Hints & Tips
OK. It’s finally the summer. I know. I was made painfully aware of this fact on Sunday when, after a rather heavy night at a local party, the sun peeped a few rays round my Laura Ashley drapes and shouted ‘GET UP!’ at me. This, however, made a nice change from the recently popular dismal, grey light we’ve been seeing in the morning, that creeps into the morning like a tardy schoolchild and looks like it has come straight from a Channel-4 documentary on cold-war Poland.
So. Time to think about all things summery. Straw hats, strawberries, holidays, swimming, cold drinks by the pool, suncream, walking down the street with less than three layers, and so on.
In fact, I have decided that what is required of me today, is a short list of summer holiday essentials, those little things that make summer special, that make the difference, whether you’re on holiday in the ‘Sud de France’ or walking along the prom in Great Yarmouth. I of course will be in Cannes, but much of this applies everywhere.
- A Decent Swimsuit. Now when I say decent I am not referring to the quality. I don’t care whether you got your from Selfridges or Primark (well, actually I do but for the purposes of this blog let’s pretend I’m not a bit snobby about apparel) No. It’s not the label on your jib, it’s the cut of it that counts and the most important things are, make sure you are covered in all the right places, make sure it fits well and make sure it is flattering to whichever of the myriad of great shapes that a woman can be without showing off more flesh than an episode of Game of Thrones. By the way chaps. Same goes for you. Don’t assume that because you only wear something on your lower half that it doesn’t have to be stylish and fit you well. It does, whether you have a six-pack or a Family Bucket, style and decorum count!
- Suncream. I cannot emphasise this enough. I’ve seen enough red flesh on the coasts of a million continental paradises to build an Empire State Building sized replica of Hellboy. Sunburn is not big, it’s not clever and it makes wearing even lightweight Egyptian cotton shirts and tops very uncomfortable indeed so make sure you have a high factor bottle of sunslap ready, the factor dependant on your type of skin, and apply liberally. Slap it on every time you get out of the water. Make sure you are totally covered when you go for a swim. Water magnifies the sun and does not protect you. Believe me, the only lobster you want on your hols is the one in your thermidor. End of!
- At Least a Smattering of the Tongue. This mainly applies to holidays abroad of course, although if you’ve ever tried to buy a Guardian newspaper in a corner store in north Norfolk, there are definitely language barriers to deal with. It may be hilarious to hear Del Boy shouting “Oi, Garkon. Un bubbly pour favor” at a French waiter in OFAH, but believe me that is not going to go down well in real life France or any other country. Particularly think about your language and courtesy in Europe I would say, as we just decided to abandon the EU ship and the good people of France, Italy, Spain or wherever, might well be feeling a bit unloved in the first place! You don’t need to know much. ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’, ‘Good Evening’, ‘Good Morning’, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank-you’ are of course de rigueur and just plain old fashioned good manners, but you might also want to think about – ‘Could you tell me what this is on the menu?’, ‘Do you have Uber in this town’ and ‘Please don’t spit in my cassoulet, I voted to remain’.
- A Good Book. Not The Good Book, I am not advocating that you try to spread Christianity around the globe, cripes no. Look what happened after the
crusades. But a good paperback novel or biography is more than just entertainment while your active friends are pretending they can play volleyball. It’s a great way of telling potential, unwanted suitors to leave you alone, it’s perfect for filling the eleven hour wait at the airport while some officious looking person examines the content of your spotless flip-flops and, best of all, incredibly useful for popping under the leg of the annoying wobbly table in your rented beachside villa.
- Marmite. Now I am well aware I’m going out on a well-shaped limb here but, ever since I was a little girl, Marmite has been my close personal friend and, despite my well-travelled past and present, and my adherence tot he mantra ‘when in Rome, eat what the Romans eat’ I have always travelled with a very small, discreet pot of marmite in my luggage. It’s not that I don’t like honey, confiture or any of the many breakfast delights that the countries of the world can offer. It’s just that sometimes that little savoury hit in the morning is all I need. And it is a great reminder of home iof you find yourself one night a little lonely and have decided not to go to the club with all your mates. Oh, and added to that. If you run out of suncream, and don’t mind looking as though you fell in some wet tar, it really does the business.
Well. That’s it from me for another week. Enjoy the sunshine and do get out into your garden. See ya! Holly.