[i]Although life is ever so slowly getting back to normal (well, the new normal), it’s not really quite the same, is it? Despite pubs and restaurants, as well as beauty salons and zoos being open, we still have to social distance and the rules and regulations kind of ruin the fun a bit, don’t they? For a lot of us, we’re still going to be spending a lot more time at home (or in an outdoor space near our home) than usual looking for fun ways to pass the time. And with the Great British Summer’s ever-changing weather keeping us on our toes, BBQs, park picnics and long distance bike rides are potentially off the cards. If you’re not quite ready to resume life as you knew it, you’re waiting for further vaccine and medication developments to advance, or simply want to partake in more solitary activities, we get it. The world is a scary place right now and you certainly don’t have to rush back outside or engaged in group activities.
That’s exactly why we’ve trawled the internet and quizzed the funnest people we know to curate a definitive guide to 60 fun things to do at home to keep yourself entertained. Having structure to your day (especially if you’ve been furloughed) is essential for your mental health so why not make a lockdown bucket list with plenty of our below suggestions? You’re welcome.
Still bored? You won’t be after you’ve perused this article. We’ve compiled a list of brilliantly entertaining ways your time indoors, from cheese tasting to virtual beach cams and even making your own crazy golf course. Whether you’re looking for culinary activities, booze-fuelled ways to have fun or mindful ways to pass the time, there’s something for people living alone, those looking for a romantic evening in with a loved one and fun things to do with the family. You’re welcome.
1. Host a games night
Bored of yet another pub quiz? We feel ya. Organising a games night is a sure-fire way to keep the whole family or your friendship group entertained this weekend. Here’s a few tips…
Assign someone the ‘happy hour host’ and ask them to give a live cocktail masterclass
Assign ‘drinking games masters’ and ask them to orchestrate some drinking games and forfeits
Play a good old game of charades
Get one person to mute themselves and mime phrases and see who can read their lips the best
Ask guests to submit a surprising fact about themselves beforehand and see who can guess which fact correlates to which person on the Zoom
Play a good old game of Bingo. Ask everyone to mock up their own Bingo card based on a Google template and use this number generator to kick things off.
If you’ve not got your hands on a Disney+ UK subscription yet, now is most definitely the time. Brits finally have access to a library of all the Disney for the first time ever, from popular classics (Dumbo, we <3 you) to TV shows and new releases. And if you sign up now, you can get a seven-day free trial. That’s seven days of FREE DISNEY to enjoy while you self isolate and relax. Dreamy.
3. Bake beyond banana bread
Bored of banana bread? Same. Thankfully expert bakers, Eloise Frank and Adam Chaudhri, who co-founded The Big Bakes, are sharing a secret recipe each week to help Brits replicate some of the UK’s favourite high street snacks at home. First up was Millie’s Cookies. Keep an eye on their Instagram page.
You may have posted a black square to your Instagram page yesterday, but do you know why you did it? The #BlackOutTuesday movement was created by two Atlantic Records executives who wanted to encourage black users to step away from social media, ‘a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community’ through ‘an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change’. By reading, listening and watching, we’re coming to terms with our own privilege, sitting with our discomfort and our anger and our guilt, and using it to support black communities. We may not always get it right, and we certainly won’t ever properly understand how it feels. But what we can do is use this time is to listen, learn, and start our long-term strategy of anti-racism and non-optical solidarity and this weekend is the perfect opportunity. Read our guide to the best podcasts, books and resources to educate yourself this weekend and forever more.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, is there anything better than diving, head-first, into some of London’s under-the-radar wild swimming spots? Nope! Last year the British Medical journal actually proved that wild swimming had a positive impact on our mental health, in the same way that forest bathing gives us a much-needed dose of nature therapy, wild swimming too helps us focus on key senses and surroundings, the splish-splosh of water and sounds of chattering coots and chirpy ducklings making us happier and calmer. It might be raining but you’re going to get wet anyway. Here are the best spots to indulge your wild swimming fantasies.
Yes, we are missing Saturday nights at the pub, too. Thank goodness, then, that Pull The Cork has teamed up with Elliot Awin to host virtual wine tasting sessions via Instagram live. All you need to do is order one of the isolation cases on Pull The Cork’s website and sip along at the weekend. Elliot really makes an event of his sessions, inviting famous faces and wine makers to join the live as he talks guests through the various wines; he’s even started sharing recipes for food pairings ahead of time.
