It’s a way of life; the good life.

Bon vivant: a person who enjoys a sociable and sumptuous lifestyle, with a love for exquisite food, drinks and company’

I have a little crush on certain words, and tend to slip them in anywhere I can. Bon vivant is one of them; it describes a person who enjoys a sociable and sumptuous lifestyle, ‘elegantly easy-going’ with a discerning love for exquisite food, drink and company.

Our Summer Issue is dedicated to the bons vivants out there. It is a tribute to celebrations, traditions and tranquility, as well as to the people and spaces which make all of the above possible, meaningful and memorable. The issue is bursting with lazy poolside loungers, magnificent food, tall-dark-and-handsome cocktails, gorgeous tablescapes, shady terraces and enviable tropical destinations. Quite literally, this is the perfect holiday read – even if I say so myself.

There are also a few tips and tricks that I can highly recommend for navigating the silly season:

  • Don’t overthink your decorations and meal preparation. It’s tempting to be a bit of an overachiever this time of year, trying to prove just how frightfully ‘tasteful’ your feast can be, and then end up forgetting what it’s really about. Your decor and #SummerMenu should be relaxed, fun and manageable.
  • Never be early for a party. It’s just as rude as being late; nobody wants to hear the doorbell when she’s half-dressed and still laying the table. Share the workload. Invite your guests to bring a salad or dessert to your party instead of trying to do absolutely everything yourself. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • Simplify the business of gift giving. We could actually all do with far less stuff, so spend less time in the shops, and more time thinking about and planning something unforgettable for your friends and family.

This time of year undoubtedly also lends itself to outdoor living and the architecture and interior design that encourage this. We landed the jackpot when we found the book Living Under the Sun, published by gestalten; it’s an informative showcase of villas and beach shacks all over the world that work seamlessly with their outdoor environments. We’ve featured a few of our favourite examples of idyllic pools, shady gardens and enviable patios from the book, as well as in our exclusive guide to outdoor living.

Prepare to be inspired and just a little bit jealous.

The next time we meet it will be 2016, with our bumper Trends Issue. In the meantime, make this summer something to remember. Tans fade, memories last. Go somewhere you have never been before, invite someone unpredictable to dinner and refresh your traditions. And take photographs! Snap it all and share with your friends and with @ELLE_Deco; we’d love to see pictures of your #SummerMenu.

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Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @bielleross


 

Read Bielle’s other letters to you here and here.


 

coverThe Summer Issue edition of ELLE DECORATION South Africa is on shelves now at your nearest magazine retailer. Featuring festive eats, cooling cocktails and all your must-have outdoor décor ideas, it’s your breezy summer respite. Pick up your copy today – across South Africa wherever magazines are sold – and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco, sharing your #SummerIssue #DECOselfie