Tuesday 11 December 2018

How to make the most of summer

It looks like this wondrous hot weather is going to last - so enjoy it while you can. The team share their secrets and tips about how to make the most of summer 2018

Cooling off at the Vartry Reservoir in Co Wicklow. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Cooling off at the Vartry Reservoir in Co Wicklow. Photo: Steve Humphreys

'Sunday Independent' team

1 Don't act like an eejit. That's the main thing to remember when the temperature is rising higher than a flea on a trampoline. Most people who suffer from the heat are just trying to do too much in unsuitable conditions. So just don't be an eejit. Simple. Pets, on the other hand, don't know what's good for them so just make sure to keep cats and dogs hydrated, put ice in their water bowls, and with access to flowing air. And try to stop moaning and enjoy the summer while it lasts. We will be longing for it soon enough when the country plummets back into chilly normality. E O'H

2 Put coconut water in the freezer and drink it as it thaws. It is great for feeling hydrated and is the best cure for a hangover. Trust me, you'll feel better in an hour. Make sure it's 100pc natural for more of a kick. NH - Freezing coconut water into ice-lolly moulds makes brilliant isotonic ice-pops to help beat heat stroke. SJW

3 Eat al fresco. The terrace at the Blue Bar in Skerries is beautiful on a sunny day. Seafood, great atmosphere and sublime views. Pop over to Storm in a Tea Cup ice-cream parlour on Skerries harbour for dessert. NH

4 Chill a bottle of beer or wine by wetting some kitchen towel with cold water and wrapping it around the bottle or can before placing in the freezer. It will chill in moments. JR

5Thebigtightscompany.co.uk for anti-chafing shorts to wear under dresses LH

6Invest in a good picnic blanket and basket. There is nothing like getting your lunch to go from your favourite cafe, a small bottle of Champagne from M&S, and heading to the park. NH

7 Want to keep picnic sandwiches fresh and moist overnight? Put the sandwiches in an airtight plastic container. Cover them with a layer of greaseproof paper, then cover the greaseproof paper with a single layer of damp (not wet or dripping) paper towel. Put the lid on the container and place in the refrigerator. L O'S

8Try this hydrating picnic recipe for Fast Food Coronation Chicken: buy a BBQ chicken and packet of Coronation coleslaw. Strip the chicken and mix with the coleslaw. Add water-rich fruits - pineapple chunks, grapes or watermelon - stir in mango chutney and plain yogurt to taste. Sprinkle with spring onion and sliced chilli, and serve with chunks of crisp baguette. L O'S

9Learn from New Yorkers who simply wear a towel as a scarf when the weather gets too hot. That way, when you get too sweaty you can just dab yourself like Whitney Houston or Christy Moore, and still feel like a rock star. DL

10 Move downstairs to sleep. It always feels a couple of degrees cooler on the ground floor. A heatwave is the one time you might get a better night's sleep on the sofabed. JM

11 Close all the curtains and blinds during the day, keeping the whole house shaded and dark during sunshine hours. Then open absolutely everything the moment dusk falls to let the cool night air in. JM

12 Instead of the usual glass of wine, try Aperol spritz on ice when sitting in the sun. These are on every bar terrace on the continent, but for some reason we always stick to wine. A really nice refreshing alternative NH

13 The new French-owned Chocolate Cafe, Le Chocolat de Fred on Lr George's Street, Dun Laoghaire, for ice-cream or Breton crepes. L O'S

14 It's actually OK, and really nice, to put red wine in the fridge on hot days. NH

15 Have a party in your garden with the right level of alcohol, sun-cream and of course the right tunes. Your playlist should include: Prince's Hot Thing, Britney Spears' Hot As Ice, Nelly's Hot in Here, Usher's Hottest Thing, Snoop Dogg's Drop It Like It's Hot, Sly and the Family Stone's Hot Fun In the Summertime, The Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City, Billy Idol's Hot in the City, Bruce Springsteen's Fire. BE

