Well, 2021 is a bit dismal amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and as we continue to navigate the country's final lockdown, it can feel a bit like Groundhog Day. But staying in can be just as fun and productive as going out, with HELLO!'s tips to keep boredom at bay. From learning new skills to embracing your inner DIY guru, we've got you covered…
1. Clear out your wardrobe
Dedicate your time and attention to sorting out your clothes, declutter your home, ditching items you haven't worn for six months and co-ordinating clothes into sections so it's easier to browse in the mornings. This is a great opportunity to get inspired by new outfits or rediscover an old favourite.
What you'll need: Good music on, some vacuum storage bags and a 'does it spark joy?' mindset
2. Hone your cooking skills
If you didn't quite master cooking skills during the first coronavirus lockdown, maybe it's time you try again and start with the basics. If you can't be bothered, and just want convenience, check out our list of the best meal delivery services in the UK.
What you'll need: Basic skills.
3. Give yourself a manicure
Sometimes it's the small things in life that make us feel better, with a fresh manicure being up there. Take some time for yourself, push your cuticles down, slather on some hand cream and choose a shade that makes you smile from ear to ear. If you love your gels, you might want to invest in an at-home gel machine set.
Nail art photo we love: @overglowedit
What you'll need: Some cool Cheat Sheet nail stickers
Ciate Cheat Sheet nail stickers, £16, LookFantastic
4. Read a New York Times Bestseller
It's time to read that book that's been sat on your shelf for the last few months. Get inspired by a best-selling memoir, indulge in a celeb-approved book or escape to a different world for a few hours. Hot drink and blanket desirable. If you don't own a Kindle Paperwhite yet, you might wish to invest.
What you'll need: The most talked-about book of lockdown - Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Replace your gym visit with an at-home work-out, with squats, burpees and press-ups all achievable without equipment. Transform your lounge into a yoga space and stretch it out. The current favourite is the Results Wellness Lifestyle app, which was co-founded by former TOWIE star Lucy Mecklenburgh.
What you'll need: A free trial to Results Wellness Lifestyle
Train free for 30 days and £19.99 a month after, Results Wellness Lifestyle
6. Book a staycation
Hurrah! We can start making plans, and if you're hoping for a chance to get away later in the year, check out the Plum Guide for a gorgeous holiday home to rent in some of the UK's most idyllic hotspots.
What you'll need: Your suitcase
7. Get motivated
Now's the time to read a book to give you a boost. Motivational speaker, Neil Thubron and author of Yucan, spent the first lockdown offering workshops for his followers. The Charity Big Goal Workshop raised money for the charity MIND. He helps people focus on their goals and build a plan for achieving them. It could be a personal, business or sporting goal, he just wants to help people get motivated to achieve them.
What you'll need: His book and a positive mindset
Yucan by Neil Thubron, £4.99, Amazon
8. Start a podcast
Obsessed with podcasts? Are you and your family hilarious? Maybe it's time you looked into making a business out of podcasting. You'll need all the technical equipment, but first, swot up with how you're going to make your millions from your dining room table.
What you'll need: A book about podcasting for beginners
How To Start A Podcast And Create A Profitable Podcasting Business by Amanda Mayo, £16.05, Amazon
9. Write a letter
Remember how enjoyable it was to receive a letter in the post? Do that with your friends and family - make their day. Buy some nice paper and spread some love to a friend or family member.
What you'll need: A personalised letter writing set
Letter writing set, £21.24, Papier
10. Learn how to do calligraphy
If you really want to elevate your letter writing - how about doing a spot of calligraphy? This book is reportedly very good, with rave reviews online.
What you'll need: A calligraphy guide for beginners
The Ultimate Guide To Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering for Beginners, £6.99, Amazon
11. Do evening drinks (from home)
More and more of us are turning to virtual slumber parties via Zoom so we can keep up with friends, have a laugh, a glass of wine or three, and make the best of the lockdown. Why not become the Quiz Master and organise the ultimate pub quiz.
What you'll need: Your girls, wine, and maybe some snacks. A quiz book could come in handy, too.
Collins Quiz Night, £8.19, Amazon
12. Get a personal tarot reading
If you're feeling in the mood to see what's written in the stars, check out Naomi Stella on Instagram. You can DM for a personalised tarot and intuitive reading and it's all done remotely. It's all done over voice notes and her readings are done as a pay as you can service as she believes everyone should experience a reading.
