I’ve been cold for as long as I can remember; my parents tell stories of me shivering violently and turning purple in a matter of minutes when taking me swimming as a baby, even in the heated children’s pool at our local leisure centre. That’s not to say I never feel warm, I do, but it takes high levels of physical exertion or weather temperatures in the high 20s or more.

As a teen, I stubbornly tried to fight against it, going out at the weekends in a short skirt, no tights and often just a single layer top with no jacket. Partly, I’d do it to fit in and partly to see if my body would just get used to the cold. It did not! These days layers are my friend and the Selkie styling suits my lifestyle and my biology.

As well as feeling the cold more than most, I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Disease about 15 years ago. Sometimes called Raynaud’s Syndrome or Phenomenon, it is a condition which often affects the extremities. Women are more likely to suffer from it than men and it is characterised by pain, numbness and discolouration of fingers, toes and sometimes ears and noses. The body overreacts to the cold, causing certain blood vessels to narrow and restrict the blood flow. I was told by my doctor that this is the body’s last chance survival method for dealing with extremely cold, Artic-like conditions. A battle strategy where the body sacrifices fingers and toes in order to protect critical organs and maintain life by drawing the blood supply back to the core. People with Raynaud’s have a hypersensitivity to the cold, which triggers the body’s Artic survival procedure, even under milder conditions, when it is not needed.

These days, with more sense and a little less stubbornness, I’m the first to reach for a sweatshirt or hoodie on a summer’s evening and as others will testify, I’m in my Selkie Sherpa almost all year round. I wear it over a vest and a T-shirt in spring and summer and over a sweatshirt as well, in colder months. Lots of people will say that good gloves and thick socks are key to preventing Raynaud’s attacks, but keeping the core warm as well is a big help.

Layering up is my coping strategy and what I love about the Selkie outerwear is that it is designed with layering in mind. I’ve tried all sorts over the years, but to wear enough layers to stay warm, I end up looking like the Michelin Man and the bulging of all that material under the arms becomes uncomfortable. The Selkie kit is really warm but not too thick, so I can build up the layers without feeling chunky and weighed down.

I was given some swim skins bottoms this summer and was sceptical because the neoprene seemed so thin, but already I wouldn’t be without them.

Sarah on the beach with her favourite Selkie women's swimskin pants

On holiday, the difference in warmth between my legs in the skins and my top in a traditional costume was amazing.  Needless to say I’ve now bought the swim skins vest too.  Nothing beats being in the sea and having the surf pound over you as you head out past the breakers. Usually for me, this is strictly a foreign affair, quick dips from tropical beaches, returning from the sea a deathly shade of blue after 15 minutes, desperate for a towel and dry clothes. This year, in my Selkie skins, I was in the English Channel for a couple of hours at a time swimming, paddle boarding and playing with the family in Cornwall and no blue toes in sight. My ‘morgue feet’ delayed til autumn when I’ll no doubt be digging out the ski socks again!

Selkie may not have cured my Raynaud’s, but they have given me an extension to my outdoor season and more time to spend in my happy place.

You can find all of Sarah’s favourite Selkie items as well as the rest of our collection >>> HERE

Sarah's favourite Selkie products