The lockdown period is well underway; we've pretty much-lost count of how many days we've been indoors at this point. We know it's been tedious and we know you miss your mates but it's absolutely essential we all do our bit to stay home to save lives.
All the days may be rolling into one and it often becomes difficult to differentiate between work and play but to keep your mental health in check, it helps to make a list of activities and tasks you've been meaning to tackle for months and *actually* get them done.
Here is some ideas for a few more weeks.
Read a book
Whether you have time off work or simply find yourself with more time on your hands, there's no better excuse to curl up with that book you've been meaning to read from last summer. Or you could try one of the hot new book releases for 2020.
Download Disney +
If you’ve not got your hands on a Disney+ UK subscription yet, now is most definitely the time. Brits finally have access to a library of all the Disney for the first time ever, from popular classics (Dumbo, we <3 you) to TV shows and new releases. And if you sign up now, you can get a seven-day free trial. That’s seven days of FREE DISNEY to enjoy while you self isolate and relax. Dreamy.
Join a virtual 'day out'
Let’s Day Out is launching ‘Let’s Day In’ (see what they did there?) to all IOS users with an array of events that will be available to them to do – and all virtually. You can enjoy live cooking demonstrations, virtual parties, art classes, workout sessions led by trainers, themed online meetups, etc. The events will be free-of-charge to the public, but all users will have the option to donate £1.00 to the World Health Organisation to help them find a cure for COVID-19 with their COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Tidy the house
*Collective eye roll* but hear us out. Tidying and deep-cleaning your space will not only get rid of harmful dust, dirt and germs, but it'll put you in a clearer headspace. So, chuck on your favorite playlist, wash those throws and cushion covers, hoover right into those corners, and take the bloody bins out. We've rounded up some chic storage solutions if you're in the market for some new ones. You'll feel better for it, promise. Need some guidance? Marie Kondo has a new book out, Joy At Work, all about decluttering your working routine. Plus, you can totally reward yourself with a glass of wine afterward.
Whip up a lockdown bath
People have been taking to Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to showcase their delightfully smug isolation baths replete with bath bombs, candles, and comforting beauty buys.
Join a Harry Potter-esque potion making class
Harry Potter mad? Hogwarts Is Here is an online social network created by fans who are now hosting live Harry Potter-esque classes. You sign up, choose your house and enroll in classes such as Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, Astronomy, History of Magic, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Herbology. Magic!
Sign up to a virtual wine tasting
Yes, we are missing Saturday nights at the pub, too. Thank goodness, then, that Pull The Cork has teamed up with Elliot Awin to host virtual wine tasting sessions via Instagram live. All you need to do is order one of the isolation cases on Pull The Cork's website and sip along at the weekend. Elliot really makes an event of his sessions, inviting famous faces and winemakers to join the life as he walks guests through the various wines; he's even started sharing recipes for food pairings ahead of time. Get your orders in for his upcoming rosé tasting. Remember when you said you wanted to learn a new skill in quarantine?
Organize your beauty cabinet
If you're anything like us, your current bathroom shelf situation is a mess of fake tan spills, near-empty serums, and old lipsticks. Check out this make-up organizing hack and get sorting. Added bonus: you can take a chic shelfie for the 'gram afterward.
While you're at it, clean those make-up brushes. Yes, they can be a faff to clean, but dirty make-up brushes are an absolute breeding ground for bacteria. "If you are one of those people that does all the right things and yet can’t understand why you have rashes and spots, take a look at the tools you use to apply your products with," says Lynne Sanders, cosmetic scientist and founder of Cosmetics a La Carte. Here's our step-by-step guide on how to clean your make-up brushes.
Oh, and don't forget your straighteners/ curlers. Yes, really. Get cleaning those hair tools people.
Join a live gin music festival
You might not be able to kick back in a field sipping on your favorite gin but The Cotswolds Distillery is bringing weekly gin and whiskey Distillery Sessions to your home life from their Facebook page, with musicians from across the globe. Cheers to that.
