Long, hot, summer

Every year, without fail, my mother says 'it's going to be like 76' when a heatwave lasted all summer, the UK felt like the Costa del Sol and everyone couldn't stop remarking 'ooh, isn't it hot?' And you know what? This year, she might be right...

Regular followers of my Instagram feed know that I am just a little obsessed with the weather. Sunshine is my drug, it's the ultimate mood-lifter and everything always feels better in the sun, so I can't help but check the weather on a very regular basis. In many, many (or one very large virus-type) way 2020 has sucked, but the weather? That's been glorious and is set to stay glorious for the forseeable future. With another heatwave predicted for the coming weekend, here are my tips for looking cool in the heat (and how to occupy yourself when you're hiding in the shade).

READ/WATCH

Five months into Lockdown or semi-Lockdown or whatever we're in at the moment, you're probably rather well-acquainted with your remote. You may well have watched all of these, but if you haven't, the following shows are either really good or look really good....

Stateless (Netflix)- an Aussie thriller set in an immigrant detention centre, it stars Cate Blanchett and has had rave reviews. If you like Aussie drama, I recently enjoyed The Secrets she Keeps (BBC), which starred Downton's Lady Edith as well, not exactly the kind of pregnant lady you'd like to meet in NCT.

Ozark (Netflix) - you've probably all watched this, (most people have!) but we've recently discovered Ozark. Starring the amazing Laura Linney and Jason Bateman as a married couple caught up in a money laundering scheme, it's violent, clever and a brilliant watch. Stick with series one, which takes a while to warm up.....and if you like Jason Bateman, watch Game Night (also on Netflix) with Rachel McAdams (Bateman has good co-stars), which is a comedy action movie, that's really good fun.

The Last Wave (BBC) - I'm a sucker for a good foreign language drama - mainly because the subtitles make me concentrate, so I get hooked. I often find that English-language programmes need to grab me from the off, otherwise I wander in and out of the room and lose interest. Anyway, The Last Wave is a French drama in which a group of surfers disappear in the middle of a competition, only to return a few minutes later with special powers. I haven't made it sound that compelling, but once again, it has great reviews and beautiful scenery. If subtitles are your bag, then also try Spiral (BBC), which is an amazing police drama set in Paris. 

Liked Normal People? Loved Paul Mescal? Then The Deceived (Channel 5) will be for you. Cambridge students, an affair and a disappearance - it's a psychological thriller with added Mescal thrills. Inside the Ritz (ITV) also offers brilliant gold-embossed escapism.

As for reading, I'm a little slow on that front and haven't got a huge amount of newness to share. I've read and enjoyed three of Nina Stibbe's glorious novels in Lockdown and am about to start Daisy Jones and The Six, which everyone seems to adore. I'm tired when I go to bed, so I tend to need a page turner, and these four novels inspire you to do just that.

If you're looking for sun-soaked romance then Polly Samson's A Theatre for Dreamers has had rave reviews. Set on a bohemian Greek island in 1960, it's about lost innocence and the unravelling of dreams. Listen to the audiobook and  Samson's husband Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour has provided the soundtrack.

WEAR

A Great Tee

With August set to be a scorcher, September always the month for lovely weather, and October, usually quite warm, there's no better time to stock up on a statement tee. My Margaux & The Bright Lights tees are beautifully cut and incredibly flattering with a gently scooped neckline and long line body. Wear now with shorts or a maxi/midi skirt and sandals. Wear in September with jeans, shorts or skirts with trainers, and in October under a fabulous cardi. You'll get a lot of use from a great tee, even in the winter under a jumper like this amazing bright pink one!  Style instagrammer @belsfashionedit looks amazing in her grey  Hello tee (below) as does @theturquoiseflamingo in the white version.

A beautiful dress

Dresses are just so easy. You literally throw on and go. They also can easily be adapted to the seasons, as all you need to do is throw on a jacket on top. I have lots online from statement summer dresses (now in the sale and perfect for this summer, winter holidays and next year) to more trans-seasonal pieces such as this one by cult Danish brand Saint Tropez.

A pretty top

A pretty top and jeans is a year-round staple. A pretty top and shorts is the perfect answer for too-hot-for-jeans days. These ruffle blouses are stunning. So easy to wear, they make a statement without overwhelming you. Also try this gorgeous floaty top or blouse or a boho-inspired Kefalonia top, which floats over your tummy with elasticated cuffs to easily pull up those sleeves. New in is this stunning leopard print top, which will transition beautifully into the autumn with jeans or under a blazer.

Accessories

For a quick summer update, you can't beat an accessory or two. My beautiful tasselled Balearic bags are handmade in India. Fully-lined with a zip closure, they are 100% cotton and beautifully-made. The kind of bag that is always in style, you will use it for summer and holidays for years to come. Jewellery also looks  great layered on during the summer. My French bangles look amazing with the new gold-plated chain bracelets, whilst the layered necklace sets and chunky costume rings are true statement pieces.

Struggling to sleep?

The only downside of the summer is that it can be harder sleeping. Too hot - use a fan. Too bright? Use an eyemask. I would be on my knees if it weren't for an eyemask to block out that early sunrise. These ones from Elizabeth Scarlett are velvet-backed and lavender filled, and true works of art. You can also pair them with a matching pouch, which doubles up as a clutch. Genius.


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