Oh it’s been a weird summer hasn’t it?
I don’t think any of us quite expected to spend almost half the year in some sort of lockdown. To be honest, I’ve had a lovely old time pottering around at home, going for lockdown walks and staying out of the sun, but I know it hasn’t been quite so straightforward for everyone.
Before Hello Hygge kicks off again in autumn (I’m counting down the seconds), I thought I’d give you a little glimpse into what I’ve been up to this summer. I know I’ve been quiet on here lately, but I’ll be back in full force when September hits!
So, firstly, the woodland walks! I’m very lucky to live in Brighton, which sits on the south coast of the UK, between the sea and the South Downs. It means we have lots of pretty places to walk, and like the rest of the country, I now feel much better acquainted with my local area thanks to a million and one daily walks. It sounds so painfully clichéd, but when the world has gone a bit mad, spending time in nature really is grounding, and it’s perfect for your daily dose of summer hygge.
I’ve also been cooking A LOT. When everyone was panic buying at the start of lockdown, it wasn’t easy to find all the ingredients I needed for my usual recipes, so it forced me to branch out and experiment. Above, we have walnut brownies (LOOK at that perfect squidge!), a summer berry pavlova and a plum and almond traybake. The plums were, of course, picked on my annual trip to my local pick-your-own farm.
Actually, on the subject of fruit, this has been the fruitiest summer of my life. My mum has a cherry tree in her garden, much to the envy of her neighbours, and it’s been an incredible year for cherries. I made a cherry clafoutis (or two, or three…), cherry brownies and munched my way through a whole lot of cherries and whipped vanilla cream. The hedges of Sussex are also heaving with blackberries this year, so I’ve been keeping my antioxidant levels topped up with lots of these juicy babies.
I’ve spent a whole lot of time around flowers too. I bought my mum a bougainvillea plant at the start of lockdown from Gunns Florist (a Brighton institution, now offering UK-wide delivery!), and she’s been busy growing strawberries, tomatoes, chillis, sweetcorn, herbs and loads more all summer. Unfortunately my flat has no outdoor space and nowhere suitable for growing things, so I spent a lot of time living vicariously through my mum’s plants. It’s no secret that pink is my favourite colour, so spotting these beautiful hydrangeas was a joy, as was a scorching saunter through the rose garden a few minutes from my flat.
And I can’t talk about flowers without talking about THE flower of my lockdown – peonies! They’re my favourite flower in the world, and I had them constantly throughout peony season. I got mine from Gunns and Bloom & Wild, and they made me smile without fail every single time I laid eyes on them. It’s genuinely exciting waking up to find that another little ball of petals has bloomed so obnoxiously!
Since lockdown rules have relaxed slightly, it’s been so nice to reconnect with my pals. Here you go – a rare glimpse of Miss Hello Hygge herself (at the back, clutching a can of Aldi’s passionfruit martini on my old school field). We’ve had picnics in the park, barbecues and trips to beach bars, which has all been very exciting for us.
I’ve also had some super nice trips along the coast to Eastbourne, where the new Mr Hello Hygge lives (!). I’ve been to Beachy Head (complete with the world’s cutest lighthouse), for sea swims, shell collecting on the beach and for some delightful brunches (a particular shout out to Company for their INCREDIBLE teriyaki tofu poke bowl and iced chai latte).
And now we’re allowed back into the real(ish) world, I’ve definitely thrown myself back into eating out! I’ve been supporting local, independent businesses as much as possible, so above we have the corn and kimchi fritters from Nelson Coffee, the famous bread basket and champagne cocktails from Riddle & Finns (my favourite restaurant in the world – not cheap, but so worth it, and very hyggeligt) and the veggie brunch from Café Rust.
And finally, I’ve got really into picking my own flowers. I know, flowers flowers flowers, but I just love them! Even though I’m not really one for bright colours, I can’t help but love this English lavender with these violently zingy orange flowers (I CANNOT for the life of me keep their real name in my head). I also really wasn’t sold on the Damascena Diptyque candle when it first arrived, but the second I lit it I fell in love with its unapologetically rosy scent.
All in all, despite the horrendous heatwave we’ve endured this week, it’s been a really lovely few months. Summer isn’t my favourite season, but even in lockdown (maybe because of lockdown?), I feel like I’ve made the best of it. If anything, I feel like this strange lockdown summer has made me really appreciate getting outside, and spending Friday evening splashing around in the sea after a humid, sticky week was the ultimate summer hygge for me.
Next weekend I’m off rockpooling, and possibly for some sea kayaking if the weather allows, or more sea swimming if it doesn’t. There might even be time for one last barbecue to see off the summer… but whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, you can guarantee that I’ll be bouncing off the walls in anticipation of crunchy leaves, shiny conkers and crisp mornings.