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Brightness in the Bleakness

Brightness in the Bleakness
In Uncategorized

Our series #BrightnessInTheBleakness is a celebration of the small things bringing us pleasure in isolation. We’ve collected tips from friends and experts about how best to make it through – the apps that allow us to come to terms with the new reality and the films that allow us to escape it; new ways to experience culture online and new ways to work out in our living rooms; where to go for accurate information about the current situation and where to donate to people in need. In our small way, we want to help keep our wonderful community entertained, positive and proactive in these strange times.

Alex Eagle’s Lockdown Highlights

Just two months in, the realities of lockdown have radically reshaped how we experience culture and connection. It’s too much to say that we’ve got used to it but institutions and individuals are slowly adapting and there have been inspired responses to the crisis. Streaming services have bulked up their offerings, theatres are experimenting with Zoom, galleries are opening up their archives, artists are exploring their practices on social media and as we recalibrate the meaning of connection in a socially distanced world, online events are finding novel ways of bringing us together.

Today, creative director and founder Alex Eagle picks her favourite cultural highlights of the past weeks.

1. Theatre

Live performance relies on an audience to exist, but the theatre world has risen to the challenge of creating and sharing plays in the time of corona. The Remote Read kicked off its series of one-off Zoom performances with Tom Stoppard’s A Separate Peace, garnering rave reviews and promises there will be more to come. The National Theatre has opened up its archive, streaming celebrated productions for a week at a time on Youtube.

 

2. Opera and Music

The Royal Opera House has started #FromOurHouseToYourHouse for the corona era, offering free performances of its operas and ballets on Youtube and Facebook. Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Anastasia is now available until the 28th May. Stephen Sondheim, the great American composer and lyricist, turned 90 a few weeks ago and a group of stars including Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal and Pattie LuPone performed pieces from his songbook in a two hour tribute available on Youtube. Incredibly moving, and worth it just for Meryl swigging a martini in a bathrobe.

 

3. Television

This is a time for comfort TV and luckily the streaming services are not letting us down. BBC iPlayer has loaded up all seasons of Ab Fab and Spooks, Netflix is revisiting the glory days of the 90s with Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, while Amazon Prime has Buffy and Friday Night Lights. Sign up for Britbox for the unparalled escapism of Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews in Brideshead Revisited.

 

4. Films

The time for freaking ourselves out with films like the eerily prescient Contagion is over. Now it’s all about the classics; Thelma and Louise, Bull Durham, Lady Bird, Heathers and The Dead Zone are all available to stream, while Curzon Home Cinema is making it possible to watch the latest releases – The Assistant, The Whistlers – from your sofa.

 

5. Podcasts

How much do you really want to know? There is a podcast for every level of engagement, from The New York Times’ ever excellent The Daily and The Intelligence from The Economist, which keep you updated with all things corona related, to Reply All, Grounded with Louis Theroux and Shower Sessions with St Vincent which steer mercifully clear.

 

6. Art

Galleries are getting creative in their response to the crisis. The Serpentine has many facets of its Back To Earth show available online, Tate’s Walk Through British Art is an interactive, chronological journey through their extensive collection, and sign up for the ICA Daily for a regular list of recommended reading, viewing, listening and more from the ICA’s curatorial team. Robert Eagle Fine Art’s show Artists Who Love Trees is now happening online as an animated catalogue together with a video featuring all the artists and their work. For those feeling creative themselves, Sasha Galitzine has launched Quarantine Arts, a roster of events and ideas to help lockdown fly by. A highlight is her Wednesday night life drawing class on Zoom featuring a stellar models such as ballet superstar Xander Parish of St Petersburg’s Marinsky Theatre.

 

7. Instagram

Yes, there has been a lot of sourdough and unnecessary fitness bragging, but Instagram’s undeniable power to foster connection and create inspiration has come to the fore during the crisis. The @TMagazine and @Suitcase accounts have been godsends, providing beautiful, inspiring images and endless ideas for what to do and where to go when this is all over. For a treat, head to @AgnesHayArt for her whimsical orange peel sculptures.

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Best Chefs on Instagram

Guest Editor: Tommy Tannock

 

The Store X’s own Tommy Tannock returns to the journal, this time with a round up of the best chefs to follow for recipes, inspiration and culinary escapism.

