A day in the lockdown life of Online Content Editor, Kevin Hughes
With many of the staff at Warners Group Publications working hard to bring a bit of motorhoming, campervanning and caravanning joy to your lives during lockdown, we thought it was about time we got up-close-and-personal with our editorial team and designers to share with our readers what it takes to put your favourite magazines together whilst working from home...
I'm Kevin — one of the Content Editors here at our Out and About Live website, which publishes the very best content from our portfolio of outdoor leisure magazines — MMM, What Motorhome, Campervan, Caravan and Camping.
I'm also Commercial Supplements Editor, with editorial responsibility for some of our printed special issues, including Buying Your First Motorhome. I've been with the company since January 2019.
My lockdown diary
My working from home day starts very much as my pre-lockdown working day did; I'm up by 7am and quickly making coffee while chatting to my dog, an English Springer Spaniel called Lenny. The main change to the early morning routine in these past few weeks has been that, without the need to rouse both my kids and hassle them into getting up/dressed/breakfasted/into the car for school, it's all a lot more leisurely.
I'll nick an extra half-an-hour in bed, drinking coffee and browsing news on Twitter, before taking Lenny for his morning stroll. I'm back in 20-25 minutes, and then set up my Mac for the day ahead. I'm online by 8.30am.
First task is to log in to Slack, the software the Outdoor Leisure team use to stay in touch and post messages, and say hello to everyone. Then I'll check emails and plan my work for the day.
At 9am, I put YouTube on, for PE with Joe, the daily weekday workout with The Body Coach, aka Joe Wicks. Myself, my wife and my daughter have been doing this since the very start, and since my daughter's school have recommended it as part of her daily home-schooling schedule, we try to stick to it. It only takes 20 minutes, and I find that, even if I feel reluctant at the start, it helps to clear some of the fug from my brain — I used to go to the gym two or three times a week, and now I can't. I really only miss the Monday morning workouts, as we have a team Zoom call at 9.30am and I doubt my colleagues would want to log in to see me red-faced and sweating...
I'll have breakfast as I work, and then it's straight through until lunchtime. My tasks are usually quite varied but the bulk of my work focuses on editing, preparing and uploading content to our website. These might be adapting travel articles, longer-form advice-style articles or the latest motorhome and campervan model reviews. I'll edit the copy, making the text web-friendly, and re-size images using Photoshop. I also provide copy for our team who send out e-newsletters, and review all content before that 'send' button is pressed.
I try to give myself a clear hour for lunch but the truth is that it rarely works out that way. My wife has also been working from home, so we'll try to eat together but both of us tend to do so in front of our respective work screens. I'll make lunch for my daughter, too, and my teenage son — whose life has been thrown into chaos by the sudden cancellation of GSCEs.
Work-wise, it's more of the same during the afternoon until I finish at around 5pm. As a family, we'll all eat together around 6-6.30pm. In the evening, it's dog-walking time. Sometimes, I'll take Lenny on my own, but my son has happily been taking him a lot, and on occasion all of us have enjoyed a long walk around the large, open fields near our home.
I'll finish the day with a bit of reading - a book is never far out of my reach - and some TV. We've been enjoying Normal People and Killing Eve recently, and I've watched a lot of football documentaries.
My top tip for surviving lockdown
I've found that maintaining a familiar routine helps — getting up at the same time, getting properly dressed, eating properly and around the same time — gives me some structure and creates that clear difference between a working day and weekend days. Getting out for a walk — with or without the dog — also helps. Finally, I think accepting that this is a very strange time and it's normal to feel a little lost sometimes, is important. It's fine to feel that way.
My earliest camping memory
We had a few camping trips when I was a kid but my main memory is when, as a brooding teenager, my Mum and stepfather came home one day looking seriously pleased with themselves because they'd bought a secondhand caravan. I thought it was awful and scoffed at it, but the old thing won me over and we went on several great holidays in it.
My favourite was a summer holiday trip to France one year — I was 15, I think. I actually loved that caravan so much that, during the long summer holidays, I often used to hang out all day in it — and sleep in it — when it was parked up on the driveway.
My top motorhome tip
If you're about to buy a motorhome or campervan for the first time, make sure you do your homework thoroughly and overall, be sure to get a model that's right for you. Think about what you want, and stick to it. If you don't want the hassle of making up a bed every evening, get a fixed bed model.
Be sure you're comfortable driving it, too. There's no point getting a large A-class if you don't like driving it!
My dream motorhome destination
My wife and I have always said we want to have a top-to-toe tour of Italy, right from Turin and Milan in the north down to Lecce and Calabria in the south, making sure we take in as much of the country as possible. One day...
MMM is the UK's best-selling motorhome magazine, packed with motorhome and campervan reviews, travel and campsite inspiration in the UK and abroad, plus handy technical help and advice. Find out more and subscribe to MMM magazine here.