How to lighten your lockdown: Movies, books, fashion and culture picks from Team Stella

Now is the time to embrace the sofa and fill that cultural void
Now is the time to embrace the sofa and fill that cultural void Credit: Getty / Netflix

It's completely understandable that we're all feeling a little low at the moment, as we brace ourselves for yet another three weeks of lockdown. But rather than simply languishing indoors, why not use this newfound time as an opportunity to truly satiate your culture cravings. So embrace the sofa, devour all those unread books that have been gathering dust, complete Netflix and do a little online browsing (even if we're off shopping for non-essentials right now). And if you're on the hunt for some new recommendations, let our editors be your guide...

Marianne Jones, Editor-in-Chief

‘Instead of lockdown, I’m trying to see this as a catch-up: reading books I’ve always meant to, delving into box sets, letting my teens teach me chess…’

I'm watching...

Award-winning series Better Call Saul is a great lockdown binge option Credit:  Michele K.Short

...Better Call Saul (Netflix). As an avid Breaking Bad fan, I’ve been planning to watch this award-winning spin-off – in its fifth series – for years, but have never found the time. Now I’m hooked.

I'm wearing...

Silk-twill skirt, £162.50, Chinti & Parker  Credit: Chinti & Parker 

... this silk-twill skirt, £162.50, Chinti & Parker. I’m sick of trackies now, so I’m thoroughly enjoying this happy, silky skirt. I like to think my cockapoo appreciates the effort.

I'm reading...

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout  Credit: Penguin Random House

...Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (£5.99, Kindle). This sublime, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of the loves and losses of the townsfolk of Crosby in Maine, New England, with retired schoolteacher Olive at the centre. Unforgettable.

Read more: Best books to read in lockdown

I'm listening to...

Fake Heiress podcast (bbc.co.uk/sounds).  I love a scandal, and this tells the true story of 20-something Russian Anna Delvey (real  name Anna Sorokin), who passed herself off as a millionairess and conned many high-society New Yorkers  in the process. 

My top tip for switching off: Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil, £49, Aromatherapy Associates

Tona Stell, Style Editor

‘At the moment I find it’s easy to get lethargic, so a routine is key for me. Starting with exercise’

I'm watching...

...Bulletproof, Sky. Slightly ridiculous buddy-cop drama, following two all-action detectives on the tail of the hardened crims of east London. The British answer to Bad Boys, anyone?

I'm wearing... 

Linen blouse, £115, Arkitaip Credit: Arkitaip

... this linen blouse, £115, Arkitaip. This is perfect for working from home: it’s 100 per cent certified linen so it’s super- comfortable and light, but smart enough for video conference calls. 

I'm reading...

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, £8.99 Credit: Harper

...Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, £8.99. I’m re-reading Christie’s mysteries, starting with this – it’s an easy read that provides some much-needed escapism. Yes, I know whodunnit… but that just makes it even more comforting.

I'm listening to...

... Love and Compromise by Mahalia (spotify.com). Chilled but uplifting R&B from young Brit up-and-comer Mahalia (left); ideal to have on in the background while you work.

My top tip for switching off: workouts with Kayla Itsines’ fitness app Sweat

Laura Powell, Features Editor

‘Moving back in with family – having lived alone for years – has been a challenge. But daily solo walks on a riverside nature trail are helping’

I'm watching...

...Sex Education, Netflix. This comedy about two schoolkids who set up an underground sex-therapy clinic offered hilarious escapism… until the bit where they respond to an STI outbreak by donning face masks.

I'm listening to...

English novelist Dame Daphne du Maurier  Credit:  Getty Images

... the Desert Island Discs archive (bbc.co.uk/sounds). There’s something reassuring about relistening to classic episodes. A favourite is the one from 1977 with the late Dame Daphne Du Maurier, who’d take whisky and ginger ale, plus the works of Jane Austen, to the island.  

I'm reading...

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell £16.99 Credit: Tinder Press 

...Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell £16.99. Such a radical departure from O’Farrell’s usual plots. Set in 1596,  her new novel is inspired by the son of William Shakespeare.  All about grief,  love and loss. 

My lighting choice is...

Pomegranate Medium Botanical Candle Credit: The White Company

...Pomegranate Medium Botanical Candle,  £28, The White Company. You can’t beat a scented candle for creating a sense of  calm after a hectic WFH day. The White Company’s are an affordable treat.

My top tip for switching off: Meryl Streep narrating Heartburn by Nora Ephron, on Audible