I live in London. We had our singular day of summerishness about a month ago, but in case I ever see the sun again, I am living in a state of constant preparation. I mean, if you aren’t ready to bail on important appointments the moment you get a second of sunshine over here, you might miss all that you’re getting all year.
It’s a cultural thing. Seriously, if it goes above 12 degrees here, everyone takes their shirts off in the streets and it’s like the Jubilee frenzy all over again.
There is nothing that I like more than being in the park. We have the most beautiful ladies pond fairly close to where I live, on this huge heath, where you can hang out without getting perved on, and it is dreamy. I feel like being in the sun makes being lazy an activity in itself, because just lying down outside is totally acceptable. My favourite activity is lying down.
Also, the effect that lying in the sun (shade) has on my mood is incomparable, no matter how many vitamin D supplements I get prescribed or mouth-sprays I try to drink. (BTW, has anyone worked out a cure for this? Do those sun lamps really work?)
So, I am totally living in preparation for getting my arms and legs out in public. I have the self-esteem of a slug at the moment, so keeping my skin scrubbed, polished and moisturized seems of paramount importance to me; it is one of the easiest ways to keep my confidence up when I am getting exposed. Plus, I just having silky skin. There is nothing better than that feeling you get of rubbing your legs up against each other when they are smooth. It’s like leg orgasm.
I’m not one for a tan; I live in SPF 50 and under tree shade, but if you love that healthy glow, then making sure your skin is exfoliated and moisturized is also step one towards maintaining non-patchy longevity.
I love a ridiculous variety body scrubs, but my favourite multi-purpose is REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm. You massage it into your skin and then jump in the bath or shower and rinse it off, easy-peasy, and it leaves your skin balmy and soft.
I really believe in looking after my décolletage because I don’t want a crepey neck when I get older, and prevention is better than cure. Hopefully, by the time I’m 50, I’ll have other stuff that is more important in my life than the plumpness and firmness of my neck and chest but I can’t even imagine a world in which that is true right now, so I’m looking after it whilst I can.
This means that on my chest, boobs and neck I use a face scrub because it is designed for more delicate skin. I love Malin + Goetz Jojoba Face Scrub at the moment, because it has amino acids for hydration, plus natural jojoba meal for a gentle scrubby effect.
Plus, I feel like their design and packaging is super chic, which is obviously important. I hate shabby packaging. I spend enough money on this stuff to expect a semblance of effort to have gone into the tube I am squeezing the last dregs out of.
Finally for shower-time, I have found the shaving cream of the gods. Whilst I religiously use Johnson’s Baby Oil on my most delicate areas, I’ve discovered the only shaving stuff that actually does anything for my legs: Lush Ambrosia Shaving Cream.
The name is self-explanatory, application-wise--you put it on and then shave wherever--but you should definitely get it because it stops your legs from feeling itchy and dry post-shave. It has everything in it from jojoba to honey to cocoa butter, so it is incredibly anti-inflammatory and soothing.
It means I don’t get post-shave rash, which always turns into post-shave sting the second I try to moisturize and deeply disturbs me.
When I’m clean and dry, I have finally conditioned myself to become a rigorous moisturizer. It always felt like soooo much effort to go through all the hassle of actually washing myself and then have to grease myself up; but, through rigorous testing processes, I’ve found stuff that is effective enough to feel worthwhile.
Firstly, I use Lush Lovely Jubblies on my boobs and thereabouts; it's one of the most delicious-smelling creams of all time. It's made with tiger lily and meadowsweet, and it smells like being in a meadowy dream.
I then move on to everywhere else, which I cover in a really light layer of Darphin Nourishing And Firming Velvet Cream. This one is scarcely scented, which is good because I love a whole heap of body oils and perfumes and otherwise I end up smelling like a fragrance counter.
Also, you can dress within about two minutes of application, which is a bizarrely unusual feature in a moisturizer. Normally I have to smoke like two cigarettes before I can even lie on my bed without greasing my sheets all up. Rad.
I also have these weird dry patches on my body right now; obviously, bits like my elbows and knees sometimes need extra attention, but my ankles have gone totally gross and leathery.
For these bits of me, I use Black Chicken Love Your Body Oil. This smells like whatever magical stuff my yoga teacher rubs on the back of my neck during shavasana and I don’t know how to explain it outside of that. Ylang-ylang-y, maybe? Patchouli, but in a good way? It’s deep and delicious and makes me feel at peace in spite of my scaly ankles, which is a notable achievement in light of my semi-perpetual state of anxiety.
Finally, I am hugely in favour of taking a multi-purpose soap with me to the pond because there is no point getting my skin all delicious and then going swimming with frogs and not washing off all their spawn or whatever natural stuff goes on in there. I carry Dr. Bronner's with me wherever I take my bikini because you can wash your body, face, hair AND your swimsuit in it, it is cheap as chips and comes in cute miniatures.
And that's how I alleviate pre-pond-swimming stress. Or at least, some of it. I can’t really swim, so that is kind of stressful; I have to stay close to the muddy banks and hope the lifeguard is keeping an eye on me.
Can anyone else not swim? I also can’t ride a bike. It feels kind of sub-human. What stuff do you guys use to get yourself ready for summer? Aren’t you glad that I let my hair go back to its natural colour? Revisiting these pics, I sure as hell am.