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What to do this Winter Wonder... Lockdown?

For many people living in Melbourne, Australia, much of this Winter will be spent in 'Lockdown'. Despite wanting to stay indoors when it's cold, a Winter Lockdown was not what most us had in mind. So what is there to do this Winter Lockdown? Well, I have come up with a few little ideas that might just keep you sane, but, nerd alert, there are nerdy ideas contained within.

Many of us have already spent a large portion of this year locked down, with limited reasons to go outside, we have had to become a little more creative than usual. I know that some people have accepted this second lockdown, seeing it as an opportunity rather inconvenience. I know that many of you might want to spend this time shedding some of the kilos gained as a consequence of the first lockdown. So the first idea I thought would be good share includes - creating a new menu plan and trialling new recipes. I am all about food, and love a good feast, so I have taken this second lockdown as another opportunity to check out some new recipes.

One recipe that I have become slightly addicted to, and look forward to anytime I can make it is, Lemon & Chilli Chicken. Originally I looked at a few recipes on Google, but I have now begun to adjust it to my liking. Simply, in one large bowl, I add 2 finely chopped red chillies, the zest and juice of one large lemon (or if you have limes, I use the zest and juice of two limes), a pinch of salt and good douse of olive oil. I always taste the marinade prior to adding the chicken, just to see if it is balanced, has a kick from the chilli and sweetness from the lemon/limes. But how much marinade is enough? Well, once I add the chicken wings to the mixture, if the marinade does not coat all of them well, I simply add more lemon juice and chilli. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for a little while to maximise flavour. When frying it off in a hot, large pan, I continue to drizzle some lime or lemon juice to really caramelise it and pack it full of flavour. Once the chicken is golden and cooked through (make sure you check), it's ready to serve. It's a simple dish, which I then serve with a large green salad.

Talking about greens - another ‘go to’ at the moment is my favourite green smoothie! It’s raw and highly nutritious! It goes a bit like this... one handful of kale, one cucumber, an apple or pear, one celery stick and 1 cup of coconut water. Using a blender, I make sure it’s smooth before drinking. Sometimes I also put a scoop of my favourite multivitamin powder just to give it another layer of goodness.

Another way to keep sane this lockdown is to start catching up on all those books you've bought over the years but never got round to reading. This is where I should say *nerd alert*. Although a law nerd, and always reading a journal on international law and security, I do enjoy reading a good novel or non-fiction book. At the moment I have immersed myself in the wisdom of Thomas Piketty, a French economic and political scholar, again, *nerd alert*, BUT, I have also really enjoyed reading some fantasy and sci-fi novels recently. My all time favourite is The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.

Obviously, Netflix is a huge benefit to lockdown, and my top recommendations are, The Warrior Nun, The Old Guard and if you love the Formula 1 like myself, then Formula 1: Drive to Survive is ah-maazing!

Although planning ahead in the current climate is not the wisest thing to be doing, as 2020 has definitely turned out to be starkly different to what everyone had in mind, I am also taking this second lockdown as a way to think critically about my future, pathways and direction. I have started to jot down some thoughts on what I would like to achieve in the next 2-3 years (obviously COVID-permitting). By making the physical effort of writing down these thoughts and in some respect 'goals', I am keeping my mind off unproductive and negative thoughts, and maintaining a healthy level of motivation. It is too easy at the moment to lose sight of your own goals and dreams, and succumb to big sleep-ins and sloth-like days (although having 'nothing days' as I like to call them is good, all within moderation).

When the weather is nice (a rarity at the moment in Melbourne) I am walking lots and ensuring I get a good amount of fresh air, however when it is wet and windy, walking and daily exercise definitely loses its appeal.

Overall, I am taking this lockdown as an opportunity to eat well (and, eat delicious home cooked meals), catch up on some reading and watch Netflix. Sprinkled on top is some self-care and goal-setting to maintain motivation.

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