During the colder months, I often feel like I’m living life at a million miles an hour – racing from one weekend to the next, with the days in between rushing past in a blur of deadlines, meetings and paperwork. But as summer approaches and the weather warms up, I always make an effort to slow down and embrace little everyday pleasures: morning cuppas by an open window, lunchtime strolls, even a picnic every now and then.
As the evenings get lighter, one of my favourite treats is dining alfresco. There’s something about eating outside that makes even easy weekday suppers seem special, so as soon as work is done for the day, Chris and I turn off our screens and head out into the garden. There, we linger for hours over food and wine, listening to birds and planes soaring overhead, watching the light slowly fade from golden to rose-pink, and chatting about life, the universe and everything.
Even when there are only the two of us, I like to lay the table with beautiful crockery and linens, and this year I’ve chosen some wonderful items from The White Company, whose simple yet sophisticated range of homeware and clothing is perfect for relaxed outdoor living. I opted for ‘Symons’ bone-china plates and ‘Belgravia’ glassware – both elegant and understated, so ideal for everyday meals and special occasions alike.
Flickering candlelight is another essential for alfresco dining – it creates a magical ambiance, and somehow makes the background hum of city traffic melt away. My current favourite is The White Company’s coriander and citronella pillar candle, which encapsulates balmy summer evenings with its zingy blend of coriander, thyme, eucalyptus and mint (and has the added benefit of keeping any pesky insects at bay!). Placing it in a hurricane lantern protects it from gentle summer breezes, and means we don’t have to worry about the cat knocking it over if he comes to join us.
And when the temperature drops, there’s no reason to retreat indoors. Instead, we wrap ourselves in blankets and polish off the last of the wine as the stars emerge overhead. When the time finally comes to drag ourselves off to bed, I swear we sleep more soundly and wake feeling more alert and refreshed after an evening in the fresh air.
How about you? What simple summer pleasures do you like to indulge in?
Photography by Abi Dare
This is a collaborative post with The White Company, but all words and opinions are my own.