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08.05.2020- Lockdown Lunch #2: Hannah Hobson

Another week of lockdown life done! I don't know if I'll ever get used to this strange new normal, and for the moment at least it feels life is still very much on hold and will be for some time longer at least. Anyway, I'm trying to embrace it as much as I can and not let the uncertainty get to me too much, and a key part of this is keeping in touch with my friends regularly. This series is proving to be a really great way to check in with people who I would usually tend to see really regularly, so is going a little way in helping me to miss them less (and keep busy!)

This week, I'm catching up with Hannah! Founder of Bow Dream Nation (the perfect pit-stop if you're looking for some travel inspiration), I met Hannah about ten years or so ago through blogging and I have never felt more grateful for the internet! She's without a doubt a total babe of a best pal, and about five years ago started working in central London, allowing us the opportunity to catch up about once a week or so at the halfway point between our workplaces, in beautiful Bloomsbury.  She's a total legend, always has great craic, and our lunchtime highlights often include getting arty with leaves in the park, as well as recreating scenes from our favourite television shows. I always feel really sad when our hour or so of lunch ends, but at the moment I'd give anything for just five minutes back in the park with a takeaway sandwich and a packet of crisps. Whilst that can't quite happen just yet, I've been grilling her for the lockdown lowdown on how she's getting on:

How are you coping with things at the moment? 

I think I'm coping OK considering the situation. Spending more time at home, with Steve, has been really nice, and I've been cooking a lot more than usual which had been really rewarding. The things I've been finding difficult is the repetition. Every day feels like the same, the evenings and weekends fly by, and because I live in such a small flat, the scenery never changes. Lockdown has really enforced that I am an introvert at heart. I've been coping pretty well with minimal social contact but I do miss being out and about in London, visiting restaurants, going on holiday, and having a functioning work space. Missing the office is something I never thought would happen to me but here we are.   

What are you missing the most about life?

I miss being able to pop out of the house without worrying. I miss being able to cough (I have developed pretty bad hayfever at the minute) without people giving me dirty looks and running away. I miss going out for dinner and drinks, visiting museums and the theatre, having Sunday lunch with my parents, doing pub quizzes with my friends, having lunch with my best pal in the rat park. While I am mostly happy to be stuck inside my flat, I miss having a choice to do things, no matter how mundane they might be, like visiting Waitrose to pick up one random thing. I've already had one holiday cancelled and I am very much missing being in Ireland with my Granny and enjoying some time out by the sea.

What food / recipes have become your go to recently?

I rarely cook the same thing twice, I have so many cookbooks that my life often revolves around trying new recipes. Saying that, I have been drawn to simple recipes that look fancier than they are. If you follow me on Instgram it'll be no surprise that I am obsessed with American food writer, Alison Roman. Her two cookbooks (Dining In and Nothing Fancy) are some of my favourites and I've been using lockdown as a chance to try as many recipes of her as possible. I've been baking sourdough for over two years so I've been using the extra time at home to perfect my technique. The Boy Who Bakes has a fantastic sourdough tutorial for beginners and I've brownie cookies are probably my favourite cookie recipe in the entire world. I've got my eye on his bagel recipe next. I've also signed up to Martha de Lacey's online cooking school via Instagram which has been fun.

I've got a few London restaurant cookbooks so I really want to try and recreate some of my favourite restaurant dishes. St. John's welsh rarebit and the Quality Chop House's confit potatoes are high on the list. I'm worried lockdown will end before I've had a chance to complete my extremely long cooking wish list!

What small things are making you happy?

Cooking is probably the thing that's making me the most happy as it gives me a chance to totally zone out. Luckily Steve helps with the mess in the kitchen that i inevitably make. The 16kg sack of bread flour I managed to buy means I don't have to worry that I'll run out of flour any time soon so that's nice for me. I love the fact that lots of cultural centres in London are moving things online and I've watched a couple of National Theatre Live shows via YouTube. Tim Burgess' listening parties on Twitter have been a fantastic tonic as well. Steve and I have joined in with quite a few, we play the record and follow the hashtag. Reading everyone's memories and observations, whether it's from the musician(s) taking part, or the public following along, has felt like a wonderful bonding experience. The DIY burger kit from Patty and Bun (sorry if you don't live in London) has been a much needed treat too. A great burger cures a lot of bad situations.

The sense of community the pandemic has fostered has been lovely to see. I'm not naive enough to think it'll continue once things return to (a new) normal, but certainly for the time being it's been encouraging. I've been trying to do my part, like shop for vulnerable neighbours and donate to charity when I can. I think most people are doing their best and the small good new stories you see on social media definitely help improve my mood.

What's the first thing you're planning to do when lockdown is eased?

Probably go out to eat. I miss the London restaurant scene so much so I am making notes of all the delicious places I'd like to visit. I really want to see my friends so maybe we can combine both of these things. Lunch with you in the rat park is something that needs to happen ASAP and as it's the summer maybe we can have a sushi picnic? In the longer term I really hope Steve and I can get married this summer and I really REALLY want to go to Ireland, even if it's just for a long weekend.

Part of me isn't ready for lockdown to end. I'm enjoying being home and not having to commute into the office, but I'm also finding it hard to look forward to anything and make plans. Planning holidays is one of my favourite things to do and I can't even bring myself to do that at the minute.

Follow Hannah's wonderful blog here and keep up with her wonderful cooking adventures here. A huge thank you to her for taking part, and I really hope that it won't be long before we can catch up!

(Image credit: Hannah Hobson, please do not reproduce without permission.)


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