A couple of days ago, I met up with a friend for a long beach walk, which is the most practical (and legal) way to catch up under the current COVID-19 cloud. As we shouted our news back and forth across the windy 1.5 metre social distance, she commented that now is the perfect time to write a novel; there’s no need to invent stories and characters, because everyone is living their own intriguing, challenging subplot.
Whatever subplot you’re working through now, it’s likely that a lot of it is happening at home. At a time when many of us would be packing the car for an Easter escape, making our way to see family and friends, or dressing up to go out for some brunch or a fabulous dinner at a favourite eatery – we’re staying in.
So now, more than ever, it’s vital that we make our homes nurturing spaces.
Here are a few suggestions to help you put any worries to one side over Easter, and enjoy the comforts of home…
1. Rediscover your recipe books
With our busy lives, it’s all too easy to get into a loop of the same tried-and-tested dishes. Easter may just be the perfect time to dust off those sumptuous recipe books, curl up in a sunny outdoor chair with a notebook and pen and a glass of something fabulous, and invite in your old friends – Marie Claire, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander – or even Julia Childs.
Enjoy drooling over some gorgeous food porn, and make a list of the dishes you’d love to try. Homemade hot cross buns? Warm brioche? Cassoulet? Then it’s up to you what you do next – pick up your apron or pick up your phone and order in…
2. Curl up for an Easter movie fest
Got Netflix, Stan or another steaming service? Cue up some Easter-themed movies, pop some popcorn, line up some drinks and get cosy. If you’re hunkering down at home with a house full of kids or grandkids, consider setting up your own outdoor theatre.
Move the telly into the pergola (taping down any cords), roll out your outdoor rug, assemble beanbags, cushions and rugs and snuggle down to watch Hop, the 2011 kids’ flick featuring Russell Brand. (If the kids are little, just make sure your backs are up to scooping them out of a beanbag and carrying them to bed!)
Photo credit: www.countryliving.com
For a more mature audience, there’s a vast biblical catalogue (try one of the many incarnations of Ben-Hur or the 70s-mod-musical Jesus Christ Superstar). Or you might like a lighter pic, like the 1948 musical, Easter Parade; 1989’s Steel Magnolias; 1977’s Annie Hall; or Monty Python’s irreverent The Life of Brian.
3. Push the furniture to the walls and dance
This works especially well if you’ve just watched a pile of movie musicals (as above). Who are you at home with?
If it’s just you and your man and he’s ANYTHING LIKE Richard Gere, what are you doing reading this blog??! Drag that sofa to the wall, woman! Cue some hot tango music, hold out your hand and say to that handsome man, ‘Shall we dance?’ If he’s nothing like Mr Gere, dance with him anyway. No social distancing here.
If you’re at home with a sister, girlfriend or your mum, go get that feather boa or silky scarf, turn down the lights, and get your disco on!
And if it’s you and the kids (tweens to teens), ask them about Tik Tok and don’t blame me for what happens!
With little kids, you’re probably dancing a fair bit anyway. Crank up some Justine Clarke, Wiggles or Top 40 hits (check for swearing first) and join them in boogieing away all that pent-up indoor energy.
If you’re home alone, you can truly dance like no one’s watching. Start with Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights and go from there. It’s the best fun you can have standing up.
4. Express your spirituality (whatever it is)
Easter is a religious festival with a long history of cultural significance. For many people, Good Friday and Easter Saturday are quiet days for reflection, followed by a joyous celebration and feast on Easter Sunday.
Whatever your beliefs, a period of introspection and reflection can help to bring new perspective and clarity to the most complex issues. With our churches and other places of worship closed for now, carving out some space and time in your home for quiet prayer or meditation may just help to soothe the soul, and stimulate a flow of new ideas and potential solutions.
If you’d like to try meditation, there are many apps to choose from, or you can go to You Tube to track down guided meditations and music. Then hang a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on your door, get comfy on the floor with a mat, rug and cushions – plug in your earphones and drift off to wherever it all takes you. Namaste.
5. Send some old-fashioned greeting cards to family and friends
Feeling isolated? Chances are your friends and family members are feeling the same. Phone calls and emails are brilliant, but another sure-fire way to show them you care is to send a pretty or funny card, with your handwritten message (or maybe a letter) inside.
There’s something deeply personal about a handwritten message – the connection starts with the sender considering each word carefully as they commit pen to paper, and continues with the reader physically holding that expression of care in their hands.
Have you gathered a collection of cards for any occasion? Now’s the time to plunder that box. Do you have kids underfoot? Now’s the time to set them up with some cardboard, magazine and gift paper scraps, ribbons, glitter, buttons – whatever you have to hand – scissors and a glue stick – and get them creating. (A good tip is to measure and cut the cards for them first, so they’ll fit in a standard envelope.)
Don’t disregard getting crafty with card-making yourself; as adults we tend to forget how much fun making things can be. Pinterest has a great range of crafty ideas to inspire you…
And then, if you can, take a walk to the post box to post those cards. Breathe in all that fresh air and walk home knowing you’ve sent a smile on its way.
6. Get out!
Daylight saving has ended and the nights are becoming cooler, but there is still so much blue sky to enjoy right now. And nothing beats cabin fever like fresh air and sunshine. So, this Easter, check the weather forecasts and plan for a series of outdoor feasts.
Photo Credit: www.addaroom.dk
At breakfast, brunch or lunch, borrow from café culture and set your outdoor table in style. Fossick through your linen cupboard for that special napery that rarely gets used. (Because, as they say, ‘if not now, when?’) Freshen up a tablecloth and napkins with a wash or an airing on the line, and have a good look at the colours.
Next, go through your kitchen cupboards and dressers. Is there a platter or a vase that is suffering from neglect – or from too-good-for-every-day syndrome? (See above, Carpe diem.) Will its colour and form complement the table dressings? And what’s in your garden? Look for some obliging flowers and/or foliage that will add life to the setting.
Photo credit: El Mueble
Remember, black, grey and white work well with a pop of lively green foliage.
And don’t be afraid to introduce an accent colour, like orange or lime green.
Check out our Pinterest page to see how the right outdoor cushion can lift the look, adding both style and cosy comfort.
7. Bring the outdoors inside
Easter is an ancient celebration of light after darkness, life after death – hence the traditional giving and receiving of eggs, symbolising new life. (It doesn’t explain all those chocolate rabbits, but who are we to argue?)
To bring that new-life vibrancy into your home this Easter, look to nature for inspiration. Natural objects can lift the energy of any interior and your garden is a great place to start. Look not only for colourful flowers but for striking, dramatic leaves that contribute both colour and form to a well-placed vase.
Take a snip from a favourite plant and strike a cutting in a glass jar on a window sill. Better yet, take three snips – groupings of three always look great. Can you tie a small bunch of lavender with some twine and place it on a bathroom basin or hang it from a rail?
Is there a gorgeous pot plant that can come inside for a few days to change things up in a hallway or corner? Can you gather a posy of herbs and bring their fresh tang into your kitchen?
If you’re a walker, always take a bag or some deep pockets. You never know when you’ll find a heart-shaped stone, a beautiful sea shell or an abandoned bird’s nest that might contribute its good vibrations to your home.
And remember to connect your indoor and outdoor living zones. One of the easiest ways is through visual anchors and colour cues.
Our stylish contemporary outdoor cushions, floor rugs and accessories can help you create the kind of harmonic flow we all need in our homes right now.
Wishing you a happy Easter. Stay safe, stay home, stay well. x