I’ve thought very hard about how I can help in this difficult situation. And it came to me last week that I could put together an entertainment guide for self-isolation, the things you can do when you stuck in the house.
So, I’m going to list books, films, TV shows and other things that I found entertaining in the last few months. All in the effort to help you get through the next few weeks of lockdown. So, this is the entertainment guide for self-isolation.
I have also included a planning section at the bottom as I’ve been finding adding structure at the moment is what’s keeping me sane. There’s a downloadable planner that I use to plan my time and meals out each week.
As a side note, I won’t be putting any affiliate links in this post. I want to share what I’ve been loving and help you to find things that you can enjoy in this odd time.
There are lots of people providing film lists and film recommendations online so I’ve compiled a list of these, so you can go have a look.
This is a weekly podcast about the latest releases – we’ve been listening to it for years. A great way to find out what’s coming out at the cinema.
They have changed the format the moment to reflect the current situation and they have a TV movie of the week section. They compile this into a list and link it on IMDB, it can be found here…
Mark and Simon TV Movies of the Week go to this link and choose the correct week. Can also find movies that might be still on catch up.
Here’s an article about the 50 best films that are streaming in the UK… UK 50 Best Streaming Films
And here’s one for the USA… New York Times Best Fims Streaming
Here are some of my personal favourites…
The Big Sick
Love this quirky romantic comedy
Made in Dagenham
About the people who went on strike for equal pay rights, lovely film.
Studio Ghibli Films
-Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away & My Neighbour Totoro
Studio Ghibli films are beautifully animated and always have a lovely story. Watch them in Japanese language with subtitles.
Fighting with my family
A funny and heart-warming film based on a true story.
Death of Stalin
Written and directed by the creator of The Thick of It, a funny, dark comedy.
Based on a true story. Can’t say too much due to spoilers but it’s a fabulous film.
The story of Churchill’s decision on whether to sign a peace treaty or continue to fight Hitler. A gripping drama that is excellently acted.
I loved this film about a dressmaker that falls in love with a young waitress. Beautiful score and lovely story.
This Academy Award-nominated film isn’t an easy watch, but it is excellent. Driver and Johansson are wonderful in it.
This film is completely beautiful. Each frame was shot and then artists hand-painted over the top in Van Gough’s style.
A funny thriller. I was surprised by how much I loved this.
This is on my to-watch list this weekend, it looks lovely. Update – I watched it and loved it.
Another to watch film that has been recommended, Taika Waititi directed it so it’s high on my list. Update – loved this gem, a charming, funny look at life with a fantastic sense of NZ humour.
To Catch a Thief
One of my all-time favourites. Love Grace Kelly’s style, the story and the scenery.
Best of the rest…
· A Time To Kill
· Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
· The History Boys
· The Jackal
· Kung Fu Panda
· The Lady Vanishes
· Man Up
· Manchester by the Sea
· Night of the Living Dead
· Personal Shopper
· The Place Beyond the Pines
· This is England
· Diego Maradona
· Force Majeure
· Lady Bird
· La La Land
· Begin Again
· Captain Fantastic
· Jumanji Welcome to The Jungle
· The Terminal
· Ocean’s films
· Ingrid Goes West
· Mistress America
· At Eternity’s Gate
· Fantastic Mr Fox
If you are looking for more alternative films, I can highly recommend Mubi, they have an offer to get 3 months for £1. There’s a new movie every day, which is available for 30 days. The films are in the cult classic/ modern masterpiece genres. You will find some interesting films on Mubi.
I love nothing more than a great box set and there are lots out there. Channel 4 has loads to catch up on as does The BBC & ITV. I will list my favourites/ things I’ve heard positive reviews of here….
Based in Japan and England. A detective series based around a Yakuza killing in London. Its set in both locations is a little off the wall but addictive and one of the best things I’ve seen on TV.
One of my favourite all-time TV shows and enough time has passed for a re-watch now!
A legal drama about a couple whose marriage is struggling. Good cast and entertaining.
The Trial of Christine Keeler
Based on the true story of Christine Keeler. Set in the 60s and around the Profumo scandal.
Gripping, interesting and full-on. Beautiful Welsh Scenery too.
State of the Union
This 10-minute show format about a couple waiting to go to their marriage counselling sessions is unusual and intense. staring Rosamond Pike & Chris O’Dowd.
