1. Time to revisit your inner-book worm and read Phosphorescence by Julia Baird.
I'm not usually a non-fiction reader - and I have to be honest here - one of the main reasons I bought this book was because of the beautifully designed cover and the fact it is hardcover (it seems I *do* judge a book by its cover 🤣). Whilst publishing deadlines meant this book was written waaaaay before the world turned upside down, its insights couldn't be more timely: 'how do we continue to glow when the lights turn out', the book asks.
Baird (who also hosts ABC program, The Drum) has written so eloquently and used personal experience to discuss how to survive, stay alive and even bloom when the world goes dark... It's helping remind me awe is omnipresent, if only I open up my tired eyes now and then to see it.
Do you experience what-the-heck-do-i-even-choose anxiety upon entering the bookshop and leave 2 hours later empty-handed? If that's you then let the gals over at Well Read take on the responsibility of choosing a ripper read for you every month (or two) by signing up to their curated book subscription. You'll receive a (non-mainstream) book delivered straight to your doorstep without you having to lift a finger (well, apart from having to turn pages of the book of course).
Bonus points for getting exclusive access to their private FB group upon becoming a subscription member. The perfect way to be in a book club when you can't leave the house.
2. I don't know about you, but I haven't exactly been the poster child for ergonomic working these past few work-from-home weeks.
And let me tell you, my body is feeling it: aching back and hunched shoulders are what human pretzels are made of. So it was with welcome -yet nagging tendon - arms I signed up to the new online class offering at Light Space Yoga.
I might be a little biased here (Sage x Clare designed the serene and stylish yoga studios), but I think Light Space has done a FAB job of taking what had been purely taught in the offline space, to fully online. A mean feat for these dedicated yogis.
There is truly something for everyone: guided meditations (if my patience could last long enough to do them, I would!), kids yoga, 48 LIVE streamed classes every week + so many pre-recorded classes you can do at any old time of the day or night (who even knows what bloody day it is anyway!).
3. Toons, Toons, Toons . Is there any better way to get you out of a rut than music?
My daughter's school teacher provided all her students a 'Brain Buster' sheet; a grid of activities her students could do to give their brain a break in between lessons. In between doing things like burpees (yuck!) and clap squats (double yuck!) we've been daggy dancing (triple fun!) around the lounge room in between her home school sessions and lemme' tell you 3 minutes of dumb dancing well and truly busts that brain into a higher gear. Those teachers do know a thing or two....
We've had these playlists from Smack Bang Designs on R.E.P.E.A.T..... Zoe Foster Blake also has some fab playlists she's curated over on her Spotify account (6pmsies + Aperols in the afternoon sun are goodies)
4. Self-care that's manageable and doesn't involve any form of nail polish or my time over 4 minutes? I'm there!
NY Times developed this nifty (I also loved the clever copywriting!) little scrolling session that - amongst other calming activities - lets you *virtually* pat the cutest pooch (watch it's head respond to the pat!), all while listening to some tranquil and calming sounds.
It only takes 4 minutes and it works. The activities effortlessly take you out of your burgeoning to-do list and into the present moment (even if I stated one of the things I could 'smell' was some weird salami that had been in the fridge for an indescribable amount of time. whoops.)
5. Instead of stocking up on canned lima beans + one-ply toilet paper, this article suggests we stock up on compassion - take that empty supermarket shelves!
This online read from Harvard Business Review (don't go to sleep, it's not *that* kind of snooze fest article!) helped me find a label for that indescribable feeling I've been experiencing lately: it's grief. David Kessler, one of the worlds most foremost experts on grief, explains in the article that in this moment grief can mean: "The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air."
In the workplace, where face-to-face communication has largely been replaced by virtual communication, it is particularly helpful to give yourself and others a large helping of compassion: "A coworker got very snippy with me the other day and I thought, That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety. So be patient. Think about who someone usually is and not who they seem to be in this moment."
6. I have one small draw for pyjamas + uber-comfy (read: daggy to the MAX) tracksuit style pants I wore when I was pregnant.
They usually don't get worn often because they just make me feel blah, but lately? Well, that draw seems to be a lot more empty than normal. Look, I'm all for being comfortable, but the novelty of being home 24-7 has slightly worn off and I'm feeling the need to amp up the at-home attire. Slightly.
Our apparel has arrived just in time for our new stay-at-home lives. We've elevated the casual work-from-home outfit from threadbare trackies to polished cosy: leggings + slightly oversized sweaters in the most sublime prints are a brand new addition to our collection. That small draw? It's been upgraded to a larger draw now (I couldn't stop at one set. Can you blame me?)
7. Here's a way to interrupt the misery: over 1,000 people from 18 countries came together to sing this Karen Carpenter classic, (They Long To Be) Close to You.
It's a moving tribute to the strength of the human spirit and desire to connect. Challenge you to not be smiling through a happy tear (or two) as you watch the Couch Choir YouTube channel.
