Something extremely strange has happened this week.
The. Sun. has. Come. Out.
Oh how we’ve bade our time…we’ve suffered through the indignity of soggy sandals, cancelled weekends to the beach and shivered our way through summertime cocktail specials at southbank pausing every so often to look up at the sky, palms turned upwards, going ‘oh…oh…is that…no, no I think we’re ok.’
We’re a determined bunch us Brits, determinedly parking ourselves outside under fairy lights and bunting despite being covered head to toe in goosebumps. Holding BBQ’s that actually end up with all your guests cramming under one tiny, shit gazebo whilst you tend the barbecue under an umbrella, desperately trying to keep the rain off your sausages. Refusing to let your guests inside and only conceding to lending a pair of socks to one particularly miserable mate (yes holding a party turns me into a miniature Adolph – what of it?!)
Fact of the matter is; we’re used to dealing with shit weather. In fact, we pretty much revel in it. Show me a Brit who doesn’t love a good moan about the weather and I’ll show you a big fat fibber.
Secondly we are frankly ill equipped to deal with hot weather. We wilt, we whinge, we drink too much pink wine and not enough water and get sunstroke. It’s sad but true.
If you’re sitting here reading this thinking ‘What is she talking about? I LOVE the sun. I’d live in Greece if I could. I can just see myself wandering round in a floaty olive coloured dress in style of Penelope Cruz, brushing a delicate bead of sweat from my forehead’ then firstly I’m afraid I must call bullshit and secondly riddle me this:
Have you, at any point so far today said any of the following:
‘The tube was just hell on earth’
‘Thirty Three degrees now! Thirty THREE!! That’s hotter than Spain I tell you!’
‘it’s actually slightly unpleasant how hot I am’
‘It’s like an oven in here’
‘I’m so hot…are you hot? I’m so hot…Is it just me that’s hot??’
‘Shouldn’t complain but…*insert whinge about sweating here*’
Also please acknowledge that this fantasy of wandering around all bronzed and glowy as the sun beats down is a very rare accomplishment, saved only for that very thin girl in your office who wanders in in a broderie anglais white sack dress looking serene af. Know that this is not attainable and accept that any attempt to recreate this look would make you look like a pillowcase on a washing line that has caught a gust of wind or Mr Puft from Ghostbusters.
The rest of us mere mortals can expect to arrive in the office covered in a thin film of sweat, hair stuck to back of neck and twice the size of when you left the house, waddling slightly due to some sort of chafing that is taking place (you know about this don’t lie), wearing some weird pencil skirt and strap top amalgamation and worrying that there is just far too much leg/toe/cleavage on show to be appropriate.
Yes, it’s bleak but don’t despair. Not all is lost. I am here to help.
As one of life’s ‘hot people’ I have developed some invaluable skills for keeping cool in scorching climates (anything over 20 degrees).
NB: When I say one of life’s hot people I do not mean that I am some sort of mega babe. I mean that I am boiling always. I am that person desperately stripping layers off their body on the central line in December, standing only in a bra and pencil skirt with all manner of outer layers strewn at their feet. I can make a fan out of just about anything and it’s not unusual for me to have to take ‘cool down breaks’ before entering restaurants and bars.
Whilst there is nothing we can do to change the fact that for the four days of summer we will be sweaty, ungraceful and a bit miserable there are a few key things you can do to survive this ‘heatwave’*
*aka maximum two days of sunshine followed by unbearable humidity followed by snow.
1)Check Check and Check again
Last summer I suffered from a terrible inability to check the weather before I left the house. This resulted in me turning up to work either FREEZING in some sort of sad flapping sundress looking like an uncooked turkey or conversely bursting in the door like an overheated steam train in a woollen turtle neck balaclava type business. My dear friend K stepped in to be my weather maestro meaning I would receive a nice little text in the morning saying something along the lines of ‘if you are wearing tights rn please turn around and change’ That’s true love folks.
But if you aren’t lucky enough to have a pal with a bloodhound style knack for predicting the weather (i.e. organised enough to check bbc news in the morning) then you will have to check for yourself. Being too hot or too cold aside there is weirdly nothing more embarrassing than dressing incorrectly for the weather and sticking out like a sweaty eskimo in a sea of pastel floaty numbers is enough to make you die of embarrassment. No one knows why. Not to mention you have to spend all day fielding the inevitable ‘gosh you must be boiling’ with the obligatory cheerful eye roll and tut as you pluck your jumper and go ‘didn’t check the weather did I! oh well!’ when really all you want to say is ‘I know I got it wrong you smug fuck – piss off. Did I say anything when you turned up to the Christmas do in a bloody feathery crop top and heels when everyone else was in jeans?! NO? SO FUCK OFF’
2)Take your time
During a heatwave (i.e. any day that reaches over 25 degrees) you must make sure that time is on your side. I’ve preached this sermon so many times but allow me to once more climb to the top of my sweaty flustered pulpit and say: If you rush you will wish you were dead.
