How to Have Ultimate Summer • LIFESTYLE

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Summer is all about living freely with fun plans and lots of social occasions, yet with what feels like an abundance of time and no ideas of what to do with it, the warm weather can get wasted under the lack of ideas. Here's how to keep your summer alive and kicking, and make sure you're as buzzed as the bees in the fresh air. Forget the instagram shots of far away destinations, there are other more unconventional ways to enjoy yourself...

Every year in England, once the excitement of the festive period is over and the New Year celebrations have finished, it becomes all about the promise of hot weather, healthy bodies and happening social plans. But more often then not it seems that (with anywhere between six weeks to four months off) Summer can get wasted under the freedom of lie ins and Netflix marathons without guilt. Suddenly you're half way through the holidays and none of the ideals and visions of the 'perfect summer' (what even is that?) have happened. The sun, sea views and salt water are nowhere near to be found, you're not sipping fruity drinks on a beach somewhere far away looking like an Instagram model in a free bikini. But that doesn't mean you can't have the summer of a lifetime just because you aren't sunning it up in Bali because you're working all summer or just can't afford to travel in luxury.

This post aims to help all those wanders who are indeed lost and looking for a cheap, easy way to make their summers amazing - without the pressure of teen-celebrtity price tags or social medias expectations to all do the same thing (because that's boring and who wants to tell the same stories to each other?)

Now some of this advice may seem super obvious, but more often then not it takes someone to point out the obvious for you to consider it's potential and possibilities. For example, like pretty much every blogger or super organised person I know, I am a big fan of lists and more specifically than that a designated notebook specifically for listing things. You may be familiar with the whole 'bullet journal' system of doing things (I have a variation of this, which works better for my need to chronologically detail things), or may just be someone who's room looks like an explosion in the post-it note factory - but it's time to get a fresh new notebook and sit down and think. You can shop my list of all things pens and pads below.

Here's how I plan my summers, and already that makes it seem like everything has to be super strategically organised, but trust me this can be adapted and changed and suited to your situation. So go and get yourself a pretty notebook that will excite you to use it, and maybe some funky pens whilst you're at it, and start planning the ultimate summer. Even if you're half-way or near the end of your holidays, you can still make the most of your last weeks or days.

Step One: Think - What do you want from your summer?
Now this is rocket science or a delve into some form of existential crisis, it's pretty simple. When you think of summer, what exactly do you want? Do you want fun with friends? Romance? Partying? Travelling? Relaxing? Just make a little spider diagram of all the things you want from your summer, all the words that pop into your head, colour code it, do whatever you want to help you. If you're feeling really creative and English weather has reared it's ugly head by opening the skies for a downpour, make a mood board from bits of magazines, pictures from the internet etc. - You don't need a fancy board or anything, A4 paper will do or a page in your new notebook to spark imagination and put pictures on. Just throw whatever you feel represents the summer you want. A picture of a flower crown maybe represents festivals, campfires, a beach, a pair of shorts, some friends laughing, you know the drill.

If you want some inspiration you can check out my tumblr 

Step Two: Think - Make a Bucket List.
Again, not rocket science, but very very good for creating a long list of ideas of things that you want to do, achieve, places you want to go etc. And you might not do it all this summer due to money or how much time you have etc. But you can keep hold of it for next summer (now you have a dedicated summer notepad) and you never know when it will come in handy on a rainy day (quite literally).

To help you out if you have no idea where to start, I have 10 simple ideas to suit different types of situations depending on where you live or what your budget might be. Of course these are suggestions and you should come up with your own, but you can chop and change these lists around if you are looking for inspiration.

