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This summer is a special one for me, because last summer I was in hospital for most of it and spent the rest of it on steroids and a host of there medications, swollen like a blowfish, and getting better. I am still in the course of treatment, but a long way away from where I was last year, feeling much, much, MUCH better, and planning to live every freaking moment of the summer and beyond. I am not a huge fan of the summer, the heat on my skin, the humidity; Britain has the most humid summers… but I vividly remember myself last year hoping and praying that if I make it out I would live that cliche of living my best life. And I’m trying y’all, I really am.
This summer has been glorious, actual sunshine and heat, hotter than an Indian summer if you’ll believe that and come the first of August we are counting down the days to Autumn zooming right past it to the thick of winter. By the end of August we are talking back to school and back to real life for parents and children and the grind of things. But we have now before then, so let’s plan to live the hell out of the summer and make some good memories that can keep us going till the next summer. As I type this, it is pouring down with rain outside my window, bang in the middle of this blazing summer we have torrential rain and thunder storms but I am not mad at the in the least, we need the rain, farmers need it for the soil to keep feeding us good food in season, we need the rain to clean all the humidity and gunk from the pollution the earth is suffering.
This list is a guideline, if you do one thing on it fabulous. Ten? Grand. All? Fantastic. the aim is to live your best life, (said in my best Oprah voice). So let’s get right on into it shall we?
1. Sleep In: August is heaven for everyone, everywhere, no school in session, family holidays, blissful commute into work because trains are not crowded…it is the perfect month to sleep in and catch up on the hours lost to sleeplessness, work and all nighters. Sleep in and get your energy right on balance, and catch up with your body and reacquaint yourself with her natural rhythm.
2. Let your body wake up naturally: see number 1. Get rid of your alarm clock and let your body wake up to the sound of birds and the rise of the sun. Even if it means going in late for work or missing our on the morning calls. Better still no calls until noon until the summer is over.
3. Read two books: something old and something new. For something old, if you have never read it, read Lucky Chances by Jackie Collins. For something new read an Italian Holiday; a book about four women getting away from the ish of their lives in London and holidaying in Italy. Bonus points; read my book. 😉
4. Have a Day-cation: binge watch some shows on Netflix and Amazon. A couple on Netflix: Luke Cage, Drug Lords, Chef, North & South; okay, more than a couple. Amazon: The Bold Type- I really like this show, it is set around three women working the fashion industry, publishing specifically, and yes the three girls can be annoying and atypical at times but it is a far cry from the Devil Wears Prada, which shows of this ilk tend to slant towards. My favourite character is the Editor In Chief. She’s cool and the type of person I would like to believe exists in the industry. Another show and one of Amazon’s best creation is Bosch- this is my absolute favourite show on Amazon, detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch, central character in the dark crime drama set in Los Angeles. Binge watch all four seasons in one day and thank me later.
5. Go to a music concert: I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of concerts, crowds make me anxious and the moment gets lost in the melee. Give me a couch and a big screen TV and I’m good, but its the summer and we are living it up so we are taking our fly selves to a concert, in the Park, or at the Albert Hall or maybe something more low key and free; the ever faithful underground busker… whatever floats your boat just go.
6. Plan a night in Paris: be impetuous, call your girlfriends or go SOLO for a night in Paris if you’re close enough.
7. Do something fun in Paris: a fancy meal at L’Orangerie @ George V perhaps, or afternoon tea @ Le Bristol. Go to a museum, forget the Louvre, D’Orsay is my favourite museum in all of Paris. Be a cliché and have expensive hot chocolate at Cafe de Flore. Walk around and marvel at the astounding beauty that is Jardin du Luxembourg; my favourite place to be in Paris.
8. Return from Paris: with pastries from Pierre Here and spend the evening drinking champagne before bed.
9. See a play in the west end: Its a shame that Baba Segi’s wives is not in theatres anymore, but there is always something on so scroll through timeout or art reviews, pick a small theatre, they normally have good plays and go see it, for the culture and for support. Or if you can get tickets, you should go see Hamilton. It is quite simply the greatest show on earth.
10. Go Clubbing: re-live your youth and party in heels that hurt, a dress that is too short, full face of makeup. Flirt with handsome men, exchange numbers for the night. Jump on the night bus home and stop by the kebab shop before you make it home at six in the morning.
11. Babysit your nieces, nephews and god-children: preferably not right after your wild night out in the club.
12. Throw a fabulous dinner party: for friends and catch up on the good times you had.
13. Get lost in London: it’s a beautiful city to get lost in and no matter how many times you roam it, every corner is a surprise.
14. Picnic in the Park: Hyde Park is so beautiful, so vast, so lovely all year round but nothing beats it in the summer. Grab a picnic basket, bottle of chilled champagne, meats and cheeses, fat strawberries and cream, salads and go chill in the park with your bestest
15. Call an old friend: we all have that one friend we have lost touch with, call them up, check in with an old relative, see how they are doing, and say a prayer for the world.
16. Clean your skirting boards: as a matter of fact, clean the whole house, organise your closet and take excess to charity or give them out to family or friends who want them. Live light and let light in.
17. Organise your christmas holiday plans: have a white Christmas or escape somewhere tropical. Do something fun and unusual this time.
18. Get your low maintenance beauty routine on point: the summer is no time to bother with too much make-up because the humidity will not let you be beautiful and great so fine-tune your best make up, no make up look that won’t be a victim of the humidity. Paint your nails, scrub your feet and moisturise them. I love this foot cream, from Burt’s Bees, 100% moisture all day. Don’t be ashy this summer.
19. Plan your wardrobe ahead: make this the summer you wear the prettiest dresses. If you can, and I know you can, plan all the dresses for the 31 days in August.
20. Spend some time being alone: check yourself into a hotel or stay indoors, order room service, go dine out alone or cook yourself a home-cooked meal… do something for you and all about you, get to know yourself better and enjoy being in your company.
21. Spend time with family: I have an awesome family and we are all scattered around the world but in each other’s lives through phone, texts etc. When you can, drop by your parents’, call your brother, sisters, aunts, uncles… get the barbecue going and enjoy being in the company of loved ones.
22. Go to a quiz night at your local… I know, I know but try it its so much fun
23. Spend a Monday by the sea: away from work and the hustle of every day life
24. Write a short story: it can be about anything you want at all, just carve out sometime and put words down to paper.
25. Take a leap of faith: If its a bad decision, learn from it and move on. Enjoy the rewards of a good decision, pay it forward pass on the good feeling
26. Take a day trip outside of London: a summer’s day punting on River Cam, taking a literary tour of Oxford, or walking the bucolic lanes of the Cotswolds… do something that takes you out of the big smoke.
27. Take a digital detox: nowadays, a lot of things on social media make me so damn mad and I find myself engaging with crazy people but I have cut back on my time online and it has done me a world of good. Social media is both good and dangerous for you, find sometime to be ignorant of the shit that can sometimes go down on there.
28. Go to bed late, wake up later.
29. Eat dessert as a whole meal.
30. Fall in love with your life all over again: Be intentional about this and make sure you love your life. We are all going through things, the world is a shitty place to be sometimes these days but here is the thing; you only have you at night when you look yourself in the mirror. Be intentional with loving yourself. Please.
31. Take it all in: Take care of yourself. Check your breasts, drink lots of water, eat well, eat in season, moisturise at night, exercise however you can, limit your meat consumption, use sunscreen, my sister, use sunscreen.
To the summer of our lives.