Your ultimate guide to lockdown 2.0
Back in lockdown? Here’s how to make the most of it second time around.
Being back in lockdown might be the last place any of us wanted to be right now, yet here we are again. And while the fact that we’ve been here before doesn’t necessarily make it any easier, at least we’ve learned some lessons from lockdown 1.0, whether it be perfecting the art of sourdough or nailing that 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. (More: How to keep calm and remain positive in lockdown.)
So, from iso-baking and boredom busters to home schooling and DIY home improvements, here’s your ultimate guide to keeping it together while surviving Melbourne’s lockdown 2.0.
How to make the most of lockdown 2.0
Cook up a storm
Being stuck at home again is a great opportunity to get back in the kitchen and perfect all those cookery basics you didn’t quite master last time.
With nowhere to go and no one to see, RACV Cape Schanck executive chef Josh Pelham’s slow-cooked lamb shoulder is the ultimate date-night-in recipe. And, if you're feeling really fancy, whip up a bunch of these moreish mac and cheese croquettes to start.
Josh also takes us through how to cook the perfect steak on the barbecue, and shares his top secrets for making the ultimate, restaurant-style mashed potato.
Speaking of barbecues, chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Adrian Richardson takes us through the basics of barbecue and gives us his top tips for cooking the best BBQ sausages.
It’ll be game on with this lovely venison pie from RACV Goldfields head chef Mark Boyd, who has worked in kitchens with Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White. The father of seven also gives us his chef-approved hacks for creating quick and easy weeknight wonders the whole family will love.
If that’s not a-peeling, check out RACV executive pastry chef Josh Cochrane’s best ever banana bread, or, if you’re anti food waste, give this scrumptious banana peel cake a go. Plus, check out Josh’s guide to the biggest sins of baking and how to avoid committing them.
From fresh pasta to pillowy gnocchi, there’s never been a better time to master the basics. And once you’ve got those down pat, learn how to make an authentic bolognese sauce from Melbourne’s master of Italian gastronomy – Guy Grossi.
Homemade jams and preserves are a real treat. Just make sure you don’t find yourself in a pickle, by taking care to avoid these common food hygiene mistakes.
Meanwhile, the patissiers from cult Melbourne bakery Tivoli Road share their inside secrets for making the best sourdough.
Just because we can’t go out for brunch, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a cafe-quality breakfast at home. Get off to a good start with Attica chef Ben Shewry’s top tips for perfectly poached eggs, or get your fix of smashed avo with our guide to choosing the perfect avocado. And no brunch date would be complete without a coffee. Learn how to DIY espresso with award-winning barista Courtney Joel’s expert tips for making the best coffee at home.
If a sweet start is more your Sunday style, you’ll love Josh Pelham's bacon and berry pancakes. Get a little kneady and whip up a batch of the CWA’s best-loved scones or, if you feel like going all out, treat you and your family to a DIY high tea experience.
Take comfort cooking to the next level with this seriously sumptuous apple crumble recipe from RACV Cape Schanck Resort’s head pastry chef Shannon Thirumal.
And just because Anzac Day comes but once a year, it doesn’t mean you can’t make its namesake biscuits any old time. And once you’ve tried Josh Cochrane's ultimate Anzacs recipe, trust us, you'll want to.
Plus, save on groceries with this guide to 17 of the best food shopping hacks. Or, if you’re trying to avoid the supermarket shop by getting your groceries delievered, here are an expert’s tips for making the most of your produce box.
Get your house in order
House in need of a little TLC? From Marie Kondo-inspired decluttering to DIY home improvements, being back in lockdown gives us a second chance to tackle some of those long-awaited home projects.
And what better place to start than with some simple DIY. From hanging curtains to sealing door gaps, learn the tricks of the trade from RACV's Handy Andy. Or, if your home is feeling a little draughty, TV carpenter Walt Collins helps you winter-proof your house. We also chat to an interior stylist for her top hacks for making small spaces look bigger. But before you pick up the power drill, make sure you check out our guide to the eight DIY jobs you should never attempt.
Now is also an opportunity to get on top of simple home maintenance tasks, with expert advice on finding water leaks, fixing burst or leaky pipes and checking for fire hazards. But if you end up having to call in the experts, these are the questions you need to ask your emergency tradie.
