In March, all of our lives suddenly got turned upside down.
My life previously revolved around me studying with my friends at uni, going to gigs at the weekends, rock climbing in the evenings and visiting my family in town across the UK. Then suddenly I was expected to spend all my time inside my room in halls.
For a person with an inability to sit still, this was a complete nightmare, although obviously a necessary one. Although there are a few people I’ve met who weirdly enjoyed the whole lifestyle shift, for me and lots of people I know the idea of repeating it fills us with dread.
Nevertheless, I did manage to achieve some things that mean that November will (hopefully) be a breeze compared to ‘lockdown one’…
- In the first lockdown, banana bread was the most searched article on BBC Food and has been reported as the biggest baking trend in lockdown. I spent a few weeks perfecting my own simple adaptable recipe in March so this time I’m going in prepared. I’ve written it at the bottom of the page for you guys to use too.
- Plants. It’s often been said that Generation Z deals with all issues by repeating the words good vibes only and frantically filling up their rooms to resemble a miniature jungle. I am no exception; I really do believe that if you’re going to spend all day in your house, making it as comfortable as possible is top priority. Keeping your room clean, organised and stylish can create a space which is much easier to concentrate in and helps keep you feeling motivated.
- I have my exercise strategy all worked out. Staying active is hugely important to me, not just for the physical health benefits but for my mental health too. I found last lockdown that after running along the canals and around the parks in Birmingham, I could concentrate much more and it helped give me a bit of peace when I was feeling overwhelmed by everything. In this lockdown we can exercise outdoors as much as we want to, which means I can get out and have a walk whenever I need some time to think.
- We can now meet a friend. The most important perk of these rules compared to the last is we can meet one person from another household outside. It’s so important in order to restrict the spread of the virus that we don’t spend too much time in physical proximity to other people, however it’s also super important not to fall into isolation and loneliness. So, the opportunity to meet a friend or family member for a walk is a huge boost to our mental wellbeing, though it’s definitely worth investing in a good warm jumper and flask if you’re planning on spending a while freezing with a friend outside.
- You can still use the library at University College Birmingham. This one is brilliant for me personally as I really struggle to only use online sources when writing my assignments. Fortunately, this time round we still have access to all of the resources and the opportunity to study in the library, provided you keep a mask on and socially distance at all times.
I hope that everyone stays safe during the next few weeks and remember to reach out if you are struggling.
Banana Bread Recipe
This is a recipe that I have been using for years. The key is to not worry about the details, the rules demand to be broken here. Add whatever extras you fancy, a shot of espresso, 100g of pecans, 50g of cocoa nibs or 50g of dried cranberries. And if you have 3 manky bananas instead of 2, then use all 3!
- 150g softened salted butter
- 150g coconut sugar or 150g soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 Fairtrade bananas (the uglier the better) mashed into a lumpy pulp
- 100g Fairtrade dark chocolate, chopped into chunks around 0.5mm (each cube in a chocolate bar quartered)
- Preheat the oven to 160° fan/Gas mark 4
- First, in a large bowl, whisk the butter with the sugar until the butter has turned pale.
- Next, whisk in the eggs till they bind into the creamed butter.
- Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix until a smooth batter is achieved.
- Then add the mashed bananas, they don’t need to be completely smooth but make sure the whole mix is even.
- Add the chocolate chunks and any other extras if you fancy.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf tin lined with a greaseproof case.
- Bake for 45 minutes – when it is ready, a knife can be placed into the centre of the cake and only the dark chocolate will be left on it.
- Leave to cool for as long as you can cope, but it will taste its best if you grab a slice while it’s still warm from the oven.