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Category Archives: Recreation

How shade sails are contributing to the pop up restaurant craze

A new craze is sweeping the UK’s eating out scene – pop up restaurants. Also known as underground restaurants, these venues can literally pop up in any part of a city, often where you wouldn’t expect a restaurant to be located.

For example, they are sometimes found in empty and unused buildings, outdoors or even in a person’s home. It is this quirkiness that makes these venues attractive and if you’re looking for a change to the usual restaurant experience this could be it.

The idea for pop up restaurants is generally considered as stemming from Cuba and the US and this approach to eating out is now gaining real momentum here in the UK. London has seen the trend take off most, with pop up venues now familiar sites across the capital.

These restaurants tend to be temporary and will only be in one location for a limited space of time, which adds to their appeal and provides a feeling of exclusivity. Pop ups are often operated by small independent retailers, but it’s not uncommon for well-known chefs to set up their own venue and use it as a chance to experiment with new menus.

How are shade sails helping?
So, pop up restaurants are becoming the go-to eating out option for diners in London, but what has that got to do with shade structures? Well, many of the pop up restaurants that are based outside are choosing to use shade sails as they are the ideal means of providing shelter for this type of venue.

It’s important for any outdoor eating venue to offer its customers protection from the elements, especially in a country like the UK where you can never be sure what the weather is going to do next.

Why restaurants can benefit from shade canopies

How shade sails are contributing to the pop up restaurant craze

Indeed, even when the sun is shining its advisable for a restaurant to provide shelter as eating a meal with the sun beating down from above can be hot and uncomfortable. Our shade sails are ideally suited to this purpose as they can block up to nearly 99 per cent of the sun’s UV rays, providing a cool and shaded spot in which people can relax, eat and drink.

It’s not just the sun they provide protection from however, as these structures are more than capable of protecting diners from light rain and wind, which could easily ruin an outdoor meal otherwise.

Another reason why pop up restaurants are so keen to use shade sails is the ease with which they can be installed and taken down again. These venues are temporary by their very nature and having a structure that can be quickly assembled and then stored away for future use is ideal.

The importance of appearance shouldn’t be overlooked as well, as any restaurant needs to look good if it’s to attract diners. Our shades tick that box fully, providing the ideal combination of style and substance.

Considering setting up your own outdoor pop up restaurant and want to know more about using a shade sail? Contact to the team at Shaded Nation or take a look at the range of shades we have on offer.

Stay sun safe at sporting events

One of the best things about summer is that it’s the ideal time to both watch and play sports.

Indeed, there aren’t many better ways to spend a sunny day than engaging or viewing your favourite game, be it football, tennis, rugby or any other sporting activity.

However, it’s also important to take sun safety into concern. It can be easy to forget about sunburn while you’re caught up in a game, but should you fail to stay protected you may suffer some painful and uncomfortable consequences.

The need for sports fans to be safe in the sun has been recognised by the University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust’s dermatology research team.

They have launched a new awareness event about the issue ahead of rugby league club Salford Reds’ clash with the Leeds Rhinos on August 9th. It will see the organisations provide advice on skin safety and education on how to check for moles and other potential signs of cancer.

Professor Chris Griffiths, professor of dermatology at The University of Manchester and consultant dermatologist at Salford Royal, commented: “We may associate a tan with looking healthy, but it’s actually the opposite – a tan is a sign that skin has been damaged.”

“UVA rays attack the tissues that give our skin its elasticity, leading to premature ageing and wrinkling, while UVB rays affect the top layers of our skin, causing sunburn and, in the worst cases, skin cancer,” he added.

However, Prof Griffiths said people can still enjoy the sun provided they take the necessary measures to protect themselves. These include covering up with long clothing and a hat, applying sunscreen of at least factor 30 (factor 50 for children or people with pale skin) and sticking to the shade between 11am and 3pm.

You can follow Professor Griffiths advice by installing a shade sail, as these canopies can block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays.

