Summer is finally here – and we never thought it’d come.
If you’re scratching your head trying to think of ways to enjoy a rare bit of summer sun after work – or even during the day if you’re not working at the moment – here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Discover a new beauty spot
Look at Google maps and pick out a pond, lake, canal, beach, park or field within walking or cycling distance that you’ve never been to before. Pack a book, a blanket and some refreshments, call a friend – and go check it out.
2. Treat yourself to a swim
Outdoor swimming pools are now open – but you might need to book a slot in advance. If you’re worried about the spread of Covid-19 in pools, find out more about what experts say – and how to reduce your risk.
3. Make your own banana ice cream
There’s a really quick way to make “ice cream” using bananas – perfect in this heat. Dig out those ripened bad boys, peel them, mush them up and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, pop them in a blender and the end result is a cold, creamy banana dessert.
If you want to give it an upgrade, try adding a tablespoon of peanut butter, a dollop of honey, a touch of sweetened condensed milk or a sprinkling of cinnamon, suggests The Kitchn. And don’t forget to enjoy it outside.
Not got any bananas? Track down your local ice cream man or head to the shops and treat yourself to the real deal.
4. Have a picnic dinner
Picnics have had a moment in this pandemic, and they’re perfect for this weather. If you have a garden or nearby local park, why not have dinner outside this week?
Get your favourite foodie bits from the shop, invite nearby family or friends (but remember the “rule of six”), chill some drinks in preparation, make a fancy cocktail if you’re staying at home, or prep the Pimm’s – and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect evening ahead.
5. Have fun with a frisbee
Frisbees were incredibly popular during lockdown – and it’s no wonder. You can have fun outside, stay active, and also remain at a distance from others if they’re not from your household (just remember that hand sanitiser). If you haven’t got one, you can get one online fairly cheaply. Easy peasy.
6. Take the pub to the park
Parks are rapidly becoming the place to socialise. Pubs might be closed, so take the pub to the park (or your garden) and enjoy a well-earned, ice cold drink as the sun sets. If you fancy inviting your mates along, make an evening of it with a pub quiz IRL (in real life) rather than on Zoom. What a novelty!
7. Dust off the BBQ
There might still be remnant’s of your last barbecue on the grill, so get the marigolds on and clean it up because you’ll be needing it this week. Stuck for recipe ideas? Try these smokey chipotle chicken wings, barbecued mackerel, and halloumi and pineapple skewer recipes.
8. Go on a walk with a podcast
Liven up your same-old evening amble with a new podcast. We’d recommend Am I Making You Uncomfortable? (of course), HuffPost UK Life’s podcast addressing women’s health, bodies and private lives. Expect candid chats about nipples, body image, money and more. If you’re up to date with that one, have a look through eight podcast recommendations from the HuffPost UK team.
9. Tidy up your outside space
There’s literally no better time to spruce up your outside space than during this sunny spell – especially if you’re hoping to use it more this summer. Remove any old flower heads to give your plants the chance to flower again, pull out unsightly weeds, and give your plants a much-needed drink.
With garden centres open, you could even venture to your local centre after work to pick up some new blooms or seeds.
10. Create an outdoor cinema
You don’t need loads of equipment to create an outdoor cinema – just a laptop, Netflix and some blankets for when it starts to get chilly. Grab a couple of comfy chairs (you might want to bring some cushions outside), pop your laptop on a table and light some candles or hang fairy lights to set the scene. Popcorn is a must. If you don’t have a garden, take your set-up to the park and swap the chairs for a picnic blanket.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.