16 The best way to eat a Viennetta? Cut into thin slices, use a teaspoon to slowly eat, layer after layer from the top down, to make it last longer and to get the best out of the chocolate. SS

17 If you find your foundation sinking into your skin, the trick is to apply it to cool skin. You do this by holding a cold, damp facecloth on to your skin for a few moments, and THEN you apply your foundation. Store foundation in the fridge to ensure it's cool when it goes on. Finally use a damp sponge, not your fingers, as the natural oils from them will leave a streaky finish. TM

18 Always put on sun protection when you clean your teeth in the morning. JO

19 You'll get a hip toastie (€6/€7) and a cool iced latte (€3.20) at Happy Out cafe at the end of Dollymount's Bull Wall where you can chow down on picnic tables and take in the sun. L O'S

20 Lemons are great for cleaning and disinfecting but another great trick is to rub half a lemon under your arms. It's a great natural deodorant. TM

21 Have a tepid bath when nursing sunburn. It is surprisingly more effective than using cold water. A O'K - Lavender works really well on sunburn. Apply lavender essential oil to the burned area or mix into a cool bath. It soothes, speeds healing, and prevents scars and infections - and it smells good. TM

22 If you are overdoing it on the barbecue, try swapping lettuce leaves for burger buns. NH

23 Gin and tonic is all the rage at the moment. A good option if you want to pace your drinking is to have just tonic water every second drink. NH

24 Do not feel a twinge of guilt about sitting in a darkened room watching a World Cup game while the sun is shining. We don't need any Weather Police here. You have the right to choose. Stay strong. DL

25 Want to watch the World Cup and enjoy the sun at the same time? Take an iPad, or device of choice. Go to settings and turn up the brightness to max. Place iPad in the shade and sit in the sun with a pair of shades. Tune into RTE Player and watch Neymar et al. JR

26 Fancy cooling down with a cocktail as you gaze out over fishing boats and endless water? You won't get better than at Pier 26 at Ballycotton Harbour, East Cork, made by James Walsh. L O'S

27 Avoid embarrassment at the office and at home by using paper towels as armpit tampons. No more drips, and if anyone asks, they're cysts you'd rather not talk about. DL

28 If you are a very bad golfer, this is your moment. There is so much "run" on the fairways, the weakest drive is ending up roughly where a Rory McIlroy drive would land in the usual conditions. Another week of this and the ball may never actually stop. DL

29 Fill a spray bottle with water and ice and keep it in the fridge. Use it at home or bring on car journeys to ease those unbearably sticky few minutes before the aircon kicks in. It's especially handy for babies and young children. Aim upwards to cover yourself in a blissful cool mist. JM and C O'C

30 Linen has been out of favour for years but it is actually having a fashion moment. And nothing is more comfortable to wear in the heat. LH

31 As a child, I was warned by my late parents never to go swimming for at least 30 minutes after eating a meal to avoid cramp. It's still sound advice. SS

32 The river Barrow in the picturesque Cistercian village of Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny, surrounded by the Blackstairs Mountains, is heaven on a sunny day. SS

33 Best place for a 99 cone? Kiely's service station, Rosslare Road, Killinick, Co Wexford. They sell "real ice-cream" and will give you the size of cone you actually ask for. SS - Another great ice cream spot is Casanova Gelato on George's Quay in Cork - leave time for a spot of queuing. PF - Hendley's in Avoca does a superior 99. I believe this is partly due to the fact that they frequently clean the various working parts of the machine - I have seen them do this with my own eyes. DL

34 Know your body's pulse points such as your wrist, neck and elbow crease. Apply some ice cubes wrapped in a towel. Or run your wrists under a cold tap for a quick cool down. It cools blood because a main vein passes through this area and the skin on the wrist is so thin. TM and SS

35 Face an electric fan outwards towards an open window or door instead of facing in - it will keep you cooler. Place a bowl of ice at the fan for colder air. SS

36 Get a hot water bottle and fill it with cold water and ice from the fridge. It provides a welcome cool spot in bed on hot nights. Or put in under your pillow for some pillow-flipping sweet relief. A O'K