Think back to the last time you were on holiday and were getting a bit on edge (chewing the napkin and crying) because your food was taking its sweet time to come out of the kitchen. I’m sure one member of your party probably said something along the lines of ‘oh it just all moves slower here doesn’t it. It’s a different pace of life’.
Well there’s a reason for that. If they all moved at the pace of Londoners literally everyone on the Costa del Sol would resemble mad, sweaty beetroots and invariably be sobbing.
Take a leaf out of their book and leave for work half an hour earlier than necessary. Wander slowly to the tube and have a little breather outside to cool off before you enter that hot coffin of misery. Stop and pick up an unnecessarily summery drink that you would never usually dream of consuming pre 9am. Something like a lilt pineapple or an Um bongo.
You’ll thank yourself believe me.
3)Treat yo’ self
I know I like to preach frugality and bargains on here but heatwaves are not the time to do this.
During a particular hot trip to Rome (coupled with the most crippling hangover known to man kind) I once paid eight whole euros for a diet coke and then ordered another despite the fact I had roughly 25 pounds in my bank account.
Acknowledge that if you’re going to be walking anywhere, you will have to buy at least 5 soft drinks along the way. Acknowledge that it is worth paying £25 quid for a bottle of wine to take advantage of a wanky gastropubs beer garden instead of roasting yourself on the pavement outside your cheap local boozehouse. Acknowledge that buying a round of ice lollies for your entire office will earn you more love than you could find on ten hundred tinder dates.
These things are facts and its best you accept them now lest you end up like last year me who attempted a 20 minute walk to the pub in an attempt to not splash out on an uber and ended up drinking out of an ornamental fountain outside said pub before being caught by the guy I was meeting there. There is no way to salvage that situation. There is no way to be caught lapping from a fountain like a big dog and emerge as wife material.
It’s also worth acknowledging that it would have been better had the first words out of my mouth not been ‘that’s water on my face not sweat I swear’.
In sort of a shout.
Ok people here’s where things become difficult. On the weekends/on your jolly holidays getting dressed is absolutely no problem. I myself have a charming collection of muu muu esque dresses that I throw on without a care in the world. Sure I look like a mad hippie but I couldn’t give a flying fuck. It’s no problem because, in your free time you are free to look as stupid or as slutty as you like all in the name of not dying of heat.
Where this becomes an issue is in the workplace.
Dressing for work in winter is easy. Tights, skirt, jumper – all black, all woollen, DONE.
Dressing for summer is a bloody minefield. Sure, some offices are more relaxed than others but I genuinely believe there is no excuse for any of the following: short shorts, flipflops, visible bra straps, see through tops, indecent amounts of cleavage, butt skimming anything.
My dear pal H, who always looks incredibly well put together, has a theory. Keep the hemline at the knee and the neck no lower than the collar bone and the worlds your oyster.
Enter sleeveless shirts with midi skirts, a nice pair of culottes with a t-shirt, off the shoulder shirt tops and light wide trousers, a knee length loose shift dress that you can shake out from your body to generate breeze in a way that makes you look mental.
If you’d rather eat sick than see your colleagues in the nude, then understand that they probably don’t want to see your entire arse whilst you’re bent over trying to unjam the printer tray. Got it? Good.
5)Master the art of sleeping in the heat
It is the truth universally acknowledged that in the height of summer our bedrooms magically transform themselves into actual saunas. This becomes even more distressing if you have the bad fortune to catch some feelings for another human and have to share your bed.
You could be the most in love you’ve ever been but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like lying in a hot box of pain that you formerly thought of as your nice bedroom, staring into the snoring face of your boyfriend to get you wondering how many years you’d actually get in prison if you just killed him right then and there. If it’s like Orange is the New Black, I could probably get in with the hippies and be fine plus at least I’d get my OWN SODDING BUNK.
To put this in context I just sent the boy I’m currently dating this text message
Forewarned is forearmed.
So come on, we all know the drill. Windows open, covers off, and NO cuddling unless you have a death wish. Brings a whole new meaning to summer loving doesn’t it.
Alternatively you could just hit the nearest beer garden and douse yourself in so much pale pink wine that you stand with your eye approximately a millimetre away from the keyhole whilst you move your key in and around the keyhole, breathing like a steam train before passing out facedown into your bed.
Good luck out there folks!