Celebrate Summer Like It’s Your First
It’s time to make memories again! Celebrate this summer like it’s your first and make up for lost time by jumping at every opportunity to do what you missed out on last year.
Whether it’s the first dance at your wedding, your first hug with grandma, your first trip abroad, the first picnic in the park with friends or a loved one's birthday – celebrate every moment that feels like the ‘first’ in the return of our everyday freedoms. Whatever you get up to this summer, remember to capture those special memories on camera to make your summer of firsts last forever. Enjoy your summer moments as they happen and take everything in around you, from the smiles on everyone’s faces as things start to feel a little more normal, to the beautiful summertime scenery. As your summer moments unfold, capture those memories to keep for a lifetime – perfect for looking back on this summer like it was our first.
In celebration of returning to ‘normality', we wanted to discover what you have been doing to make up for lost time. From recreating missed milestone birthdays to embarking on new adventures with friends and family, read our customer summer stories and what ‘firsts’ they’ve been celebrating this summer.
I come from a very close-knit family. My mum, dad, brother, nan, aunties and cousins all live in the Wirral and pre-covid I would travel over from Liverpool a few times a week with my boyfriend Josh to spend evenings and weekends with everyone. We used to get together for regular Sunday roasts, every birthday and even go on holiday together every year, so we have really missed this over the past 18 months.
I usually do plenty of travelling every year. My dad’s family is originally from Hong Kong, so I would travel there every year to spend a few weeks or even the whole summer. Whilst there, we also explore other parts of Asia such as Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. Plus, my mum is Australian and we had planned to visit last summer where we would finally be reunited with her family after six years – unfortunately, we weren’t able to go because of the restrictions.
I would also usually go on a few long weekends or week-long getaways with my friends. They’re all currently dotted around the UK so we like to make sure we always have a date in the diary for our next reunion. We did plenty of video calls during lockdown but it didn’t quite live up to that feeling of a long weekend with your best friends. It felt so strange not to travel anywhere last year, it’s one of my favourite things to do and I really missed the feeling of discovering new places.
Summer of Firsts:
This year, my closest friends and I decided that even though we may not be able to travel abroad we want to take the opportunity to explore places closer to home. So far, I have managed to tick off a barn conversion staycation on a farm in The Peak District, a country getaway in The Lake District, a spa trip in Harrogate and a cottage not far from the beach in Wales. Although I have been to the major cities in the UK before, I’d never really ventured much further. I’ve been amazed at how beautiful it is and can’t wait to see more of it. I’ve loved spending time with my friends and family, going on long country walks, discovering hidden beaches and enjoying a good old British pub. Being able to pack up, go on a road trip with my friends and arrive in a new place has felt extra special after all this time. I didn’t think it would have the same excitement as travelling to a new country and experiencing a new culture, but actually it turns out there’s plenty to discover right on our doorsteps. The best part has to be being reunited with family and friends properly. Nothing beats knowing I’ve got the whole weekend to catch up, eat delicious food, enjoy a few glasses of wine and go for long walks with my favourite people.
Most of my mum’s immediate family are based in Australia, including my nan and cousins that I’ve never even met! We’ll definitely be rescheduling that reunion as soon as we can. I’d also love to get back to Hong Kong as last year was the first time I’ve not been at least once a year in my whole life! I’ll definitely be planning some city breaks with the girls too, hopefully to Barcelona or Lisbon. I can’t wait to tick off some more places off my travel list, in the UK and hopefully further afield!
Vanessa’s CEWE PHOTOBOOK
What is the best thing about creating your CEWE PHOTOBOOK?
I have thousands of pictures on my phone and never go through them – like so many other people my age! Creating a photo book brings an event or holiday back to life for me. It’s so lovely to go through them with my loved ones and remember little things that we otherwise would have forgotten. They also make a great gift, especially for my nan!
Akaash and Jess
About Jess and Akaash:
Following Akaash’s proposal in Dubai in November 2019, we booked our wedding date for June 2021. At the time of booking, the pandemic was yet to break out in such a large scale, but even from March 2020 onwards following the outbreak, we never thought it would still be an issue due to our date being so far away in the summer of 2021.
We saw numerous friends and family have their weddings postponed once, twice and even three times for some. Luckily, in February 2021 we were offered a glimmer of hope when the roadmap was announced with “freedom-day” for 21st June – 5 days before our wedding. We got our hopes up again and started to enjoy the planning process.
However, we had to start considering other options as the cases began to rise again. We planned for various different scenarios, including reducing our guest list numbers from 100 to 75, 50 and then 30. We even made a provisional booking at the local registry office in fear that we would not be able to go ahead at our original venue and we prepared for a small-scale wedding of just 15 of our closest family members.
In April 2021 we had to confirm our final venue choice – we decided to take a huge risk and stick with our original venue. I think in our hearts we believed what is meant to be will always find a way. Luckily, despite the delay in the lifting of restrictions on 21st June, there was a reprieve for weddings! This meant we could celebrate with all of our friends and family as we had planned in the original venue – we were so relieved and happy!
