If you’ve followed my monthly diary before, you’ll know that Mark and I are staycation converts and have been enjoying a week or two at home during the beautiful summer months for a number of years now, so I’ve got the skinny on how to do it well! My team at TEMPLESPA urged me to share some of my top fave tips in the hope you’ll find some fresh ideas.
In these unprecedented times, a staycation may be an imposed vacation anyway, but don’t think of it as punishment and even if you feel like you’ve been cooped up inside over the past few weeks, having a deliberate planned staycation can have a totally different vibe.
Having spent the last few months at home myself, I get it…I’m itching for a change of routine and scenery too but am determined to achieve a bit of escapism anyway, it’s a great opportunity to really soak up the garden at its best, amp up the outdoor living and indulge in all the beautiful British summertime traditions.
No matter how or where you choose to spend your holiday, for us, the goal is to return to work rested, energised and inspired. If you are intentional about being kind to yourself as well as those you share life with, you will be stronger to face the world after you’ve spent a few days on restoring your mind, body & soul. So, book some time out and then have some fun planning.
PREPARE THE HOUSE FOR VISITORS…YOU!
If you’re anything like me, you blitz the house to prepare for visitors giving it a speedy spruce up with a good vacuum along with flowers, candles and music; so why not treat yourself as the visitor and enjoy a lovely clean house, then after this settle into a “no chores” week of utter laziness! I pretend I have people arriving in less than an hour and it tricks me into working super-fast.
Put flowers in every room not just the lounge. It doesn’t have to be expensive; I love jam jars with gingham ribbon tied round the neck, some filled with tea lights and others with cow parsley, mint or wildflowers. It’s about being mindful and creating reasons to smile as you walk through your home. My trusty ambiance spray SPIRITUDE £25 is spritzed around my home, its “summer in a bottle” and is an uplifting, sophisticated and delicious fragrance.
It’s lovely to have a few treats in the pantry and fridge that you will enjoy, especially if they’re not on your usual day to day menu. I browse through favourite cookery books and plan menus that use produce in season and take the time for more leisurely breakfasts, lunches and suppers; this gives me my shopping list and I determine not to have to eat into precious staycation time by shopping again; if you have a delivery service even better, but maybe dip into a lovely farm shop or organic producer to enjoy some new healthy delights.
Oh and of course I always bake a cake. We try not to have too many “naughties” around us normally, but occasionally we all love the phrase “we’re on vacation” right?! I love the smell of baking in the house and my weigh cake is a doddle. You simply weigh the eggs in their shells (3 eggs gives a medium cake, scale up or down to suit) then blend with precisely the same weight in self raising flour and sugar and same volume in sunflower oil. Whisk thoroughly then pour into a loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees fan (or equivalent) for around 40 mins. My favourite twist is to add 2 tbs lemon curd, grated rind and juice of a lemon to the mixture and drizzle with lemon icing when cool. Easy peasey.
SET THE SCENE
From morning coffee in the garden to an early evening drink on the patio, a new holiday novel, a pile of glossy magazines to plough through, a game of cards in the summer house to stoking the BBQ for supper, I have my trusty tricks I always turn to for setting the perfect holiday scene and get us feeling like we truly are chilling out and delighting in our favourite things. We sometimes set up a little wigwam tent in the garden and covered in bunting and solar fairy lights it’s cosy to crawl into for a bit of head space, or letting the little ones let off some steam…glamping style!
With more time spent outdoors, late into the evenings, it’s important to ‘merchandise’ the space to really set the vacation scene, check out Pinterest for creative ideas. An inviting seating area with string lights and candles, bright table linens (a metre of gingham is so inexpensive but so Summerfest), fresh wood in the fire pit and some blankets on chairs will look so inviting as the sun sets and will inspire you to dine al fresco with some favourite music and an icy sundowner. If someone has a guitar, there’s nothing like a campfire singalong!
CHECK IN THEN CHECK OUT
Screen time is extremely limited during our staycation week, a digital detox is vital to give the mind a holiday too, so pop on a lovely “out of office” message and limit daily check-in time to a few minutes just to free up your inbox, but then switch it off and go play.
I look at screens a lot and as well as switching off my I-Pad, to give my eyes a much needed break, I have a course of eye patches during my week off – EYE WILL SURVIVE £35 for 6 are a vacation treat and popped on the eyes for 20 mins each day will have your friends thinking you’ve been away for a bit of a nip & tuck!
