I’m not a huge hot weather fan, which has made for a very fun few weeks. I think I’ve finally come to accept that Hot Summer 2018 is here to stay. I’ve been doing my best to embrace the scorching temperatures: shade, avoiding being out when the sun’s at it’s hottest, loose clothes made out of natural fibres, high protection sun cream, lots and lots and lots of icy cold water. Embracing cooler early mornings and gorgeous warmer evenings outside is also a lovely way to experience Hot Summer. In fact, I feel so at ease with the heat now, I’ve an inkling I’ll miss these sunny days (even if I’ve been a red-faced mid-day grump for over a month now).
The best place to be in a heatwave? Under a tree, preferably in a breeze.
If you need a refresher on the buyerarchy or you’re new, check out my last Top Finds post.
Practically Ethical’s Top Hot Summer 2018 Finds.
1. Summer lunches and homemade lollies (Make)
Watermelon and feta salad (with cucumber, mint from the garden, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper)
Butternut squash, chickpea and hazelnut salad (with spring onions, cherry tomatoes, watercress, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasoning)
Gazpacho (simply blitz pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic and passata and ice together. Season with salt pepper and top with herbs and reserved diced cucumber, onion and pepper).
Roasted beetroot, feta and bulgur wheat salad.
Cheaper and healthier than eating out, summer lunches with a little bit of prep are an absolute doddle. Gazpacho, big batches of salad for packed lunches and impromptu salads with just a few ingredients, adding in herb leaves, salt, pepper, a splash of olive oil, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for simple seasoning have all been on our summer menu. Summer food is quick, fresh and easy. It’s also brilliant for popping into a preserving jar and taking outside to eat under a tree. Or in an air conditioned soft play.
Smoothie and vanilla milk lolly with chocolate sauce and sprinkles.
Homemade lollies are a great way of getting little one’s involved in simple food prep. Mine like a smoothie lolly with chocolate sauce and sprinkles. We have a Zoku lolly maker. It takes about 7 minutes to freeze the ingredients and you get to control exactly what’s going into your / their lolly. If you need to get small people inside when it’s just too hot outside, this is a great way to do it. Also, no waste, as the lolly sticks are a reusable part of the kit.
2. Iced tea & coffee – free – ingredients from the cupboard (Use What You Have)
We were really suffering one afternoon in the sweltering heat at home, we’d run out of squash, milk and fruit juice, so rather than make everyone walk to the local shop I made up a jug of iced tea. We used rooibos tea (caffeine and tannin free), some strawberries that were past their best, slices of lemon, a couple of teaspoons of honey and loads of ice. This was absolutely delicious and the girls loved their grown up drink with chunks of strawberry and ice. I’d love to try some different iced tea recipes. There must be a good matcha recipe out there. You can’t beat an iced coffee for a more grown-up iced drink with a caffeine boost. We’ve been guzzling iced lattés (cow’s milk and oat milk). A nice way to switch around your usual hot drink in the heat wave. Simply make some coffee (we use a cafetière), add lots of ice, top up with your preferred milk or mylk (shake in a cocktail shaker, if you can be bothered) and pour over more ice.
4. Library Reading Challenge – Free (Borrow)
As a Stay-At-Home-Mum, filling 6 weeks of summer holidays can feel daunting. We haven’t had this much time together since last summer. And well, let’s just say the relentless rain, a disastrous holiday and my unstructured approach to last summer wasn’t really a winning combo. I think I’ve overly scheduled the girls this year. I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll strike a good balance. I’ll let you know when I cracked it. One of the brilliant and free activities we’re signed up to this year, and actually the one that the girls are most excited about, is the local library’s reading challenge. Our local library has been transformed into an exciting, child-friendly Beano Town with a dedicated challenge desk and loads of other activities alongside the main reading challenge. We haven’t taken part in the annual challenge before and I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of this educational, fun and free summer activity. There’s a real medal at the end for completing the challenge too. A great incentive to keep little people reading when school’s out.
3. Mádara Age-Defying Sunscreen SPF 30 and Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion (Buy – but at no cost to me as I used up my LoveLula loyalty points)
Madara Age-Defying Sunscreen SPF 30. A brilliant recommendation from the fabulous green make-up artist and beauty blogger, Louise Dartford. Not only does this light cream protect my skin (keen to report no burnt nose this summer), it’s also an awesome multi-tasker in my make-up bag. I’ve been using it as a CC cream for about a month now. No need for anything other than a smear of this in the morning for a lightly made-up look. I put it on straight after my usual moisturiser and can then forget all about sunscreen. If I don’t have time to put on make-up, it leaves a lovely glowy sheen and my skin just looks super healthy. But it also works equally well under foundation. It’s solved the morning make-up ruining ghost-face kids’ suncream conundrum that I’d been facing earlier in the summer. A new staple in my make-up bag.
Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion. I absolutely love this cleansing lotion. It works well on my sensitive cheeks and leaves my skin clean and soft. I use it as the second cleanser in my double cleanse routine and my skin has been much improved since I’ve refreshed my night-time skincare routine. Of all the cleansers I’ve tried (a lot) it’s very, very gentle. I’ve even used it on the girls to remove stubborn pen and face paint before bed without any grumbles. That it smells like a scrumptious biscuit is a huge bonus. I’m planning to try more of Weleda’s almond range as other products run out.
5. Denim shorts – charity shop find – £3.50 (Thrift)
Worn at least twice a week, for weeks now. What a fab find. They’re on the loose side, not the most stylish garment in my wardrobe and I probably won’t keep them forever. But they’re practical (clambering up climbing frames and trees to retrieve small girls can be very undignified in summer dresses) and super comfortable. They’ve been easy to stick on with any kind of top and sandals in the morning. And I don’t really mind too much if they get stained with suncream or covered in mud (well, dust) at the park. And can I just say: £3.50. All for charity. Circular Economy.
6. The Sun and it’s brilliant laundry smashing powers – completely free (Arguably, Use What You Have)
We really need to get the massive rotary washing line up at our new house! But these 13-year old airers are doing the trick nicely.
Ok, so obvs I didn’t just find the sun and I’m not talking about that newspaper. But I don’t remember a summer like this in the UK. Ever. Do you? The fearful part of me is very concerned about the impact of global warming and the heatwave disasters that have been reported from around the world of late. Is it compelling evidence that there’s now no looking back? Frightening, isn’t it.
On a sunnier note, I’ve also never remembered a time when I’ve been so on top of our massive family-sized laundry pile. The hot weather means that our washing is drying in record time – about 2 hours yesterday. Smaller loads going out everyday and coming in smelling divine. Is this the best thing about summer, I ask myself? But, it gets better! Did you know that direct sunlight has amazing stain removing powers? The Big One managed to get dinner all the way down her favourite dress at the weekend. It was a big stain. It was turmeric. The bright yellow marks didn’t come out in the wash. I was sure it was ruined. But after a day and a half on the airer in direct sunlight (I left it out over night), it’s gone. So, stop using vanish or laundry bleach and start hanging your washing on the line in direct sunlight. Especially whites. So much better for the environment, and really, we’ve all got to do better where we can, haven’t we.
How is your summer? What have you found useful in the heatwave? Any ingenious cooling solutions? What are you up to with your kids in the summer holidays? Are you trying to keep it eco?