I know with the abundance of picture-perfect holiday posts on Instagram it feels likeh EVERYONE is able, or in the financial position to go on holiday (and regularly). But I promise you it’s not the case. I’m not sure me saying you’re not the only one at home is helping you that much, the extreme feeling of wanderlust or the mere yearning to escape your life for a bit probably overwhelms rational of the nature, but I just wanted to remind you that what you’re seeing online isn’t REAL LIFE. We don’t know what sacrifice or efforts they had to put in to be able to go on the holiday, we have no ideal if the trip was as idyllic as the images portray, we don’t know what aspects of life they neglect in order to be able to travel. Of course there are some simply jammy people or those that come from money, but please don’t feel less-than if you aren’t currently in a position/situation that allows you to take time out or afford trips away.
Apart from my love of seeing the world and basking in the soothing rays of the sun, I’m desperate to get away with Si because of our living situation. Living with my parents and only really having my bedroom to live out of is difficult to say the least. It’s undeniably unhealthy for a couple to have to exists together in a space that is where they both have to eat, sleep AND work, but at the same time have no privacy or independence because interested ears are always a few metres or less away. Si gets to feel like a proper adult at times and escape through his work travels, but I haven’t had any time away from my parents since August. I’m desperate for some time to myself, or with my boyfriend and be able to enjoy each other in the way normal couples of our age can .
Before I activate woe-is-me mode I wanted to get myself back to the point of this post, that being that is a holiday really isn’t on the cards for you this year, there are some small ways to give bursts of that holiday feeling. I’m not talking about UK breaks or cheap holidays, because I’m sure there’s many people like me who can’t even consider those options either, this is more about pockets of joy.
If the suns out in the garden and I’m at home, I’ll spray on the suntan lotion I love the smell of, you know that ones that instantly takes you back to chilling on that Kefalonia beach with a can of peach juice. Talking of peach juice, I’ll make sure I get those drinks I associate with holiday in – Lemon Fanta, Sam Pellegrino, Orangina…you know, the usual suspects.
This is another way to create a holiday vibe. If you’ve finished work and the evening is warm head to a pub with outside seating, I try to find one near water for added holiday points. Buy a bevvy that reminds you of holiday unwinding and people-watching, which would be shandy, mojito or Pimms in my case.
People-watching is one of my all time favourite aspects of holidays. I love seeing how other couples interact and getting the ick when they’re way over-zealous with the PDA’s. I love to observe family dynamics and will admit to getting a bit judgemental when witnessing bad parenting. The whole ‘aww isn’t he funny’ when in fact he’s an absolute brat, particularly gets my goat. Of course, as long as I’ve got my shades on I’m a bit partial to checking out the dad bods too. Yes this activity seems more fun when horizontal and sipping on a delicious drink, but who says that needs to be a holiday-only activity.
It doesn’t take much to get brits scantily clad and horizontal when the sun comes out. Going to one of our many great parks and open spaces will deliver, with locations like Alexandra Palace being a hive of summer fun, with the added bonus of incredible views and access to drinks and food, you can get that holiday vibe in an instance. The bonus of a park is also the addition of dogs, which improves any scenario a million fold in my eyes.
Is the hotel pool or the ocean one of the main things you look forward to and enjoy about a holiday? If the answer is yes, I understand that the leisure full of kids centre doesn’t quite fill that void. Speak to your friends and see if any of them are members of clubs, like Shoreditch House for example. I of course can’t afford membership to places like this, but I know many lucky people who get them through their work. Many have options to invite guests for the day, so it’s worth seeing whether this could allow for a few day’s of sunbathing by the pool in the city sun this summer. Failing that of course there are Lido’s. Some of them getting frighteningly rowdy and busy on the really hot days which can be off-putting but maybe try a few and see if you can find one that will deliver a nice place to cool down without the overcrowding completely killing that holiday vibe.
Of course if you have a few pounds to spare you could order a paddling pool to the garden. It’s nice to keep those ankles cool when things get really muggy – muggy in weather terms not the Love Island way.
Another thing I love about a holiday is getting ready for a night out after a day of lying in the sun feeling a little bit rank. Putting on your make-up having been sweaty and bare faced all day, and attempting to sort out that barnet, which has either turned into wire wool due to the humidity, or a greasy oil slick due to the lotion/sweat combo, is a satisfying process . It also serves to separates the day into two parts part which makes it feel a lot longer, which is what you want on a holiday.
