March’s Watched, Read & Loved – How I’ve Been Keeping Occupied In Isolation..

March 31, 2020
A picture of a shelf and the three books I've read so far in isolation - The Last by Hanna Jameson, My Sister The Serial Killer and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams - stacked in front of a framed print that reads Girl Power.

Whew, how the world has changed since the last time I actually wrote a post? This will be a corona-free zone, promise, but I have to tackle the elephant in the room – I’ve watched, read, and loved a few more things this month simply because social distancing and isolation means that I’ve done little else than watch telly, curl up on the sofa with a book, listen to music, or play the Switch. Of course, I’ve spent a lot of time entertaining baby, who now loves to be stood up, is drawn to anything that makes a noise, and currently screams whenever she can’t see me, but having her dad at home means that I have a few more hours in the day to myself. And as controversial and weird as it may sound, if we were to disregard how much I miss my family and friends, I’m kind of enjoying it..

Read..

I’ve read three whole books this month, can you believe it? In fact, I read those three books in the space of something like, five days. It’s incredible what you can do when you can’t leave the house for longer than an hour a day! First up, is Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. This came super highly recommended, and I have to say, it was just as incredible as I had hoped. Queenie was so relatable as a character, and her friendship group even more so, which meant it was actually quite difficult to remember that you were reading fiction and not an autobiography for the majority of the book. If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this has really similar vibes and tackles mental health is a similar but different way. I also found myself laughing away at points, especially at Queenie’s friend Kyazike, so it isn’t all heavy – I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough, a definite must read.

Next up, another book that came really highly recommend – My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwate. Korede was another character that I really enjoyed, and Ayoola, social-media-loving self-involved sister, is someone that I’m sure we can all recognise in our own lives – minus the whole, ‘she kills people’ thing, of course. I sped through the book in a few sittings, the length of the chapters made it super easy to read and the story was fairly straightforward but I think that in itself was a bit of a downfall. I felt like whilst it was enjoyable, it didn’t go into as much depth as it could have at certain points which let it down and left me with a fair few questions towards the end. Overall, it was enjoyable but in my opinion, not a ‘must read’..

Last up, we have The Last by Hanna Jameson. I was so excited about this book, and for the most part, it didn’t let me down! Although it was a slightly unnerving read in the current climate – centred around the world descending into nuclear war, most of humanity dying out and the survivors having to essentially live in isolation – I really enjoyed the development of the characters, and it kept me guessing right up until the end, but it was here that I was left disappointed. Did you ever get told off as a kid for finishing stories in school “they all woke up, and it had just been a dream”? That’s kind of how the ending to this story felt – whilst there was absolutely no way it could’ve been predicted, which is normally a good thing, it also felt a little bit like it had been plucked out of thin air. It’s difficult to describe, ninety-five percent of the story was really enjoyable, the ending just felt a little underwhelming..

This month’s to be read list include Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo, which I’ve seen so many people raving about, The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor and Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce.

Watched..

Okay, let’s kick things off with White Gold. I sound like an awful girlfriend, but I watched the first episode of this and instantly thought, my boyfriend would love this series – but I accidentally carried on watching it, and finished both seasons on Netflix. If I was to tell you that the main characters are Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Ed Westwick, I’m sure you’ll be adding it to your list within seconds because that’s just the most perfect mixture of funny and good looking. A comedy, set in the 80’s, it follows the lives of three salesmen who’ll do just about anything to make the sale. If you’re a fan of The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner, anything along those lines – you’ll love it..

With something for everyone, let’s go from comedy to drama, Noughts + Crosses on iPlayer. I can’t tell you how excited I was to watch this series, having read and loved the books when I was younger. If you don’t know the story, it’s based on a society where black people, known as Crosses, are the ruling class, and white people, known as Noughts, are the underclass, having recently been enslaved to the Crosses. Childhood friends Sephy, a Cross, and Callum, a Nought, fall for one another, knowing that their love is illegal. Not only is the story incredible, but seeing the world from an entirely different perspective is harrowing. And if that wasn’t enough, the soundtrack is impeccable, the casting was superb, and whoever did the costume design deserves an Oscar. I literally could not recommend it enough!

A slightly easier watch, but still super interesting 100 Humans: Life’s Questions, Answered on Netflix. We put this on one day, just as an easy watch, background noise programme but ended up engrossed. I mean, who doesn’t want to spend their time in isolation finding out if they wipe the right way after weeing? Super interesting, and also really funny – as a spoiler, the superhero-catch-a-baby challenge had us both wetting ourselves laughing, so if you just watch one episode, make it that one..

Loved..

Much like the rest of the social media world, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Animal Crossing. What better way to spend my days in isolation, not allowed out into the world, but exploring my own island, catching butterflies and paying off an ever increasing debt to a racoon? At this point in my life, I couldn’t think of anything better! It’s super easy to play, especially with a baby, because it’s based on real time, making it slow paced and necessary to pick up and put down – it’s been a sanity-saver during evenings when trying to settle baby down in her own cot.

If books, telly, or games don’t appeal to you – a banging playlist that you can’t help but get up and dance around the kitchen to has to be your jam. A current family favourite is the ‘Social-Distancing Kitchen Party‘ playlist on Spotify, created by the incredible Beth Sandland. With everything from Now You’re Gone by Basshunter to Common People by Pulp, I guarantee there’s something on here for absolutely everyone. And if you don’t feel like dancing, her chilled playlist is worth a listen as well – perfect background vibes for those of you having to work from home or if you just want a bit of down time..

I guess for me, it’s been important to try and find a balance of using my time wisely, and enjoying the sense of freedom, whilst in isolation, that comes with being allowed to lounge around doing absolutely nothing, but so far, I feel fairly content.

How are you finding the whole isolation situation? What have you been doing to pass the time?
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