So, here we are again, Lockdown Life (part two)....but this time, it's winter. Whereas we had sunshine to get us through Lockdown One, we have to think a little differently this time. This stint, it's all about being cosy inside, getting outside for a socially-distanced meet up with one other person and keeping ourselves distracted with attention-grabbing TV shows and brilliant books.
For recommendations that you really can't beat, I turned to my lovely friend, YOU's Books Editor and the best-read person I've ever met, Natasha Poliszczuk. A former work colleague, flat-mate and partner-in-blogging, Natasha's beautiful Instagram feed @wearandwhere is utterly gorgeous and a must for anyone who loves fashion, interiors - and of course, books. So, for some joy-filled reading recommendations to keep you smiling this month, here are Natasha's top joy-inducing books.
The Joy of Books
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. A group of pensioners in a bucolic retirement village solve a grisly murder. Warm, compassionate and hilarious - had me guffawing out loud. A tonic. I urge you to read it immediately.
Love, NIna by NIna Stibbe. Stibbe's stint as a highly unlikely Mary Poppins in literary north London. Her comic novels are terrific but this has such quirk, charm and a real sense of anarchic fun, it just wins for me.
Miss Buncle's Book by DE Stephenson. From the splendid Persephone imprint. Unmarried Miss Buncle lives in a small village and attempts to assuage her poverty by writing a book - which creates an absolute sensation. It's an uncomplicated delight.
Mapp & Lucia by EF Benson. Lucia Lucas and Elizabeth Mapp are the original frenemies: there are no lows to which they will not stoop in their bed for supremacy. Tea parties, bridge and charity fundraising are their weapons of choice in Benson's peerless social comedies.
I also suggest revisiting the oeuvre of Jilly Cooper - starting, perhaps, with Riders. The men are devastatingly handsome. The women are gorgeous (or ugly ducklings poised on the brink of gorgeousness). The social whirl is dizzying. (All those people in one room!) And everyone gets the ending they deserve. Sometimes what you need is a really good romp....Also, if you like memoirs, Tina Fey's Bossypants is warm, wise and never Mean Girls. And obvs Nora Ephron - EVERY bedside table should have a copy of The Most of Nora Ephron.
The Joy of TV
Of course, sometimes you just need to flop on the sofa or curl up with an iPad and lose yourself in a good TV series. I'm no expert, but this is what I've been watching, plan to watch or have been told to watch over Lockdown.
The Crown, Netflix (15th November). If the words 'Princess Diana' aren't enough to pique your interest in the fourth series of the award-winning Netflix series, then how about 80s fashion, Gillian Anderson as Mrs Thatcher and the wedding of the decade? A must for November.
Call my Agent, Netflix. I have recently discovered this fabulous French series set in an actors' agency in Paris. Funny, glamorous and very, very French, it's a grown-up alternative to anyone who doesn't fancy Emily in Paris.
The Bureau, Amazon Prime. If you like French TV series, then The Bureau comes highly recommended. Starring Mathieu Kassovitz (star of the wonderful Amelie), it is a spy thriller set in the French security agency.
The Undoing, Sky Atlantic. Are you watching this? You should. A big budget, glossy thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, it's twisty, turny and completely captivating.
Love is Blind, Netflix. Now I haven't seen these, but some friends have and they binge watched them all. Taking the 'blind dating' concept to the extreme, couples meet and chat and get to know each other, without ever actually seeing each other.
What to wear
Of course, I couldn't write a blog post without mentioning what to wear during Lockdown. Obviously, comfort is key - sheepskin slippers, star joggers, slipper socks and gorgeous snuggly cardigans are musts. And, this time we are allowed to meet one other person outside, so wrapping up warm is key this month. But, as we head into our traditional sparkle season, I also think it's time to dress up to perk up. There are few things that lift your mood quite like dressing up, so think, sparkly jewellery, dresses to impress and blouses to Zoom in.