Si and I rarely get dressed up these days, we are well and truly into the routine of getting in our sloggy clothes as quickly and as often as possible. We are definitely at that age where comfort rules over all. However I think ensuring you have a few nights over the summer where you put on an ‘holiday outfit’ and preen in the way you would when you’re away, rather than pull up your joggers and the t-shirt you sleep in, will give you those holiday feels and potentially reignite a spark with your beau.
I’m not suggesting you should spend money and go out for a meal with your glad rags on, that’s just not possible for everyone’s budget, nor do you need to get any fancy ingredients in. Merely changing your normal routine a bit could make the evening feel different, and therefore more special and akin to how mushy you feel on holiday. Perhaps you could eat in a more civilised manner, lay the table rather than eat off your laps. Perhaps you could light a candle or too, and add some smooth tunes in the background, or a Spanish guitar track if you want to be mentally transported away. Maybe you/he could work the gentlemanly moves as if you were out in a restaurant and on a date – pull out the chair, pour her wine, stand up if she goes to the loo.
The other week, even though we were both exhausted, we decided to make the most of the heatwave knowing it was likely to go away very soon (dammit, were we right) and decided to have a bbq. Our first one as a couple of five years no less! We got in the car and drove to our local Argos, managed to find one on deal, grabbed some coal that was on offer at Tesco’s, and checked the reduced aisle for some bargains to cook on the griddle. We already had some veggie burgers and corn on the cobs in our fridge, so it proved to be relatively inexpensive whilst being extremely effective in giving us those summer feels. Nothing like a burnt sausage to make you feel like summer is truly here.
Unfortunately the last couple of weeks the weather has been very inconsistent. It’s hard to allocate a day to summer activities when it glimmers for half hour intervals at a time.
Gandy’s very kindly sent me some goodies this week in the form of a circular towel and some flip flops. I permanently have the Aztec towel draped over one of the kitchen chairs now, so that when I see the sun re-emerge from behind the clouds I can pop on my flip flops, grab the towel and set myself up a little holiday spot in the garden. It’s quite easy to pretend I’m in an exotic location if I squint enough to blind myself to the view of my house, as I have a large palm tree and bamboo in the garden. It’s only when the neighbours kids decide to bounce on their trampoline and peer over that I feel a bit less relaxed. Once again I spray that yummy smelling lotion, spread my bare legs out on the towel and absorb myself in a book for a few minutes, before heading in and getting back to work. If you don’t know about Gandy’s please take time to familiarise either via a previous blog (http://sophieeggleton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/global-galivanting-with-gandys.html) or by reading their story on their website. By making a purchase you are making a difference.
Now finally for my fellow spoonies that find themselves be- bound and not able to even venture to the dining table or garden, it will be admittedly harder to recreate holiday vibes in your bedroom, but there are a few little things that will at the very least feel pleasant. It’s amazing how scent can effect your mood, relax or invite your imagination to run wild. If there’s a particular location you want to close your eyes and picture, think of a scent that will make that mental journey easier. Whether it’s Moroccan spices of the bustling souks, or the smell of a grapes from your tine at a vine yard in Bordeaux. So whether you fill your room with incense, scented candles, or food this can help to relax or uplift. If there’s someone else there maybe the aroma can arrive via a massage oil. Like I said before play some music befitting of the location your want to put yourself in whether that be laid back Baleiric, indian folk music or Nashville classic country. Perhaps you’d prefer the sounds of the sea, if so there’s plenty of playlists of natural sounds that can be streamed or downloaded. When Si and I want to be cosy and imagine we are in a cosy log cabin snuggling up we find one of those 10hr fireplace video on YouTube that we stream through the TV. We always end up falling asleep to the crackle of the fake embers.
I was a bit worried this post would feel a bit patronising due to the simplistic advice it offers, I know I’m not suggesting anything you’ve probably not thought of or tried before. I guess I just wanted an excuse to reach out to others who haven’t been able (due to time constraints, ill health, or lack of funds to go on holiday this year, or even on a mini break in their own country.
Let’s not let this summer conclude without ensuring we’ve created some snapshots of a new kinda holidays at home.
Aztec Sand Round Towel £75.00
Aztec Sand Flip Flops £24.00
both from @GandysLondon