Cool for the summer: hacks to help you through a heatwave

Friends, it is HOT. Or as we say I the fair city of Hull, “It’s maftin’ “

People like to berate the great British public for moaning about the heat, but let’s be honest – unless we’re on a sun lounger in swimwear sipping on something cold with our out of office firmly on, we’re simply not built. Our houses are built to keep heat in and without air-conditioning, and to be honest we never really know if and when the sun is gonna show up, let alone for how long or strong it’s rays may be.

So let’s make sure we’re prepared; not just with the water and spf, but with other little tips and tricks to make the days (and nights) a little easier to deal with. Some of these you may already know and be reminded of, some you may not.

Keep those curtains CLOSED

Keep your curtains closed where possible to and open your windows (my opening windows are at each end, so I just keep the curtains open a bit) this removes the glare of the sun and helps get a bit of breeze flowing around the room.

Get yourself a Cooling gel pillow

Image credit: asda.co.uk

This is currently one of the best things I own (shout out to the Mr for buying it as a rogue gift recently). Simply pop it in the fridge for a few hours and then lay it flat on your pillow or underneath your back and it’ll stay cool for an hour or 2 as your starting your sleep routine (My pal Alex lives in Greece and is a trainee sleep coach, she also suggests putting your pillow case in the fridge). If you WFH the gel pillow can also rest very easily against the back of a chair of cushion and give you a bit of discreet cooling relief whilst you’re doing your virtual meetings.

Invest in a cooling spray

This can either be a specific cooling spray specific cooling spray or a water-based mist (like the Evian one thats been a cult fave since the 90s), I usually carry one of these as an everyday handbag essential year-round. Even a to-up spritz of your SPF if you’ve had it in the fridge (another tip on how to keep your SPF cool a bit further down) will feel refreshing.

Crack out the thermal tumbler

Thermal tumblers will usually keep things cold as well as hot, so use them out whilst weather is warm! They’re great for taking ice coffee/tea to the office (the one I’ve linked above is the one I have an use for this), or even just making sure you drink of water stays cold at home and the ice doesn’t melt in 0.6 seconds. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to do this, but I sometimes pop mine in the fridge for a little bit so that it’s also nice and cool to touch.

Apply any kind of cucumber moisturiser

Image credit: The Body Shop

There’s a reason that people put slices or cucumber over their eyes (to cool and soothe them, just to be clear) and experience has taught me that applying anything containing cucumber onto my body literally makes my skin freeze. Aloe Vera gel that’s been in the fridge for a while also does the trick nicely.

Ice pack your summer essentials on the go

Pop some ice packs into the bag with your spf/cold drinks etc and they’ll stay cooler for longer whilst you’re out and about at the beach/park/shopping. Choose an ice pack that’s solid or has a robust outer layer so that it’s less likely to burst and soak all of your things.

Go to the cinema

This has been my secret weapon for years! On a hot day very few people will want to be there but usually they have air-con, massive cold drinks and comfy seats in a room with no windows. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

Hopefully there’s something extra here that helps! In the meantime stay hydrated, top up your spf and wear something light and airy.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


WORK & REAL LIFE | The Jenny Chat organisation ‘hacks’ 2021

I consider myself a pretty organised person when it comes to work. Although I can easily adapt to changes of flow, tasks and deadlines, I work best when I feel in control of that, which being organised helps me to achieve.

Thanks to years of wanting to be the best organised I can, I’ve developed some strategies that help me, which I thought I’d share. There’s nothing ground-breaking or innovative here; just simple tips to organise, prioritise and convince your brain that you’re doing a good job (which of course, you are). It’s worth the five minute read for that I reckon!

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but I use Trello to create my to do lists for general work, social media and blog content. I have a board for each which I separate into lists and colour code in order of priority (you’ll see in my next point that I’m a fan of colour coding). Because I work remotely some of the time and so do my colleagues (especially at the moment) this is also another way for everybody to have hands on a project or catch up with what you’re doing at a glance without 172627 emails being exchanged.

For a number of years I’ve used this system to track the progress of my workload, and its exactly what it sounds like. No rocket science here! For a handwritten list (I still have one of those as well as my digital one to get the satisfaction of crossing something off) I use highlighters to colour code, for Trello I use the labels function:

Green = done Yellow/Orange = in progress Red = can’t complete/need further assistance to complete

This one is a bit school kid psychology, but is certainly helps keep me focused on my priorities and finish each day feel good so I’m with it!

Take a few minutes before starting your day (or a few at the end of the day before if that’s easier) to write down three key things from your to do list that you must do today in order to feel like you’re in control and winning. Just three. And if it gets to the end of the day and those bad boys are all struck off, then go you! Of course, you probably have more than three things you need to do in any given day, but focusing on these few means that you know no matter what, you achieved something important to your daily work.

It’s simple, but DEFINITELY something a lot of us forget to do is we oerceive we’re swamped with work! Take half an hour at the beginning and end of each week to review your workload/tasks and reclassify their importance. There may be something urgent that needs to be bumped up to the top of the list, however that may mean that something else you thought was more important is now less of a priority and can use a little less of your time in the short term.

Whenever you’re given a new work task/deadline, it’s sensible to ask how this should fit in with your other tasks i.e. ‘can I just check, now I have this task alongside XYZ, in which order would say I prioritise these jobs?’. Nobody can say you’re not prepared if you’ve asked and then planned your activity based on the answer.

Simple, yet effective. If any of these concepts are new to you, give them a go and let me know if they’ve helped you. We don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to stay on top of life, we just have to put a little oil onto the one we have to make it work well.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Hay fever hacks – part 2

A couple of years ago I wrote this post sharing my top hay fever hacks aside from medication that will help to ease and prevent symptoms, and over the last few weeks it seems to have been read rather a lot more than usual! Less traffic and pollution clearly allows those pesky pollens to get through to us better than ever before in the 21st century, so I thought I would add a few more tips and tricks I’ve learnt since the last post to hopefully offer a bit of extra relief to fellow sufferers. I’ve found that they work best alongside taking a standard antihistamine first thing in the morning*

  • Wipe, wipe, wipe it down

If you’ve watched a decent amount Tik Tok as I have, you’ll be singing that as you read…cleaning the house more regularly will help get rid of any pollen that you bring in from outside as quickly as possibly and keep your home a safe haven. Don’t forget to pay close attention to places like sofas and chairs where you may sit in your outdoor clothing, of you can make sure you take off your day clothes as soon as you get home.

  • Garlic – for more than warding off vampires

I was surprised but delighted to learn that my favourite seasoning also acts as a super charged natural antihistamine. Pass me the garlic bread ASAP.

  • Get your (water) vape on

When you have a cold, one way to ease symptoms is to inhale vaporised steam underneath a towel, and the same idea can also apply to hay fever. Instead of vapour rub, add in essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender which will help clear your airways and make you feel relaxed (increased levels of stress are also said to increase the severity of hay fever symptoms).

  • I C you baby

Start your day off with a healthy dose of vitamin C and you’re adding in yet another natural antihistamine to your immune system. Berries are perfect for this and are super easy to add into a breakfast or snack.

  • Shower and hair wash last thing before bed

You’re removing any final pollen from your body before you get in bed so that it doesn’t transfer to your bedding/sleep clothes and continue to affect you in the night (not getting a good night’s sleep is also supposed to help reduce hay fever symptoms).

Between the two posts I hopenyou have some decent ammunition to help make your symptoms more bearable so that you can enjoy the summer.

Thanks for reading,

J xx