The initial burst of lockdown foodie enthusiasm might reasonably be starting to wane as we prepare every meal of the day at home. Fortunately, ingredient-wise, we’re past the ‘hungry gap’ of early spring and there’s lots of new produce coming through – crunchy Wye Valley asparagus spears, Cornish ‘early’ potatoes and tender young nettles. Remember that a lot of London’s farmer’s markets are still operating, many with click-and-collect type services, and the usually heaving Borough Market is now pleasantly produce-only. A lot of London’s best restaurants are now delivering across the capital, while many are supporting frontline workers such as our good friends Nettlebeds Farm, who deliver immune-boosting dishes with a percentage of profits going to the National Emergencies Trust.

 

Below is our list of favourite accounts – many we’ve loved hosting at The Store X – who draw on influences from around the world to bring a little brightness.

 

 

Clerkenwell Boy

Keep up to date with UK food news under lockdown with THE scene influencer Clerkenwell Boy.

 

Stella Parks

Parks is a lead practitioner in the dark arts of baking – detailed recipes are over on Serious Eats but her insta stories have tons of useful tricks and unusual recipes like lactation cookies and Dulce de Leche ice cream.

 

Taku Sekine

Sekine is a Japanese chef-restaurateur based in Paris who has been posting easy recipes like making fresh Udon noodles or veggie Kakiage with a little help from his adorable son Marlow.

 

Anais van Manen

In between launching Bao’s new delivery service Rice Error, Anais has been doing lots of Vietnamese and Taiwanese home recipes as well as great guides on how to shop smart for your larder.

 

Merlin Labron-Johnson

Britain’s youngest Michelin-starred chef at Portland, Merlin recently opened his own farm-to-table restaurant Osip in Bruton and posts beautiful photos and recipes.

 

Jeremy Chan

Ikoyi’s exacting head chef Jeremy Chan has been posting up some delicious recipes from isolation.

 

John Chantsarak

Go deep in the complexities of Thai cooking with Anglothai chef and recent Great British Menu contender John Chantsarak.

 

Jackson Boxer

Orasay and Brunswick House supremo Jackson has kept both kitchens going with delicious delivery set menus that are finished and plated at home.

 

Mateo Zielonka

Our head chef Matt continues to promote the gospel of pasta from his home in Dorset – learn to make some of Italy’s more unusual filled pastas like culurgiones.

 

Alice Norman

Alice (usually of Northern Italian restaurant Emilia) has been putting up ideas for livening up leftovers like a Bulgarian roast bread soup.

 

Johnnie Collins

Watch chef Johnnie do recipe development and dig a kitchen garden in preparation for his new Shoreditch-based restaurant.

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Words of Wisdom

Everyone has an opinion on how best to make it through the current situation, be it politicians, people you follow on Instagram, your parents or your friends, and it’s easy to feel anxious that you aren’t doing it right. But right now we want calm, unbiased, rational advice for simple things we can do to make our days in lockdown a little less scary and a little more balanced.

Leonard Wilhelmi, Selina Van Orden and Miranda Lewis are Alex Eagle’s favourite experts, the people she calls on whenever she is anxious, needs diet expertise or is feeling at a low ebb. We asked them for their words of wisdom and they offered up diet tips, breathing exercises and invaluable advice to make this odd moment in time a little easier.

Leonard Wilhelmi of Buchinger Wilhelmi

Managing Director of the clinic in Germany

Discover your hunger 

Our eating patterns are rarely synchronized with our hunger signals. Eating when you’re hungry seems obvious but try and observe the difference between real hunger and cravings for sweets or drinks or eating just because it is a “meal time”. Be nicely hungry at least once a day, two meals are enough for adults when you don’t move much.

Choosing the right time for pauses from food (fasting) is just as important as eating good food. Try and leave long pauses (16 hrs) between the meals and narrow your feeding window (8 hrs). This is called intermittent fasting and will stimulate your metabolism and lift your mood.

Cook real food 

Eat only when you are hungry, mostly what you have cooked yourself. Buy fresh: peel, cut, stir, cook, bake as a collective activity. Avoid buying addictive stuff like refined sugar, alcohol, cigarettes. Drink water, never sweetened beverages.