37 Have an early morning swim in the sea. It restores energy and vitality. A O'K

38 Find a country stream, don a pair of sandals, and go for a long walk paddling along the riverbed. A O'K

39 Rivers are the perfect way to keep drinks cold when you don't have a fridge. Simply place the beers between a few rocks in the fast-flowing shallows. LK

40 If you want to get away from the crowds at beaches but you still want to be out, by water, explore a canal. This is all about quietness and being so still that you can watch dragonflies and listen to birdsong. The Royal Canal walkway from Campbell's Garage in Finglas to Ashtown is a little piece of heaven. CD

41 Paddling pools aren't just for kids - fill a toddler pool with ice and water, arrange chairs around it, dip your feet in and crack open a beer. For maximum efficiency, you can use it as an ice bucket so you don't even have to get up and go to the fridge. C O'C

42 To save on water, form a neighbourly WhatsApp group and when one household is filling the paddling pool invite the other kids around. M O'S

43 Play ''Ancient Greece'' with the kids and have them fan you and feed you cold grapes while you recline on the couch. Bed sheets make good togas. C O'C

44 Take the kids, the dog, or both to Killiney Hill Park, where tucked away in the woodlands is the lovely little Tower Tea Rooms. A hidden oasis. L O'S

45 There's a reason spicy foods are common in hotter climates - counter-intuitively, a bit of spice can actually cool you down. It encourages you to sweat. If you can't face a vindaloo, chuck an extra chilli in the guac or mix chopped jalapeno with lime juice and honey and pour it over sliced mango. C O'C

46 Pizza on the beach. It could be the salty air or the sea-induced appetite after a swim in the surf but the pizza and chocolate waffles served out of the hatch of Toto's takeaway van on Garrettstown beach in Co Cork are mouth-wateringly delicious. Watch out for the bright yellow van at this surfers' Mecca 15 miles outside Kinsale. LK

47 Ballybunion Golf Course earned a reputation as one of the finest seaside courses in the world even before it famously played host to President Clinton. But behind the dunes along one of its oceanside holes is a hidden gem in the form of a near mile-long pristine beach. It is always almost deserted, even at the height of summer. Pay attention to the sign telling you to watch out for golf balls. LK

48 Back before sun-cream was invented, Irish farmers used to slap real cream scooped out from the top of the milk tankard to protect their children's skin against the sun. The creamy top of the milk was slathered over young shoulders before they went out to save the hay. LK

49 If your shoes smell like the cat peed in them, here's the simplest trick ever: cut the legs off a pair of tights. Fill them with any ''odour absorbing'' cat litter then tie a knot in the top of each tube. Put them in your smelly shoes and leave for at least 24 hours. TM

50 Too much booze and burgers at the BBQ? Feeling puffy-eyed? A fast fix is to wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a tea towel and place over your eyes for 10 minutes. Frozen peas work best as they conform to the contours of the face. TM

51 It can get hot standing around a barbecue so instead go for streaky bacon and buttery potatoes mashed with cabbage and a little cabbage liquid. Light, smooth and the cabbage is amazing right now. PF

52 I learned when travelling through the Karoo in SA that if you have no air con in your car, wet towels draped over head and shoulders works wonders on long trips. JO

53 Treat your hair like your skin. Bright sun can fade your colour and dry out your hair. A hat or head scarf is useful. Before you step out of the shower, rinse your hair in the coldest water you can bear. Cool water closes hair cuticles, seals in the conditioner and adds shine. Also, resist blow drying during a heatwave... your hair only gets fluffy and frizzy. Never give yourself a parting unless you're covering up, otherwise you could suffer a burnt scalp. TM

54 A cheap fan on your bare legs and feet can take the edge off if you're stuck working at your desk. PF

55 Ignore the heatwave ''experts''. Trust your animal instincts. You could do a lot worse than doing what your dog is doing. Sit down and pant until the heatwave passes. Dr MG

Sunday Independent

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