Fact: staying in, in is the new going out, out (thanks to the coronavirus and the Government’s orders to stay at home). But hell, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a world of growth, culture and fun.
Thanks to the modern technology and the brilliant creativity of businesses and institutions, you can use this time inside to learn a new skill or take part in a virtual class.
So friends, turn that social distancing frown upside down and focus on discovering passions and nurturing new talents. Here are 12 wonderful ways to spend your weekend in self-isolation – or as we like to call it, gincubation.
1. Stroll Virtually Through Some of the World’s Best Art Galleries
You may be avoiding public spaces but you don’t have to be deprived of your healthy dose of culture. Google’s online Arts and Culture Page lets you stroll through some of the world’s most prestigious art galleries, much like you would with Google Earth’s street view.
Walk the corridors of The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City and The British Museum in London (amongst others), whilst avoiding coughing crowds and hefty ticket prices.
There is also a fabulous virtual feature called ‘The Art Camera’ which lets you to zoom in on every detail of some of the world’s most precious paintings, giving insightful commentary as you do. You can Get up close and personal with paintings like the Girl with the Pearl Earring and works by Rembrandt and Monet in an intimate way that you never could amongst a bustling crowd.
2. Enjoy Live Opera in Your Living Room
Take a seat in your royal box (sofa) and prepare yourself because some of the most prestigious international music from the classical world is coming into your living room, for free!
The esteemed Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is offering free subscriptions to its online performances, including a mix of archived and live concerts (head to ‘Digital Concert Hall’ on their website for unlimited access). The Chamber Music Society is providing free pre-recorded chamber music performances and live streamed performances from their website.
New York’s Met Opera are offering unprecedented access to free daily streaming of their operas. And the Paris Opera will also be offering its most beautiful ballets and operas to the public from its website for free.
3. Discover the Amazing World of Plants
Are you a savvy green-fingered gardener or are you a walking plant disaster? Whatever your plant-based skills and know-how you can open a door into the fascinating world of plants with the PlantNet App.
It’s a portable Instagram-like plant identification tool that helps you quickly identify and learn about plants and flowers by the power of a simple snap. You can then share your plant discoveries with other green users and learn about their new discoveries.
4. Live Yoga Classes to Keep You Zen
Bring some zen into your house courtesy of many brilliant yoga instructors who keeping calm and carrying on digitally.
Mellulah Yoga in Dorset is live streaming a free Vinyasav Flow Yoga class on Saturday 21st at 10am. Hot Pod Yoga in Bristol is also live streaming their hot yoga classes all this week and on 21st/22nd March. Then, for an all-year-round 24/7 yoga challenge, Yoga with Adrienne is a YouTube channel, which includes a 30-day yoga challenge.
Every day has a theme and a goal to work towards, be it relaxation or core strength. You don’t even need to change out of your pyjamas for this yin. Adrienne is a fun, cheery teacher who promotes self-love and you can’t help but smile at her light-hearted tone.
The lime light is stolen, however, by her adorable dog Benji who frequently comes to practice. From lying on the yoga mat to stealing Adrienne’s blanket, he is guaranteed to put a smile on your face
5. Cook Live with an Italian Nonna
Pasta may be in short supply with the current panic buying epidemic, but Nonna Nerina and her sisters have a little surprise up their sleeves for self-isolators.
Located in a tiny Italian village, Nonna Nerina cooks from her kitchen in an old wine press where her great-grandfather used to work. She’s now offering one-on-one video call classes to help you make pasta by hand. You can find her through Airbnb, and 25 euros later you will be transported (safely) to Italy! She will contact you to book a personal slot.
Definitely the best way to get the taste of Italy currently!
6. Skill up with Short Courses on your Passions
Fancy a workout for the brain from your couch? Flip open your laptop and head to Coursera. This online hub offers a diverse array of courses from some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world, including Stanford University, Imperial College London and Princeton University.
From Buddhism and creative writing to business management and data science, Coursera gives you short courses for all your passions and interests.
Best of all, get all the brain power without the debt! The course content is free for you if you don’t enrol, but if you’d like a shiny certificate for your wall, there’s a monthly subscription fee.
7. Say ‘Bonjour’ to a New Language For Free
Your weekend break to Paris might have been cancelled, but you have the perfect opportunity to stock up on your French or other languages in the meantime.
Duolingo is a free desktop and app-based language tutor that provides a fun, interactive way to learn languages. Take your pick from Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Arabic, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Turkish, Polish, Irish, Greek, Hebrew, Danish, Hindi, Czech, Esperanto, Ukrainian, Welsh, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Swahili, Romanian, Indonesian and many more.
Complete beginners can learn a language from scratch; those with some language know-how can sharpen their linguistic skills. Teaching comes through games and quizzes, so it’s an engaging, enjoyable way to learn.
Trust us, there’ll be no excuse for ordering a coffee and pastry in English on your next holiday!
8. Join a Virtual Book Club
Running out of reading inspiration or want an excuse to chat all things book? This is the perfect time to join an online book club – and there are many good digital clubs to join.
Ophra’s famous book club releases a video containing her thoughts on a new book every month. Instagram also has a huge selection of clubs to get involved with. Check out BookSparks, the Andrew Luck Book Club, PureWow Book Club, the Book Baristas or The Social Book Club.
Not only will these accounts offer you reading inspiration, but they allow connection with fellow book nerds out there during this uncertain time.
9. Walk Through Time in the Fresh Air
Escape the house for an incredible time-travelling 4.6km walk. Download the app ‘Deep Time Walk,’ plug in your headphones and off you travel through 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s history.
With each metre that you walk, another 1 million years of the Earth’s history unfolds, from exploring how the earth was formed and the evolution of life on Earth, through to the evolution of mammals and humans.
It’s a multi-sensory kinetic experience that uses high-quality audio and tracks your steps as you walk and leaves you feeling literally on top of the world. Which can’t be bad in the middle of a pandemic!
10. Sourdough Bread Baking 101
We can’t remember the last time we saw bread on a supermarket shelf. So now’s definitely the time to learn how to bake bread.
Udemy offers an online ‘Sourdough Bread Baking 101’ course for just £11.99. It gives you access to an experienced chef’s step-by-step guide to making the perfect sourdough loaf! You’ll learn how to fold dough, how to steam bake at home and how to shape your loaf.
And all the video classes and articles are downloadable, so you can save them for later. What’s more, you’ll even get a certificate on completion to put on your fridge to show off after social distancing ends.
11. Live Creative Theatre From the Brilliant Barn
Before Corona (aka: life BC), the Barn Theatre in Cirencester was one of the town’s gems with incredible productions tucked into an intimate and friendly atmosphere. Since the virus struck, the doors have shut and the seats are empty. But there’s no holding a good theatre down!
The Barn Theatre has now launched a live streaming service – Behind the Barn Door – for the local community (and beyond) to tune into, via its Facebook page. Featuring entertaining, fun and informative events, shows, music and interviews for all ages to enjoy from the comfort of their own front row sofa.
12. Get Crafting With Delany Designs
Now’s the time to stretch your creative muscle (whether you have one or not). Not only will trying a new craft keep you occupied during the self-isolating boredom, it’ll give you a dopamine boost as you create something purdy out of nothing.
The brilliant Sarah, from Delany Designs in the Cotswolds, makes gifts and accessories made from fabric off-cuts, that would otherwise end up in landfill. Helpfully, she’s scooped up 8 crafting ideas from around the web for you to get stuck into, including clothes upcycling and macrame.
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