Do you spend your evenings watching Netflix or posting on social media? Then it’s time to make a change! We’ve come up with a selection of after-work activities that will liven up the light summer evenings.
Ready to get started? Here are four great hobby ideas that will help you to banish boredom for good!
1. Grow Your Own
Growing your own veg is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s also a great way to save extra money, reduce food waste and learn a new skill. Getting started on your new hobby couldn’t be simpler, as all you need is a patch of soil or some containers in a sunny sheltered spot.
Easy veggies to try growing
Growing your own lettuce saves money and prevents waste, as you won’t need to buy any supermarket salads in plastic bags. And if you sow the seeds in batches, you’ll be able to enjoy a continuous supply of salad leaves throughout the summer.
Lettuce is very easy to grow at home. Once your seedlings have grown to a couple of inches tall, you simply thin them to approximately 4-6 inches apart and keep them well-watered. Wait for a couple of weeks, then sow another batch of seeds. If you carry on planting multiple rows every two weeks throughout the season there’ll be no need to pop to the shops for salad!
Short on space? Courgettes are the perfect plant to grow in patio containers and just one plant can produce as many as thirty fruits! You’ll get the best results if you sow your seeds in a warm, sunny area and keep the soil moist.
Once your courgettes are ready to use, pick them regularly to encourage better growth. You could also try frying the flowers, as they’re edible!
Whether they’re grown them in a pot, a greenhouse, a border or a grow bag, there’s nothing like the taste of succulent home-grown tomatoes. You can start your seeds off on a warm sunny windowsill from March onwards, or buy a few plants in May. Bush varieties can also be planted in hanging baskets and window boxes.
Our top tips for keeping your tomatoes healthy? Don’t crowd them, give them plenty of food and water and plant basil next to them, as it repels pests.
You can grow these in the ground, in patio containers or in potato bags. Plant them in early April and by late June/July, you’ll be rewarded with a crop of delicious new potatoes.
If you decide to give potato bags a try, start by part filling your bag with compost and add extra when green shoots start to appear. Keep your bag well-watered until the foliage starts to die, then tip everything out of the bag and collect your spuds!
2. Join a Choir
An amazing 2.8 million British people are members of a choir. And for good reason. According to research, group singing is a great hobby as it improves our mental and physical wellbeing. It’s also a super speedy way to forge social bonds, so if you love singing in the shower, why not think about joining a community choir?
Singing in a choir is a fun way to give your brain and body a workout. As well as improving your posture and breathing, your new hobby will reduce any muscle tension that has built up and produce extra endorphins. You’ll also meet new people and enjoy the buzz of performing the songs you learn.
But how do you decide which choir to join when there are 25,000 of them to choose from? Here are our top tips:
Check out the national Rock Choir website to find a choir near you. This UK-wide organisation brings together people who want to enjoy singing contemporary chart songs in a group. There’s no audition, no need to read music and you’ll get the chance to perform at iconic venues like Abbey Road. Free tasters are on offer.
Visit British Choirs on the Net and the National Association of Choirs to find details of choirs that meet throughout the UK. Both websites feature a good mix of modern and more traditional choirs.
Pay a visit to your local churches or check their websites to find out whether any of them have a thriving choir.
Use search engines like Google to find out whether any community choirs meet in your area.
3. Give Upcycling a Go
If you’re looking for a creative hands-on hobby idea, we recommend giving upcycling a go. This popular pastime involves breathing new life into second hand or vintage furniture and homeware. In the world of upcycling, wooden palettes are transformed into coffee tables, bottles into lamps and cabinet doors into chalkboards. It’s all about taking a well worn item and using it to create something that’s unique.
Upcycling is a pretty cheap hobby. If you don’t have any old furniture yourself, you’re bound to pick up a bargain at your local flea market, second-hand shop or a car boot sale. Then it’s just a matter of deciding what to do with it. You’ll find plenty of ideas, step-by-step guides and videos online (try Pinterest for starters) but if you’re stuck for ideas, check out these blogging upcyclers:
Reupholstering an old dining room chair is one of our favourite upcycling projects for beginners, as it simply involves sanding and painting the chair, then using a stapler gun and fabric glue to recover it with fabric. Alternatively, you could transform a couple of pretty china cups into herb pots by spreading gravel over the base of the cups and adding soil.
If you’re going to be painting furniture, we recommend investing in some decent paint brushes, so that you don’t end up with bristles stuck to your works of art. Chalk paint is also worth buying, as it gives great coverage and doesn’t require any primer. To achieve a distressed look, just smooth the surface of your item, apply a couple of coats of paint, wax and buff then finish off by sanding.
4. Become a Runner
There’s no time like the present to get up off the couch and spend time getting fit in the great outdoors. So if too many nights on the sofa have left you feeling somewhat flabby, why not use your free time to boost your physical activity?
According to the NHS, running reduces the risk of long term illnesses like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. All you need to get going is a decent pair of running shoes, although we would suggest popping to your local running shop to make sure that you buy the right pair for your gait.
To avoid injuring yourself, running experts recommend warming up before every session. You can do this by alternating between walking and running, doing some knee lifts and stretching. You should also stretch to cool down after your run.
It can be hard to stay motivated when you’re a new runner, so here are a few tried and tested ways to keep going: