As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing to lament about the end of summer. I even embrace the faint melancholy. (I have been humming Abba’s ‘Our Last Summer’ as I research this post. The other weekend, I went to my dear friend Nina’s hen party (very civilised it was, too) and we watched Mamma Mia (a film I have already ‘fessed up to loving, so less of the sniggering at the back). Since then I have been unable to stop singing Abba tunes. I am the best of Abba – with far, far less vocal ability than Amanda Seyfried or Meryl Streep. Alas, I fear I am more Pierce Brosnan.) I love the last of summer sun, the autumnal nip (with promises of frosty nights, jumpers and cosy nights) in the air on crisp mornings which segue into still-warm days, the glut of seasonal vegetables (well, in my parents’ garden and the farmers’ markets, not in my teeny garden). I just love the turn of the seasons. When I was younger, we lived in California for three years: do you know that there is virtually nothing approaching a proper season there? Just hot and slightly less hot, with a bit of rain. (I know, woe is me, right?) How I missed the seasons. The ever-changing landscape. The green. (All that rain is good for something.)
For me, even if an Indian summer follows, the last bank holiday in August will always have a whiff of ‘back to school’ about it. So – although I cannot deny that I am looking forward to autumn – here are my Pinterest-inspired ‘Last of Summer Resolutions’.
1. Gorge on seasonal food
Because it’s delicious. Because it makes sense. Because it’s cheaper. Because you can. This little chart is American, so you’ll have to ‘translate’ but it’s so helpful and easy, I’m tempted to cut out and keep. Summer fare takes some beating – recipe inspiration here and here.
2. Do not despair – you have not yet run out of time to find that elusive Perfect Summer Dress…
You know, the one which will make you look like this:
I couldn’t love this dress more. The pinstripes, the fit and flare, the demure sexiness. Where has this dress been all my life?
3. …And yet master the art of wearing white jeans
They are ideal for in-between days, which aren’t quite warm enough for bare legs, but when you still want to feel summery. The secret, according to Emer, GLAMOUR’s Fashion Editor, and one of the most stylish women I know, is to buy thick – not too thin (i.e. see-through) denim (another stylish friend recommends J Brand for thick denim) and roll up the ankles for that insouciant look. Emer tipped me off about Topshop’s Baxter jeans (now on sale for a bargainous £15) – buy them longer so you can cuff them.
4. Bring the light outside (and eat outside whenever you can)
I plan to drag out the last of the summer evenings by sitting in my little garden, on the bench next to the tree, which is festooned with solar-powered fairy lights. Admittedly, it looks nothing like this, but it is my little slice of peace. We are also partial to breakfast in the garden given the slightest provocation.
Get the look with these gingham cushions by Strawberry Hills, £29.99 each from Not on the High Street and wallpaper from Sandberg at Tangletree Interiors (Sophie, on left, £65 per roll; Lijekonvalj, £69 per roll).
6. Hit the beach
I love the beach. We had our last pre-baby break at The Victoria in Norfolk, from which it is but a stroll to the glorious Holkham beach (as featured in Shakespeare in Love – that final scene when Gwyneth strides into a brave new world/across the beach). I grew up near West Wittering – where I spent many happy post-exam days (and nights, sometimes – beach barbecues are a great, great thing). I have a yearning to explore the Northumberland coast.
7. Failing all this, book another holiday
Preferably to somewhere like this…. (And throw in that Issa dress, too, please.)