This time round lockdown 3.0 is definitely tougher. For me it’s only the first week and I’m already bored and it’s compounded by the fact that I know at the weekend we can’t go anywhere.
So, I’ll quit moaning. I turned to Facebook to find as many different activities you can do at home for each lockdown 3.0 weekend whilst still supporting local independents, producers, businesses and organisations with Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and wider Cotswolds.
I have here a mixture of foodie experiences, makes and virtual offerings. So I hope there will be something for everyone. Let’s get right to it!
1) Hold your own fondue party with The Fondue Box
The Fondue Box launched earlier last year by a Swiss/British couple in Whatcote who will deliver everything you need for your own Swiss cheese fondue party!
They have a variety of sizes from two to up six people depending how many are in your household or bubble. Each fondue box includes the Swiss Caquelon (fondue bowl), swiss plates, fondue cheese bread plus unique blend of herbs for the fondue and heat distribution disk.
Costs start at £34 for two people and up to £95 for six. The pair deliver to homes in Stratford-upon-Avon, Banbury and Moreton-in-the-Marsh areas. As it’s January, we will definitely be doing this!
2) Sample restaurant dining at home with Shakespeare Kitchen
If you are really missing the restaurant experience, then Shakespeare Kitchen is definitely for you. Ian Jobbins, a highly trained personal chef, will come and cook you a three course meal for a spot of at home fine dining.
Ian will bring all the equipment he needs to create his feast and set up his mobile kitchen outside your front door – keeping completely covid safe. Ian won’t even step over your threshold but you are more than welcome to watch the cookery show! Ian chooses seasonal menus using local ingredients but he does enjoy cooking the chateaubriand for two which uses great Herefordshire beef. Delivery is free within six mile radius of Stratford-upon-Avon and just 0.45p per mile thereafter.
3) Try your own at home cinema experience with Wild & Loxley
I went to my local Facebook groups for suggestions of local businesses doing ‘at-home experiences’ and WIld & Loxley were the MOST recommended! The pair offer luxury home glamping and outdoor cinema experiences, which would be perfect if you’re looking to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion.
New for 2021, they are also providing an incredible igloo experience under the stars with a private chef (this is available once lockdown lifts). They also offer grazing boxes and afternoon teas.
4) Virtual gin or rum tasting with The Little Gin Company
Why not try a Virtual Cocktail or Rum Experience with friends, family or colleagues? Each cocktail kit includes mixers and spirits needed for the experience and a kit is posted to every member of taking part.
Emma and Nicola, based in Stratford upon Avon, will then host a live session online guiding you through your chosen tipples, the tasting experience lasts one hour whilst the cocktail experience lasts and hour and a half. Prices start at £36 per person for a minimum of six people.
In ‘normal’ times the pair run a pop up gin bar from their retro converted horse box and have their own range of gin and rum.
5) Tuck in to sharing platter from Graze & Flavour
Another foodie suggestion was from Emma on Facebook who suggested Graze and Flavour, she had a breakfast treat delivered for her daughter’s 21st birthday and commented that it was ‘freshly cooked, beautifully presented and arrived before 8.30am’.
If you’re looking for something nice and easy, opt for one of their grazing boards which feature local cheeses, assortment of meats and antipastos – they are available in three sizes.
Small starts at £35 for two, there’s even a chocolate heaven dessert board to follow. Order at least 48 hours ahead and they offer a free delivery withing a 10 mile radius of CV46 postcode.
6) Watch a pantomime with the Boards Theatre Company
January is still traditionally pantomime season and the Board Theatre Company, which is resident at the Attic Theatre, Cox’s Yard in Stratford Upon Avon had to move their production online once Warwickshire entered tougher covid restrictions. In fact it was one of the few professional pantomimes to be staged at Christmas.
Now you can watch the performance and continue to support this community theatre by watching online and purchasing a ticket which is just £10 per household.
Join The Fairy Godmother as she takes you on a magical journey to help the poor Cinderella who has spent the last year stuck with her two ugly sisters with only Buttons for company. Can Cinderella find love with a handsome prince and will the two ugly sisters ever learn to be nice to people. This is a fun and magical production suitable for the whole family.
7) Have an afternoon tea delivered from The Chipping Norton Tea Set
Victoria at Chipping Norton Tea Set have been serving scrumptious afternoon teas for years and weren’t going to let a global pandemic stop them in that mission. The team have also been catering for weddings so were in a great position to switch their offering to provide locals with an afternoon tea at home with all the usual trappings. It’s £16.75 per person and simply email your order through. Delivery is free within Chipping Norton and there’s an additional charge further afield.
If you live in Tysoe, Shakespeare Kitchen is delivering afternoon teas to the village (£18.95 per person, £25.00 per person for luxury afternoon tea)
8) Try a bread making class with Severn Bites
Have you not yet succumbed to the latest lockdown trend? Baking your own bread? Well, now’s the time to jump on that bandwagon and spruce up your bread making skills with Danielle Ellis a French trained bread baker from Severn Bites cookery school, based in Gloucestershire, who is now offering personal baking classes through Zoom.
These are personalised half hour baking sessions to learn how to make bread and other seasonal fares including Halloween bakes, making sweet buns, baguettes, shaping bread and setting up a sourdough starter. A minimum of two sessions is required and the cost is £15 per half hour.
9) Make your own cannoli with a Cafe Cannoli set
We did this in the last lockdown because cannolis, the Italian brandy-snap-like pastries filled with sweet ricotta, are one of our favourite things. You can order your own kit from Cafe Cannoli, which is based in Warwickshire, and it includes the pastry shells, signature ricotta and topping.
Flavours include lemon, pistachio, hazelnut, almond, chocolate, caramel and rum and raisin. The kits are dispatched on Wednesdays via next day courier and arrive chilled ready to be assembled. A kit to make 6 cannoli costs £23.95, 12 – £39.95 or even 24 – £69.95.
Or if you’re not bothered in making your own, just get a bunch delivered. Free delivery to Stratford-upon-Avon area and these are delivered to your door every Thursday.
10) Discover your inner crafter with a DIY Bag Kit from Hands of Tym
These luxury bag kits use sustainability sourced materials and leather which can then be assembled at home to create either a lovely gift for someone else or for you! Prices start at £25 for purse, £135 to make your own satchel or £55 for zip pouch. This is suitable for even novice crafters as no sewing machine necessary.
House of Tym was founded by Georgie Tym who has over a decade’s experience in leathercraft and now runs her bespoke bag business in Oxfordshire.
I received a lot of suggestions from other local caterers who have now turned their hand to offering restaurant quality dinners at home. I’ve listed a few of my favourites here:
Webster Events – The team at websters events catered my Mother-in-Law’s excellent birthday bash last January (the last ACTUAL party I went to pre-covid) and now they are offering Dine to Door experiences with a number of themed evenings including Japanese night (15th January – £20 per person) or Afternoon Teas (£30 per person). Based near Sulgrave, Northamptonshire and delivers to the Banbury area.
Berowbe Catering – Are now delivering to Shipston-on-Stour from Tuesday to Friday and offer southern fried chicken, sweet potato falafel and hummus amongst other things.
Liquid Spirit Events – Based in Shipston-on-Stour, these guys are also providing deliciously crafted cocktails straight to your door using premium spirits and local ingredients. They are delivering to most Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Coventry postcodes. Get yourself a litre of Strawberry Daiquri for £25.