Cooking yourself means self-empowerment. Cooking real food together leads to creativity and increased immunity. You rediscover the beauty of fresh ingredients; use the time to improve your cooking skills with your partner; your new skills will lead to a happy and healthy post COVID life. Ask after old family recipes, find new ones and be creative.

Foods that might help immunity are fresh, organic home cooked. Good oils, few animal proteins except good eggs, some cheese and some fish, and lots of legumes, whole grain cereals, nuts and seeds, fruits and all vegetables. Plenty of lemons, carrots, wheat germs and beer-yeasts for their vitamins and active substances.

Make sure to buy food from local suppliers – this strengthens community relationships which can lead to a decrease in anxiety.

Ensure to use the right sweeteners like fruits, honey, and avoid industrial and ultra processed sweets.

Selina Van Orden of At Your Best

The body and mind are not separated in Ayurveda; what affects the mind has ramifications for the body and vice versa. Ayurveda is all about clearing these channels. So my job with patients is first and foremost to make sure their digestive systems and mind channels are as clear, bright and positive as possible. And if you can get your mind strong and filled with positivity, this boosts your immune system.

I like to start the day with meditation and a simple pranayama breathing exercise called nadi shodhana, which literally means ‘channel clearer’. It is an alternate single-nostril breathing which wakes you up, clears minute debris from the respiratory system, as well as balancing the left and right sides of the body. The left side of the body represents cooling, moon, soma energy; while the right is warming, solar, surya energy. Make sure your focus is on your belly throughout the exercise, your head doesn’t need any more attention.

Take your right hand, place your thumb and ring finger gently by your right and left nostril respectively. Then rest your index and middle finger between your eyebrows, as if those two fingers are pointing towards the middle of your hairline, resting on your forehead.

Now, let your ring finger close your left nostril and breathe slowly in through your right nostril to the count of 4 gently hold your breath here to the count of 4. Then release your left nostril and breath slowly to count of 4.

Then repeat on the other side: Let your ring finger close your left nostril and breathe slowly in through your right nostril to the count of 4 gently hold your breath here for 4. Then release your left nostril and breath slowly out for 4. Repeat 7 times.

There is a video guide to the practice should you need it here.

Miranda Lewis of Breathe Eat Meditate

I believe a blessing that may come from this more turbulent time is that people, myself included, may slow down enough to realise what their bodies are truly craving, what their souls are yearning for and what practices and behaviours truly serve us. Health is not linear. There is no quick fix. It is progressive. It is about lifestyle and our daily activities which comprise our life. We need to keep taking the steps toward it. I always come back to this quote, “When you have your health, you have a thousand dreams. When you don’t have your health you only have one.”

As a health coach, people are sometimes surprised that I recommend supplements. We are all aware that the foods we eat lie at the foundation of our health. However, even when we are eating an abundantly rich and plant plentiful diet it is possible for us to be deficient in certain nutrients. This can be down to stress, which depletes our system or simply because the soil that our food grows in is not as rich in minerals and vitamins as it once was. A supplement pack which I take every day (and recommend to many of my clients to ‘fill in the cracks’) is doTERRA Lifelong Vitality. It’s a combination of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, potent levels of metabolic factors of cellular energy and performance as well as essential oils. These supplements support general wellness and vitality, energy metabolism, immune function, bone health, stress management, healthy hair, skin, nails and eyes. They also support the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular health.

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The Best Books for Isolation

With modern means of travel and exploration denied to us, the finest form of escapism currently on offer is the most old fashioned. With our days spent hunched over laptops and our evenings emptied of restaurants, parties or plays, the most reliable route to somewhere fascinating and screen free is between the covers of a great book. Here are a few of our favourites guaranteed to entertain, amuse, edify, distract, surprise and, if nothing else, while away a few hours until lockdown is lifted.

