Preparing for Summer

Do you long for a slow paced, stress free, summer, filled with hazy, lazy afternoons, Pimms on the patio and picnics in the park? Me too! Well limiting stress, slowing the pace, and enjoying life to the full requires a little planning. Not too much planning or you’ll become a slave to your schedule, but a little careful planning and preparation can help you be ready for relaxation and enjoyment, through the long hot summer that you dream of. So here are some suggestions for things you can do to prepare for Summer.

Things To Check And Replace:

  • Check sunhats and sunglasses for the whole family are still well fitting and not too worn out and replace as necessary.
  • Check your first aid kit and restock bite cream, medi-wipes, cold packs and plasters as necessary in preparation for the inevitable (mis)adventures of summer.
  • If, like me, you like to make jams and pickles then now is a good time to check your jars and lids for wear and tear and replace any not still in pristine condition. It’s also a good time to purchase the necessary extras like pectin as well as flavourings like pickling spice or vanilla pods and of course sugar.
  • Check your ice-cube trays and lolly moulds to ensure you have enough and that they’re still in good condition.
  • If you are going away you will need to check your luggage is clean and in good condition, and also purchase any additional clothes necessary for your trip long in advance so that they can all be washed and packed ready to go. Also if you will be travelling abroad check your passports and renew them if they are close to expiration.
  • If you travel in the UK like us, and use a roof box, it’s a good idea to check that it’s still in good condition and all the fixings are still present and in tact, the last thing you want is the stress of a broken roof box the night before you go away.
  • Check over any children’s outdoor toys, games and paddling pools etc, give them a bit of a clean up and decide if you’d like to purchase anything new. It’s good to have everything ready to grab as soon as the weather turns nice.
  • Check your picnic hamper and blankets for anything that needs replacing. Impromptu picnics just don’t happen if your basket is still stuffed at the back of a cupboard in need of a good clean.

Things To Buy:

  • Stock up on plenty of sun lotion, bug spray, after sun, cooling spray and citronella oil (see recipe section below). There’s nothing worse than running out of sun lotion on a particularly hot day and having a dash to the supermarket leave you flustered and running behind.
  • This is pretty obvious, but everyone will probably need new sandals, flip flops etc. as well as comfortable shoes like trainers or plimsolls for long meanders on sunny afternoons through the daisy speckled fields and parks.
  • A not so obvious necessity, especially here in Britain is a thin waterproof or showerproof mac for each family member. Something easily carried in the crook of an elbow on days when summer showers threaten to dampen the spirits.
  • Stock up on plenty of good quality oils and vinegar to make those summer salads really zing!
  • Stock up the liquor cabinet to make summer cocktails on the patio the work of a moment. Also stock up on things like chocolate syrup for making iced mochas and pouring over ice-creams.
  • If, like me, you have extra refrigerator space tucked away in the garage (or wherever) then stocking up on cans of beer, ciders, as well as bottles of wine for summer sangria and other mixers and juices will be very handy for any impromptu summer BBQ’s or picnics.
  • Stock up on freezer bags and containers to store that extra produce before it goes bad.
  • Replace old water bottles to make sure everyone stays hydrated.
  • Stock up on a variety of flavours of jelly and invest in some cute moulds, jelly and ice-cream really can’t be beaten on a hot summer afternoon.

Things To Do:

