You don’t need to be told again the practicalities of getting through the pandemic. You know about the social distancing, the hand washing and the mask wearing. But, with lockdown 3.0 well and truly underway and staying at home the order of the day, what can we do to entertain ourselves and pass the long hours?
You’ve baked the banana bread and completed the Zoom quiz, well here are some ideas for online workouts, series streaming and podcasts, that might just help.
Well, it is January after all and if your plans to up your fitness efforts have been scuppered by gyms closing, never fear. There are plenty of people streaming workouts online, with something to suit all abilities.
Maeve Madden is an Irish fitness blogger providing live, free workouts through Instagram (@maeve_madden). From Newry, but now based in London, Maeve was previously a dancer in Lord of the Dance. With almost 300,000 followers now, this undertaking has seen her profile grow dramatically. Her classes vary from 20-45 minutes in length, with the livestreams dedicated to cardio, upper body, combat-style classes and high-impact interval training (HIIT) workouts. She’s full of energy and these classes are sure to get you sweating. The workouts are usually in the morning and are available on her Instagram afterwards.
Siel Bleu is a not-for-profit organisation that provides life-enhancing exercise programmes for older people and adults living with chronic disease, and the pandemic hasn’t stopped that. Three to four days a week they stream exercise classes through their Facebook page (search “Siel Bleu Ireland” on Facebook). These classes may be particularly useful for older people cocooning. Siel Bleu’s team of instructors lead a range of classes, including; circuits, strength and balance, mobility and stretch and chair gym. A full timetable of their classes is posted to their Facebook page each week, with classes broadcast twice on some days. The workouts can be accessed again on the Facebook page after the livestream has ended.
Kiki Nugent is a personal trainer and fitness blogger from Kildare. Like Maeve Madden, during the first lockdown she began doing live workout classes on her Instagram (@_kikifit_) and has started them up again each time the gyms closed in Ireland. These free workouts have become extremely popular (Kiki’s Instagram has over 85,000 followers now) due to their high energy, intensity and the minimum about of equipment needed - dumbbells and a resistance band. Kiki lives in Dubai and streams the workouts at 10am Irish time. They are posted on her page afterwards so they can be accessed at any time. She is doing them Monday to Saturday for the month of January, covering everything from legs to upper body, HIIT and sweat classes.
Yoga with Maura
Wexford native Maura Rath started streaming yoga classes on her Instagram page (@yogawithmaura) during the first lockdown. While there are still some yoga classes available on her Instagram, her weekly classes are now sold through her website (www.yogawithmaura.ie). They cost €8 per class or €49 for 30 days unlimited access. At 7am, Maura does a 30-minute yoga class followed by 10 minutes of meditation. She also does different types of yoga throughout the week. You will have access to a class for 48 hours after it airs.
Maura first trained as yoga teacher in the birthplace of yoga, India, and has since travelled all over the world attaining additional qualifications.
Where can I get these workouts?
Both Instagram and Facebook are available to download as apps. Facebook can also be accessed at www.facebook.com.
Getting stuck into a good series show is a popular way for many people to keep themselves entertained; especially during the winter in lockdown, when really, there’s not a whole pile else to do. Here are some new favourites and nostalgic oldies from both Netflix and the RTÉ Player.
Bridgerton is the Netflix Original series of the moment. It was streamed by 63m households over the Christmas period, so it’s the one everyone’s talking about (and watching evidentially). It’s based on Julia Quinn’s novels and is produced by Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy fame. Season one is currently out. It’s set in London during the Regency era and depicts high society, particularly the trials and tribulations of trying to find love. The plot follows Daphne, the eldest daughter of the Bridgerton family, and her siblings, as she attempts to find a husband. Be warned, some episodes you may not want to watch with your offspring or parents. Think Normal People-esque…
If you are a fan of the Karate Kid, then Cobra Kai is the series for you, as it follows on from that storyline. It’s set 34 years after the tournament Daniel and Johnny fought in. Their rivalry is reignited in this show. If you’re going to revive a classic, you have to be careful; and Cobra Kai has been, bringing back Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, the original Daniel and Johnny actors. In this Netflix original series, Daniel and Johnny’s lives have switched somewhat, with Johnny falling on harder times and Daniel living a wealthy lifestyle. After helping a bullied teenager, Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo. This reawakens his rivalry with Daniel. There are currently three series on Netflix.