 

 

1

For creating in a time of plague:
Modern Nature by Derek Jarman 

 

2

For a fictional vision of a pandemic:
The End of October by Lawrence Wright

 

3

For escaping the present:
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

 

4

For a poetic take on confinement:
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

 

5

For the silver linings of isolation:
A History of Solitude by David Vincent

 

6

For a virtual trip to the pub:
Tales from the Colony Room: Soho’s Lost Bohemia by Darren Coffield

 

7

For a smart new voice (aka ‘the new Sally Rooney’):
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

 

8

For alternative action:
 How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

 

9

For culinary inspiration:
Life is Meals by James and Kay Salter

 

10

For worlds that are weirder than yours:
Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg

 

11

For the perfect romance:
Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Gucci Westman’s Mood Boosting Makeup

 

 

Guest Editor: Gucci Westman

 

There are two schools of thought on makeup right now. Some can’t see the point, while others, like Gucci Westman, are passionate about its positive impact. ‘Makeup can completely transform your mood and energy,’ she says, from upstate New York where she is on lockdown with her family. ‘It has the power to uplift us when we need it most.’

Inspired by the arrival of spring, we asked Gucci to bring a bit of a flush to our cheeks and colour to our lips using products from Westman Atelier, her brilliant makeup line. Her suggestions demonstrate how small things can make a big difference.

 

How is makeup helping you during the lockdown?

Beauty shouldn’t be a chore – it should be fun! Get playful and experiment – and don’t be afraid of colour. I love a red lip with the barest face and a bit of mascara. It’s so chic and modern. A red lip is so joyful and optimistic – and who doesn’t need a bit of joy and optimism these days?

 

What is your beauty routine at the moment?

I remove my makeup with Pai’s Rosehip Cleansing Oil and cleanse with Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser. I like to switch up my serums and moisturizers depending on what my skin needs. I’ve been using Beboe Therapies High Potency CBD Face Oil for a while and I love how hydrating and soothing it is. I’ve been incorporating Aurelia’s Revitalize and Glow Serum into my routine too – I love the brand’s focus on probiotics for calming and repairing the skin. A good mask can really target specific skin conditions. May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud Mask is so hydrating and effective. I suffer from rosacea, so if my skin needs calming, I’ll reach for Eminence’s Clear Skin Probiotic Masque. It contains yogurt and cucumber for a cooling effect. For moisturizer, I alternate between Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream and Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream.

 

What is your go-to lockdown look?

The gloomy spring weather has me feeling pretty pale right now, so I really want warmth and color.  After spot checking with Vital Skin, I’ll warm up my complexion with Beauty Butter Bronzer. For the most luminous glow, I’ll sweep Super Loaded in Peau de Peche up my cheekbones with the Blender Brush. For a healthy rosy flush, I’ll dab Baby Cheeks in Petal on my cheeks and lips. Lastly, I’ll coat my lashes in Eye Love You Mascara. Long, voluminous lashes really wake up the face!

Which makeup and beauty people are inspiring you online right now?

Romy Soleimani
Robert Rumsey
Katey Denno
Tom Pecheux
Jeanine Lobell
Lucia Pica
Diane Kendal
Lucia Pieroni

 

Gucci’s quick tips:

Glide Lit Up Highlight across your cheekbones, dab on the inner corners of the eyes and above the cupid’s bow for radiance.

Don’t think of your makeup products in the traditional way – dab your cream blush across your eyelids, on your cheekbones, and your lips. I love using Baby Cheeks in Petal for this. It’s an effortless way to feel refreshed and bright.

The shades in Lip Suede are so easy to customize and leave your lips pillowy soft and hydrated.

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Lockdown Beauty Treatments

Guest Editor: Eilidh Smith

The founder and CEO of Skinwork, the skin and beauty experts located under Alex Eagle Studio on Lexington Street, Eilidh Smith is our resident expert on simple and effective beauty practices.

 

 

 

  In the last month, our homes have been forced to change shape, becoming offices, schools, even gyms. But today we are focusing on relaxation and mental wellbeing as Eilidh Smith gives tips for turning a home bathroom into a spa, using simple household items. Taking a long bath, slathering on a face mask, learning how to blowdry your hair or repurposing forgotten hand creams are little things that can make a big difference to your mood, and right now we could all do with a boost.

 

 

Tips for creating an At Home Spa

 

Take a moment

My favourite way to relax is taking a bath full of essential oils: Eucalyptus and Peppermint for decongesting and uplifting.  Lavender for calming and relaxation (Spike Lavender is my favourite).  

