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Brightness in the Bleakness

Brightness in the Bleakness
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The world as we know it has changed immeasurably in the face of coronavirus and the UK’s government mandated shutdown.

For our series #BrightnessInTheBleakness, we are celebrating the small things that are bringing us pleasure, even as we face a long stint of isolation. We’ve been collecting 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.

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.



Best for a bodyweight workout:
Shona Vertue



Best for pilates:
Amy at Flat Iron Pilates



Best for abs:
Ciara Madden



Best for variety:
CCTV at Core Collective



Best for the ambitious:
Gold Medal Bodies



Best for legs:
Ballet Beautiful



Best for community:
Yoga with Adriene 



Best for barre:



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



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:



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.



Film: Lost in Translation

Food: Sushi or super noodles

Wear: Dressing gowns, pink wig if to hand.

Drink: Whiskey

Do: Karaoke



Film: All About Eve

Food: White fish and broccoli

Wear: Your finest

Drink: Champagne

Do: A game of chess



Film: Pulp Fiction

Food: Royale with Cheese

Wear: White shirt, black trousers, hair gel

Drink: Milkshakes

Do: Stage a dance off



Film: Bonnie & Clyde

Food: Ice cream

Wear: The best hats you have

Drink: Coke

Do: A few rounds of Exquisite Corpse



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




Shop the Alex Eagle Studio’s selection:

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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