For Arty/Creative Types: If you're the type who likes to create little projects for themselves or homely activities.
  1. Make a chalkboard / display of your bucket list - this is a really fun and pretty way of creatively showing your bucket list, to help keep you motivated and not stay stuck indoors watching Netflix. Plus you can spend a day that doesn't have great weather doing something productive to decorate your room. You could paint on an old chalkboard, make a collage, or simply just get fancy with your pens and handwriting.
  2. Tie Dye your clothes - if you haven't got the budget for a festival outfit that costs as much as your ticket, try a home DIY. Not only does it save money, but it also saves the environment by reducing your waste and reusing old clothes.
  3. Make cupcakes in ice cream cones - I love making vegan sweet treats and I really love vegan cake and ice-cream. So why not combine both by making cool cupcake ice creams?
  4. Develop unknown camera films - I always need to clear my stuff out, get rid of things I don't use and no longer need and recently I found some old undeveloped digital cameras and film rolls. So if you have some old films lying around or some disposable cameras, why not get them developed and reveal a little piece of history? 
  5. Turn your back garden into your own festival campsite - If you like the idea of festivals or camping but can't afford or go anywhere far, turn your back garden into your very own fantasy festival, hang outdoor lights, bunting, set up a tent, start a campfire (if given permission from whoever's house it is) and invite your friends over. You can chill out, eat food and be in your DIY campsite without leaving the comfort of your home.
  6. Carve your name in a tree - Don't go and pick a tourist attraction or somewhere like a nature reserve to do this. Your own garden or in a forest is more appropriate. 
  7. Plant something and help it grow - It's always nice to feel you've achieved something, and something beautiful like a plant or your own food is a simple and cheap way of giving yourself a new hobby. Plus if you grow some fruit, it's a delicious way to encourage healthy eating habits!
  8. Create a scrapbook with a picture (polariod or disposable camera pictures look cool) of everyday of your summer and write a paragraph next to it. - This is a super easy and fun way to get into the habit of journaling if you want to take up writing your day down or do something creative as a keepsake. 
  9. Go thrift shopping - It's not a super crazy suggestion but it is fun. If you don't have any thrift shops or flea markets around you, hit the local car boots or charity shops, you will never know what gems you will find.
  10. Write a letter to yourself to open on the last day of summer -  I always see the summer as a way to reinvent yourself and play with new trends, try new things, do new activities and maybe you have your own personal goals, fears you want to overcome and resolutions you want to make to yourself. So pen it all on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope to reflect on when you read it before getting back into normal routine. You may be surprised and proud of yourself and your achievements or motivated to keep up with your goals.

For Beach Babes: If you're more of a relaxing, chilling out kind of person than a go-getter and nature lover.
  1. Sticker / Suncream Tans - Now this is kind of a random one, but something I've always wanted to do... There might be a day where you head down the beach or just chilling in your garden to top up your tan, and once you've put all your sun protection on, pick somewhere that won't get knocked or smudged (like your hip) and create a little design with the suncream (like a heart) or pop a fun shaped sticker there and forget about it. When you shower later or change, you should notice a paler shape with your tan surrounding it.
  2. Invite all your friends to the beach to build the biggest sandcastle possible - We've pretty much all tried to bury someone's body at the beach so only their head is on show, but have we created the biggest sandcastle possible as a team? Create an event with all your friends, or an open event and bring together likeminded people across the community to build the biggest sandcastle possible. You may even have people on the beach offer to help. Once you've created a mountain of sand, take a group picture around your giant creation.
  3. Send a message in a bottle - A cute and simple idea I've always wanted to try myself.
  4. Go to the beach at midnight - Whether you want to drive alone and sit on some blankets and think or gather your friends together for a midnight feast and have a picnic on the beach, there's something incredible about the beach at night. 
  5. Go swimming in the dark -  You might be lucky enough to have your own pool or be staying somewhere with someone that does or maybe you want to head to the beach. However you swim, it's a fun way of twisting a classic activity.
  6. Go to a charity shop and buy a book to read for each week of summer - If you're a bookworm or someone who wants to get into reading more, my favourite place to buy books (and the only place I go now) is charity shops. Not only are you helping a worthy cause with your purchase, you're reusing and reducing waste and saving yourself a lot of money. Books are expensive, especially when buying in bulk (student problems much?) so charity shops are a great way to get 10 or more books for the price of one brand new one. Summer is a great way to use your time doing something you love or creating new habits, and reading is an excellent one to do. 
  7. Have a glitter fight - If you're not prepared to be finding glitter everywhere for the next ten years, this might not be the activity of you, however if you don't want to ruin any clothes with a food fight then this is a pretty and fun alternative. I love glitter and if you have friends who share a love for glitter it's a funny way to spend an afternoon. Plus if you can film it or get someone to take photos, you will have a really cool set of uploads for your social media pages.
  8. Jump fully clothes in a pool or run in the sea fully clothed - It's a classic. The typical 'movie moment' as I call it, where you just spontaneously get yourself soaked for absolutely no reason. Do this on a hot day where you will dry quickly, and make sure the water is safe for diving. Or just go to watermark.

