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Positive pants on! 6 lockdown silver-linings

Covid fatigue kicking in? Ditch the bloody banana loaf, lock yourself in the bathroom and enjoy the simple pleasures, then plot your post lockdown escape from 3 Dec.

We’ve done it once, we can do it again goddammit. Lockdown is rubbish but we have the benefit of hindsight to put a positive spin on the next four weeks of restrictions. No, I won’t be baking banana bread or attempting a sourdough starter. And while I might tune into Joe Wicks’ YouTube channel, the likelihood is I’ll be parked on the sofa with a digestive biscuit in one hand and cuppa in the other. 

But there are a few things that I will be doing to ensure the next month is relatively painless and, dare I say it, moderately enjoyable. Shimmy into those positive pants, my friends, because this is the important stuff.

‘ME TIME’ MAGIC

Woman in bath towel on head

We all love our families (well, most of the time). But let’s be honest, they can get right on your wick after a while. With more time being spent at home, ‘me time’ is a mental health must. Pour that glass of wine, fill the bath with bubbles, light that scented candle, grab a book and lock the goddamn door. You have at least an hour before someone realises you’re MIA.

NATURE CALLS

Basildon Park Autumn walk up two people walking up the gravel drive iron railings and autumn trees

Were you surprised by the 255 miles of traffic jams as Londoners plotted their escape to the country? Nope me neither. One reason to be cheerful is that no matter where you live in Berkshire, you’re never too far from water and green open spaces. It was a lifeline the first time and should be in your lockdown toolkit again. OK, so the weather’s a bit pants, but grab your coats and get out there. There are lots of stunning walks in the royal county that save your sanity and according to the mental health charity Mind, helps to reduce stress and anger while boosting mood and self-esteem. If your well-trodden path is a bit boring, here are 20 autumn walks for a bit of leaf-kicking with the family.

MOVE YOUR BODY

Wasing Estate Wellbeing Centre

Slip into your Lycra and release those endorphins, laydee. Ignore Negative Nelly’s ‘can’t be arsed’ attitude, just do it. And ‘it’ can be anything you like – enjoy stress-busting yoga, pick up the pace and go for a run, freewheel on your bike, dance in your kitchen or mix it up with a different online class every day. Stare at the abs of Joe Wicks one day and enjoy a mindful online yoga session the next – Wasing Wellbeing Studio is offering online classes, but post-Lockdown its stunning studio is a must-visit. The drive alone will help you relax. All we need to do is to sit on our bottoms a little less and move a bit more. The result? Well, aside from the physical benefits, studies have shown that physical exercise helps boost your mood, improves sleep and helps manage stress and anxiety. Something, we could all do with a dose of right now. 

COMFORT IN FOOD

Mushroom casserole comfort food

Baking may have been the pastime du jour earlier ithis year, but quite frankly, we’re just not feeling that wholesome this time round. There’s no better time for seasonal, comforting food paired with a bold red by a toasty fire. If cooking is your stress reliever, ditch the sponge for big roasts, comforting casseroles, foraged ingredients and ‘there there’ classics. Have your fun in the kitchen, while you have the time, before you’re released from home arrest and can enjoy a meal out cooked by someone who actually knows that they are doing. 

NAIL CHRISTMAS!

Woman wrapping Christmas presents in a crafty way

Although the kids are led to believe it’s the elves who work their socks off pre-Christmas, we all know who is really responsible (wink wink). So use this time to get organised. Get your Christmas to-do list done, write your cards (urgh, my most hated job), make your cake (if you can be figged), order the turkey and support all the lovely local businesses who need us so much right now. Muddy’s utterly brilliant Indie Store launches soon and it’s small biz heaven. Click, buy, wrap… job done.

By the 25 December, you may well be sick of your own four walls for the festive period, Father Christmas has told us you have been very good this year. Your reward? Three whole days off from the cooking, cleaning and refereeing. It’s a Christmas miracle! Where is this festive utopia? Head to Wasing Estate and enjoy a Night Before Christmas supper, Christmas Day brunch, lunch and evening cheese board followed by a Boxing Day brunch and dinner and some quality Zzzz. So much food you’ll have to roll down the hill (prices from £1,165 for two people sharing a room). If you’re a bit more local, you can book in for a fancy shmancy Wasing Christmas lunch – adults £70pp and kids £25pp. Expect Champagne and canapes, seasonal starters, traditional turkey or Veggie Wellington, boozy puds and warm mince pies – decadent and delicious, book here

FAST FORWARD TO FUN

wasing Granary Room

It’s only four weeks and we can already taste freedom! Set an alarm for Thu 3 Dec, and make a date for your escape. We all need something to look forward to and a cheeky Covid-safe escape to a stonking organic estate where you can lord and lady it up in a place that feels like a different world for a few days. Sounds like heaven. The historic Wasing Estate is offering unique boutique weekend escapes, staying in one of its 26 rooms, many with foxy copper tubs like the one above, surrounded by 4,000 glorious acres. 

Wasing Estate Boutique Hotel

Grab a map and wander the many trails, bring bikes and whizz around the estate, you can go fishing (you’ll need your own gear) or head to the Wellbeing Studio for a spot yoga. You can even head into the forest and cook your own pizza or venison kebab. A lovely opportunity to kick back, relax, connect with nature. In the evening, settle in for a six-course tasting menu (many of the ingredients are sourced from the estate or locally, keeping those food miles low). If you don’t fancy staying over (are you mad?), no need to get foodie FOMO, you can book a table to enjoy the tasting menu – £55pp or £90pp including paired wines. Basically, if you don’t do any of the above over the next few weeks, you can get a concentrated shot of wellbeing in one weekend. Ahhhh, that’s better.

Wasing Estate weekend breaks, from £195 per room. Christmas three-night break, £1,165 for two. Wasing Tasting Menu supper club from £55pp (£90 including wine flight). Christmas lunch £70pp and children £25pp. To make a booking contact: bookings@wasing.co.uk

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