Laura Craik on the perils of holiday prepping

August. You’ve completed your last half-assed piece of work, activated your witty-yet-professional out of office message and are poised to check in online.

Will the gamble not to stump up an extra £999.99 for SpeedyBoardingSmugExtraLegroomTwattage pay off, or will you be sitting at the back right next to the bogs, inhaling poo molecules? You don’t care. You’re going on holiday. That’s what counts. 

Granted, the prep hasn’t exactly gone to plan. There have been problems with the holiday wardrobe mood board: the tie-dye shorts don’t appear to zip up, throwing Look 5 (Wednesday) into discord. Guess your housemate must have shrunk them in the wash. What? No, YOU live alone. Still, at least the body prep went well. Six weeks of SoulCycle, swimming and HIIT topped off with a facial, a mani, a Brazilian, a full-body scrub, a permanent blow-dry, 1mg of Juvéderm and a Shellac pedi should see you looking your best on the grid. You nearly had a full meltdown when you read about Instagram’s plans to remove the ‘like’ button, but then realised they weren’t trialling it in London or Ibiza, so all good.  

It’s funny, the people we turn into when we go on holiday. Freed from the possibility of banging into Judgey Joanna, who are we trying to impress? We’re several summers too old to think of pulling a waiter, our friends and families don’t care what we look like, and our followers are too busy angsting about their own shortcomings to register ours. 

Maybe this could be the summer of the Who Cares Holiday; less the Summer of Love than the Summer of Shove It In The Suitcase And Hope For The Best. I’m going to eschew my usual high-street haul of stuff I neither need nor like much and confine my purchases to books; the ones everyone has been raving about that I haven’t had time to read because I claim I’m too busy but really I’ve just been frittering away my time on social media. Who’s in? 

Throwing a wobbler

Locals ride bikes alongside Brixton Academy (TfL)

Hire bikes: a brilliant way to get Londoners fit and active while lowering carbon emissions, or an eyesore and a public liability? Discuss.

Having almost run over more hapless, wobbling tourists on Boris Bikes than I care to count (#lifehack: if you haven’t been on a bike since you were five, please don’t try to cycle up the A4201 on Camden Parkway, for you will die), I’m beginning to conclude they are the latter. Round my way, hire bikes are used by kids to transport drugs, which possibly explains why the Canal & River Trust says it’s growing increasingly frustrated by the number of bikes ditched in and around its 2,000 mile network; more than 100 a year are tossed into canals in London alone. Let’s hope those companies charging exorbitant hire fees offer to help out with recovery costs. 

Cheer up, petal

Peony season is over. I know this because I tried to send some to a friend to apologise for getting drunk at her house, and was thrown into severe option paralysis by the process of choosing an alternative, because who can ever be decisive after 23 bottles of rosé?

I emailed my friend Whitney, who runs a florist business called Flowerbx, and is always decisive. Peony fans will agree that nothing compares, but since they’re going to be out of season until May 2020, we’re going to have to man up and consider other options. ‘Dahlias are back and are amazing,’ Whitney counselled. ‘And hydrangeas are gorgeous and lush this month, too.’ So now you know. 


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