The essentials 

Essential oils have such a great effect on the mood without you even noticing – a diffuser or stone in your home at the moment would be really beneficial.  I love Lemongrass for my diffuser – the fragrance will transport you somewhere exotic.

Be creative 

It’s a good time to be creative with what you have in the house. Try repurposing that face moisturiser you bought at duty free but didn’t like as an overnight hand treatment.   

Home comforts 

Avocado is an ingredient we have found to be universally safe and beneficial. For a DIY face mask with hydrating and soothing benefits, mash a ripe avocado and apply to the face for 10 minutes. Do take care not to irritate the skin, and remove immediately if you experience any sensitivity.

Aloe and oils 

If you have an aloe vera plant and some coconut cooking oil at home then you are in luck. Coconut oil is a great overnight treatment to hydrate the feet. For the best results, apply aloe vera first then coconut oil on top, cover with cotton socks and feel the difference the next morning.

Coconut oil is a great oil for body massage, (just make sure to remove if you are then going into the sun). Sugar combined with oil is a great body scrub but can be messy – only attempt this in the bath or shower!

Grapeseed oil is great for the face as it won’t block pores and is the perfect texture for a facial massage.

 

 

Best online beauty destinations

 

Skinwork

On the Skinwork Instagram, we are offering guided facials on Zoom and at Home Facial Kits.

Jasmine Hemsley

Her Wellness Wednesday Workshops on Instagram feature lifestyle professionals giving brilliant advice. Watch her one-on-one with Charlotte Connoley for a guided facial massage.

Dmitri Epoch Fitness

Dimitri is super knowledgeable, his content on Instagram is excellent and they have just launched Zoom classes for at home training.

Rose Inc.

A brilliant edit across skincare, makeup and lifestyle.

Danielle Fox

the Health & Beauty Editor at Porter keeps me up to date.

Larry King’s hair tutorials

I finally might have time to test out my Dyson diffusor.  I really want Larry to blow dry my hair after watching him in action!  

Josh Wood

Josh’s at home root touch up kits and tutorials are excellent.

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Easter Entertainment for Kids

Guest Editor: Tess Newall

 

Today’s guest editor is Tess Newall, a decorative artist and set designer known for her floral, folk inspired designs. She has painted chairs for Ceraudo, murals for Laura Jackson, and created miniature worlds for Bloomsbury’s Guinea Pig classics series. She is the mother of two and lives in Sussex.

The challenges of lockdown mean Easter is going to be a very different celebration this year, with every day feeling the same as every other. However, the internet is a wonder and your house is full of hidden treasures that can translate into fun things to keep your adventurous children entertained and able to celebrate Easter.

 Offline

 

 

1. Letter writing

Making cards to send to isolated friends and relatives is a great way to keep your children engaged with people they aren’t seeing at the moment.

 

2. Decorative eggs

Put a pin either end, use a cocktail stick to pierce the yolk and then blow it out.

Unless you can find duck eggs, paint the eggs white.

Fill a bowl with water, and drop marbling paint or old nail varnish into the centre (I used the latter!). Swirl with any disposable stick to get the marbling effect.

You need to work quickly when using nail varnish – dunk the eggs in and it will be jewelled in marble! Dries quickly. Lovely for table decoration, writing name places on, rolling down hills in an egg race….

 

3. Flower pressing

Go foraging for spring flowers in the garden and press them using baking parchment and heavy books. Also a lesson in the art of patience.

 

4. Make your own chocolate eggs

I’m going to replace shop-bought Easter eggs with the vegan version of these cheesecake chicks.

 

5. Tonie Box

A brilliant way to engage with stories as a family that isn’t through a screen. Pick a Tonie statuette, put it on the box and get Imelda Staunton reading to you! You can also get your friends and family to record stories which can be downloaded and saved for future playing.

 Online

 

 

1. Learn about nature

Maddie Moate’s YouTube channel is a stream of educational and fun videos teaching children about nature and science, as well as how to grow vegetables, spot birds in the garden and make their own solar system out of fruit.

 

2. Block printing

Fabric and print designer Molly Mahon has a brilliant series of how-to videos demonstrating to both young and old the fun of potato printing.

 

3. Science experiments

The James Dyson Foundation has come up with a series of fun challenges that use domestic items like balloons, spaghetti, marbles and shoeboxes to get kids interested in engineering.

