Make the most of staying at home

Photo of a London home exterior

From nationwide lockdowns and mandatory quarantine to self-isolation, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected us all in one way or another. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

You may feel overwhelmed at times and that’s totally normal. To combat lethargy and feelings of isolation, try to establish a routine and find ways to use this time productively.

From self-development to redecorating, these activities will inspire you to make the most of extended periods at home!

Get organised

If your travel photos are a mess or your tax return is almost due, why not redirect your “lost” commute time to getting your life admin under control? OVERDUE notices, begone! โœ‹

With all this extra time at home, you might also consider reorganising the furniture, too. It’s surprising how small tweaks can really transform a space. A nice air-filtering plant is a nice addition!

If the tired sight of dirty dishes and laundry gets on your nerves, now you can easily tidy up here and there without exhausting yourself. It’s also a great excuse for getting up throughout the day – this is especially important if you live a sedentary lifestyle.

Speaking of lifestyle, whether you have a special diet plan or a fitness or mindfulness goal, don’t forget to prioritise your health. Set aside some time to plan your meals for the week and identify optimal times to exercise and unwind. ๐Ÿง˜

When was the last time you refreshed your CV? You never know, might come in handy at short notice!

Create and innovate

While getting your life under control is important, it can get a little tedious. To avoid procrastinating, break up the admin checklist with some creative flair. ๐ŸŽจ

From colouring to coding, there’s a creative activity to suit everyone’s interests and skill level. There’s loads of great online resources like free tutorials and apps to get you started.

Who knows, you could even take your creations it a step further and open an Etsy store or Patreon. ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

If words are more your strength, why not start that blog or dust off that manuscript you’ve been meaning to finish for years?

Entertainment escapism

From mobile phones to gaming consoles, there’s a gadget for everyone these days. ๐Ÿฆ–

When you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to indulge in an epic open world adventure or series marathon.

When you’re feeling a little more sociable, you can co-op with your housemates or host a virtual cook-off with your mates.

While it may be tempting to go down the video streaming rabbit hole, remember to strike a balance and switch off regularly. This is especially important to get a decent night’s sleep. ๐Ÿ”Œ

Keeping a novel on the nightstand or a crossword puzzle book on the coffee table is a great starting point.

Get physical

If the gym or your local sports club aren’t an option, you’ll be surprised how much fitness you can achieve in your humble living room. ๐Ÿ‹๏ธ

A yoga mat, resistance bands and dumbbells are perfect for a more confined space such as a bedroom floor. If you’re looking to expand your home gym, add a medicine ball, hula hoop or skipping rope (high ceilings are recommended).

For something a little different, there’s a range of fitness software and games with motion controls to try. I’m a fan of Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch, but there’s also more affordable options for for boxing, dancing, yoga and other cardiovascular exercises.

No equipment? No problem! There’s a plethora of no equipment online workouts for all fitness levels. ๐Ÿ’ป

If cabin fever strikes, get out for some fresh air by going for a walk or run around your local park. You can also check if there are any cycle hire options in your neighbourhood for a more adventurous journey.

Learn something new

Last but not least, try learning something new. What better time to stream podcasts while prepping lunch or curl up and watch a documentary in-between meetings?

There’s also plenty of free seminars and tutorials online from every industry to explore – perfect for playing in the background while completing monotonous tasks. ๐Ÿ“

With a little more dedication, you can take it a step further and enrol in e-learning modules for free or quite cheaply. Easily up skill, network, or learn a new language or instrument from home!

With the lack of commute time in your day, you might even fancy attempting a mid-week slow cooker meal or tricky dessert recipe you’ve been putting off for ages.


How have you been keeping cabin fever at bay when spending extended periods of time at home? Share your tips in the comments below! ๐Ÿ‘‡


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Top co-op and multiplayer Nintendo Switch games

Mario Kart figurines

The first rule of Switch Club is: You do not talk about Switch Club forget to bring your Joy-Cons. ๐Ÿ”‹

After becoming obsessed with Nintendo Switch, I decided everyone else should be too. Hence, Switch Club was born!

I’d been a solo gamer – a lone wolf, if you will – for years until a colleague introduced me to the beautiful chaos that is Overcooked 2. ๐Ÿ’ฅ

So, next time you’re entertaining guests or in need of a team bonding activity, whip out that HDMI cable and team up (or face off) with these exciting multiplayer games!

Overcooked! 2

Players: up to four chefs. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ

What’s it about? Players knead to work together to prep, cook and serve up orders in a chaotic kitchen before time runs out. Otherwise impatient customers will storm out. To spice things up, dynamic kitchen environments routinely change!

Play with: colleagues you’ve successfully beat an escape room with. Clear strategy, flexibility and task delegation from an assigned Head Chef is vital for a harmonious kitchen.

Finished? Try: Moving Out by the same developers. But who are you kidding? You haven’t finished.

Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Players: up to four characters. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿฆ–๐Ÿ„

What’s it about? Double the fun with two games in one. Enjoy a fun mash up of classic 2D Super Mario games and traverse each level as a team. But whether you choose to play harmoniously or chaotically is up to you!

Play with: your family at home. Just try not to leave Mum behind.

Finished? Try: Rayman Legends.

TowerFall

Players: up to six archers. ๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน

What’s it about? Archery meets party game. Matches are intense and end-of-match Versus Awards are hilarious: “Happy Accident”, “Koala”, “Least Composed” and more. The core mechanics seem straightforward at first but things can quickly get out of hand when random gameplay elements are thrown in.

Play with: colleagues or clients. A quick, manic match is the perfect ice breaker!

