Lockdown? There’s only one way to describe it, it feels like you’re reliving the same day over and over again. You keep trying to come up with new things to do but at times you may stop and think ‘okay what next?’. I think we’ve all been there. Some days lockdown feels like the new norm for me and I don’t feel phased at all by it, on the other hand there are some days when I’m totally fed up and desperate to see friends and family, wondering when this will end. It’s human nature, life has changed before our very own eyes and there’s at least one thing we’re all currently missing right now.
For me, creativity is key. We may not be able to see our loved ones or go out for our favourite dish at our local restaurant but we can try and bring some of our favourite things to life at home, and that’s what today’s post is all about.
VIRTUAL AFTERNOON TEA
Lockdown means no more face to face catch ups with my best friends but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend we’re all together. Pre-lockdown our typical meetings would usually involve food and sweet treats, so brunch or dinner followed by a tea/coffee and cake afterwards to draw things out that little bit longer. With that not being possible till who knows when, we have been making sure to schedule a time for a weekly catch up over Zoom, that way there’s more to talk about when it’s weekly. It’s difficult to NOT speak about coronavirus since it’s all we see, hear and read about at the moment, so we’re trying to keep things as normal as possible by having a weekly themed day or night in order to lift our spirits and give us something to look forward to.
Recently I came across a virtualiTEA box from Tregothnan costing only £5, which comes in a box easy enough to fit through your letterbox and contains 10 tea bags. There are 5 different kinds of tea, from chai to afternoon tea, to great British tea so you have a variety of teas to try. Another bonus is that they offer free UK delivery so this is a cheap and cheerful purchase that would go above and beyond for the likes of an afternoon tea, and that’s the very idea that came into my head when I came across their site….I just had to sell the idea to my friends. ‘Afternoon tea anyone?’ They were sold straight away.
We all purchased the tea boxes and looked forward to 2pm on Sunday the 19th for an afternoon anyone with a sweet tooth would be envious of. Everyone went all out, I baked chocolate cupcakes, we made finger sandwiches, Sangeeta brought out her afternoon tea stand, Gillian had fancy breads, and as well as tea we also had alcohol to virtually cheers to. Spending Sunday morning transforming my ‘working from home‘ desk into my own little afternoon tea spread was fun and the sun was absolutely shining through the windows, we couldn’t have asked for a better day and we were all very much looking forward to it (so much so that I ate half of my sandwiches before it even started)
3 hours later after lots of laughter and story telling, I left the zoom call feeling uplifted, hopeful for what was to come when we are eventually reunited and lucky to have such amazing friends to go through an unusual time like this with. We may not be able to see some of our loved ones but getting creative and coming up with cheap alternatives to what we would usually do pre lockdown life can be just as good for now to fill the void.
PIZZA MAKING NIGHT
Everyone loves pizza and in the UK at the moment we’re fortune enough to have some food businesses still open and able to deliver us some good food. For those who don’t have a local Dominoes or Pizza Hut close by and offering delivery, or if you do but would rather spend less and keep yourself busy in the kitchen, why not become the pizza maker and have a pizza making night in your household?
Many local businesses are taking matters into their own hands and creating their own pizza making kits to bring us some lockdown fun. One of these businesses local to me is Café Mariana, a family run cafe/restaurant offering delicious authentic Italian food. They kindly reached out to me and sent one of their very own pizza making kits to try out at home, with enough dough, tomato base and cheese to make two pizzas. I can’t ever recall making pizzas before, maybe when I was young and it was nothing to be too proud of so I couldn’t wait to give this a try and see what they turned out like.
With short and sweet instructions on how long to cook your pizza for and at what temperature, I was eager to get going. I rolled out my dough, spread the tomato base evenly around and added an excessive amount of cheese on top. You could always add your own toppings if you fancy being a little bit more exciting, but with how good the tomato base smelt I knew I would just leave it as it was and enjoy it just the same.
10 minutes later and VOILA…my pizza was ready and my whole kitchen smelt like I had just walked into pizza heaven. I’ve had a lot of pizza in my 24 years of life but this was truly delicious and up there in my top 5. After demolishing every single slice, usually I’d be sad that the pizza party was all over but then I remembered I had another dough and plenty of the tomato base and cheese to make another pizza later on in the week (by later on in the week I mean the VERY next day).
This is definitely something fun and different to do on one of the many free lockdown evenings that we have. For only £10 this pizza making kit is for two people, and this is incredible cheap given that some of the other pizza making kits I’ve come across have been £20, if not more. I’m always looking for new food places to try out so I’m looking forward to supporting a local business and enjoying a meal at Café Mariana when this all blows over.
COCKTAIL MAKING NIGHT
I’m sure this applies to a lot of people when I say that we tend to have lots of leftover alcohol from Christmas or special occasions, am I right? Why not put these alcoholic beverages to good use and have a cocktail making masterclass? I love nothing more than going out for a few cocktails so I’m making the most of my time and either purchasing the good old cocktail cans from Marks and Spensers – I highly recommend the Raspberry Mojito or Pink Pornstar Martini, or when I’m not purchasing the premade ones I’m making my own favourite cocktails with what ingredients I have in the house.
One of my new favourite cocktails that stole my heart in February on a trip to Venice was a Hugo Spritz. It was so refreshing and in a way didn’t feel like I was drinking alcohol until I had 4 or more and then started to actually really feel the effects. Some of the ingredients differ slightly depending on what sites you check, but it’s typically made up of:
- Mint leaves
- Elderflower syrup/cordial or St. Germain
- Splash of soda water
- Lemon or lime wedges as a garnish
- Top with ice
It’s quick and easy to make and although mines may not have tasted exactly like the ones I had in Italy, the more I had of them the better they tasted.
It’s also becoming more common that bars and restaurants are now offering cocktail deliveries so this is always an option if you can’t be bothered getting your cocktail shaker out and putting one together yourself. In terms of Glasgow a couple of places offering some amazing cocktails include La Vita and Vodka Wodka and each weekend these are becoming more and more popular with people posting these online as part of their weekend activities.
If you do feel like having a little cocktail making night then I’ve provided a few links below to some websites with great recipes that will allow you to use some of that alcohol that’s sitting in your cupboard that you’ve obtained over Christmases and birthdays:
PYJAMA PARTY/QUIZ NIGHT
The next themed night I’m having with my friends is a pyjama party, which is this Saturday night. YES…any excuse to wear my personalised pyjamas from The Sleepover Club. We’ll pop on our best pyjamas, have lots of snacks, a little glass of wine and we are also going to do a little Saturday night quiz. We’ve each picked a category and have come up with 15 questions each and we’ll see who is crowned the general knowledge queen when it comes to all things food, drink, Netflix, and geography.
Again, I wanted to do something a little different for this night so I’m going to be doing some chocolate dipped strawberries and decorating them with little cake toppers, glitter and food colouring so I’m excited to see how these will turn out. You could always add in some pampering and all put some face masks on if you want to have the ultimate girly pyjama party.
Again, I think it’s good to know that realistically lockdown hasn’t been all rainbows, cakes and happiness, there’s been tears and frustration from my end on occasion. Everyone is experiencing all sorts of emotions during a time like this which is completely normal, but it can be made that little bit easier if you keep yourself busy and in my case, having things like the above to look forward to has been my saving grace. What have you been doing during lockdown?