With everyone staying home in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, there's a chance you've found the days are slowly starting to blur into one and that the weekend now feels very much the same as the working week.
One way to combat this is to set up your own virtual diary, packed with events and activities taking place throughout the week. Thankfully, there's a plethora of online activities, classes and entertainment on offer from providers across the UAE. Here are just a few ideas, with at least a couple of ideas for every single day of the week.
9am: Tune in for story time
Helen Farmer, a mum-of-two and radio host at Dubai Eye, reads a storybook aloud at 9am every day of the week on her IGTV. Tune in with the children to listen to a new tale each day – it’s super informal and Farmer’s own little ones usually make an appearance in the videos.
Evening, exact time TBC: Watch a performance
As of Sunday, April 12, Live from HQ’s daily music and comedy performances will feature UAE performances and region-specific content. Run by global entertainment company BookMyShow and Indian talent management firm Big Bad Wolf, the local shows fall under three categories: performance arts, comedy and music.
The initial bill is being curated by independent performing arts venue The Junction, which is based in Dubai's Alserkal Avenue, and will feature daily 40-minute poetry readings, storytelling, monologues and more in English, Arabic, French, Hindi and Marathi. Acts will include Shakespearean monologues in A Bit o'the Bard and a Writing to Heal workshop.
6.45pm: Get on the mat for Jivamukti yoga
Yogini Dina Ghandour specialises in Jivamukti yoga. If you have not tried it before, you’re in for a treat. Expect a grounding but energising form of yoga that combines movement and breathing with chanting and meditation. Live classes via Zoom run for 75 minutes and they are also available on Wednesdays at the same time.
8pm: Watch an indie movie
Cinema Akil, the UAE's independent cinema house, has launched a new service, letting you access some of the world's greatest movies in your own home. They've partnered with on-demand streaming platform Mubi to provide a catalogue of films, which we can watch for free for the next three months. Each month, there will be 20 different indie films to steam and you can temporarily download them to your mobile.
Free for 90 days, mubi.com/cinemaakil
4pm: Catch up on sessions from Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
If you feel like you missed out on some key sessions during this year’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, you’re in luck, as the Emirates Literature Foundation is released one new session on its YouTube channel every week. The series began with a panel talk featuring explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, which was made available on Tuesday, April 7.
Free, EmiratesLitFest YouTube channel or elfdubai.org
5pm: Midweek chuckles
Dubomedy comedy club is streaming premieres of stand-up shows filmed live in Dubai last year. The streams feature comics Sundeep Fernandes, Mish’al Eskander and Liz Bains, and are available every Wednesday throughout April with links going live at noon and accessible for 24 hours.
6pm: Waga Wednesdays
Every Wednesday, Wagamama chefs will be live-streaming on Instagram from the kitchen as they take viewers through a one-hour lesson in recreating one of their popular pan-Asian recipes. The sessions will feature dishes such as katsu curry, gyoza and yaki soba. Even better, the best attempt from participants gets a free main course delivered to their door. There's also a child-friendly session from 3pm to 4pm.
10am: Tour the Louvre
Download Louvre Abu Dhabi’s #Museumfromhome app to get access to in-depth stories highlighting artworks and architecture at the museum. With more than 150 audio sessions, you can follow a different curator's tour every week. The app is available in Arabic, English, French, Mandarin, Russian, German and Hindi.
1pm: Take a break from homeschooling
Fitness facility The Studio in Abu Dhabi is hosting one-hour live-streamed classes via Zoom and Thursday afternoons are dedicated to parents. The class titled Take a Break from Homeschooling Hatha is being led by instructor Amanda Mattar and invites frazzled mums and dads to follow the poses and asanas, and to wind down after a hectic week.
From Dh35, www.thestudiouae.com
8pm: Improve your vocal technique with a Dubai soprano
With the present pandemic halting vocal classes and group performances, it is now up to singers, both pro and novice, to self-maintain their technique.
Austrian singer Bettina Schweiger, who resides in Dubai, aims to ease that burden by providing vocal tips through her “Quarantutorial” classes, which run on her Instagram account on Monday and Thursdays at 8pm.
The soprano, with a four octave vocal range, has worked with the likes of Placido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa and Angelika Kirchschlager and will show aspiring opera singers effective ways to look after their voice while indoors.
Noon: Friday brunch with McGettigan's
For some people, regular weekends are typically about brunch and the folks at McGettigan's JLT are going out of their way to make sure that doesn't need to change just because we're staying home. Order your brunch package on Friday from noon until 5pm and you'll get a doorstop delivery packed with starters, mains and desserts so you can brunch at home. Log on to the McGettigan's Facebook Live and InstagramTV pages for live music to party along to.
Dh149 for two people, available noon-5pm, www.mcgettigans.com
3pm: Check out the FamilyFest Brunch entertainment
Caesars Resort in Dubai is bringing its brunch to our screens as of Friday, April 10. The family-friendly entertainment begins at 3pm, with an exclusive show from Magic Phil, as he takes over the FamilyFest Brunch Instagram page. On Friday, April 17, it's the turn of a bunch of circus performers to entertain everyone at home. The following week, a performer will sing popular songs from Frozen.
8pm: Movie nights with Vox
Upgrade your Friday night television viewing by streaming a classic movie and ordering some of your favourite cinema snacks to go with it. Vox Cinemas is now offering snack deliveries from select cinemas across Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. Check out your usual delivery app to see if you are in the catchment area, then file in the popcorn, nacho and hot dog orders.
Price depends on orders, www.uae.voxcinemas.com
10.30am: Read books with dogs
Every Saturday, Reading Dogs has been organising InstaLive Story Time with Chip the Frenchie. The next session is on April 11 at 10.30am. Head to their Instagram page to listen to two stories read by Chip the dog and Gina the human: Julia Donaldson's The Troll, a laugh-out-loud pirate adventure; and My Pet Star, a story about a little girl who finds a lost star and cares for it like she would a beloved pet.
7.30pm: Check your lotto numbers
The UAE’s first lottery draw is scheduled for Saturday, April 18. Buy your ‘collectable’ online or from Choithrams supermarkets, then tune in every week at 7.30pm to see if your luck is in. This new weekly raffle offers a jackpot of Dh35 million and the results will be live-streamed every Saturday at the same time.
Dh35 per entry, www.emiratesloto.com
7:30pm: End the weekend with laughs
Even if your lottery numbers don't come up, you can still end the weekend on a high by switching over to Big Fish TV Titters. This weekly online stream from the UAE comedy club promises to entertain with a mixture of throwback comedy classics and some exciting new gaffs. Catch it on Facebook or Instagram.