 

4. Dance workshops

Learn how to walk like a penguin, wiggle like a snake or dance through the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in these charming dance classes with one of Sadler’s Wells’ young artistes.

 

5. Cosmic Yoga

A fun and interactive source of yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+. Perfect to get them active and keep them calm at this anxious time.

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Support Your Local Producers

Guest Editor: Tommy Tannock

 

Today’s guest editor is Tommy Tannock, the man behind food and events at The Store X.  His list of suppliers is an invaluable resource not only for those looking for deliveries of fresh and delicious produce but as a way to support the suppliers themselves whose largest clientbase – restaurants – are currently shut down.

Since opening in Berlin and then London at 180 The Strand, The Store X Kitchen has always worked with real food – seasonal, organic where possible, championing low-intervention winemaking, raw milk cheeses and sourdough breads. We work with independent suppliers and farmers with sustainable practices who are passionate about their produce.

Right now, they need our support more than ever. Already braced for the impact of Brexit, for food producers the halt of restaurant trade due to C-19 is devastating. The speed with which global supply chains have failed during this pandemic underlines the need to embrace and strengthen local food production. Fantastic grassroots initiatives are springing up, such as the Land Army, connecting workers to farms in need, and Farms To Feed Us, helping farms find distribution networks. But your support starts at home: use this time to enrich your kitchen via our vital local producers.

Flourish

Calixta Kilander supplies the most beautiful salads and vegetables to places like Brat and Bright. Farmed purely by hand and horse-power, you can now collect veg boxes daily from various Hackney sites.

 

Spring London x Fern Verrow

Skye Gyngell’s restaurant at Somerset House has always sourced its ingredients from Fern Verrow, Jane Scotter’s farm is set in the foothills of the Black Mountains in Herefordshire. Together they are offering delivery boxes filled with seasonal veg, coffee, tea and honey plus one off items that change week on week, such as ginger cake, wild nettle pappardelle, rhubarb cordial. Make the delivery even brighter by adding a bunch of Fern Verrow flowers.

 

Wild by Tart

The Belgravia restaurant has collated the ingredients from some of their favourite recipes and packed them up ready to be cooked at home. Recipe boxes are delivered straight to the door, and are filled with the best quality produce, primarily sourced from Natoora.

 

The Estate Dairy

The Store X’s delicious pasture-raised Guernsey dairy supplier also make their own cultured butter. They deliver all their range plus Cacklebean eggs, coffee, British cheeses and organic alternative milks anywhere in London.

 

Pale Green Dot

Sussex-based organic veg box supplier delivering across London.

 

Spring Green

Well known for her healthy eating meal delivery service, Spring Green founder Bonnie Stowell has created a produce box compiled of products from her favourite suppliers including Natoora, Plenish Organic, The Bread Factory, St Ewe Eggs, Williams fruit & veg + The Estate Dairy. These come with a  signature Spring Green pot and a weekly recipe suggestion on Instagram. Better yet, for every 10 boxes sold, one is donated to an NHS worker at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital.

 

Henderson To Home Seafood

Our wonderful fish supplier who work directly with South Coast dayboats bringing in sustainably-caught wild fish and shellfish. Fabulously fresh crab, lobster, mussels and Turbots all available in their different boxes. 

 

Fine Cider

The definitive natural British cider supplier are now delivering their entire range across UK. Try one of the champagne-corked bottles from Tom Oliver, Starvecrow or Pomona to find out how elegant real cider gets.

 

Winemakers Club

George Laval champagne, wild riesling from Stefan Vetter or fresh beaujolais from Karim Vionnet are some of the delicious low intervention wines now being delivered from their Farringdon home.

 

Tutto Wines

East London’s leading natural wine importer specialise in cult Italian and French growers like Le Coste, JP Robinot and Nino Barraco. Explore their list with one of the curated boxes by the charming Tutto team.

 

River Cafe Gift Boxes

Ruth Rogers’ hampers are full of the Italian ingredients carefully sourced and used every day in the River Cafe kitchen, including Pugliese plum tomatoes, Tuscan honey, anchovies, wild oregano, dried porcini and handmade chocolates, as well as linen napkins, fluorescent candles and Italian seeds to grow your own.

