This is the first proper summer we’ve had since 2019 – two long years ago. In 2020, we had a slice of it, dining out on Rishi’s dime thanks to Eat Out To Help Out, and getting picnicking in the park. But we were still tied down by rules.
Now the restrictions have eased and many have been jabbed, we should be able to taste that sweet summer freedom. Yet, any scroll of social media suggests the much touted “summer of love” isn’t meeting our expectations.
Let’s start off with the weather. We might put up with wet and gloomy days in spring, autumn and winter, but the past few weeks of BST have been exceptionally bad, even by British standards.
So far we’ve experienced floods, thunderstorms and the kind of torrential rain that comes down from nowhere just when you leave the house in your finest new look. Rain is perfect for Netflix and chill, but not for a hot girl summer.
Then there’s the money issue. After months of saving our pennies in lockdown, the past few weeks have been spend, spend, spend to the point where the pounds are in short supply. Budgeting is hard when all we want to do is treat ourselves.
Lastly, and quite honestly, we’re feeling a bit socially awkward and burned out. Even as an extrovert, socialising now takes me more effort than it did before. After a few hours of being with people, I’m ready to get back into my bubble.
But even though these things make maximising summer difficult, we should try and have some fun this month. This pandemic has been hard for everyone and we deserve to celebrate getting through it – so why not prioritise yourself a bit.
My summer has consisted of seeing my friends, going to house parties, and eating out (all while on a budget!). The circumstances aren’t great, but I’m making the most of the season and you should too.
We’re still a long way from September – here’s how to get your summer on.
Make an event of it
Summer is the time for big events, whether it’s a music festival, Pride parade or Notting Hill Carnival. Many, not all, events have regrettably been cancelled for 2021 – but smaller replacements are springing up in their wake. If you feel comfortable, find some friends and head down for a guaranteed good time.
Get dating... yourself
If you’re not quite ready to socialise with other people, solo dates are the way to go. Take yourself to a restaurant, coffee shop or even the museum. You’d be surprised how good it is to spend time out and about with yourself. We’ve done enough staying home after all.
Be more spontaneous
Some of the best memories I have with my friends aren’t the days we had in the diary for months, but more spontaneous outings. Covid put a stop to them, but spontaneity is back on the menu. Choose a day to keep free for friends, leave the schedule clear, and wander off together in search of adventure.
Upgrade your wardrobe
It’s time to swap your joggers for a little black dress. I feel alive when I buy myself something new. Summer is the time to glam up and take as many pictures as possible – because you’re looking good and you deserve it!
Rekindle old friendships
The past 18 months have been testing for friendships. Now is the perfect time to call up those friends you haven’t spoken to in a while and meet for a coffee.
Rishi may not be subsidising us, but restaurants have all kinds of deals to coax you back in and there’s always the option of hosting at yours instead – here are 26 summer recipes that work a treat whether or not you’ve got guests.
Lockdown made us fall in love with walking out of necessity, and it’s a hobby we can keep. Take time out to revisit the places you discovered in lockdown, or venture beyond your local area to find something new.
Take a day trip
Holidays are more hassle then they’re worth right now and full-on staycations are more expensive than ever. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a nice day trip to another city or coast. Day trips are a nice way to see more of the UK without forking a fortune out for hotels.
Another pandemic pastime we’re happy to keep. Nothing says cheap and cheerful like a day out at the park. Provided the weather plays ball, a picnic day is full of bliss. Grab your blanket, speakers, and some snacks and you’ll find that you’ll be in the park for hours on end.
The play’s the thing
Theatre is back and the lists of plays and musicals to watch right now is extensive. You can go to your local theatre or a bigger one in the city. Either way, you’ll be be supporting an industry that really needs you right now.
Go ‘out out’
Nothing says summer like going to the club. Nightclubs are back and, if you’re comfortable doing so, it’s time to take full advantage. The music, the people, and the vibes are what I’ve missed the most about the club. Pick up your favourite dress, head to your friend’s for pre-drinks, and get ready to have a fantastic time.