With international travel off the cards, now might be the perfect time to take on that home renovation you've been putting off for years. And the government’s recently announced HomeBuilder grants could be just the motivation you need to get it nailed in. Whether you want to add a second storey or update your kitchen and bathrooms, these are a real estate agent’s guide to the home improvements that are worth the money. Once you’re ready to get started, here’s a tradie’s guide to finding the right tradie for the job.
If all the extra time at home has got you thinking you want to upgrade, here’s everything you need to know about buying and selling property during a pandemic, plus the suburb features that add value to your property. And, if you’re a first-home buyer hoping to break into the market, these are 10 questions you need to ask before signing along the dotted line.
And if a change is as good as a holiday, here are five DIY decor cheats to give your house a fresh feel.
Do some gardening
It might be cold outside but winter is a great time to get out in the garden. The wet weather means soil is soft and easy to turn and to weed, making it ideal when it comes to sprucing up your yard.
They say summer lawns are made in winter. To help keep yours lush, RACV Goldfields Resort’s property maintenance manager, Ken, explains how to give your lawns the gold grass treatment.
From flowers to fruits, here’s what to plant in your winter garden. Plus, horticulturist Jane Edmanson, who has presented garden advice on the ABC’s Gardening Australia program for 30 years, tells us six of the best herbs to grow in winter. And Sustainable Gardening Australia’s Richard Rowe tells us how to start a vegie patch.
Planting tomatoes on Cup Day might be a Victorian tradition but Diggers Club expert Jac Semmler says the AFL Grand Final weekend might be a better time to plant. She shares her top tips for growing tomatoes in Victoria.
With an increasing appetite for edible natives and a growing interest in backyard bush tucker, David Sparks, manager at Port Melbourne’s Bili Nursery, gives us his tips for five of the easiest edible Indigenous plants to grow at home.
And if you want to make your garden more appealing to local fauna, here are tips from Dr Holly Parsons, urban birds program manager at BirdLife Australia, for creating a bird-friendly garden. Or, turn your backyard into a hive of activity with our guide to the basics of beekeeping.
With social outings, restaurant dinners and weekends away currently out of bounds for so many of us, it’s hard to protest that we don’t have time to exercise.
While your local gym, pool or fitness centre might be closed, keeping active during lockdown is important for both physical and mental health. If you’re missing your regular pilates class or HIIT training, here’s our guide to 27 ways to get fit at home.
Learn how to warm up properly for a run with the expert trainers at RACV Torquay Resort, try a new leg workout, stream a yoga class or join a 30-day yoga challenge. And if you don’t know which style is best for you, here’s our handy guide to the different types of yoga.
If pumping iron is more your thing, here’s how to turn your backyard into a gym. And if you’re in need of a little pep talk, check out Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker’s top tips for staying fit at home.
And if your golf game is a little under par, golf pro Mark Gibson, of Mark Gibson’s Exceptional Golf teaching academy, which is based at RACV Royal Pines Resort, shows you how to get back into the swing.
Prioritise health and wellbeing
The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting lockdowns and restrictions, have left many people feeling isolated, stressed and worried. This heightened anxiety has affected everything from our sleep patterns to our wine stash to our skin – #coronavino and #isoface are two of the biggest trends to hit social media since March – as we try to adjust to and navigate this new normal.
With an ever-changing daily landscape, there’s no time like the present to stop, slow down and focus on your health and wellbeing. To help keep your glass half full, positive psychologist and leading happiness expert Dr Timothy Sharp shares five simple ways to practise optimism. And check out our guide to five apps that could help boost your mental health.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, clinical psychologist Dr Kate Taylor shares her tips for how to keep calm in the age of coronavirus. We also explore the benefits of kindness and take a look at how the rolling crises of 2020 brought out the best in us.
Clinical psychologist and mindfulness consultant Dr Richard Chambers shows us how to be more present with six easy everyday acts of mindfulness, while comedian and author Jean Kittson highlights the importance of keeping in contact with and caring for elderly loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis.
Salons and spas are closed but you can still treat your body to some home-based TLC. RACV City Club One Spa Manager Marnie Bennett tells us how to get glowing, beauty-salon skin at home, while Leah Dow, One Spa manager at RACV’s Cape Schanck Resort, takes us through three simple massage therapy techniques you can do in the comfort of your own home. And if you want to spoil yourself, these are 27 of the best subscription gits to send yourself in lockdown.
