Broke London

A car crash guide to surviving life

How to survive the heatwave

We Brits are not built for the heat.

Maybe I should rephrase that: Us London dwelling Brits are not built for the heat.
I’m sure that if I resided on a beach in Devon and spent my days wandering barefoot down to the beach with my bonny ruddy cheeked children and huge burly fisherman type husband I’d welcome the burning sun in all its glory.
This, however, not the case because I live in London in an unbearably hot rental house, take the central line to work (aka a hot sweltering coffin of misery) and burly fishermen types who are actually nice exist only in my dreams; something I have been forced to accept since my pal spotted the boy I’m dating on a date with another girl and the only message from a man I have received since that sad incident was from my pal H and it read ‘I am wetter than an otters pocket’.
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And he did not mean that in a sexy way. He was referencing his sweat. Grim.
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Anyhow – whilst it might be unbearable outside there are a few things you can do to survive London’s unbearable sticky heat. Here they are.
Always be prepared: the emergency heat kit.
If you fail to prepare you should prepare to fail. Or so says every wannabe insta-fitness star as they smugly display three months’ worth of thrice-griddled berries in a kale and walnut jus topped with bee pollen packed into Tupperware to be carted around at all times lest they accidentally fall into a doughnut shop and remember what it’s like to be happy.
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Same thing applies to the heat. If you are a HSB (hot sweaty bitch) like me, don’t even think about leaving the house without the following items:
– a fan: retro? Maybe. But take it from someone who accidentally fanned themselves with the first flat cardboard thing that came to hand only to realise I’d been waving a flattened condom packet in front of my face for seven stops on the central line – it’s just better to be prepared.
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– a bottle of water: goes without saying. The tube is balmy in the depths of winter and this week is roughly the same temperature as the eye of Sauron. Even the most tepid bottle of water will save you.
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– a spare top: sweat patches have ruined lives since way back when. Don’t let them ruin yours.
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– a hairband: this is mainly for the ladies but I don’t discriminate. My brother currently has locks so long and luscious I desperately want to ask him what conditioner he’s been using but I’m just TOO PROUD. Anyway, getting your thick hot blanket of hair off the back of your neck is the sweetest relief known to mankind. This summer I’ve been predominantly repping the ‘Miss Trunchbull’ look and whilst it’s not been attracting many marriage proposals its certainly kept my neck sweat free. So that’s…something.
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Don’t compare yourself to the EST
Ah the EST. Guaranteed to make you feel hideous about yourself.
Not sure what the EST is? (not surprising as I made it up 2 minutes ago). That’ll be the Elegant Summer Twat.
The Elegant Summer Twat is that girl who shrugs off the crushing heat as if she’s permanently surrounded by a lavender scented breeze.

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The EST is never flustered and blotchy. She never emerges from the park with candy stripe burn marks in the shape of her bra. She never has to contend with those curly sweaty under bits of hair by your ears that dry like slinkys and make you look permanently mad. She doesn’t sweat profusely from her face and she can wear a pair of linen palazzo pants and a wide brimmed hat without looking bonkers. * She never gets so hot that she has to tuck her dress into her knickers and sit on the floor of the overground like a panting Labrador fanning herself wildly with an old metro. She’s a right dick.
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ME trying to be EST

