With seemingly endless rain outside, I've been given a brief but welcome extension to the pre-summer preparatory period. My legs still hairy, my bathers unpurchased; I'm about as ready for summer now as I was in mid-July. But with Melbourne's usual unpredictability the weather might soon turn, so here's a quick guide to preparing for summer wherever you are in Australia.
Summer in Brisbane - the perfect combination of city and beach
Sunscreen when I was a kid was a single, 700ml bottle of crusty, sand-filled liquid that nonetheless smelt like holidays and freedom. These days most if not all major skincare brands have their own sunscreen, and it's available in a dizzying array of options. Try to find a non-comodogenic product that's broad-spectrum 30-plus.
2. Shop for your summer clothes
or recycle your winter ones. Perhaps your old jeans could be chopped and rolled to make the perfect pair of denim shorts, or that long skirt could be taken up to make a more summery item. The shops will be swamped with options but don't forget to look in your own wardrobe – and at the local op-shops – before you hand over your hard-earned finances.
3. Put icy poles in the freezer
Summer means heat, and heat means ice-cream. Or in my case lemon gelato, which I'd like to be allowed to bathe in. Whatever your summer sweet tooth draws you to, now is the time to fill your freezer - if you're trying to keep it healthy, frozen grapes are a delicious and easy treat.
I love the summer season for many reasons, not least of which the way my house begins to warm its bones and the smell of drifting pollen. If you don't have, or don't like to use your fly screens there's no reason to coat every room in insect repellent, just spray a thick line around each window and door frame. On that note, lemon wedges on the window sill is a great ant-deterrant and mild room deodoriser.
5. Prepare your body – but keep it simple
For many people summer means a lot of bare skin. And for that, you'll need to gather your weapons of choice for exfoliating, hair removal and possibly fake tanning. Since summer is also the lazy season, don't get overexcited buying all the latest products you'll then never use. Keep it simple, and remember that the greatest beauty product is often a day in the ocean – with your sunscreen on, of course.