May is perhaps the only month that quite literally starts and ends on a positive note. Love Christmas as we do, not even December can say that it opens with a bank holiday like May Day can. Then, but weeks later, a second three-day-weekend, for which we are deeply grateful for year on year. As well-practiced as we are in whiling away the hours at home, a helping hand in coming up with bank holiday activities to keep everyone entertained is always welcome on our watch. So, without further ado…
In the garden
Naturally, long weekends draw us all outdoors, and so if you’re blessed with a plain air patch and the weather is playing ball, we suggest setting yourself a green-fingered task like growing a herb garden.
That doesn’t have to mean growing from seed (unless you’re the well-seasoned sort or simply fancy having a go at herbs from scratch) but venturing out to your local garden centre and investing in as many pots and plants as your garden sees fit. Line them all up nicely along a ledge or potting bench, or invest in some garden shelving to separate them from the rest of your planting.
Not only will a herb garden look smart, but you’ll find plenty of reason to use it in the kitchen too rather than buying the plastic-packed sort from the supermarket. For the bank holiday however, we’ll be using our herb gardens for one very particular purpose – to make a homegrown, handpicked botanical cocktail. Pick spearmint (easy to maintain and will grow back every year) to make bourbon mint juleps; hardy rosemary to upgrade your gin and tonic; or chamomile, loved for its apple-and-honey notes that blend beautifully with St Germain elderflower liquor and fizz.
Another classic bank holiday activity, but barbecue-ing doesn’t have to be as by the book as you might think.
Instead of treading down your usual path of hot dogs and skewers, set yourself a challenge of trying out something new, that’s made from scratch, and will seriously up your barbecue game. It doesn’t need to be anything hugely time-consuming or a showstopper of a dish, but what about homemade brioche buns for your burgers or bubbly batter onion rings (which couldn’t be easier to make) to go inside a slider?
About the house
With one extra day to kick back, it’s always tempting to use it wisely and tackle a few chores that you’ve been putting off (the spring-cleaning sort like having a clear-out of a certain cupboard or giving front door furniture a well-deserved polish) or to bite the bullet and take on a home improvement that you’ve been pondering awhile.
More often than not, bank holiday spruce-up tasks involve tins of paint. Typically, not too costly nor too time-consuming (that is unless you’ve decided to repaint an entire room), paint gives your room a new lease of life, making it a mega refreshing, quick-win job ideal for the bank holiday weekend.
Wondering what you could take your tin to? Window frames (a contrasting colour to your walls is a fun update), any wooden furniture like dining chairs or a chest of drawers are all ripe for refreshing. Check out the 35 shades in our Proper Good Paint collection for colour inspiration.
Out and about
Bank holiday activities become all the more interesting when they’re a fresh take on a typical pastime. So, instead of suggesting a run-of-the-mill walk, say to yourself that you’re going on a nature trail to unearth new species and get savvy on each and every one you come across.
Leaving your phone at home to immerse yourself in nature is all well and good, but having it to hand in this scenario is definitely advisable to make the most of any plant identifying apps. PlantSnap and Leafsnap (used by the Natural History Museum no less) are good ones to try but go for Seek by iNaturalist if you want to detect flora and fauna – a joint venture between the California Academy of Science and the National Geographic Society, it’s an encyclopedia of millions of different species.
And finally, another wholesome activity that’s just perfect for a spring bank holiday – wildflower picking.
Secateurs in hand, be sure to only snip at the stems rather than uprooting the whole plant (which is very much not allowed) and avoid any conservation sites or heritage sites and areas that are cultivated rather than wild (no tulip pinching from your local roundabout!) Otherwise, roam free in woodland and meadows to gather delicate spring flowers like cornflowers, red campions, forget-me-nots and cowslips that are all ideal for bud vases. Or, for a fuller arrangement, keep an eye out for oxeye daisies, pink-headed yarrow and frothy cow parsley.