As the summer has officially started, (although the thunderstorms would have us believe differently) if you are anything like me, you have your sling backs poised and ready to hit the summer events with gusto. However, it’s sometimes hard to know which will be a hit or a miss, so I have picked out a few of my favourite and top tips on how to be the bell of the ball, whatever the weather.
From Woodstock in the 60s to the celebrity fest of Coachella earlier this year, festivals have always been the rite of passage for many of us. Closer to home, Tenants Vital makes a welcome return (29-30 August) at Boucher Playing Fields with acts including Ellie Goulding, The Script and Calvin Harris making an appearance. When it comes to what to wear, the secret is to have a plan for looking fabulous while being prepared for four seasons in one day. Leggings, a hoodie and a rain coat will keep you safe from surprises and of course a bright fedora is on trend and perfect for keeping the wind or sun at bay. Opt for a crossover bag to keep your belongings safe and try to bring a suede or tasselled one to be in style, yet also practical.
If you are planning a trip to Electric Picnic (4-6 September) ignore personal hygiene at your peril, especially if you are having an overnight stay. Make baby wipes your best friend, if you want to wash your face and can’t find a sink, then an upside down frisbee filled with water might work (if you have one hiding in your attic) and you could always get away with washing your teeth using a water bottle. Remember dry shampoo will help your hair last another day and make-up primer will prevent make-up melting over your face.
Nothing feels like summer more to me than the Down Royal Summer Festival of Racing (19-20 June) or the Galway Races (27 July-02 August) if you are feeling flush. Being ladies day it’s always fun to dress up and wear an extravagant hat or fascinator, but make sure it isn’t pinned into your head so you can take it off once the dancing starts. Remember you don’t have to always wear a dress, as a matching top and skirt can work just as well and pastel colours like mint or lemon will look chic and cooling. Wedges can sometimes be a better option than toe pinching stilettos, especially as you will be standing for a large part of the day. It’s a great opportunity for the men to dress up also and hats are not just for the ladies – an ideal choice is the Panama hat which looks particularly stylist with a linen suit.
Study the form guides and look for the horse that has improved gradually. Listen to the chatter at the bar or on your table and avoid outsiders – 100/1 odds might seem attractive, but there’s a reason why the odds are so bad! Do remember that if the going is heavy then the form generally means nothing and an outsider is worth a punt.
If you are enjoying the corporate hospitality and canapés are on the menu, eat them in one mouthful without having to chew mid-conversation. Remember your timing – try not to pick one up just as your boss or new beau is heading your direction and pace yourself with the bubbles – drinking during the day can often be a recipe for disaster.
Jazz in the Park at Mounstewart is one of my favourite summer events. It’s on the last Sunday of June, July and August and definitely one to put in your social diary. It runs between 2pm-4.30pm and if the weather is good then the place is buzzing with people and of course picnics. If you fancy a bit of a more upmarket affair then making bite size treats is best – finger food with pre cut portions are always best especially if you are trying to impress. Summer classics such as asparagus, smoked salmon and strawberries are ideal and don’t cause much mess. Don’t forget your cool bag – nobody likes warm prosecco. A blanket is perfect if the ground is dry, but there is plenty of room in the grounds for foldaway chairs.
In conclusion, the best way to enjoy these types of events is just to embrace the experience. We don’t get the chance to get outside very often, so if there is an opportunity to take it then make sure you do. If you are anything like me – just remember to leave room in your handbag for the sunglasses as well as the umbrella!
By Grainne McGarvey. Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com
*picture courtesy of visitstrangfordlough.co.uk