26 ways to make the most of your summer (and look and feel good while you’re at it)

Here’s how to avoid the chafe, the burn, and how to reconnect with your inner child

Isaac Reid (age 6), Peter Reid (age 9), Catherine Cleary, and Shane Reid (age 12) have a picnic in Iveagh Gardens. Photograph: Sara Freund/The Irish Times

Isaac Reid (age 6), Peter Reid (age 9), Catherine Cleary, and Shane Reid (age 12) have a picnic in Iveagh Gardens. Photograph: Sara Freund/The Irish Times

 

When it decides to show up, there is nothing better in the world than an Irish summer. Even when it doesn’t, with a strong will, a flask of tea and enough sandwiches, you can generate the best of summer for yourself. Summer can bring with it an awful lot of pressure to look, feel and behave in particular ways, but a good summer is not about looking a certain way in a swimsuit or visiting hot countries. You don’t need to change before you can engage in the best that the season has to offer. You are alive now, so this is the time to enjoy the best parts of the summer.

1. A good book

You need a good book on the beach and this one is a corker
You need a good book on the beach and this one is a corker

In The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz, a young woman returns to her Mississippi childhood home in the American south and uncovers secrets about her father’s life and death (from June 25th) There are lots of other options here.

2. Tan in a bottle
For many, applying tan is the first foray of the year into summer. Try Isle of Paradise Express Ultra-Dark Self Tanning Mousse (€19.50 at Boots).

3. Enjoy the sun without getting burned

Clarins Suncare Range (from €23 at Brown Thomas)
Clarins Suncare Range (from €23 at Brown Thomas)


Try the newly reinvigorated Clarins suncare range (from €23 at Brown Thomas).

4. Spruce up your home

Annie Sloan chalk paint in Scandinavian pink (from €9 at forgetmenot.ie)
Annie Sloan chalk paint in Scandinavian pink (from €9 at forgetmenot.ie)


Whether you rent or own, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (from €9 at forgetmenot.ie) can be used on any surface to make furniture, walls or fittings feel new.

5. Avoid the chafe

Anti- chafing slip shorts with cool comfort (€16 at Marks and Spencer)
Anti- chafing slip shorts with cool comfort (€16 at Marks and Spencer)

If going without tights causes chafing and puts you off summer dresses, try these anti-chafing slip shorts with cool comfort (€16 at Marks and Spencer) to immediately eliminate the issue.

6. Nurture a garden
For those without a garden, house plants bring nature indoors and increase wellbeing. Watch them grow through the summer months. (Ask friends for cuttings, or see plantlife.iefor the Dublin area).

7. Love your feet again
Care for cracked or calloused feet with a pedicure (Try a medi-pedi for €100 at Mink Hand & Foot Spa).

8. Exfoliate
No need to buy a dedicated product – make your own from the kitchen cupboard with a handful of rock salt in a half cup of olive oil.

9. Listen to music on road trips
Inflict your niche tastes on the whole family – driver chooses.

10. Comfortable swimwear

Figleaves Bahama Palm Curve Wrap Neck Shaping Swimsuit (€40 at figleaves.co.uk)
Figleaves Bahama Palm Curve Wrap Neck Shaping Swimsuit (€40 at figleaves.co.uk)

Everyone deserves to get into the water and feel comfortable; plus size swimwear options are better than ever. Check out Figleaves’ Bahama palm curve wrap neck shaping swimsuit (£40 at figleaves.co.uk)

11. Barbeque
DIY or have someone else do it for you. In Dublin, try the pulled pork at Pitt Bros on South Great George’s Street.

12. Reconnect with your inner child

Bubble machine and water sprinkler (€9.99 at Lidl)
Bubble machine and water sprinkler (€9.99 at Lidl)

Never grow up. Start the summer as you mean to go on with this bubble machine and water sprinkler (€9.99 at Lidl).

13. Fill up the paddling pool

Go on. See if you can still fit in one now that you are several feet taller than the last time you tried. There is no shame in having a go.Try this sunset glow pool (€12.99 at littlewoodsireland.ie).

14. Cycle in the Irish countryside

Cyclists on the Waterford Greenway, the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in Ireland.
Cyclists on the Waterford Greenway, the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in Ireland.

There is no cycle route in Ireland quite like Mayo’s Greenway. The Waterford one is lovely too (visit http://www.greenway.ie/). Pack a picnic.

15. See new parts of the country

Fading Light Bere Island. Photograph: - Norman McCloskey
Fading Light Bere Island. Photograph: - Norman McCloskey

If you have time to go a little further out of your way than usual, consider exploring Ireland’s islands. Start with Bere Island in west Cork.

16. Have your first ice-cream of the season

This young girl got her ice cream just in time before a big queue started on Dollymount Strand, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
This young girl got her ice cream just in time before a big queue started on Dollymount Strand, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

You will already know the best place to go in your area, but for Dubliners it will have to be an ice-cream at Teddy’s in Dun Laoghaire.

17. Get in the sea

Cooling down from the warm weather at the Pollock Holes in Kilkee, Co Clare last year was Tadgh Boddy, Limerick. Photograph: Alan Place
Cooling down from the warm weather at the Pollock Holes in Kilkee, Co Clare last year was Tadgh Boddy, Limerick. Photograph: Alan Place

There is nothing as refreshing as a dip in salty water. Try swimming at the Pollock Holes in Kilkee, Co Clare.

18. Staycation in a rural seaside cottage

Kilbaha Cottage on the Loop Head Peninsula
Kilbaha Cottage on the Loop Head Peninsula

With options like Kilbaha Cottage on the Loop Head Peninsula in Co Clare, sure where else would you be going?

19. Wear less make-up
Lighten up with something like Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder (€57 at Arnotts).

20. Grand drying out

Washing line

Yes, you have become your mother, but the deep satisfaction of washing a load of laundry and then bringing it in dry later that same day is genuine.

21. Summer nails on hands and toes

File and polish (from €15 at Tropical Popical Dublin; nail art is supplementary)
File and polish (from €15 at Tropical Popical Dublin; nail art is supplementary)

Do your own or visit the pros (from €15 for a file and polish at Tropical Popical in Dublin).

22. Bright lips
Try a screaming bright like NARS velvet matte lip pencil in Promiscuous (€27 at Brown Thomas).

23. The return of freckles
While faux freckles were all over the summer catwalks, you can make your own.

24. Sunglasses

Sunglasses in summer. Face furniture is everywhere
Sunglasses in summer. Face furniture is everywhere

The cool, the kooky and the face-saving. Try Ace and Tate’s Into The Groove collection of capri sunglasses (€98 at aceandtate.com/ie).

25. Picnic at the park
Pack some hang sangwiches and head to the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin or the People’s Park, Limerick.

26. Moisturise your body
After exfoliating, a good moisturisation instantly brightens the skin and makes limbs feel more ready for summer. Try The Body Shop’s Hawaiian Kukui body cream (€10.95 for 50ml).

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