Quarantine. Social isolation. Lockdown. Whatever you’re calling it we’re all experiencing it. “Stay at home wherever possible and limit your contact with the outside world while we try to reduce the spread of Covid-19”. It's ok to admit that when these measures were announced you were a little bit delighted. Just for a second, the thoughts of how nice it would be to get a lie in in the mornings, not having to put on makeup or a suit, not facing in to all that traffic. But the novelty wears off pretty quickly when you’ve already binged 3 box sets on Netflix, signed up for an Amazon Prime subscription and watched the same Friends episode 3 times in the same day while rearranging the furniture in the sitting room for the second time.
Now you’re looking for some new stuff to maintain your sanity because, let’s be honest here, we’re not sure how long this will go on for. We’ve had a think on your behalf and come up with some suggestions suitable for all the family so here we go! EcoFuels Super Fun List of Stuff To Do During Quarantine is live and will be updated as we find more things to keep you (and us - working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be) entertained!
Why not seize upon this opportunity to learn a new skill? Having some coding knowledge is only becoming more important in today’s society for adults and kids alike. Free Code Camp is the place to go to learn all you need to know to get started coding and it’s all free! Do you need a pep talk to get you motivated? Click here. Ready to get started now? Click here and fulfill your coding potential!
If coding and computers isn’t really your thing that’s absolutely fine. You should have a look at Udemy instead. There are literally thousands of online courses on a massive variety of topics from music to business you can find more or less anything you’re looking to bone up on. These are paid courses which might not be your cup of tea but if you’re looking for a free skills upgrade check out YouTube where you will find endless people who can teach you how to sew, knit, fix stuff around the house, even start a business; the options are endless!
It’s never too late to learn a new language or even brush up on your Leaving Cert French, German or even Irish. Duolingo has you covered! With tonnes of different languages to choose from you could be a pro in no time. The service is free but you can get rid of pesky ads with a paid subscription. If you have teenagers at home getting away without doing their oral exams maybe you challenge them to impromptu French chats to catch them off guard, because who doesn’t like to discuss global warming in a foreign language on the spot?
Just because we’re all doing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t be active. Going outside is our number one recommendation to look after the body and mind during this pandemic but if the weather isn’t playing ball (let’s be honest, we’re in Ireland) or you can’t go outside there are MILLIONS of exercise regimes on the web, most of them coming with their own easy to follow videos that don’t require rooms full of gym equipment to complete. Here’s the link to a good 20 minute yogalates video I like. I can’t help with the sunset beach backdrop however, sorry about that but we all have our own crosses to bear.
This is a pretty nice yoga beach I guess
If I’m being really truthful with you though, more often than not I just ignore the YouTube instructors when I get tired. If you also do this you might need to level up on this one! Headon Boxing Academy based in Dublin are running some online workouts to keep you fighting fit from the comfort of your home. Simply download their app and sign up for classes, you need to book a spot (and they are in hot demand) in your preferred class in advance and numbers are limited in each class.
This could be the opportunity you’re looking for to get into some new hobbies. Have you ever looked on enviously at ridiculously crafty and talented people? That could be you after this lock down!! Knitting, sewing, baking, cooking, drawing, singing, the world is literally your oyster when you are trapped in your own house! Let’s start it small with a couple of suggestions though. This is the pattern for a scarf I have been meaning to try making for years but I kept putting it off. I learned how to knit in primary school and while I understand the concept I’ve really been lacking in the skill department but with helpful guides and tutorials online what is stopping us all from knitting a whole new wardrobe for the winter?
Now is an excellent time to learn how to make your own bread for lots of reasons, it’s likely to sell out quickly in stores, it’s a valuable life skill, you can include the kids and make it a fun family activity, and last but not least, the immense sense of satisfaction and gloating power you get from baking your own bread! In my house we’re making this soda bread which is delicious and stays fresh for a long time as well. Or if you have nothing but time on your hands maybe use it to make a sourdough bread. For this you need a good sourdough starter recipe so you should check this video out.
If however, your house is just feeling a little too small for your liking right now why not do some virtual exploring. Loads of museums have virtual tours which allows you to explore every nook and cranny of the Louvre or NASA from the comfort of your living room. Click here or here to start your couch adventure.
Everybody wants to entertain their kiddos without plonking them in front of the TV or their games consoles. So why not see if you can get their creative juices flowing with some creative writing or colouring. Renowned Irish author John Boyne has established a short story competition for kids to keep them busy and potentially win some lovely book tokens. All the rules and info can be found here, the deadline is Wednesday 25th of March at 5pm so it’s time to put pen to paper!
If writing isn’t your kids thing then maybe colouring and drawing is. Irish artist Will Sliney (most known for his work with Marvel comics) is hosting drawing tutorials on his YouTube page showing you how to draw your favourite comic book heros. Here is the link to his Super Hero post and here is the link to drawing some Pokemon. Will is going to be hosting live tutorials for kids (or grown ups, no judgement from us) on YouTube and you can keep an eye on his twitter for updates.
Bigger kids (or again grown ups, still no judgement) might prefer something a little harder and for that we have colour in pictures from artist Jason O Gorman of Dynamite Studio who has released some of his artwork in need of some colouring! Or if Boss Ladies are your thing design duo Jill & Gill have a selection of queens to colour in fabulous detail. All artists mentioned are releasing their work free of charge to keep kids occupied and parents sane during the outbreak and the nation thanks them!
Updates: Practicing What I Preach & Filling You In
Disclaimer upfront here, this bread was made by my significant other and I can't take credit for it's tastiness. I was however on hand to marvel at how quickly sourdough bread starter grows, take pictures, and gobble it up with smatherings of butter (real of course, we're not heathens).
In a slight variation from above, he used this recipe for the starter. Making your starter takes about 5 days but the pay off is worth it and the starter will last you for literal years after this initial effort.
To make the actual bread he used this recipe for Overnight Sourdough Bread. You can find alternatives that don't require it's left to proof overnight but with nothing but time on our hands why not go for the longer proof!
These are the results! Going clockwise these are the stages of baking. First, this is the starter after 5 days, it was approximately doubling in size each day and you only need a fraction of it to actually make the dough. Second, the first stage of the dough with the rest of the ingredients mixed in. Third, after proofing for about 10-11 hours. The pictures don't do justice but it definitely doubled in size overnight. Fourth, the final product!
Chocolate Brioche Bread
This bread is really tasty and pretty easy to make but (forewarning) it proves overnight so takes a little bit of time to make! The basic are based off of this Brioche Bread recipe but a very clever person (not me) adapted it slightly to include the chocolate!
The day one method is all the same but on the second day divide your dough into two equal parts for 2 loaves, then divide each of these into four sections. Flatten out each section into a long rectangle, then spread your chocolate spread along the edge of each long side. Cut lengthways in between the chocolate lines leaving room to fold the dough around the chocolate.
When you have eight chocolate filled dough rolls position them as in Picture 3 (it looks a little like a St Brigid's Cross), then braid them following this very straightforward video from My Daily Sourdough Bread Instagram page. TIP: Do the braiding on the greaseproof paper you will be baking on because it is hard to move again afterwards!
Pop it in the oven for about 35 minutes and Bob's your uncle!