Good news for those New Zealanders in level 3 who are able to enjoy some takeaways this weekend. For everyone in Auckland it's some more home cooking unfortunately. But not to worry, we've got some excellent ideas about what to eat this weekend, as well as some great activities to get into with your bubble.
Virtual wine tasting
One way to stay connected with your friends during lockdown, besides doomscrolling through their social media feeds, is to organise a virtual wine tasting together. You could do it yourself by creating a wine list for your friends to buy and then meeting up on video chat to talk nonsense about it. Or, you could let some professionals take care of it all for you and enjoy a real and unique wine tasting experience, complete with expert guidance from the Kinross Cellar Door. Order a tasting pack — which is delivered for free — and book a 45-minute online tasting experience with one of Kinross' trained wine advisers.
You'll not only learn all about the tipples you're tasting but also about the Gibbston region, which is world-renowned for its wine. You can have multiple bubbles join the tasting, so rally your wine friends and help them shed that isolation inertia by nerding out over some of Aotearoa's best wines together online.
Head to the Kinross website to learn more and to order the tasting packs, starting at $90.
Orchestra at home
Classical music fans, fill your live performance void by watching the many Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concerts available on their website. It's not exactly the same as the aural pleasure of being in the Town Hall but it's still pretty darn great and you can see the musicians' faces clearly, which is its own fascinating entertainment. For the caregivers-turned-school teachers among you, there are also some great short videos for kids that introduce all the instruments of the orchestra with the help of Custard, the puppet from Whoa Studios. And if you're making music a core part of your homeschooling curriculum then check out the four-part video series the APO made last year in collaboration with Chris Sanders from Angel Star on how to write a song. There are worksheets that go with each video and games you can play too. You never know, your little musical geniuses might just strike creative gold this lockdown and write a banger.
There's only so much Netflix a person can watch in lockdown before their mind turns to melancholy mush. If you're looking for something a little bit different to do, consider the Escape Quest play-at-home escape mission. You could do it with just your bubble or get some friends and family on Zoom and make a social occasion out of it. Set in Queenstown during the gold rush, the mission is to use the clues provided and your own intellect to find the missing gold before the bandits do. If you've ever done an in-person escape room, you'll know they can be loads of fun and — bonus — they're a great way to get people working together for a common goal, which might be just what your bubble needs at this stage of the lockdown.
Available from the Escape Quest website. Internet access and printer required, $30 per game.
Gifts for your nervous system
If lockdown has your monkey mind scaling new heights and swinging more wildly through the vines than ever before then you need to give that mind a chance to catch its breath. One of the most effective ways to do that is meditation. There are numerous apps you could download for DIY mindfulness, but if you want a more personal experience, live instruction and to be able to connect with others seeking the same thing, then check out new Tamaki Makaurau meditation centre SOMM (the School of Modern Meditation). SOMM is offering all classes online during the lockdown so you can join from anywhere in the country. There are 30-minute and 60-minute classes, ranging from guided meditation to breathwork and sound work, as well as classes for children and one specifically for teens (they need to chill out). There's a 101 workshop tonight — a complete introduction to meditation where you can ask all your questions. However, in the unlikely event you've got something else on, worry not, all classes are for all levels so don't be shy to join one and dedicate some brain space to giving your brain space.
Visit the SOMM website for the full timetable and to sign up for a class. 30-min class: $15. 60-min class: $25. Or $20/week for an online membership with unlimited classes.
What to read
Over the past couple of years, a neighbour and I have established an informal book exchange, with an emphasis on local writers. When I told her how much I'd loved Sue Orr's latest novel, Loop Tracks, she dropped one round from the Wellington author's back catalogue, The Party Line, published in 2015.
Both storylines are rooted in the 70s with narratives deftly interspersed from the present day, confronting social issues and family dysfunction ranging from abortion rights to domestic violence. Orr captures the suffocating, claustrophobic nature of a small-minded New Zealand rife with moral hypocrisy — the "party line" references the shared telephone exchange in a farming community where unhealthy secrets fester despite everybody knowing everybody else's business.
There's plenty of colour and humour too, especially in Orr's earlier novel, where an intense friendship between two young girls is so vividly drawn. Their lens on the world is brutally honest, often in stark contrast to the adults around them.
The Party Line is available to download on Kindle and Google Play.
- Joanna Wane
What to watch
Streaming accounts have become invaluable members of the family as we reach for the remote and search for the next TV show to binge-watch this lockdown.
With so many shows on offer these days though, it can be hard to know what to choose. To help you out we've pulled together the best shows due to be released, as well as the best of the year so far.
What to drink
The botanical ingredients on the label of Honest rum — tonka beans, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and orange peel — almost sound like a medieval elixir, as sung by Simon & Garfunkel in Scarborough Fair. There are many lockdown cocktails you could try but a spicy Honest rum, sipped straight from the tumbler, is an elegant pause to the day when things are getting a bit tense in that family Zoom catch-up. Plus the creators behind this lovely rum are doing good things for the environment — it's a carbon-zero business and Honest is certified as 100 per cent plastic-free. Sip and feel good about the world for a moment.
Honest, $73, available for contactless delivery in both levels 4 and 3.
What to eat
It would be remiss of us to not provide food with alcohol, so how 'bout a little wedge of cheese with that dash of rum? Whitestone, the Oamaru artisan cheese, is the gold standard — literally multiple award-winning — fromage and our match would be Drunken Windsor Blue. For contactless delivery and belated Father's Day gifts, go to their website.
If you are in Auckland then you are looking down the barrel of another long weekend of level four, no takeaway to be had.
Planning dinner every night is hard enough, but add to that the stress of long supermarket lines, not to mention the spectre of Covid and it quickly feels like too much.
Before you announce to the family "toasties for dinner again guys" check out these five speedy recipes that use just five ingredients.
Alternatively, if you're looking for a Kiwi favourite to cook this weekend then it's Annabel Langbein to the rescue.
The humble sausage has come a long way in the past few years. Whether you're looking for a luxury pork truffle and prosciutto sausage, a good Chinese san choy bow or a Swedish isterband sausage, you can find them all here.