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  • Writer's pictureSue Gascoyne

Hide-away Heaven in Lockdown

It’s Easter and for the lucky ones, a weekend off work. Often a key date in the diary for holidays, seeing family or daytrips to the beach, for most of us this Bank Holiday’s lockdown rules out such traditions as we do our bit to maintain social distances and contain Covid-19. With lockdown for many meaning acres of time spent living on top of others in the family or household, opportunities for creating personal space will become increasingly important this weekend and, in the weeks, to come.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then here are some ideas for creating magical outdoors rooms for family members to retreat to. The aim is not to have to go out and buy anything to slavishly follow these ideas, but rather to take inspiration from them, much as I have from Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks’ fab The Den Book (2016).

You may already have an underused shed or treehouse, a space between a hedge and fence or simply an area next to a fence or wall that can be transformed with the addition of a draped sheet or blanket. Alternatively, now’s a good time to dust off the cobwebs (or worse) from an old tent or repurpose a sunshade. Even one or two umbrellas and a sheet can make a charming hide-away for little ones. Of course it doesn't have to be a covered den as such, an outdoors play kitchen like this would be great.

If going outdoors isn’t an option, then consider whether an understairs area or cupboard space can be transformed with some cosy cushions and a light? You could even create a temporary space behind the sofa or beneath a table. It doesn’t have to be large scale, elaborate or realistic, as some cushions, pillows or blankets and a cover to minimise light and overlooking, will add excitement to a stash of books, toys or a picnic.

As well as providing somewhere to escape to during lockdown, creating a den gives opportunities to nature watch, (or if indoors, family watch) David Attenborough style; a fun or exciting hideaway with senses heightened and heaps of memory making potential; an important sense of safety and containment; and a place for quiet contemplation and mindfulness. You could even share_my_den with the world!

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