Spring Into Summer With These Sunny Day Spirit Boosters 2011

Okay, so we might not be mid-heatwave just yet, but I'll bet those recent sunny days have really put you in that summery mood. It's time to throw off those woollies and slip into something lighter. And it's time, too, to re-think our beauty & style routines.

Here are Raggedy Ann Girl's top tips for summer prettiness.

1: High SPF 

Don't groan, you know you need it! Whether you are pale as a vampire and wish to remain so (as I am, and do), or your skin is a deeper tone by nature, or you yearn for a rich tan, you still need a strong, effective sun protection product. And by 'high' we mean at least an SPF 30 - the very minimum I step outside in at this time of year. Usually I use an SPF50 but I know I'm not going to persuade you to do that. We all know that putting on sunscreen is a pain in the neck, but also that it's absolutely essential. Even someone as pale as me can be prone to sunscreen laziness. I love Ultrasun products (available in several stores, online and on QVC UK). Many of their products need just one application a day. You slap it on before you get dressed and get on with your day – now you can't complain at that, can you? They have a really long shelf life too, even when opened, thanks to the special airless containers. 


2: Something To Cover Your Head

When it gets hot  you will need to keep you delicate scalp protected from the sun. If you have coloured hair (hands up everyone) you will want to keep the colour from lifting in the sun. Therefore you need a hat, or a scarf. This year, fortunately, there are a wide range of fashionable hats to choose from. ASOS.com have a huge range from cheap and cheerful to designer delights. From trilbys and cowboy hats to cloches and wide-brimmed floppies it's, at last, possible to look stylish while protecting ourselves. If you really hate wearing a hat, try a headscarf and, again, most of the high street stores have plenty of choice. Choose the right one and you'll look stylish and elegant … until you take it off and get horrible hat hair, but nothing's perfect …


3: Sunglasses

The good news is that, providing they are not scratched to bits, last year's sunnies will be fine. You don't have to pay a fortune. Shops like TopShop (www.topshop.com) and River Island (www.riverisland.com) have reasonably priced sunnies aplenty. Just make sure they have the proper safety marks and provide a full UV protection. If your sunnies are scratched, they are letting dangerous rays through to eyes fooled by the remaining tint to open wide their pupils. Bin them! 


4: A Body Scrub & Moisturiser

Now that we've fully protected our bodies, it's time to get the skin that will be exposed looking lovely. Before you even consider self-tanning you need to buff away all that horrible dry skin and even out those bumps. And you need to moisturise well. And even if you're happy with your au natural pallor, you want your newly-exposed skin to look its best. Nothing looks more luscious than freshly buffed, deeply moisturised limbs. There are hundreds of scrubs on the market. I particularly love Philosophy's salt scrubs (available at John Lewis and QVC UK). As for moisturiser I have a new favourite – L'Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream. Remarkably light and refreshing for such a luxurious moisturiser, it leaves skin looking dewy and satiny. Lovely!


5: A Refreshing Shower Gel

I like to change my shower gels, bubble baths, even handwashes, to suit the season. Yes, I know this is a bit OCD, but it makes me feel better to work with the seasons rather than against them. And a really gorgeous refreshing shower gel really gets the day off to a great start. And it can instantly transport you to another place, whatever the weather. When I was about 20 we went to Florida for the first time. I took with me a tropical Body Shop shower gel and every time I smell anything like it, I'm right back there. Philosophy always have a range of summer scents available at John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com), www.ukstrawberrynet.com and at www.qvcuk.com and you can use their shower gels as bubble baths and even as a shampoo!


6: A Summer Fragrance

In summer time we no longer want to wear a heavy perfume. Lighter clothing matches lighter fragrance You may well find that your favourite perfume has a summer version anyway, but it really is uplifting to switch to a fresher scent come spring and summer.


7: A Light Refreshing Hand Cream

The last thing you feel like doing come those hot and sticky days is slathering on heavy, greasy hand cream. But, if you're anything like me you still need a good rich hand cream throughout the warmer months. Crabtree & Evelyn produce gorgeous, rich yet easily absorbed hand creams in a variety of summer-appropriate scents. Their La Source version smells like the seaside – fresh, outdoorsy and ozonic. While L'Occitane's Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel is zesty and also leaves a slightly powdery feel to the skin, perfect on hot, sticky days.


8: Water

Okay, I know it doesn't sound very exciting but come summer time you really can't do any better than keep drinking water. Keeping hydrated is the single best way to keep yourself looking and feeling lovely all summer long. Boring, I know, but true.



9: A Bit of Summer Bling

Now we've been very good and sensible, it's time for a bit of self-adornment. Getting a new bit of summertime jewellery seems a sensible reward for all that hard work. But please resist the temptation to wear that shell necklace. Yes, it looked really good last year when you were spending all day on the beach, but it will look really silly in town, out shopping, or even picnicking in the park. Instead why not go for a bit of very trendy whimsy with some of this season's fruity jewellery? No need to go for the high-end Prada banana earrings when you can get something very similar from Topshop. Most of the high street fashion stores are selling fruity jewellery - from raspberry earrings to pineapple bracelets to a whole fruit cocktail around your neck!


10: Some Summer Nail Colours

This year there is a huge range of nail colours available. From the brights, through the nudes and into the military khaki colours. Whatever your nail comfort zone there'll be something new to love. Some of our favourites are: Nails Inc's  Spring-Summer 2011 Collection with peach, coral, caramel and soft blue shades, and Leighton Denny's Military Precision Collection with nudes and khaki tones. But, if you want something really different, why not try some of the new crackle or shatter special effect polishes?