• Unite the Beat

Lockdown love letters. Creative ideas that show others you care during social distancing.

The honest truth is that my mother, as is her custom, has managed to find a series of super kind ways to perk up our days over the past 7 weeks. From puzzles with a photo of us on it to rather epic garden veg shaped biscuits, each time the slump is sneaking back, an incredibly thoughtful gift has arrived.

Sorry I could not share pics of the exquisite biscuits as they did not last long thanks to the skills of the team at Biscuiteers. Check out their post-able rainbow biscuits, 10% of which goes to The National Emergencies Trust.

I have to confess it took rather a while to dawn upon me but I eventually thought that maybe some kind gestures back might not go amiss. That's not to say I have entirely kicked back in a self absorbed little bubble! There has been video stories to nephews, daily soundscapes and our new Lockdown Radio, but what I wanted to share today are some creative ideas to help you feel connected to those you love.

Creative Ideas to help you feel connected to those you love

So I'll kick off with the good old fashioned letter but with an additional creative twist. A total godsend for me over the past 7 weeks has been learning a new skill. For years I have wanted to explore the world of photo emulsion screen printing. What is that I hear some of you ask? Well, it is the art of transferring a photographic image onto a silk screen and then essentially squeezing ink through it using something called a squeegee!!! The result is days of fun playing with all manner of paints and materials in your garage! I turned some of mine into cards and stuffed them with wonderful seeds for my loved ones to plant. There is definitely something soothing about knowing a sunflower is slowly growing its way skywards as your family await a lift in lockdown and the ensuing post social distancing cuddle!

Screen printing equipment came from the fabulous team at Hunt The Moon who could not have been more helpful. They also engage in an amazing range of sustainability efforts including planting a tree for every item you buy from them.

Idea number two has been inspired by the rural community in which we now find ourselves. Introducing the delights of seed/seedling swops! A few times now I have been lucky enough to find a cheeky gathering of seeds or seedlings by the backdoor. This has greatly diversified what we are growing and enabled me to enjoy the opportunity to give our extras a new home too. The phenomenon has become so embedded that it is now challenging to go for my daily exercise without gaining a couple of veggie critters en route. I don't know about all of you wonderful readers, but trying to live more sustainably has been a big driver for us during this crazy period. It has been on the agenda for year but the risks of supermarkets with incumbent crowds has really spurred us on as we delight in the joys of feeding ourselves.

Lastly, near the start of lockdown when much of the world was in panic buying mode and toilet roll could not be found for love nor money, we panic subscribed to a local veg box scheme! The only problem was that we forgot to the change the delivery address and inadvertently ordered it for another. I have to say though that gifting this box of deliciousness to another made me so happy that I could seriously recommend anyone with a few pennies doing it once!

In the past we have used Riverford, Abel and Cole and a number of more local ones. You can also engage in schemes with local farm collectives where you essentially buy into a share of the crop. Fork and Dig it is a great example in Brighton.

The joy I experienced in accidentally gifting food to another speaks to the current drive that is very much alive in us all as we face these unprecedented times: the desire so many are enacting to stand together and contribute. If Corona virus has taught us anything, it is that we will not make it through alone. We need to take this time to send love letters to ourselves, our loved ones and indeed the planet. If you have any great ideas or inspiring stories, please do share them with us on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @unitethebeat

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