Saturday, 21 July 2018

Summer Plans

The summer holidays are so near I can almost touch them. The children finished school yesterday but I need to go in to work for a few days next week before I'm finished. Bella's last day at primary school yesterday and leaver's assembly wasn't nearly as emotional as I'd feared; rather, I just found myself feeling tired, happy and relived that her time in primary education has been so overwhelmingly positive. She is really looking forward to starting secondary school in September, and so I must too. She's made me proud at every turn this year, in her friendships, her work ethic, her time management, her SATs results. 

Summer and the heat wave rumble along, with rumours that it will get even hotter next week. Ziggy turned one on Thursday and I can't believe he's been in our life ten months, and also cannot imagine not having him in our family, for all his hooligan ways. I'm picking sweet peas all the time and watering the garden with less enthusiasm each week. I've been frantically working on a couple of blanket commissions for colleagues who were leaving, and finished one in time, with the other almost done. I'm ready to think about crocheting something for myself now. I had a lovely day today in the kitchen, cooking up a batch of tomato sauce for pasta with three kilos of tomatoes I was given, making pizza dough, turning my blackcurrants into jam and compote, and making some ice cream. I love days like this.

I sat down with the children a few nights ago and asked them to help me write a list of things they'd like to do over the six week summer holiday. We talk about this at the start of every summer break but the appearance of pen and paper focused their minds and they gave me some great suggestions. Of course they requested days out - to London, HMS Warrrior (Angus), Mottisfont House (Bella) - and asked that we could all go out for a meal in a restaurant, but I told them they had to think of free or cheap options too and this is where they came up with some lovely ideas:

  • have a night in at home with a film and homemade popcorn
  • organise a big family walk with all the cousins
  • have an evening barbecue on the beach
  • make our own freakshakes at home
  • go and stay with my friend Abigail and her family
  • go for a dog walk at a favourite place and then have fizzy drinks and crisps in the pub beer garden nearby
  • print off lots of colouring-in sheets
  • make a mini adventure room in a suitcase (Angus)
  • do some sewing (Bella)

 Isn't it a great list? Most of what we do in the holidays is low cost as I'm really not one for theme parks and would much rather drag the kids around a National Trust property, or go for a walk, or bake a cake, but I'm excited to do these things with them. It also gave me a sweet glimpse into what matters to them, what they value and consider a treat.

I've a similar list myself:
  • eat a cream tea while on holiday in Devon
  • start an English Paper Piecing quilt 
  • go blackberry picking and make bramble jelly
  • start a new crochet blanket
There is also another, more practical agenda, involving cleaning out the loft and garage, deep cleaning the kitchen, sorting out the office, going through the filing cabinet and shredding, booking dentist appointments. Those don't deserve their own bullet points.

Do you have plans for the summer? Please tell me one thing you'd really like to do over the coming months, I would love to hear your ideas!


  1. How beautiful that doggie of yours is, I hope he had a good birthday. It was a surprise to me when we reached the time of having had Bertie for a whole year. How it has flown by. He is a grown up doggie now, but still as naughty as ever. He had a catch up with a chum from puppy training this morning, and somehow induced his little friend to fall in the pond. We are both in disgrace.

    Love your list, I have some ideas swirling around in my head that I should commit to paper. Trips and outings and things. The middle boy cannot always be relied on to join us, so sometimes it is just me and the littlest one. But I shall try and drag them all out together from time to time, they enjoy it once they're there. I have decluttering and cleaning plans. I do love your crochet blanket, do you have notes on it somewhere? Just the thickness of yarn and the stitch is all I need to know really. I rather fancy crocheting a blanket for a change. I've just started knitting one, but I'm not sure my heart is entirely in it at the moment.

    The children are going to have a go at linocut this summer. You can get kits online. I want a go too really. I have plans to make our own Christmas / birthday / thank you cards. I'll let you know how it goes - I suspect it's a lot harder than it looks. But I do remember doing it at school and loving it. I'm wishing you all a wonderful summer of happy adventuring. CJ xx

    1. Thank you CJ!

      I used Drops Eskimo, about 20 balls, roughly four balls per stripe and a 8mm hook. I can't remember how many stitches were in my foundation chain but the blanket was roughly 90 X 120 cm. Xx

  2. Your summer plans sound very lovely. Bella and Angus know what is fun! We are halfway through our holidays and I am having a holiday at home, on my own. Children and husband are in Switzerland at my mums. Me and the dog are having an amazingly lazy weekend. I am looking forward to seeing your English paper piecing. I am working on a hexagon quilt just now (posted about it a couple of days ago if you fancy a peek), it is a relaxing slow process. You'll love it. Cx

  3. Greetings from Finland! Your summer plans sound great. It has been very hot here in Finland about + 30c! My children and husband are now in Norway at cousins. Me and our dog are at home having long dog walk and lazy summer days.
    Have a lovely summer!

