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When the ‘Great’ British weather really knocks it out of the sky and gives us wall-to-wall sunshine, with soaring temperatures even hotter than the Balearics, it’s a time of celebration – as well as a lot of huffing and puffing…

I love the warm weather, but even so, boy has it been hot! 

The only way to combat the intense heat and humidity is to eat as many ice creams as humanly possible, drink as much Pimms as I can guzzle and sit in as many gardens as friends will permit me to. This pretty much sums up the past few weeks… And I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy it and not be at work.

It was my husband’s birthday at the beginning of the month and we had a double celebration. First, we took the kids on a day trip to Wakehurst Place in Sussex, a sprawling Botanical garden managed by Kew and owned by The National Trust. We couldn’t have picked a better day for it, and not only did the beautiful gardens inspire us to plant our own wild meadow, but Monkey really enjoyed getting stuck in to the various activity stations, including the mud kitchen.

The June Digest: Heat waves, BBQs and British Gardens

A week later, it was time for just the two of us when I treated hubby to a swanky lunch at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. We both love fine dining, and this was the first time we’d ever been to michelin-star chef Marcus Wareing’s flagship restaurant. We ate stunning dishes including pork jowl and bubble and squeak, and charred rabbit, parmesan, and risotto with wild garlic, washed down with the most delicious Burgundy wine. Hubby thought the wine cost £80 – but in actual fact it was double the price! Luckily, the shock was tempered by the fact I had drunk most of it…

The June Digest: Heat waves, BBQs and British Gardens

Have you ever made holiday friends and still keep in touch? We have on a couple of occasions, and on our trip to Villa Pia in Perugia last year, we became pals with a great couple who have a daughter the same age as Monkey. Like us, they enjoy travelling and exploring, so what better way to get together than at a National Trust property in between our respective homes. We opted to meet at my favourite, Chartwell House. I never tire of wandering the grounds and around the lake. The kids loved watching the black swans, running through the kitchen gardens, and rolling down any hill they could find. We all relaxed in the outdoor cafe, enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine.

The June Digest: Heat waves, BBQs and British Gardens

The good weather always means the cover comes off the BBQ, the weeds are attacked with gusto and we have to do a general tidy up of the garden. We’ve enjoyed several outdoor gatherings with families and friends, and it just goes to prove you don’t have to travel too far to be able to get the kids out of the house. Throw in a ball and a paddling pool, you’re all set!

I also got to fly solo and attend Royal Ascot. Not only was it a great opportunity for me to dress up in my finery, but it also meant I could let my hair down a little. Well as lot. Suffice to say, my head was a little sore the following day. But I had a great time putting a flutter on the horses, drinking lots of bubbles and catching up with friends.

The June Digest: Heat waves, BBQs and British Gardens

Blogwise, I am slowly but surely nearly ready to launch the new look My Travel Monkey. It’s been a long time coming but I’ve really struggled to keep on top of everything. Now that the baby is napping regularly, my hopes are that I can now focus my energies more productively. I can always keep hoping… Anyway, here’s a little teaser of the new look logo.

I was also shocked but happy to discover that I made it to the finals of the BiB awards for Best Travel Blogger. I genuinely did not think I would get any nods this year, because I made the conscious decision not to put myself forward for anything. After three years of campaigning and never quite making it, I felt it was time to give it a rest. So I am pleased as punch, and shall look forward to attending the awards ceremony later this year. I’m up against some tough competition, and in no way think I am going to win, but it will be lovely all the same!

With the kids breaking up for school in a matter of weeks, my plans are to take everything as it comes. We do have some trips in the diary, including a week in the Lake District, but otherwise, we will be quite happy to stay closer to home.

I do hope whatever you have planned over the summer, the sun keeps shining. Until next time…