How’s everyone’s lockdown going? Some days I’m ultra-productive: starting my day with a morning workout, editing essays for university, finishing a book, and cooking dinner; other days I’m sleep-deprived and lethargic. I imagine it’s this way for lots of people as we try to adjust to (forgive the over-used phrase) our new normal. Besides, I think the most important thing we can do right now (other than stay home) is to just be gentle with ourselves. We don’t need to always be productive. Instead, it’s just as important to listen to our bodies and do what we can to stay happy and healthy. For me, when the stress and anxiety hits, I know I can count on feel-good TV and plenty of snacks.
W A T C H I N G
True to my indecisive nature, I’m watching 133453 things at once. In my defence, there are so many amazing new and returning TV shows out right now.
Firstly, Netflix finally graced us with Season 6 of Brooklyn 99 which I flew through within a week. Now, weekly episodes of Season 7 on Channel 4 are providing me with some much-needed comic relief. Another feel-good comedy series I’m enjoying is the oh-so underrated Schitt’s Creek. Moira’s melodramatic exclamations are too relatable right now. Sticking with comedy, I discovered First We Feast on YouTube a few months back and have been obsessed ever since. Essentially, for every question that a celebrity guest is asked, they must eat a progressively spicy chicken/vegan wing. Zac Efron was on it last month and, I can confirm, my crush that sprouted 14 years ago during the Disney Channel premiere of High School Musical is still going strong.
On the other end of the spectrum, one of my favourite shows, La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) returned with season 4. This heist series is totally absorbing, boasts memorable performances, and brims with shocking twists. It’s the perfect show to binge on in your isolation downtime, and one I’ve been able to give my uninterrupted focus. (Watching it with Spanish subtitles counts as Spanish revision, right?)
Finally, Too Hot to Handle, quite possibly the trashiest dating show there is, premiered on Netflix two weeks ago. A group of young singles hang out on a beach, but there’s a twist: no sexual contact is allowed. Think Love Island with a celibacy ring around it. Did I watch it within 48 hours of it being added? Of course.
R E A D I N G
University and job-hunting is already a lot of pressure without the addition of everything else going on in the world currently. But, I find so much comfort in opening a book at the end of the day and escaping for a while. As we welcome a new month, I’m delving into some historical fiction with The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I also plan on reading highly-acclaimed Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel soon.
“Underneath all the trappings of talking animals and fairy godmothers are tough stories about people who are marginal, undervalued, and isolated.”Rebecca Solnit
Moreover, I recently read a beautifully lyrical essay by Rebecca Solnit on Lit Hub: ‘On Letting Go of Certainty in a Story That Never Ends‘, Finding Communion in the Fairy Tales We Tell. This was my first experience reading anything by Solnit and I can’t wait to soak up more of her work. I was blown away by her ability to elegantly knit together powerful arguments and captivating images. Simply, stunning.
L I S T E N I N G
April saw my favourite podcast, The High Low, make a comeback! Their first episode graced us with Dolly and Pandora’s intelligent conversation, relatable humour, literary recommendations, and the iconic Pandemic at the Disco Playlist.
Another podcast I have sought solace in is How to Fail with Elizabeth Day. Her two episodes with Mo Gawdat are incredible sources of comfort. Gawdat shares how he handles negative thoughts and his daily routine for self-isolation, the difference between the inevitability of pain and the choice of suffering, and the wondrous abilities of the brain to come up with narratives which sometimes do not serve us.
Finally, COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the Table Manners Podcast from calling up celebs to chat about their favourite treats and desert island meals. In my favourite episode yet, the iconic duo, Mel and Sue, shared how they’re staying sane during this lockdown, and reminisced about their Bake Off days.
C O O K I N G
I find cooking extremely cathartic, and since becoming a vegetarian, have loved experimenting with my meals. One of my favourites meals to cook lately is Coconut Chickpea Curry with Mango. It sounds all sorts of fancy, and it tastes that way too, but it is so easy to make! I’ve taken inspiration from a whole load of recipes, but Minimalist Baker‘s curry is delicious. Other days, a loaded bowl of tomatoey pasta with my beloved Richmond Meat-Free sausages suffices perfectly.
Despite the uncertain and often stressful nature of this spring, life goes on in unexpected ways. We must remember to appreciate the privilege of rest and being able to practice social-distancing while tireless health and public service workers graft to ensure our safety and comfort in these trying times.
What are you loving during lockdown?
Catch up on my previous Little Things in Lockdown here.