Join a mindful happy hour
If you're trying to cut back on the alcohol, instead of reaching for a glass of wine or G&T why not try your hand at low and no mindful cocktails? Join Camille Vidal, founder of La Maison Wellness for her Mindful Happy Hour Instagram live every Friday at 5pm. Bringing all the flavors and celebratory elements of a cocktail without the inclusion of strong alcohol, Camille’s masterclass teaches you how to make mindful cocktails and low-abv alternatives of your favorite tipples. Camille offers pro-tips and bartenders secrets for you to hone your cocktail-making-skills and teaches you how to become a Healthy Hedonist.
Okay, you've cleaned every corner of your gaff, had that glass of wine, and hung up your Marigolds. No more cleaning for you. Now, why not turn your hand to gardening? Tons of studies recently have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health (so much so that horticultural therapy is said to help treat depression and anxiety), and you don't even need a garden to get started; even the smallest of balconies or terraces can be used for a herb garden. Or stay indoors and become a loving houseplant mum – there's a helpful guide to houseplants at rhs.org.uk.
Look into your ancestry
Now is the perfect time to start your family history journey by having a dig around on Ancestry.co.uk. Their records include everything from censuses, wills, birth records, and even records of people’s jobs. You just enter your family’s names and dates of birth, or as much as you can, and once you start adding them, you’ll get hints for other records and people, that help show you where to look next and lead you to even more discoveries. You might even be related to the royal family without realizing it.
Improve your posture
We all know that the amount of time we spend sitting down in our daily lives is not doing our bodies any favors and working from home in the current isolation period isn't helping.
Being locked in one position for many hours of the day is the total opposite of what the human body has evolved to do and this makes our joints and muscles unhappy.
Why not enlisted the expert advice of Postural Alignment Therapist, Posture Ellie (@posture.ellie), who shares simple videos you can follow at home to improve your posture? Check out her YouTube here.
Crack the games out
It's time to show some love to that jigsaw puzzle your aunt Karen bought you for Christmas 2010. Or challenge your SO/ flatmate/ mum to a game of six-hour, relationship-testing Monopoly. Shotgun the thimble.
Listen to a podcast
To say that podcasts are having a moment is a massive understatement. Whether it's to have a serious LOL or be inspired in your career, there's never been a better time to plug into some juicy conversations. There's a hell of a lot to choose from, but fear not, because here's our pick of the best podcasts out there.
Make flavored whipped milk
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have noticed everyone showcasing deliciously frothy coffee on Instagram. Dubbed 'Dalgona coffee', the whipped, fluffy iced coffee has been littering our Instagram and TikTok feeds with people sharing their recipes, hacks, and #artsy snaps of the tipple.
If you're looking for your next Insta-famous drinks fix - or simply hate caffeine - people are now adopting the Dalgona coffee recipe to conjure up creamy flavored milk.
FOOD AND DRINK Forget Dalgona coffee, everyone's making whipped flavored milk on Instagram RN and it's so much easier
Do a home workout
'I will be up in the lounge just working on my fitness', as Fergie would say. There's plenty of exercises you can do sans gym; just check out our round-up of the best at-home workouts.
Join a virtual supper club
Do you miss eating out? Same, people, same. That's why we are thrilled The Initiative has recently launched their Deli Cat Supper Club - a virtual series which lets you create restaurant-quality food from the comfort of your own home with the help of guest chefs. On Thursday 30th April Michelin-starred Chef Henrik Ritzen will be hosting the supper club and showing guests how to create his supper club menu. As part of Henrik's Deli Cat Supper Club, £5 from each £40 ticket will be donated to The Initiative's food bank charity which is providing food for hospitality workers who've lost their income. It's a no brainer for foodies.
Paint your nails
Honestly, hear us out. We know you're missing your favorite salons right now, but doing your own nails can be pretty therapeutic. If you've not yet mastered the at-home mani, why not take this time to try doing your own gel nails at home?