Prefer cocktails? On May 20th, Moët Hennessy will host its first Virtual Spirits Summer Cocktail Masterclass on Instagram Live via Clos19.com. The masterclass will be hosted by UK’s Belvedere Brand Ambassador, Mark Tracey, and bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy, Jake O’Brien Murphy, and take viewers through four refreshing cocktails.
Remember when you said you wanted to learn a new skill in quarantine?
If you’re anything like us, your current bathroom shelf situation is a mess of fake tan spills, near-empty serums and old lipsticks. Check out this make-up organising hack and get sorting. Added bonus: you can take a chic shelfie for the ‘gram afterwards.
While you’re at it, clean those makeup brushes. Yes, they can be a faff to clean, but dirty make-up brushes are an absolute breeding ground for bacteria. “If you are one of those people that does all the right things and yet can’t understand why you have rashes and spots, take a look at the tools you use to apply your products with,” says Lynne Sanders, cosmetic scientist and founder of Cosmetics a La Carte. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to clean your make-up brushes. Oh, and don’t forget your straighteners/ curlers. Yes, really. Get cleaning those hair tools people.
9. Host a BBQ inside
Hosting a BBQ with all your pals in your back garden is one of summer’s greatest pastimes but just because we’re in lockdown and the weather is a bit sh** doesn’t mean you can’t. BBQ In A Box is a team of passionate foodies who deliver a selection of BBQ food to your front door; you literally just need to shove it in your oven, pop on some tunes (they even have their own Spotify playlist) and tuck into the marinated premium cuts of meats, the freshest fish and moreish sides. Keg of beer and Hawaiian shirt optional.
10. Tidy the house
*Collective eye roll* but hear us out. Tidying and deep-cleaning your space will not only get rid of harmful dust, dirt and germs, but it’ll put you in a clearer headspace. So, chuck on your favourite playlist, wash those throws and cushion covers, hoover right into those corners and take the bloody bins out. We’ve rounded up some chic storage solutions if you’re in the market for some new ones. You’ll feel better for it, promise. Need some guidance? Marie Kondo has a new book out, Joy At Work, all about decluttering your working routine (read our extract here for some inspo). Plus, you can totally reward yourself with a glass of wine afterwards.
11. Cook up some of your favourite restaurant’s meals at home
Cooking is wonderfully therapeutic and if you’ve whipped up everything from your best cookbooks collection, and are bored of your trusty meal delivery service, try recreating Ikea’s meatballs; the Swedish furniture giant has shared its recipe so we can try it out at home.
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You may have seen that we shared instructions on how to recreate IKEA meatballs at home. Our co-worker Paul has tested…
Missing your daily Pret trip? Same. Thankfully the coffee chain has been sharing a whole host of recipes on social media under the #PretRecipeBook hashtag. The cookie recipe, in particular, is sending social media into overdrive. Here’s how to recreate it at home…
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We’ve been inundated with requests for the secret to our Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. This recipe is perfect for rookie…
Now is the perfect time to start your family history journey by having a dig around on Ancestry.co.uk. Their records include everything from censuses, wills, birth records and even records of people’s jobs. You just enter your family’s names and dates of birth, or as much as you can, and once you start adding them, you’ll get hints for other records and people, that help show you where to look next and lead you to even more discoveries. You might even be related to the royal family without realising it.
13. Improve your posture
We all know that the amount of time we spend sitting down in our daily lives is not doing our bodies any favours and working from home in the current isolation period isn’t helping.
Being locked in one position for many hours of the day is the total opposite of what the human body has evolved to do and this makes our joints and muscles unhappy.
It’s time to show some love to that jigsaw puzzle your aunt Karen bought you for Christmas 2010. Or challenge your SO/ flatmate/ mum to a game of six-hour, relationship-testing Monopoly. Shotgun the thimble.
To say that podcasts are having a moment is a massive understatement. Whether it’s to have a serious LOL or be inspired in your career, there’s never been a better time to plug in to some juicy conversations. There’s a hell of a lot to choose from, but fear not, because here’s our pick of the best podcasts out there.
16. Make flavoured whipped milk
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed everyone showcasing deliciously frothy coffee on Instagram. Dubbed ‘Dalgona coffee’, the whipped, fluffy iced coffee has been littering our Instagram and TikTok feeds with people sharing their recipes, hacks and #artsy snaps of the tipple. You can even add alcohol to make a Dalgona Coffee Espresso Martini.