Furthermore, here at Shade Nation we are experienced at providing shade structures for sporting venues, contact us to learn more.

Why not take a staycation this year?

The effects of the financial crisis mean a lot of people have less money to spend on holidays and can’t afford to jet off abroad for a break.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some time away from home, as an increasing number of Brits are choosing to take their holidays here in the UK, a trend that has been dubbed staycations.

So, here are Shaded Nation’s top suggestions for how to spend a British-based break this year.

Be beside the seaside

Living on an island has its perks, as the UK has no shortage of seaside resorts to spend a staycation at. From Blackpool and Bournemouth to Scarborough and Skegness, wherever you live in the UK you’re never too far from the coast and be it crazy golf, amusement arcades or simply relaxing on the beach, there’s always something fun to do on the seaside.

Hit the capital

The fact it’s based in the UK can make it easy to overlook just what a fantastic city London really is, but there’s a reason tourists from all over the world flock to the capital. London genuinely has something for everything and is an ideal way to spend a staycation.

Take a city break

The capital isn’t the only city worth visiting and there are plenty of other locations worthy of a holiday. Edinburgh, Oxford and York are ideal for history buffs, while Birmingham and Manchester are great for culture and shopping.

Escape to the country

If you’re look to get away from the humdrum of urban life why not head out into the countryside? From the rolling hills of the West Country to the bleak and rugged mountains of Scotland and Wales, the UK is brimming with natural beauty and regardless of where you live the country is never more than an hour or two’s drive away.

However you choose to spend your staycation, remember it’s important to stay safe in the sun and take precautions against getting burnt.

Four ways to make the most of your garden

May is here, summer is just around the corner and the sun has finally started shining. The next few months will therefore be the perfect time to get outside and make the most of your garden.

With the awful weather we’ve had to put up with over the winter and for most of the spring, you might not have ventured out into the garden too often. However, now that things seem to be getting better you can enjoy being outside in the open air.

Do some gardening

Gardening doesn’t have to be a chore and is a great way to spend time outside while doing something constructive as well. Whether it’s just mowing the lawn and keeping things tidy, or growing your own herbs and vegetables, there’s plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied.

Have a BBQ

What better way to enjoy the garden than to invite some friends around for a barbecue? It’s a great chance to catch up with people and a chance to show off your culinary skills in the process.

Play sports

Playing sports in the garden is more of an activity for the kids really, but adults can still get involved and have some fun as well.

What you do is mainly dependant on the size of your garden, but whether it’s kicking a football around or just playing a simple game like catch, it’s a good opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise in the process.

Bird watch

If you’re a nature lover, why not try and bring some wildlife to your garden? The number of different species of bird you can attract by putting up feeders or a bird table is surprisingly diverse and observing them is a peaceful and relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon.

However you choose to spend time in your garden, it’s important to stay safe from the sun. Installing a shade sail will provide you with a shaded spot that you can retreat to when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Get ready for national BBQ week

There’s nothing quite like a good barbie and next week will be the ideal time to host one, as from May 22nd to June 2nd it’s National BBQ week.

This will be the 17th time the event has taken place and it’s the perfect excuse to get your friends and family round and start cooking. More than three million BBQs were held as part of the week last year and hopefully the 2013 edition will see even more.

Read on for a few tips on how you can prepare for your barbie.

The essentials 

You obviously can’t have a BBQ without food and this is the one thing you can’t afford to get wrong. You’ll obviously need to get in the standard burgers and sausages and plenty of bread rolls, but why not mix it up with a few things a little out of the ordinary as well?

Kebabs are relatively easy and provide a lot of room for variation, but if you really want to stand out, how about trying something like pork belly or even salmon. You should check if any guests will have special eating requirements, such as being vegetarian, as there’s nothing worse than turning up to a BBQ and having nothing to eat.

After food, the next most important thing to consider is the drinks. Try to get a wide selection of alcoholic and soft drinks that will cater for everyone’s tastes.