Marie Kondo the sh*t out of your phone
Those emails from Domino's? That recipe app you downloaded and literally never used? Those 500 accidental screenshots of your home screen? They are using precious phone storage and now is your chance to go on a deleting spree. Boy bye.
Call your friends and fam
Just because you're a nice person. Here are all the best video technology options for staying in touch.
Host your own cheese tasting sesh
Just because you can't get out to your favorite Italian doesn't mean you need to skip your next cheese fix. The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is on hand to deliver your genuine cheddar to your front door. Cheese lovers up and down the country can support the business by taking advantage of their speedy courier delivery service just in time for the weekend. A brilliant idea.
Enjoy a literary festival from the comfort of your own home
Fill your spare time by watching sessions from talks at Cliveden Literary Festival, the literary salon of the 21st century which takes place annually at the magnificent Berkshire English country house. Enjoy sessions including The Art Of The Novel with Howard Jacobson, Ian McEwan, Kate Mosse, Ben Okri and Leila Slimani; Emotional Education with Alain de Botton; Britain’s Sharpest Airhead with Emily Maitlis and many more.
Live stream a beach cam
Just because your holiday got canceled doesn't mean you have to miss waking up to the sound of waves. America’s iconic and historic beachfront hotel "The Del” is one of the few surviving examples of an American wooden Victorian beach resort. See the crashing waves, ocean breezes, and beaming sunshine from afar with Del's live beach cams which offer a glimpse of the breathtaking views seen from Hotel del Coronado. Tune in here.
Watch some great theatre
The National Theatre will broadcast some of its most popular productions for free during the lockdown every Thursday night at 7pm. The new two-month National Theatre at Home program kicks off with One Man, Two Guvnors, the Richard Bean comedy starring James Corden. Each show will be available on-demand for seven days.
Now is the perfect time to pot up some herbs and vegetables - and you don't even need a garden or a balcony to do so. You can grow a variety of herbs, salad leaves, spinach, potatoes, and carrots in containers and it makes life easier when you can't get to the supermarket. Order some seedlings and equipment in from dobies.co.uk and seedsofitaly.com.
Work on your wellness, on-demand
Missing your weekly yoga class? In pain and can't see your physio? Wellness app Urban is launching a temporary online home for live-streamed, one-to-one fitness, physio, yoga and mindfulness. The service aims to support Urban’s community of self-employed, mobile practitioners, by providing them with a safe way to earn from home; and users an easy way to stay active and well. Named ‘The stay at home club’, the new category on the app and urban.co features private, live-streamed classes and sessions delivered by two-way video and are conducted by qualified Urban professionals from their own homes. If you're dubious about following YouTuber and 'influencer' advice, this is the professional help you've been searching for.
Try your hand at Sourdough
Anyone else's Insta feeds rife with people whipping up their own bread? If you want to jump on the bandwagon, Tara Jensen's Instagram account is worth a follow. She documents her bread making journey, step-by-step. Plus, it means we don't need to steal it all from the supermarket when there are people more in need of it.
Get a roast dinner delivered to your door
Missing your Sunday roast down your local pub? Thankfully some of London's best chefs are still delivering roast dinners to your door. Design My Night has listed all the eateries offering doorstep Yorkshire puddings. Yaas.
Host a fondue or pizza-making night
Who doesn't love gooey, melted cheese? We'll wait. If you want to re-create the Alps in your kitchen, Jimmy Garcia is lending you his kit, along with all the ingredients, fuel, and recipes so you can have your own fondue party with his cast-iron fondue sets. He delivers on Fridays, and collects the equipment on the following Tuesday. Find out more here. Not into cheese? Make your own stonebaked pizza using his micro wood-fired pizza ovens.
Take a virtual Harry Potter tour
Thanks to Undercover Tourist, you can take a virtual tour of the Harry Potter world and it's pretty magical!
