Wise up this February with our recommendations of experiences and tools to stimulate your mind, and inspire you to get curious about the world around you
The Panic Years
Hailed as the “arm around the shoulder of every woman trying to navigate life’s big decisions”, renowned journalist Nell Frizzell’s guide to the biggest challenges faced by women is the honest, touching, and funny introduction to the mother of all questions: should I have a baby?
(Out 11 February, £14.99, Bantam Press)
2. Out and about
History is all around us, and it’s there for the taking. Discover historic sites in your area, follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us, and find a new perspective on what life might have been like in the past. There are thousands of free and paid historical sites to visit all around the country – and they’re ripe for exploration.
(Find walks and sites by visiting english-heritage.org.uk)
3. Put on a show
A presentation party could be just the thing to get you talking. Each person makes a short slideshow presentation on their chosen topic. But don’t doze off just yet, the topics could be as niche and funny as you desire – from ‘best one-liners in movie history’, to ‘countries with the weirdest sayings’, or ‘why we should all be team Jacob’. At the end of the night, crown a winner.
(Make presentations for free with Google Slides)
4. Lend us your ears
Tune-in as iconic rapper Eve chats with a host of famous faces, and voices, as they candidly open up about the lessons they’ve learned and the wisdom they can share. Series one is out now, and features guests including Paloma Faith, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, and Henry Holland.
(Listen on BBC Sounds)
Calligraphy by Kiki
The art of calligraphy comes with a host of mindful benefits, plus it’s the perfect skill for adding something special to cards and gifts for loved ones. Follow Kiki as she shares tips and tricks for those interested in picking up the pen.
6. Get going
Fitness should be fun, and these vintage-inspired online fitness classes have joy at their core. From dance experiences to retro-workouts, step back in time, connect with your body, and find happiness in movement. Legwarmers optional.
(Class prices start at £3.50, visit retroglowstudios.com to book)
7. Square eyes
The Queen’s Gambit
Based on the 1983 novel of the same title, The Queen’s Gambit tells the story of a chess prodigy as she rises to the top, while also combating drug and alcohol addictions. This series has been quickly binged and added to many people’s to-watch lists since its release – for a good reason. Beautifully shot and brilliantly acted, this series is one to get lost in.
(Available on Netflix)
8. Treat yourself
The Crop Club – Mini growing kit
Always been interested in gardening but don’t know where to start? Or struggle to find the time and space? A social enterprise on a mission to help people grow food in small places, the growing kits from The Crop Club are the perfect thing for green fingers. The mini kit includes everything you need to get started growing windowsill herbs and edible flowers, and to bring the joy of growing food into the home.
9. The conversation
National Storytelling Week
The power of stories cannot be underestimated. Tales have the ability to transport us to other worlds and inspire us to reflect on our own. Spend some time contemplating the stories that have touched your life, share them with others, and join in with online events and talks hosted by writers and authors.
(30 January to 6 February 2021. Sign up for talks and find resources by visiting sfs.org.uk)
10. Tech Tip-Offs
There’s nothing more satisfying than finding the perfect word to express a thought, feeling, or sentiment. The Vocabulary Builder app helps you build this knowledge, based on the “1,200 most important words”. Work through the levels, and put your knowledge to the test with quizzes and recaps.
(Available on Android and iOS)