SUN-DAYS: A ROUND UP OF SUMMER TIME ESSENTIALS


Well, it's looking as though most of us will be seeing out the rest of the summer months from the comfort of our gardens or balconies. But as we adjust to this new normal, it doesn't mean that our typical summer rituals have to become complete strangers. England is blessing us with some heatwaves at the moment, and I plan to soak up every single second. Here are some of the products and pieces that I rely on in various ways when the hot weather comes in.

SPF

While it's important to look after your skin all year round, when the sun starts shining a bit more frequently it becomes vital to double up on protective measures. At risk of sounding like your mum, the sun is the biggest cause of ageing and it's so much easier to take a few precautions now than to try and counteract sun damage later. My absolute favourite SPF for my face is by La Roche-Posay, Anthelios factor 50 (told ya, I'm not holding back on protection). It feels like water on the skin which I love because it soaks in so quickly, and you can pop a bit of makeup on top if you want to. It thoroughly protects my face but still lets me develop a little bit of a tan - couldn't ask for more! To freshen up throughout the day, I'll use a soothing spray from Herbivore named 'After Sun'. I've never been one to rave about any kind of facial spray, as I don't think they make a huge difference to skin, but this one is SO refreshing for perking your skin up after a day of heat.


SUNGLASSES

An obvious summer time essential for so many reasons. I went through years of buying sunglasses that were trend driven, cheap, and would barely last me one summer. I could also never really figure out the style that suited me best, so I was always reluctant to invest in a good pair of sunnies. But let me tell you, it's important to take the time to figure this one out because once you do find "the ones", you'll never go back (enter, Celine).


Without really good sunglasses that will actually protect your eyes from the sun, you can develop a whole cocktail of problems relating to vision...and if the thought of that isn't enough to terrify you, you'll also be squinting much more often leading to under-eye wrinkles. Typically, you won't get a good level of protection from sunglasses made by fast fashion brands, because they're more about aesthetic than functionality (completely fine if that's what you're looking for, but for strong UV days, you need the real thing).


Not only are sunglasses an important sun protector, but I've realised that they are actually such a style staple too (even in winter). If you're true to your style when picking your perfect pair, you can work the same sunglasses into every outfit, and they really have a unique ability to completely tie an outfit together. Think of any inspiration picture you see on Instagram of Rosie HW or Hailey Bieber, and you'll notice that the cherry on top of their perfectly styled ensemble is a pair of simple sunglasses.


They are a super personal accessory so you have to find ones you feel suit you, but I would always opt for classics that will grow with you. My favourite pairs are the classic round Rayban's in gold, and a navy Celine pair that are absolutely huge and block out everything (and everyone, if you're nursing a hangover). Le Specs is another brand I love that have an incredible variety of shapes, so if you're struggling to find your style, maybe give these a try (these cat-eye ones are my favourite).


SWIMSUITS

Another area of summer-wear shopping that I'm always torn between skimping or splurging on is swimwear. Sometimes even the priciest of pieces don't guarantee quality, because at the end of the day, the fabric will be absorbing suncream, sand, salt water, and inevitably can end up looking a bit worn. For that reason, I think it's great to have a mixture of high and low swimsuits so that you don't have to be super precious about it when spending the day at the beach, but you also have something a bit more polished for poolside lunches or boat days...this sounds like a distant memory now as my latest swimsuit purchase hasn't made it further than my balcony.


If you're looking for a classic with a little bit more of a luxurious feel, two brands I absolutely love are Hunza G, and Solid and Striped. Last summer I picked up a classic black one piece from Hunza G and absolutely fell in love with the brand. The quality of the fabric is insane, the fit is so flattering, and by the end of the summer it still looked brand new (even after jet-skiing with a boyfriend determined to sling you off). This year, I treated myself to the cream version and I'm now itching to debut it a la Mediterranean (a girl can dream). Solid and Striped also have an amazing collection of suits that are a bit more playful and almost vintage-feeling, but still classic and very effortless. S&S pieces also end up on The Outnet a lot (Net-A-Porter's discounted sister brand), but given that they're so timeless, they don't feel outdated and you're able to get a good bargain.


For lower priced swimwear that still looks polished and classic, I'd turn to Oysho, H&M, Ode & Rae, or (here's the curveball) Hollister - I know this is a bit of a rogue one as the Hollister hype disappeared years ago, but I really rate the quality of their bikinis and swimsuits. They have great ribbed basic designs that are so flattering and really durable.


EASY READS

Typically, summer vacations are the only time of the year that I am actually able to power through my reading list without distractions. There's nothing better than spending a hot day soaking up the sun, ice tea in hand, escaping to another reality through a really good read. In these conditions, I never want anything too serious or heavy, just a good story that keeps me gripped throughout. I've just started Untamed by Glennon Doyle as I was hearing such great things about it, but here are some other suggestions for can't-put-down reads.


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

This book is in my top 3 all-time favourites - it's such an interesting exploration of different perspectives between a married couple and I found I just soaked it up.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I'm sure you've heard about this book by now, but if you haven't its definitely the time to pick it up because it's just been released as a tv-series starring and produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I've read a couple of books by this author and I think this one is my favourite, just for the way it's able to maintain a gripping story line and explore deeper topics consistently throughout.


Becoming by Michelle Obama

I'm not usually one for autobiographies, but obviously I made an exception for the former first lady. I knew the book would be very well written and powerful but I didn't expect to be so moved by it. She's so in tune with herself and her purpose, and alongside being an incredible story on her journey through life, it's such an inspiring memoir on growing into your best self.