  • Stock your freezer with home-made picnic goodies like sausage rolls, quiches, pork pies and scotch eggs. These can be quickly defrosted and popped in the picnic basket for delicious home-made treats on the hop.
  • Begin making tubs of home-made ice-cream to get ahead on the summer rush.
  • Start preparing your feet for summer with a regular pedicure night. A good foot soak, scrubbing away that winter skin and finishing off with some home-made foot lotion (recipe below) will have those tootsies all soft and prep’d for your sandals.
  • If, like me, you have little girls, then sewing some cute summer dresses is a really nice way to show them a little summertime love.
  • If you’re a knitter or crocheter then knitting short sleeved or sleeveless boleros for your littles or for yourself is another lovely way to get some crafting in before summer.
  • Make ahead and freeze meringues and shortcakes for quick and easy summer desserts.
  • Make up some bottles of glass cleaner and get those windows sparkling in the sunshine (recipe below).
  • Keep weeding! Those pesky weeds can suddenly erupt right under your nose until your garden has become a jungle seemingly overnight. It’s best to get a head start on tackling them as soon as they start coming up in the spring so that maintenance is merely a little pluck here and there throughout the summer months. Long hours of weeding in the hot summer sun are not fun!
  • Feed your roses and treat them for aphids. If you want plenty of luscious blooms all summer long, then your flowers need a good regular feed with a high quality organic fertiliser, and those nasty little bugs need to be dealt with as soon as they appear, with an organic spray or the introduction of predators like ladybirds. Look for green clusters on any new growth, especially on roses.
  • Write a summer bucket list! Get everyone involved in planning the fun memories they’d like to make and the goals they want to achieve this summer, dreaming up fun activities and days out really gets us in the summery mood.
  • Get a membership for the National Trust or the National Heritage, and spend all summer long exploring historic sites and beautiful gardens.
  • Summer proof your car. Get your air conditioning refilled, stock up on coolant and screen wash, pull out your sun shades and keep your car clean and cool!
  • Switch over your linens and clothing for summer. Give your duvets and pillows a good wash (take them to the launderette if they don’t fit in your machine), store them away and replace them with fresh, cool summer cottons and thin blankets.
Get those summer whites really bright by hanging them out in the sunshine.
  • Clean up the BBQ and then give your wooden patio furniture a new lease of life with a coat of teak oil. Give your patio a good scrub, I use washing soda and a stiff brush, and clean up that parasol to have your outdoor space feeling fresh and inviting for the warm weather.
  • Plant herbs and summer salad vegetables. Salad leaves, herbs and salad veg like radishes are some of the quickest easiest and least space consuming things to grow, you really can grow them on a windowsill, and they taste so much better than anything you can pick up in the supermarket.
  • Fill your indoor vases with summer flowers and switch up table linens for something light and breezy to bring the outdoors inside.
  • Finally I always read an Summer Anthology of poetry or prose (See my ‘Summer Bucket List 2019 post for full title) and start listening to summer playlists to get those summer vibes rolling.
  • For more fun ideas for summer I recommend ‘The Summer House’ by Alison May, available on kindle and at


Aftersun Lotion:

  • 1 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
  • 12 drops Jojoba Oil
  • 4 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp Shea Butter
  • 6-10 drops YL Lavender Essential Oil

Scoop all the ingredients into a jar and stir until combined.

Bug Spray:

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15 drops YL Purification Essential Oil
  • 5 drops YL Lemon Essential Oil
  • Distilled Water
  • 60ml Spray Bottle

Put the salt and the essential oils into the bottle, fill with the water and swirl to combine. spritz over your body.

Cooling Spray:

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 20 drops YL Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Distilled Water
  • 60ml Spray Bottle

Combine the Essential Oil and Salt in the bottle, add the Distilled Water and swirl to blend.

Hand and Foot Lotion:

  • 10-15 drops YL Stress Away Essential Oil
  • 1/4 cup Shea Butter
  • 1 tbsp Beeswax
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Almond Oil

Combine Essential Oils and Sweet Almond Oil in a bowl and swirl to blend. Melt wax in a double boiler with the Shea Butter, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add oils mixture, stir and cool in the fridge.

Glass Cleaner:

  • 300 ml Spray Bottle
  • 225ml Water
  • 5 drops YL Orange Essential Oil
  • 5 drops YL Lemon Essential Oil
  • 75ml Hydrogen Peroxide

Put all the ingredients into the spray bottle and swirl to combine.


Have a great Summer