*I also loved the family who were passing the toilet rolls to each other throughout the song!
8. I read a quote the other day that said, "productivity is the new porn".
We're being bombarded with messages to upskill! use our time wisely! learn a 12th language! It's a little overwhelming TBH. But that said, before the world was turned upside down, I had started to take a few of these Masterclasses.
I have always harboured a not-so-secret dream to be Martina Hingis (or look, I'd take Anna Wintour too!) so I've been watching her class on how to dominate the world tennis circuit in one easy lesson. Nah, just kidding - that would require me picking up a racquet and visiting a tennis court right?
But in all seriousness, the variety of classes is quite extraordinary, not to mention the high-profile + highly-qualified instructors who are facilitating the lessons. If you've got some time on your hands, and you're in the mood to work the grey matter, I can highly recommend these classes.
9. Hands up who's been featuring spag bol on the menu even more often than usual lately?
Yup, guilty as charged here. It's such a simple go-to, but my appetite (and not to mention my family) is hankering for some variation. And no, I don't mean experimenting with veal mince instead of beef mince.
But let's not veer tooooo far off course now cos' I've found some visually + taste bud appealing recipes using the familiar and good ol' pantry staple: PASTA!
Is there anything more scrumptious to the eye than luscious ribbons of starchy pasta with parmesan smattered throughout? Even if I don't end up making these, my eyeballs will be pretty happy nonetheless!
And if you're feeling particularly experimental (or the one-packet-o-pasta rule just ain't cutting it) check out the Pasta Grannies YouTube channel and latest book, which you can buy right here from us!
10. Let's be honest: in an ideal world we wouldn't be handing over an iPad to our kids to get more than 10 minutes of work or peace.
But right now? Ideal world is not the world we're inhabiting! But for those times when you might have moments spare to spend some more 1:1 time with the kidlets this article has some ripper suggestions.
Personally, things I've tried with my kids that have been fun time-fillers for all of us are; living room dance parties; hide & seek; baking cakes (messy, but fun and tasty); making an indoor cubby - have you seen our 'Quarantine Cubby' on our Insta page?; yoga (we're using Light Space's online platform) and finally, my kids are loving to read and listen to any book by Roald Dahl at the moment.
11. A lack of fresh air and not enough H2O has left my skin feeling a little lacklustre.
Step in Little Company who produce all-inclusive facial packages for you to do in the comfort of your own home. After an initial consultation via phone, video or email, you're sent an at-home kit complete with enough product for 4 facials, a headband, teas... the list goes on!
Side note: could make a sweet lil' Mothers Day gift too!
12. I don't know about you, but the only break from the household I seem to be getting is the car trip to the supermarket.
I've always loved using car travel time to tune into a good podcast, and here's a couple that have been on high rotation during my supermarket commute.
1) Dolly Parton's America. You don't need to be a Dolly fan to enjoy this 9-part series that had me questioning if this American icon's seemingly innocent contribution to the music world runs deeper than just her catchy lyrics and big, um, hair? I challenge you to not listen to the song 9-5 after hearing episode 5, Dollitics.
2) Jumbled Loves a Chat. Pip and the team at Jumbled launched their inaugural podcast series to align with their wildly successful women in biz event, The Huddle. I was lucky enough to both attend the event as a mentor, and be interviewed for this podcast. I've been catching up on the other impressive podcast guests like Grace Brennan from Buy from the Bush, Amy from Confetti Rebels and the inspiring Jane Cay from online clothing juggernaut, Birdsnest.
13. Don't you love a good technology hack?
You might have seen this novel idea floating around on social media, but it is SO fun! On your iPhone search for an animal, for instance, Bear and press ‘view in 3D’ and wait for it to appear in your home! Can't go to the zoo? Let it come to you (then again, it feels A LOT like a zoo here as it is!)
14. I've been wanting to watch anything that fits this checklist: non-animated. That's it.
I recently enjoyed having some solo time watching the movie American Woman, featuring Sienna Miller. An indie film that relies on Miller to deliver in almost every scene (no heroic male main characters here. breath of fresh air!). Miller stars as Debra, a grandmother by the age of 32 whose lifelong habit of bad choices is transformed when her teenage daughter disappears. The film follows Debra over 10 years as she raises her grandson, pursues relationships with bad men and better ones, and eventually grows into the kind of self-possession and responsibility that seemed unimaginable when the film began.
15. Has your home ever needed to be *more* of a sanctuary than it is now?
Whilst we don't want to blow our own trumpet, we're going to anyway! Cos' TBH, we've got all the good stuff to help amp up the COSY factor to the max: the cosiest bedlinen, calming Happy Society candles, snuggly robes, soft house socks and easy PJ's to help make your time at home that little bit more lovely.
Thanks for reading. Let us know if you've tried any of the above and managed to gut punch that lingering pessimism a little yet?
With a Whole Lotta' Love xx