With some of the Covid-19 restrictions set to ease next week, if you're approaching the end of full lockdown and feeling unproductive, here are some ideas to launch yourself into so you can emerge with an impressive new skill.
At the start of isolation, did you promise yourself you'd emerge with a new talent? A deft hand when it comes to making sourdough? 300 pages into your novel? A new 5k PB?
As it turns out, a global pandemic is not in fact the best chance to reinvent yourself, and the height of most people's achievements has been going outside for an occasional walk and sometimes eating vegetables.
Luckily, there's still a little time left to launch yourself into learning a new skill, so you can brag to all your friends about how much you got done during lockdown. Just maybe choose something they won't ask to see straight away if you want to give yourself a little more time to practise.
It's only flour, water and egg, so how hard can it really be to make pasta? And sure, maybe a pasta machine would make things look a little better, but it's nothing that your trusty rolling pin (read: half-empty wine bottle) can't fix.
Jamie Oliver even has a recipe for those of us who don't have a pasta machine, so what are you waiting for? If your friends are curious about your professed pasta-making skills when we're allowed to meet up again, just make sure to have a back-up packet of fresh pasta in the fridge to pass off as your own. Tell them you got very good at it if they seem suspicious.
If you're feeling crafty, embroidery is a great one to try, as you can start yourself off with a simple design before tackling something more difficult. Plus, you'll end up with something pretty to decorate your home.
You may think that a hula hoop is just a toy for children, but there are people who come up with elaborate routines with these humble pieces of plastic. Perhaps just wait until you're better than any kids you know before you go bragging about your skills to anyone.
I'm all for hobbies that provide me with something to eat, so why not have a go at pickling some vegetables, or making jam or chutney? Each is a nice project that will take you a few hours, and if you make too much you can drop some round to your neighbours in exchange for that banana bread they left on your doorstep.
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Another one that has some simple things for you to try before you tackle the harder ones, origami is great because you don't need anything more than some pieces of paper and a YouTube tutorial to get started. Plus, origami creations are absolutely adorable, so there's that, too.
While you might not be able to become a total cocktail master by next week, you can certainly get pretty good at your favourite one. All it takes is a little commitment to drinking your creations every day, and at this stage of isolation, I doubt many of us would be opposed to this.
Just gather your ingredients, find a recipe, and get started. Don't worry if you haven't got a cocktail shaker, there's plenty of cocktails that don't need one, like this spiced pear mojito, so choose accordingly.
Learn a language
Again, probably not one you're going to make loads of progress on in a week, but why not give it a go if it's something you've wanted to do for ages? Try watching films in your chosen language once you've mastered the basics, it's a good way to learn pronunciation and pick up conversational nuances.
If, on the other hand, you're simply looking for bragging rights, then be sure to pick a language that no one else you know speaks, and wildly exaggerate your Duolingo achievements to anyone who will listen.
If you're always jealous of your friend with the gorgeous handwriting, now is a great chance to practice your penmanship. You can learn just about anything on the internet, and calligraphy is no exception. Find your best pen, and get practising.
If you're not content with simply mixing your own drinks, why not have a go at brewing them? You can easily order kits online, and you'll have fun experimenting with your very own concoction. By the time it's ready, you might even be able to share it with your friends.
Strangely addictive as your creations will inevitably topple over, challenging yourself to make the biggest structure you can is surprisingly fun. It might even become your party trick, for when such things as parties are permitted again.
Featured image: Ifrah Akhter via Unsplash
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