Frugal ways for sunny days

As a kid, I used to feel I had more in common with vampires than with most of my schoolmates. They loved the sun, I much preferred staying indoors with a book and a scowl. I was emo before emo was even a thing. But these days, I've gone full lizard. I'm one of those people that I used to disdain: I've gone from sun-dodger to sun worshipper. Now if I see a ray of sunshine, you can't stop me getting outside.

Aside from just making the world look slightly better, the glorious light of a full sun is good for your wallet. I love taking advantage of the good weather to save a few quid. My favourite way to save pennies in the good weather is treat the outdoors like my favourite restaurant or pub. 

One of the things I love about sunny days in the capital is the creativity Londoners use to find a the tiniest patch of grass or pavement to spend a half hour at lunchtime or after work basking in the sunshine. Even the grottiest spots take on a festive air on a sunny day.

I'm a Londoner, and I do the same. I like to take a picnic and head to one of my local parks if the weather allows. Eating outdoors is a tonic in the middle of a long day's revision: I can pack up some sandwiches or salad, fruit, nuts and maybe a cake if I'm lucky, and sprawl out on for just long enough to recharge my batteries. I always intend to make an elaborate picnic - vegan muffleta sandwiches, homemade falafel and baba ganoush, banana bread - but I always end up with a sarnie. Eating it in the sunshine though, anything tastes like it's been made my a Michelin starred chef.

It's the same for more grown-ups-only entertainment. A round in a London pub for two people normally hits you in the wallet to the tune of £10, more if you need some dry roasted peanuts (which you definitely do). £10 for two drinks. Buying a bottle or two from the local supermarket and finding somewhere glorious to sit down (not forgetting the peanuts, of course), and you can cut the cost of your round by half or more. A museum near me has a great garden that stays open until 9ish in the evening, and is very open to people stopping by for a picnic or a pint. It's the perfect place for a sundowner.

But sunny weather is not all beer and skittles. The sun is also my money saving ally when it comes to more prosaic things - like housework. As soon as it's shaping up to be a sunny day, it's time to the put the washing on, so the heat of the day will save me the cost of drying the clothes in a tumble dryer or something. Yep, that's how exciting my life is. (Can someone let me know that I'm not the only one that looks out the window on a sunny day and thinks 'I need to get the washing machine on ASAP'?!)

Sunny days are also good for bread baking. In the colder months, I leave my bread to prove on a radiator. When the temperature goes up, I can ditch the radiator and let the bread prove in my kitchen for an additional cost of sod all. On a good day, it only takes 20 minutes or so for a good rise, which means I can have a loaf of bread ready in under an hour. (My go-to recipe for no-knead bread is here, and perfect for when you can't be bothered to give your forearms a bread-kneading workout.)

And if you're really of a frugal mindset, then just think about all the free vitamin D you're getting!

This bank holiday is meant to be a warm and sunny one. You can bet I'll be out there as much as I can. Vampires, you enjoy the darkness. Me, I'll be out trying to find myself that little patch of London grass to lie out on.

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  1. Sitting outside late in the evening sun with a picnic sounds glorious. It is too cold to do anything but huddle by the heater. A nice wood fire would be great. But I still check the weather to see when I can hang out the washing - one of my little victories on the weekend was to hang the washing out long enough that it just needed some airing inside to dry. I don't have a tumble dryer so I try to get washing outside if I can even in winter.

  2. I have made a similar sort of conversion, but in my case, that's thanks to swapping the harsh sun of Australia to the milder UK variety :-) I still go a bit vampire like if it hits 30'C but things do seem, well, sunnier when it's sunny. I like your set of ideas and picnics in London parks are one of the best things going.

  3. I love taking my lunch outside in the summer, like you I always end up with a sandwich or something less fancy than I imagine myself eating but it always tastes so good!


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