Has Covid-19 made me a Nosy Neighbour?

Working from home means sitting, for eight hours a day, looking out of my living room window.

IMG_2290

Yes, I should be looking at my computer screen for the duration of the working day, but with no tea break chat, half mile treks to the loos, or small talk by the printer, I need some light relief every now and then – some reset time. This reset time seems to, lately, consist of looking out of my window and analysing the street as if I was some sort of Sherlock.

My deductions are as follows:

The guy opposite, who cleans his already shiny convertible at least twice a day is, I deduce, a smug perfectionist. His selfies with his car are more frequent that him driving it, and I’m half tempted to throw some juice over the thing, simply to actually give him something to clean.

The man diagonal to my window is less busy, and is the street’s eyes and ears. He sits, topless, outside his front door, with a cigarette, watching the world go by. Every. Single. Day. In lockdown, there is not much world to go by — I would certainly get pretty bored if I were him. Even when the weather does not even warrant taking of one’s light jacket, this guy is out there, showing Islington his chest.

Then there is my mirror image: multiple times a day, I lock eyes with the man working from home at his window, in the flat directly opposite mine. I often forget he’s there, and halfway through my downward dog, or my Youtube fitness class suddenly feel very self-conscious. He seems to be a very hard worker, spending most of his day at his Macbook, at his window desk.

Or maybe he is just doing what I’m doing – analysing the neighbourhood under the guise of working from home.

As much as I enjoy being a window-watching Sherlock, I wish I didn’t have the opportunity to stare mindlessly out of my window for days on end.

When lockdown in over, I will relish office small talk, savour my toilet break walks, and be happy with the fact I know absolutely nothing about my neighbours.

Covid-19: London’s best online grocery deliveries

In these crazy times, bring London’s gourmet scene to your doorstep. 

With online delivery slots booked up until next year, and a trip to the local supermarket now involving long queues, mask-wearing stewards and a one-in-one-out policy, it’s time to get a bit creative when it comes to stocking up on food and drink.

Many London businesses – whether restaurants, cafes, delis – have now ventured into the world of deliveries, which means you can get top quality produce from your favourite London eateries delivered directly to your door. Some of these are taking advantage of the wholesale prices that they, as restaurants, get, and are passing them onto us.

Of course, these strange and uncertain times call for a little luxury — why not treat yourself to some posher wine or some slightly pricier cheese? You’re probably saving money when it comes to travel and pub trips, so stocking up on some gourmet treats – whilst supporting London businesses – seems like a win win situation.

Check out some of the places offering delivery services:

 

Boozing: Wine and Beer

Renegade Urban Winery

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 11.52.21

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 11.55.34

 

 

 

 

Try the ‘Marc’ – Renegade’s zesty 2018 Riesling  (left)

 

 

Bethnal Green’s popular urban winery, Renegade, has some of the tastiest vino in town. Although we will miss sitting under the railway arches and sipping our tipple of choice, Renegade’s delivery option is the next best thing. They’re also offering 10% off orders over £100 with the code ‘LETSDRINKTHROUGHTHIS’ — which is, I reckon, a very valid mantra to have throughout this whole palaver.

Humble Grape

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 11.57.12

An Islington favourite, Humble Grape is a wine bar with a selection of bottles to envy. Prices start at £16 per bottle — filter by wine type or region, and treat yourself to something a bit nicer than whatever Sainsbury’s has on offer.

Hammerton 

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 12.00.15

Islington’s own brewery, Hammerton, has migrated online so you can enjoy a few of their pints at home on your sofa. Try the N1 Pale Ale for a refreshing and fruity session beer, the bestselling N7 IPA, or go a bit rogue and give the tropical Buoyancy Aid, the berrylicious Red Berry District or the downright outrageous CRUNCH Peanut Butter Milk Stout a go.

Delis and Speciality Shops

Brindisa

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 12.04.39For the best chorizo in town, more Serrano ham than you can shake a stick at, creamy Manchego or a bag of proper paella rice, Borough Market’s Brindisa is your one stop Spanish shop.  Head here for cured meats, storecupboard items, deli goods and, if you want to cook like a true Spaniard, pop their very own Brindisa cookbook into your virtual basket.

Provisions

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 10.49.20

The cheese is what you want to go to Provisions for — try something a little different such as some 30 year old parmesan-esque Trentingrana cheese, or a hunk of Saint-Nectaire raw cow’s milk cheese. Of course, you’ll need some wine to go with that cheese — luckily Provisions also stocks a decent selection of booze, with fancy French wine as well as the tasty Kernel Table Beer, amongst others. Beef up your cheese order by adding in saussicon, Grignoton (parmesam wrapped mini saucisson), olives and a whole host of other bits to make your evening that little bit more exciting. Or why not make a night of it, and order the Feast Platter?

Ruby Violet 

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 10.48.50

The weather may not totally be playing ball at the moment, but it’s always time for ice-cream, right? Ruby Violet of King’s Cross specialise in the most unique flavour combos you’ve seen — forget Ben and Jerry’s and get a tub of Salted Caramel with Almond Brittle, Marzipan and Orange Blossom, Matcha Green Tea or Coffee Mocha Ripple delivered to your door.

Grow Wild Acai

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 17.04.50

If you’re struggling to get your vitamins in, why not fill your freezer with some purple goodness – aka Acai. Based in South London, Grow Wild Acai do what they say on the tin – they sell Acai, which is an antioxidant rich berry from Brazil. They make it super easy for you, and sell it already pureed and frozen in individual packs, ready to throw into your blender and knock up an epic smoothie. At the moment, for every kg of Acai bought, Grow Wild donate a kilo to local NHS hospitals, so the staff can have fresh smoothies to get them through this Coronavirus pandemic. Not only will you be helping fuel NHS staff, but you can feel good knowing that Grow Wild are a sustainable, carbon neutral company — even the packaging is completely compostable!

A Bit of Everything

Apres Food Co.

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 12.09.27

Clerkenwell’s favourite healthy cafe, Apres Food Co. has transformed into a mini supermarket, offering deliveries or collection. Direct from their organic suppliers, Natoora, you can put in an order of everything from vegetables, dried goods, beer, cheese and meat. You can also order things made by Apres themselves – which are all gluten and refined sugar free – such as homemade pancakes, gluten free bread, thai curry, and a selection of homemade cakes. Think of it as an alternative ‘veg box’, but one which you can personalise, is not just veg, and reassuringly organic, free range and conscience friendly. If you go and collect your order, you’ll even get to meet Apres’ adorable cafe dog, Archie.

Crosstown Doughnuts 

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 10.47.58

Thought Crosstown only did doughnuts? How wrong you are. Given the current climate, a shop selling just doughnuts may not do so well — after all, man cannot live on doughnuts alone. Crosstown have therefore taken some initiative, and partnered up with various suppliers to create their take on a veg delivery box: The Crosstown Collective. Not only will you get veg, bread, eggs, milk (vegan alternatives available), but you will also get a six pack of Crosstown’s famous doughnuts to help make WFH that little bit easier.

Farmer J 

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 11.04.49

Like Crosstown, Farmer J have decided to expand their offerings — after all, they say they do indeed Give A Fork. Choose a small, medium or large Farm Box, which contains a selection of fruit and vegetables, seven seeded sourdough, milk and eggs, and you can add on extras such as rice, pasta, cheese, meat, or Farmer J’s own very special sauces, all bottled up and ready for you to use at home.