Indulge in virtual karaoke
Famed karaoke bar Lucky Voice is offering people a month's free subscription to karaoke service, head to their online karaoke player, and enter code LUCKY20 then belt your heart out.
Play with animals online
Missing your family pet? Bring a bit of excitement and joy into a shelter animal's day by playing with them online. Head to Petcube.com where you can control the toys in a shelter and play with the animals in real-time from their app. You can also watch live animals in their natural habitat, which will whiz the hours away.
Play an at-home scavenger hunt
You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but Big Smoke Events have turned their fantastic group scavenger hunt into one you can play at home. They send you 12 challenges to develop the most creative social media posts you can with your wits and your smartphone which you share on social and they choose a weekly winner.
Make your own mini-golf course
Kids (and big kids) will love this step-by-step to create your own at-home crazy golf course from Plonk. Plus, 50% of profits from this campaign will go to The Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund.
Partake in at at-home bakeoff
Just because you can't channel your inner Mary Berry at Big Bakes: the UK’s first and only live baking competition, doesn't mean that you can't whip up some culinary treats during isolation. The company is organizing three bake-at-home classes a week via their Facebook or Instagram and you submit your culinary creations to win a chance to receive a free trip to a live class later on in the year (worth £37.50 each).
Become a Champagne expert
If you have always wanted to become an expert in Champagne (um, who hasn't?) now is your chance. The Comité Champagne, the organization that represents all Champagne houses globally, has launched its brand new online learning course, the MOOC, for wine enthusiasts, students & even sommeliers. Covering the Champagne making process, the terroir, economics, 300-year history of Champagne and crucially, tasting. Yaaas. To enhance the learning experience further, The Comité Champagne has a unique 360 VR tour of the region (available in 3D using VR headset) that you can access via an app or on your desktop so you don't even need to stress about that canceled trip. To sign up, visit www.champagne-mooc.com, and take a virtual tour of the region here https://360.champagne.fr/
Curate your own at-home wine cellar
On the topic of booze, if you’ve always dreamed of having your own wine collection, or curated wine cellar (again, who hasn't?), why not start now? Chef Sommelier of Terre Blanche, Aurélie Deharbe, shares her top tips for curating your perfect collection:
Firstly, find a good space - check the storage conditions; see the temperature and the humidity level - too low is going to dry out the cork and the oxygen will get into the bottle and kill the wine. The perfect temperature for a wine cellar is between 12°C and 15°C.
If you have a garage, this is ideal as there is no sunlight. Most people, like me, will be using a wine fridge in which case it will need a sunproof glass door as light has undesirable effects on the taste of wine.
Buy a combination of bottles that need to age, and bottles that are ready to drink - one good tip is to buy second classes of wine from famous Châteaus, they are cheaper than the first cuvées and most importantly you don’t have to wait for them to age.
Wine is a great investment but for that, you’ll need to take good care of it; as you know wine is born, and it lives and dies (unfortunately). So if you’re not going to drink it, then sell it! Or else it’ll be a waste!
Finally the most important thing. A wine cellar needs to be personal, so choose from regions you love. Then you’ll have more to share with your guests than just opening a bottle, you will be able to tell stories about it and bring it to life.
Perfect your floral arrangements
Flowers have the ability to transform any space (yes, your kitchen/office hybrid) and bring a smile to anyone's face. The Dorchester hotel is known for its impeccable floral arrangements so to bring the outdoors in and make the most out of your flowers at home, the hotel’s designer florist Philip Hammond has shared his top tips:
Use peace lilies - These great plants to have in your bedroom as they cleanse the air. They produce lots of oxygen, which aids a restorative night’s sleep. Their beauty creates happiness too, making them a great addition to any home.
In times of worry I always turn to flowers that remind me of my childhood. There’s nothing like a bunch of bright yellow daffodils to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Now is a great time to start sowing seeds, even if only on a small balcony or outside space, sweet peas are always a winner.
Nurture those houseplants! Give them a good amount of water, cut any dead or discolored leaves off, wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth to make sure they can breathe properly.
