ALERT: Summer

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel pretty behind on Summer. It’s mid-June, I’m wearing tights, and my scorecard looks like this:

Barbeques: 1
Sunburn: 1 bout, mild, on the shoulders
Afternoons spent laid out on the grass: Half
Times at which sunglasses were genuinely needed: 1
Magnum ice creams: 756*

So, amen to this. And amen to Nathan Rao at The Express for saying it:

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Get the razor and fake tan out, gals.

Apparently “temperatures are poised to skyrocket over the next 48 hours as a plume of sweltering air sweeps in from the tropics”. Say no more, Nathan. If you, like me, are now panicking about your lack of Summer preparation, here’s a selection of lovely fun items you can pick up from supermarkets and retail parks on your lunch break, for emergency barbeques and frolics that are long overdue. They’re all pretty cheap, too.

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Strawberry napkins, Sainsburys; BBQ napkins, Sainsburys; Grey picnic rug, Wilko; Pink faux plant tray, Primark; Citronella bamboo torch, The Range; Fruiti wine goblet, The Range; Three ice cream cones, Wilko; Havana stripe bowl, The Range; Pineapple glass jar, The Range; Glow in the dark mushroom stake, The Range; Floral bunting, Wilko.

* Never weather-dependent

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Hand painting leopard print tableware

I wrote a while ago about the leopard print trend that refuses to go away (HOORAH!), and how you can build it into your room décor if you just cannot acceptably buy another leopard print item of clothing.

Inspired by this, I used a day off work to sharpen up our tableware and create some hand painted bowls featuring the nation’s favourite print.

Although you’re usually advised to hand wash hand painted pots to preserve the colours – so a little impractical for those (me) who rely on a dishwasher – they work really well as occasional tableware. So I chose to make two ‘swoosh bowls’ with a white exterior and printed interior. Here they are waiting for their makeover…

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Colour-wise, we all want something that’s going to work with existing crockery and place settings, but continue to work if we ever upgrade. So I went for a crimson, black and dark grey scheme that fits with some treasured TK Maxx serving bowls we stumbled upon last Christmas. It’s strange when you apply the paint, as the colour changes significantly and becomes much more vivid when the bowls are fired. All you can do as you paint is have faith and just keep going, in the knowledge that the colours will change and everything will look much better after some time in the kiln.

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Here they are after three hours of painting dots (it’s a killer). I was not at all sure how they’d turn out at this point.

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And here’s the finished product. To be completely honest, it just looks like blobs or flowers  to me. I like them, but I think I can work on my leopard print skills. Who knew it was so hard to work with blobs?!

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Fancy creating something similar? If you’re in and around Leeds, try Jackrabbits Pottery in Roundhay. They have a range of items to paint from egg cups to tealight holders, vases to huge serving bowls, and can talk you through the process if you haven’t been before. They also have hot drinks and cakes while you paint, as a consolation prize if your print turns out like mine 😉