Those emails from Domino’s? That recipe app you downloaded and literally never used? Those 500 accidental screenshots of your home-screen? They are using precious phone storage and now is your chance to go on a deleting spree. Boy bye.
19. Join a Harry Potter-esque potion making class
Harry Potter mad? Hogwarts Is Here is an online social network created by fans who are now hosting live Harry Potter-esque classes. You sign up, choose your house and enrol in classes such as Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, Astronomy, History of Magic, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Herbology. Magic!
20. Live stream a beach cam
Just because your holiday got cancelled doesn’t mean you have to miss waking up to the sound of waves. America’s iconic and historic beachfront hotel “The Del” is one of the few surviving examples of an American wooden Victorian beach resort. See the crashing waves, ocean breezes, and beaming sunshine from afar with The Del’s live beach cams which offer a glimpse of the breathtaking views seen from Hotel del Coronado. Tune in here.
21. Try your hand at Sourdough
Anyone else’s Insta feeds rife with people whipping up their own bread? If you want to jump on the bandwagon, Tara Jensen’s Instagram account is worth a follow. She documents her bread making journey, step-by-step. Plus, it means we don’t need to steal it all from the supermarket when there’s people more in need of it.
Who doesn’t love gooey, melted cheese? We’ll wait. If you want to re-create the Alps in your kitchen, Jimmy Garcia is lending you his kit, along with all the ingredients, fuel and recipes so you can have your own fondue party with his cast iron fondue sets. He delivers on Fridays, and collects the equipment on the following Tuesday. Find out more here. Not into cheese? Make you own stonebaked pizza using his micro wood fired pizza ovens.
24. Take a virtual Harry Potter tour
Thanks to Undercover Tourist, you can take a virtual tour of Harry Potter world and it’s pretty magical!
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25. Indulge in virtual karaoke
Famed karaoke bar Lucky Voice is offering people a month’s free subscription to karaoke service, head to their online karaoke player and enter code LUCKY20 then belt your heart out.
26. Play with animals online
Missing your family pet? Bring a bit of excitement and joy into a shelter animal’s day by playing with them online. Head to Petcube.com where you can control the toys in a shelter and play with the animals in real time from their app. You can also watch live animals in their natural habitat, which will whiz the hours away. [h2]
Just because you can’t channel your inner Mary Berry at Big Bakes: the UK’s first and only live baking competition, doesn’t mean that you can’t whip up some culinary treats during isolation. The company is organising three bake-at-home classes a week via their Facebook or Instagram and you submit your culinary creations to win a chance to receive a free trip to a live class later on in the year (worth £37.50 each).
30. Become a Champagne expert
If you have always wanted to become an expert in Champagne (um, who hasn’t?) now is your chance. The Comité Champagne, the organisation that represents all Champagne houses globally, has launched its brand new online learning course, the MOOC, for wine enthusiasts, students & even sommeliers. Covering the Champagne making process, the terroir, economics, 300 year history of Champagne and crucially, tasting. Yaaas. To enhance the learning experience further, The Comité Champagne has a unique 360 VR tour of the region (available in 3D using VR headset) that you can access via app or on your desktop so you don’t even need to stress about that cancelled trip. To sign up, visit www.champagne-mooc.com, and take a virtual tour of the region here https://360.champagne.fr/
31. Curate your own at-home wine cellar
On the topic of booze, if you’ve always dreamed of having your own wine collection, or curated wine cellar (again, who hasn’t?), why not start now? Chef Sommelier of Terre Blanche, Aurélie Deharbe, shares her top tips for curating your perfect collection:
Firstly, find a good space – check the storage conditions; see the temperature and the humidity level – too low is going to dry out the cork and the oxygen will get into the bottle and kill the wine. The perfect temperature for a wine cellar is between 12°C and 15°C.
If you have a garage, this is ideal as there is no sunlight. Most people, like me, will be using a wine fridge in which case it will need a sunproof glass door as light has undesirable effects on the taste of wine.
Buy a combination of bottles that need to age, and bottles that are ready to drink – one good tip is to buy second classes of wine from famous Châteaus, they are cheaper than the first cuvées and most importantly you don’t have to wait for them to age.
Wine is a great investment but for that, you’ll need to take good care of it; as you know wine is born, and it lives and dies (unfortunately). So if you’re not going to drink it, then sell it! Or else it’ll be a waste!
Finally the most important thing. A wine cellar needs to be personal, so choose from regions you love. Then you’ll have more to share with your guests than just opening a bottle, you will be able to tell stories about it and bring it to life.
