My boys are both having their own holidays without us this year and Tim and I have just had three days away in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. We also have two weeks at home together. But what do I do with the time in between when the family are either working or doing their own thing?
Most of my summers start off with good intentions along the lines of: get more organised, complete major decorating projects and, in a bottom-of-the-list type of way, make more time for myself. Ha! Like that's ever going to happen!
It's no surprise then to hear that by the end of the school holidays I'm usually exhausted from trying to fit too much in and generally feel angsty that I can't keep on top of it all.
This year I'm determined to look after myself. You know that nugget of advice that if you look after yourself then you're better placed to take care of others - well it's time to give it a try! I decided to make a list of things that I really want to do with my time. Not things that I think I should do. No. Things that'll make me feel happy as I anticipate them. Things that'll make me healthier because I'll feel more balanced not slimmer or clearer skinned. A few indulgences that wouldn't be in my usual budget but are a one-off reward to myself.
Here's my 'bottom-of-the-list' summer list. It's in no particular order. I've tried to make my list fun, as specific as I can and impossible to finish. I'll still have domestic tasks to attend to, a kitchen that needs painting and I'd like to declutter more of our paperwork but these will not be my priority.
This summer taking a few hours each day for myself will always be towards the top of my to-do list.
Minimalism is all about having the freedom to choose how you spend your time after all.
My bottom-of-the-list summer list:
- Try a flat white.
- Finish reading books that got abandoned because of book club deadlines. How could I not finish The Goldfinch when I had less than 100 pages to go?
- Read unread books on my bookshelf. I had quite a lot of books for my birthday (see photo). Which to read first? Any recommendations?
- Read independent magazines. I bought The Simple Things for the first time for our trip away at the weekend and I would like to try others. Any suggestions?
- Cook from recipe books not the internet.
- Have a summer pj day and catch up with films.
- Eat fresh avocados because I love them and they're healthy.
- Make homemade guacamole (avocados again I know).
- Visit a cafe alone to write.
- Learn the basics of hand embroidery.
- Eat ice cream once a week.
- Put edited photos in new photo albums.
- Create a photo wall.
- Have an eyebrow and eyelash tint.
- Actually buy something from a farmer's market.
- Give myself a weekly manicure.
- Learn the words to a favourite song so I can sing along.
- Take part in Susannah Conway's The August Break on Instagram.
- Go on a train journey to somewhere new.
- Visit Turvey Abbey.
- Eat a simple meal of bread, cheese and wine in the garden.
I could go on but I'll stop here.
Do try writing a 'bottom-of-the-list' list. It's really fun. And of course you can do this in the southern hemisphere and in your time off work too. I'll update you on my progress along the way.
Go on indulge your imagination and your soul.
What's on your 'bottom-of-the-list' list? Do your projects and interests always come bottom of the list? Please share.