Other considerations 

Another thing to think about is seating, ideally every guest will have their own chair, but if this isn’t possible, laying down towels or something similar on the floor is an easy alternative. Entertainment is also something to consider, creating a playlist of music tracks can really help people to relax and get in the mood.

Sun safety

If you’re having a BBQ, the chances are it’s going to be sunny and it’s important to protect yourself from sunburn. A great way to do this is installing a shade sail, which will provide a cool, shaded spot to sit and eat your food. Interested in finding out more? Click here to begin.

Get outside for the summer of wildlife

You might not think there’s much to see in the UK when it comes to wildlife.

While we don’t have lions, tigers, elephants and bears, there are still plenty of interesting and exciting natural wonders to be found on British shores.

The next few months could be the ideal time to get out and sample these wild delights, as the BBC has launched its Summer of Wildlife campaign. A number of programmes will be shown across the broadcaster’s channels in the coming months that are designed to encourage Brits to get outside and learn about the wildlife on their doorstep.

We take a look at a few ways you can enjoy the UK’s wild side below.

Out and about 

No matter where you live in the UK, you shouldn’t have to travel too far to find some interesting wildlife. Even in a seemingly concrete jungle like London, you can make the trip to Richmond Park and see deer and a variety of bird species.

Some of the best places to see wildlife are Scotland and Wales, where the rugged terrain and lower density of people allows rarer species like the golden eagle, red squirrel and pine marten to live undisturbed.

Nature at home 

You can even enjoy British wildlife from the comfort of your own home. If you have a garden you’ll almost certainly be able to spot a few species of bird and putting out feeders will allow you to attract even more.

Looking out for all the different types of insects and creepy crawlies that live in the garden can be fun for children and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of a mammal like an urban fox or hedgehog.

Stay shaded

However you choose to enjoy the summer of wildlife, make sure you and your family stay protected from the threat of sunburn.

One of the best ways to do this is to purchase a sail shade for your garden. These structures can block out almost all of the sun’s damaging rays and will provide you with peace of mind as you enjoy the outdoors.

Sunshine on the way in July

This July is set to be a hot one, according to the UK Met Office .

Forecasters at the organisation have predicted low levels of rainfall and high temperatures for much of the UK over the next few weeks, which is sure to be welcome news for the majority of Brits.

A Met Office statement said: “There is reasonable confidence that high pressure will build, giving fine and dry weather across most parts of the UK from Friday (July 5th) onwards, with a mixture of variable cloud and sunshine.”

So, it would seem the sun is finally on its way after what has been a very miserable 12 months weather-wise. Last year’s summer was one of the wettest on record and was followed by a bitingly cold winter. That wasn’t all though, as many parts of the UK suffered from unusually low temperatures in spring, with snow still lining the ground in March and April in a lot of areas.

However, that is all just a memory now, so many people will be looking to make the most of this month’s good weather while it lasts and there are plenty of ways you can choose to enjoy the sunshine.

July is a great time of year for festivals and these events are a lot more fun when you’re not squelching about in the mud in your wellies. T in the Park, Wireless, Lovebox and Latitude are some of the more well known gatherings that will be taking place this month.

If festivals aren’t really your thing, why not make the most of the weather closer to home? There’s nothing better than having friends and family over for a BBQ in the sunshine and July looks like the time to do it.

However you choose to enjoy the heat, don’t let sunburn ruin your fun. A great way to stay safe is to install a garden shade sail. Not only will one of these canopies protect you from the sun’s rays, they look great and can boost the value of your home as well.

Murray wins on hottest day of the year

Sunday (July 7th 2013) was a pretty good day to be a Brit. Not only did Andy Murray become the first UK male to lift the Wimbledon trophy in 77 years, it was also the hottest 24 hours of 2013 so far.

According to the Met Office, a temperature of 29.7 degrees C was recorded at Hurn near Bournemouth, which beat the high of 29.1 degrees C that was set at Heathrow Airport a day earlier. Meanwhile, Murray worked his way to victory in a sweltering 29 degrees C, making his achievement all the more impressive.

