If you’re like me, you’re probably getting really tired of being stuck inside or perhaps stuck outside doing the same things over and over again. Sure, lockdown number 1 was not too bad because we made banana bread and enjoyed some Springtime sunshine. Lockdown number 2 was not too bad either as it was only for a month, winter had not yet arrived, and we still we were working on perfecting our sourdough and at-home workout routines. But, this post-Christmas lockdown number 3… now this is a killer. Honestly, it feels like I’ve done all the activities one can do! Nevertheless, it’s important to stay positive and creative while we weather this storm. This too shall pass. So, here are some more fun ideas you can try at home.
Try out a puzzle or board game (or a few!)
I didn’t buy a puzzle until now, but I’ve discovered that puzzles are a lot of fun and take up a lot of time! Choosing a puzzle is quite a challenge. Victor and I decided to buy a Disney Princess-themed one, as well as a World of Shakespeare one. The latter took forever, but we felt very accomplished at the end of it. I also highly recommend buying a puzzle mat, so that you can put it away when needed.
Host a beer tasting event
Over the past year, we’ve been trying to support our local breweries as much as possible. We’re not big drinkers, but do enjoy sharing a beer or two every once in a while. Well, we ended up accumulating a ton of beer so we decided to host our own beer tasting. It’s very easy, and only takes a little bit of planning. Here are some tips:
1. Make sure you have at least four types of beer to try
You obviously want to have a couple of varieties because otherwise, that’s the point?! I advise at least a lager or pale ale, IPA, perhaps a wheat beer, and a darker ale.
2. Taste the beers in the right order
Typically, you start with the beer with the lowest alcohol content (that is also the lightest) and make your away to the highest alcohol content and darkest beer.
3. Use or create your own beer tasting cards
To make the tasting an actual tasting, use tasting cards to measure various parts of the beers like the smell, flavour, foaminess, and bubbliness. I used this tasting card from Beerwulf, but you could easily make your own too.
4. Choose the right snacks
I did a lot of research on what kinds of flavours go well with different types of beer. For a pale ale, try smoked cheese. For a pilsner try something extremely salty like pecorino or anchovies. IPAs go well with something spicy and strong-flavoured, like pickled chiles. And finally, we had a coffee porter and paired it with kettle corn.
“Go” on a staycation
I know most of would like to travel abroad, carefree. And if not that, then perhaps you’d compromise for a vacation somewhere in your country of residence. But no… if you’re under any sort of lockdown you are likely meant to stay very local. So, why not have your own at-home staycation instead? You can “travel” to and “experience” another country. A romantic couples trip to Paris, perhaps? Or, a fitness retreat in Bali?
Check out my blog post on a Japanese-themed staycation for some inspiration.
Research and watch films from a particular genre
I’m sure we’ve all watched plenty of TV shows and movies over the past year, but have you done so with a methodical mind? Last year I really got into Film Noir, which led me to research movie genres in general. From action to fantasy to horror… I loved learning about the development of each genre. I even bought a book called Film Art, which is probably the most well-known introduction book for the analysis of cinema.
Most recently, my genre of choice has been Gangster, a sub-genre of Crime. Gangster films were quite prevalent between 1930 and 1960, and then had a resurgence in the 90s. I find the interest in gangs fascinating and clearly, the world thinks alike. In fact, the first feature-length movie ever produced was The Story of the Kelly Gang from 1906 which of course is about the notorious Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly.
Learn to make Neapolitan-style pizza
Neapolitan-style has been my favourite style of pizza since my trip to Naples back in 2018. The key to making this type of pizza is cooking it at the right temperature for the right amount of time. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) wood-fired oven. Most household ovens do not reach this temperature, so how in the world do you accomplish this at home? The secret is a frying pan. You heat a frying pan until it’s very hot, and then place the rolled-out pizza dough into the pan. Put your tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, etc and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Then, put the pan on the top shelf of your oven with the grill setting on, cooking it for another 2 minutes and, voila!
If you live in Great Britain, you can order your very own frying pan pizza kit from Pizza Pilgrims.
Join an online book club
Yes, we’re all trying to read more, but why not motivate yourself more by joining a book club? So many have popped over the past year, so you can really try to find your niche. Or, perhaps you just want to read a bit of everything — that’s okay too. Here are some online book clubs you can join today:
- Beth’s Book Club (£6.99/month or £70/year)
- The Guardian’s Reading Group (free)
- Poppy Loves Book Club (free)
- Rebel Book Club (£39/3 months or £120/year)
Watch a play or musical online
If you haven’t already, you should try and watch a play or musical online! We watch tons of TV shows and movies all the time, so why all the performing arts?
The National Theatre has launched National Theatre at Home, where we can stream all your favourite plays and musicals. It costs £83.32/year or £8.32/month (plus tax). If you don’t want to subscribe, you can also rent plays for a 3-day period at £6.99. Not only will be enjoying great theatre, but you’ll also be supporting a great venue through this no doubt difficult time.
You can rent or buy video performances from the Shakespeare’s Globe’s Globe Player.
What other activities have you done? Are there any that are particularly unique that you would recommend?