Many of us spent the first lockdown earlier this year baking banana bread, trying to nurture sourdough starter and embarrassing ourselves on Zoom quizzes.
Now, during Lockdown 2.0, we’re looking for something new.
From new Manchester books to read and streamed live events to recreating top restaurant meals in your own kitchen, here are five things to keep you busy – including a taste of travel without leaving the sofa…
Read a Manchester book
Whether they’re set in our city or written by a local author, there’s a whole host of new releases to catch up with this year.
2020 has seen the publication of titles from non-fiction about Manchester’s music scene, favourite TV show or history to crime thrillers and new young adult fiction.
Play a Manchester board game
Consider yourself a local trivia buff? With 300 questions about Manchester’s famous people, music, events and sport and a further 300 general knowledge questions, the Greater Manchester Taxi Board Game is the must-have board game this Christmas.
Suitable for two to four players or teams, the idea is that you travel around the board, picking up passengers. Just like driving a taxi, the better your knowledge of Greater Manchester, the more you earn when answering trivia questions – and the better your tips.
Expect to answer questions ranging from: ‘Prior to Metrolink, in what year did the last tram run in Manchester?’, right the way through to: ‘Guess who I had in my cab? Born in Tameside in 1942, he scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final’.
Hospitality at home
We’re all missing going to restaurants – but meal kits have become the next best thing, offering ready-prepared dishes or ingredients that only need basic cooking, heating or assembly at home, with most of the hard work done by the professionals in advance.
From steak, bacon naans and Sunday roasts to multi-course feasts from Michelin starred chefs, you can recreate a top restaurant experience in your own kitchen with the easy-to-use kits – plus it’s a chance to support the hospitality industry at a time when it needs our custom more than ever.
And it’s not all about food, as you can also now get the best wines, spirits, cocktails and more delivered directly to your door – perfect if you’re missing city centre bars right now.
Read more: Meal kits to try in Manchester – from local and national restaurants, or visit our dedicated Hospitality at Home page for more inspiration
The live tastings – a taste of world wine without leaving the sofa
How about combining top quality wines from around the world delivered to your door with live virtual tastings that are all about having fun?
A local off licence with a difference, Grape to Grain started their live tasting sessions right back at the start of Lockdown 1.0, and have held over 150 in the intervening period- and they’re just as enjoyable whether you’re a nervous novice or confident connoisseur.
Pick the session, and choose how much wine you want – a modest 100ml ‘taster’, a 500ml carafe, or even a full bottle – with matched artisan cheeses or other local produce, all delivered before the session with national delivery for a small fee and free delivery for many Greater Manchester postcodes.
There’s lots of laughter, a bit of swearing, and a whole heap of knowledge – including slides showing maps and photos of the vineyards. Who needs a holiday when you can virtually travel the world of wine while sitting at home?
What’s more, I Love MCR readers can get 20% off any of the live tastings using the code ILOVEMCR20 – click here to find out more.
Live streamed music, parties and theatre
Innovative streaming platform United We Stream is back for a series of free, festive, feel-good shows to give the region’s residents a break from the boredom and isolation of restrictions, starting on ‘Mad Friday’ (18th December).
There’ll be four huge festive parties, including what will undoubtedly be the biggest NYE party in the UK, with money raised going to the Mayor’s oneGM initiative to help the people hardest hit by the economic impact of COVID-19 in Greater Manchester.
Or if it’s theatre you’re missing, all HOME’s shows that were due to be on stage in November are being live streamed during lockdown, with tickets available on a pay-what-you-decide basis.