A few days late this month, but May has surprised me as I assume it has done for most of you!
It's incredibly hard keeping up with what day it is, especially for those who aren't working from home, but as soon as Sunday comes round, I do get a sense of another week is over.
In London, lockdown was announced on the 23rd of March, which seems another lifetime away, and although it has been an incredibly difficult time for many of us, it is important to make the most of the time we've all spent at home.
For me it's been spent doing hours of yoga, finding my love of cooking again, reading the books I just haven't had time for and most importantly planning what to do when normality resumes - whenever (whatever) that will be.
I've also learnt it's important to keep busy, I live alone so I guess it would be pretty easy to just sit and stare out the window feeling sorry for myself. Or spend all day everyday flicking through Netflix until it's time for bed, but I feel I've actually been quite productive during the past few weeks and that's mainly down to all the resources online which have kept me motivated.
1. Food Deliveries
And the main thing which keeps me motivated? Food of course! I can't be the only one who counts down the hours until the next meal... Although I mentioned I've found my love of cooking once more, it is pretty hard to keep up the momentum when you're just cooking for yourself. I cracked last week and got a delivery from Smokestak which was incredible, so keep an eye out for their weekly delivery slots - pulled pork, pork rib and burnt end beans all kept me going for a good few days.I also had pizza from Passo on Old Street last night which was really good! They are also doing vegetable boxes which meant I was given a bit of inspiration of what to cook over the next few days.
A delivery of Paul A Young chocolates also kept me sane this week, as well as baked goods from Little Bread Pedlar (croissants, sourdough, cinnamon buns etc). I also bought a selection of meat from Godfreys which I can highly recommend. I don't tend to eat much meat at home, but the Toulouse sausages and pork chop have been delicious, and they also offer next day delivery.
And ending on a high, I signed myself up for a cheese subscription with the Cheese Geek a few days ago! For around £30 a month, I receive a selection of five British cheese and it will hopefully mean I get to discover some new ones I haven't encountered before. Anyone else getting into the swing of food deliveries?
2. Online Learning
Over the recent weeks I've spent hours on Smart History and it's great for any art history or history fans out there. Full of videos, pages of information and what's more it's free.
I've also loved getting to know my way around Layers of London. If you haven't used this website, I suggest you set aside a few hours and go have a play! You can overlap old maps of London onto the present day one, and find about more on the areas that interest you or even where you live! I used this tool quite a bit on a recent blog post I wrote for Look Up London which you can read here. It's all about my home the Barbican, and goes into the history of the area before the war. One of the main highlights for me is the Bomb Damage Maps from the Second World War, which offer quite a dark reminder of our city's history.
3. On the TV
One of the best things I've watched on TV over the past week has been Museums in Quarantine of BBC Four (now on Iplayer). From a look at the Rembrandt exhibition at the Ashomoelon Museum in Oxford, a wander round Tate Britain or into the British Museum with Janina Ramirez. If I'm honest watching them actually brought a tear to my eye, if anyone knows me you'll know how important art galleries and museums are for me, and they offer a moment to escape from the hectic world around us.
I've also been rewatching Rome Unpacked with my favourite art historian Andrew Graham Dixon and chef Giorgio Locatelli (you can find it on Youtube). But to be honest it just made me miss traveling more than anything, although I am very grateful I got to go to Rome just before lockdown took hold.
4. What to Read
I've got through a mountain of books over the past few weeks, but I have to admit I'm one of those people who reads about ten books at a time. A few of my favourites include Small Island by Andrea Levy, Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square by William Sutton and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
I am of course reading many London books as always, and if that's something up your street my recommendations are Cruikshank's London, Building St Paul's and Soho by Judith Summers.
5. What to Drink
My drink of choice is always wine, so all my recommendations are wine I'm afraid! I've had a few deliveries in the past week from Modal Wines, The Winemakers Club, Tutto Wines, Streatham Wine House, and Dynamic Vines. Dynamic Vines particularly caught my eye as they were doing mixed cases of the wines from Gut Oggau, a winery doing incredible things in Austria, and also the wines from Radikon, which produce some of the most important natural and orange wines in the world. So if you need a little pick me up this week, I do urge you to support the smaller businesses plus these guys all focus on small producers doing cool things!
Heard in London
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