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Staying Fit: 10 Fantastic Online Workouts

Working from home is the new normal, and now we have to get comfortable with working OUT from home too. Getting sweaty in your sitting room is not the most enticing of prospects, but we’ve discovered that, with the right guide, it can be effective, challenging and even, whisper it, fun. 

So here are our favourite online instructors posting fitness wisdom from their dedicated sites or via Zoom, Youtube and Instagram Live. Whatever you’re looking for – be it yoga, TRX, barre, pilates or a dance routine – there is something here to get you moving.

 

1

Best for a bodyweight workout:
Shona Vertue

 

2

Best for pilates:
Amy at Flat Iron Pilates

 

3

Best for abs:
Ciara Madden

 

4

Best for variety:
CCTV at Core Collective

 

5

Best for the ambitious:
Gold Medal Bodies

 

6

Best for legs:
Ballet Beautiful

 

7

Best for community:
Yoga with Adriene 

 

8

Best for barre:
BarreCore

 

9

Best for the butt (and the bilinguals):
Julie Pujols Benoit Pilates

 

10

Best for joy:
Ryan Heffington

 

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10 Classics to Read if You Haven’t Already

There is definitely more time for reading these days, but it’s also a lot harder to concentrate when news bulletins keep lighting up our phones with bewildering and often scary updates. So we thought, which novels are so good they might drag our eyes away from the headlines for a few hours?

Here are some classic novels everyone has heard of, but that really are as good as their reputations dictate. If you want something to make you laugh or cry, to take you out of this moment or embed you within it, we think you’ll find it here.

 

For escapism:

The Secret History

 

For the achievement:

War and Peace

 

For comedy:

Scoop

 

For an existential crisis:

The Catcher in the Rye

 

For those in isolation with their family:

One Hundred Years of Solitude

 

For romance:

I Capture the Castle

 

For glamour:

The Great Gatsby

 

For epic tragedy:

Anna Karenina

 

For wit:

Love in a Cold Climate

 

For those in a world that doesn’t make sense:

Catch 22

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5 Date Night Ideas

Let’s rewrite the date night for corona adjusted times. Instead of the traditional dinner-and-a-movie model which requires a restaurant, a cinema and the freedom to roam, we believe you have everything you need for a romantic night in quarantine already to hand, in your kitchen, wardrobe and online streaming service.

So start this weekend by getting dressed up, cooking (or ordering) something delicious and playing a game, as inspired by some classic movies.

 

1

Film: Lost in Translation

Food: Sushi or super noodles

Wear: Dressing gowns, pink wig if to hand.

Drink: Whiskey

Do: Karaoke

 

2

Film: All About Eve

Food: White fish and broccoli

Wear: Your finest

Drink: Champagne

Do: A game of chess

 

3

Film: Pulp Fiction

Food: Royale with Cheese

Wear: White shirt, black trousers, hair gel

Drink: Milkshakes

Do: Stage a dance off

 

4

Film: Bonnie & Clyde

Food: Ice cream

Wear: The best hats you have

Drink: Coke

Do: A few rounds of Exquisite Corpse

 

5

Film: True Romance

Food: Fajitas

Wear: Hawaiian shirts, cowboy boots, festival sunglasses

Drink: A White Lady topped with a maraschino cherry

Do: Hide and seek

 

 

 

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The Songs On Repeat

First up, these are the songs Alex Eagle has been playing to keep morale up. ‘I want cheerful, familiar and classic songs on repeat right now,’ she says. ‘Songs that get me moving around instead of staring at my phone watching the news roll in. Taking a moment to dance in the living room with my kids is a great way to shake off some of the creeping anxiety.’

1. If You Want Me To Stay – Sly and the Family Stone

2. It’s A Shame – The Spinners

3. Can You Get To That – Funkadelic

4. Tired of Being Alone – Al Green

5. California Soul – Marlena Shaw

6. Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

7. My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone

8. One (Is the Loneliest Number) – Three Dog Night

9. Gimme Little Sign – Brenton Wood

10. She’s Not There – The Zombies

11. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard – Paul Simon

12. A Message To You, Rudy – The Specials

13. 54-46 Was My Number – Toots & the Maytails

 

 

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