At Home Escapism For Explorers & Hedonists

Nick Nomi

Senior Contributor

While frustrating, lockdown 2.0 needn’t be boring, and it needn’t be yet more time divided between work, Netflix, baking and Twitter (unless that’s what one wants, of course). To help bring a little culture into isolation and to ameliorate the lockdown experience, here we outline just a few special experiences, from virtual wine tastings with one of the world’s only private members clubs catering to wine lovers, to online art classes with two of the UK’s most celebrated artists.

Virtual Wine Tastings With London’s 67 Pall Mall

Rather than simply drink wine, a pastime responsible for huge increases in wine sales during the first UK-wide lockdown, why not take a lesson in wine tasting from the professionals? Virtual wine tasting events have become omnipresent this year, with options like the US’s brilliant Aperture for private tastings and the UK’s Nyetimber for corporate tastings. But most interesting is London’s 67 Pall Mall wine club. A grandiose private members club for wine lovers, renowned for lavish wine tasting experiences with exclusive wines and meticulously selected food pairings, and now open for virtual members. Once one becomes a virtual member, a lengthening itinerary of remarkable virtual masterclasses is available to book. Each comes with a selection of wines delivered in hand-labelled 75ml sample bottles with a warm mark temperature tag (to indicate any unacceptable temperature conditions during transit), a tasting mat and full instructions for storage bringing a little of Pall Mall’s sumptuous exclusivity into the locked-down home. Upcoming events include a fascinating virtual tour of German Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) with Anne Krebiehl a German-born London based freelance wine writer, and a Christmas Charcuterie and Wine pairing with the excellent Islington-based Cobbled Lane Cured for something a little more food-focused.

Festive Shopping (and a little festive charity) At A Virtual Christmas Market

Much as it pains to accept it, for those in the UK and a few other places, the best hope for Christmas markets this year may well be online. And while many of the sickly sweet, neon-hued crassmas markets like Winter Wonderland have simply cancelled the event, some lovely little offerings born out of lockdown, as well as one or two local markets are taking their Christmas spirit online to help spread festive cheer. With that in mind, don a woolly jumper and grab a mulled wine, or simply browse from bed (one must take all the little luxuries one can) and visit the Kensington Mums x The Glorious Edit Christmas Shopping Fair. The fair will be taking place between December 4-10 and offers a carefully curated collection of 80 independent brands (Annabelle Hill Jewels, Crosslow London, and more) and will be raising money for the MeeTwo mental health app. Alternatively, take a virtual waddle in the direction of beautiful Bath who have taken all of their usual independents from the huts and streets of Somerset’s sweetest spa city and put them on a dedicated website for the duration of the Christmas season.

At Home Skincare Guided By Experts

Lockdown means the closures of skin clinics, spas and salons in most places, but wellness and self-care are arguably more important than ever. And while certain spa treatments are recreatable at home, the full spa experience isn’t, particularly without the help of an expert opinion to help guide one’s choices. But thankfully, many aestheticians have taken an innovative approach to the tribulations of lockdown by taking their treatments online, offering virtual facials and skin consultations to advise on any skin concerns one might have. Legendary skincare expert Sarah Chapman is amongst them, with one-to-one video consultations providing bespoke advice on home skincare regimens. While Dr Sturm, renowned for her non-surgical anti-ageing treatments, offers, alongside a new YouTube channel, digital Zoom masterclasses and virtual consultations with a team of expert aestheticians.

Click Along Route 66

Travel is restricted for many of us, but with numerous museum collections, tours and VR experiences available, we can explore the world virtually. Alongside more obvious choices such as the Louvre and the Vatican, a favourite is the Route 66 tour on Google Earth, where virtual explorers can breeze along the Mother Road stopping along the route at a small, curated collection of sights. Each stop comes with a detailed explanation of the landmark's history, photos and route information — making it an ideal educational tool. Highlights include the Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma, the fabulous neon-lit Blue Swallow Motel in New Mexico, and the Clifton's Republic cafe in LA. And while the tour isn’t particularly long, it does provide a perfectly enjoyable way to experience one of the world’s most iconic road trips virtually, with more than enough left out just in case one embarks on the real thing when the lockdown is over.

Follow Along With A Fine Art Masterclass

Fine Art Commissions is hosting a series of online masterclasses with two of their leading artists, Nick Bashall and Nicky Philipps. Bashall, best known for portraits of Her Royal Highness Princess Anne will host live masterclasses on painting in oil and working in charcoal, while Nicky Phillips, known for various portraits of Her Majesty the Queen will host her own class on painting in oil. The classes are strict one-offs, taking place over zoom every Tuesday until December, and are entirely complimentary. If nothing else, think of it as a chance to peek into the world of a world-renowned artist. Other options for creative masterclasses include Kelly Wearstler’s Interior Design classes, Gordon Ramsay’s online cooking masterclass and Anna Wintour’s virtual masterclass on creativity and leadership. 

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