What you'll need: Instagram (and an open mind)
David Beckham kept busy during the first coronavirus lockdown by building Lego sculptures with his kids, and who can blame him? Lego is perfect for keeping your mind busy and you get the ta-da at the end of it. Winning.
What you'll need: The Beckham-approved Lego London Bus
Lego Creator London Bus, £109.99, LEGO
Did you miss the Game of Thrones craze or are you late to the Grey's Anatomy party? Now's the time to catch up on all that TV you've been curious about, so get comfy and get ready to commit hours of your life to watching someone else's dramas. During the first lockdown it was all about Normal People, in the second it was The Undoing starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman and now it's period drama, Bridgerton on Netflix.
Netflix subscription, from £5.99 a month
15. Watch Disney movies
How often do you get a chance to sit around and watch Disney movies all weekend? Disney+ launched at the beginning of the March lockdown which was perfect timing for parents around the world. Prepare to be obsessed if you haven't downloaded it yet.
What you'll need: A Disney+ subscription
Disney+ Subscription, £7.99, Disney+
16. Buy a dartboard
Since we can't go to the pub, bring the pub to you with a cool dartboard. This one is magnetic, so a lot safer if you have children.
What you'll need: A dartboard
Magnetic dartboard, £10.60, Amazon
17. Do a crossword/Sudoku
Looking for something a bit more challenging? Put your brain to the test and do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle and see how far you can get. There are lots of online crosswords or word puzzles which means you don't have to leave the house to have a go.
What you'll need: A crossword challenge
Collins crossword challenge book, £5.39, Amazon
18. Do a jigsaw puzzle for adults
Take your eyes off a screen for an afternoon while you tackle a tricky 1000-piece jigsaw. Amazon has plenty to choose from and stocks puzzles for all ages. Here are HELLO!'s picks for the best jigsaw puzzles for adults.
What you'll need: 1000-piece jigsaw
19. Read a saucy book
According to reports, quarantine erotica went sky high during the first lockdown with more and more women enjoying downtime reading a saucy book. Move over Fifty Shades of Grey, the new book causing a fuss is Sex During the Coronavirus Pandemic by WH Fielding. Protagonist Lucy tries to satisfy her sexual desires while performing social distancing, and the strapline is: "They could lock down her country, but not her heart" and the front cover features a protective mask.
What you'll need: A page-turner
The Mister by E L James, prices start at £2.99, Amazon
20. Take notes from Lily Allen
Lily Allen launched her own clitoral stimulator in October 2020 and women across the globe have been raving about it. Join in on the fun!
What you'll need: The Womanizer
The Womanizer, £89.99, LoveHoney
21. Make cheese from scratch
Calling all cheese lovers! This kit is the ultimate lockdown essential - equipped with a range of herbs and spices, three cheese moulds, and a glorious recipe book. There are enough ingredients to make a grand total of 40 batches, and the kit has a shelf life of at least 12 months - so it’ll keep you going for ages.
What you'll need: A cheese-making set
The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit, £36.50, Amazon
22. Make a photo album/back up your phone pictures
Remember that girls' holiday you took in 2016 or when you swam with dolphins? Ensure that memories like this are treasured by taking the time to compile a photo album or scrapbook. Similarly, make a back-up of photos on your phone, to ensure you don't lose them in years to come.
What you'll need: A photobook
23. Plant some flowers
Introduce some welcome colour to your house or garden and plant some flowers. It may be winter but that doesn't mean you can't get out in the garden on a dry day. Opt for Winter Honeysuckle, Pansies, and Winter Heather. Dress warm though!
What you'll need: A gardening kit
Essential Garden Tool Bag, £12.99, Amazon
24. Start a blog
Are you the modern-day Carrie Bradshaw or Bridget Jones? Or does your fashion taste rival that of Olivia Palermo and Estée Lalonde? Use your down-time wisely and start a blog to share your thoughts or favourite hobbies. WordPress is a favourite with most bloggers and it's very simple to use.
What you'll need: A tripod
Tripod, £7.86, Amazon
25. Marie Kondo your drawers
In the words of everyone's favourite Japanese organisation expert, if it doesn't 'spark joy' it's got to go. Sift between socks, underwear and whatever else is lurking in the depths of your drawers and reap the rewards of a tidy and organised chest of drawers.
