How do you ease your mind while self-isolating? Life in quarantine.

If somebody had told me one month ago I would be writing a blog post with this title, I would probably have advised this person to go to a psychiatric hospital. Yet, however surreal it sounds, we’ve all been told to quarantine to prevent the spread of the killer disease COVID-19. We’re staying in our four walls, watching distressing news, feeling anxious about our health, and uncertain about the future. That’s why it’s important to ease our minds by doing simple and enjoyable activities and making use of the one walk or exercise a day as advised by the government. In this blog post, I’ll describe the quarantine routines that bring me a feeling of normality and happiness, and I hope someone will benefit from it.

Spring flowers in Bournemouth
A photo of roses and their petals taken while walking around my neighbourhood.

First of all, join support groups in your area on social media

Think about how you can help others and ask for it when in need. I wanted to register as an NHS volunteer, but their website says they’ve had enough applications (750,000!) and are not recruiting new volunteers. I still keep checking, though. Instead, you can join the Covid-19 Community Support Facebook group in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. It will make you feel part of the wider community, where you can ask for recommendations and help, and assist others.

Prepare delicious breakfasts

Waking up with the thought of eating a heavenly breakfast while drinking your favourite coffee is one of those little things that will make you look forward to mornings. It will prevent you from sleeping too long and you’ll be more likely to stick to your morning routine. I’ve almost never skipped breakfast and consider it the most important meal to fuel me with energy for the rest of the day. Now, with some more time on my hands in the mornings, I try to make our breakfast look like a work of art – apart from being nutritious, it should look good. Believe me, beautifully presented food will make you and your family smile and you don’t need a special occasion to do that.

Porridge bowl with coconut milk
Porridge bowl. I’ve recently been obsessed with making oats using different kinds of plant milk and ingredients. Head to my Instagram account to see the recipe for the porridge above.

Take photos of blooming trees and flowers and have some fresh flowers at home in a vase

Whenever you go out for a walk to your local parks or gardens, take some photos or videos of the spring which is currently emerging everywhere. Daffodils, magnolias, tulips, and cherry blossoms are around your corner. That way you’ll at least be able to look at photos of nature when you need it. I’ve also been making sure that we always have some fresh flowers at home. You can obviously buy flowers in the supermarket, but cutting them freshly from the wilderness is just slightly more magical.

Magnolia
Magnolia looks stunning in spring.
daffodils
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms look amazing in a vase but unfortunately only for two days. They lose their petals very quickly.

Explore your neighbourhood, local gardens and parks

We’re advised to avoid using cars to drive to the areas we loved visiting before the coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, in my case it means I need to forget about my favourite New Forest and the Jurassic Coast for the foreseeable future, and can only remind myself of these stunning sights by visiting my old blog posts (here and here). There is a positive to this restriction though! It means we’re creating less fumes, making the air clean, and we’re encouraged to explore the local area, which I personally never did before. After a short stroll around my neighborhood, I realised I live in a beautiful area with interestingly designed houses. Do you know your neighbourhood well?

Queens Park in Bournemouth
Our local park – Queen’s Park

At the moment we live close to Queen’s Park, which is very spacious and you can easily keep the required two-metre distance from others. Remember that going for a walk is also enjoyable at night and it’s less likely you’ll meet other people. As horrible as it sounds, we should be avoiding walking next to people who are not from our household…

As always, I encourage everyone to walk through the Central and Upper Gardens in Bournemouth, where I used to live (blog posts about the Gardens here and here), but I probably should not go right now as it’s too far.

Other obvious pastimes

Exercise and yoga – exercise will keep you fit and give you a dopamine boost, and yoga will calm your stressed mind! Instagram accounts that will motivate you include @kayla_itsines, a fitness guru from Australia who uploads short free videos to work on your abs, upper and lower body, which you can do without any equipment. You can also download her app, which is free for one month. There’s also @selfit1 – a local personal trainer (my trainer before the quarantine), who gives some free training on Zoom. Another local beauty is @jenniferkesik – a very positive, Bournemouth-based yoga teacher who gives free online lessons on Zoom!

Exercising at home
I try to exercise every other day (I’m not always motivated though!). Here I am doing a plank for one minute which is always a struggle! It’s perfect for strengthening your body core. He’s got his heavy bar bells; I have my light dumbbell. I also drink a berry smoothie with protein powder after exercising – cheers!

Watch Netflix (hello Captain Obvious!) – I recommend two crime series, called The Stranger and Safe, which are based on Harlan Coben’s books.

Learn something new! To learn a new language, download Duolingo, and for other courses check udemy.com, Google Digital Garage or HubSpot Academy. I am studying Content Marketing at the moment with HubSpot Academy, which is helping me to develop my blogging skills.

Learning is always more enjoyable with some mouthwatering dessert and coffee.

CALL/VIDEO CALL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS to let them know you are okay and to ask about their health – I’ve capitalised this sentence because it’s one of the most important things these days, especially if you are far away from your loved ones.

