Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seize the Summer!

Summer is finally here and I am so glad! Doesn't life feel different when the evenings and early mornings are light and bright?

This time last year we were living in a first floor flat in South London on a busy road with no garden. Now as I type this I'm looking out onto our little mushroom shaped holly tree which is a lovely bright green colour because of all the new growth. The roses are in full bloom all around the garden and when I get home from work in the evenings I have to stand for  a minute and just smell their gorgeous scent. A big leafy shrub that has been growing under our bedroom window these last couple of weeks has (almost overnight) exploded into hundreds of bright flowers the colour of egg yolks. There is a little sparrow picking for worms in the flower beds and every evening a fox (who we'll call Raynard) trots up and down the pathways in the garden as bold as brass.

July is my favourite month - Spring is firmly behind us, we've got maximum Summer ahead and in a couple of weeks it's my Birthday (28! Woohoo!). This month I resolve to...

- Wear short shorts at every opportunity (I scooped up this cute pair of navy blue cotton twill mini shorts in the sale at Petit Bateau - if you're quick you can grab a pair too!)

- Make home made ice lollies! I can see these being a thing this Summer. I'm keeping my eye out for a traditional ice lolly mould (the kind that makes flat-ish lollies that you use with wooden sticks). In the meantime this pretty ice lolly kit from Harrods Horticultural might just do the trick!

- Make the most of all the amazing fruits and vegetables that are in season right now (like broad beans, peas, radishes, rhubarb, beetroot, courgettes, runner beans, cucumber, globe artichoke, gooseberries, cherries, raspberries and strawberries for starters). This Leon seasonality chart is a pretty good resource - print it out and pin it on your fridge for a quick at-a-glance reminder of what you should be chowing down on and when.

- Forage for fruits, herbs and edible flowers in my 'hood (starting with elderflowers!) and make them in to something delicious!

- Visit our local 'Pick Your Own' farm  and gather Strawberries. Our nearest is Garson's Farm in Esher but I would also like to check out Secretts Pick Your Own Farm in Milford as I'm already a big fan of their enormous farm shop

- Try some new and unusual preserves! My Autumn Piccalilli and Figpote have been well documented on this blog but this year I've decided to challenge myself a bit more and brighten up the pantry (*cough* cupboard) with some exciting and unusual jams, jellies, flavoured oils and liqueurs. If you've got the urge to preserve but could do with a bit of hand holding these River Cottage online preserving courses look ace. Also Riverford Organic do some great little preserving kits (which in the past have included preserved lemons and pickled cucumbers). You'll have to keep your eyes peeled and be quick off the mark as everything is strictly seasonal and changes on a weekly basis.

- Host a BBQ and serve elaborate home made cocktails.

- Get at least one date in the diary for camping this summer.

I would love to hear what your plans are for this Summer - do you have any traditions that you stick to every year? Great BBQ recipes? Cocktail ideas? Drop me a line! If you're a new reader - welcome! I try make these resolutions at the start of each month to help me take stock of where I'm at and focus on what I want to achieve. You can catch up on my previous monthly resolutions here: January, February, March (though this month was a bit of a cheat if truth be told), May, not June (whoops).

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