A year of the pandemic as told by everything we were obsessed with

From banana bread to Bridgerton, every month brought something new. Prudence Wade takes a look back at quite the year.

Prudence Wade
Tuesday 23 March 2021 07:30 GMT
Composite of Michael Jordan and banana bread
Composite of Michael Jordan and banana bread

It might feel like we’ve been in a pandemic for decades, but it’s now been a year since we first went into lockdown.

It’s hardly been the easiest of years, but there have been some bright spots helping us through…

March 2020

When the pandemic hit, most of us were totally unprepared for the sudden shift to staying at home. One thing came to our rescue: Netflix show Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness. Everyone was watching it, and we couldn’t take our eyes off the wild tale of tiger-loving zookeeper Joe Exotic.

It was the perfect antidote to the sudden mundanity of the pandemic – and remember, lockdown was only going to last a few weeks, right?

April 2020

As April rolled around, we realised we probably needed to start filling our time with something other than TV – and so, banana bread took over.

We’re not entirely sure why it became the recipe to bake – perhaps because it’s easy and delicious, and once we started seeing it on Instagram, we all wanted a slice.

This was also when the TikTok dance craze started in earnest – the social media platform wasn’t new for Gen Z, but now everyone from your aunt to Anthony Hopkins was posting their dance moves.

May 2020

Netflix pulled it out the bag once again with the release of basketball documentary The Last Dance. The show premiered in April, but our obsession for basketball and Michael Jordan’s signature Nineties style hit fever pitch by the time the finale aired on May 18.

If you perfected your banana bread recipe early on, this was probably the time you started levelling up to our next pandemic baking obsession: sourdough.

June 2020

We’re not sure we ever became obsessed with working out at home when gyms shut, but when the weather started to heat up, many of us fell back in love with outdoor workouts. Whether it was going for a run or circuit training in the park, exercise felt a lot more invigorating in the great outdoors.

July 2020

With summer in full swing, eating al fresco was the only thing we wanted to do. Whether it was picnics in the park, BBQs in a mate’s yard or pub grub in your favourite beer garden, it was the best way to soak up some rays and see your friends.

But as much as we loved a park picnic, we were less keen on having to locate a loo after a few drinks…

August 2020

The clubs might have been shut, but August still brought one of the biggest bangers of the summer: WAP by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. The song and accompanying video was raunchy and controversial – and we couldn’t stop singing it.

September 2020

Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage helped us out of our cooking ruts in September, with the release of their cookbook Flavour. After months of making the same meals, their exciting fusion recipes were a breath of fresh air.

October 2020

October was a month for constantly refreshing the news app on your phone as the US election ramped up before everyone cast their ballots on November 3. Luckily, there was some light relief in the form of Netflix’s Emily In Paris. It might not be the most realistic portrayal of life in the French capital, but Lily Collins’ character certainly made us want to buy a beret.

November 2020

Towards the end of October, when we were socialising strictly outdoors again, we were back to watching a load of TV, and Netflix blessed us with another hit show: The Queen’s Gambit. Following chess prodigy Beth Harmon, it inspired more than a few of us to play chess online and IRL.

December 2020

Yes, we know a lot of our obsessions are TV shows, but there’s not loads else to do in lockdown, is there? On December 25 came another smash hit, the Shonda Rhimes period drama Bridgerton.

It’s scandalous and full of colourful outfits – almost making us want to wear a corset ourselves, if we could ever get out of sweatpants.

January 2021

In any year, January can be quite a bleak month – let alone if you find yourself back in lockdown. That’s why the memes from Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration were a bright spot – whether it was Bernie Sanders and his knitted mittens, Lady Gaga’s outfit looking straight out of The Hunger Games, or Jennifer Lopez sneaking in a lyric to one of her own songs when singing This Land Is Your Land.

February 2021


Sea shanties really took off, with TikTok full of nautical folk songs. Scottish postal worker Nathan Evans arguably kickstarted the trend, breaking through the mainstream with his song Wellerman, which reached number two in the UK singles chart.

March 2021

Now another March is upon us, with one major event ruling so far: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey. It’s all anyone can still talk about – plus, the memes were on point.

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