Strange Times!

I keep seeing the phrase ‘strange times’ on every platform: It is strange to have to stay at arm’s length from our loved ones and experience all the upheaval that the response to the virus has required. The repercussions will go on. At times, it is overwhelming and difficult to comprehend.
What has uplifted me and kept me going, is that in distancing ourselves physically, it seems to me that our sense of community appears to be bringing us together in new and multi-faceted ways.
Whilst many things have closed, other things appear to have opened up, especially in the art world.

Virtual Tours

So many of great museums and galleries have responded by bringing more of their collections to the internet. There is so much to see now online that I could sit all day and cruise the material available online:
https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/virtual-museum.html
https://www.kew.org/about-us/virtual-kew-wakehurst

Engaging Activities

Lots of places have been actively engaging us with activities to help keep us stimulated
My own local favourite Wollaton Hall has an interesting project going called the Museum of Me.

Earlier this week, I watched Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Channel Four and it was fun to watch. He is encouraging people to submit artwork to the show and I might do that, if I can muster any courage! Each episode will have a drawing theme and yesterday’s episode was about portraits, so right after the programme, my partner and I drew each other with a 10 minute limit.

NHS Advice

I found this really helpful article from the NHS about mental well-being while staying at home.

Project

With things quieter on the business front, I have a little more extra time.
I decided to join in the 100 Days Project alongside other artists on Instagram! Decided to focus on the Animal Kingdom because it is an aspect of my painting I want to improve. I started at A and am working my way through the alphabet! My favourites so far are the Bat and Crab!

Vegetable Container Gardening

My partner and I have absolutely no experience with growing crops, so we decided to start off with buying starter vegetable seedlings from our local Homebase: Trying container gardening, rather than digging up a vegetable patch. Small steps.

We have leeks which are doing very well. The radish and tomatoes have grown bigger but look a little unhappy. Based on research, I realized that they may be happier being in a greenhouse, which we don’t have. The strawberries are doing well, however there are holes in the leaves. Gotta find out what’s munching them! Herb wise, we have rosemary, thyme and parsley. I have really enjoyed popping out and picking them for my cooking recently! Just like indoor gardening, it is a learning curve and a fun thing to do.

Indoor Gardening

It is the growing period for houseplants, so I have been doing re-potting sessions over the last three weekends. They seem to be very happy and growing new leaves! It also has been very warm recently so I have been paying attention to those that needed a misting or watering.

When we renovated our porch room in early February, we built shelves inside the window where we can display all the cacti and succulents! The porch room is south facing and gets really hot, which is a perfect environment for them. Just last week, I was very excited to see some of the cacti blooming flowers!

My partner’s parents got me some lithop and cactus seeds for Christmas which I sowed into 12 peat pots. All the pots eventually grew seedlings. Hurrah! They don’t look like a lithop or cactus but despite my puzzlement, I am overjoyed to see some green and I can’t wait to see them grow bigger!

Cooking

We have been doing a lot of new to us recipes during this time. Normally, when we are really busy, I cook our tried and tested favourites. However, having a little more time has allowed us to be a bit more experimental in the kitchen. We have been making a lot of new wholesome recipes using pulses and so far, we would recommend these recipes:

Creamy chicken, bean & leek traybake

Haddock with cannellini beans & artichokes

Middle Eastern lentils

We have the cookbook Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe and it is a godsend if you want to go through your tins. Love lots of her recipes and are looking to buy more of her cookbooks.

Keeping in Touch

I have been trying to keep up with posting on Instagram. Also touching base with my family every day – even if it’s just a quick text or foodie photo!

It’s easy to forget the basic things that help to keep us healthy and emotionally sorted: sleep, exercise, fresh food, water, time outdoors – so we are concentrating on these things.

In these strange times, take care friends and stay well!

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