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  • Jo de Magneval

Stay Home Superheroes - a creative lockdown lookout

I was out with my 3 children, 3 scooters and a camera on our daily neighbourhood walk at the start of lockdown when I passed a friend's house. Her youngest daughter Freya was waving in the window in her superhero outfit and I snapped her.

It kickstarted an idea.

We have all been 'Staying home, Staying safe', which has been a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone (to put it midly!). I thought it would be wonderful to capture the essence of lockdown.

I believed that photographing families through their window to the world would be the perfect way to do it.

Plus, I would have a creative outlet to keep me sane!

And so began #stayhomesuperheroes.

I used my exercise hour to cycle around to people’s homes and capture their lockdown window (sometimes a door!) asking questions to help gain an idea of their story behind their window.

Documenting this historic time and gaining an insight into each family, really helped to bring all the images to life, and not only that, it enables people who see these images could relate to know that their own highs and lows were also being felt by others.

The overriding sentiment that has come through from people's stories is the gratitude they have for this imposed family time together. The hope that the positive differences they have enjoyed can continue once the world resumes some normality. The chance we have all had to reflect on what's important in life.

This video really does sum it up perfectly.

It has been a wonderful project to do, a real Woking community story to be told for many years to come, I have also been raising money for the NHS through it, to help supply the key workers. You can still donate here if you would like.

I have featured each family and their story and you can read them all below. Thank you to everyone who took part. It was my honour to tell your lockdown story.

The Wilkinson-Pinto Family

Sally, Marco, Zé, Inez, Zavier and Teddy the puppy, a busy family! As a builder and Hairdresser it is uncertain times work wise but as you will read from Sally, they are making the most of the family time.⠀

“I am enjoying going back to basics and spending real time with each other. I will miss TIME when this is all over.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

My favourite time of day is the hour I get to spend with my horse every morning watching the sun ruse realising how lucky I am.⠀⠀

- What was happening in your world just before this photo was taken?⠀

We had just had dinner and were watching the news.”

The Hardicre Girls

“My household is just my daughter, Grace, and I.

I work at her school, as a teaching assistant. I have been asked to stay home, as there are very few children currently at school, and me coming in, would mean I’d have to bring Grace.


A positive aspect of being able to stay home is that I am finally getting on top of getting my house in order.

I’ve felt overwhelmed for a long time with trying to keep the house spotless, coupled with the desire to decorate it at the same time, and I’m slowly completing jobs I’ve been meaning to do for months.


I’m also thoroughly enjoying having Grace home with me. With school, clubs, and weekends spent in Peterborough with her Dad, our time actually spent together feels usually feels very limited. I’ve been enjoying not having to be anywhere at a certain time, the rush of every day life can be draining. I’ll miss the slow pace of life, when things go back to normal.


Before this photo was taken, Grace was learning dances from videos on her phone, and I was tidying, as I always am!”

The Blakes

Asia/Jo an office/accounts manager, Tristan an aircraft maintenance supervisor, Elsie (10) and Eryk (8)


- How are you finding this period of isolation? Positives and/or negatives!

Our positives include spending time together as family and actually having time for DIY! But we are missing the loss of freedom and worrying about the uncertainty.


- What will you miss about this time when it is over?

We will miss family time


- What will you miss about this time when it is over?

An early morning ( favourite time of a day)


- What keeps your heart smiling?

listening to the kids play together makes us smile


- What was happening in your world just before this photo was taken?

Jo/Asia was wfh, Tristan cleared the garden and cleaned the decking , kids were playing football in the garden.

The Hogans

Sarah, Craig, Lily (11) and Ben (9)

Here is Sarah's lockdown story: “In many ways I am enjoying the isolation. We are so fortunate that we have many beautiful walks on the doorstep and a dog to ensure routine and discipline to walk every day. We are lucky that we have technology to be able to see and talk to loved ones. What I miss most is being able to spend time with friends and loved ones.

When it is over I will miss the freedom of filling our own time without external expectations and pressures.

My favourite time of the day is the same as always, walking the dog.

Online chats with family and friends keep my heart smiling.

Just before the photo I was having a cup of tea and a very leisurely morning! There have been many long leisurely mornings and I am getting very good at a slower pace of life. Oh, I’ll also miss Joe Wickes workouts.”

Darcy & Freya

- Who is in your household?

Lee & Zoe Darcy 9, Freya 5

- What is/ are your occupation(s)?I am a therapist/healer. Lee is a technical artist for a computer company, Lee is working from home.

- How are you finding this period of isolation?

Mixed emotions, good days and bad days. Darcy has Asperger's so the change in routine and general stress of the situation has been a challenge but now she is relaxing at home she is better and anxiety has reduced, but it's not been easy!

I feel very positive that this period of time will help us, the community and planet earth but I miss hugs and being able to visit family, especially sick family members who we may not see again.

But all in all I appreciate it has made us stop and I am grateful for everything we have especially having a garden albeit small!

- What will you miss about this time when it is over? The slower pace of life, I feel we are going back to a glimpse of what our childhoods were like (minus the technology) my kids haven't said they are bored yet which pleases me, we are having dinner together every night and I feel we are focusing on us as a family unit.

- Favourite time of day?

when I go for my walk with Darcy

- What keeps your heart smiling?

listening to the birds singing

- What was happening in your world just before this photo was taken?

We were having a chilled Sunday in the sunshine, had a walk in the woods and getting a bbq ready, a good day! 😍


The Lowes

Read on for Rachel’s lockdown story:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

- Who is in your household

Me, Amma (9) , Caleb(8) and Zeke (4)⠀⠀


- What is your occupation?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Unable to work due to illness, used to be a teacher.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

- How are you finding this period of isolation? Positives and/or negatives!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

We are enjoying being able to do things at our own speed when we want too. Negatives have to be not seeing people and being the only adult in the household. Also I find it really difficult when people judge me, why can’t people just be positive first and assume that everyone is doing their best.⠀⠀


- What will you miss about this time when it is over?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I will miss deciding whether or not to put on day clothes.


