2020 is putting our love lives well and truly to the test, whether you’re isolating together or apart. Cooped up together, trying to juggle endless conference calls, pets, what to do on furlough and a shortage of tinned tomatoes? Yep, tough.
Unexpectedly found yourself in a long-distance relationship (newly defined as any distance further than your doorstep)? Boo. Single and finding the social distancing rules are really cramping your style?
Do not despair! You don’t need to let the flames of romance extinguish! Instead, turn crisis into an opportunity to fan the embers of love with some fab virtual dating inspo.
Looking for love?
Single ladies – Covid-19 doesn’t mean you have to stop dating! Our fantastic new sponsor, Passion Fruut is a new and shiny dating app for queer women. Their mission: to give you, dear reader, the best possible tools to find love, meet incredible companions, or just have a really good time. Just imagine, this could be the perfect time to meet the LOYL (Love of your life) or at least someone to spend the next chapter of isolation with?
Or are you more in the mood for some fast-paced VIRTUAL speed dating? LezBeGay are hosting regular events online where you can sip cocktails and flex those flirting muscles, all from the comfort of your own home!
In recent weeks there’s been an explosion of digital alternatives for all of our fave activities. Which means, whether you’ve been dating for weeks or years, there is tons of fun to be had dating online, whether you and your love interest are self-isolating together or miles apart. We’ve been testing some of them out for you, so get a date in the diary and engage your inner romantic.
Lockdown is weird eh? With days and weeks starting to blur into one, it’s easy to look into the mirror to find yourself hair unbrushed, eyebrows untamed and sporting the same hoodie for three days straight. Well, better dust your wardrobe doors, cos we reckon that the dos and don’ts of date night still apply for lockdown dating.
Fix up, look sharp: Girlfriend love you in a certain blue striped dress? Dig your missus in a killer pair of heels? Dress to impress, even though you aren’t leaving the house. Top tip: If you’re isolating apart, send her a bottle of your perfume for a cheeky hedonistic hit of swirling endorphins.
Set a specific time: Agree who is organising and set a time and place (aka digital platform) for your date. Day off, no excuses, be on time, clear your schedules, ditch other devices, indulge and be present. Top tip: Use a shared google doc or Padlet to jot down date ideas and even start planning fun for #lifeafterlockdown.
Distance daters: Facetime and Whatsapp are great for chatting but we suggest setting up your date on Zoom or Google Hangouts so it’s more immersive, you can screen share and enjoy your date looking fit AF on a big screen.
Galleries and theatres are scrambling to get content online, with tons of free and paid content for the perfect date night! You can sample the best of the world’s art and culture, whether it’s that gallery exhibition you were dying to go to or that West End show that was sold out for months. All from the comfort of your sofa.
Fleabag: For two weeks only, Soho Theatre is streaming Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s phenomenal, one-woman stage show. Starting on Edinburgh’s fringe in 2013, it’s been to the West End, Broadway and back to critical acclaim, not to mention being turned into an epic TV series. Rent for 48 hours for as little as four quid, with all proceeds being donated to the NHS and charities supporting artists affected by the pandemic. Winner.
Shakespeare: Secretly a Bardolator? Fancy indulging your inner thespian without having to brave three hours on your feet and the risk of rain? Check out The Globe’s website, packed with a back catalogue of Shakespeare productions to suit any mood, from Much Ado to Macbeth and more. Some are free, whilst others are just a fiver to rent for a week.
Art: It was a bit of a blow when London’s galleries were swiftly shut, especially with the Tate closing their doors just days after their two main spring exhibitions, Andy Warhol and Aubrey Beardsley, opened. Small consolation perhaps, but you and your beautiful creative can now stream a curator-led video tour of both! So get screen sharing and admire these greats and more. Free of charge.
Globetrotting: Had to cancel plans to a dream destination or unable to tick off an item from your bucket list? Well, bank your air miles for now and head to one of a whopping 31 natural parks across the U.S of A without breaking a sweat via Google Earth. We loved exploring the Rocky Mountains, but there’s also Yosemite, Yellowstone and Joshua Tree.
Design nosing: The awesome Design Boom have collated Google Earth views inside and around some of the worlds most sticking buildings You don’t have to be an architecture buff to be able to appreciate the contrast in styles and enjoy seeing some of the world’s most famous building from the ground up. We think it’s pretty special and great for inspiring your #lifeafterlockdown holiday planning.
Home cooking: Think all that time saved not having to commute is best spent perfecting those culinary favourites or learning some top-notch new recipes? For isolating couples, what better way to show her you’re wife material than treating her to a home-cooked, gourmet dinner?
