If I hear one more person use the word unprecedented, I may lose it altogether. In fairness, it’s a very apt description of our current circumstances but I just wish news reporters would turn to a thesaurus and find an alternative word for their evening bulletins. So, for a refreshing change of pace here are my unparalleled, atypical, first-of-their-kind recommendations for your week ahead:
“Never had it before” Mondays
Even as a foodie, I struggle to come up with something fun and interesting (and that I can be bothered cooking) for dinner every night. So, to spice things up, on Mondays my rule is to cook with an ingredient I’ve never used before or a dish I’ve never had before. Visit your local international grocer for inspiration, or search through the spice aisle for a dried herb or flavouring you’ve never tried. Last week I discovered (and am now in love with) lotus root.
“Roald Dahl” Tuesdays
Who’s to say the musings of Dr Seuss are for minors or that the wonderful world of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is reserved for children? While I try to stay abreast of politics and world news most days, one day of the week is reserved for the pure joy of reading a children's book. Words that rhyme, the ‘good guys’ winning and fabulous adventures through made-up lands might be just the antidote to real life, that all we adults need right now.
“That untouched box in the garage” Wednesdays
Yep, we all have that one box (okay, I have seven) in the garage filled with holiday photos that need to go into an album, or every painting you ever did at art school that needs condensing into one collage. A full clean-out seems overwhelming and not even a pandemic will see me just throw them away. So instead, once a week I take a box, several glue sticks and an album, and paste all the best pictures onto the pages. My motto: if you don’t make room for it in the album, it’s not worth keeping. (Trust me, this is next-level Marie Kondo.)
“Colouring time” Thursdays
And back on the children’s theme, don’t ever let anyone tell you that colouring-in books are for under-12s only. There is no maximum age limit on crayons, gel pens or textas. Pandemic or not, selecting a colour palette, forming patterns within patterns and creating light and shade is a very sophisticated thing (or so I tell myself). My favourite series of books is the Kaleidoscope Colouring: Mandalas and More range, with patterns printed large enough that I can colour them (unashamedly) with my Faber-Castell markers … and still stay inside the lines.
Yes, despite my stint on MasterChef, sometimes all you need is an Uber Eats delivery. But that’s not to say you can’t get a little fancy once it arrives. My favourite order is a minimum chips from the fish and chip shop. When they arrive, I load them up with hoisin sauce, kewpie mayo, coriander, fresh red chilli, crushed peanuts and a squeeze of lime (this is an HSP like you’ve never had before). Or order a garlic and cheese pizza and transform it with fresh chopped tomato, basil, red onion and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Takeaway, MasterChef style.
“Lists that aren’t shopping lists” Saturdays
- Make a list of 30 things that make you smile.
- Pen 10 things you could never live without.
- Write a list of things that leave you feeling energised.
In a life surrounded by shopping lists, to-do-lists and lists of household chores, sometimes you need a list that doesn’t have actions attached. It’s part self-reflection and part procrastination but guaranteed to leave you with a sense of self-worth.
And then there’s Sundays
The one thing that brings me great pleasure is Sundays: a day for lazing on the couch, long walks with the dog and trips to the supermarket for chocolate fudge ice-cream. It gives me comfort to know that for every work-from-home, FaceTime-the-family, stay-inside-and-don’t-go-out week that goes by, precedent says it will end with a Sunday, and me on the couch with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
So this week try a new ingredient, dust off a box from the garage, read a children’s book or spice up your takeaway. And if all else fails, just remember Sunday is coming, and even an unprecedented pandemic can’t take away that joyous final day of the week.
Published on 11 May 2020