Host your own Come Dine With Me
Get your family to make the most of mealtimes by hosting your own version of the popular show. Take a night of the week each and impress your family with a three-course meal and entertainment before judging each other's efforts. A bit of competitive spirit will add some fun to boring dinnertimes.
Learn some life skills from your favorite celebrities
Join Masterclass, NOW. Dubbed the “best educational investment” you can make, it is a hub of online courses taught by experts and celebrities in any given field. In short, your favorite celebrities are finally there, on-tap, to teach you how to be good at what they do. You can nestle down for two and a half hours of Anna Wintour’s teachings on creativity and leadership, or sit back as the one and only Natalie Portman teaches you how to act. Up there with one of our favorite courses has got to be Bobbi Brown’s makeup masterclass.
Replicate Pret's iconic cookies
Missing your daily Pret trip? Same. Thankfully the coffee chain has been sharing a whole host of recipes on social media under the #PretRecipeBook hashtag. The cookie recipe, in particular, is sending social media into overdrive. Here's how to recreate it at home...
Play virtual bingo
Dabbers Social Bingo is inviting participants to play virtual bingo every Friday; players will answer a series of questions to discover which numbers to dab off; throw in a hilarious comedian host, party tunes, and fab virtual prizes up for grabs. 10% of all ticket sales will go to support the fantastic work that Hospitality Action is doing.
Throw a virtual cocktail party
"Virtual Birthday Party" sounds like something out of an episode of Black Mirror (2020 has so far felt like an episode too I guess), but in response to customer demand, a cocktail company in the UK has started delivering virtual cocktail making parties by delivering cocktail making kits to customers' doors and then hosting the tutorials through a video call to the birthday girl and her friends. Those interested in having a virtual cocktail making class order the kits on the Boozy Events website and a cocktail making kit is delivered to each person wanting to take part. Everyone joins the same video call where they can chat and interact with their dedicated mixologist. Each class will teach you how to make a menu of cocktails and prices start at just £29.99 per kit with same-day delivery available. The equipment is collected the following day so customers are free to experiment or make more of the cocktails they were taught all night.
Stream Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag stage show
In fantastic news: Phoebe Waller-Bridge's stage version of Fleabag will be available to stream online, and all the proceeds will be going towards COVID-19 charities. You can watch it on Soho Theatre's On Demand streaming website for a minimum donation of £4.
Learn to knit
We Are Knitters, a sustainable and fashionable knitting brand, will be running free tutorials via Instagram. Tune in at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday to learn how to knit with a little help from influencer Jonahhands. The tutorials offer a great opportunity for all ages and levels to get involved with something crafty at home and is a great way to pass the time and do something creative with your afternoons.
As if Sneha Narayan, a full-time doctor working in intensive care and anesthetics during this current pandemic, wasn't busy enough, she's using her downtime to teach people calligraphy. She created her Instagram page @paintpotsandquills to bring the therapeutic benefits of calligraphy and watercolor to people during isolation to encourage them to stay home and create. What a woman.
Indulge in a virtual facial
FaceGym is launching a range of digital solutions to keep you face fit at home. You can either rune into a masterclass hosted by FaceGym’s Trainers from London, NYC, and LA, which is a 15-minute live stream class on Instagram Live @facegym that focuses on a different muscle group to tone, lift and sculpt the face. Or, if you're feeling fancy, have a private training session with a FaceGym trainer to teach you a series of their signature muscle workout techniques. Like in-studio, each session will begin with a skin consultation, followed up with a tailored warm-up, cardio, sculpt, and cool down for a fresh-from-the-studio look. It costs £45 for 45 minutes and you can book through FaceGym.com for a private Zoom link.
Rave in Ibiza (sort of...)
