Maybe you’d normally be packing up the boot with plastic buckets, windbreaks, and flip flops - ready to stop en route for a tidal wave of pork pies and sharing bags of crisps, for a day or two of pebbly pandemonium. Or waking up at 3am to fly to fairer shores, for an all-inclusive week away that’ll keep everyone happy.

This year, summer holidays will be a little different… and without even the novelty of long lie-ins, excessive amounts of screen-time and general overindulgence. So how do you make it feel like a holiday, when you’re just staying at home?

1. Have a ‘themed day’

Young or old alike, having a ‘themed day’ is a great way to shake things up a bit - and a chance for a covert spot of education, if you really want. Try Mexico: colour in your own Day of the Dead march, make fajitas for tea (culinary authenticity notwithstanding), pop Coco on for a film night, and maybe enjoy a couple of margaritas, or palomas to be more accurate.

Not your bag? Go for the regency era (kinda). Dress up in your poshest frocks and suits, pop on Pride and Prejudice, and handcraft an exquisite afternoon tea - cucumber sandwiches cut into fingers, scones, or even Mr Kipling’s finest. Anything goes!

2. Household tournaments

You’re going to need a bit of excitement to fill up a few days. That means having something to look forward to - and what better than a spot of friendly (or familial, so not-so-friendly) competition?!

It could be a game of Scrabble or Monopoly every night, until you find a victor. Or a league for penalty shoot-outs. Or maybe a home-style ‘bake off’ (if you can find flour, that is). Whatever you choose, stagger it over several days, keep a scorecard, and decide on a prize. It’ll definitely keep things interesting!

3. Get stuck into a TV series

We’re talking about quality TV time, the old-fashioned way. No binge-watching, no being able to skip the theme tune, no instant gratification. Just one episode a night (or a week, for the truly disciplined!) of something that’ll really have you on tenterhooks.

Not only is it something to base your evenings around, and draw any moody teens out from their bedrooms, it can be the hot topic at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table - handy when there’s really not a lot else to chat about!

4. Daily treats

You’re missing out on the joys of a Mr Whippy by the sea, or a cool glass of something strong on a sun lounger. But make sure you find other ways to reward yourself for switching off!

Whether it’s a bowl of popcorn in the evening, something freshly baked every Sunday afternoon, a long soak in a candlelit bath, or a new book, the little things can keep life exciting. And dare we say it, picking out a bag of fresh coffee to try out could be just the ticket…


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