This week… under lockdown (three)

With the world in turmoil it’s not easy finding balance. All those old clichés keep popping into my head. ‘Sailing in stormy seas’ takes on an all too real significance. One day I find myself singing along to Abba on the radio, the next minute I well up with tears, for apparently no reason. Mostly though this week I’ve kept sane and, if not exactly ‘happy’, I’ve been content pottering around at home. Thanks in great part to everyone generously sharing content on social media, from Raymond Blanc to Andrea Bocelli.

Floristry artist and TV presenter Simon Lycett. Read my interview with Simon on why he loves the caputal city, London Voices.

I joined the @BelmondGoodLiving sessions on Instagram this week. Botanical Easter Table Decoration, with top London event florist, Simon Lycett, was fun. Simon is florist to Royalty and celebrities alike. A live workshop from a pretty corner of his garden felt like some well deserved play time as Simon filled little egg shell ‘vases’ with fresh blooms, adding foraged bits and pieces to make a pretty display.

Live cooking with Raymond Blanc who made pistou soup with fresh basil, roast lamb and a chocolate mousse

Raymond Blanc is a joy to watch. His exuberance as he cooks makes me smile. I also like that the great chef is an advocate for British grown produce. From his kitchen at home, Raymond made a three-course Easter lunch beginning with pistou soup, choc-full of seasonal vegetables. May is a favourite month for me. Much as I enjoy winter root veg, I’m so pleased to find sweet broad beans, fresh asparagus and watercress, which grows abundantly here in Hampshire, in the local shops and farmers markets. Eating seasonally means everything tastes so fresh and extra special when you’re not eating imported versions all year round. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

“Raymond Blanc is a joy to watch. His exuberance as he cooks makes me smile.”

More ideas for virtual travel…. Front row tickets to museums and galleries, read on.

If music be the food of love

I’m finding music is working especially well for me during the lockdown. From the aforementioned Abba to classical music, it really lifts my spirits. I enjoyed not one, but three wonderful, unique musical experiences this week… brought right in to your home!

RPO At Home series. Conductor Vasily Petrenko.

On Thursday Vasily Petrenko conducted Ein Heldenleben with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra live as part of the RPO at Home series. Currently the conductor holds the position, RPO Music Director Designate. In 2021, Vasily Petrenko will take up the position of Music Director. A rare treat.

Members of the Royal Choral Society perform live from home on Good Friday.

The Royal Choral Society have made their way to the Royal Albert Hall almost every Good Friday since 1876 to perform Handel’s Messiah. Cancelled twice before, due to the London Blitz (1940-41), members were determined not to break tradition. A live performance from their respective homes came via the magic of Zoom. It was so beautiful and a privilege to attend the virtual concert. This was part of the Royal Albert Home series and you can catch up online.

Italian global music icon Andrea Bocelli solo LIVE performance online

Today, Easter Sunday, Andrea Bocelli will give a LIVE solo performance Music For Hope. The concert is by invitation of the City and of the Duomo cathedral of Milan and will represent ‘a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world.’ Celine Dion has said that “if God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli”.

A peaceful Easter wherever you are in the world and I wish you health, peace and love.


As I complete this post I hear that Tim Brooke-Taylor has died with this foul disease coronavirus. The Goodies (1970 to 1982) weekly show was part of the comedic landscape of my teenage years, a bonkers, irreverent and wholly delightful series that pushed the boundaries of comedy.

At the same time I see that Sir Stirling Moss has died at age 90 after a long illness. A life well lived. ‘Stirling Moss’ entered the British lexicon as shorthand for motor racing. When I was working at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in the early noughties a colleague told a great story. Delivering a Phantom on loan to his idol at the SMMT in London a motorcyclist roared up the driveway. A bystander remarked, ‘look at this idiot, who does he think he is, Stirling Moss?’ Indeed.

As I said at the beginning, one minute singing, the next tears. Here’s hoping the world gets through this pandemic soon. #StaySafeStayHome

What have you been doing to keep sane and well this week under lockdown? Do you cook or play an instrument, or maybe you’re busy planting up seeds for the garden? Share any tips in the comments to help us get through this together.

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