- Favourite time of day

I really like first thing in the morning when everyone is sleepy and just coming round.


- What keeps your heart smiling?⠀⠀⠀⠀

My kids laughing🙂yes they annoy me but wouldn’t be without them especially when they are happy


- What was happening in your world just before this photo was taken?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

We had all put away our clean dry clothes - exciting I know!!

The Prices

Here is Lys lockdown story: - Who is in your household? Myself and my husband Rich, plus our 4 kids, Adin (nearly 11), Ellis (9), Robyn (6) and Seth (4).

- What is/ are your occupation(s)? Rich is a Design Engineer and I'm a stay at home Mum. Around with and family activities we also attend craft fairs selling our home made craft wares! Odd and faded design

- How are you finding this period of isolation? An unexpected welcome change - while the lockdown restricts certain freedoms it simultaneously creates a number of others. A range of obligations and commitments overnight just went; to fill that space with more 'stuff' is limited as the the demands of life have been simplified. Not doing things is now a required state - being pushed off the 'don't waste a minute' treadmill is not without alternative challenges but wonderfully liberating too. There is the challenge of home education but the less said about that the better!

- What will you miss about this time when it is over? The stillness. Even in a house with four kids the world we are currently in is so much quieter. You hear more, see more, feel more.

- Favourite time of day Mornings and evenings. Before the lockdown these were my most hated times. Chasing the kids non-stop to be ready for school in the morning or to get into bed in the evening. Both ends of the day frantic and frustrating. But now, we're working to our own time, the routine we create and it's calmer, way more leisurely, possibly even lazy at times and it's lovely. It won't last forever so we're enjoying it while we can.

- What keeps your heart smiling? The innovative ways we invent to show we care - banging on pans at 8pm on Thurs, Rainbows in Windows, WhatsApp neighborhood groups, Zoom chats, doorstep parcels, shopping for others - being a community.

- What was happening in your world just before this photo was taken? Brunch - as breakfast never seems to be early enough now to call it that! Claire, Joel and Laurie

Here are Claire’s (who works in charity marketing and fundraising) lockdown thoughts:


“I am finding it bizarre like everyone else, but you have time to properly think and assess your life and what is and isn't important. Positives are long dogwalks, discovering new routes, late night movies and chocolate every night, actually having decent phone conversations and great weather (so far). Negatives for me are lack of face to face adult conversation as a single parent, the obvious is missing family as they are not near, school, work, activities, socialising.

After its over I’ll just miss "time" and having plenty of it.

Fav time of day is having my first morning coffee in the garden, on a lazy day that can be gone 11am, lush.....

My boys and dog keep my heart smiling and the great spirit most people have shown throughout this to support eachother. And the thought of seeing everyone again for a cold beer....sigh....”

Cathie, Ben, Fred and Lucie

Here is Cathie’s lockdown story:

- Who is in your household?

Ben my husband, Fred our son, Luciana our daughter, Albus our dog and myself!

- What is/ are your occupation(s)?

Ben is a musician and I am a dance teacher. Fred is homeschooled and Luci attends school.

- How are you finding this period of isolation? Positives and/or negatives!

Positives - being able to work out what is really important, spending more time with my family, realising we have far more than we need or realised. Grateful for the internet and staying in better contact with those who are important to us.


- No hugging/seeing my wider family and friends, too much time being spent saving my business, fear of losing someone dear to this virus or any other complication due to its existence.

- What will you miss about this time when it is over?

Time - unending amounts of time to ponder and stop and think. The connection with others I previously did not know.

- Favourite time of day

That split second when you wake and you don’t remember this is happening. Late at night in the garden as the world is so peaceful.

- What keeps your heart smiling?

My husband, my children and my connection to others!

- What was happening in your world just before this photo was taken?

Luci had just had a meltdown because she wants to be on the Easter holidays and we are still doing classes online. I had just had a shower. Ben was up and dressed and Fred had just woken up!

Jo & her girls

- who is in your household? Myself, husband Adam and twins Sienna and Zoe

- What is/ are your occupation(s)? County Council partnership manager, currently busy involved in c19 response.

- How are you finding this period of isolation? Positives and/or negatives! Finding it a tough juggle with two busy working parents at home and little downtime to give the children attention and input for home schooling. Also finding it tough with family living abroad and my Dad terminally ill, and not being able to travel to see him. But enjoying the time we make with each other as a family, grateful for my garden, FaceTime and technology and exercise!

- What will you miss about this time when it is over? Not sure I will miss much to be honest as it’s a really tough juggle! Maybe a walk with my little people at the end of a day!

- Favourite time of day End of the day when I log off (even if for a few hours only) and go for a walk or play with the girls and make dinner.

- What keeps your heart smiling? Contact with family and friends ; my garden and the space it gives us! Enjoying a cup of tea in the sun in one of my favourite spots on the back stairs!

Realised what I will miss when it’s over; Not having to spend hours in the car driving to and from work ; a short commute over a cup of tea!

Henry & Paige

who is in your household? Myself (Lyndsay), husband (Richard), son (Henry) & daughter (Paige)

- What is/ are your occupation(s)? I run a family focused community group & my husband is a training manager

- How are you finding this period of isolation? Positives and/or negatives! On the whole we are all doing pretty well, lots of positives as we’ve viewed it from day 1 as a very rare & special time as we are unlikely to ever get this much time together again. It’s a real treasure that it’s while our children are so young as you just never get these precious years back & it’s a great time to instil so much of our family valu