For Adventure Seekers or Big Kids: If age has no limit on what you choose to do.
  1. Make a really cool fort - Who doesn't secretly (or not so secretly) want to make a cool fort? I've always wanted to make my own teepee and hang stars from the ceiling of it. This is a great way to run down the energy of hyper younger siblings who might be on your back.
  2. Dance in the rain or play tag - When it's raining the natural reaction is to stay in and keep cosy, but life is too short not to dance in the rain, so on the next rainstorm run outside and dance to your hearts content, as if no one is watching and all those other cliche quotes. Or if you're in a group have a big game of tag and forget that your hair will make you look like a drowned rat. It will be worth it. 
  3. Ride a ferris wheel eating a typical fairground food -  Whether you're a candyfloss lover like me, or one for doughnuts or french fries, whatever takes your fancy grab the biggest size you can and try to eat it on a ferris wheel. If you can manage eating it all before or by the time it stops, go win yourself a prize!
  4. Make your own imaginative soft drink floats - Whether you're a big coke float fan or not, this is a great way of creating a new recipe without actually having to cook. Go to your local supermarket and find as many cool flavours of fizzy drinks as possible and crazy ice cream flavours (or make your own) and come up with your very own special fizzy float drink! It could be ice cream soda and caramel ice cream or cherryade and banana ice-cream! Whatever it is, take a picture with your creation so you remember the secret recipe. 
  5. Mud volleyball -  I'm not sure how or where you could do this, but it looks amazing and if you get the chance to do it, then go for it! It's basically volleyball in a huge mud bath, which you can see how that turns out... Keep the designer clothes at home for this one.
  6. Take a road trip with no planned destination -  Grab a group or your best friend, get in a car and just say 'left' or 'right'. The passenger has to choose an option and you keep going until you find somewhere interesting to stop. Make sure you have money, a phone, a charger, blankets, food and water in case of emergencies.
  7. Glow in the dark bowling -  Simple honest fun, bowling is a great evening activity when you fancy getting out but not sure where to go and glow in the dark is all the more tricky and interesting!
  8. Have a silly string fight - These can be picked up really cheaply in £ or 99p / discount shops, just remember to wear clothes you don't mind if they get a bit stained.
  9. Play hide and seek in a supermarket or Ikea -  Age is just a number.
  10. Order dessert before your dinner in a restaurant - Find the most extravagant or rich and sickly dessert to eat before you've even looked at the main menu.

For Those Who Live in the Middle of Nowhere: For those who feel bored or trapped in their hometown.
  1. Go berry picking or to a P.Y.O - The great thing about living in the countryside or in a village is going and picking fruits or down to a pick-your-own farm and just having a whale of a time walking around the fields, collecting food. You're either someone who eats it all on the way home or someone who saves it and makes delicious recipes with it. No judgement if you're the first.
  2. Go to a Carnival or Funfair - You may not love rides or crowds of people but it's a fun activity to do day or night with the right people. Piers often have really cute fairgrounds which if you're not their to win giant stuffed toys make an excellent instagram backdrop.
  3. Leave a note in a library book - I used to love going to the library as a child, one of my favourite things was going and picking 6 new books to read over the summer and hand back each week, and since then I have always wanted to leave a little note in a book for someone to read. It could be a short and sweet message telling them they are wonderful or to have a nice day, or it could be a deep meaningful letter to start a pen pal relationship. Either way it's a nice surprise to an unknowing stranger. 
  4. Make a candy pizza and watch films all night -  If you're suffering with that time of the month and craving sugar, this is a perfect excuse or if you just fancy stuffing your face with all the treats you can imagine, make a sweet pizza and share with your friends (or make one each if you are feeling greedy) whilst you watch films.
  5. Let go of a floating lantern - You may want to decorate it, make a wish and have it as a therapeutic activity, or you could host a little gathering for no reason other than to at the end of the night all set off floating lanterns. If you live by the beach it could be a beautiful place to do this and take photographs.
  6. Camp out in the back of a truck in the middle of nowhere - A bit difficult if you don't have a truck, so may have to improvise with the open boot of your car, or just drive someone random with a tent and camp for a night. But just sleeping under the stars is a magical thing in itself.
  7. Go to an outdoor concert - Outdoor concerts are great in the summer, even if you don't know the person playing, the atmosphere is always fun. Even if it's a day festival or a free local gig.
  8. Fly a Kite -  Since watching Mary Poppins as a child I feel all of us wanted to go and fly kites, I would run along the beach personally as I live close to many but the great thing about country air is that it has plenty of space.
  9. Walk through a drive through -  I hear you won't get served, but I would want to try anyway.
  10. Start running every day -  Feel like you've got nothing to do? Why not make the most of the chance to make healthy habits, get fit and transform your body? With all the space and peace and quiet there are no excuses not to get active and get outdoors.

