not being with other people, especially my family, and I will miss hugs from my granddaughters who live around the corner. I am a sociable person and love interacting with friends and family. Thank goodness for Facetime – especially as I have a son, wife and two granddaughters in Singapore and a son, wife and grandson in the UK – all of whom are in the same position, on lockdown like us.
Do you have a project or lifestyle change that you’re planning to get underway in this time?
No lifestyle change, but the upside is all this extra time to relax and be in touch, either by social media or emails, with all my friends around the world whom I’m always promising to send photos and news to but never get around to it! I love reading and listening to music so I’m hoping to relax a lot more than I have in the last few years! I have a rowing machine at home so can use that daily and also go for long walks. It’s very pretty around here and lovely to be near the sea and parks.
What’s your favourite home beauty treatment or habit you’ll be keeping up in isolation?
Well, I will definitely be having a few sleep-ins and pampering myself a little more! Obviously with having makeup and beauty stores I have always been mindful of looking after my skin, but now I will have extra time for the face masks. I’m slightly concerned that my hairdresser and nail bar are closed – I saw a cartoon the other day saying “We’ll all know everyone’s real hair colour in four weeks!”
What are you most looking forward to doing/going once we are out of lockdown?
Being with people! It’s my birthday this Sunday, so it’s going to be a very quiet one!
A series or film to watch The Crown on Netflix – the best series I have watched in years. I’m English and I remember a lot of the events, especially around Winston Churchill’s time and Princess Margaret’s scandalous lifestyle. It’s a fantastic history lesson.
An album to put on repeat You can’t go past any of Adele’s three albums!
A book to read I love British author Peter James’ Roy Grace Crime Series
An account to follow I love Britomart’s Nine Blocks and Food newsletters. Always interesting and fun to know what is happening around us in the precinct. I don’t do Instagram or Snapchat.
A site to visit Vogue UK – always very glamorous and up to date with fashion/beauty/lifestyle and people.