Darling buds of May... right now we have to look to small mercies and though we may still be stuck in lock down, nature is at perhaps it's very sweetest time of year. We are taking comfort in longer evenings, early summer blooms and the delicious produce on offer. For once we have no option but to strip things back, take it slow and find pleasure in the simple things. That's not to say it's easy - it is challenging for most of us in one form or another (maybe in many forms!). So, here are some thoughts from us on how to face May in lockdown, what to do, see, eat and wear at home this month.
We are finding exercise a real tonic in this strange time. It helps us focus, tune in with our bodies, and frankly, gives us a bit of space on our own away from the rest of the household. Both of us have been enjoying yoga - there are so many amazing teachers offering online classes but we especially recommend Candice Habershon Yoga. Running is something that I (Alicia) haven't done since before my eldest was born which is 5 years but I've found it so therapeutic, enjoying the fresh air and the sound of my footsteps on the track, not to mention that it is free! Hoping this is something I can keep up. We've just welcomed the wonderful Nature Hommage - sustainable activewear to G&S and their gear is perfect for all forms of exercise, but also just relaxing at home in!
With evenings now spent exclusively at home, there has never been more time to catch up on some reading. A couple of recommendations from us if you are looking for something to read - Expectation by Anna Hope - a really absorbing story of female friendship in London that we both devoured. Also My Wild and Sleepless Nights by Clover Stroud - a memoir of a Mother of 5 - a resonant, heartfelt book that seems to articulate so many of the conflicting feelings of motherhood so well. Next up on our list is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Any recommendations for us? DM us!
Losing ourselves into a box set has been a welcome escape in the evenings. So far we've been mesmerised by Tiger King - something about this show being so absolutely bonkers, during a time that feels absolutely bonkers just seems to work. Race Around the World for nostalgia of our travels to the beautiful continent of South America (oh how travel will never feel the same again). And we are currently loving Sally Rooney's brilliant Normal People - bringing us back to our youth - it is magical and raw. If you are missing the theatre then the National is doing weekly streams of some of their best-loved plays - a great opportunity to see some exceptional performances in the comfort of your own home.
We actually haven't made banana bread yet - fact. But we have done a few other goodies (and a couple of not so good ones). First up was a simple focaccia - if you can get your hands on some flour it is surprisingly quick and kneading dough is therapeutic for letting out your frustrations - kids love it too. Lemon drizzle cake has been a bit of a luxury as have fruit scones - tea time has become a thing in our house to pick up everybody's mood mid-afternoon when we are all getting a little scratchy. For recipes, we've kept it pretty old-school and used almost entirely Delia Smith - straight forward and nonsense free! Surprisingly refreshing.
We feel so grateful to have been able to have eaten pretty well. As is so often the case simple seems best - and we are enjoying getting creative and making what we have go further. This month we will be hoping to get our hands on delicious asparagus which we'll eat with olive oil and butter, or with a poached egg for a light lunch. Strawberries are finally here too, which we will be adding to everything - breakfast, puddings, cakes, even salads. And rhubarb is popping up in the garden - we've made some compote to have with yoghurt in the mornings and custard for a treat after supper. Inspiration for what to eat coming from all over social media but we especially love Alexandra Dudley, Telltale Food and the Hemsley Sisters.
6) WITH THE KIDS
There are no two ways about it - entertaining kids at home for this length of time is hard work. We are trying to take it one day at a time and, with all our kids still being pre-school (just), homeschooling is taking the form of play-led activities. We get outside as much as we can to let of steam and have been trying out a lot of nature based activities. Choosing one of their favourite books as a bit of a theme seems to help capture their imagination, den building, mud painting and if things are getting heavy inject an element of silliness! We've been really enjoying Mud and Bloom's nature subscription kits full of activities and planting to be done over the coming month.
Last but not least what to wear on lockdown. The main thing is to be guided by your mood! Comfort is of course important and we swear by loose organic cotton as the days get warmer but some days it just feels good to get dressed properly and make an effort. Skall Studio's latest collection of typically Scandinavian chic pieces are ideal for spring - comfortable and cool but also refined in natural tones. Clo Stories swimwear has us aching for holidays but we'll be looking forward to wearing them in the garden anyway! And Asime's bright colours and prints are giving just lift we need - good mood clothes if ever there was such a thing.