As I write, it’s day two of the summer holidays. Izzy is in Cornwall with a friend, staying at my aunt and uncle’s house near Falmouth. So far, they’ve been paddle boarding and survived an exhausting surf lesson. Jesse is at a holiday club hosted by a cookery school. Every now and then, my phone pings with photos of his culinary creations. This morning, he learned to make a Full English. ‘‘Dis do be banging’ read the accompanying message. I think this means he’s having fun.

The British weather is as unpredictable and confused as ever, but my favourite season is definitely upon us. When the sun remembers to make an appearance, I’m in my element. Even when it doesn’t, I’m grateful for the long, light evenings and how lush and green everything looks after the rain.

Although they haven’t always made it on to the blog, writing a summer bucket list has been an annual ritual since the children were little. I think it was Joy the Baker who first inspired me, and I still enjoy reading her version when it goes live each year. If you’d like to compile your own, A Beautiful Mess has this cute printable and a recent podcast episode full of inspiration. You can also read some of our previous lists here: 2021 / 2019 / 2018 / 2012.

In 2023, our summer bucket list looks like this…

  • Slow Down

As well as navigating a busy season of work, recently things have been pretty heavy in my personal life {more on this another time}. I’ve been thinking about how I want summer to feel and the two words I’ve settled on to describe what I’m craving are ‘slow’ and ‘gentle’.

A few months ago, I decided not to book any big projects over the summer. I’ll be taking at least two weeks off in August and I’m determined to get as much as rest as possible. It won’t be quite as dramatic as my summer sabbatical, but I’m hoping to recreate some of the ease and spaciousness I experienced last year.

  • Celebrate A Big Birthday

I’ll be turning 40 in August. It’s taken me a while to figure out how I want to mark the occasion, but I think I’ve settled on lots of little treats and experiences, some of which won’t happen till much later in the year. My more immediate plans involve meals out, margaritas, and a night away with Carl. I can’t wait. {As an aside, hands up if you were here for my 30th!}

  • Visit Dorset

We don’t have any firm travel plans for the next six weeks, but we do know we’ll be spending a long weekend in Dorset. Carl and I have booked The Cider Room at Outbuildings for my birthday and we’ll spend the rest of our stay with my parents in Bridport. Our itinerary is still a work in progress, but we’d like to visit Seaside Boarding House in Burton Bradstock and maybe get the boys out on the water for some paddle boarding. I can’t wait. Dorset is my happy place.

  • Savour Summer Produce

Spending last summer in Australia meant I missed out on some of my favourite summer fare. This year, I’m making a concerted effort to cook and eat the ingredients I love before they fall out of season. Tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, cherries and apricots. New potatoes, aubergines, courgettes and summer squash.

I want to try new recipes, eat alfresco whenever I can, and generally enjoy summer dining as much as possible. If you’re looking for inspiration, this salad of tomatoes with peaches, grapes, feta and oregano is one of the best things I’ve eaten recently.

  • Finish Transforming Our Bedroom

If you caught my recent updates on Instagram Stories, you’ll know we’re in the process of transforming our primary bedroom. We’ve already made good progress. The walls have had a fresh coat of paint {Mizzle by Farrow & Ball} and Holly from Zeal Interiors recently installed the first stage of our window treatments. The space is looking so much better, but there’s still quite a bit to finish. I want to make these outstanding tasks a priority and create the calming sanctuary I’ve been dreaming of. When summer ends and autumn rolls around, I know I’ll be glad I did.

  • Whatever your plans are this summer, I hope it’s a good one.

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. How to Take Time Off When You’re Self-Employed

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