Jessica Prescott is a marvellous cookbook writer & co founder of Mama Goodness. She's also the likely culprit behind our collective increasing urge to bake bread, with her ASMR pleasing, soothing tutorials.
How are you coping with isolation and what aspects of it are you enjoying?
I feel like I’ve had a lot of practice at coping with isolation, because big and little bouts of isolation are part of the parcel of motherhood. However this time, we’re all in it together and I’m strangely loving it. I really miss my friends, morning workouts and eating out, but I’m also a real homebody so am enjoying the forced pause, especially because it means I have my husband at home more. We’ve not tackled all of the deep cleaning tasks that I was sure were going to fill our days, as I have been very busy with motherhood and work, and in the down time I’ve been baking endless loaves of bread which is a lot more fun than cleaning sticky dust from the top of the kitchen cupboards!
What are you working on?
I just finished my third cookbook! It went to the printers last week, which is a huge relief because the final stretch of proofreading and edits can seem relentless and absolutely scrambles my brain. I also have a small business @_mamagoodness_ that I co-founded with a dear friend. We deliver nourishing food packs and other goodies to new mums and pregnant people every Tuesday so this has been keeping me busy. We had to adjust a little to ensure we were socially distancing as we work, but the consistent, weekly interaction with a like-spirited human has been an absolute godsend. We just shared our winter menu which is so delicious and I am so excited about.
Any rituals you can share?
So many! The morning boogie is my fave. The music of choice depends on whether I am with my children or not, but I really believe in moving the body every day and since gyms closed I have been making sure to have a big wild boogie every morning to get the endorphins flowing and energise myself for the day ahead. I’m talking ‘dance like no one is watching’ dancing; wild, crazy, silly movement that leaves you breathless but so invigorated.
I have a spot in my back yard that gets glorious morning sun, and I sit there every morning and get my vitamin D fix. Sometimes with my children playing at my feet and other times alone, which is when I use the time for a short meditation if I am feeling overwhelmed by my work load.
I am also a big believer in looking after ones skin and I always take the time in the morning to massage oil into my face and pat eye cream around my eyes. I have been doing this since I was a teenager and my face has thanked me for it. I used to slather my body with oil every morning too but, well, motherhood.
Last and probably most importantly – every night once our children are asleep I roll my husband a cigarette and we sit outside without our phones. Sometimes it’s the first chance we’ve had all day to have an uninterrupted conversation. Other times, we are too exhausted to speak. But the act of just being in each others presence is incredibly important to us, we even do it if we’ve had a fight.
Could you share some reading/listening recommendations?
Pre-motherhood and instagram I was never not reading a book. These days, the books I read tend to be about birth or child rearing but I have a bazillion book covers saved as screenshots in my phone, that I intend to tackle some day as there is nothing like being transported to a different world and way of thinking through literature.
A short, somewhat dated, and by no means definitive list of old favourites for those who are in a different life phase to me:
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Architecture of Happiness by Alain deBotton
M Train by Patti Smith
Immortality by Milan Kundera
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
Narcissus and Goldmund by Herman Hesse
Island by Aldous Huxley
Nine Stories by JD Salinger
Little Labours by Rivka Galchen
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Since covid hit, I have been trying to listen to the 7am podcast so that I can keep abreast of the important stuff that would never make it to mainstream news channels. I find the short and informative episodes to be the perfect dose of digestible alternative media.
As for music, my friends The Sockettes just released an Album named Wendy’s Place and it is truly beautiful. Even my wiggles-loving children like listening to it!