Photography: Matt Thompson
Summer of Firsts:
As you can imagine, the run up to the wedding was a turbulent time with uncertainty around restrictions lifting and looking like weddings were not taken into consideration over other industries within the roadmap.
The feeling of happiness when the announcement came on June 14th that wedding numbers would be unrestricted on 21st June is one that we will never forget. For us the main thing was to be able to celebrate with our friends and family by our sides and we are grateful we got the chance to do that.
Being from two completely different backgrounds, our wedding was going to be a big occasion for both of our families. Akaash is from a traditional Indian family whereas I am from a modern, non-traditional British family. As the only woman in the family on both my Mum and Dad’s side, the wedding was my parent’s only opportunity to be on “the Bride’s side”. In complete contrast, Akaash’s family is heavily female dominated. Plus, we are both the first of our siblings to get married and the first in each family to marry into a different culture!
It really was the best day of our lives!
We still have our honeymoon planned for August 2021, which is the honeymoon we’ve always dreamed of in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We are keeping our fingers crossed we will be able to go! Other than that, we will cherish being able to spend time with our friends and family, which we were not able to do for the best part of a year. We also can’t wait for a night out with our friends and to finally get back to concerts and festivals which is something we also love doing.
Jess and Akaash’s CEWE PHOTOBOOK:
With our CEWE PHOTOBOOK, we have the opportunity to re-live the best day of our lives and look back at the countless memories that were created! Being able to browse through a physical photo book feels more special than viewing photos though a phone screen, and it is a nice keepsake to show friends and family for years to come.
Like many, lockdown was new to us and challenging in so many ways. It was extremely stressful in my role as Head of Human Resources, being one of the key individuals at our firm who was responsible for the business continuity plan, in addition to the entire workforce looking to me for answers, support and guidance. My husband, Alan, was also in a similar position and we both worked tirelessly from home.
This meant home schooling our 8-year-old daughter Claudia was extremely challenging and she did not have the support, continuation of her education or the attention that she needed. So, in addition to challenges at work and the long hours needed, “mum-guilt” was also a key factor. Plus, Claudia was due to dance at Disneyland Paris in July 2020, which was then re-arranged for July 2021, but was unfortunately cancelled because of the pandemic.
One thing that I am grateful for as a result of the pandemic is the emerging work/life balance that can now be achieved through hybrid working – which is thankfully here to stay for both my husband and I. It means I can now take my daughter to school and pick her up which I very rarely could do before. We are able to maximise family time at home by going on bike rides and walking the dog, which was not possible before due to my 1.5 hour commute to the office each way. I can now easily fit in some morning exercise too as I don’t need to be on the road by 7am each day!
Summer of Firsts:
We kept busy during lockdown with DIY projects at home, such as the construction of a summerhouse – which is now my home office space – as well as converting a VW Campervan from scratch. Our family was also joined by Teddy the Cockerpoo in May 2020.
My husband worked on the campervan project at weekends and throughout the second and third lockdown, ensuring he had a focus whilst not having the experiences we all took for granted pre-COVID. After Claudia’s two dance trips to Paris were cancelled for 2020 and 2021, we decided to book Camp Bestival along with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. With a couple of weeks to spare, the campervan was ready ahead of the festival and thankfully the announcement we were hoping for came – restrictions were lifted! Claudia and the family were so excited to be going to the festival as we had not been away since the summer of 2019.
When the day finally came and we arrived at the festival, it was very surreal! We all couldn’t believe that we were there and that it really was going ahead. It felt strange being around so many people. Fresh air, people, laughter, the smell of street food and music filled our surroundings and it was great! Claudia ran round, made friends with other children, performed on stage and just loved every minute. It was worth it!
We are taking the campervan on a second adventure in August and doing the NC500 in Scotland. Whilst we crave a holiday abroad, at the moment we cannot deal with the stress of all the rules and uncertainty so we have taken the opportunity the pandemic has presented and chosen to explore the wonders of United Kingdom and all it has to offer. Claudia says Teddy (our Cockerpoo) is going to sniff out the Loch Ness monster! We also have a holiday to the Three Valleys (French Alps) booked for February 2022 to celebrate my 40th Birthday with 20 of our friends – we have everything crossed that it will be going ahead.
Siana’s CEWE PHOTOBOOK:
Capturing memories is such a precious thing. If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught everyone, it is to cherish our loved ones, fill our time with as much joy as possible, be kind, be adaptable: time can be limited and the unexpected can happen at any time, so don’t let life pass you by! Whilst our happy times remain in our memories, they can fade. Documenting and creating a CEWE PHOTOBOOK means you can look back, remember those smells, taste the food and hear the laughter. It is something that can be shared for generations to come and start a discussion about that time in history when a strange pandemic with a funny name changed our way of life forever.