Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ll know that the news is currently being dominated by two things: Brexit and balls. I have to admit I’m not at all interested in ‘the beautiful game’. None of my summer plans involve watching, or indeed playing, football.

 

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Whenever I’m thinking of activities to do with Luisa I always reminisce about my own childhood. As I have three brothers our summers were often punctuated by sporting events, much to my displeasure. I can remember desperately looking forward to summer holidays as a child. But, often, when they came around I missed the routine and social aspect of school.

 

Some of my favourite outdoor summer activities were visiting the farm, building dens and gardening with my grandad. He had a garden that would put Alan Titchmarsh to shame and always let us potter around it with him. Although I’m sure we got in his way most of the time.

 

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My Grandad’s wonderful garden over the years

 

Every year without fail I made vats of sickly sweet ‘perfume’ using fallen flower petals. My technique left a lot to be desired! Usually I’d just gather up some  flowers, dump them in a bucket of water and leave them to stew. I always expected to create something wonderful but in reality my perfume was a rotten soup after a few days outside.

 

What I didn’t realise was that you actually can make reasonably decent perfume with flowers if you apply a bit of common sense. Rather than leaving the petals to ferment in cold water you need to ‘cook’ them on a low heat for a few hours to release the fragrance. Following that you just strain the petals out and you’re left with homemade perfume. Voila!

 

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Luisa isn’t quite at the perfume making stage but she has recently learnt to sniff flowers so I’m sure next summer we’ll be setting up a perfumery in the garden. In the meantime this year we’ll stick to visiting the park and avoiding the football! If you’re looking for some inspiration Haven’s guide offers more activity ideas to try outdoors this summer. The best part is you don’t need a football for any of them!