It’s never been more important to stay home. That’s it. That’s all anyone is asking you to do. I don’t want to seem unsympathetic. I honestly understand that this is a scary time and some might be struggling financially and mentally (I know I am), but if we truly appreciate, love and respect our NHS (in fact all Keyworkers) as we all proudly demonstrated on the 26th when we took to our doorsteps in solidarity, we need to follow the rules. Currently, social distancing is all we can do to stop the threat of Coronavirus. It breaks my heart not having my gran round every week. After my Grandad passed, she has done her best to keep busy. She spent every day for 50 years by his side. She used to spend her afternoons at the bingo, walking my auntie’s dog, visiting her friends, taking trips into town for a wander around Primark, coming to mine for tea once a week; to be honest she had a busier social life than I did! Now she finds herself alone in her house. I phone her every day and leave chocolate on her doorstep. I want to give her a big squeeze more than anything but she’s doing her bit and isolating herself for the good of her family and, not to seem dramatic, her country… and so must we.
With that being said, I could write for days about how terrifying life during this pandemic is. I could type pages and pages about my anxiety and the impact this lockdown has had to my mental wellbeing and maybe one day I will, however, for now, I’m going to try and lift this mood and think positively. The lockdown is in full swing and, at the time of writing this, it doesn’t look like we’ll be jetting off on holiday or even buying a Maccies anytime soon, so what the can we do all day around the house to keep ourselves from going stir crazy (obviously doing nothing is a completely viable option), here are a few ideas to brighten your day…
- Get Sweaty | I’m currently on day 4 of Joe Wicks 7 Day of Sweat plus I’ve been going this 10-minute arm workout (I’ve been using soup cans instead of dumbbells) and watching the odd yoga video with stretches and breathing exercises to help me prepare for the day ahead.
- Cooking | Dust off the recipe book you bought years ago and give a new recipe a try. I’ve been making a lot from my Pinch of Nom Recipe Book. We’ve actually been incredibly lucky when it comes to food being available, but I know my brother down south has really been struggling as the shelves in his local shop are always bare. If you’re struggling to buy fresh food or making some cutbacks, the kindle version of Jack Monroe’s Tin Can Cook: 75 Simple Store-Cupboard Recipes is currently available for only 99p for a limited time. Inside you’ll find recipes using basic tinned ingredients you might have lying about such as the odd can of kidney beans, pineapple rings and coconut milk.
- Become a Domestic Goddess | I know it’s not for everyone but staying on top of cleaning really helps me to stay focused and relaxed. You don’t need a whole cleaning ‘narnia’ like Mrs Hinch to get started. Elbow Grease and The Pink Stuff are brilliant multiuse products which you can use to clean tiles, your oven hob, stubborn stains, rust marks etc. Just grab an old toothbrush and get scrubbing. Trust me, it’s oddly satisfying.
- 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine | Take your skincare seriously and really give yourself a good pamper. We’re talking double cleansing, exfoliating, serums, boosters, sheet masks and SPF. If you want to read about the philosophy behind Korean skincare in more depth, I highly recommend you read The Little Book of Skincare: Korean Beauty Secrets for Glowing Skin by Charlotte Cho or you can visit her blog, Soko Glam, for a detailed guide.
- Start Your Disney+ 7-Day Free Trial | If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what I’m talking about, Disney+ is an on-demand streaming service, just like Netflix, that gives you access to everything that falls under the Disney umbrella. The 90s kids looking for a little nostalgia can enjoy shows like X-Men: The Animated TV Series and Ducktales, and films such as Three Men & a Little Lady and The Mighty Ducks. You can then move on to your favourite noughties series such as Boy Meets World, That’s So Raven and Hannah Montana. Currently, you can subscribe for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year with a free 7-day trial included – just set a reminder on your phone and remember to cancel!
If you have children (to be fair you actually don’t need kids to enjoy these ideas) here are a few ideas to keep them occupied. Just remember, you don’t have to compete with Facebook mums who have every minute of every day scheduled. We’re not teachers and we can only do our best to keep them entertained, busy and happy. The most important thing is that we do our best to look after their mental health at this scary time. You’re doing a grand job.
- Make a Den | Use bedsheets, cushions and blankets. You could even pop up to the attic and get the fairy lights down to decorate it. Grab the popcorn, stick on you PJs and have a movie night or have a teddy bears picnic.
- Create a Rainbow Display | Get the paints out and make a rainbow display for everyone to enjoy as they walk by. Nothing complicated. Penny and I just used our handprints. Our one doesn’t even look like a rainbow but she loves it and it killed an hour of the day. Stick your teddy’s on the window sill too. Pinterest has some fabulous ideas.
- Make Gloop and Playdough | Gloop is essentially slime made from cornflour, water and food colouring and there are hundreds of recipes online for playdough. Some require cream of tartar, glycerine or coconut oil, however, I just use flour, water, cornflower and any old hair conditioner then play around with it until I get the right consistency. Once you’ve nailed the recipe, feel free to add glitter, essential oils and food colouring. BBC Good Food has a really basic recipe available here.
- Create a Time Capsule | Find a shoebox, decorate it and fill it with photos, artwork, pasta jewellery etc. You don’t have to put anything valuable inside, just little nick-nacks, and then you can bury it in the garden or store it in the attic for future you to open.
- Lego Challenges | Search ‘lego challenges’ online and you can find lots of ideas on Google images. Every day there could be a simple idea such as ‘NASA needs you to build them a rocker!’ or ‘Dr Who hires you to build a new TARDIS’.
- Junk Modelling | I don’t know about you but our recycling pile is overflowing. We’ve been turning old yoghurt pots, lollypop sticks and cereal boxes into robots.
- Baking Simple Biscuits | Baking with a toddler can be a nightmare. The easiest recipe I’ve found is this basic biscuit recipe. We made unicorn biscuits and decorated them. Plus, Penny played with the leftover dough for ages. You can make the classics like banana bread and cupcakes but never underestimate the joy that comes with making chocolate Rice Krispie cakes.
- Story Time | Read every book in your child’s collection a million times? Me too. CBeebies have a selection of stories read by celebrities for you to watch together on YouTube here while you enjoy a cuppa. David Walliams is also releasing a free audiobook on his official website for older children and there are also lots of free printable resources to accompany them.
- P.E. With Joe | You probably already know, as he’s everywhere right now, and quite rightly so, but the lovely Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach also has daily child-friendly workouts to get the kids active here.
- Online Zoo | Even though Edinburgh Zoo is temporarily closed, you can watch the pandas, penguins, tigers and koalas on their live cameras here.
Don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel or get yourself in debt buying the latest game for Nintendo Switch. Try to enjoy this time you have together and, most importantly, stay safe and stay home.2