  4. You and your children have come up with a great list! What does your husband's list look like, or will he just be tagging along, happy with anything as long as it will keep the rest of the family happy?
    I love the blanket in your photos! I think you know from my blog that yellow is my favourite colour, and that my living room's colour scheme is yellow and grey.

    1. This prompted me to ask him what would be on his list and he said he likes the one we wrote. I think he'd include a day sat watching the cricket with a few pints of beer though. ;-)

  5. Hmmm hard to narrow down to one. I live in Devon so find myself behaving like a kid in a sweet shop during the hols. My 3 are now 14 and 13 so I've had to modify things slightly this year. The weather has been so lovely we've been swimming and paddle boarding in the sea loads already but our favourite beach( Blackpool Sands) puts out a pontoon in the hols so swimming out to that is always a must. We'll do our favourite Brimpts Farm walk on Dartmoor and the Salcombe coastal path behind Mill Bay and Sunny Cove which is stunning but a new one will be going up the Starte Point lighthouse( which only opens in the summer) and having fish and chips on Beesands. Kids want to make lemonade and ice lollies again from the fabulous Ice Kitchen book which was a big hit last year. I want to paint those stones from Attic24, complete my Craftpod set and read at least half of my summer book stash. Clearing out the garage will be our main chore too. Can't wait,kids have already broken up,I don't break up until Wed!!!😩

    1. What wonderful ideas of things to do in Devon! We are going to Brixham for a week so thank you very much.

  6. What a lovely list from you and the children - it's all about enjoying some down time really. Lots of lovely walks, spending time with friends and family and some special food treats. Can't wish for more than those simple pleasures.

  7. We do the same and make a poster to go on the fridge so that their ideas don't get lost in my list of holiday jobs. The surprising one for me were going to IKEA! Who knew they loved it so much?? I work through the holidays so there has to be a balance of enforced childcare and having some fun times out. I processed a load of gooseberries and green beans yesterday. Heidi had a leavers assembly and I was not too emotional. Some of the girls were (the ones going to different secondary schools) and that set Heidi off a little but she had a cuddle and a cry and then we all met at our Cricket club for a party and she enjoyed that. Am I having the same life as you Gillian but not by the coast?! Jo xx

  8. Lovely to read about your summer plans. DH and I (no kids) plan to visit our local museum/art gallery to see their latest (free) exhibition, plus a trip to the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle, plus as many local walks as we can cope with in the heat. On a personal level, I'm working through 365 Days of Art by Lorna Scobie, have some colouring books to mess with, am crocheting my first cushion cover using Lucy's solid granny squares tutorial and have plenty of books on my Kindle to read in the garden. Hope you all have a great summer!

  9. What a wonderful list from the children and you. I think it does help to have these lists, means you make the most of your time. My list at the moment is full of things like getting the car tothe garage, it has been recalled for a seat belt adjustment, sorting out papers ofr the tax return. I should write down some nice things too, even if I don't have school holidays anymore, as I am retired!

  10. What a good idea : writing a list with everyone's wish ! For me it will be reading, hooking or knitting, walking with my dog (a whippet)and have some nice cups of tea or mojitos with my friends

  11. I always go to Lyme Regis for the day with a friend, it has become a tradition, and we always play pitch and put... I love your lists!

  12. Hey Gillian,
    I fear that I am never quite so organised in the summer holidays. I just let the mood take me, even if it means a lazy faff about the house with Olly allowed unadulterated screen time. Of course, I have to factor work in this year, so Olly will be going to a holiday club once a week. Perhaps I should ask him what he'd like to do.
    Enjoy your holiday, lovely girl. Well deserved I should think.
    Leanne xx

  13. I had to smile at those whose hubbies and kids have gone away, as I‘ve done the opposite and come to Brittany with the dog for the summer!! The weather is perfect, warm and sunny without being sweltering and mostly a sea-breeze, while they sweat it out at home (central Europe is also very hot)... and I am brought a huge box of knitting I am working through and lots to read/listen to. Every evening my old doggie (14) and I wander down to the tiny port/beach in the sunset, it‘s gorgeous. And yesterday I made Nigel Slater‘s seed cake... Once I‘ve read Elizabeth David‘s biography I‘ll be rootling through French Country Cooking, no doubt ;)


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