For City Chicks: For those in urban jungles, looking for new places to hang out and ideas to have fun.
  1. Find a free concert or gig of someone or a band you've never heard of - I love discovering new music, and the best way I find new bands I like is just by going and seeing whats out there. You might hate it, you might love it, but you never know unless you try. There are loads of sites and apps to discover new people, download an app that will recommend you artists based on your music library on your phone or people you like to listen to and go along to a gig.
  2. Find a second hand bookshop and find the most absurd book or the most unlikely book you would read and read it - The smell of old bookshops is one that enchants a lot of people. The shelves are always piled high with mountains of authors works, pages and pages waiting to be read, and more often than not you will walk around and leave empty handed. Yet there are so many times that you will see so many funny books or interesting things you wouldn't normally come across and read. So why not change that and read a completely random book that takes your fancy?
  3. Go on a no budget shopping spree -  Make sure you have the funds to do this before hand, don't run yourself into debt! But one day perhaps when you feel you need a bit of a pick-me-up, go out with a friend and just shop, don't make excuses why you shouldn't. Be implosive try something you've always wanted to but put off, if you see something you like buy it and don't worry about where it will go or what you will do with it later.
  4. Use fake names at Starbucks with a friend -  Simple, easy but fun.
  5. Go to a five star restaurant - Again make sure you can afford to do this, but go somewhere you've always dreamed of eating. You might have to save up, but at least you can say you went.
  6. Get in a taxi and yell 'Follow that car!' -  Who hasn't wanted to that? Especially in New York.
  7. Spend the day holding up a 'Free Hugs' sign -  The world needs more love. And loving people spread love.
  8. Go out with a friend and pretend to be related - With your best friend, make up a backstory and don't plan anything just go out and say yes to everything. Have an unexpected adventure and stick together at all times. You never know what will happen!
  9. Go for a bike ride and find a new town to explore-  If you live in an area where you always seem to hang out in the same places and go to the same spots, why not go for a long bike ride to the next town you've never been to and just explore what's there! Who knows what you will discover.
  10. Create your own ice cream flavour and have a horror film marathon - Make it as wild and as crazy as you like, cherry with popping candy and jelly beans or sherbet and strawberry flavour with chocolate sauce. Whatever you fancy, become an ice-cream creator and then watch some horror films in the dark... go on. I dare ya!
If all of that didn't give you enough inspiration, I have two pinterest boards dedicated to ideas of things to do, one is great for dates, and best friends and the other is for the travel but in me. You can check them out here and here. Remember they don't have to be super over the top to be exciting. You can have fun where you live, without circling the globe and it's often about who you're with, not what you do. I feel that summer brings a lot of pressure to be 'perfect' and have the 'perfect' summer. What does that mean? To me, summer is about fun. As long as you're having fun, it doesn't matter. 

Step Three: Assigning Activities.
This is the fun part (if choosing all these fun activities wasn't fun already) open your diary and look at how long you have left of your holidays - maybe you're on your first day or maybe your on the countdown back to academic or work mode, but open your diary and either think logically about when is best to do things. Going to thrift/flea markets might be day specific so you will have to plan accordingly or going to the beach might be one you want to check the weather forecast for, and so and and so forth. If you're planning an event with friends you will have to plan a day that suits people and work around this, but if you're free to do whatever you like whenever you like, then it might be fun to work down your bucket list or pick random numbers, close your eyes and point to a day on the calendar/diary. Whatever day you pick is the day you do your activity. This random way of selecting things is a great way to wake up with different things to do each day and not fall into a rut! You can just wake up and know you have something planned for every day of the summer.

Step Four: Plan your Own Event.
You might want to host something big or something small, a party or a picnic, whatever it is is a great way to create your own event and manage it yourself. It doesn't have to be the next Glastonbury but it could be a great way to have something to look forward to throughout summer if you're not going away and get all your friends excited to. Forget the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and try your own ideas at GOMO (Going Out More Often) - read more about GOMO here.

This post was in collaboration with, celebrating summer activities and event planning, however all ideas and concepts are my own and not influenced by the brand.
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