I have a deep nostalgia of summers as a child – weeks that seemed to stretch on like a lifetime of heat and possibility. I can’t remember a single moment spent indoors, instead I savour the memories of roughed hands from climbing trees, building dens in the garden, playing ‘manhunt’ in the cabbage fields behind our patch of houses, riding our bikes to the shops, kicking footballs in the park, sticky ice lollies and flying kites. I still hate being cooped up on a beautiful day and I get an intense feeling of guilt if I spend a warm day indoors. There’s just something about the summer that makes me yearn to be outdoors – camping, walking, running, exploring – getting sandy feet, freckly skin, rouged cheeks; flip flops by the front door, packed lunches, get in a car and drive to where the seagulls are kind of days.
Even though I love my home comforts and you’ll never find me in the winter splashing in muddy puddles or going on long walks in the rain, in the summer I can suspend my aversion to being wet/dirty/cold and somehow find a way not to mind sticky ice lollies melting down my arm, my hair salty and wet from swimming in the sea, sand in my shorts, doing the ‘barefoot walking on stones on the beach’ dance.
In the winter I don’t begrudge trudging off to work, but in the summer I must admit to a serious case of the green eyed monster when I see people enjoying themselves at the beach, whiling away afternoons in pub beer gardens and generally soaking up the sunshine. For this reason I try and spend as much time as possible outside in the mornings, after work, and obviously at weekends whenever we’re treated to a sunny day.
Sitting in our garden under the apple tree is the easiest way for me to enjoy the calmness and serenity of just being outdoors. Somehow just walking down to the end of the garden allows me the opportunity to switch off – to put distance between myself and the ironing pile, the ‘to eBay’ pile, the to-do list, my inbox, and so on. I actually get antsy, feeling like I should be indoors doing things, but I force myself to stay outside and give myself that time just to unwind. It’s so much easier not to get distracted by all of life’s pressing urgencies and chores when you’re outside with nothing but the grasses swaying in the wind, the smell of lavender and the seagulls circling overhead.
In the mornings I’ve been bringing out my morning cup of green tea or a smoothie and either reading a book or simply enjoying the breeze and the opportunity for quiet reflection. In the evenings, something a little more indulgent like a glass of wine or a hot chocolate.
I was very kindly gifted a Dolce Gusto coffee machine recently and I immediately went online and ordered their green tea, chai latte, and caramel hot chocolate pods. It’s a massive novelty for me being able to make really yummy hot drinks at the flick of a switch and they’ve become part of my morning and evening routine. I really recommend their machines and their range is amazing (was so excited when I saw that they did chai lattes, will save me a lot of money in coffee shops!) – they also have loads of fun stuff going on campaign-wise so make sure you check out their ‘The Pod’ page on Facebook for the chance to earn rewards and win prizes.
A caramel hot chocolate is the perfect accompaniment for my current read – My Heart Wanders by Pia Jane Bijkerk. It’s a beautiful book about love, travel, interiors, style, photography, writing and much more, documenting her life living in Sydney, Paris, Amsterdam (on a houseboat!) and filled with stunning photography, poetry and prose.
Through her book I also stumbled across her blog, which is also beautiful (and has me wanting to build a big sandpit in my back garden – you will see what I mean….)
Do you like to make time to be outside in the summer?