What you'll need: Drawer dividers
Drawer organiser, £15.99, Amazon
Indulge your sweet tooth and try a Bake Off masterpiece of your own at home. David Beckham loves baking and during the first lockdown he showed off his delicious lemon drizzle cake - we're copying him immediately.
What you'll need: A fun cake set
27. Ice biscuits
It's time to have a little fun with some sweet treats. Why not try your hand at icing some beautiful snowflake biscuits from the comfort of your kitchen? Inside this DIY kit, you'll find everything you need to become a pro at home.
What you'll need: A DIY kit
Gingerbreak icing kit, £14, NotOnTheHighStreet
28. Learn how to knit
Pick up your needles and take the time to hone a new skill like knitting. Not just for grandmas, knitting is considered incredibly therapeutic and practical.
What you'll need: A knitting kit
Knitting kit for beginners, £28.99, Amazon
29. Cross stitch
According to reports, Cross stitch has soared in popularity due to Bridgerton. In fact, in January there was a 545% spike in interest. Get stitching and then get outside and promenade?
What you'll need: A cross stitch set for beginners
Cross stitch set for beginners, £14.99, Amazon
30. Dance it out
Blast out some of your favourite tunes and get dancing in your bedroom, living room or bathroom. Hairbrush microphone optional.
What you'll need: A karaoke kit
Lucky Voice Karaoke Kit, £58.99, Amazon
31. Mask making
Tie-dye was the trend of the first lockdown and super popular with the fash-pack. This time around, perhaps we'll be making our own face coverings.
What you'll need: A mask-making kit
Mask-making kit, £5.49, Etsy
RELATED: The best face masks to buy now
32. Make a travel bucket list
Write it down in black and white the places you've yet to explore, the trips you want to take and the food you've got to sample. Similarly, Pinterest is the perfect place to find inspiration and pin places you want to go to.
What you'll need: A map
World map poster, £15.97, Amazon
33. Learn a language
Challenge yourself to learn a new language in just a few weeks, ready for your next trip away. With a ton of apps and websites that give you lessons for free, you've truly run out of excuses not to.
What you'll need: A book to help you
Fluent Forever, £9.39, Amazon
PARENTING TIPS: 6 best educational websites and apps to help kids
34. Give your face a workout
FaceGym - the UK's only gym studio for the face - hosted incredible masterclasses during the first lockdown to teach people how to relieve stress in the face. Trainers from London, NYC and LA all took part in a 15-minute live stream class on Instagram (@facegym), and each masterclass focused on a different muscle group to tone, lift and sculpt the face. Now there are kits you can buy to use at home.
What you'll need: A Face Tool Kit
Face Gym Face Tool Kit, was £110 now £94, Face Gym
35. Get your DIY on
Take the time to tackle some interior improvements that you didn't get around to during the previous lockdowns – be that painting your walls, upholstering old furniture or rearranging a room. Remember health and safety at all times!
What you'll need: A toolset
100-piece tool kit, £39.99, Amazon
36. Call someone who's lonely
The chances are you're not the only one that's self-isolating and people will appreciate a friendly chat or text message to let them know you're thinking of them. Call your grandparents to check on them or suggest a funny thread in the girls' WhatsApp group.
What you'll need: A phone stand (there will be some long conversations!)
Phone, £14.44, Amazon
37. Play board games
If you're lucky enough to be in quarantine with company, embrace some old school entertainment and crack out the board games for some light competition. Monopoly should be chosen at your own risk.
What you'll need: Monopoly
Monopoly, £34.99, Amazon
38. Let your creative juices flow
Embark on a creative arts and crafts challenge, from sketching and mindful colouring to pottery. Stuck for ideas? 64 Million Artists have some great suggestions to get you started, launching a two-week daily creative challenge you can get involved in.
What you'll need: Colouring pencils
Crayola colouring pencils, £5.80, Amazon
39. Learn to play an instrument
Own a guitar, bass or ukelele that's gathering dust? Or is are you a budding player? Whether you want to learn classic riffs or get the basics under wraps, the Fender Play app does it all with easy to follow video tutorials, diagrams and more. What's more, Fender has made the app free to all new users for three months - perfect for November lockdown! For Desktop, Apple and Android devices.
What you'll need: Headphones (for the sake of your family)
Fender Play, £9.99 a month, Fender
40. Practice, practice, practice
How often do you have time to practice the things that you struggle with when it comes to your beauty routine?! Whether it's doing the perfect eyeliner flick, contouring, or applying false lashes, now's the time to become an expert.
