Welcome to May everyone! Apologies for my unexpected absence over the past couple of weeks – I had my Canadian relatives visiting, which was fantastic, but I was out everyday having far too much fun and didn’t get around to blogging! I think the break did me good, though, as I’m feeling refreshed and revitalised and can’t wait to get back to a proper writing schedule. London has been enjoying a mini heatwave for the past few days, so everyone seems to have taken to the streets, eating ice-cream by the river, reading on rugs under trees and spilling out of restaurants to dine al fresco. Here are a few more ways to make the most out of May, whether you’re in London or not!
1/ Enjoy a picnic. Whenever the sun shines and it’s warm enough to actually wear sandals, my mind invariably turns to picnic hampers and long afternoons spent with friends on the grass. My ideal London picnic scenario is to pick up goodies from Melrose & Morgan in Hampstead, then head to the Heath or to the beautiful garden at Fenton House to while away a long afternoon.
2/ Start to plan your summer. They say there’s as much pleasure in the anticipation of a holiday as in the trip itself, and I’m taking this very seriously, as I’ve been planning my Provencal vacation in August for months already and am having so much fun pouring over maps, blog posts, travel guides and recipes all related to Provence. Even if you’re not going away over the summer though, it’s enjoyable to start making some entertaining plans, whether they’re brunch dates with friends or a new hobby you’d like to tackle.
3/ Do a nagging task. Ok, this doesn’t sound much fun, I admit, but you’ll feel terrific when it’s done! Over the weekend, I suddenly decided it would be a good idea to finally get all our artwork hung on the walls and to properly set up my office space. Naively, I thought this would be about a 2 hour job, but it took almost 2 days!! However, I’m really reaping the benefits now as I’m loving working in my own little office and am thrilled with the collage of pictures I created for an inspiration wall above my desk (you can check out the photo I took of it on my facebook page).
4/ Read a funny book. It’s always good to laugh, and the promise of summer has me feeling particularly light-hearted. At the moment, whenever I don’t have a physical book on me, but am feeling bored on the tube, I’m opening up Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat on my kindle app. I’ve read this book so many times, but it never fails to make me chuckle out loud (you’ve got to read his description of the Hampton Court Maze). A few other hilarious favourites are: Diary of a Nobody, Right-Ho Jeeves and The Diary of a Provincial Lady.
5/ Plan a wisteria walk. The wisteria has popped and is making London look prettier than ever right now! Yesterday evening, I went for a stroll around Hampstead to snap some wisteria shots, and it was a lovely way to wind down the weekend.
6/ Shake up your photography. It can be all too easy to get stuck in a rut, even in creative pursuits, and better weather is a good opportunity to grab your camera and get outside. Try to broaden your perspective by challenging yourself to take photos following a particular theme (e.g. a colour or pattern). I would also love to do one of these walks with my favourite new-to-me instagrammer!
7/ Take part in London Wine Week. It’s not like I need one, but this is a pretty good excuse to try out some more London wine bars!
8/ Go on a train journey. I never fail to appreciate the fact that there are so many beautiful places to see that are only a short train ride away from London, making interesting day trips entirely possible. When my visitors were here, we took the train to Lewes, Rye and Bath and had the most marvellous time exploring!
9/ Have friends round for cocktails & canapés over the bank holiday weekend. Rhubarb bellinis, dainty cucumber sandwiches, mini prosciutto, melon and mozzarella skewers and rosewater madeleines sounds the perfect menu to me.
10/ Give a ‘just because’ gift. Show your best friend how much you care by turning up with a little gift for them next time you see them. You could bake them a treat, buy them a book (I recommend this gorgeous edition of H is for Hawk) or bring along a bag of their favourite coffee / tea.
// A few more things… //
++ It’s Chelsea Flower Show season!
++ I have a feeling my cookbook of the month is going to be John Whaite’s Perfect Plates, which I recently got and absolutely love. Each recipe has a maximum of 5 ingredients and they’re all quick to prepare (as well as being delicious, judging by the ones I’ve tried so far!). On golden spring evenings, the last thing I want is to spend hours slaving away over a hot stove, so this cookbook is perfect.
++ I finished reading Brodeck’s Report for the next Daunt Books walking book club, and it was an extraordinary (if harrowing) read, although I’m not entirely convinced by the ending. I’m looking forward to discussing it! I also read Very Good Lives – J.K. Rowling’s published Harvard commencement speech – in 10 minutes whilst having a cup of tea one morning. It was very touching, as well as inspirational, and I’m glad to have it on my shelves to pick up again whenever I’m having a bad day.
What things are making you happy this month? What plans do you have for it?