Amazing free ways to make the most of being at home

There’s no better time to be good to ourselves – to keep fit, stay connected and be mindful. It’s also a great opportunity to get inspired, learn new skills, enjoy new activities and get those creative juices flowing. And you can do it all for free. Here’s how to make the most of your downtime.

Keep fit and stretch your imagination

Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t keep fit or immerse yourself in a new hobby. It’s a great way to reduce stress. And there are lots of completely free resources to help you do just that. Try a high impact home workout with The Body Coach or some friendly beginners’ yoga classes right there in your living room.

Let’s fake it away!

Who doesn’t love treating themselves to a lovely takeaway now and again? Well, thanks to a little inspiration from some Instagram influencers, you can enjoy some of your favourite treats without the guilt or the bill. Go on, fake it away!

Winner winner, chicken dinner - Chicken Pittas Recipe

Self-confessed ‘greedy girl’ @laurenscravings, from Instagram, has just the thing for a cheeky family fakeaway feast. These mouth-watering Chicken Pittas are to die for. “The idea to recreate my favourite Pitta was born when I saw what great value Aldi’s chicken thighs were. I bought all the ingredients for approximately £20 (including oil, butter, lemons, pittas, salad leaves, red wine vinegar, spices, etc.) and for the cost of a meal out, I can cook this again and again. Aldi has you covered!”

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Scot’s Katsu Curry

Our foodie Instagram blogger @scottcaneat likes to fake it away and is happy to inspire us all to do the same. “It had to be the ICONIC Katsu Chicken Curry. The ingredient that stands out is that upper crunchy panko breadcrumb coating on the chicken. I hear you ask… ‘does Aldi sell panko breadcrumbs?’. Nah… but no panko, no problem. Just fake your own.”

  • Step 1

    Make your own panko sauce by popping a white loaf in the freezer. Once frozen solid, saw off the crusts and grate on the coarse side of a box grater. Then dry the crumbs out in the oven on a really low heat. Thank me later.
  • Step 2

    Prep the curry sauce. You will need onions, garlic and ginger, curry powder, flour, salt, sugar, stock and coconut milk.
  • Step 3

    Make the Katsu chicken with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, then cook until golden and serve with rice, curry sauce and pickles. Now you’re good to go! Kanpai!

Once you pop, you can’t stop

Has your family got an insatiable appetite for food? Then you’re in good company with our Instagrammer @scottcaneat. Not surprisingly, he’s recommended a rather naughty fakeaway of fried Popcorn Chicken Bites. “When Aldi challenged me to create a fakeaway, I decided to create some deliciously tasty Popcorn Chicken with all the sides. I spent just over £7 and it fed two hungry mouths… plus had loads of ingredients left over.”

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A sticky, fried veggie delight

Food blogger @mostlyfoodandtravel, from Instagram, is back with the second part of her fakeaway recipes. This time it’s a classic Bang Bang Cauliflower.

  • Bang Bang Cauliflower
  • Vegan food can be all that when you know how to work with the right textures and flavours. “This classic dish is great because it is crispy, tangy and the perfect level of spice. Perfect on its own or as a side.”
  • DOWNLOAD RECIPE

Learn new skills

There are so many incredible free tools online right now, from YouTube tutorial videos to language courses, it would be a shame not to make the most of them. Here are 3 of our favourites.

  • Take advantage of Duolingo. It’s free, fun and addictive and offers a game-like approach to learning. Also try Open Culture’s free MP3 downloads. There are also some free basic language lessons online at the BBC for kids.
  • Sewing and die cutting are 2 great ways to get creative, repurpose and save money at the same time. You can fix clothes, make pillows, create homemade gifts and cards, stickers, gift tags and more. Be inspired by our crafty Specialbuys.
  • If you sign up to Fender.com, you’ll get 3 months of free step-by-step instruction. Ultimate Guitar has lots of free song chords. Meanwhile, Brit Award-winning artist Laura Marling and James Bay are teaching their Instagram fans how to play their hits.

Try your hand at crocheting and cross stitching

It’s a creative way to relax and a handy skill to learn too. With a cuddly fox, a tassel rainbow display and a colourful mini hoop cross stitch idea, we’ve got 3 fun patterns for you to pick up and try today. So, grab your needles and yarn and let’s get stitching

How to work well from home

Working remotely can be hugely rewarding. It might also feel like the walls are closing in. So, here are some great ways to stay motivated.

  • 3 top tips
  • Get dressed - sticking to a normal morning routine will help.

    Clear a workspace - make sure you have a dedicated place just for you.

    Take lots of breaks - go for walks, move around, stretch and be mindful.

Take time out for you

It’s okay to take a little time out during this extraordinary situation to just focus on you. So, we thought we’d offer a few simple ideas to help you find some much-needed stillness and calm, and show you how easy it is to relax and stay mindful every day at home once you know how.

  • It sounds simple, right? But we’re so busy balancing work and home life, we rarely allow ourselves to slow down and be fully present. But it’s so rewarding when we do. So, give it a go.
  • Life is something to be enjoyed. Doing just one thing at a time helps you remember more and de-stress. So, give one thing today all your attention, whether it’s stretching, cooking or organising.
  • Turn ordinary household tasks into mini-mindfulness sessions. Instead of thinking of it as a chore, make it a mindful ritual. Something that keeps you in tune with the moment, with yourself and the world around you.
  • Add a little daily calm in to your life by downloading the Calm App. It offers lots of great techniques on how to relax the mind, reflect and meditate.

Finding your little green space

It’s the perfect opportunity to get out in the garden, breathe in some fresh air and make the best of your green space.

Let us entertain you

From quizzes to podcasts, game apps, free comedy and live gigs, we’ve got lots of great ideas for how to keep yourselves entertained in the coming weeks.

  • Comedy heroes Robin Ince, Al Murray and Josie Long are offering free live comedy nights and conversations from Cosmic Shambles Network’s Stay at Home Festival. Also, top podcasts like Book Shambles and Science Shambles.
  • Hands up, who fancies a TV party tonight? Yes, you can now watch a movie or TV series with your friends online through Netflix Party. It synchronises video playback and adds group chat to your top shows. Brilliant!
  • Choir master Gareth Malone knows we all need a little harmony in our lives. So, check out The Great British Home Chorus, on YouTube. Or try some simultaneous singing with The Sofa Singers.

How to throw a virtual dinner party

Online get-togethers are the new going out, so why not do it in style? Plan it, whip up something special to eat and get dressed up. FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype and web meeting tools like Zoom are all handy platforms for hosting not just conversations, but virtual dinner parties. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Bring everyone together
  • Plan it - pick your guests, set a date and choose a platform.

    Theme it - choose a cuisine and download an after-dinner quiz.

    Style it - dress the table and yourself. This is your new night out! So, make the most of it!

Explore the wonderful world of wine

Who better to help you find the perfect wine pairing for that special virtual dinner party then our resident wine expert Sam Caporn. Cheers!

Take away a fakeaway tonight

Save yourself the delivery price and try some of our amazing fakeaways for tea tonight. We’ve got a whole range of tasty and quick, cheap and cheerful fakeaway recipes that are sure to become your favourite fast food.

And if you need to keep the kids entertained…

From cooking and crafts to games, quizzes and quality family time, we’ve got bags of easy and affordable ideas to keep everyone happy and active at home.