7 Things to Remember for a British Summer*

*with particular emphasis on ‘British’….

Whatever your household is: you, a couple, a family or flatmates, here are a few pointers for summer. They aren’t rules (there are enough of those already) just some helpful ideas. Let us know what you think – and any more we should add to the list!

  • Hey, it’s hot out there

We know the British love to moan about the heat after day two of any heatwave. But even when it’s cloudy the sun is still there giving off UV. Follow the Aussies and make sure you have sun protection. Many moisturisers already have SPF15 protection (it’ll keep you lookin’ good when you’re older) – and even SPF50 is much better than before. At least it doesn’t look like you’ve wiped a pack of butter over your face. And don’t forget those parts that, um, don’t often see the sun, if that’s your thing!

  • Don’t just think of yourself

You’ve spent years lovingly tending that marigold/verbena/geranium. So don’t let it die in the heat. If you are growing tomatoes indoors, they can use two litres of water a day. Many plants are hardy but lots of the pretty flowering ones aren’t. If you are going away for a holiday, leave them in a tray of water or lend them to someone else while you’re away.

  • Nah – just think of yourself

So you don’t like plants? Well, don’t forget to water yourself! Your body (we haven’t peeked – it’s science) is about 60% water. The average suggested intake is one and a half to two litres a day, but if you exercise or it’s hot like now, that will increase. Keep a glass of water to sip, even if you aren’t thirsty, and you’ll feel better and more energetic through the day. Get a recycled water bottle and you can top up all day – Refill has lists of refilling points.

  • BBQs

So, the first point concerns gas BBQ (some of us like them!). If you don’t use your car for a year, as it’s full of petrol you might want someone to look it over before you switch it on. You probably haven’t used your BBQ for a year as well, but you think it’s okay just to run butane through it and walk around with a match? Take some sensible precautions – check for any visible cracks or leaks in the rubber hosing or link attachments? Any smell of gas? Follow this handy guide here for some top tips. 

We haven’t got space to even talk about food hygiene, but the Food Standards Authority does a get job of it here.

  • Picnics – not another pork pie…

Pear and pomegranate salad - yum

We don’t know about you, but if we see another plastic box of cocktail sausages we will be in prison for grievous bodily harm. An imaginative picnic can be fun and memorable. Prosecco? So last year….. Try a vinho verde from Portugal. Quiche? Don’t mind if I, well, don’t. Instead, why not try this great Canadian website on picnics? Pomegranate and pear salad anyone?






  • Public transport – Dante’s undiscovered tenth level of Hell

For those living in cities or anyone with a country bus route, this is the great dread in summer months. The British attempt at air conditioning is laughable to anyone who has ever lived abroad. The tube in London seems to enjoy making a noise like air conditioning without the added benefit of cool air. Always carry water (see above) but also keep an eye out for fellow passengers. We wouldn’t keep animals in some of the temperatures on the underground or buses in summer months. People suffer too. 

If you want to be really bold, just throw a pair of trainers into your bag in the morning. In central London or Manchester, for example, walking isn’t much slower than pubic transport. You get tanned and you get some exercise. Speaking of which…

  • Exercise – just be sensible

Hot weather is a nightmare for anyone exercising, particularly for longer distance running, cycling or even walking. Emerald Life had a team in a 100k charity walk last weekend – the Emerald Warriors – but the organisers sensibly called it off. It was just walking, but it was a 24-26 hour session. Running even a short distance in full heat can reduce body function and cause injury. Obviously don’t run with a hangover but also drugs like anti-histamine can dehydrate, which is a problem for summer allergy sufferers. And even from a start as low as 15 degrees, every three or four degrees above that can slow you down by 30 seconds a mile, so don’t be a hero. There’s plenty of time to train when it’s cold and raining in a few months (sigh).

And not one of our seven points as we don’t want to come over as spoilsports…. but we do suggest that you carry a small umbrella with you at all times – it is Britain after all!

Enjoy the summer!