"It's good to touch the green, green grass of home"
So, not all of us have an immaculate lawn, but home is where the heart is. For those who relish being in their own environment, with family and friends all around, there are plenty of things you can get up to without straying too far from your front door...
Carry on Coupling
Whether you’re a psychic sceptic or a true believer, a ghost hunt can be a fun activity for couples wanting something other than Netflix and chill. A little scare can keep a date lively, and gives you an excuse to cuddle up when things go bump in the night. If you’re in Essex, you can join the Cressing Temple Ghost Hunt on 7 July.
For a more leisurely afternoon, how about hiring a row boat and taking to the Thames in Windsor – but watch out for the Queen’s swans. It can be a great bonding experience as you navigate the waters, and hopefully you’ll be doing more rowing than rowing.
If you and your date could use a stiff drink, perhaps book a tour of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Hampshire. As well as learning how the world-famous gin is produced, you can take a cocktail masterclass and treat yourself to a complimentary drink at the bar.
If you fancy the fizzy stuff, the ‘Popped Truck’ is a prosecco-fuelled dream that brings the bubbles to you. Ace for summer parties, or perhaps a wedding?
Get Your Kit Off, Love!
As a nation of shopkeepers, we do tend to keep the goods covered up. But is that all for show? While nudist beaches exist in the UK, many people are embracing stripping down in their own homes. In fact, getting your kit off around the house could be a big giveaway to your personality traits.
Research into the Big Five personality characteristics found that people who have a higher intellect, or who are open to new experiences, are more likely to be the ones walking around the house in their birthday suit.
Naturism and its effect on a person has been studied and found to have many benefits, including increased life satisfaction, and improvements to a person’s self-esteem.
Dr Keon West had 850 Brits complete a survey and discovered those who spent more time naked were happier with their bodies than those who covered up. So, rather than spending money on a new outfit to make you feel good, it turns out the best thing for body positivity is just being in your own skin.
If you fancy embracing your bod in all its naked glory, spend a week in July at Thorney Lake in Somerset for Nudefest. No shirt, no shoes, a disco set from DJ Theresa, as well as plenty of activities ranging from yoga, archery and a clothes-free 5k run. What an eye-opener.
Ecotherapy is all about doing something good for the planet, while also nourishing your own mental wellbeing. Being outdoors can provide structure and routine to the day of someone living with depression. Additionally, being connected to nature can help with increased mindfulness.
Try escaping into nature at one of the huge number of National Trust locations across the UK, or volunteer with a project like Groundwork. The team work to improve parks, playgrounds and shared green spaces, as well as getting young people involved in improving their towns.
Pets Win Prizes
If your dog’s been a particularly good boy, you can now treat him to afternoon tea at The Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge. Served daily from 12noon–6pm, you can tuck into a scone while your four-legged friend licks clean a bowl of meatloaf, or curbs that sweet tooth with some “doggylicious ice cream”.
Alternatively, you can take your pooch to a dog-friendly movie screening. We don’t think Scooby Doo is on the bill, but a doggie movie date is sure to set a few tails wagging.
Why I love Gardening
happiful reader Yvonne explains why gardening connects her to everything
“I’m weeding in a border at the back of my garden, and I’m engaged in the moment, when suddenly I hear a soft rustle. I sense something, so I freeze. There, poised to my right, is a very small robin. I have to stop. I can hardly breathe. We both hold the moment. Then in an instant he’s OK. He busily starts to scratch the earth where I’ve been working for a tasty treat.
The thing that connects me to everything is gardening. When the soil by my plants and vegetables runs through my hands, and when I watch my beautiful passion flower bloom and joyfully reach up towards the sky, I feel awe.
Time disappears as I inhale the gentle fragrance of my jasmine, or when I listen to the soft bird song in the trees, or when I hear the grasses swaying in the breeze. This is my pure bliss, my contentment in my sanctuary, far away from all the worries of
Rainy Days Indoors with Kids
The British weather is erratic at best, so let’s prepare!
Make a snow globe Make a simple snow globe by filing a clean jam-jar with water and glitter (add glycerin for gloopiness). You can also create a “scene” with clay and then superglue it to the lid. Shake the globe and ask your child to watch until it settles. Now focus on a single piece of glitter. Explain the jar is like their mind, and the glitter pieces are thoughts and feelings whirling around inside, which can help their own minds to settle.
Read a story – mindfully How often do we really take the time to stay present when we read? So often, we are skipping ahead in our minds to the next activity, and if we already know the story we might be reading on autopilot. Try listening to the story through your child’s ears. Whenever your mind wanders, bring it right back to the words on the page.
Draw together Drawing is a wonderful way to practise mindfulness. Drawing the negative space (the background) around the object instead of the object itself can be an interesting way to encourage observation. Older children can do this with you, but younger children need to be allowed draw from their imagination.
- Let them get bored When children say they are bored, most parents will suggest activities. But if we always offer ideas we are actually telling our children that boredom is intolerable. Helping children to draw from their own resources is tremendously useful for later life. It may feel tough at first, but it will quickly pay off as your children become more creative and resourceful.
Amber Hatch is the author of ‘Mindfulness for Parents’ (Watkins, £9.99)