WITH temperatures hitting 34C this week, what is the best way to enjoy – or simply cope with – the sweltering weather while in lockdown?
Lynsey Hope and Katy Docherty bring you our great guide on how to eat, sleep and relax in the heatwave.
Try cooling watermelon recipes from Bake Off champ David Atherton and follow sleep expert Sammy Margo’s top ten tips to beat the heat in the bedroom.
And read Lynsey’s blow by blow account of the best inflatable paddling pools as the 39-year-old mum of three rates them out of ten with husband Nick, 41, and children Jacob, five, Olive, three, and seven-week-old baby Ivy.
Early Learning Centre racer car pool
LYNSEY SAYS: “This pretty pink car went down a treat with Olive. She loved splashing in the water and pretending to drive. Even though some of the other pools had a lot more bells and whistles, this was her favourite. It’s a reasonable price, too.”
JACOB SAYS: “I’m a bit big for the car but my little sister loved it. She had a lot of fun playing in it.”
SET-UP TIME: 15 minutes
Teamson castle paddling pool
LYNSEY SAYS: “The castle looked good but it took quite a long time to set up. Once up, it seemed to deflate quickly. The hose didn’t seem to attach well to the sprays either. It needs to be sturdier. Not worth the high price tag.”
JACOB SAYS: “The castle was big and fun but I preferred some of the other ones.”
SET-UP TIME: 40 minutes
Teamson pirate boat water play centre
LYNSEY SAYS: “I was a bit disappointed after opening this one to find that the boat didn’t fill with water – it had holes in the bottom. However, the water cannon went down a treat and worked really well. It also had lots of pirate accessories that kept the kids entertained for hours. A bit overpriced, but the kids loved it.”
JACOB SAYS: “The pirate boat was my favourite. I loved the water cannon and the blow-up pirate sword. We had the most fun playing with this one.”
SET-UP TIME: 20 minutes
Carousel deep sea play centre
LYNSEY SAYS: “Quite small but lots of fun extras, including a spinning steering wheel and a sea horse water spray.
JACOB SAYS: “I loved the steering wheel and there was a ring toss game, too.”
SET-UP TIME: 25 minutes
Intex Dinoland play centre
LYNSEY SAYS: “If I was a kid, this is the one I’d want to play in. It looked colourful and fun with a slide and water fountain. I reckon it would be a winner with most kids. A great all-rounder.”
JACOB SAYS: “I loved the dinosaur pool with the slide and the fountain to splash under. It really made me laugh when we had to run underneath the water and get wet.”
SET-UP TIME: 30 minutes
Kid Connection inflatable family pool
LYNSEY SAYS: “I was impressed with how easy this was to inflate. Sturdy, big enough for the whole family and great value.”
JACOB SAYS: “I liked this pool as Mummy was able to join in with me and Olive.”
SET-UP TIME: Five minutes
David Atherton’s watermelon recipes
NOTHING says summer like a watermelon – so we asked Great British Bake Off winner David Atherton for his top watermelon recipes to help you cool off.
He says: “It is fresh and tasty simply eaten by the slice, but it is incredibly versatile and can be used in so many ways.
“Even a small watermelon is pretty big, so have a go at both recipes.”
Here, David shows how to make cooled soup and ice lollies.
Chilled watermelon soup
- ½ small watermelon
- 1 slice sourdough bread
- 1 clove garlic
- 250g passata
- ½ red pepper
- ½ small cucumber
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- 40ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
METHOD: Dice your watermelon and vegetables into cubes, tear up the bread and crush the garlic. Then pour all ingredients into a mixer or into a large bowl if using a hand mixer.
Blend for three minutes until totally smooth. Take the blended mixture and chill in the fridge until cold (at least one hour).
When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. It is best eaten with crunchy croutons.
Makes 6 big lollies
- ½ watermelon
- 20g dark chocolate chips
- 2 kiwi fruit
- Lolly moulds (or mini cups and wooden spoons)
METHOD: Blend the watermelon flesh for about 30 seconds until puréed.
Add the mixture to the lolly moulds and freeze for 30 minutes.
Take out of the freezer, drop in the chocolate chips and return to the freezer for another 30 minutes.
Blend the kiwis and add this to the top of each mould and push in the lolly stick.
Freeze for another two hours (or until frozen solid) then enjoy.
Rest easy with cold comfort
ONE of the biggest downsides of a heatwave is how it seems much harder to get a good night’s sleep.
This is because the hot weather suppresses the release of sleep hormone melatonin, says sleep expert Sammy Margo. Here, she shares ten tips for still getting your eight hours.
DON’T GO COMMANDO: It is tempting to strip off but being naked won’t help stay cool. Instead, choose pyjamas that are 100 per cent cotton. This will allow your skin to breathe and soak up any sweat, rather than leaving it on your body.
TAKE A WARM SHOWER: You may feel like having an ice-cold shower before bed but your body will react to the cold water by preserving heat. Having a warm shower will trick your body when you get out into thinking the temperature is cooler than it is, causing it to release melatonin to cool you down.
WARM MILK: This works in the same way as the shower. Milk also contains a chemical that helps you feel sleepy.
MOISTURISE WITH COOLED CREAM: Keep your moisturiser in the fridge and apply before you go to bed.
PLACE A PILLOW BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR PARTNER: Two bodies means double the heat. Put a pillow between you to keep separate and cool. You could also try individual duvets and pillows to separate your sleep zones.
CHILL YOUR BEDDING: Most of us don’t have room for putting the duvet in the freezer, but placing your pyjamas or pillow case in for five minutes before bed might help. Cooling your bedding with a spritz of water can also help you sleep.
KEEP CURTAINS CLOSED DURING THE DAY: Bedrooms should be between 16C-18C for optimum sleep. Opening windows and keeping your curtains closed during the day may help.
SLEEP ON YOUR BACK: Lying on your back is far cooler than curling up in the foetal position.
GET LOW: Hot air rises so pull your mattress on to the floor.
EAT EGG SARNIES: Eggs and turkey contain tryptophan, which encourages your body to release melatonin.