Is there anything better than being woken up by natural light spilling through the gaps in your curtains, dragging yourself to the window to look outside and seeing blue skies for miles?

Nope, not for me. Which is why I was so impressed with the brilliant timing of summer’s tempting debut and that sweet long weekend. I love the freedom that comes with good weather: it feels like there are no limits to what you can do, and that you’ve made the most of every day (even if the furthest you’ve ventured is into your garden with a blanket and a good book).

You can wear anything without fear of being too cold, or worrying about your hair messing up minutes after you leave the house. Good vibes seem to spread and multiply like an infection, and there’s that carefree attitude seeping out of every person you see that only a sunny day in Britain seems to unleash.

That handful of beautiful, hazy days is a time I’ll always remember as a blur of day drinking, laughter, picnics and euphoria at the first alfresco meal of the year. Problems seem to melt away like the ice cream dripping down your cone and suddenly summer doesn’t seem so far away.

I never used to get the hype over bank holidays – I worked in a pub so they were just another day behind the bar for me, and the hours meant I missed out on the drinking. Now I’ve started full time in my marketing job, I get it. I get why those extra two days are so sacred, with the weekend sandwiched in-between. When the weather’s decent it’s basically a free holiday!

I took the Tuesday off too, so five whole days with zero responsibility and a clean schedule to fill with fun activities is something I haven’t really appreciated since before I started my part-time job at 14. It felt bloody amazing. And coming back to the desk with a fresh perspective after not even contemplating work for almost a week has motivated me to get stuck in again.

Yes, I spent most of it in the pub. But it’s so easy and delicious to sit and soak up the rays with a fruity cider and your best mates. I also attended my first ever afternoon tea (where these photos were taken – hence me looking so full and content), lounged around with my family and played frizbee with my nephews.

Josh and I cycled 14 miles down the canal (me on my amazing basket bike with one gear) – a route that’s right on my doorstep and that I’ve wanted to do for so long but never found the time. We forgot Morrison’s wouldn’t be open on Sunday to get picnic ingredients so ended up getting a load of sausage rolls (vegan ones for me – if you haven’t tried them yet, you’re missing out) from Greggs and some beers and Prosecco from Bargain Booze.

We stopped in the most picturesque field by the river and lazed about listening to music; stuffing our faces and washing it down with bubbly. On the way back we met my brother and his friend for some Sangria in a pub with a beer garden backing onto the canal, and by the time we got back to Brecon we ditched the last two miles, called my Dad to pick up the bikes and ended up staying out until 3am (in my ridiculously casual linen shorts and crop top).

It’s these spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment decisions that fill me with so much joy I could burst because that’s what life is all about to me. Doing whatever the fuck you want because you can.

TOP Pretty Little Thing | TROUSERS Vintage | ESPADRILLES Boden (gifted)| SUNGLASSES Zara (old, similar here)

This is my favourite outfit from the weekend – I’m obsessed with the colours, mix of textures and the retro 50s influence it oozes, and a splash of gold jewellery and some catseye sunnies help to thread the pieces together. The backdrop was a matter of convenience but I’m actually so happy with the way the photos have turned. Although it’s green on green the clothes stand out so well.

I’m ecstatic that I managed to match my vintage green scarf perfectly with the trousers. I rarely wear my hair up but when I do I like to make it interesting!

I thrive when mixing old and new, and this combination couldn’t express that passion more if it tried. These trousers were the £1 Gerry Weber wonders I picked up from a charity shop while at uni, and the cropped gingham top is brand new.

It’s not a top I would have picked out for myself, but a friend got sent two and thought of me. Turns out I absolutely love it, and will definitely be more adventurous when it comes to trying new shapes in the future! I love that although it’s tiny and *ahem* quite revealing, it remains modest when paired with high-waisted trousers. AND I felt great wearing it, which is the main thing.

I adore gingham and love finding new ways to style it. There’s a real vintage nostalgia associated with the pattern and this top is ideal for such hot weather when I’ve run out of dresses and want the protection of trousers.

My espadrilles are (a gift from) Boden – I spent last summer desperately hunting for a pair but couldn’t find any that really wowed me, so I was thrilled when I discovered these beauties online. They instantly went in my basket and I am overjoyed with how they look, fit and feel. There’s no better duo than gingham and straw (that sounds really weird but bare with me) as they compliment each other beautifully and offer an unrivalled cuteness.

The shoes genuinely didn’t leave my feet the whole weekend and were sooo comfy thanks to the wedge and soft material. The ideal height for running around garden parties in (not so ideal for a bike ride) and they just look good with everything. I know the brand inside and out now, so they’ll definitely stand the test of time (I mean they survived a night out in Brecon which is proof enough).

Here’s to more hot days of spontaneity and the versatile ensembles that allow for that.

Lily x

ph. Anna Herring & Sophie Bevan

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