What you'll need: Faux lashes
TL7 Faux Me, £9, Tatti Lashes
41. Become a hairstyling pro
Curling your hair isn't easy, and if you're not a natural when it comes to hair styling, maybe now's the time to hone your skills. That's what the celebrities have been doing - just look at Sam Faiers who showed her Instagram followers her first hair tutorial using her go-to hair gadget - the Dyson Air Wrap.
What you'll need: Your hair tool of choice
Sam used the Dyson Air Wrap, £449.99, available now at John Lewis
42. Have fun on TikTok or Instagram Reels
Everyone is on TikTok or Instagram Reels right now; from the Beckham kids to Olly Murs playing pranks on his girlfriend, the social media platforms can provide hours of entertainment. Be warned: The dance routines aren't as easy as they look.
What you'll need: Patience
43. Do cocktail night!
If you're looking to de-stress and have a little fun, how about indulging in some cocktails. We became obsessed with NIO Cocktails while on lockdown back in the summer. It's very simple - you build your own box of cocktails from the menu, which is created by Head Mixologist Patrick Pistolesi. The boxes hold three, six, or nine cocktails and are delivered straight through your letterbox. Each cocktail is packaged in its own uniquely-designed sleeve – ideal for lining up on a shelf to stock your very own cocktail bar or for spreading out on a table for you and your fellow quarantiners to pick and choose from.
What you'll need: Plenty of ice cubes
Prices start from £19.50, NIO Cocktails
44. Indulge in a chocolate-making class
Lockdown and chocolate go hand in hand. Give in to temptation and enjoy a luxury chocolate making set.
What you'll need: The willpower to resist eating it before it's finished
Luxury chocolate making workshop for two, £105, NotOnTheHighStreet
45. Play a Murder Mystery game
Bored of pub quizzes? Elevate your Zoom game with a virtual Murder Mystery session. Available to buy online, you have a choice of three packages: downloadable ready parties, immersive evenings with a performer, and fully bespoke soirees. There's an array of themes to choose from, including 1920s Paris and Vintage Circus, while the game is suitable for four to 24 people.
What you'll need: Download a virtual game
Murder Mystery Game, from £69, The Digital Murder Mystery Co.
46. Read the best magazine on the planet
We have been working from our homes, dedicated to producing a magazine that is uplifting, positive and full of joy, in a bid to provide some much-needed entertainment as a gentle reprieve from all the difficult news around us.
What you'll need: a HELLO! magazine subscription
47. Binge-watch the best of royal documentaries
Treat yourself subscription of TrueRoyalty.tv, the world’s first and only on-demand TV service devoted to premium royal content, and watch endless shows about your favourite royal family members!
What you'll need: a True Royalty TV subscription
48. Buy a 2021 diary and get planning
Times are tough but that doesn't mean that 2021 has to be a total write off. Get planning for the months ahead, so that you have things to look forward to, whether that be a Zoom call with a loved one or an at-home birthday party in isolation.
What you'll need: A lovely 2021 diary
2021 leather diary and pen, from £50, Aspinal of London
49. Book in to The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience
Why not grab a group of friends and have a fun virtual outing to The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience? The 'Dome from Home' works best with a minimum of four players and you can even opt to have a Maze Master to really elevate the experience. It definitely makes a change to your average Zoom catch-up or team-building experience!
What you'll need: tickets to The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience
The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience, from £15pp, Crystal Maze
50. Make your own pasta
We may not be able to go to Italy at the moment, but why not bring the streets of Florence to your kitchen and make your very own pasta from scratch? Pasta Evangelists have a kit which includes everything you need to get started, including high-quality ingredients and easy to follow recipes. Not only will it kill some time, but you can also treat your bubble to a delicious dinner.
What you'll need: A pasta making kit
Pasta Evangelists Pasta Making Kit, £25, Amazon
51. Learn how to play chess
You've been meaning to since you watched The Queen's Gambit, right? It's said to improve your memory, focus and creativity, which we could all do with a bit of during lockdown 3.0. Amazon has a huge range of sets available, so try swapping Netflix for a game of chess, you might just enjoy yourself.
What you'll need: A chess set and some determination
Hunters Wooden Chess Set, £15, Amazon
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