By Anna Jackson-Stevens
A few of my favourite pastimes and places, cosmetics and dresses â made in Russia. Hemlines rise, cyclists appear and pavements disappear as they are turned into terraces – just a few of the signs of summer in Moscow. Set up for the season starts over May holidays, one of my favourite times to be in town and with warmer temperatures comes a jollier mood, which might be measured in proportion to the extreme climate contrast: -30 to +30. Thatâs an exaggeration. It was once the case, even 25 years ago but Moscow is milder now and I think inhabitants are gentler too. The sheer length of the winter, including an extended filthy thaw contributes to the sense of liberation â a load lifted after shaking off that sheepskin, unravelling the woollies and stepping out of sturdy footwear.
So how to spend summer in the city? Well first you need a tan and Moscow has a selection of âbeachesâ to choose from. They are riverbanks of course; no long stretches of white or golden sand but watersâ edges have been developed sufficiently imaginatively to create the illusion of a seaside resort.
One of my favourites is Royal Yacht Club Beach Club, superbly located near Vodny Stadion, so if you scoot out of work punctually you can catch the evening sun in just over 20 minutes by metro from Pushkin Square. Arkady Novikovâs restaurant Vodny makes this a designer destination, loungers are for hire but not obligatory, you can recline on your towel to languidly admire luxury marina life.
Need to get back in shape before baring all? I like to run outside and kept it up in thermals for much of the winter on sunny mornings, when the pavements were clean. I vow to try VeloBikes this year but Iâll also play tennis opposite the Soviet Army Theatre in Ekaterinksy Park. The club has soul and well-kept clay courts. Dress code is taken seriously as are the refreshments, veteran instructors quench their thirst over well-deserved chilled beers in between lessons.
And what to wear now youâre toned and tanned? I canât get enough of Russian Fashion Roots in Modny Sezon; itâs like a dressing up box, full of frothy party frocks, beaded headdresses and irresistible stilettos in ice-cream pastels. Thereâs plenty for him too so you can bring your other half along for a perusal. Boutique owner Asya Ryazankina (pictured in dress) has an eye for local talent and is her own best brand ambassador.
Moscow rays can be raw so why not pop next door to Organic Shop in Okhotny Ryad and stock up on some potions to prepare your skin for its new golden hue. Inspired by the wildlife in Siberia, cosmetics by Natura Siberica are taking the world by storm. They donât yet have a range devoted to sun protection but Iâll start with a seaberry and honey body scrub and keep a bottle of oil for hair, soul and body â also from the Oblepikha Siberica line â handy in my beach bag. Iâm tempted too by Caviar Gold day cream made from northern black caviar and Siberian gold with a light SPF factor for decadent moments in the shade.