Words by Dani Marsland.
Sydney’s strict lockdown permits residents to only leave the house for food shopping or exercise within 5km (and bans home visits), has held its grip on the city for nearly 70 days now. If Greater Sydney’s stay-at-home orders extend until October 18, the Harbour City and its surrounds will have been locked down for 114 days, passing Melbourne’s 112-day marathon last year. Melbourne is also in their sixth lockdown: they’ve cumulatively experienced 200 days of lockdown since the pandemic began. Canberra are entering into their fourth week of lockdown, and New Zealand’s lockdown has been extended another two weeks.
All these numbers amount to a lot of people doing it tough right now.
A couple of weeks ago, mental health organisation Lifeline marked a sad milestone: its busiest month since it was founded almost 60 years ago, with lockdowns having exacerbated people’s existing issues, such as financial stress or family problems, and amplified feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Here in WA, we don’t have that lived experience to understand the emotional and physical toll of months upon months of isolation. However, we can still show our eastern states-based friends and family that – despite the distance – we’re 100% here for them, and will continue to be here for them, until they get their freedoms back. As the age-old (and by age-old, we mean, circa early 2020) saying goes, ‘There are two types of days in lockdown. Days packages come, and days packages don’t come.’ For those in lockdown, a package on your doorstep, with your address on it, can be a very real, physical reminder that you do exist, even if you haven’t seen anyone in a while.
We all know at least one of those people doing it tough right now, so we’ve done a handy round-up of WA owner-operated online businesses that post Australia-wide, so you can send them a package from home.
WA Coffee Subscription
WA Suppliers: Mano a Mano, Leftfield
The fact that your friends in the Eastern States can’t order a long mac as their coffee order may be a bigger tragedy even than lockdown. Ease the blow by sending them some beans roasted on the West Coast. Get a ‘coffee subscription’ to last them, from West Perth roasters Mano a Mano, who seasonally source micro-lots from ethical producers and roast in small batches to show off each region’s botanical characteristics. Two 250g bags of coffee selected by their roasting team (including the odd rare, special edition) will drop on their door every fortnight. Locally owned and operated Perth coffee roaster Leftfield Coffee also have a brilliant coffee subscription service- and are great at naming their coffee – try the ‘Hipsteria’ or ‘Brazillionaire’ blends.
If you prefer to send a bag or two, you could also try Twin Peaks’ coffee, made onsite at their Morley roastery, who have a selection of blends, filters and espressos available in their online shop.
Eco-Conscious Surf Suits
WA Supplier: Kinswim
Ocean swims are, thankfully, not cancelled during lockdowns. As the weather warms up, those in lockdown with a beach nearby will be taking regular WFH lunchtime dips in the salty sea, as a salve for their iso-blues.
Send them an instant confidence booster, and support a sustainably-focused Perth small business at the same time, with a Kin Swim surfsuit or bathing suit. All KIN suits are handmade in small runs in WA, with their surf suits made ethically in Bali – all using the highest quality recycled or natural fibers. The Rockpool Disco Surf Suit is a definite upgrade from the rashies we all wore as kids. We suggest a gift voucher delivered via email, so your Eastern States mates can choose their own style/size, or if you know their size – Kinswim are kindly offering Perth Is OK! readers a 15% discount – use the code LOCKDOWNLOVE at checkout.
Box of WA Craft Beers
WA Supplier: Brewcrates
Let Janice from Perth box up your beer-loving WA mates over east a very nice collection indeed of WA craft beers: Dingo Lager, Eagle Bay Beer, Nail Brewery Beers from Bassendean, Feral, Matso’s, Little Creatures – Janice knows her stuff. Pick from boxes teamed with snacks: Jerky Co jerky, Morish nuts or Whistlers Milk Chocolate Rocky Road from the Swan Valley.
We also recommend giving Boxed Indulgence a squiz – they put together artisan treats from the region (also including Eagle Bay beers) in re-useable pine boxes, handmade by blokes at the Donnybrook Mens’ Shed (a male mental health initiative).
WA Supplier: Old Young’s, Swan Valley
Old Young’s in the Swan Valley make a one-of-kind pavlova flavoured vodka: ‘With a meringue base and summer fruit infusion, Pavlova is a fitting tribute to the classic dessert that’s as Australian as Phar Lap and Crowded House.’ It’s a best-seller that makes for a dandy Spring spritzer when paired with Prosecco, Cranberry juice, peach schnapps and berries. If your friend is not a vodka fan, go the citrusy Gingin Gin (named after the small town of Gingin, north of Perth).
Paracord Key Clip
WA Supplier: Handsy
Your locked-down friends are clocking up some serious km’s right now – with walking in your area one of the permitted activities, they’re walking to Woolies, walking to the park, walking around their block three times – any excuse to get out of the house. There’s not much to bring on a walk except your house keys and your phone, and these paracord keyclips are a bright, durable, affordable and insanely useful gift. Hook them to your jeans loop, jacket zipper, backpack or bag for quick access to your car/house. The hero material in these keychains is the on-trend, and durable paracord, that’s made a splash in the fashion industry, in collections from cutting-edge designers such as Dries van Noten, Ganni, Emilio Pucci and Prada. Plus you can use code ‘PERTHISOK’ at checkout for a 15% discount.
Natty Wine From Denmark
WA Supplier: Brave New Wine
Your born and bred WA mates in the eastern states looked on in envy at our wine, surf and sunshine filled winter escapes down south, as they spent the entirety of winter indoors. Give them a taste of that good life by sending a box of minimal intervention wines from Denmark independent wine-makers Brave New Wine. Husband and wife Andries and Yoko Luscher-Mostert create standout drops utilising natural ferments, high quality fruit and traditional oak, and are three-time finalists in Australia’s Young Gun of Wine Awards which recognise the most interesting new players in the nation’s wine scene. The dazzling rainbow-hued labels, hand-designed by Yoko, deliver extra joy (and you can order the prints, too!) The ‘Nat Daddy’ is a fave.
Another great duo to support are Mijan Patterson and Livia Maiorana from South by Southwest Wines, small-batch artisan winemakers based in Margaret River, making exciting wines using great fruit and minimal intervention, using innovative viticultural practices, and SKIGH WINE, who’ll be launching a subscription service of their own very soon.
A Book by a WA Author
WA Supplier: Rabble Books
There’s page-turning time a-plenty during lockdown. Suburban Maylands owner-operated bookstore Rabble have an impeccably curated selection of books. Give them a call or flick them an email and ask them to hand-select a gift pack of WA books for your east coast friends, using their great taste. If you need somewhere to start, try Honeybee by Craig Silvey, God, The Devil & Me (set in New Norcia), Fauna by Donna Mazza (set in southwest WA), Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard or anything by Tim Winton. If your friends in lockdown have kids, Rabble can put together a pack of books characterised by racial and ethnic diversity, books featuring rainbow families and characters with disabilities.
And finally the best, easiest, and free-est gift you can give to a friend or family member in lockdown, is obviously, is a ‘thinking of you’ text message. Or a ‘just because’ / ‘just calling to say hi’ phone call. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t spoken for a while, or have nothing much to say, because when your social interactions are extremely limited, a familiar voice is always a welcome comfort.
Cover photo via Leftfield.