I love Summer - the weather, the long days, an abundant garden and more opportunity for days out and evening BBQ's. As summer approaches I can't wait to get ahead to maximise every drop of fun the season offers. Here are some of my favourite ways to get set for summer and to make sure I'm ready to make the moments count!
Bunting is one of the cheapest, easiest and prettiest ways to get ready for summer. It's pefect strung around the patio, deck or balcony. I am a complete novice when it comes to bunting but I had great success with our summer bunting this year! Choose several fabrics that blend in your preferred colour scheme - I went pink, green and a little tropical!. Cut your desired size of bunting triangle as a cardboard template. Then use a pencil to mark triangles on the fabric and cut out with pinking shears. Using the shears is a timesaver because you don't have to edge the bunting material by sewing. Then simply sew a line of ribbon in a coordinating colour along the top of the bunting triangles.
Put the washing out on the line
Something about clothes dried outside brings the scent of summer into your wardrobe. String up a washing line or rotary (if it's allowed where you live). With rising energy costs, line drying helps save money too. One problem I've had was wet grass and damp collecting on my washing basket when I set it down to put out or bring in washing. So this year, I repurposed a small metal table as my washing line basket table. Voila, no more messy basket and no more bending down to the washing! Invest in a pretty peg basket so that even hanging the washing out brings you joy! Check old pegs for signs of rust which is practically impossible to get out of clothing. And remember whites love the summer sun as it's a natural bleaching agent!
Set the stage
You can never have too many outdoor lights! They set a beautiful atmosphere and gently light an outdoor seating or dining area encouraging you to stay out longer. There are some inexpensive and energy saving options around. Try the popular solar festival style lights which give plenty of light and are a good option for most sized spaces.
Container for outdoor cushions and blankets
Keeping outdoor cushions at the ready is a great way to encourage more comfortable time outside. We love our large plastic container that sits near the patio and keeps everything neatly stored and protected from showers. It's perfect for storing all our outdoor dining seat cushions, a few throw cushions for the outdoor sofa and even a couple of blankets for chilly nights.
Ready Steady Picnic
To make picnics even easier - get Picnic Ready. Dig out your hamper, basket, or a pretty container. Fill with a blanket, your picnic cutlery, plates and napkins. If you have it all ready to go in your hallway or boot-room, you will be much more likely to have more impromptu picnics!
You can change up any weekday or weekend lunch by making it into a picnic! Why not surprise your family or partner by taking your regular lunch outside on a sunny day making the most of the season.
I also love my little wicker dining basket. It's just big enough for cutlery, napkins and glasses and ready to go for a speedy breakfast, lunch or dinner al fresco.
Almost any foods can be used for a picnic. Cut up some veggies ready to have with hummus or dips. Cook a quiche and cut into wedges ready to pack up. Make a fruit salad and serve into individual portions ready to go. Oven bake some chicken thighs or breasts, cool and cut into slices to add to any picnic. Try my jerk seasoning recipe as a tasty marinade for the chicken - find the recipe here jerk chicken seasoning
Get ready for summer by setting up an evening campfire
One of the most fun summertime activities is a campfire or firepit night. Make a cozy firepit area with seating, cushions and rugs around a central fire area. Use a traditional tripod cooking set for some authentic outdoor meals or use it at the end of the night for toasting marshmallows.
Bring summer flowers and grasses in
There's so much to choose from at this time of year in the garden and in the hedgerows, lanes and fields - so why not bring some of the beauty inside. Simple grasses look wonderfully stylish or enjoy the simplicity of frothy hedgerow cow parsley in a simple cream jug. Then there are seasonal spectaculars! I love to treat myself to a bunch of billowy peonies in a tall cylindrical vase as they are such a showstopper on my kitchen island.
Cooling Summer Waters
Summer activities in the garden can make for thirsty work so try having some summer flavoured waters on hand. Fill a big glass container and refresh every couple of days - then just pour over glasses filled with ice. Change up the seasonal flavourings and enjoy experimenting to find your family favourites.
Here are some ideas:
- Orange, Lemon and Lemon balm - cut up the fruit, tear up the lemon balm leaves and infuse in the water.
- Rosemary and Lime - throw in some sticks of rosemary and 1 - 2 limes cut into wedges.
- Strawberry and Basil - cut up the fruit, tear the basil leaves and infuse in the water.