FOUR WAYS TO ENJOY SUMMER AT HOME

14th August 2016

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Like any other gal, I do love a Summer holiday. While I am very fortunate to have traveled to some great places this year, I’m aware that it’s not exactly cost effective or possible for everyone, so when Ocean Loans* challenged me to celebrate and capture Summer around the home and garden, I thought it was a great opportunity to begin thinking more carefully about how we can all benefit from the joys of Summer without even leaving the house. I also decided to put this to the test myself with friends at the weekend.

Have a BBQ

It’s very tempting to head straight for the beer garden when the sun starts to shine but considering you can spend £2.50 on a single drink (and let’s be honest, it’s never just one drink) and not to mention however much more for a big old pub lunch, I always wonder why people don’t utilise their garden and throw a BBQ, one of my favourite ways to spend Summer. Grabbing a selection of meat, dips and snacks from a supermarket for a bunch of people a lot of the time works out so much cheaper than a meal for two. There is nothing I love more than a table groaning with delicious smelling food, a huge vat of creamy pasta or potato salad and snacking on tortilla crisps dipped in cheese and chive. Not to mention loading up your soft bread roll with a juicy burger, topped with cheese and your favourite condiment. Oh my mouth waters just thinking about it. But there really is something so much different to your average meal when you are sharing a BBQ. Perhaps it is just the weather or maybe being surrounded by people that are generally in good spirits (alcohol induced or not!) or that it just feels a bit more special.

Dessert is always fun too, while we actually started the BBQ with huge chunks of melon and watermelon, you can always use this to cleanse your palette at the end of your feast? Our dessert consisted of compiling a huge tower of profiteroles complete with oozing chocolate, squirty cream and chocolate buttons. Doesn’t it look glorious? It was heaven.

If you want some ideas for your own dessert, why not try the recipe section of my blog here. From chocolate tart to crunchy caramel bites, there is certainly lots to get your teeth into!

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Don’t forget the pets!

It’s quite scary that a few people can often forget to consider their pets when the weather gets hot and I’m always really watchful over Luna as I know she can’t exactly turn around and tell me that she is too hot. While keeping their water bowl full and making sure there is shade available are obvious points, why not treat them to some dog friendly frozen yoghurt to keep them cool? You can buy these from pet shops but making your own is so easy and my friend kindly made some for the two pups at our party. And as you can see, it was very much enjoyed by my yoghurt chops Luna!

You will need:

Strawberries
Low-fat natural yoghurt
Small tupperware containers

1. Using the back of spoon, mash your strawberries into smaller chunks before placing in your tupperware.
2. Pour in your yogurt and seal the lid.
3. Leave to freeze until solid before prising out of the container for your pooch!

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Enjoy nature

Now while I’ll admit this is going to sound a bit naff, simply just getting outside and not being cooped up inside will do you the world of good. If you don’t fancy going for a leisurely walk, simply sitting out in your garden is good enough. A lot of research has found that flowers and plants have a lot of benefits to your mental health. They make us calm and relaxed as well as supposedly making us all a bit more cheerful too! Regardless of all that, why not? So many of us are chained to our desks or our electronic devices for so much of our lives that when the weather permits us to get outside, why wouldn’t you want to? Step outside, take a deep breath and just be.

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Create a cosy corner

As our house was a new build, our garden was essentially just a stretch of green space, empty of everything and free for us to do what we wished with. I was always determined to create what I call a ‘cosy corner’ where we could curl up day or night. During the day, this space is used for lounging around in the sun with a magazine or book or perhaps eating a tasty BBQ! But in the evening when the sun is slowly setting, we like to pull over our chimenea, snuggle up under blankets and watch the day turn into night. I’ve always wanted a big outdoor sofa and this one was so comfy and at such a great price that we couldn’t resist. We draped these outdoor fairy lights around the cosy corner and I really like that they are solar powered, costing us no extra expense. They look so pretty in the evening and set such a great ambiance.

While I’m not suggesting you go out and buy yourself an outdoor sofa, why not create a a tipi from a large sheet slung over a washing line or tree. There’s loads of fantastic ideas on the likes of Pinterest for this. Use blankets, cushions and throws to form the floor inside your little den and grab some snacks and a good book or some friends. The great thing about creating a little space is that you can really put your stamp on it. Have fun. Enjoy it.

Whatever you decide to do, I really do think having somewhere in your own home that you can kick back makes all the difference.

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I really enjoyed putting this post together, I’m a firm believer that you don’t always need to always go out to enjoy Summer and there are lots of ways to do so. I hope you’re having a fantastic Summer break and making lots of memories. See you next week!

*Post in collaboration with Ocean Loans

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