COVID-19 has seen a spike in alcohol sales, with a Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), survey finding 20 per cent of Australian households have bought “more alcohol than usual” since the COVID-19 outbreak began. If you think it might be time to cut back, here’s how to drink less booze without giving up the cocktails. And if you’ve been having trouble falling asleep, here are an expert’s hacks for getting a good night’s shut-eye.
And even though you can’t go to a wellness spa or relaxation retreat, you can still get your bliss on with our guide to creating an at-home zen zone.
Make room for activities
Binge-watching TV shows is all very well, but there’s only so much streaming most of us can handle. If you’re looking for less passive ways to keep yourself entertained, there are plenty of engaging alternatives to keep your mind busy – and you might even learn something.
For a curated round-up of the best activities to keep you occupied in iso, here’s our guide to 34 productive things to do in lockdown.
Let your imagination run wild, literally, with our guide to 15 compelling wildlife experiences to enjoy in lockdown or get a dose of culture from the couch as leading Victorian galleries throw open their virtual doors. And just because your travel plans have been put on hold, it doesn’t mean you can’t tick some of the world’s most weird and wonderful galleries off your global bucket list.
Spending more time at home makes means there’s never been a better time to adopt a dog. But becoming a pet parent is a long-term commitment so, before you take the lead, make sure you check out our guide to picking the right dog breed for you. If you’ve thought it through and are still sure a fur baby is for you, here are our top tips for new pet owners. Plus, meet some of Victoria's most instafamous pets.
If laughter is the best medicine, there’s never been a more poignant time to get your daily dose. Here’s our guide to some of the best comedy shows to watch online (and why you should). Or try a little escapism and have a read of these six small books that make a big difference.
Now is also a good time to focus on the things that bring you joy. Whether that’s starting a new craft project, playing a board game, joining the knitting craze, de-cluttering or making your own cleaning products, there is increasing evidence that having a hobby is good for the soul.
Get handy with our DIY car maintenance tips or learn how to detail your car like a pro with these cleaning tips from Star Car Wash owner Simon Cook. And, with only four reasons to leave home, many of our cars are parked on the street all day. Avoid parking fines with our guide to the road rules on parking your car.
And if you have kids...
This crisis is a scary and confusing time for our youngsters, with many playgrounds closed, and some kids learning from home again. To help you navigate these difficult conversations, here is psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg’s guide to talking to your kids about COVID-19.
If you’re struggling with remote learning, these are experts’ top tips for surviving home schooling your kids. We also get a cybersecurity expert’s advice for protecting your kids’ cyber safety online.
With play dates and public outings off limits, here are 18 device-free things to with kids while you’re stuck at home. Or make learning interesting with RACV Safety Squad’s fun and educational road and home safety activities for primary school students. We also check out five of the latest educational tech toys that help kids develop real-world, hands-on skills.
Sort out your life admin
Use this extra time at home to get organised. Whether it’s taking charge of your finances, sorting out your contents insurance or shopping around for a better energy deal, there’s never been a better time to get on top of your life admin.
It’s also a good opportunity to improve your home’s efficiency. Check out our guide to the biggest power hogs to find out which areas in your home are chewing through the most energy, and get our expert hacks for reducing your power bills. Plus, find out how much power $1 really buys you.
With many people spending more time within our own four walls, it’s never been more important to make sure our homes are protected. Here’s how to keep your property safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, plus the seven home security mistakes you’re probably making.
And, these days, our homes are working harder than ever. From preventing winter house fires and spotting safety hazards, to preparing your home for storms, use your extra time at home to tackle some basic home-safety maintenance.
Embrace working from home life
For the nine-to-five office crew, working from home has become the new normal. That means, for many former city-slickers, those temporary home offices have become a little more long-term. If you’re getting sick of your makeshift workspace, here’s how to set up a home office you’ll enjoy working from, plus tips for how to make it more ergonomic. And, if you’re not used to managing your own time, here are a freelancer’s tips for staying productive.
Between Zoom meetings and digital catch-ups, we’re spending a lot more time sitting in front of screens, which isn’t great for our posture. Here are fitness guru Sam Wood’s five essential daily stretches.
To help keep your work-life balance in check, clinical psychologost Dr Richard Chambers shares his top tips for avoiding burnout. And instead of reaching for a coffee, we find out why an afternoon power nap might be the best thing if you need a mental boost.
And, even though working from home has its downsides, one of the biggest benefits is that our fur babies love it. Here’s how working from home is good for our pets.