The weather forecast for France and the UK looks like it's going to be 'scorchio' for Father's Day this weekend and the Summer Solstice a few days later. Father's Day is about showing your Dad just how special he is, and the summer solstice is renowned for being good for the body and soul and new beginnings. So let's combine the two and make it a very caring double celebration. And if you want to make the most of being outdoors, I've got a few ideas that will make it fun for all.
Father's Day almost didn't happen
Because Mother's Day caught on so quickly (and commercially) in the United States, in 1908 a church in West Virginia held the first official event to celebrate fatherhood. Two years later, Washington State celebrated the first state-wide Father’s Day on June 19 and most European countries followed suit soon after.
But strangely enough, men didn't really like the idea of having a special day for fathers because they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving and saw it as a commercial gimmick to sell more products – often paid for by the father himself.”
When you put it like that you, and I remember some of the presents I bought my Dad, I can totally understand where they're coming from. I often wonder where all the 'World's Best Dad' mugs and socks went that I gave him?
What to buy men
Men always seem to be more difficult to buy for than women, and I don't just mean Dads, but brothers, boyfriends, husbands, as well. Unless they tell you what they want it can be a shopping nightmare. Nowadays though males seem to be getting more into health, hair and skincare, and they're not happy with a bottle of aftershave. There are huge ranges of cleansing, moisturising and facial hair products on the market. Soon they will be spending more time in front of the mirror than us girls! So if you are planning to take your Dad out for a drink and Sunday lunch this Father's Day, make sure you give him plenty of time to get ready. Otherwise you could be waiting hours!
If you live anywhere near Mad Hatter's Caunay 79190 (remember the llama admiring our hot tub last summer?) then they have a great live band and buffet event on Saturday 18th. I'm sure it would be a wonderful gift for any music-loving Dads. I know Tim would love to go to this if we didn't already have plans.
Solstice and Stonehenge
Only a couple of days after Father's Day and it's the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, on June 21st. This is the day with the longest period of sunlight because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted more towards the Sun. In the UK, Stonehenge always welcomes an influx of hippies, druids and curious tourists, who all head to the stone circle to wait for the sun to appear. In France, however, the celebrations are not so much on the 21st June, but a few days later.
There is often a bit of confusion about the summer solstice and midsummer. They're actually separate events a few days apart with Midsummer falling on Friday 24 June. In Cornwall they still light bonfires on some of the hills to celebrate midsummer and the Feast of St John. Similarly, in France, they celebrate Feux de la Saint Jean with the lighting of bonfires. Traditionally, young, unmarried people are supposed to jump over the bonfire if they want to find their soul mate before the end of the year. Sounds like a very strange way to find true love if you ask me. Think I'd much prefer a romantic candle-lit meal with my potential partner than trying to jump over a bonfire and getting a singed bottom. It almost sounds like a scene from Midsomer Murder doesn't it?
Solstice and wellness
So how is the summer solstice linked to physical and mental well-being? Sun-worshippers will tell you that anything to do with the sun is good for your health. And there's no doubt about it, for most people being able to spend more time outdoors, basking in the warmth of the sun does make you look and feel so much better. And isn't the good weather and a healthy, less stressful lifestyle just two of the reasons why so many of us moved to France in the first place?
Do something different
If you don't fancy a trip to Stonehenge then why not create your own festival at home? Combine it with Father's Day and you could create some wonderful family memories too. Now read on for a few of my ideas on how you can doubly celebrate this year.
Start something new. The summer solstice is all about new beginnings, so now’s the perfect time to try your hand at something completely new. Perhaps learn to play an instrument, go kayaking, forest bathing, or take-up a new hobby or craft.
Take a hike. Get off the beaten path and go hiking through woodlands, forests or fields.
Bathe in the sun’s glow. Go outside and soak up a bit of Vitamin D, but make sure you are wearing the right sun-creams with high factor protection.
Get out the garden games. Anyone for tennis, petanque, Jenga? Just make sure that Dad wins at least one game.
Stargaze. Step into your hot tub or spread out a blanket on the grass and gaze at the stars. We're so lucky to live in the countryside because too much city light makes it very hard to see the beautiful starry skies.
Go berry picking. If you don't have any berries in your garden, why not see if there are any local farm where you can pick your own fruit? Then make a delicious fresh fruit summer dessert or freeze some for cool fruity ice cubes in your summer cocktails.
Go glamping or camping. If you've got your own tent then why not head out in the car, find the perfect place to set up camp, build a bonfire, and toast a few marshmallows.
Take an evening dip. Whether you have got a pool or a hot tub, take a dip by moonlight.
Picnic in the park. Grab a blanket, throw some food and drinks in the boot and head out to your favourite picnic place. Lots of villages in towns in France have great picnic areas, especially around the plan d'eau.
Host a blind ice-cream tasting. This one has got to be my favourite and deliciously good fun for the whole family. Make your own ice-cream (use some of the fruit you picked earlier!) or buy some in, and give each flavour marks out of 10 to find an overall favourite.
If you own your own hot tub then for rest, relaxation or some family fun, what better way to celebrate Father's Day and the solstice - summer and winter! - than from the comfort of your own garden spa?
Alternatively, if you are thinking of buying one, perhaps as any extra special Father's Day gift, then there's still time to order. We have a few left in stock, ready and waiting to be delivered. Visit the website, drop me an email or just give me a call. For all the Dads out there, we hope you enjoy your very special day. Have a great weekend everyone and Happy Hot Tubbing!
To contact Hot Tubs In France, call direct on 07 49 19 46 84.