I interrupt what was going to be a stream of beauty and skincare posts (I’ve been testing affordable sunscreens, watch this space) to talk about the current heatwave. Also the scarcity of heatwave-appropriate dresses and – perhaps most importantly – the fact that my house is basically a Georgian refrigerator.
I feel as though I need to document this heatwave somehow; more than two weeks of constant hot weather is an incredibly significant event to someone who lives in the UK. It’s even more significant if they’re the sort of person who cancels all plans just so that they can get two hours of sun during the kids’ nap time, rushing into the garden with a rug to sunbathe on as soon as the babes are safely in their cots. From dressed-Mum-in-the-bedroom to semi-naked-sun-worshipper-on-lawn in around a minute. Gone in sixty seconds.
So yeah, forgive me if I have to just pop a little post up on A Model Recommends so that I can remember this glorious period of weather for the rest of my days; if I don’t make some sort of historical record then it will be forgotten and we’ll be back to complaining about how crap our summers always are. And this has to be the best run of UK sunshine I’ve ever seen in my life – I’m not sure what the stats are, and could easily have Googled them before writing this (or I could even Google them now and save myself all of this messy disclaimer!) but this dry spell must be pushing towards being a record-breaker.
Anyway, you’ve probably gleaned that I love a heatwave – granted I have no newborn babies to keep cool and I’m not pregnant (nightmare in this heat) or elderly, but I’ve always loved to bask in the sun. So long – and this is the crucial part – as there is somewhere cool to retreat to. I must have shade and a glass of icy water to hand if I am to enjoy the searing element. There needs to be contrast – on holiday, that contrast is “hot sand” followed by “dip in the icy sea”, but at home the contrast is usually “long stretch on straw-like lawn” followed by “small lie down in the shadiest room in the house”. And if there’s no coolness to be found in the house, that’s when things start to go downhill.
It follows, then, that I am more than a little pleased about just how cool my house is. Not cool in the snazzy kind of way but in the literal sense. Cool as in not warm. The exterior walls of my house are over two feet thick and seem completely impenetrable to heat; so whilst the outside earth has been baking in twenty-eight degree temperatures the inside of my house – especially downstairs – has stayed a steady, blessed seventeen. Cool, but not uncomfortably so – sort of like an air-conditioned department store. You require a light sweater or cardigan over your summer attire but it’s not cold enough to want a coat. Noticeably fresh, but not as frigid as lingering in the frozen aisle at Tesco.
Anyway, whilst half the country has been moaning about how unbearably warm it is in their houses (“there’s just no escape from the heat!” “I can’t get a wink of sleep without the fan on full blast!” “the air just doesn’t move!”) I have been going to bed with pyjamas on and snuggling down under a 13 tog duvet. Bliss. Scorchio weather for me to enjoy by day and the perfect chilled atmosphere to retire to at night. Another contrast. It’s contrasts a-go-go.
Now look: the only reason I feel OK about gloating over my home’s coolness is that it’s just about the one time in the whole year that having a chilly house has been a boon. The rest of the time, when it’s miserable and rainy outside, having cold flagstone floors and a load of empty fireplaces is not something to be smug about. The rest of the year I’m out foraging for old tree stumps to keep the fires going so that we don’t turn into ice cubes. The rest of the year we wear hats to bed.
And I’d be surprised if my hallway ever reached more than fifteen degrees – it’s like a bloody icebox. I don’t know why we even bother having a fridge in the kitchen, we could just keep all of the perishables next to the front door.
“Do come in! Mind the bacon. That’s right, dear, sidestep the Tropicana and watch you don’t slip on the unsalted butter.”
Excellent. Not so great when it’s frosty outside and you realise the central heating is devouring eighty gallons of oil an hour, but brilliant during a heatwave…so basically, brilliant once every five years for a few weeks…
Question: why do shops have to sell all of their clothes three months too early? I want to buy flimsy, cottony, barely-there dresses NOW, not a quarter of a year ago. A quarter of a year ago it was still snowing. And now we seem to be going into Autumn, in retail land – I keep getting catalogues and emails sent through with coats and roll-neck sweaters featured on the front page! It’s all completely arse about tit!
One to grab before it goes, however; the Bloomsbury Shirt Dress from Hush (here*), which is £45 in the sale instead of £75. It’s pretty short, so you wouldn’t be wanting to tie up your shoelaces in it, but it’s loose and cool and casually sexy and everything I want from a throw-on dress. Apart from the fact it’s black, which isn’t ideal unless you want to become a human storage heater, but hey.
(Oh, now I feel like a berk: I’ve just been to the Hush website to get the link for the shirt dress and they have loads of new summer dresses*, many of them suitable only for the very hottest of temperatures. Obviously I don’t include Hush in my earlier rant – bravo Hush, keep up the good work, etc. And in fairness, H&M had quite a few little flimsy dresses when I was in there the other day – is there anywhere else I should add to my “seasonally relevant shops” list?)
Finally, tell me: are you sick of the heat or basking in it until the cows come home? And if it’s not too personal, what’s your optimum bedroom temperature? Do you even know what your bedroom temperature is? I know the temperature of every single bedroom, to a tenth of a degree, because having babies made me obsessed with room temperatures and it’s hard to break the habit. (My room: 18. Angelica’s room: 19. Ted’s room: 23 (it’s in the roof), my office: 24 (it’s in the roof and I’ve got the window shut because there’s a tractor making an annoying noise.) I own three different room thermometers and even have a thing that beeps if the room gets too hot. Not likely, not with our antiquated air-con system, aka “castle walls”.