MAKE IT A HOTEL BEDROOM
Holiday time means more sleep and waking up fresh and feeling good. I create a lovely bedroom environment for some early nights by turning down the bed and choosing some cool, crisp bed linen for that sumptuous hotel feeling. If you want it to look like some of our swanky boutique hotels, you’ll enjoy ALL WELL & GOOD £18.00 a lovely set of posh bathroom goodies. We nibble our way through mini bars of organic flavoured chocolate as a daily staycation bedtime treat.
It is important the room is cool and dark so be sure to close the drapes early and play some easy music to drift off to, we like ABC Lounge, Classic FM, JazzFM or our own ITunes download The Repose Suite.
GIVE IT A FRESH LOOK
A staycation is a great time for an interior edit and with a bit of time on our side we’ll often cast a fresh eye over our living spaces and try to figure out what may be working against creating a harmonious space, or an area that’s a bit tired and dated. Remove the things that are causing a disjointed feeling and purge unnecessary items that are cluttering your home, the charity shops are desperate for items right now, so it’s a good chance to benefit them and you. Lighten up rooms by putting away any heavy furnishings or fabrics until the cooler, darker months. You may not be in a hotel room, but you can certainly create breezy, fresh spaces you’ll want to relax and enjoy for the rest of the summer.
We don’t intend to work hard during our staycation, but there’s nothing like re-decorating a room to boost the spirits. During our week off in June, we decorated a spare bedroom from boring white to a gorgeous contemporary grey (Farrow & Ball Mole’s Breath) plus a couple of new turquoise cushions and it freshened the room up beautifully, took us less than a day and we had spare change out of £50.
GET OUT IN THE FRESH AIR
Getting outside isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity! Not just for the exercise but for blowing away the cobwebs and to embrace a change of scenery, we love to get out the Ordinance Survey maps of our area and discover new woods, walks and beaches; even if you’ve lived somewhere all your life, there’s always a new village, pub or farmers market to discover. We pack a picnic or at the very least a slab of cake and Thermos of tea. Even just enjoying some peace and quiet by sitting still outside in a favourite chair and focusing on breathing for 10 minutes will work wonders for your soul health. The bikes are power washed so we can get out on The South Downs where we live grabbing some secateurs to poach some ivy for putting around mirrors at home.
Our exploding vegetable and herb garden at this time of year forces us to get harvesting and adopt a slice of The Good Life. I find a morning in the kitchen, peeling, chopping and baking really meditative and, as a passion, the opportunity to cook at leisure is pure pleasure. Chutneys and jams get whipped up, along with fresh fruit crumbles and tartes. Sweet Peas and a riotous rainbow of dahlias will be stuffed into jugs and vases and sprigs of lavender are dried to make lavender bags that freshen up wardrobes.
HAVE A SPA @ HOME DAY
Even though it’s the business that we’re in, we love to set aside one day for a SPA @ HOME experience when we don the stuffy clothes and opt for cashmere hoodies & sweatpants and adopt a spa lifestyle for a while. Here’s the routine:-
I’ll ensure the bathrooms have freshly laundered fluffy bath robes and slippers and all my favourite products are to hand. In the morning I will steep some homegrown mint in hot water for a summery, cleansing cup of tea before my bath and put on some gentle music. These simple tricks will transport you to a spa setting and you’ll be relaxing and winding down in no time.
After cleansing, toning and applying my favourite face mask (or maybe a combination of masks depending on what my skin needs) I’ll give my body a good dry brush (Giving it The Brush Off £16) to stimulate circulation, help eliminate toxins and exfoliate. Dry brushing has so many benefits it makes for a brilliant habit, especially in the summer months.
Start with the soles of your feet and legs and brush upwards towards your heart in circular strokes without pressing too hard. Do the same from your hands, working up your arms, being gentle if you have any sunburn or patches of irritation, then jump in the bath or shower and buff dead skin cells off with a zesty exfoliating body wash - It’s a Wonderful Life £15 before finishing with a comforting moisturiser such as Peace Be Still £19. Your newly smoothed skin will drink up the hydrating goodness and thank you for the settling benefits.
If the weather is on our side, this country is a very wonderful place to spend the summer and if it does rain, take advantage; make a batch of popcorn, put on your snugglies and seek out some all-time favourite movies. Releasing T Cells from deep laughter and emotion will heal, restore and boost your mood and that has to be good. One of our most fun nights on our recent staycation was having a Raclette night with The Sound of Music in the background and our trusty gingham cloths used to decorate the table alpine style; who doesn’t enjoy a good yodel now and again?!
So above all, be playful and creative, don’t be afraid to let your hair down and indulge in some guilty pleasures you’ve been missing the past few months.
But however and wherever you find yourself this summer, stay well, stay safe and ENJOY.
Love, Liz XX