Anybody else been receiving a lot of invites to the same sort of online events? All pub-quizzed out? Well, ditto. I think it's about time that we got a little bit more imaginative and niche with virtual activities for lockdown because now's the time to do something a little unusual.
Luckily we're living in a time where a large portion of us have access to video call services to keep in touch with loved ones across the globe. Never before have these services been as appreciated as now, when you need them to stay connected with loved ones both near and far. WhatsApp, FaceTime, meeting services like Zoom, or the more informal Houseparty, are seeing huge traffic increases. The Guardian reports that Zoom, for example, has seen a 535% increase on its daily traffic.
The lion's share of the events I've been invited to are pub quizzes and general boozing. Now don't get me wrong, it's lovely to have a drink with your mates every now and again, but drinking every day is incredibly bad for your health, according to countless experts and the NHS. So why not celebrate the ways you usually socialise mid week IRL and add a few more to your video call roster?
So here's a slightly alternative list of ideas to fill your time via video call over the next few weeks.
1. Cooking Together
When I was in a long distance relationship, this was one of our favourite things to do and I cannot recommend it enough.
If you're in a larger group however, why not appoint one person to pick a recipe that everyone will do step by step together? Once it's all done you can sit down and eat with each other.
You can all take turns at choosing what nosh is on the plate and it could definitely provide not only that recipe you've been dying to get off your friend, but also some serious LOLs for the less-practised cooks.
2. Book Club
Just like traditional book club, but online. During this time it's especially important to support local businesses so try and buy your book from the nearest independent shop that delivers. If you're currently in financial distress, many libraries have online access to borrow ebooks and as membership is free you're able to get involved too. Yes, it actually is the future.
3. Pet Club
OK this is a bit niche, and a low key brag on my part as a cat mum, but now is the ideal opportunity to get a big old gathering of you and your friends who're lucky enough to have pets to finally all meet in one place.
Cats and birds will mingle safely. Dogs may or may not start barking wildly when they see a cat on screen. Who knows? But it's one party I'd actually like to attend.
4. Costume Party
All dressed up no place to go? Well how about literally dressing up with no place to go? It's a yes from me.
You could organise a game where everyone meets online and one person shouts a theme and the rest of the players have to get a look together in a short period of time. Or maybe you could use a secret Santa style app like Elfster to each appoint one other an individual to dress up as. This could all end so badly.
5. Record/Music Party
What's your favourite song? Everyone gets to be a DJ with this fun idea which will allow each person a chance to pick their favourite tune. Ideally, everyone would have a record player and record collection to be jealous of but Spotify and Youtube are all good too.
You heard me. I said it. This is your Sister Act moment. Let's all get together and sing some darn tunes. But more like rock and roll choir than Sunday mass, if you get my drift.
Here's a list of contemporary tunes to get you and your friends stretching those vocal chords.
7. Skill Exchange
Everyone has a little something that they're very good at. Cooking, sewing, dancing, data entry. Everyone has a skill so why not share it?
Each meet up one person will share their skill and people will have the opportunity to learn it and hone their new talents in no time.
8. Murder Mystery
OK so a good old fashioned whodunnit is always fun and could certainly tie in with the costume element of this list.
One person could take charge, contact the other members of the game with their roles, and then the murderous mayhem can begin.
Here's a list of free murder mysteries online from The Spruce.
9. Wine Tasting Night
Look, OK, I know I said no booze but c'mon. Weekend treat?
There are lots of alcohol delivery services available and with many offering mixed box options you could always meet together to sample one (or 5) with some cheese and crackers.
Or why not try out Aldi's affordable and thorough wine course?
Sounds like a lit night to me.
11. Reading/Acting Out A Script Together
I'll be real, not for me but for many people this would be utter heaven.
There's many full scripts online for free. If you hop onto the BBC Writer's Room script library there's lots of your favourites including Line Of Duty, Sherlock, and even sketches from the likes of British comic Tracey Ullman.
Real talk, I love crafting. I have a crafting box complete with an actual hot glue gun.
Now is the time to hone your macramé skills, to revisit your macaroni photo frame prowess, heck, maybe papier mache is what you've needed in your life all these years. If so, here's a handy guide from BBC Goodfood on how to do it.
With all of these options to choose from your virtual hangouts are about to become considerably more spectacular.