Flowers have the ability to transform any space (yes, your kitchen/office hybrid) and bring a smile to anyone’s face. The Dorchester hotel is known for its impeccable floral arrangements so to bring the outdoors in and make the most out of your flowers at home, the hotel’s designer florist Philip Hammond has shared his top tips:
Use peace lillies – These great plants to have in your bedroom as they cleanse the air. They produce lots of oxygen, which aids a restorative night’s sleep. Their beauty creates happiness too, making them a great addition to any home.
In times of worry I always turn to flowers that remind me of my childhood. There’s nothing like a bunch of bright yellow daffodils to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Now is a great time to start sowing seeds, even if only on a small balcony or outside space, sweet peas are always a winner.
Nurture those houseplants! Give them a good amount of water, cut any dead or discoloured leaves off, wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth to make sure they can breathe properly.
33. Host your own Come Dine With Me
Get your family to make the most of meal times by hosting your own version of the popular show. Take a night of the week each and impress your family with a three-course meal and entertainment before judging each other’s efforts. A bit of competitive spirit will add some fun to boring dinnertimes.
34. Learn some life skills from your favourite celebrities
Join Masterclass, NOW. Dubbed the “best educational investment” you can make, it is a hub of online courses taught by experts and celebrities in any given field. In short, your favourite celebrities are finally there, on-tap, to teach you how to be good at what they do. You can nestle down for two and a half hours of Anna Wintour’s teachings on creativity and leadership, or sit back as the one and only Natalie Portman teaches you how to act. Up there with one of our favourite courses has got to be Bobbi Brown’s makeup masterclass.
35. Play virtual bingo
Dabbers Social Bingo is inviting participants to play virtual bingo every Friday; players will answer a series of questions to discover which numbers to dab off; throw in a hilarious comedian host, party tunes, and fab virtual prizes up for grabs. 10% of all ticket sales will go to support the fantastic work that Hospitality Action is doing.
36. Throw a virtual cocktail party
“Virtual Birthday Party” sounds like something out of an episode of Black Mirror (2020 has so far felt like an episode too I guess), but in response to customer demand, a cocktail company in the UK has started delivering virtual cocktail making parties by delivering cocktail making kits to customers’ doors and then hosting the tutorials through a video call to the birthday girl and her friends. Those interested in having a virtual cocktail making class order the kits on the Boozy Events website and a cocktail making kit is delivered to each person wanting to take part. Everyone joins the same video call where they can chat and interact with their dedicated mixologist. Each class will teach you how to make a menu of cocktails and prices start at just £29.99 per kit with same-day delivery available. The equipment is collected the following day so customers are free to experiment or make more of the cocktails they were taught all night.
37. Pretend you’re at the polo
Watch some live polo between 1-26 July live from Cowdray Park Polo Club, who have announced The King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship. Don your finest dress and hat, grab a bottle of fizz and place your bets as the Club has collaborated with Polo Cam and InPlayer, the world’s leading pay per view subscription solution, to bring the sport to fans all over the world in the comfort and safety of their own homes. For full details click here.
38. Learn to knit
We are Knitters, a sustainable and fashionable knitting brand, will be running free tutorials via Instagram. Tune in at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday to learn how to knit with a little help from influencer Jonahhands. The tutorials offer a great opportunity for all ages and levels to get involved with something crafty at home and is a great way to pass the time and do something creative with your afternoons.
39. Learn calligraphy
As if Sneha Narayan, a full-time doctor working in intensive care and anaesthetics during this current pandemic, wasn’t busy enough, she’s using her downtime to teach people calligraphy. She crated her Instagram page @paintpotsandquills to bring the therapeutic benefits of calligraphy and watercolour to people during isolation to encourage them to stay home and create. What a woman.
40. Indulge in a virtual facial
FaceGym is launching a range of digital solutions to keep you face fit at home. You can either rune into a masterclass hosted by FaceGym’s Trainers from London, NYC and LA, which is a 15-minute live stream class on Instagram Live @facegym that focuses on a different muscle group to tone, lift and sculpt the face. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, have a private training session with a FaceGym trainer to teach you a series of their signature muscle workout techniques. Like in-studio, each session will begin with a skin consultation, followed up a tailored warm up, cardio, sculpt and cool down for a fresh-from-the-studio look. It costs £45 for 45 minutes and you can book through FaceGym.com for a private Zoom link.
