The summer holidays are here, and whether you have children or not, it’s a good time to make the most of these last few weeks of long summer days. I’m a big believer in stopping to celebrate every day moments and finding joy in small pleasures, but it can be hard to remember to fit it in when you’re just getting through the to do lists and chores each week.
Making a list of all the things you’d like to do over the summer is a great reminder. Stick it up on the fridge and pick something to try every weekend, and see how many you can get done. You could even make a photo album at the end to look back on.
I’ve put together a few ideas to hopefully inspire you (and myself) to put down the remote and your phone, and do something fun to celebrate the summer season.
Go for a picnic
Pack up some yummy food, drinks and a fancy picnic blanket, and head off for the day to explore somewhere new. It takes a little bit of preparation, but it is so worth it! You could cook something special to take, but you don’t have to make anything yourself if you don’t have time. A selection of your favourite foods from local cafes feels just as special.
Here’s a list of my top picnic foods:
- Sandwiches of course! I love cucumber or avocado and cream cheese
- Quiches or tarts
- Salads made with potato, pasta, cous cous or quinoa
- Hummus with breadsticks and carrot sticks in little jars
- Strawberries and slices of watermelon
- Cookies or scones with jam
- Flask of tea and bottles of something fizzy
Pick your location - a beach, a woodland, a lakeside, or just your local park. You could even make it a surprise for everyone else and go on a mystery trip!
Cook a new recipe
Spend some time looking through your recipe books or browsing pinterest, then choose something to cook that you wouldn’t normally bother with. Something that’s a bit more special and takes a bit more time to make.
Then enjoy the process of getting your ingredients and preparing it. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to make yourself something a bit special, and the making of it can be just as fun and relaxing as eating it.
Watch the sun rise
Even if you’re not normally a morning person this can be a lovely start to the day. Check the weather and pick a clear day, then set your alarm for just before sunrise.
Allow enough time to make a nice cup of tea (click here if you need a nice new mug) and find the perfect spot to watch the sun come up. This could be sitting in your favourite chair by the window, wrapping yourself in a blanket in the garden, or walking to your nearest bit of nature.
And don't worry, you can always treat yourself to a nap later!
Dress joyfully for no reason
I often slip into the habit of putting the same thing on every day. Usually jeans and a striped t-shirt, or most recently a denim jumpsuit that requires minimum thought and effort. But it doesn’t make me feel good. And there's no reason why we can't still have fun with our outfits with nowhere special to go.
What really boosts my mood is putting on something that makes me smile, some bright colours that make me happy, and wearing the accessories I love but never bother to add. My favourite dopamine dressing tips are a colourful hair scarf, some ridiculous jewellery, my favourite dress, and always red lipstick.
Have a special meal outside
Make an occasion out of a normal Friday night dinner or a weekend brunch by making the table look pretty. Put on a tablecloth, get the fancy napkins out, light some candles, put water in a jug with slices of lemon and ice cubes.
Build a den on a rainy day
There’s nothing stopping you having fun even if the weather is less than desirable. A bit of rain gives you the perfect excuse to build a den (and I’m not aiming this just at children - you are never too old to enjoy a homemade fort).
Drape some sheets over chairs or tables, put a rug down, and fill it with cushions and pillows.
Once you’ve created your den, grab some popcorn and watch a film. Or pretend you’re camping by shutting yourself in, grabbing some lanterns or fairy lights and spend the evening drinking hot chocolate, playing cards and boardgames, or telling ghost stories.
Start a sewing project
How about starting that sewing project you can never find time for? I find there is always something else to do instead of sitting down to craft, but it’s such a good way to relax and rest. And learning something new always makes you feel good.
If you’d like something quick and easy to do, try this fat quarter cut-and-sew project. I made my vegetable collages into this design for an event that Spoonflower worked on with their local farm. All you have to do is cut out each vegetable out, sew the 2 sides together and stuff them, and you have your very own veggie plushies!
If you want more...