*Other video calling platforms are available
I can’t imagine any of us have managed to escape Facetime, house party, skype, teams, zoom (whatever you want to call them) requests over the last three weeks. Without trying to sound braggy I have been inundated. To begin with, I was miffed. I don’t usually enjoy a phone call then suddenly I was spending every spare moment on the phone to someone. As the weeks have gone by I have begun to depend on the lifeline everyone else was already on board with, the only thing is I cannot just sit and chat. My mind more often than not wanders off and I realise I have missed most of the conversation and begin to panic that someone has watched me stare out of the window for ten minutes. During the last couple of weeks I have tried to be a little more inventive thinking up new activites to keep zoom entertaining with different groups so here are a few of my tried and tested.
Catching up with the girls
Bottomless brunch – THE ONLY QUARANTINE PLAN YOU NEED. If you read my round-up this week you will have
no choice but to have noticed on Bank Holiday Monday we hosted a Zoom Bottomless brunch which hands down was incredible. It was the first moment during lockdown I felt almost as though I was with my friends as close to real-life as possible.
The plan was to cook our breakfasts together, I made my go-to brunch of Smashed avocado, poached eggs on sourdough bread with lashings of chilli Jam which was delicious served with chilled prosecco.
We picked out cute #ootd, put on our makeup, actually brushed our hair as if we were going out to our favourite brunch spot in London. I would have been happy with an afternoon such as this even if we were not in lockdown. If you are missing boozy occasions with your girls I 100% recommend giving bottomless brunch a try. There is something about day drinking which lifts my mood, especially when the sun is shining! We are hosting another on Sunday coming. I won’t lie, Yes, I have already picked my outfit out.
Zoom Disco or Karaoke – I am yet to do a zoom disco so I’m not speaking from experience but the concept is you nominate one member to be the DJ, the rest of you mute your microphone and you dance the night away all listening to the same songs. It works best if you can connect your laptop to your tv.
Karaoke, I would suggest the best method is to use karaoke videos on youtube. I connect youtube up via my TV and then have Zoom on the laptop. It works a treat. The group then takes it in turns to sing your go-to karaoke jam.
Staying in touch with family is not always straightforward when everyone likes different things and it can be easy to take things out on those you know well during this difficult time. As a family, we enjoyed Zoom Cook along. The first week I arranged for us all to cook the same butternut squash and sage risotto but as the appeal of going to any shop has worn thin we carried on with cook alongs last week however instead of cooking the same meal, we cooked the food we already had in and ate them together.
The focus of having a recipe to follow and all cooking the same meal was great to keep conversation happy, we laughed a lot as my Dad’s risotto didn’t resemble anyone else’s. I can often feel the number of calls is a bit overwhelming and time-consuming however I have enjoyed cook alongs because it’s merging an evening job with a catch up with the family.
We peaked, week one when we cooked the same meal together. I wanted to continue with that level of effort but I think this week cook along we are all going to get a take away from the same place Lol (the thought was there) but we are still eating together (via Zoom) so that is all the counts. Sharing food and having conversations over dinner can often seem so basic but it has always been one of my enjoyed things to do.
Most of my Uni friends are coupled up. I don’t know how but they all found amazing partners, it feels as though someone went out and found 5 or so people who were exactly our group and brought them in, it is great. I am continuously laughing throughout our catch ups. Before the pandemic we had not once had a group call, despite living in Wales, England and Canada, can you believe it? We left 8 years ago! I have LOVED catching up with them every week and I swear I am going to ensure they continue to facetime me regularly when we go back to normal. My favourite thing to do with all my coupled-up friends is a Quiz night. Zoom becomes harder the more people involved. It is difficult to know when to talk, often as soon as you do start talking it can feel as though you are hogging the light. I have competed in a fair few zoom quizzes recently, the part I enjoyed about the uni quiz is we all do a round each which means everyone gets involved. I have also done quizzes where each person takes it in turns to host which I also really enjoy.
The fitness friend
I am no ones fitness friend. I am ridiculously anti-social at the gym, I like to be on my own. I do however find it easier going on runs with friends whilst wearing headphones and not talking and I am more motivated if I know someone else is working out. I lean on my friend Fliss a lot for exercise motivation. We are so lucky that there are so many amazing workouts made free online, household gym equipment is easier to purchase and we have so much technology to help us. If you have a fitness fanatic friend who you have been struggling to schedule time with hop on a zoom workout call. Each of you could take it in turns to write the regime for the day or ask them to put a plan together you can work though!
Younger family members
My nephew doesn’t have much of an attention span for facetime etc, who can blame him, he is five and there is a world of rich kids unboxing things on youtube he is obsessed with. If you do have younger family members you are not seeing then try to do Zoom activities. My nephew loves singing, he loves carpool karaoke videos. Zoom allows you to share your screen so you can choose videos they would enjoy and watch them together. If you are more musically gifted than me, you can make songs up or find fun TikTok videos to recreate. If they prefer colouring etc you could have Zoom on whilst you make things and share them. I try to think of things I like doing with friends and family etc and then see how I can adapt it for video call.
Take Zoom outside – I love a zoom video call when I am out walking especially whilst have been treated with blue skies and high temperatures. I know for some zoom will use a lot of data so might not be feasible but you could always change this to just a phone call. I love walking, I can walk, hike, ramble for hours. Visiting new places and exploring new walks and footpaths is one of the days out I really miss, so take your zoom catch up outside, catch up with your Grandma, aunt, cousins etc and explore the walks near them. I am a big advocate for getting out and being amongst nature. It makes for a much more pleasant backdrop than grey walls.
And some more
Zoom book club – I have always longed (not enough to do anything about it) to become part of a book club but there are none near me for women under 50 (that I have found anyway). Now I have the perfect excuse to get friends hooked on some books with a Zoom book club. You don’t need to read the same book, bring a book you have enjoyed reading or are enjoying to your zoom book club and when you are done share them round each other if your local postal service is still ok.
Dance along with each other – This is a bit of a TikTok craze but also good for fitness, your friend’s last dance move is your next dance move, it’s ridiculous but I find it so entertaining.
And there you have it, my short list of ways to glow up your zoom calls this week. If you have any good suggestions please leave comments in the box below.