Food and drink
Drink plenty of water and avoid tea and coffee. Keep making batches of ice and store in polythene bags. Barbecues are fun, but very hot of course: the Conran shop has a new solar-powered model. A summer best-seller is the new George Foreman health grill which can cook up to six portions, costing from around £30 at Currys. Cheaper ice cream makers will need a space in your freezer for around 24 hours before working. Expensive models have built-in freezers but take up worktop space.
Eat outside in the shade and have lots of fun with pretty picnic ware in various bright colours — raspberry pink wine glasses, turquoise and sizzling orange plates. Debenhams add the designer touch with tropical parrot prints by Matthew Williamson (dinner plates, £4.50 and brightly coloured picnic sets).
Send all your heavy winter curtains off to the cleaners. Put up lightweight voiles, which are available by the metre at prices starting from £4 for standard widths (but many times more for designer styles). New double-widths will make for curtains which do not have seams. No-sew panels are at all big furnishing and DIY stores. They have a slotted top, and you can thread a spring tensioned rod through this for a quick fix (from £6.50 at John Lewis).
A blind inside the window cuts the sun's heat by around 40 per cent — and even more if you have a reflective coating. In the evening, open upstairs windows and the loft hatch to draw cooling air inwards and upward. In the morning, close windows and draw blinds/curtains. Open sash windows with equal gaps top and bottom to maximise air flow.
Cheaper fans have sold out in smaller shops and on smaller websites. But HSDonline.co.uk has deliveries of fan and air-conditioning units arriving today (call 0800 091 3171). Currys & PC World are promising ongoing fan supplies (flagship store, 145-149 Tottenham Court Rd, W1; check availability online, collect within one hour from any store, or get next-day delivery; currys.co.uk). B&Q and John Lewis still have fans, around £60.
Big fans work best — go for maximum wattage, blade size and number of blades. Extra features could be a rotating head, a tilt action, and possibly a timer. Tall, slim tower-fans save space. Air conditioning units (upwards of around £250) need venting with a hose though an open window/door. Air coolers need filling with water or ice, and may increase humidity.
Designer fans include the Propello, £79, in stock now at black-blum.com in Oxo Tower, SE1. Pay around a whopping £350 to get Dyson's latest sleek and ultra-minimal Air Multiplier Hot + Cool, which is able to give precise temperature control — "no blades, no buffeting" is the promise. Commuters are currently enjoying a bank of them at Waterloo station. A cold-only version of this technology costs from £220 for a desk fan (dyson.co.uk).
Have a cool shower before bed. No duvet, just a sheet — cotton or better still silk (though that's pricey at more than £100 for a double). Old fashioned cotton cellular blankets are a good option. Pop sheets and pillowcases in the freezer. But leave your feet uncovered. Couples can use separate sheets so tossing and turning does not wake their partner. Foam rubber pillows are very hot — use natural feather/down fillings. Use an ice pack (wrapped in a damp towel) on the back of your knees or neck as a quick cooler. Or try a damp thin sheet to cover you, as they do in the Middle East.
Keep cool, colourful cotton throws indoors (even in the fridge) and throw them over your hot garden furniture to cool it down and give it a cool, fresh look.