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How we’re getting through lockdown


Lockdown has been tough for many people, with our usual routines being interrupted and many not being able to enjoy their favourite pastimes. This has also had an impact on the productivity of working from home, as the balance between working hard and relaxing has been difficult to navigate. With lockdown easing but still not quite ending, we thought now was a good time to share how we at Ameo have been spending our downtime these past 12 weeks to ensure we look after ourselves as much as possible. This week we spoke to Matt, Yasmin, Jo and Ash about their recommendations for things they’ve been able to enjoy despite the restrictions.



Matt Thorogood – Consultant

Matt Thorogood - Consultant

Matt is the latest consultant to join our team. And, in that short time, he’s already helped deliver effective change at some of the UK’s largest and most complex local councils. Matt has thoroughly impressed, not just with his on-site delivery skills, but also with his knowledge and passion for sustainability and the environment. He has used the down-time to hone in some long-lost sporting skills, and indulge in new shows on Netflix and, quite frankly, put us all to shame with the sheer amount of extra-curricular activities he has started doing!

How I’ve spent my time:-

  • Glitch on Netflix – a unique Australian programme where residents of a town who have been long dead begin coming back to life in perfect health. Season 1 was absolutely amazing. And season 3 rivals Game of Thrones for the most dramatic ending to a series.
  • I’ve not played cricket for years, but my local club has nets you can practice in. Bowling in an empty net with no batsman has been strangely therapeutic.
  • I’ve finally gotten around to reading some of the books I have bought myself over the past few years, and I’ve particularly enjoyed This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein which succinctly links the climate crisis and political economy.
  • Some friends and I grouped together to by a pallet of beer from the Nethergate brewery, so I’ve really enjoyed having a couple of craft lagers at the weekend.
  • I’ve also started doing some learning around economics and finance and I’ve downloaded Duolingo
  • Finally, I’ve borrowed my brother’s guitar to start learning (but I’m yet to pick it up).


Yasmin Hughes – Administrator / All-round superstar

Yasmin HughesWe could write a blog solely on the amount of work Yasmin does behind the scenes to support everything we do at Ameo, especially the expertise she provides on our CRM and reporting. Yasmin has found time to try a new form of exercise and furthered her already busy reading schedule with a new installment from a well-known series.

How I’ve spent my time:-

  • I’ve been doing the PE with Joe Wicks every day since lockdown. I normally only do yoga routines as my daily exercise, but I found the Joe Wicks workouts have given me so much more energy while I’ve been working from home
  • I’ve also been re-reading the series A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones novels), along with many other books. I’m an avid reader anyway, but I have found more time to read recently.


Jo Bargiacchi – Office Manager

Jo is another vital cog behind the scenes here at Ameo. She is the first voice you hear when you ring our office and she goes above and beyond to make sure our team are fully supported to get the job done. She has spent her quarantine binge-watching new programmes online and delving into new types of books.

How I’ve spent my time:-

  • I’ve moved away from watching films and the usual BBC dramas, and instead have become a massive binge-watcher. I’m completely hooked on “This Is Us”.  It’s an American family drama series, with has some of the usual clichés and sentimentality, but there’s a really good storyline behind it, and the script is so good. I laugh and cry all the way through, so it ticks all of my boxes!  In each episode you see the personalities of the main characters evolve and travel in a direction you often don’t expect – so where at first you might have had a favourite character, as the series progresses, it challenges you to feel differently about them.  It’s a story of a close-knit family, who, at the same time, are very disjointed, which is pretty normal isn’t it?  I’m on the second series now, heading for the third. It’s strange that I can watch 3 or 4 hour-long episodes in one sitting, but I don’t seem to have the attention span to watch a 2-hour film!
  • I’ve just re-read an old favourite I keep on my Kindle – The Afterlife of Walter Augustus.  It’s such a good easy read, endearing, very funny and heart-warming and a bit tear-jerking in parts too, so another one that ticks all my boxes!  The story is of Walter, who died over a century ago, who is stuck in limbo in the after-life. He’s really mad about it, trying as hard as he can to be forgotten so that he can “pass over to the other side” and be at peace. With the help of a few other “ghosts”, he manages to contact a woman in the land of the living but who has her own problems, yet they somehow manage to help each other move on. For me, this is one of those books I can’t put down once I’ve started and makes a change from the usual crime/thriller type books I usually read.


Ash Corbett-Collins – Bids & Proposals Manager

Ash Corbett-CollinsAsh is another one of our (relatively) new starters here at Ameo. He is our point of contact for bids, proposals, marketing, and social media; and I think we can all safely say he brings with him a dry-humoured, and often cynical view on a lot of our non-work related conversations.

An avid beer-enthusiast and Arsenal fan, Ash is also a volunteer director of the Campaign for Real Ale, heading up their trading and communications. During the lockdown, he has found time to read more, particularly candid autobiographies of footballers, catch-up on some gaming and support local businesses.

  • I’d definitely recommend Ray Parlour’s autobiography for those looking to read something funny and light-hearted. It’s chock full of hilarious anecdotes involving the household football names of the 90s and early 00s – a time when being a footballer was just as much about how much fun you could have as it was about winning medals. There’s a laugh on every page as Ray has to explain why he’s broken into a teammate’s house, Tony Adams tries to impress him with his talent on the electric keyboard and eventually he gets sacked from Middlesbrough (for calling Gareth Southgate “Big Nose”). All of this while winning a plethora of trophies, including the famous invincibles season.
  • Before all of this I would usually be out most evenings, but being stuck inside has meant I’ve found more time for gaming. My fiancee and I have been spending our evenings play Borderlands, a fun and easy to play co-op game where the aim is to blast everything that moves, loot every box you see and eventually save a planet full of robots, mutants and outcasts from an evil corporation.
  • I’ve also used the change in circumstances to support my local businesses. I think it’s really important to do so when many are facing an uncertain future. Rather than the big supermarkets, we now get our food from a nearby plastic-free store and a former restaurant catering company that is doing domestic orders. We’ve also subscribed to a fresh fruit and veg delivery service. The bonus is the quality and variety is actually a lot better, so our food is tasting great.
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