So we’re nearly ending the 13th week of lockdown and whilst there have been quite significant steps in lifting the conditions it’s going to be a while until ‘normality’ ensues. I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve been keeping myself entertained during lockdown…and no, I didn’t bake banana bread.
Something positive that seems to come out of the lockdown (because lets face it, we need to find something!) is many more experiences being offered on a virtual platform than ever before. I have fully taken advantage of this and tried to organise myself something on a weekly basis and for a few hours every week I’m transported to another country, connecting with a local and learning a new skill.
I have mostly utilised AirBnB for these experiences although other websites offering similar adventures include Get Your Guide and Eventbrite.
So far in lockdown I have cooked Okonomiyaki with Keiko from Osaka in Japan, learnt to twerk with Tania from Columbia, crafted sugar skulls with Marisol from Mexico, cooked tagine with a family in Morocco, solved ancient mysteries with Giulia from Italy and tracked sharks with Justin from South Africa. Next week I’ll be joining a Thai cooking class and I can’t wait!
I love escape rooms and there have been many that have been adapted to be online. I’ve still got a few that I would like to book but my friend and I completed one with Locked Room where we guided a woman around the room whilst she had a GoPro style camera attached to her. It’s interesting how different places have had to adapt themselves.
Glamour recently hosted a Lockdown Festival with cooking classes, workout classes, panels and live music. It was really fun and a perfect example of some of the events out there if you go have a Google.
My friends and I did the MacMillan murder mystery night and we loved it. We got our character sheets, we dressed up, got on the video calls, poured drinks and got our acting hats on. As the drinks flowed the improvisation improved and the laughter didn’t stop. A great way to raise money for charity and have fun at the same time!
Whilst I’ve been locked down my appetite certainly has not. Forget about intermittent fasting, I seem to eat constantly from when I wake up at 8am to when I go back to sleep at 2am. It may be a blessing in disguise that I don’t live in an area that isn’t serviced by many takeaway options and therefore my only foray into takeaways was a Domino’s and a drive into the nearest city to pick up a Japanese meal.
However I have tried to make the most of the extra time I have and cook myself something a bit more interesting and treating myself to some extra goodies from the supermarket (anyone else’s grocery bill totally skyrocketed?!). I neeeeeed the avocado hummus from Waitrose and I will not listen to anyone that tells me otherwise!
I’m not much of a baker so I didn’t go down the baking route, although I did make myself a few no bake biscoff bars that I ate at quite a ridiculous pace. A woman local to me also started baking some brownies and using social distancing measures was selling them from her house, they were crazily good and we won’t discuss how many times I returned.
I’ve never been one for exercise quite honestly, but when your diet starts becoming 60% brownies you need to get moving. I’ve always done daily yoga but since lockdown I’ve embraced the wide variety of yoga that I can find online.
As well as being able to experience different styles of yoga such as Buti Yoga or Reggae Yoga I’ve also been able to do yoga with a twist, such as the BYOB yoga I tried! I’m lucky it’s been such beautiful weather recently and therefore I’ve been able to work out in the garden most days.
Once a week my friends and I get dressed up and dance around to Drag Aerobics, we set up a videocall and stream the aerobics on Facebook Live and it’s so much fun. It’s always nice to get dressed up as well and as it’s drag themed we get to have a lot of fun with our make up!
I did do the whole ‘Climb a mountain on your stairs’ trend and climbed Ben Nevis on my stairs, which I believe was around 600 flights. Quite honestly I hated it, not the physical side but the mental side. Even with a good soundtrack I found the whole thing immensely boring.
Getting out when you can
Obviously for so long the chance to get out was very limited, a daily walk, a trip to the supermarket. I had only lived in the area about 6 weeks before lockdown so it did mean I had the chance to discover some places which I hadn’t had the opportunity to see before.
As soon as we had a bit more freedom I woke up at 3am and took a drive to one of my favourite places, Chesterton Windmill, which is about 45 minutes away from me and watched the sun rise. Waking up to that alarm at 3am definitely made me doubt if it was the right thing to do but the minute I arrived all doubt disappeared and I spent a few hours in serenity enjoying the surroundings.
I also recently took a drive to Windsor for an afternoon. It was about a 90 minute drive from me and absolutely empty on arrival. I took a walk around the centre, enjoying the views of the castle and bought some snacks which I ate by the river.
It was a very serene day and it was nice to get away from the usual scenery. I know in the UK we have seen a surge of crowds towards tourist hotspots such as beaches and that has created social distancing issues however there are so many places to visit where sensibility can be applied.
Travelling the world
I decided that just because my flights had been cancelled that wasn’t going to stop me from travelling the world. I had a French day where I ate cheese, dressed chic and watched French Cinema. On Mexico day I cooked a Mexican Feast, drunk too many margaritas and did an online course on Diego Rivera.
My Japan day involved a trip to the Asian supermarket for some of my favourite treats and a day watching anime. For the USA I ate hotdogs, drunk Budwiser, toured some museums online and watched a live feeding at Monteray Bay Aquarium.
My English day fell on VE day and I celebrated with an afternoon tea in the garden and on my Africa day I watched a live safari where I got to witness baby hyenas playing and elephants trekking, it was pretty magical.
Keep in touch
For all of us we’ve had to adapt our social lives in order to keep in contact with those people close to us. We’re lucky to live in a world with seemingly endless communication opportunities and like everyone else I’ve had to embrace the video call when it comes to talking to my friends and family. We’ve tried to get creative, they’ve joined me on many of the online experiences I’ve previously mentioned and we’ve loved it, we’re even talking about doing a monthly online cooking class together after lockdown.
Unfortunately in the UK just as it was announced that we could start to meet up with friends and family outside (with social distancing in place) the beautiful weather we’d been enjoying disappeared and we’ve had rain ever since. I was lucky enough to get one meet up in before it did, with my brother and his girlfriend, and it was so lovely to see them and have a drink and feel normal again.
I’m not someone with any particular creative skill, I can’t draw, paint and as much as I try I cannot sing however I’ve tried to get some creative juices flowing whilst in lockdown. Whether it was a few DIY projects for my room or doing myself a little photoshoot of my lockdown life it’s been fun to try something new.
Look after yourself
Ultimately it’s important that in these times of high uncertainty and stress that people do whatever they need to do to look after themselves. For me I have done well working to a routine, and keeping myself busy and something I learnt throughout my time in lockdown is that it’s essential that I listen to myself and not put pressure on myself to achieve something if I don’t feel like it. Sometimes my days involve exercise and cooking healthy meals, sometimes my days involve long baths and reading whilst eating chocolate and both are fine.
Stay safe everyone!