Puttery Treats For A Rainy Summer Weekend

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It seems to me that occasionally the universe saves up the rain in order to force us to send the weekend at home instead of dillydallying around garden centres, car boot sales and the God Forsaken nightmare that is the out of town retail centre...

And so it comes to pass that we find ourselves wandering around a grey little house, droplets of rain on the windows like prison bars between us and the garden we long to get stuck into, and a head full of frustration for woebegone plans.

But instead of seething with weather related resentment (a furious waste of time!) we should instead embrace the opportunity to hug our house, play some gorgeous music and putter our way through to the kind of snuggly, sparkly, purposeful Saturday afternoons our hearts will always treasure...

*Set the mood with music played very, very low. Keeping the volume down re-trains our ears to really hear the music and instils a sense of calm. Download Brian Eno's Discreet Music

*If you are feeling rather blah burn pine or rosemary oil to lift your mood.

* Call me daft but I've always found hand-washing my laundry to be a sure fire route to near nirvana... Clean fragile vintage lace by putting it into a jar of soapy water and gently shaking. Leave to soak, then press between towels, pin flat and leave to dry.

*Have a terribly English, cosy little lunch of cucumber sandwiches (salt the cucumber beforehand and leave in a bowl in the fridge) and teeny bite sized chocolate dipped shortbread with Earl Grey tea.

*Do something meditative like shelling peas (serve with feta on warm bread for supper later..) or polishing silver. A repetitive action that allows your mind to wander into that really rather glorious state you occasionally horrify yourself with while driving...

*Make chilly Summer evenings smell deliciously fresh by using coils of dried lemon skin as fire-starters with twigs and bundled newspapers. Dry the skins by baking them in the oven on a very low temperature and storing them in a vintage mason jar away from the light.

*Steep 2oz of fresh rose petals in cider vinegar. Leave in a jar on the sunniest windowsill of your house for ten days, then strain and sprinkle over beetroot salad. Or soak a cotton hanky and apply to your temples to ease tension...

* Waste not, want not. Melt down all your old bar of soap, gently tint with vegetable dye and pour into Madeleine Tins for really rather scrumptious bars of  oyster shaped soap when set...

*Take a headache for an afternoon nap with a cup of rosemary tea. (Steep rosemary in boiling water for five mnutes, strain and pour into the prettiest cup you own). Open the windows in your bedroom and let the rosemary ease your headache as you listen to the rain dancing on the pavements. 

*If you don't have a water butt, run outside and stand your watering cans and garden buckets right way up to catch the rain for watering on dryer days.

*Re-connect with your partner. Designate a gorgeous notebook to a "written conversation". Leave it in your bathroom or a bedside drawer and use it to write down the things it is sometimes hard to say. Sorry. I love you because... please put the bins out... It will in the long term become a gorgeous record of love, forgiveness, hopes and dreams.

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