Boohoo, I know, how can we possibly be discussing the end of summer? On the one hand I’m going to miss the spontaneous BBQs and beer garden beverages, but on the other hand, the switch to A/W clothing is my favourite period of the sartorial calendar and I’m ready to open chunky knits and hot drinks for the sake of hot drinks with wide open arms.
Now the nights are drawing in and the social buzz of summer nights are slowly tailing off, I’m finding a little time to take stock of everything that’s gone on and set aside a little more me-time. And rather than just treating myself to a bath every now and then, or buying a magazine that I read for two seconds and then put down, I've actually been making a conscious effort to decompress, not least because this actually helps me to be more productive in the long run. This means setting aside more than a stolen five minutes in between emails to scroll through Instagram - it means allowing myself time to reflect and sort through my thoughts, coincidentally in a way I'm doing here by pulling together some of my summer favourites.
Looking back, this summer was a bit of a hectic one for me having moved house, quit my job and taken blogging full-time, and even now I feel like I’ve *blinked* and it has gone. With the long days, blissful weather and social calendar brimming with unmissable opportunities, it’s easy to get lost in the go go go of it all, but now everything has eased up a little and I’m finding some more time for myself, I thought I’d round up a few things that are helping me wind down post-summer.
This post was sponsored by St Ives, but all opinions, content and imagery are my own.
It’s no secret that come summertime, I get a little bit more liberal with the fake tan. I tend to tan my face twice a week (simply because any added colour is quite quickly stripped away by cleansers and wipes) but in doing so I often aggravate my skin and end up with a fair few more undesirable blocked pores and dry patches. For that reason I do try and pop on a mask at least once a week and exfoliate at least twice, just to make sure I’m rubbing as many of the unwanted nasties as possible and giving my skin some TLC. The St Ives Oatmeal Scrub and Mask is perfect for this as it’s multi-purpose, meaning I can either use it as a gentle exfoliating scrub to buff away any dead skin, or as a mask to nourish and rehydrate.
Given that my fake tan and make-up is made up of artificial ingredients, I prefer my skincare to be made up of natural components. This St Ives lovely in particular is made up of 100% natural exfoliants such as walnut shell power and - you guessed it - oatmeal, and is also super simple to apply. I haven’t got the time or the patience for anything long winded, so the fact that I can simply massage this into damp skin, leave for only 5-7 minutes and still have soaked up all the benefits is a major plus for me. As this scrub is so kind to your face you can afford to go right up to the hairline and around the nose - just make sure to wipe away with clean water and you’re good to moisturise.
FYI: I’ve been using the Oatmeal variation because fake tan and sun exposure can be extremely drying to the skin, but there’s also a Pink Lemon and Mandarin Scrub to brighten and even out skin tone, and a Green Tea Scrub for blitzing blackheads and breakouts.
A few weeks back I picked up what is quite possibly my favourite purchase of the summer: enter the B&O Play H6 headphones in tan and silver. I’d been considering investing in some over the ear headphones for a while now, after finding myself complaining about the same things time and time again. I listen to music whilst I’m travelling in and out of London, as well as when I’m walking around during my day to day life.
Whilst the Apple earphones do the job, I got sick of hearing other people’s conversations over my music or the sound of whizzing cars as I tried to listen to a Podcast. I also wanted something a little more secure - we’ve all suffered through that awkward moment of your earphone wire getting caught on something and consequently having them whipped out of your ears and off into a different direction at the speed of light.
Now I can get lost in my music without disturbance, I’ve been indulging in my album of the summer (or of all time), Blonde. Having been a long-time Frank Ocean fan, when he was announced as one of the headliners of Lovebox last year, I snapped up tickets for myself and Keiran in a heartbeat. Watching him late on a balmy Friday night in London was one of the best experiences of my life, and definitely reignited my passion for his music. The repeat button has been put to good use, and I’ve founded myself winding down to Biking with no outside disturbance.
Come a lazy Sunday or long afternoon, I’ve been opting to keep my Oatmeal Mask on for longer and slither back into bed with one of my many neglected books. The one photographed was actually the book that planted the seed for my dissertation and opened up an entirely new perspective when considering female characters, all from a few simple sentences in the introduction:
‘Women, it is true, commit far fewer crime than men in the first place; we do not have the same opportunities to do so. But, from the evidence of the fiction we write, we find it very hard to blame ourselves even for those we do commit. We tend to see the extenuating circumstances, so that it is difficult to apportion blame, impossible to judge - or, indeed, to acknowledge responsibility and then take up the terrible burden of remorse as it is summed up in Samuel Beckett’s phrase, “my crime is my punishment.”’
Having been caught up in the hustle and bustle of summer and moving house and holidays and work, I’ve forgotten how rewarding and replenishing reading is for me. Now, when I’m winding down, I’m revisiting the books that had previously ignited a fire in my mind, like Angela Carter’s Book of Wayward Girls & Wicked Women, for example. Face mask applied and ‘Do Not Disturb’ switched on, I’m able to get lost in the pages and escape.
I would describe myself as an unintentional fragrance collector. Rarely do I find myself browsing the perfume aisles looking for a new scent, but my collection always seems to be expanding, something which my mum delights in every time she comes to visit as she treats herself to spritz-fest. I’m by no means an expert when it comes to base notes and tones and all of the other technicalities involved with describing a fragrance, but when it comes to what I’ve been wearing during the tail end of summer and as of late, I’ve opted for something less sweet and more lightly floral.
My current favourite is Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, described as ‘the essence of a bold, free woman’ (I’ll take it). Previously I had been wearing Miller Harris’ Poirier d’un Soir which is super sweet and summery, and as the nights draw in I’ll move back across to the deeper floral scents of Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose and Oud, but for this transitional period, I’m finding the Chanel fragrance to be quietly confident and an easy every-day wearer.
If I’m settling in for a proper pamper, I’ve also taken to spritzing my scent of the moment over cushions and throws for a truly indulgent session. Small things such as the hint of your favourite fragrance or the freshness of something new can make such a difference to your environment. and as such your ability to wind down in the best way possible. Well worth a try if you’re planning to slide into your pjs, pop a face mask on and chill anytime soon.
When I was preparing this sponsored content for Henry London Watches, I thought: “what can I write about that’s relevant to...