Summer in the city….

Makes me think of this song.  And this one.  And this one.

Once I’ve finished that musical journey, however, I turn to the weather forecast, and when I see a predicted 32 degrees on Wednesday (90 degrees fahrenheit) my very Scottish soul starts to weep.*  

When I’m on holiday, lounging by a pool, embracing a siesta, wearing a sundress, those sort of temperatures sound inviting.

When I’m in London, wearing work appropriate clothes and shoes, travelling on the tube (because descending to the bowels of the earth itself is a great idea when the thermometer soars!)….it’s a trial.  Some cities, some cultures, do warm very well.  Brits, in the heat island that is our capital city?  It’s more a survival mode!  As someone who is happier in the cold, the struggle is all too real when it comes to not melting in the heat, and not becoming a sleep-deprived cross-patch in the process.  With each summer in the city I’ve got better and better at it, however, and hopefully some of these wee pearls of wisdom might help you to navigate the sticky season here in town or elsewhere.   

Timing is everything.

London is at its most fiercely warm from lunchtime till late afternoon.  Obviously there are times when I have to be teaching then, but any other jobs, housework or tasks I try to move to early morning (I rise earlier in the summer) or the evening.  In the morning the temperature starts in the low teens and soars gently, and in the evenings it drops to the twenties.  If I can avoid doing ironing, cooking, filing etc in the warmest parts of the day I will.  I find myself very jealous of some of our Mediterranean cousins, who write off the hottest points of the day and take a seista.  I’m always pro more naps! 

Eat wisely…

Hit the veggies and the fruits.  Now is the time for salads, crudités, smoothies….the less fatty, calorific stuff you consume, the more pleasant you are going to feel.  Do allow a little ice cream though, because a. cold; b. delicious.  I love making us homemade smoothie-pops.

…drink wisely too.

Get your hydration on.  I drink buckets of water as is, but when it’s warm I double down.  It’s worthwhile noting that alcohol is far more potent when you’re groggy from heat (it certainly is in my case!).  Alternating alcoholic drinks and soft drinks should help you to feel good.

Head for water, woods and hills.

The ‘heat island’ feels worst in the built up areas.  Head to a park, a hill, a lake or the river for a fresher air and (if you’re lucky!) a refreshing, cool breeze.

Man, I love me a breeze.

Avoid the tube if you can.

As the day progresses the tube gets more and more overheated, with some lines (take a bow, Central and Northern!) tipping the thermostat at 30 degrees or more.  If you can walk for part or all of your route, consider it.  It seems counter-intuitive, but I know I get far less overheated walking, listening to some 90s pop, than I do crammed into someones armpit in a metal tube.  Some lines are better – the Jubilee, Circle and Victoria lines are less warm, and the Overground can be almost pleasant.  Try out a few routes to see what works for you.  I often take the Jubilee Line to Stratford then walk the half-hour home from there in the summer evenings – anything to avoid five minutes in the oven that is the Central line!

Embrace the air-con.

If you find it, enjoy it.  Hotel bars, restaurants, the chilled aisle in the supermarket.  There’s no judgement in hot weather times.

Revise your makeup and work that wardrobe.

If you wear a tonne of makeup, it will slide off.  Go for light, dewy BB creams and foundations.  Waterproof mascara.  For wardrobe, think floaty, think comfortable, think natural fibres, think maxidresses, floaty tunics. wearing whatever feels comfiest for you.  I repeat, there’s no judgement in hot weather times.

Learn a few cooling tricks.

Need a refresher?  Run the inner part of your wrist below a cold tap for thirty seconds.

Always carry a scarf or some hair grips so you can get your hair off your neck if required.  Does wonders!

Consider a handheld fan, an old-school folding fan (I carry one with pride) or a misting spray (I love the Avene one) for a pick me up.

Craving icy-cold water for your commute and morning?  Before bed take a slug out of a plastic bottle (or two) of water, then put it in the freezer.  In the morning take it out, and it will slowly defrost, giving you chilled water for a fair few hours.  Bonus – in a lunchbox this will also help to keep sandwiches and salads cool.

Be kind to one another, and have a sense of humour.  

We are all in the same, slightly sweltering, sun-baked boat!  If you have any further tips, I’d love to hear them.  Enjoy the sunshine, all!

*I’m aware to my friends in Texas and Dubai and Georgia, these temps are nothing.  However, I am a wuss, and London is not built for heat.  Bear with me, please 😉

1 Comment

  1. Riot Kitty
    30th June 2015 / 6:01 am

    It has been upwards of those temps here for a week – and believe me, I NEVER feel like having that weather! I don't do makeup often, which is a good thing, because I'd look like Alice Cooper right about now.

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