41. Rave in Ibiza (sort of…)
The one and only Glitterbox (if you know, you know) has announced a series of digital activations. No Glitterbox party would be complete without its larger-than-life production and performers, who will be appearing on the stream via video link-ups across Twitter,Facebook, YouTube and Twitch. Glitterbox’s colourful squad of drag performers will also be bringing the ‘Express Yourself’ ethos to life through a series of Instagram Live sessions. If you’re already dreading missing the opening parties, this one’s for you. Sequins compulsory.
42. Join a gaming session
Facebook has introduced a new feature, Facebook Gaming Tournaments, through which anyone can join or organise an online gaming tournament so if you’re feeling lonely, log on.
43. Make your own ice cream roll
Pan ‘N’ Ice, the world famous ice-cream roll geniuses, are launching their at-home kits (from £39.95) so you can whip up your own at home. It comes with a recipe book, but you can also follow their YouTube/Instagram videos where they will show you exactly how to make each Pan-n-Ice. Ahhh, summer!
44. Create a wanderlist list
Our holidays might be on hold but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming of where we’d love to be when all this is over. We’ve been using Bimble – an app allowing you to collect, save and share your favourite places. Whether it’s creating a list of all the places you want to travel around the world, the most attractive waterfalls, tourist spots or hikes, Bimble can enable that dream world for us right now. You can also create a list of the local places you’ll visit when the restrictions are lifted and your favourite high street gems are open again. It’s getting us through.
45. Learn to tie-dye
It’s an activity that’ll not only keep you occupied for the afternoon, but will also encourage your creativity and leave you with a great new outfit afterwards. Unsurprisingly, Kendall Jenner – a huge fan of tie-dye – got in on the action last weekend, decorating some of her old white t-shirts with splashes of colour, as did the Beckham clan.
Pancake cereal, which is pretty much what it says on the tin, originated on TikTok and has since gone viral across Instagram and Twitter where budding foodies are whipping up mini pancakes and dousing them in all manner of breakfast accompaniments. Bowls of miniature pancakes slathered in syrup, yoghurt, chocolate sauce and smothered in sprinkles have been popping up all over social media, with the #pancakecereal hashtag amassing over 10 million views on TikTok alone. Follow our how-to here.
One of our favourite apps, Let’s Day Out, has launched ‘Let’s Day In’ (see what they did there?) with an array of virtual events. You can enjoy live cooking demonstrations, virtual parties, art classes, workout sessions led by trainers and themed online meetups. The events will be free-of-charge to the public, but all users will have the option to donate £1.00 to the World Health Organisation to help them find a cure for COVID-19 with their COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
48. Have a picnic
The humble art of picnicking has been right up there with the best of ways to enjoy the sun and amp-up WFH lunches since lockdown began but you can still host one inside. We’ve created a list of all the picnicking essentials you need, just set up a chic picnic on your lounge floor to mix up meal times.
49. Enjoy the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) from the comfort of your sofa
Missing your cultural fix? You can now meet the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) on Google Arts & Culture. Google Arts & Culture will allow users to go behind the scenes and explore the range of activities that go on at this innovative and extraordinary institution. Think: Street View tours including ‘Step inside Burlington House’ and ‘Hidden Rooms at the RA’ and over 230 beautiful photographs and videos to marvel at.
50. Go on a bike ride
Cycling has – unsurprisingly – experienced a huge boom since we began hunkering down at home. Not only because it’s a great form of exercise, but because starting now will offer an alternative, less-cramped mode of transport later down the line. Anyone else terrified at the thought of getting back on a tube? Here, we’ve rounded up the best bikes for all budgets so you can get cracking on your cycling journey.
Okay, you’ve cleaned every corner of your gaff, had that glass of wine and hung up your Marigolds. No more cleaning for you. Now, why not turn your hand to gardening? Tons of studies recently have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health (so much so that horticultural therapy is said to help treat depression and anxiety), and you don’t even need a garden to get started; even the smallest of balconies or terraces can be used for a herb garden. Or stay indoors and become a loving houseplant mum – there’s a helpful guide to houseplants at rhs.org.uk and we’ve already found the gardening tools you need.
According to the world’s fastest-growing marketplace, OnBuy, a few simple DIY hacks could make all the difference to selling your property and now is the perfect time to get to work. According to experts, homeowners can increase the value of their property by £6,000 on average by updating the interior and exterior aesthetic of their homes themselves, such as adding a fresh coat of paint to the front door and updating kitchen cupboard door handles. Read the full list of hacks here.