The most important thing while being self isolated or quarantined is to change our negative thoughts into the positive ones. You’re not ‘trapped’ in your house, but ‘safe and protected’. It’s a war against an invisible enemy, but not a real war and no bombs bombard your roof. God bless the Internet and being able to connect with the world, friends and family. When there was the Spanish Flu pandemic in the 1920s, people did not have this privilege. So focus on the little enjoyable activities and try to look at the bright side of all the aspects of how our lives look now.

What are your ways of coping with the current situation? Stay safe x

Where to eat in Bournemouth: The Stable

Nowadays, it’s not enough for a restaurant just to offer tasty food. Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of where the food they eat comes from. Is it local? Is it ethically sourced? Is it organic? You can answer yes to all of these questions while eating at The Stable. I had the opportunity to find out more about the Stable’s eco values during a Bournemouth Bloggers’ event during which we learnt how to make a pizza.

Nibbles – a selection of light refreshments to start the evening.

When we arrived, we were welcomed with nibbles such as slices of chorizo, olives, pepper paste, crispy bread and local cheese. Due to the fact that The Stable is known for having a variety of ciders, I decided to spend the evening with an accompaniment of this alcoholic apple drink. The bartender was very helpful and advised which cider would suit my taste buds – I don’t like it when it’s too sweet!

The main attraction of the evening was a presentation on how to make a soft dough and tasty tomato sauce by two charismatic chefs. I hope they don’t mind me sharing this secret with you! The secret of making a fantastic-tasting tomato sauce lies in frying red onions, which are sweeter than white onions, to balance the acidity of canned tomatoes. Do not add garlic to the sauce too quickly because it will burn!

@chefcambell and his assistant

When it comes to the dough, adding the right amount of water and yeast is key. If you add too much water, the dough will be too crispy! The Stable chefs said it was a matter of experimenting to find the recipe for success. It’s also worth mentioning that the flour that is used in The Stable to make pizza is 100% organic!

All of the Bournemouth Bloggers were given the opportunity to create our own pizza. We were given different ingredients and even though I felt like putting all of them on my pizza, I knew that the Italians believe minimalism is the key to success when it comes to pizza! I decided to go for mozzarella, chorizo, red onions and some basil leaves. Well, I still managed to overdo it and included too much cheese, so it came out too cheesy and heavy! But hey, who has ever complained about too much cheese?!

The event organised at The Stable was very informative and fun at the same time. It’s highly important to me to get to know restaurants’ values before I decide to eat there. In the end, we are consumers, and we have the power to create demand. I choose places which not only care about their customers eating good food and having a good time, but are also mindful about the planet. The Stable is a perfect eco-friendly place for a catch up with friends while having simple but tasty food like pizza and pies, plus local cider.

Always a good catch up with Francesca – one of the Bournemouth Bloggers

South Coast Roast Café

This post is the first in a series devoted to exploring cafés in Bournemouth where you can eat tasty breakfasts and brunches and drink good quality coffee. You can trust my taste buds as I am a demanding foodie and I don’t tolerate mediocrity when it comes to food! This article is a review of the South Coast Roast Café on Richmond Hill in the town centre (address here).

We visited South Coast Roast on a Sunday morning at around 10 o’clock. When we entered the place, which has a raw industrial design and stark wooden tables, the choice of background music was more than surprising. Hearing the Prodigy’s Firestarter that early in the morning, when you rather expect smooth jazz, seemed weird at first, but it awoke our spirits and we found ourselves extremely energetic without even drinking any coffee. Seeing the enthusiastic staff preparing freshly ground coffee and cooking from local ingredients only added to the general feeling that South Coast Roast is a lively and vibrant place.

Salad, grilled tomatoes, chorizo sausage, potato hash and a fried egg
salmon, grilled tomatoes, poached eggs, an avocado toast, and home made chilli jam

The menu offers healthy and original breakfasts and brunches from local produce. The delicious dishes are for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike, and you can also find some gluten-free options. Whatever preference or philosophy for food you have, you’ll find something to enjoy at South Coast Roast. Our choice was a ‘Bondi Breakfast with Salmon’ and a ‘Chorizo & Potato Hash’.

Our breakfast was super tasty, fresh and fulfilling (for both me and a 2-metre tall man so yes, truly fulfilling!). We ordered coffee classics – latte and cappuccino – and were really pleased with their richness and aroma. An interesting fact is that South Coast Roast works with a local coffee roasting company called Bad Hand Coffee (link to their website here) – I’ll be sure to write more about them in the future.

Summing up, the South Coast Roast Café is a remarkable place to eat breakfast or brunch. This was definitely not my final visit! The cost of a dish is on average £7 per person and the cost of a cup of coffee is around £3. One final thing that I love is that they don’t serve take away cups and will give you 25p off every drink if you have a reusable one. Ten bonus points for being environmentally friendly!