All credit to the RTÉ Player, over the pandemic they have put up some cracking older series and Pure Mule is one of them. It was first broadcast in 2005 and is set in the midlands, filmed in several Co Offaly towns. Its aim is to give an insight into rural Ireland of that time. Obviously, set in the height of the Celtic Tiger, there’s construction and country town night clubs aplenty. Each episode looks at the life of a character from the town across a weekend. It was received very favourably and deals with some difficult, but topical issues of the time. Also, Charlene McKenna’s depiction of Jennifer in the series can definitely be considered her breakout role. Pure Mule ran for one season, but was revisited in the two-part Pure Mule: The Last Weekend, which depicts the impact of the recession on the characters.
Another golden oldie from the RTÉ Player. The Clinic first aired in 2003 and ran for seven seasons, all of which are now available on the RTÉ Player. At the time it was one of the broadcaster’s most popular dramas, winning several Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA). It’s set in Dublin 4 and centres on the staff of Clarence Street Clinic, a multi-disciplinary health centre. It starts out with resident owners Ed and Cathy Costello trying to patch up their troubled marriage and covers many storylines from there. It features Amy Huberman in her breakout role as Daisy O’Callaghan.
Where can I stream these series?
Netflix can be accessed on www.netflix.com as well on the app. It’s a paid subscription that starts at €7.99 a month. For the RTÉ Player, see www.rte.ie/player or download the app. Content can be accessed for free.
The podcast playlist
Many people like to listen to a podcast while walking, in the car or carrying out everyday tasks. Podcasts can also be great to just sit, relax and unwind with. Here are some top picks.
Where is George Gibney?
Very few podcasts have re-raised and dealt with an issue in Ireland the way Where is George Gibney? has. It’s a collaboration between BBC Sounds and Second Captains. It’s produced by Second Captains’ Mark Horgan and Ciaran Cassidy, who re-investigate the case of George Gibney, a former Irish Olympic swimming coach who was charged with child sexual abuse, but never stood trial. In the initial eight episodes, Mark and Ciaran follow the trail of George Gibney across the world, from the UK to the US, in search of where he now resides. Following the airing of this podcast, they were contacted by people with more allegations of abuse against George Gibney and recorded two subsequent episodes. Gardaí are now actively investigating allegations of historical abuse against George Gibney.
The Tommy Tiernan podcast
When Tommy Tiernan started a podcast with his long-time friend Hector Ó hEochagáin and Laurita Blewitt, The Tommy and Hector Podcast with Laurita Blewitt, during the summer and it was an instant success. Listeners resonated with its chatty, informal nature and of course the lashings of humour present. Since the end of November, Tommy has started his own solo podcast, where he muses different topics. Of course with the man in question, it’s very funny, but also provides an interesting take on these topics. His first episode is on staying silent and it goes from there!
Where Is My Mind?
Musician Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin is a well-known mental health advocate, who has spoken openly about his own struggles in life. In this podcast Bressie looks at how people can take better care of their minds in the manic world we live in. For anyone interested in mindfulness and improving their mind-set, this is a good podcast option. It’s not particularly easy listening at times, but it’s definitely thought provoking and a good self-help tool. From meditation to solo episodes and interviews with expert guests, Where Is My Mind? explores its subject matter from all angles.
Hunting Ghislaine with John Sweeney
This is another gripping investigative podcast dealing with dark and disturbing events. Reporter John Sweeney looks at Ghislaine Maxwell, who is facing multiple charges for helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually exploit and abuse teenagers. Ghislaine Maxwell grew up as a British socialite and the daughter of a billionaire, John Sweeney takes a deep dive into her life.
Where can I listen to podcasts?
Podcasts are available across a range of platforms. Spotify and iTunes are two of the main ones. You can download these apps on your smartphone, but you must have an iPhone to access iTunes.
The Irish Farmers Journal Weekly Podcast and Down to Agribusiness podcast can be accessed on www.farmersjournal.ie and podcast streaming forums.