A slightly different post for slightly different times! I’ve had the last two and a half weeks off work on annual leave, starting right when the s*** really hit the fan for Coronavirus in the UK.
Like most of the world, we’re in a state of lockdown meaning that you can only leave your house for absolutely essential work, a trip to the supermarket or pharmacy, and one form of exercise per day.
Something I’ve seen repeated again and again is that there is no right way to respond to this unfolding trauma. I have confirmed to myself over the past couple of weeks that I can’t really sit still so have been finding lots of different ways to pass the time. For other people, a day just involving clean underwear and not looking at the news for 10 minutes is a win.
So however you’re coping or if you don’t feel that you are, I’m sending you a virtual hug!
What I’ve been doing
Gardening + Sitting Outside
Now more than ever, I am thankful to have outside space of our own. The weather over the last couple of weeks has been lovely for the most part, meaning that things are springing into life. We’ve been growing seedlings on our windowsill for the past month or so and are starting to plant them out, and pray that they’re not eaten by slugs or birds!
Like a lot of people, my screen time has gone through the roof, so it’s been nice to do things that don’t involve looking at my phone or computer. I started making a skirt (pattern from Tilly and the Buttons), a few weeks ago when we could still travel and I could borrow a sewing machine. This week I’ve been hand-stitching the hem and the belt loops (which didn’t take as long as I thought it would!) and it’s finally wearable.
Over the last 6 months I’ve also got back into embroidery (particularly of the sweary kind!).
Ironically, I’ve never been as sociable as I have been in the last few weeks. Most nights I’ve had a <insert your favourite video calling software> catch up with friends and family, and the weekends are reserved for bizarrely raucous trips to the ‘Skype Pub’, complete with beer, wine, music and games (Quiplash is a firm favourite and the boyfriend managed to play Cards Against Humanity last weekend). I’ve seen others on Instagram do family happy hours around 5pm which looks delightful.
At the start of my annual leave I anticipated I was going to binge a lot on Netflix and I haven’t really. Whether it’s my slightly frazzled attention span / incapacity to commit to a TV series, I’ve been enjoying shorter videos.
When YouTube recommends videos I’m always a little suspicious (just reminds you how much Google knows about you!) but they are usually good! I’ve gotten into sewing channels like Bernadette Banner and the Bon Appetit one remains a firm favourite (you will fall in love with all of the extended cast and crew). YouTube has also been a great resource for exercise so see below…
Running, Yoga + Workouts
Over the past 12 months I have fallen in love with Parkrun, the free 5k run that happens every Saturday morning around the world. Understandably Parkrun isn’t umm, running, right now, as each course usually attracts a few hundred people at a time. I’ve been keeping up running once a week or so as a) it’s one of the sanctioned ways to escape the boundaries of the flat and b) for the wonders that an endorphin rush does for my mental health.
I use the Strava app to track my routes, times and progress.
Yoga with Adriene is queen of the YouTube yoga scene and I’ve been trying to do a video of hers most days. She has so many that you can type in an area of your body that you want to work on or an activity (for example I use her ‘Runners Cool Down‘ video to stretch after I’ve been for a run). I’m attempting her original 30 Days of Yoga challenge at the moment.
When I’ve wanted something a bit more active but still indoors I’ve turned to an old favourite – The Fitness Marshall. I first discovered his channel in my last year at university and did the videos with one of my housemates when we needed to decompress. Leave your inhibitions at the door and prepare to ache the next day!
You can also record yoga and other indoor workouts on Strava (as manual uploads) which adds to a sense of achievement.
Whilst sitting in the sun or sewing I’ve loved having a podcast on. Wireless headphones mean I can have my phone inside or in a different room so there’s less chance for getting distracted.
My current favourites are:
- The Fringe of It with Charlotte Jacklin and Liv Purvis. I feel like I’m having a catch up with two good pals. There’s always a lengthy segment on what’s good to watch on TV and this week’s episode had a really interesting discussion about changing attitudes to exercise
- The Bon Appetit Foodcast – from the American food magazine, hosted by Adam Rapoport.
- Shagged Married Annoyed with Chris and Rosie Ramsay. These two are hilarious.
If you have any recommendations then let me know – but I’m definitely in the chatty upbeat market, rather than the true crime bracket!
TikTok / Instagram
I’d been having a break from Instagram since early January but made my way back to it when this all kicked off. One of the things I dislike about it (the FOMO it generates when you’re looking at all the fun stuff/great lives everyone else is getting up to) is kind of a moot point now as literally everyone is doing the same thing. I haven’t caught many but there have been some great and inventive Instagram lives where people have run quizzes, bingo and bands have played sets.
I am no doubt about 10 years too old for TikTok’s target audience but if you need a mindless distraction, this app certainly provides it. It’s essentially just short videos that you scroll through, usually using someone or something else’s audio (there’s a lot of lip-synching to scenes from TV/films or songs). I am mostly in it for the dance challenges to be honest, although I haven’t made any of my own videos… yet.
What I’ve been baking
In a move that will surprise no one I’ve also been filling my time with baking, mostly working my way through the Basically Guide to Better Baking series (can you tell I’m a bit obsessed over Bon Appetit?):
- No knead focaccia
- Sour cream and onion scones
- BA’s best chocolate chip cookies (I froze the raw dough in balls and then have been baking 4 or 5 each day, then eating them whilst still warm)
- Earl Grey loaf cake
I’ve also been working on my sourdough bread game (remember my terrible attempt a few years ago?!) and whilst I am nowhere near ‘good’ I am much better than I used to be!
So that’s a round-up! If you have any thoughts or recommendations I’d love to hear them – either in the comments or maybe you have a similar blog post?