* last time I attempted a wide brimmed hat my friends husband asked if I’d slayed any vampires on the way to meet them. Because I looked exactly like Van Helsing.
Do not compare yourself to the EST ladies. It’s a fool’s game.
Simply take a deep breath and squash those feelings of hatred when you see her managing to pull off a smock dress and gladiator sandals without looking like a heavily pregnant flat-footed duck. This is her time. You wait for yours. Winter is coming. Winter is coming and you shall have your revenge as the saintly polo neck and 60 denier tights swoop in to level the playing field. Just bide your time.
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Ps: to any men reading this sozzer but there is no British male version of the EST. Summer is not kind to you gentlemen as evidenced by the fact that the only shoe available to you is the flipflop. A natural contraception if ever I came across one.
Save your thighs, save yourself
Ladies. We need to talk about our thighs.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 6 or a size 16, if you are not built with wide enough hips to make sure your thighs don’t touch you will fall prey to the dreaded thigh chafing.
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And weirdly, despite the fact that it is no longer 1855, we are extremely coy on this subject. I mean, I get it. No one wants to admit that their limbs have swelled in the heat like a suckling pig and are causing enough friction to start a small fire. It’s not sexy.
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So, what’s the alternative? Spending the hottest days of the year wearing spanx – the Donald trump of the knicker world? * Dousing ourselves with talcum powder and wafting the faint aroma of ‘clean grandma’ everywhere we go? Walking like we’ve just shit our pants? I SAY NO MORE!
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*The last time I wore spanx on a hot day I fainted on the central line due to them constricting my stomach so much I could barely breathe and had to admit to the not unattractive man who rescued me that I just needed to remove my ginormous** pants and then would be fine.
** whilst helping me unpack a suitcase a pal of mine found them and started to fold them, believing them to be a skirt. That’s how big they are.
The other day, during a discussion about the hideousness of this god forsaken heatwave, my new favourite colleague leant over and whispered in my ear
“I would never usually admit this but you’ve fed me ten wines –  I usually get terrible thigh chafing. But I’ve discovered a magic cure”
Turns out her magic cure is a cream from Boots called Lanacane – a burn cream that finishes like silk and ensures your thighs glide past each other like a pair of fleshy swans. Oh god that’s a grim image sorry.
So, get yourselves to Boots forthwith my beautiful close thighed ladies. There is no shame in the ointment aisle, only sweet redemption!
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Make sure everyone knows how hot you are
Guys are you even in a heatwave if you haven’t told at least three people who don’t care how hot you are?
“I’m so hot I can’t think”
“I haven’t slept for three days – its just too hot”
“I can’t even drink my tea I’m sweltering”
“Did you hear it’s actually hotter than Spain?? SPAIN!”
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It’s been scientifically proven that complaining about how hot you are to co-workers who borderline despise you makes you cooler. True story*
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So go and track down that guy from marketing and tell him about how the backs of your knees are so sweaty you could host a pool party for ants in them. Go find Babs from accounts and tell her about how hot the tube was – she’s probably never been on one before and certainly not just this morning! She’ll benefit from a full report. Flop into your chair dramatically and make wide eyes until someone asks you how you are. Respond with “MELTING. I’ve had enough of this. When’s winter again?”
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*would it stop you doing it if it wasn’t….
Don’t date.
Not much I can say here other than don’t be a lunatic. First impressions are everything. Do you really think you’ll be the best version of yourself when your entire brain is occupied by trying not to sweat profusely from your face?
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I once went on a date on the hottest day of the year and had to walk 20 minutes to the pub I’d chosen. By the time I got there I was so sweaty that I do honestly believe that I could have merely put my arms above my head and I’d have slipped out of my dress like a baby seal.
If it sounds sexy, you’re weird and it wasn’t.
Furthermore, because life is not very nice to me, I actually bumped into said date now two years on yesterday. Also, an unseasonably hot day.
Him: “Oh wow it’s so nice to see you! You look…umm…warm”
Him: “Yes…umm…I’m sure you’re not?”
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Don’t be swayed into dressing like a lunatic
This is another moment where it really pays to be prepared.
But, why should I? I hear you cry. It’s only hot for approximately 30 seconds each year! I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. It’s only England how hot will it actually get?!?!
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This, my friends, is how I ended up at work today wearing a crop top that I used to wear at uni to go to nights where shots were 50p and I thought dressing like a street walker was both hilarious and acceptable.
No one makes sane and rational decisions in a bedroom that is hotter than the sun. So, ask yourself, when the day rocks around when you’re standing in front of a frankly inadequate fan in your pants, coated in a light film of sweat, will you want to cobble together an outfit from old bits in your ‘holiday drawer’ or will you want to reach for an inexpensive floaty sack dress from h and m that you don’t have to wear a bra with? I think we all know the answer to that question don’t we.
This kind of preparation also helps you not fall prey to misplaced summer confidence. You know, when you decided that a pair of denim hotpants/minidress/see through number are acceptable officewear and then spend the entire day feeling like you came to work totally naked. Heinous.
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So, there we have it my friends, a few not very helpful tips to surviving this heatwave like the bosses you are. May you be sent home from work early and may there be buckets of ice in your freezer!

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