Styling: Emily J Dawes. Make-up: Nicky Weir. Hair: Sven Bayerbach at Carol Hayes using T3

Emily J Dawes. Nicky Weir. Makeup. Sven Bayerbach, Carol Hayes Hair using T3 

 I recently had the privilege of sitting next to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert at an awards ceremony. Her co-creator is the Covid-19 Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccination. She was kind enough to let me meet her and thank me for her generous acts of saving other people.

This was a very emotional time for me, as I recently had my recovery from Covid. I would not have gone to that dinner if I had not been double-jabbled with Professor Gilbert’s vaccine. I was shocked at the terrible virus Covid when it struck me.

This might seem stupid, but it has been more than a year, and a half, of panic worldwide, of seeing people fall ill and of witnessing the terrible tragedy unfold as many families lose their loved ones despite the tireless efforts of NHS staff.

It was dangerous on one level. But the more time that passed, and the more vaccines were injected into people’s arms, and the more restrictions were lifted by the government, I suppose I got a bit complacent.

Covid became a common term for a cold or flu. Mask-wearing became optional – and even in places where it wasn’t (the London Underground) I noticed fewer and fewer people choosing to cover up. It was easy to let go of my mask and relax. I was still wearing my own mask, still sanitising my hands frequently and still observing social distancing where I could, but at the same time I thought, ‘Well, if I haven’t got it by now, maybe I’ll be OK…’

That’s why I was shocked when the lateral flow test showed a positive reading. The PCR test proved it. I was exhausted and couldn’t move. My head became fogged and I found it increasingly difficult to finish expressing a thought I’d started.

I was utterly irritated by the thought of having to read emails and make decisions. Itchy and stinging around my neck. Itching and nausea were common. It made me feel weepy, emotional, and ashamed. I’ve since spoken to many other people who have recently got Covid and they also had this sense of shame; as if we’d done something wrong and were too fearful to admit it.

It wasn’t like a cold or flu or any other illness I’d ever had. At least part of the awfulness of Covid is that we still don’t fully understand it. The unknown is scary when you’re experiencing it. Some of my symptoms were unusual. Others, that I thought were par for the course, never appeared: I didn’t lose my sense of taste or smell or develop a cough.

Although it was only a mild case, the symptoms lasted for many weeks. For the next fortnight it took for me to feel able and able go on a brief walk. Another fortnight was spent feeling tight. Four weeks passed before I was able to feel myself again. Following that time, my heart rate increased to the point that I needed to be monitored by a doctor. I’m still not back to my pre-Covid levels of physical fitness.

I know of several friends who have had Covid with barely any symptoms and I’m so grateful to the vaccine for shielding me from the worst effects of such a nasty illness. However, mild Covid is not something many people can laugh at.

Even so, small actions by individuals can still make a significant impact. So I, for one, will be getting a booster jab as soon as it’s offered to me. For making this possible, Professor Gilbert and her entire team will always be my greatest thanks.


This week I’m…

ORDERING CHRISTMAS gifts from Atelier Rosemood ( Beautiful photo albums for the people you love.

 MASSAGING my face each morning with CurrentBody Skin Face Sculptor (£35, The best I’ve ever found.

 GETTING SHIRTY with this stylish oversized number, which comes courtesy of Mango (£49.99,