“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”– John Donne
With the current climate of uncertainty and restrictions, the best advice is to stay at home as much as possible. If you are able to work from home, do so. Some people’s attitude to the coronavirus outbreak has at times been disappointing, and many forget to think about the consequences of their actions beyond themselves. Yes, you might not get that sick, but your actions could mean others do. It is also important to stop panic buying; by being greedy you just end up causing harm to others.
It is day 9 of lockdown here in Florence and so far I have managed to keep myself busy. You’re allowed to visit the supermarket when in need, but it is not necessary to buy extra as the stores are stocked up daily. The queues are fairly long, but that is mainly due to the number of people allowed to enter the shop at once and the distance people are keeping when waiting for their turn. I have to say, overall, in my experience, the Italians are doing great and remaining positive. People are friendly and calm.
The situation is out of our hands, therefore all we can do is contribute to everyone’s wellbeing by simply living in isolation and being very cautious when out in the wild. Even if the UK can’t seem to make up their minds on what to do, I truly recommend you consider your own situation individually. How is your health? How is your family’s health? Can you work from home? Don’t wait for the government to tell you what to do, use your own initiative. Behave as if you have the virus already and do not want to infect others. That is the best way for you to understand social distancing.
So, what to do when in isolation?
The keyword is discipline.
Start by giving your home a spring clean. Believe me, it makes so much sense. When you are stuck at home day in, day out, you will enjoy it ten times more when the place is nice and tidy. You will feel motivated to work, study and complete other tasks.
I also recommend starting each morning as if you’re leaving for work (minus the make-up – it’s a great time to give your skin a breather); get out of your PJs, clean up, brush your hair, eat breakfast and plan the day ahead.
We have a dog, which is great for keeping us company, but also to allow us to go out for a walk during lockdown. If you have a balcony or a garden, try to get some fresh air each day. We also ordered boxing gloves and pads so we can do a workout in the garden. YouTube has many great workout videos with music in case you need motivation. It is important to stay healthy; don’t get tempted to just snack and binge-watch Netflix each day.
Do you live with family or friends? Take turns to cook or cook together. Host an aperitivo for your household by making salads and bite-sized snacks, all served with a refreshing Spritz. Learn how to cook a new dish or how to bake. I found a savoury cheesecake recipe on Pinterest which I’m definitely going to make next time I can go to the shop for the ingredients (I’m waiting until I need to do a larger shop rather than going for one or two things). And then of course there is always the booze…
When is the last time you went through your drinks cabinet? Everyone has some weird bottles stored right at the back, and now is time to dig out any bin ends or leftover miniatures from that advent calendar and get creative. This is a great time to explore new cocktail recipes, G&T combinations and food and drink pairings. Obviously, we should be drinking in moderation, but it can be an important tool for stress release – and let’s face it, we all need a little bit of stress relief these days. Just don’t overdo it. This is not an excuse to go ‘full Finnish’ and start to do kalsarikännit. Although there is some logic to it. Drinking alone on your couch wearing only your underwear can be therapeutic, as long as you don’t make a habit of it.
If you live alone, organise a conference call with friends. You can all enjoy a glass of wine and catch up via video-chat. It is good to keep checking on friends and relatives, as this can be a lonely time for some, and it’s an opportunity to catch up with people you haven’t been in contact with for a while.
Support your local businesses where possible. In Florence, many local businesses are still partly open for delivery only, trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. You can order anything from books to fresh vegetables to pizzas to be delivered to your door and often without any delivery fees. We have even ordered pizza from our local restaurant and I have popped into the local bakery to buy fresh bread etc. (again entering one at a time). Find out how you can help your local stores, check their website or Facebook page for information. If you run a small business, think of how you can contribute to helping others. For example, are you able to deliver food to elderly neighbours or can you offer online services to your customers?
Stay strong and positive. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. We are a little ahead of the curve here in Italy and can offer some insights, and I’m sure many people around you are willing to do what they can to help each other.
Below two recipes I made yesterday with some of my odds and sods.
Fig & Ginger
40ml Tarquins Figgy Pudding Gin (not just a Christmas drink…)
25ml Amaro 81
20ml Fig Liqueur
20ml Fresh lime juice
Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer
Shake all but ginger beer. Strain over ice into a highball and top up with ginger beer.
50ml Kirkjuvagr Beyla Honey & Raspberry Old Tom Gin*
25ml Some random local (Italian) raspberry liqueur (bought from the local market, a gift from a friend)
20ml Fresh lime juice
Coconut flakes for the rim
Shake all but coconut water. Strain over ice into a glass rimmed with coconut flakes.
*Free delivery if you order directly from the distillery website.
Are you in isolation? How are you coping with the lockdown day to day?