Team, summer is here. Which means it’s time to dust off your itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.
Summer is the quietest time at work for me (but still not really that quiet), and the other day I caught myself thinking ‘it’ll be good when summer gets here and things ease off a bit.’ Then I realised, mate – it’s July. It’s here.
And the same thing happens every year! I’ll be going about my day in my own little world, and then suddenly out of nowhere, the kids will break up from school, I’ll manage to burn my neck on the sun, and I’ll no longer need to sleep between two duvets in order to not get frostbite.
When I was twelve I thought the summer was so long, it seemed to go on and on for about seven months, and I loved it. These days, it seems to fly by in the blink of an eye and before I know it I’m saying things like ‘Ooh, look at Tesco’s Christmas aisle’, or ‘I think I’ll watch The Holiday tonight and eat 5 out of the 6 mince pies in the box.’
So, in summary, summer is here, and it’s probably going to disappear quicker than you can say strawberry pavlova. In order to ensure I’m making the most of summer, I’ve compiled a little list of 9 things to do over the next couple of months. And I’d encourage you to join me for some of them. They’re all either free or low cost, because we’ve just bought a house and booked a trip to Italy next month. You can thank me later.
Here we go..
1. Enjoy a slow breakfast outside. Find a day at the weekend when the weather’s going to be utterly glorious*, and settle yourself down outside with your coffee, your OJ, and your avocado on toast. Read a paper or a magazine, listen to the birds, or invite someone to join you. No garden or balcony? No problem. Pack up your breakfast and head to a local park or beach for a picnic.
*If from here on in the weather is as wet and miserable as mid-January, I accept full responsibility.
2. Watch a sunrise. Or, if you’re thinking ‘you expect me to get out of bed before 04:53am? Abby, you’re crackers’, then make it a sunset. It’s the best way to start and end the day.
3. Read a book. There’s nothing I love more than getting lost in a good book. Reading is one of the ways in which I de-stress and unwind, so more often than not you can find me opting for a romantic comedy. I’ll occasionally mix things up and read a thriller, but then I’ll lay awake at night mulling over everything that’s happened so far, psycho-analysing all the characters, and trying to guess the ending. Grab your book and head to the garden or a local park.
4. Explore a local village or town. This is something we often do when we’re on our summer holidays, but rarely do at home. So, your challenge: look at map, or do a little Googling, and find a town or village in your surrounding area that you like the look of, and get a date in the diary to go and explore. Stroll through the streets, people-watch while you pick up a coffee, and meander around the shops.
5. Go for a post-dinner walk. In Italy they have this thing called the passeggiata, which essentially involves going for a stroll after dinner. From what I’ve read it’s considered an opportunity to get outside and catch up with neighbours, friends and family. So instead of curling up on the sofa to watch Netflix, go for a gentle stroll around the neighbourhood while the days are long.
6. Visit a local farmers’ market. You could even be really wild and link this in with idea #4. They’re typically once a month on a Saturday, and they’re everywhere. Have a look online and find one close to you, then grab a reusable shopping bag and load up on locally-produced, fresh fruits, veggies and herbs. Then maybe for dinner that night you could make a seasonal dish? I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas out there.
7. Make homemade healthy ice lollies. It’s like a dream come true when someone hands you an ice lolly on a hot day when you’re moments away from melting into a puddle. And you can easily make them in your very own kitchen. Yes, even yours, Karen. You just need need some lolly moulds, some water, and some fruit juice. Or a blender if you’d like to wizz up some fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market you visited, in place of the fruit juice. Oh, and you’ll need a freezer for obvious reasons. There are hundreds of recipes online, so have a goosey gander and get freezing!
8. Rent a pedalo. Any water-based activities are great in summer, and hiring a pedalo at your local park is no exception. It’s been ages since I’ve done this, and I’m really looking forward to peddling around a lake trying not to crash into swans. It’s going to be great.
FYI – I’ve just looked up pedalos in a park near me, and apparently I have to call Captain Splash for more information. If that’s not a sign of good time, I don’t know what is.
9. Go star gazing. This is something I’ve never done before, but I’ve always loved the idea of it. I did some research into star gazing in the UK (because let’s be honest, I’m no astronomer and I haven’t got a clue where or when to do it), and it turns out there’s an opportunity to see the Perseid Meteor Shower coming up soon. Hoorah! According the Met Office, the best time to see them is between Friday 9th and Wednesday 14th August, so you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be marking it in my diary and forcing myself to stay awake past 9pm during those dates so that I can see them. More info on that here.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my ideas for things to do this summer. Is there anything you’d like to do before autumn rolls around? Let me know!