Distance daters, how about either picking the same recipe and book in a couple of hours to cook, chat and flirt over Zoom, before enjoying a romantic dinner whilst comparing who nailed the Ottolenghi recipe?
Or scratch your competitive itch by setting up your very own ready steady cook contest? Agree five staple ingredients and race against the clock for 60 mins to prep a dazzling dish and eat it whilst deciding who wins. Winner…cooks IRL (in real life) when this all blows over?
Top tip: This could be the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon and reduce your meat consumption. Check out our top tips on ditching animal products and bringing more veg into your lives.
Class Act: Need some inspo or wanting to up-skill on a particular cuisine? Consider booking yourselves onto an online cooking course – we loved AirB&B Experiences who are offering tons of cool classes including authentic Portuguese Tapas, Italian Nonna Pasta making or nourishing traditional Moroccan food. YUMMMMM. Prices, times and availability vary.
Saving the pennies – try a free cooking demo with London’s most renowned produce market, Borough Market, who are hosting live cooking demos with different chefs and recipes. Tune in daily at 1pm.
Order in: All cooked out? Fed up of washing up? Treat yourselves to some gastro fare from top London dining spots, still offering delivery throughout lockdown. We recommend mouthwatering homemade pasta (also available gluten-free) from Berto on Holloway Road. Mmmm carbs. Or excellent jerk from 12.51 – available around the cluck on Deliveroo.
All about the upskilling? Love a date where you can make, do and mend? Envisioning a Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore style moment with your girlfriend but forgot to purchase a pottery wheel and clay before lockdown?
Upcycle your clothes: Well, for those with a bit of a creative streak, how about this from Milan-based designer Domenico Formichetti? He has been sharing awesome ways to personalise your trainers and clothes on Instagram. Seriously cool huh? Learn how to spray paint and tie-dye. Plus at the end of the date how about exchanging what you’ve created?
Nerd out on design: The Design Museum has a bunch of cool, digital lectures, talks and workshops, including classes from the likes of super talented Graphic Designer/Installation artist Camille Walala.
Even better, she’s made some of her beautiful geometric architecture prints available online to print and colour in. Keep an eye out for #DesignFromHome and tag anything you create.
Draw her in: Our favourite Turner Prize winner Greyson Perry is offering drawing lessons as part of a new Channel 4 series. So how about a private sip and paint date? Pour your date a delicious G&T and follow the tutorials together, creating your very own masterpieces.
Tone up: Limber up and get flexible during lockdown, with Downdog, who are offering free membership for all until the end of April. Even better, if you or your other half is one of those heroic key worker types, it’s free through until July!
Break a sweat: Missing active dates or seeing your loved one sporting that post work out glow? Get active together with the awesome This Girl Can website, featuring a wealth of resources and workouts for all fitness levels (including total beginners). Great, even if you’re limited on space and kit and some helpful inspiration for your daily outdoor exercise rations.
Finding lockdown a drag? Looking for something a bit edgier? Get your lycra on and get moving with a little help from London cabaret star Dolly Trolley, who is streaming her Drag Aerobics class on Instagram and Facebook Live every Wednesday at 7.30 pm, straight from her living room. Free, but donations to keep her looking outrageously fabulous welcomed.
Hit the hertz: Looking for an extra hit of wellbeing and heard the hype but not yet checked out the sound/gong bath craze? Selma and the team at Farringdon-based Gong are offering regular classes. Get a pillow, put your headphones in, lie on the floor and be transported to another dimension with the soothing sound of the gong bath. Sceptics… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…. thank us later.
From sofa to Sofar: OK, OK, so we prefer the premise of going to someone else’s living room to watch emerging artists perform intimate gigs. But right now, the best we can do is your sofa. Cuddle up under a blanket and get a Sofar sounds gig going, with a plethora of artists releasing sets daily (live and recorded).
Now inspired and ready to romance your way through some e-dating, here are some final tips to show your girlfriend just how great she is.
Send a snail mail love letter. Ditch the digital, get your pen and pad out and write down all the things you love about your other half. Pop it in an envelope and post. Wait a few days for the delayed gratification of your super cute gesture.
Celebrating a milestone? Just because you can’t leave the house or you can’t be together doesn’t mean you can’t treat each other. You can find all sorts of cool gifts, flowers and fun stuff to mark the date or just cheer her up. Hats off to the hero delivery teams working tirelessly up and down the county.
Saving for a special occasion? Planning a big gesture post-lockdown, or thinking you’d love to capture the jubilation of life going back to normal? How about booking in a pro photoshoot for the day?
Lex is one of our faves, a fantastic London based alternative wedding photographer. They’re also available post-lockdown to photograph events, engagements, pets, families and fun.
However you are spending lockdown we hope you are all safe and well.
Love Nonchalant Team x