Many of you will be familiar with my sister company, nnoodl where I create surprise experiential events for groups and individuals. Here we especially focus on the hidden gems of places and activities that London has to offer. We are as deflated as the rest of you that we are being advised against social contact, and moving towards isolation. Human interaction, and trying new experiences together is at the heart of what brings us joy. But, these are indeed unprecedented times, and so in the spirit of staying safe, but also sane, I have gathered together some of my favourite activities that you can do safely, all from the comfort of your own isolation. It also represents a mix of suppliers (some are free), but including some small businesses, who we love to support during these trying times.
Ok, so this is a simple one, it is something many of us probably already do in the privacy of our own home, in the shower, or whilst cooking dinner. But, have you ever experienced the joy of singing with someone else?
I first went to Matt Thompson at ‘Sing the Easy Way’ about 4 years ago. Initially this started as a bit of a dare, as I shy away from public speaking or any public performances. Matt has an amazing way of putting you at ease though, and after my first lesson I felt such a natural high that there was no going back! Matt has always offered online singing lessons, offering the same fun, one-to-one environment as face to face, but without the contact we are trying to currently avoid. Check him out here
Like me, you could become a singing convert and will be joining his beginners choir!
Quelle bonne idée!
Duolingo is something I have been using for a little while now in my attempt to learn Spanish. It is a free platform (with premium upgrade available) that includes a language-learning website and mobile app with 36 languages ranging from Hindi to Scottish Gaelic. They offer a skill tree of lessons that use listening exercises, flashcards, and multiple-choice questions to drill you on new words, phrases, and sentences. Most questions have a comment thread where users can discuss a particular question in detail. The service also has community features that let you connect with other people who are learning the same language you are. Soon you will not only be able to chat online to your current friends, but could be connected to some new international ones too. Get prepared for those 'post covid holidays'!
Gucci Osteria is an Italian restaurant by the famous fashion house which most of us could only aspire to visit in the best of times. However, Massimo Bottura, the Michelin -starred chef heading up the kitchen is giving us a welcome glimpse into this establishment, and just the jolt of optimism we need as millions enter into quarantine to mitigate the spread of the virus. Bottura wants to help with a free cooking series he’s launched via his own Instagram page here
Kitchen Quarantine’s lessons are always taught in English, despite the chef’s Italian provenance, and come to you live via Bottura’s own home where he’s holed up with his family. So far he has taught us how to make a veggie-packed Thai curry, salad, and a tortellini in a thick parmesan sauce to name but a few. He is keen to advocate cooking in a way to limit food waste by using every scrap and byproduct you can.
Bottura wants to be clear that he isn’t just teaching kitchen skills. “It’s just a way to share with people from all over the world… we just want to be part of the world. There’s a beautiful sentence in Italiano from a poet, Franco Arminio [translated roughly to]: yes, we are here, home, but we are talking with the whole world, so we are sharing with the whole world.”
Now this is one that I know is on a lot of people’s hit lists. Learning to sew, either for fun, or in these challenging economic times, to make your own clothes, or upcycle, is a great skill to have. I did my own sewing challenge back in 2015 when I went to the Thrifty Stitcher to learn how to make a dress. (If you really have time on your hands, have a look at my blog here about this great experience).
Owner, Claire-Louise Hardie was the first Sewing Producer for The Great British Sewing Bee, a Professional Costumier with a passion for teaching beginners to sew. She is running a range of online sewing courses, perfect for great tuition in your own home. Check out her online courses here. Also, in the spirit of helping everyone in these challenging times, she is offering some free online sewing tutorials for beginners here.
Thank you for the music...
Having owned a guitar since I was about 12, I am as guilty as the next person of not giving it constant attention and keeping my practice going. Well, what better time to perfect those musical skills than now? Charlotte Barrow is a guitarist whom I have had the pleasure to play alongside at various flamenco gigs. She is a guitar, ukulele, mandolin and recorder tutor with over 12 years' experience of teaching a wide variety of levels and ages, including exam tutoring. She aims to ensure her lessons are fun, friendly and learner-centrered!
Charlotte is happy to offer online lessons and can be contacted via any of the below:
Mobile 07952 231 494
If you are anything like me, the thought of how to keep up a healthy exercise regime will be causing you a bit of anxiety! Jokey social media posts aside of people running a marathon on their balcony, or fashioning a bike turbo trainer with a rolling pin, here are a couple of online resources that I have been using for a while and can highly recommend:
Yoga with Adriene is a fantastic You Tube channel hosted by international yoga teacher Adriene Mishler with an online community of over 6 million viewers. She provides a wealth of online yoga and mindfulness practices that cater for every level of participant. Such a fantastic way to look after your mental and physical wellbeing!
For additional strength and cardio training, I have also been a huge fan of my TRX for about a year. Standing for Total Body Resistance Exercise , these clever suspension straps use body weight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. Initially developed by former U.S. Navy SEAL Andy Hetrick whilst deployed, and trying to find a way of exercising in remote, or confined spaces. Seems like the ideal solution to isolation training to me! I follow TRX UK on Instagram, who post live exercises every day at 4pm. Check them out here
More tips will follow over the coming weeks and months. Stay safe everyone!
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.