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LAURA CRAIK IS UPFRONT

Laura Craik on the ludicrous lure of Love Island, lockdown’s most pragmatic coat and an ice cream launch that’s very off script

When it’s eventually safe to resume production on Love Island, I imagine the show will be even more inundated with applications than ever. Never mind the fame, the personalised water bottle and the hefty social media following: the real lure will be the free pass to jet off no matter which tier you live in or however many people are gasping for breath at St Thomas’ Hospital For Peasants. Who cares? You were once on Love Island. You’re above it all.

Does this lockdown include the London borough of Maldives? Asking for Zara McDermott, recently rumbled for editing an Instagram pic to remove the palm trees that revealed she was somewhere other than Tier 4 Britain. Missguided, which presumably bankrolled her trip, posted the same pic but — oops! — kept the palm trees in, allowing users to identify the shot as having been taken in the gym of a Maldives hotel.

And then there’s Zara Holland, another ex-Love Islander, who narrowly escaped prison but landed a £4,400 fine for trying to flee Barbados after being ordered to isolate when her boyfriend tested positive for Covid-19.

After my run, I bought a takeaway coffee to help keep me awake during another life-affirming day of home-schooling. It was a non-essential purchase, albeit one that helped support a local business. As a rule-breaker myself, does that give me the right to judge other rule-breakers? No doubt those fleeing Britain will claim they’re helping support a beleaguered tourism industry, yet it really is uncanny how many people are now going to the Maldives, Barbados and Dubai for ‘business purposes’.

“It’s uncanny how many people are going to the Maldives, Barbados and Dubai this month for ‘business purposes’”

If you’d boarded a plane for Frankfurt, I might believe you. Be honest: you did it because you fancied a change of scene and a bit of sun. Because somewhere along the path you took in life, you reached some nebulous milestone at which you decided you were special, an Above It All for whom the rules that govern others don’t apply.

I don’t grudge you your money. I grudge you the loneliness of my 87-year-old mother; the extra burden on the NHS that your actions might cause. A return flight to Dubai is now cheaper than ever. But at what price? The one thing money can’t buy? A clear conscience.

Easywear does it

Browsing Asos for a puffer coat like every other basic bitch whose life has shrunk to a daily dog walk, I came across a pleasing phenomenon called the Chuck On Coat.

After decades of retailers using dumb portmanteaus to describe their wares (jeggings, treggings, shackets, skorts), I’m fully behind this no-nonsense descriptor: its pragmatism chimes well with the times. If more retailers started extolling the virtues of their Chuck On coats, What’s The Point jumpers and Can’t Be Arsed sweatpants, their sales would rise, I’m sure. Is anyone wearing anything else?

She scoops to conquer

January 1 isn’t the most auspicious date to open an ice cream parlour in London, but as hailstones fell, Reenie’s Ice Cream Bar debuted in Primrose Hill. Like many whose lives were turned upside down last March, Sirine Saba was about to start her dream role at the Royal Court Theatre.

Fast forward 10 months and she’s swapped treading the boards for scooping the strawberry buttermilk, one of many fine flavours she serves up. ‘I’m still an actress,’ she says firmly from behind her floral-sprigged mask. But what a lovely side hustle to have. Go, Reenie’s: proof that even on the coldest days, there are green shoots of recovery. And ice cream.

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