As I write this post, the view from my window is very grim indeed. Drizzly rain, dark skies, cool winds. Welcome to summer in England! We have had a good stretch of nice sunny weather which has been great. But the thing about July and August in England is that the weather is incredibly unpredictable. One day it’s hot and sunny, the very next day it’s raining and temps drop back down to the low 60s. Never mind, that’s your typical English summer and I’ve experienced so many of them now, it’s old hat to me and we just have to accept it and even if it snows in August (which it has done before), it’s OK, it’s still summer time in England and we have to make the most of it.

British summer

For us, summer time is really just the month of August with a few weeks either side. It means no school and no clubs, sleeping in later (not me!), reading challenges, slobbing out, and some family days out. We also try and go away somewhere for a change of scenery, to re-charge, to experience other places and countries and to get some much needed R&R. For me especially, it’s great to physically leave our house because it’s also my work office and not being here allows me to switch off from work for a bit.

As the kids get older, it becomes a little less stressful organizing things like child care and activity clubs to fit around my work schedule. Mostly I schedule work around the kids! It’s just my youngest now who goes and the older two organize their own stuff, with parental help and direction of course. Here’s what we have planned – no guarantees on some of this but it’s good to have a plan!

  • A weekend in my husband’s hometown for a family wedding
  • A week in Wales (this could be great or it could be a disaster – it all depends on the British weather!)
  • Library reading challenge for my youngest
  • My eldest is volunteering at the library to help with the summer reading challenge
  • My girl has set herself several reading and writing assignments (not sure of the details but seeing the size of the books, looks like she’ll be busy)
  • Holiday club for my youngest
  • A week in France via Euro tunnel and with Air BNB (includes a day trip to Paris!!!!)
  • My husband and my two oldest will be doing lots of cooking and baking (it’s funny because when we’re away on holiday, we have role reversal and I sit around reading while my husband shops and prepares all the meals. At times, only while on holiday, I actually believe I am incapable of cooking.)
  • Cleaning rooms and giving stuff to our local charity shop
  • A few DIY jobs around the house
  • A few friend meet-ups involving swimming, cinema, sleepovers (I’ll let the kids organize these themselves)
  • I’ll be doing lots of work in between all of this as I don’t take much time off over the summer
  • A day trip to Arundel Lido (outdoor swimming pool), again, weather permitting. By the way, I love that very British add-on ‘weather permitting’ which seems to accompany every outdoor event. It is very overused and necessary here!
  • A day trip with friends to Marwell zoo
  • Shopping for school supplies, school uniforms and shoes

I’m really looking forward to the kids finishing school (apart from work panic!) especially after weeks of seeing posts from American Facebook friends about what their kids are doing during summer vacation since school finished back in May/June for them.

Pretty soon it will be September and back to school time so we’d better enjoy every minute of our summer holidays. Hope you all do too!

Expat Life with a Double Buggy

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Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits and co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs with Heidi Mulligan Walker. Meghan is also the Director and Chief Designer at her own design company, White Ochre Design Ltd. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.