Inside No 9
Another recommendation that I will be watching. From the creators of The League of Gentleman and Psychoville so expect a dark twisted comedy.
Rob Delany and Sharon Horgan write and star in this comedy about a couple who end up together, despite what they intended. Again, It’s been enough time to re-watch if you’ve seen it before.
I loved series 1 and have series 2 to look forward to.
Agatha Christie’s Poirot
What’s not to love about David Suchet’s famous detective.
Flesh & Blood
A great who done it!
Loved the first series, not as convinced with the second, but we’ll see.
Intriguing, tense and very watchable.
Heart-warming and a super-easy watch, I watched it whilst poorly and it was just what I needed.
Top of the Lake
A great detective drama based in New Zealand and Australia. I love Elizabeth Moss and she is excellent in this.
Only watched this recently and I loved it. The first series is better than the second but both are great.
One of the best tv series’ I’ve watched. I absolutely loved the Doorman and the Anne Hathaway episode, but they are all great.
This is Us
I laugh and cry in every episode. I love how the story intertwines and comes full circle, excellent writing.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
So funny and the fashion – wow!
Big Little Lies
We are finishing the second series and I have no idea where it is going but the first series is fantastic.
I love a Scandi crime drama. This is by far the best I have watched, I felt lost when it finished.
Best of the rest
· This Country
· Line of Duty
· Killing Eve
· The Thick of It
· Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema
· Dynasties – Animals not the 80s drama!
· Gavin & Stacey
· Gentleman Jack
· The Infinite Monkey Gage
· Silent Witness
· Louis Theroux Documentaries
· The Mighty Boosh
· Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan
· Miracle of Bali
· Noughts & Crosses
· The IT Crowd
· No Offence
· This is England
· Downton Abbey
· Grey’s Anatomy
I am aware most of these you might have seen but I’m being thorough!
If you are lucky to have a Kindle, an iPhone or an iPad you will be able to use Kindle to read eBooks. Apple has an app for Kindle that works really well and is easy to read. There are lots of great deals on eBooks at the moment so I will make a list of the ones I’ve read and loved in the last year.
These are ones I’ve read most recently and loved
A lovely book about a grandma and granddaughter that switch lives. Just started it and already love it.
The relationships and characters are so well written. I loved that it told the stories of ordinary people in ordinary relationships and how time and life had put inevitably stain on them. How life had changed who they once were and how the situation they found themselves in isn’t reflective of what they’d hoped for.
A gripping thriller that had me not wanting to put it down. I enjoyed the who done it angle that didn’t disappoint.
· So Lucky
I loved The Cows and this did not disappoint. I love Dawn’s writing, her characters are well observed – completely normal and fascinating all at the same time!
Wow, this was a wonderfully written book. A coming of age story with well-written characters and a plot full of twists and turns. Moments of suspense that left me desperate to read on. I loved this book.
For other books see my Goodreads account here…
I listen to lots of amazing business and self-improvement podcasts but decided to stick to funny and entertaining for this post.
· Jools & Sarah The Podcast
Hilarious and silly, light-hearted and fun. Good for a giggle.
· The Fringe of It
Magazine style podcast with reviews and recommendations.
· Fake Heiress
Loved this show on BBC sounds. A true story of Anna who faked being an heiress.
· The High Low
Currently on a slight break but back in April! Still my favourite podcast.
Planning your time
I am on week two have self-isolation and have found planning out my week makes it a lot easier to be in the house. The structure helps. We have been planning out our meals what we’re going to do with our evenings and ways to break up the day. We’ve also been planning how to make our weekends feel different from our weekdays so that we still feel like it’s a normal week.
To do this I designed a weekly planner. It has day schedules, breaks and meal sections. Along with places to write things like my gratitude and good things that happen during the day. I’ve found that trying to be grateful for things has helped me to feel more positive about the situation and the fact that I can’t leave the house.
I’ve included it here for you to download to use as you wish. I have made an ‘Interactive Weekly Planner’ version which you can fill in on your computer and use a desktop screensaver, or print out after you filled in. Or there is the ‘Weekly Planner’ version that you can print out and fill in.
I’ve been using this weekly planner since January, but have adapted it to suit self-isolation, hope it helps.
So that’s my entertainment guide for self-isolation, let me know in the comments how you’re coping it self-isolation or any tips you have for it, I’d love to hear how you are!