The one and only Glitterbox (if you know, you know) has announced a series of digital activations. No Glitterbox party would be complete without its larger-than-life production and performers, who will be appearing on the stream via video link-ups across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. Glitterbox’s colorful squad of drag performers will also be bringing the ‘Express Yourself’ ethos to life through a series of Instagram Live sessions. If you're already dreading missing the opening parties, this one's for you. Sequins compulsory.
Join a gaming session
Facebook has introduced a new feature, Facebook Gaming Tournaments, through which anyone can join or organize an online gaming tournament so if you're feeling lonely, log on.
Channel your inner spirituality
She's Lost Control, one of London's ethical crystal shops, has launched a digital wellness platform with classes ranging from yoga and meditation to the more spiritual side of things like self-hypnosis, chakra healing, tarot, and reiki. All classes work on a pay-what-you-can set-up and £1 from every ticket sold goes to Age UK to help support vulnerable elders. Check out the full event schedule.
Book in for a virtual hair appointment
Is anyone else missing trips to the hairdresser? As well as desperately needing my split ends trimmed, I'm missing the gossip sessions with my hairdresser. Thankfully he, along with plenty of other hairdressers, are offering virtual consultations to tide us over. Celebrity Hairdresser and Expert Colourist at Josh Wood Atelier, Jason Hogan, who happens to be my go-to man, is offering video consultation appointments (the entire salon is, so there are enough experts to share around.) You will receive personalized hair color and care advice...as well as spilling all of your lockdown secrets and stories just like you would in the salon. Book yours now.
Create a wanderlust list
Our holidays might be on hold but that doesn't stop us from dreaming of where we'd love to be when all this is over. We've been using Bimble - an app allowing you to collect, save and share your favorite places. Whether it’s creating a list of all the places you want to travel around the world, the most attractive waterfalls, tourist spots, or hikes, Bimble can enable that dream world for us right now. You can also create a list of the local places you’ll visit when the restrictions are lifted and your favorite high street gems are open again. It's getting us through.
Learn to tie-dye
It's an activity that'll not only keep you occupied for the afternoon, but will also encourage your creativity and leave you with a great new outfit afterward. Unsurprisingly, Kendall Jenner - a huge fan of tie-dye - got in on the action last weekend, decorating some of her old white t-shirts with splashes of color, as did the Beckham clan.
Drink your favorite cocktails from your local bar, at home
Struggling to master the art of an Espresso Martini at home? Good news: Bacardi and Deliveroo Editions have come together to bring you your favorite cocktails from your favorite local bars, delivered straight to your door. The “Cocktails at Home” virtual bar gives you the opportunity to support favorite local bars in London and Manchester while their doors are closed. There are only a few areas available for delivery right now but new bars and cocktails will be added every two weeks over the next two months. First orders from Londoners will be taken for ten bars; Callooh Callay, Kitchen Cocktail, Artesian (Whitechapel and Bermondsey), Grind (Whitechapel and Bermondsey), The Proofing Room at Milroy’s, Kwant, Mr. Foggs and a London-based bartender from Bristolian favorite, Filthy 13. In Manchester, local bars; Science and Industry; Cultureplex; Cottonopollisy; as well as 2019 International Bartender of the Year winner, Joe Schofield; and a Manchester-based bartender from London’s Grind, are the first to serve up cocktails. Use your Deliveroo app to search for the ‘Cocktails At Home’ virtual bar and pray your fav local is added soon.
Host a games night
Bored of yet another pub quiz? We feel ya. Organizing a games night is a sure-fire way to keep the whole family or your friendship group entertained this weekend. Here are a few tips...
Assign someone the 'happy hour host' and ask them to give a live cocktail masterclass
Assign 'drinking games masters' and ask them to orchestrate some drinking games and forfeits
Play a good old game of charades
Get one person to mute themselves and mime phrases and see who can read their lips the best
Ask guests to submit a surprising fact about themselves beforehand and see who can guess which fact correlates to which person on the Zoom
Play a good old game of Bingo. Ask everyone to mock up their own Bingo card based on a Google template and use a number generator to kick things off.