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This is what summer looks like (and we love it)

You reveal the confidence-boosting magic of the sunny season

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here’s something about sunshine that just makes everything feel better. We’re happier, more energetic and – yes – more beautiful. Whether it’s sun-lightened hair, sun-kissed skin or just the glorious sensation of warmth on (SPF-protected) bare shoulders, it brings out the best in us. So to celebrate our favourite time of the year, we asked you to tell us how it helps you feel your most fabulous…

‘Humidity prompted me to finally embrace my curly hair’

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Carly Lewis, 28, London

‘I’ve got a natural Afro, yet I used to straighten my locks because I was fed up with the upkeep. But in summer, humidity was a nightmare – my kinks would start to reappear almost as soon as I’d left the house, and it was a nuisance having to keep checking it in mirrors and car windows! I was increasingly irritated at spending hours on maintaining my look, which convinced me to finally see the beauty of my natural curls. I’m so glad I did – I get loads of compliments and my hair feels healthier, too!’

‘I’ve grown to love my curvy hips – after all, they gave me my children’

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Natalie Jones, 31, Oxfordshire

‘After having two daughters, my hips were bigger and I was struggling to fit into my favourite jeans. I became obsessed with my “hip dips” – inward curves on each side of my body, below the hip bone – and couldn’t bring myself to wear a bikini. But about four months after having my youngest (now a year old), I decided enough was enough. I was going to start appreciating my new, curvy body for what it had done: bring my girls into the world. Without those hips they wouldn’t be here! Now I see them as a reminder of what I’ve achieved, and I can’t wait to put on my swimwear and feel the sun on my skin.’

Now I wear a bikini with pride. We're all beautiful in our own way

‘My freckles are what make me unique’

Ayesha

Ayesha Sharieff, 39, London

‘In the past, I’d try to disguise my freckles – which always come out in the summer – with make-up. I’m Asian and dark-skinned, and I was teased at school because they looked unusual. I even saw a dermatologist about having them removed. But I realised this wasn’t the answer – they make me unique, and special. So when the sun is shining, I try to “own” them. I’m grateful that I’m healthy, after all.’

‘I know that my tummy isn’t perfect, but I love it anyway’

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Angelica Fenney, 38, Merseyside

‘I had a hysterectomy in my twenties, and another operation to treat MRSA a year later, leaving me with an uneven-looking stomach and scars, which I’d constantly hide. Then, after suffering from breast, cervical and skin cancer, I went into remission last year for the first time in a long while. To celebrate the news, I treated myself to a photo shoot, and I realised how amazing my body really is, and what it has been through. I no longer cover up my tummy  – I wear a bikini with pride instead. We’re all beautiful in our own way.’

‘I used to hide my legs… now they’re always out!’

Stephanie-Barnes

Stephanie Barnes, 30, Brighton

‘As a youngster, I thought my calves were too big, and I also worried about people staring at the thread veins on my legs. Despite friends telling me that I looked great, I’d always wear tights, even when the weather was warm – and I’d spend the whole summer feeling uncomfortably hot and itchy. But things changed after I read a self-help book that suggested you send positive messages to your body while in front of a mirror – even something as simple as “Thanks for being strong, I love you”. It felt silly at first, but it worked! Now I love to show off my legs in summery dresses. Life really is too short to hate your body.’

 

Words Sophie Goddard Photography Getty Images, Pixeleyes, Plainpicture

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