We've all been looking forward to the summer - not least because it brings the holidays! Not only does it give us a chance to break with the routine of the rest of the year, but it's a season replete with opportunities for healthy indulgences. Here we focus on five summer pleasures that can be beneficial to both health and beauty:
Sleep! As well as allowing us to disconnect, holidays offer a chance for sleep that we don't always get during the rest of the year. Sleep deprivation worsens daily performance and energy levels, and doesn't give the body the chance to repair itself properly. Holidays are an excellent time to catch up. If you spend your holiday nights out clubbing, don't pass up the chance for a siesta: studies show that even a short nap after lunch is enough to replace energy and make you feel better.
Spotlight on skin: With short sleeves, swimwear, shorts and miniskirts, much more of our body is on display in the summer. It's easier, then, to remember to take better care of our skin with exfoliants, moisturisers and general pampering. If you build a routine in the summer months, it will be easier to continue all year round – and that's something your body will thank you for.
From your head... The summer is rough on hair, so it's a perfect chance to give your locks a rest from complex 'do's, aggressive treatments and damaging driers. Give your hair dryer a break, use conditioners and moisturising products to nourish your hair, towel dry and leave it loose to dry naturally.
...to your toes: Pointy toes and tight shoes are one of the main causes of hard skin areas on toes and feet. But summer's the time for strappy sandals and flip-flops that give your feet the chance to recover from their winter imprisonment. Use a foot scrub to smooth away rough skin, then follow up with a moisturising cream designed specifically for feet. If you're holidaying at the beach, make sure you walk barefoot on the sand: it's excellent exercise for all the muscles of the feet and calves, and if the sand is a little rough it will also provide a mild exfoliation for the soles of the feet. Wading or walking knee-deep along the sea edge is another excellent way to exercise: the resistance of the seawater tones both skin and muscles.
Summer foods. When the weather's hot, salads and fruit become more appealing – and since so much fresh food is in season, it's the best time to eat it. If you're travelling, try the local seasonal fruit and veg – it will be fresher and better quality. True to its name, watermelon is rich in water and low in calories making it a delicious snack that satisfies and quenches thirst while providing a huge supply of vitamins. Gazpacho, the Mediterranean cold vegetable soup, is another healthy dish, rich in vitamins and fibre and low in calories, refreshing, tasty and nutritious. And if you're heading to the tropics, don't miss out on mangoes (rich in potassium and beta carotene), guavas (rich in antioxidants) and papaya.