The good news doesn’t end there though, as the Met Office believes it’s possible a new record temperature could be set in the coming days and it could even get above 30 degrees C in some parts of the south-west.

This isn’t going to be a flash in the pan either, as the organisation has claimed we are set for the longest spell of settled warm and sunny weather since July 2006.

Nick Grahame, chief forecaster at the Met Office, commented: “We have high pressure over the UK at the moment which normally brings us fine and settled weather at this time of year.

“The current outlook suggests this may be dominating our weather through next week and possibly out towards the middle of July.”

So, with the sun set to stay for the next few weeks it’s important to make sure you get outside and make the most of it. If you enjoyed watching Murray’s triumph on Sunday, why not give it a go yourself?

There are plenty of tennis courts across the UK and hiring a racket is generally not too expensive. If you don’t have anywhere suitable to play nearby, there’s always the garden, just make sure you keep things gentle to avoid smashing any windows!

Of course, with such hot weather the risk of sunburn is greatly increased and it’s important to stay protected. One way to do so is to relax and take it easy under a Shaded Nation shade sail.

Why not spend some quality time in the garden?

With so many people leading such busy lives these days, the importance of spending time with family can be overlooked.

Indeed, a new study from Virgin Holidays and the Universal Orlando Resort has revealed the typical family spend little more than an hour a day in each other’s company.

When it comes to weekdays, the average household only manages 36 minutes of quality time, due to a combination of work, chores, evening clubs and other activities. Furthermore, people see their extended relations such as grandparents even less.

A spokesperson for the study commented: “Families are busier than ever with parents working, children at school and the evening and weekends taken up with a host of clubs, sports and play-dates with friends.

“But this means that many families struggle with really getting to spend some time together and just enjoy each other’s company for a while.”

Working long hours was highlighted as the main barrier to parents being with their family, while children’s preference for watching TV or playing computer games is also a hindrance.

The tough economy may be limiting the amount of time families get to spend together, as people feel they do not have the money to take the children out for the day.

However, it’s still possible to have quality time without leaving your home. If you have a garden why not make the most of it? There’s a whole host of family activities that can take place in your own backyard, such as having a BBQ, playing a game or maybe even doing a spot of communal gardening.

The perfect period to do this is in the summer, when the warm weather and long days make the garden an ideal place to relax and unwind. It’s important to be careful of the sun however and installing a shade sail is an easy way to keep you and your family protected from the threat of sunburn.

We stock a range of shade structures that are designed to boost the appearance and value of your home, click here to learn more.

Five things to do under a garden shade sail

So, you’ve made the decision and opted to install one of our shade sails. However, have you thought about what you’re actually going to do in the lovely shaded spot that will soon be a part of your garden? We’ve compiled a short list of suggestions below.

Read a good book 

Is there a better way to spend a warm day than relaxing in the shade with a good book? Find yourself a comfy chair, make a cold drink and prepare to lose yourself in the pages of one of your favourite reads.

Eat a meal

One of the best things about summer is that it allows us to eat outside and for some strange reason food always seems to taste better in the open air. Whether it’s a quick breakfast, spot of lunch, or just a refreshing cup of tea, sitting under a shade sail is the ideal place to indulge yourself.

Play a game

Be it chess, Monopoly or even snakes and ladders, nothing beats a good old fashioned board game. Why not challenge a friend or relative to a game out in the garden?


Working might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of uses for a garden sun shade, but you’d be surprised at how much easier it feels out in the fresh air instead of being cooped up in a stuffy office.

Sit back and relax

While all of the things mentioned above are a great way to spend time in the shade, perhaps the best thing to do is nothing at all. What could be better than wiling away an hour or two of a hot day just relaxing with your thoughts and maybe even having a little snooze?

Here at Shaded Nation we think a garden shade sail is a fine addition to any home. Not only will it make the place look great, it could boost the value of your property as well. We have a variety of shapes, sizes and colours for you to choose from and can even provide a bespoke design if that’s what you’d prefer.