For many of us, life after lockdown is adjusting to our ‘new normal’ of masks and perspex screens.

For others, life is totally unrecognisable. After the events of the last four months, everything looks a bit different.

Jillian Caughey is among the latter category.

The 31-year-old from Glasgow’s South Side was furloughed at the start of lockdown from her job as Head Accountant at a leading car dealership in the city centre.

Like thousands of others, Jillian’s life went from bustling business meetings to family zoom quizzes overnight.

That was at the end of March, and now, four months later, Jillian has given up her old life to start her dream business opening her own nail salon inside her home.

Glasgow Times:

Jillian told The Glasgow Times: “For months prior to lockdown I felt restless in my job.

“Up until then, my whole life was about work. From the minute I left school I worked my way to be where I was, and I was in my dream career.

“From the outside, I looked like I had it all - I was in an important position at a huge company, had a lovely house and a car - but I knew there was something lacking.”

Jillian took night classes at City of Glasgow College where she learned firstly how to paint nails.

One year on and many night classes later, she is now a fully qualified nail technician, able to do gel and even fancy acrylic nails and nail art.

And then - the coronavirus pandemic hit, and everything changed.

Jillian continued: “I was furloughed, and that was when I realised I was unhappy in my career that I had worked so hard for.

“I do think that people change as they grow older and what I want now is not what I wanted when I started in my career a decade ago.

Glasgow Times:

“The world was changing and there were many terrifying things happening - from lockdown to seeing the numbers of people dying and not being able to see your family and loved ones.

“I think the story will be the same for so many people and I’ve heard it before - when people get to have a break from the usual rat race, they almost get to breathe a bit and take heed of what their life is.

“For me, I realised that I wanted to do something for myself on my terms.”

Like thousands of women across the country, the feeling of life being paused was enough for her to make the leap and turn her hobby into her day job.

Now, she has her own salon Nails Perfection by Jillian, complete with total PPE to adhere to social distancing rules while seeing her clients.

Jillian said: “I made sure that everything was done properly, and see my clients behind a perspex glass with a mask and visor, with gloves on.

“I do think it’s different to if I had opened my salon in life before Covid-19 - I had to think very seriously about the safety measures, and even about having the salon in my home.

Glasgow Times:

“But after consulting with other friends who own and work in salons and making sure I was doing everything safely, I just couldn’t wait to get started.

“When I open today, along with other salons in Glasgow, I am going to feel so at home - not just literally!”

“It is a feeling I missed in my life before - just that feeling of being excited for the day ahead.”

Covid-19 aside, Jillian says she still can’t believe how her life has changed.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “I feel quite empowered.

“I still can’t believe it took a world-wide pause for me to figure out my dreams.

“The world is so different now and there have been so many sad things in the news,

“I’m glad I have something to be positive about, and that my job is about making other people happy.”

More at @nailperfectionbyjill on Instagram or find her on Facebook, here.