Keeping busy, baking and the daily doodle

Hello, I’m back! It’s been a while and very nearly, a whole year since this blog went on hiatus but I’ve returned with some baking and a daily doodle. Who knew that it would take a pandemic to get me back on here? The plan was always to start blogging again but the longer I left it, the harder it was to get these words onto a page. Taking and sharing images still comes naturally to me and so Instagram has kept me going, but the blog has always been a space where I know I can share my photos the way I intend them to be seen, rather than little squares on our phones.

There are a bunch of images I’d love to share on here but whilst I figure out where to start, what to post and remember HOW to blog, let’s catch up.

Table Manners cookbook and banana bread.
Table manners cookbook

For my first post this year, all I can really say is that I’ve been trying to keep busy since the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s been a hard adjustment. I don’t mind being home and I’m pretty okay with my own company but even so, we’re social creatures and it’s been difficult not having that routine of going to work, seeing friends or just having the choice to go outside freely.

Like everyone else, I now have a lot of free time. At first, I was checking the media constantly, first thing in the morning, throughout the day and last thing at night and it was really bringing me down. Fresh from dealing with a coronavirus related, racist incident which affected me more than I ever thought it would, my worries moved on to stressing about my family members. From my grandma in hospital in Hong Kong to repeatedly trying to explain to my dad (who is in the ‘at risk’ category) the meaning of social distancing and why it wasn’t ok for him to play golf/have friends round. My youngest sister was also stranded in London as her university closed and the rumours of a London lockdown at the time was a concern. Luckily my sister was able to come back to Birmingham, lockdown meant I didn’t need to worry about my dad as much and my grandma is now recovering well at home.

I’ve learnt that nothing good comes out of actively searching for the latest stats around the world and only breeds anxiety, sometimes creating doubts over whether I should go outside for walks at all. Inevitably, I would also come across ignorant comments and video clips on Twitter which make me angry, but my kind of angry means I get upset.

To make things better, I’ve limited myself to checking the news once daily and spending less time on Twitter. I’ve taken to muting family groups to reduce seeing all the misinformation being passed around, video calling friends regularly and I even bought myself a Nintendo Switch to play Animal Crossing. At first, I thought that was my worst idea ever as they’re pricey but given my current circumstance, it’s been an extremely welcome (and cute) distraction. I’ve also introduced a new daily activity which is adding an illustration to my sketch book and my most recent drawing combines a podcast I love and a spot of baking.

Keeping busy, baking and the daily doodle. Portrait and Illustration
Keeping busy, baking and the daily doodle. Table manners recipe
Keeping busy, baking and the daily doodle. Table manners and illustration.

This daily doodle features a recent bake and for some reason, everyone seems to be baking banana bread whilst they’re all isolating at home! In my defence, I have been meaning to make the one from the Table Manners cookbook ever since I received my copy. It’s one of my favourite podcasts and features Jessie and Lennie Ware who interview guests over dinner. The cookbook is full of lovely anecdotes, photographs and recipes from the show. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll know about the infamous banana bread. Mine didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d hoped – I baked it at too high a temperature and I made the mistake of including an unripe banana. The photos might look great for content, but the middle of that loaf was almost like a chocolate fondant. Only forget the chocolate, my baking mistakes meant that the centre featured raw cake batter. I managed to save some of it, but it wasn’t my finest work!

Keeping busy, baking and the daily doodle. The Winnie Project illustrations

I’ve always been into drawing and before, I’d dip in and out of doing illustrations from random sketchbook doodles to gifts for friends, but it wasn’t an everyday thing and certainly not something I had imagined I’d want to share with the world. Fast forward to the last three weeks, my daily doodle has really helped me focus and keep me inspired, creative and most of all, feeling positive. They keep me offline for a few hours, although I do post my illustrations to @thewinnieproject which is a space for all my creative posts. Who knows whether I’ll feel this way in a month’s time but so far, it’s been a fun way to document this strange time we’re all experiencing.