An isolation diary by Jess Blanch: a close contact of Coronavirus

Hello from isolation. If I continue to show no symptoms of Coronavirus then today will be my last day and I can go back to social distancing responsibly.

A couple of weeks ago I sat on an aeroplane within two rows of a person (unknown to me) who tested positive. Following a call from NSW Health, I’ve been living as a known close contact to Coronavirus. It’s one of those things that sounds fine until it happens to you, after all aren’t we all isolating anyway? But this is a new world order. Add children and a husband who considers ‘down time’ covers those hours he is actually asleep and I have to admit there are some deeply dark hours.

While I still don’t know who Kitty O’Meara is, (although she is obviously someone now that a Kardashian has shared her post) my isolation has looked a little different to hers. Always a romantic, I’m all about reading, writing poetry, listening and creating…But this truly hasn’t been a time to stop. It has been a time of crisis with a business in flux and a family to look after, I haven’t had time to watch a film. But there are some, small daily rituals keeping me sane. These may be of comfort to you if you are in a similar position to me.

On rising

Coffee, of course but then after I’ve been actually consuming the edible beauty that usually decorates my pantry. Normally dashing in and out of my home too quickly to use them, I’m now able to add to my morning smoothie. Try Vida Glow and James Wellness, on a spoon when I am passing the fridge because I love the sweet coconut taste. I’ve also started taking Activate Probiotics Biome Lift for mood balance and sleep quality.

Before 8

Don’t panic, it's organic. This is the best time to do any online shopping and I am trying to support the small suppliers to balance out the panic-buying pasta at Woolworths that seems to be happening. I do an early morning order from Door Step Organics who are still able to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to the door every few days. Also Biome, which is zero waste and toxin free supplies for the home. I also use Star Anise Organic for bone broth and soups although orders are now on a two-week wait.


While the lines between family and work are blurred at the best of times, now is really the time to compartmentalise. I take my lunch break on my lawn lying out in the sun and trying to get as much vitamin D as possible. This, in some small way makes up for the fact that I’m not actually able to leave my house.

Three o’clock slump

I’m finding I’m fairly mentally tired by this time, so I take a break for some music therapy. During sad times I fall into a habit of listening to Scott Walker, Bill Callahan and Silver Jews, but I am trying to supplement my playlist with some more upbeat ironic rap which always puts me in a good mood. Like It was a good day by Ice Cube and anything by The Digital Underground, especially Kiss you Back and I’m Housin by EPMD. Nothing like a rap dance with my daughter when she gets home from school to keep the mood light. There’s also the playlist I made for a friends recent charity event – Songs about food and beverages – which seems appropriate now. This leads me to the next one…


I recently read something online about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda quarantined in the South of France during the 1920 Spanish Influenza outbreak. Fitzgerald, when told to stock up on necessities, wrote he’d acquired “red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin and lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us". A look inside my cabinet and let me tell you, I am prepared for this moment. In fact, I’ve seemed to be collecting 1.5-litre bottles of wine, these are perfect for a pandemic. Consumption is less trackable and we don't have to feel guilty about finishing a whole bottle of wine. It's hard to finish one of these, it has 13 standard drinks in it.

Shop small from Not Wasted where you can shop by your mood. Mine is ‘safe’, this is quarantine after all. Delivery is also now available from my local restaurant 10 William. Just call their number.

Before bed

I still don’t have a beauty routine but because I have aged about twenty two years in the last couple of weeks. But I am making some small steps. Finally I’ve opened this Dr Dennis Gross light mask I got about about six months ago. The most joy from my beauty cabinet is coming from the least expected. Have you tried toothpaste tablets? Crush & Brush mint charcoal tablets are made from food grade ingredients, fizz in your mouth and then you brush. I brought them for traveling because the little glass jar seemed quaint, but now I’m using them because they are fun.

A couple of weeks ago Neada Deters from Lesse dropped by with her new refining cleanser which smells like apricots and lathers so nicely. These products are free from all the bad things, comforting at times like this.

And a final note on attire

While some people advocate dressing for work to get in the right frame of mind, I’m an advocate for putting in just the right amount of effort required. And this is pretty much the first time in my life I haven’t been able go anywhere. For me this means I’m able to wear Qantas pyjamas for most of the day. I have more than four pairs and I rotate. For a special dinner last night I wore the ‘vintage’ pair designed by Peter Morrisey. Confinement chic, probably not.