Things to do now to prepare yourself for spring
From servicing your wardrobe to booking a mini break, make a start on your spring to-do list now – you'll be thankful later
Air, service and update your wardrobe
With the new season upon us, it’s time to unleash your spring wardrobe once more. The lighter, brighter colours will probably be a relief to behold following the darker, moody tones of winter – a symbol of the better weather around the corner – but you might find certain items haven’t survived their hibernation quite as well as you would have hoped. All the more reason to bring your fairweather wardrobe out of the closet sooner and establish which dress needs a strap fixing, whether your mac would benefit from a trip to the dry cleaners and which of your linen pieces became moth food over the winter months.
Far more exciting, for many of us, is the opportunity a season brings to indulge in a shopping spree. Whether you’re looking to inject some coral – the pantone colour of 2019 – into your collection; shop the exciting new fashion brands expected to be big this year; or plunge straight into summer with a stylish new swimsuit, now’s the time to update your wardrobe however you see fit. Keep an eye out for pop-ups and sample sales happening across the city to add individual flare to your collection of threads.
Check in with yourself
A flick through your diary will probably confirm you’ve already penciled in work commitments, dinners with friends and family weekends months from now. Make sure you save yourself some ‘me’ time. Whether you book in for a couples’ spa treatment with your other half or head off on a yoga retreat for one, it’s important not to get so swept up in a busy schedule that you forget to take time for yourself. London is, unsurprisingly, a hub for age-old, innovative and experimental wellness practices. From axe throwing to immersive fitness studios, you’re bound to find a wellness activity to suit your mood.
Book tickets to the hottest events in London’s cultural calendar
The London theatre scene is fully-charged this spring (not that it saw a lull over the winter period). We loved Betrayal starring Tom Hiddleston, which is on at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 8 June. Caryl Churchill's seminal 1982 play Top Girls currently enjoying a five-star revival (in Culture Whisper's opinion) in the hands of director Lyndsey Turner. The production is showing on the National Theatre’s Lyttelton stage until 20 July.
Continuing the trend for Arthur Miller revivals, which have already swept across the West End this year, All My Sons is on at the Old Vic starring Sally Field, Jenna Coleman, Bill Pullman and Colin Morgan. While a re-imagining of Death of a Salesman, told from the perspective of an African-American family, opens at the Young Vic on 1 May.
Over in the art world, spring hails the arrival of several international superstars to the capital. At Tate Britain, the master of sunflowers, Van Gogh, is getting his first major UK retrospective in over 70 years. The exhibition, which brings together the largest group of Van Gogh paintings shown in the UK for nearly a decade, is on until 11 August. Meanwhile, the biggest Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition seen in the UK for 65 years opens at Buckingham Palace on 24 May. Then at the Barbican, the first European Lee Krasner exhibition in 50 years opens on 30 May.
Tackle the garden
If you have visions of relaxing in your garden in a few short weeks, perhaps even reaping the rewards of some home-grown produce, now’s the time to make preparations. Trim and prune your shrubs, sweep away any dead leaves, de-weed your flower beds and do your homework as to what you need to plant or pot now, to enjoy in a few months time.
If you’re growing warm weather vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, seeds should be sewn and kept indoors for six to eight weeks in February before transplanting the seedlings to the garden. Lettuces, chard, cauliflower and broccoli should also be planted in February. Fruit wise, watermelons, strawberries and pumpkins all notoriously benefit from being planted towards the end of winter.
Schedule in some time to indulge in the great outdoors
There’s something ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ about spring. No sooner have the chicks hatched, the lambs taken their first wobbly steps, and the cherry blossom prettied up the trees, than the former two have grown up and the blossom has fallen to the ground, becoming a pastel-coloured carpet beneath our feet.
Don’t miss it. Instead, start planning now which seasonal experiences you want to catch and when. If you have little ones in tow, check out the many Easter egg hunts taking place in parks, zoos and National Trust properties across the city. If you fancy a trip to the farm to see the lambs, remember you don’t need to journey beyond the M25; look to inner-city farms such as Hackney, Mudchute, Crystal Palace or Kentish Town to find the taste (and smell) of farmyard life close to home.
Just adults? Explore one of the many public gardens in and around London currently in full bloom – from Hampstead’s 17th century Fenton House with its 300-year-old apple orchard, down to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. Or, venture further afield, soak up the sea air and enjoy respite from city life at a beach-side, boutique hotel – only a short train ride from London. Going in spring will allow you to take advantage of low-season perks, such as cheaper prices and fewer fellow holidaymakers.
Cook for the season and explore London’s new culinary offering
If you’re feeling done with hearty stews and winter soups for another year, you’re not alone. Spring is the season for embracing lighter meals (think salmon with spring greens, or warm chicken salad) and replacing roast beef with roast lamb. Asparagus, cucumber, spinach, peas and new potatoes are just some of the vegetables that freshen up our plates in spring. Whether you rely on a long-lived recipe book, meal prep delivery services such as Mindful Chef and Farmdrop, or your own intuition, it’s time to start tossing around some ideas for tasty meals to cook this spring.
You’ll want to save some time (and room) for eating out, too – especially when you catch a whiff of the tantalising new restaurants firing up their kitchens this spring. Quique Dacosta, the three Michelin star Valencian chef, is opening a rice-focused restaurant in Fitzrovia: Arros QD. Meanwhile, talented culinary duo Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke are opening the doors to their latest venture: a seafood restaurant in Notting Hill called Orasay, inspired by the Outer Hebrides. Then in May, Parrillan – a terrace bar and grill from the team behind Barrafina – opens at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross. Foodies, it’s your season.