Summer is fast approaching and these days I really do try to embrace the English summer. With my bright green summer coat (if you are an expat and still find dressing for the English summer baffling, read this) and summer scarves, I am now ready to spend time outside.

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day and the idea of designing your summer was floated. The concept: to mark your summer in a different way. Take on a new activity, schedule your days differently. You get the idea.

This really appealed to me. Living in the U.K. one is highly aware summer is different, mostly because the days seem to stretch on forever. You will also know because there is much discussion over whether or not we will 'have' a summer, which still baffles me to some extent. Summer comes whether or not the English think it was hot enough.

Designing my summer seems to jive with my zen approach to the English weather, which is to be prepared for any kind of temperature and don't get disappointed if what you expect doesn't happen. Instead, mark your summer in other ways. 

For me, this means making an attempt to do more outdoorsy stuff with the Hub, like golf and bike riding. I do really like these activities once I am doing them, but like most introverted writers (I think?) I am a bit of a homebody. (Strangely enough I actually feel more compelled to go outside in the winter here, to catch a glimpse of sunlight when it's so scarce. My winter walks seem much more important.)

Other ways I plan to enjoy this summer? Eat more English berries. Last night's cheesecake at dinner was topped with strawberries and it reminded me of the outstanding quality of fresh berries here. Replacing most of my desserts over the next few months with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries sounds like an excellent idea. And must not forget to make some blueberry muffins at least once.

Which brings me to eating generally in summer. I love eating (and drinking) outside, and need to find ways to do more of this. When out for lunch or dinner, I will be more gung ho about sitting outside, even if it's not that hot -- why else do I have my summer coat? 

When it comes to home life, we are not planning on doing too much to our garden this year as the kitchen extension is in the works (the architect is drawing up plans as we speak), but one thing we have discussed is at least putting in a swing chair -- like a porch swing without a porch -- at the end of the garden. Although we never manage to actually eat dinner outside, I would love to be able to sit out there with the Hub on late summer evenings chatting with maybe even a G&T in hand. 

And then there's the sacred holiday. We are taking a lesson from the French this year and taking a huge amount of time off in August for an epic Stateside trip to see many friends and family. Planning our summer holiday, including packing and all the other admin involved is definitely a way I mark my summers. There's nothing I enjoy more than the anticipation of the holiday. It's all part of the joy for me. 

It's funny that even though our modern world requires us to work all year round and everything seems 24/7 that we still view the world through the lens of the current season. We are physical beings affected by the temperature, the light and the rhythm of the natural world. We shouldn't forget that and actually take some time to enjoy it. 

Photo credit: Empty Swing via photopin (license)
Photo credit: Ovocný trh market via photopin (license)

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