Finished? Try: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Players: up to four racers. ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐ŸŽ๏ธ

What’s it about? Race and battle your peers in a mix of vibrant and challenging environments. The remake also allows players to customise your ride with n. sane kart items and skins.

Play with: anyone and everyone. You don’t have to be “good at racing” to enjoy the games. Simply hold down the accelerator button and remember to follow your own quadrant on the screen…

Finished? Try: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Players: up to six martial artists. ๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹

What’s it about? Based on the popular Dragon Ball franchise, this game is a return to 2D side-by-side fighting. High end anime graphics, crisp character modelling and explosive attacks are an enjoyable assault on the senses. There’s also brand new content supervised by Akira Toriyama.

Play with: fellow gamers as button mashing won’t get you very far.

Finished? Try: JUMP FORCE – Deluxe Edition.


What’s your favourite multiplayer or co-op video game? Share your suggestions in the comments below! ๐Ÿ‘‡


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Get lost in these gaming worlds

Photo of girl playing Spyro the Dragon trilogy on Nintendo Switch Lite

Social media, Netflix watch parties, subreddits and beyond have changed the way we consume entertainment – but none are quite so immersive as gaming.

Whether you choose to play online or offline, or single player or multiplayer, here are some of the most stunning and expansive virtual worlds to explore. ๐Ÿงš

Note: I’ve played most firsthand on Nintendo Switch or PlayStation, and the others come highly recommended from trusted sources. ๐Ÿ‘

Octopath Traveler

Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure.

Gameplay length: up to 80 hours. โณ

Description: eight travellers. Eight adventures. You alone can choose your path. Explore each travellerโ€™s story and use their abilities in and out of battle.

Perfect for: playing on the go and at your own pace. Each satisfying chapter lasts around one hour, and its turn-based battles means you can pause as needed.

Why you’ll love it: while it’s not an open world, it’s a non-linear narrative. Once you choose a character’s story to follow, you can go almost any direction from there! Complete one or all eight journeys, it’s really what you make of it. Forget level grinding, its robust battle system will keep you engaged as you make each turn count. The striking “HD-2D” visuals and emotive musical scores really bring this nostalgic world to life.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure.

Gameplay length: around 40 hours.

Description: with a copy of the Wizardโ€™s Companion in hand and trusty friend Drippy by your side, travel across this rich fantasy world to tame familiars, battle enemies and overcome challenges that stand between Oliver and his motherโ€™s salvation.

Perfect for: a feel good tale with quirky characters, fun puzzles to solve and a gorgeous world to explore. If you’re a fan on Pokรฉmon and classic JRPGs then you’re in for a treat!

Why you’ll love it: the game features animation storyboarded and created by the legendary Studio Ghibli and music composed by the renowned Joe Hisaishi. โœจ

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: at least 60 hours.

Description: step into an open world of adventure and forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. It’s a boundary-breaking game where you can travel across vast fields, through forests, and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the kingdom of Hyrule.

Perfect for: total escapism, so be prepared to immerse yourself fully to get the most out of this sensory masterpiece.

Why you’ll love it: As a real time action adventure, everything feels so “in the moment”. The attention to detail is unparalleled. From weapon wear and tear, hunting and gathering and customisable outfits, you’ll leave no stone unturned in your quest to explore every corner of this fantasy realm. ๐Ÿ„

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: around 70 hours.

Description: Wild Hunt is a story-driven, open world adventure set in a dark fantasy universe. You are Geralt of Rivia, mercenary monster slayer. Before you stands a war-torn, monster-infested continent you can explore at will. โš”๏ธ

Perfect for: action adventure thrill-seekers who aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night.

Why you’ll love it: a refreshing retake of the fantasy genre following the tale of an enigmatic protagonist with a unique set of skills. If you enjoyed Skyrim, Halo and the like then you’ll savour this epic story and plethora of side quests that will keep you busy. Once you’re done, you can relive the magic on Netflix.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Genre: Adventure, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: at least 70 hours.

Description: embark upon an exciting adventure as The Luminary with a band of loyal companions as you work together to survive an onslaught of ne’er-do-wells and overthrow the dark forces.

Perfect for: your classic Good vs. Evil fantasy epic with turn-based combat. ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ

Why you’ll love it: expect all the much-loved fantasy tropes by the genre-defining Dragon Quest franchise: a hero, team of ragtag characters, side quests and an epic journey to save the world. The map is equally massive as it is gorgeous thanks to a visual style that blends stylistic cel-shading with photorealistic detail.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Genre: Platformer, Adventure.

Gameplay duration: around 30 hours.

Description: explore expansive realms, encounter the fiery personalities and relive the adventures of the original three Spyro the Dragon games. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Perfect for: charming childhood nostalgia and classic platforming.

Why you’ll love it: both a loyal homage to the original games and a refreshing remaster with reimagined environments and details, the trilogy offers over stunning 100 levels to explore in vibrant HD graphics.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization

Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: around 40 hours.

Description: Kirito and his friends are pulled into a VRMMORPG called Sword Art: Origin, a game housed on the same servers that hosted the death-game Sword Art Online from the anime.

Perfect for: JRPG enthusiasts and Sword Art Online anime fans. ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Why you’ll love it: expect all the JRPG tropes (the good and the bad) coupled with ethical considerations around artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The show’s popularity aside, the game’s thrilling story, distinct areas and sophisticated battle system make for an enjoyable experience in its own right.


What are some of your favourite virtual worlds to explore? Share your game recommendations in the comments below! ๐Ÿ‘‡


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