I want to run errands with you

Two skincare products that work magic overnight, a very good vegetarian pie, and some thoughts on pandemic nostalgia.

At 12.01am this morning, Sydney’s four-month lockdown came to an end. At some point, not that long ago, I’d imagined spending every night of this week at the pub. At the very least, I assumed I’d be driving, walking, or running further than 5km from my home as soon as I could. Instead, I just want to run errands with a friend.

Before this lockdown kicked off, my friend Gina and I started making plans around errands. Our most memorable trip was to IKEA, where we debated getting meatballs for dinner, wandered slowly through the showroom, and each bought a handful of things we potentially didn’t need. After months of only seeing friends outdoors on walks and socially distanced picnics, I’d be thrilled to accompany a friend to the post office.

I’ve written about the benefits of doing objectively boring activities with friends before, when I made a case for helping your friends move at Man Repeller.

In New York, getting dinner or grabbing a drink is one of the easiest things you can do. Whether you want to spend 99 cents or $99 dollars, there will always be somewhere to go and, usually, someone who’s keen to go with you. And maybe that’s the problem: Long-lasting friendships aren’t made over tapas or margaritas or movies or shows, because those are things you can do with pretty much anyone in your phone’s contact list. Moving house on the other hand? That’s something you can only do with a real friend. In this flakey modern world, where we all expect half our plans to get rain-checked at the last minute, the best way to know if someone’s a keeper is to commit to doing the un-cancellable together.

When I pitched that piece, someone on the team made a perfect comparison to the point I was trying to make, noting that you’re always more likely to make friends with someone packing up chairs after an event, than you are at the event itself.

Because, in my experience, it’s the most mediocre moments—washing dishes at the end of dinner, helping someone in their garden, walking to get the train together—that hold space for the most meaningful connection. I can’t wait for these moments of nothingness to become possible again.

Now, some recommendations!

Two Overnight Beauty Products That Actually Make My Skin Look Better

It’s been a while since I’ve made any beauty recommendations, so I thought I’d share two similar-but-different skincare products I love and buy. I know these products are worth recommending because I’ve received compliments on my skin the day after using both of them—the best proof you can ask for.

The first is the much-beloved Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($31AUD). I got a sample of this mask with another purchase and every time I used it, woke up with noticeably softer and brighter skin. I finally bought the full-size product last week, just in time for people to see my whole face again.

Like the Glow Recipe mask, Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys ($46AUD) use gentle AHAs to exfoliate and brighten. Without exaggerating, I will get a ‘your skin looks great’ comment almost every morning after I use these wipes—my face loves them.

If you’re looking to introduce a gentle(ish) chemical exfoliant into your routine, I genuinely think both of these are worth trying.

A Highly Rated Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie To Make Next Time It Rains

I’ve made Pinch Of Yum’s vegetarian shepherd’s pie a handful of times now, most recently last night while it was storming. The recipe uses mushrooms in place of meat, along with other veggies, herbs, red wine, and broth, and comes together to make an incredibly cosy dinner.

Pinch Of Yum not only has very good recipes (I also love this wild rice soup) the site also gives you the ability to easily toggle between imperial and metric measurements, and offers the option to double or triple a recipe.

And Something To Read About Pandemic Nostalgia

Like a lot of people, I’ve been balancing feelings of excitement and anxiety about Sydney reopening. That said, I already know that the confusing longing I may have for this latest lockdown won’t be the same as the warped and complicated fondness I somehow have for some moments in 2020.

These feelings are probably why I enjoyed this piece in The Atlantic, which digs into the phenomenon that is pandemic nostalgia.

The first days, weeks even, of the pandemic felt like a twisted novelty. You could try out a TikTok trend: whipping together sugar, instant coffee, and a little bit of warm water, then laying that fluffy meringue over milk—dalgona coffee. In the fridge, your sourdough starter looked mushy and gassy. Later, you’d go for a socially distanced walk, but for now you’d make some progress on that loan you owed Tom Nook in the Animal Crossing universe. You didn’t know what a variant was. You’d never heard of a “Fauci ouchie.” And you thought you would probably return to school or your office in a couple of weeks. This was March 2020.

Focusing primarily on pandemic nostalgia videos on TikTok, the authors interrogate young people’s obsession with romanticising the past, life with pandemic fatigue, and how we turn to the internet to process both loss and grief.

And that’s everything I have for you this week. As always, thank you for reading.

Gyan x