Simple summer pleasures

August 12, 2016

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved the lazy, care-free days of late summer: the trees heavy with fruit, the fields tinged with gold, the evenings long and light. Nowadays, of course, I spend much of my time stuck in an office, but I try to recapture some of that seasonal magic during my evenings and weekends.

So, for everyone who’s struggling to make the most of summer in what little free time they have, here are my favourite ways to slow down and savour this wonderful time of year, even if only for a moment or two…

Create an outdoor room

Morning cuppas, quick weekday suppers and long Sunday lunches all taste so much better when eaten outside. I like to make the most of the garden by creating alfresco ‘rooms’ that are an extension of the indoor living space – a dining area with a table, a lounge corner with easy chairs and cushions, and plenty of blankets to snuggle under once the sun goes down.

Now is a great time to invest in garden furniture as there are plenty of end-of-season deals around (take a look at Homebase for a comprehensive range). Even if you don’t want to buy large pieces, you can still create a wonderful space by grouping scatter cushions and lanterns around a low table.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Breathe in sea air

I’m lucky enough to live a short drive from the coast – something which still feels like a bit of a novelty after growing up inland. I like to get a breath of sea air whenever possible; even a short evening stroll along the pier or an hour sitting on the rocks watching the waves roll in can help soothe away daily stresses.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Wander through fields of lavender

Nothing beats strolling through vast swathes of purple, inhaling the heady scent of lavender. There are a number of lavender farms dotted around the UK; my favourite is Somerset Lavender Farm, which also has a café and a shop selling all sorts of lavender-infused treats.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Have a picnic

Packing up a hamper and heading off for an impromptu after-work picnic is a real treat – the perfect antidote to a day spent hunched in front of a screen. There are plenty of easy picnic dishes that you can whip up in less than 20 minutes, too.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Pick your own fruit

One of my favourite childhood memories is heading off with my brothers in search of blackberries, raspberries and more. We’d spend hours scouring local fields and bushes, returning home with juice-stained fingers and baskets that would have been brimming with fruit had we not eaten most of the spoils along the way. Foraging takes a bit more planning now that I live in a city, so this list of 15 places where you can pick your own fruit and veg comes in handy.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Go wild swimming

There’s something enchanting about swimming outdoors: plunging into a lake, wallowing under a waterfall, or dipping your toes into a crystal-clear river as birds dart among the reeds. There are easily accessible natural swimming spots all over the place (even in urban areas) – has a comprehensive list covering the UK and beyond.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Enjoy ‘golden hour’

Photographers always speak of the fabled ‘golden hour’ – those last few minutes of daylight when the setting sun casts a warm glow all around. It always seems particularly magical in late summer, and I head outside to catch it whenever I can. I took the photo below at my parents’ house in Derbyshire last year, but even the urban parks around my home in Bristol look beautiful at this time of day.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Light a campfire

There’s no better way to end a summer’s day than cosying up by blazing logs, toasting marshmallows and watching the stars emerge overhead. Even if you don’t have the time to build and light a proper fire, you can create a similar ambiance with a firepit or chiminea.

Simple summer pleasures | These Four Walls blog

Photos by (from top): Local Milk, Pella Hedeby, Ketchem Bunnies, Abi Dare, Our Food Stories, Adventures in Cooking, Chelsea Felker, Abi Dare, Christina Fast

I’ve also created a Pinterest board with more inspiration for simple summer pleasures – just clickA  on any of the photos below.

This is a collaborative post with Homebase, but all words and opinions are my own.

6 thoughts on “Simple summer pleasures

  1. Beth

    Lovely article. I drove past Stone Henge last night during ‘golden hour’, but no opportunity to catch a photo. A lovely memory though xx

    1. Abi Post author

      Wow, I bet that looked stunning! I must go to Stone Henge some day – I’ve never seen it! xx

  2. Michelle

    Great post! Totally made me want to play hooky from work today as I kind of work in an office. Also made me wish I was back on a horse farm and enjoying being outside.

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