South Hampstead author Kathy Lette: ‘Even grans are back in bikinis on Hampstead Heath’

PUBLISHED: 12:57 03 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:04 03 August 2015

Author Kathy Lette

Author Kathy Lette


Bestselling author Kathy Lette has been sampling swimwear ahead of her annual beach break next month. During a recent trip to Hampstead Heath ponds, the South Hampstead resident discovered that from teenagers to grandmothers, bikinis are back. Writing exclusively in the Ham&High, she gives her tips to ladies worrying about their sun lounger look this year. Incidentally, the mother-of-two insists that her latest novel Courting Trouble is the perfect beach book.

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, centre, proudly shows off her bikini. Picture: ITVTV presenter Lorraine Kelly, centre, proudly shows off her bikini. Picture: ITV

Like vampires, most women avoid mirrors. With the approach of summer holidays however, there’s no choice but to brave the department store changing rooms in search of swimwear.

A ‘costume drama’ does not describe a BBC series with bustles and bonnets. No, it’s this year’s agonizing decision about whether you’re too old for a bikini.

Why? Because 55-year-old Lorraine Kelly, gyrating on telly in her teeny weeny bikini, plus 69-year-old Helen Mirren looking poised and perfect in her red two piece, means that the bikini benchmarks have changed.

A swim this morning at Hampstead ponds and then a dip later on in the Lido revealed that women are following suit – swimsuit. From girls to grans, the bikini is back.

So, do I dare to bare? Due to the pleasure of breast-feeding two children my boobs are like day-old party balloons. Which is why the shop assistant shoved me into a ‘Wonder-bra bikini top.’

Venturing a glance into the mirror, I saw with alarm that my breasts were now strapped up on my neck someplace, like a couple of spare double chins.

But be warned. It’s called a ‘wonder bra’ because as soon as you take it off, you wonder where the hell your breasts went.

Steeling myself, I let my eyes creep cringingly downwards towards the miniscule bikini briefs. Well, it looks as though that weed-whacker I got for Mother’s Day was finally going to come in handy. It certainly gave ‘bad hair day’ a whole new meaning.

It was then time to confront my bottom. For most exhausted mums, the idea of ‘working out’ is a good, energetic lie down.

There is growing medical evidence, you know, that jogging can make you hot and sweaty.

But don’t contemplate liposuction. ‘Fridge-o-suction’ is more useful - just sucking the food right out at source.

With no inclination to diet, I convinced myself that being brown would make me look at least a stone slimmer, so slathered on some fake tan.

It said “rich Mediterranean” on the bottle, but I now look more tandoori than tanning salon.

My so-called ‘tan’ pulsates. It radiates. It looks as if I’m wearing a tangerine wet suit, with darker elbow patches and kneepads.

I resemble a distress flare. People could employ me at the scene of a boating accident.

Preparing for the August beach side break has made me so stressed, I’ve sprouted a pimple. (Now there’s a good look – wrinkles and pimples.)

But surely the important thing to remember is that there are six billion women in the world who don’t look like supermodels. And only six who do.

If you’re feeling fat at the beach, just make sure you always stand next to a heavily pregnant woman. As for waxing, it’s the only context in which you’ll ever hear me say this, but Bring Back Bush.

So forget bikinis. For a middle-aged woman, there’s nothing more confidence-boosting than a sturdy, orthopaedic bathing suit. This year I’ll be sporting the Channel-crossing-neck-to-knee-circa-1922 look.

And don’t be fooled into spending a fortune on cellulite gels and other “miracle” creams. The miracle is that anyone would be stupid enough to fork out one hundred and fifty quid for them.

My other top tip is to choose the type of holiday destination that will be kind to your figure. Go to Greece, where body hair is considered sensuous. Or Brazil, where the bigger the backside, the better.

The bottom line, girls, is that looking good on the beach is a case of mind over matter – don’t mind and it doesn’t matter a bit.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Friday, December 7, 2018

British Transport Police are looking to speak to a man about three women being racially abused on an underground train.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Carlton Tavern could be reopened in April, nine months after the planning inspectorate told them to rebuild it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Coffee isn’t the only thing Deniz Korkmaz is brewing up in Kentish Town.

Friday, December 7, 2018

We chat to five local designers and artists who tell us about the one thing they must have or do at home that puts them in the Christmas mood

Friday, December 7, 2018

An application to redevelop a house in Swiss Cottage, owned by an off-shore company linked to an address in the Panama Papers and billionaire property mogul Sol Zakay, has been approved.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Two sisters from Muswell Hill were lucky enough to meet the Queen this week after playing a pivotal role in publication of a book about an adoption pioneer.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fears of rising knife crime dominated a community meeting held in West Hampstead last night, while local police called on vigilant locals to help them do their jobs by making sure to report crime.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now