Things To Do Whilst Social-Distancing: A Guide By Des Lewis
A Note from Team BASE: These are unprecedented times and as we all try to adapt and adjust our lives in this strange new world, isolating ourselves from friends and family it is important now more than ever for us to stay connected.
Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing a series of weekly to-do lists, curated by some of our friends, industry insiders and community. They will be sharing their recommendations of things to read, listen to and watch to help keep your minds occupied, your bodies healthy and your souls energised. Whether you’re practising social-distancing or having to self-isolate we hope these recommendations will offer little nuggets of cultural escapism and spark a little joy.
This weeks cultural guide is curated by uber cool and talented London based Fashion Stylist and Art Director Des Lewis. Des has worked in the industry for over 20 years, starting her career in the offices of i-D magazine and then going on to roles at Glamour and Instyle before being appointed as Senior Style Editor at Marie Claire, a position she held for several years before embarking on a freelance career. Des currently styles and art directs editorial shoots for magazines and advertising campaigns for well-known international fashion brands.
One of the nicest, well-respected and chicest stylists in the industry, here she shares with us the little things that are helping her through this period of social-distancing, from 9am online P.E workouts with her daughter to rediscovering forgotten hip hop albums that had captured the nostalgia of her clubbing days.
WHAT music are you currently listening to?
Queen & Slim soundtrack – I loved the film and the soundtrack is equally as good, it takes you on such a musical journey and there are certain tracks that take you right back to some of the most intense and poignant moments in the movie.
The Roots – ‘Do You Want More?’ I’m a hip-hop girl at heart and recently rediscovered this album whilst having a clear-out of cd’s (yes I am that person that still has music from the pre-digital age), this album evokes so much nostalgia of my days hanging out in Notting Hill at club Subterania, where I also saw them perform this album live.
Stevie Wonder –Songs in the Key of Life. One of my all-time favourite albums that never gets old. My 7yr old daughter, Missy is really into it too, which brings me so much joy!
What PODCASTS are you listening to?
I’m a bit of a podcast virgin and still haven’t fully embraced them. I have listened to Scene on Radio: Seeing White – a study of the history of racism in America from the white view point. It really delves into the psyche of racists and explores where racism originates from.
What are you currently READING?
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – An overview of how our species has developed, a thought provoking read that will change the way you look at the world. I read this over the course of a good few months as it’s quite a lot of information to take in and process.
Queenie – Funny, painful, honest – I could totally relate to the black female protagonist.
Susan Sontag: Her Life – I’ve only read the first couple of chapters (this is an 800-page beast) but I am eager to delve deeper into the life and mind of this woman who was considered to be one of the most influential writers of her generation.
WHAT are you watching?
Queen & Slim – I saw it at the cinema and it is coming to Amazon Prime soon and I will be watching it again! Without giving too much away to anyone who hasn’t seen it, it is a stylish, provocative and powerful black story about two people who have the most disastrous first date imaginable that involves a fatal incident and the journey that this then takes them on.
I don’t watch the small screen much as it seems like such a huge commitment – everything is 20 episodes 6 seasons long… that’s 60 hours of my life gone and that’s just for one series! Having said that, a friend recently recommended ‘This is Us’, an Amazon Prime series about family, relationships, love, race and identity. It’s a real tear jerker at times, I binged watched 3 seasons over the course of a month!
How are you staying FIT during the lockdown?
I have a 7yr old daughter, Missy and as part of our daily routine we have been doing P.E with Joe Wicks at 9am every week day morning. It’s only 30 minutes but it’s a great way to start the day and to get Missy ready for home-schooling.
I also subscribe to Shona Vertue’s Youtube channel, she is a yoga-based fitness instructor and I have been doing her workouts for about a year. She is very much about form and the health (both the physical and mental) benefits of exercise, as opposed to the often promoted ideal of obtaining a thin body that we are bombarded with. She has a great offering of so many different workouts depending on what your needs are – you can choose a 10-minute session or an hour session, focus on strength or meditation, it’s all there.
We also go for a daily hour-long forest walk as a family.
HOW are you looking after yourself mentally and emotionally?
I would say definitely staying connected with family & friends via Facetime, Houseparty and Zoom. Missy has been able to see and chat with her classmates via weekly Zoom sessions, which she really enjoys. It is basically a load of kids shouting at each other but the smiles on their faces is wonderful.
We live near Epping Forest and have been going on daily hour walks to get some exercise and fresh air, it’s amazing what being out in nature can do for the mind – I know and appreciate how lucky we are to have it on our doorstep. It’s a good place to go as you hardly see other people so it’s perfect for social distancing.
What are your favourite meals or SNACKS that are getting you through each day?
I’ve been trying to avoid sugar for the past few months and have been continuing this as much as possible during lockdown. Avocado on sourdough toast or porridge with berries are our breakfast- go-to, lunch is salad or soup, cruidites and hummus and dinner is dahl or chicken with brown rice. I am also obsessed with Nocellara olives and eat them every day! I try not to snack too much as I’m very aware that for the most part, isolation is quite sedentary and I don’t want to come out the other side of it 2 stone heavier! If I do snack, I tend to have an apple, rice or oatcake with peanut butter.
Being asked this question has made me realise that I only follow two food accounts on Instagram, Melissa Hemsley – her recipes are easy to follow and she very much promotes trying to use up what you have in the fridge, I was given her book ‘Eat Green’, for Mother’s Day. I also follow @26grains who just makes everything look and sound delicious.
WHAT are your sources of inspiration?
I studied photography and as a working stylist, I love photographic images and have been collecting coffee table photography books for many years, they are an important part of my work for research and a source of inspiration, I can spend hours looking at them.
Everybody seems to be spending their time in isolation learning a new skill, baking bread and exercising like crazy, this is all great but I also think it is important that people do not feel pressured to compete with what they see on social media and this quote sums it up for me.
Quote: “Be kind to yourself, you are doing ok”
What are your home luxuries that are making you HAPPY?
Having spent the first week of lockdown without heating or hot water (our boiler broke within days of the beginning of the isolation), I have a new level of appreciation for a long soak in a hot bath, reading a book with candles burning – my favourites are Cotton Poplin and Apocalytpic (very apt for the times we are living in) both by Byredo.
Time is a luxury I have really come to appreciate during lockdown. Time with my family, time to connect with friends, time with my thoughts, time to slow down and time to do all those odd jobs that have been on my to-do list forever!
Do you have any other TIPS that get you through the week?
Routine and structure are key to making isolation less stressful and more purposeful. Getting up and doing even ten minutes of exercise or meditation will set you up for the day. It’s also very important to actually get dressed rather than staying in your pj’s, this will make your days feel like they have a beginning and end.
Do you have any recommendations on how to spend the WEEKEND during social -distancing?
If you are WFH then definitely switch off from work at the weekend – read, read, read (not the news), watch movies, listen to music and connect with your loved ones, these should be high on your weekend schedule. After calls to family and friends, I spend a lot of time with my daughter at the weekend doing art and playing board games.