Beach Chic!

I have never been able to do ‘beach chic’. Even pre-kids, when I didn’t have to lug nappies, spare ones of everything and a buggy to the beach! Despite my best efforts to try and look like Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a gold bikini, it tends to be more The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ …. in a gold bikini.

And this year was no exception. For some reason, I feel this need to head to the beach, complete with provisions for any eventuality. Anything from a cut finger to a full-scale nuclear invasion. And so the great preparation for a day at the beach begins….

4 suncreams of varying factors – check! First aid kit, insect repellant – check! Sunglasses and spare sunglasses, just in case an eagle swoops down and wrenches them off your face – check! Towels for the beach, towels for drying, sarongs, spare t-shirts, just in case the eagle accidentally shits on your t-shirt whilst stealing your glasses – check! Ipods, books, phones, spare phones in case the battery runs out or we get robbed by Mexican bandits – check! Water, extra water, Fanta, Sprite, beer, extra beer, more beer for Mr H’s lunch. Sandwiches, extra sandwiches in case the eagles and the hispanic outlaws render us stranded somewhere. Crisps, sweets, a flask of tea and some biscuits (we are British, of course) and some fruit – check! A camera, for those impromptu ‘getting attacked by an eagle’ moments, hairbands (for us girls, nothing for Mr H to worry about), pen, paper (for taking down insurance details of minor car prangs, attacks by birds of prey or moustached desperados), guidebooks, maps and enough cash just in case we have to spend the night in an out of town motel, run by an alcoholic old spanish guy with a son who’s got a drug problem and has a tendency to rob tourists. Check!

And it’s off to the beach we go. Mr H is laden like a flea-bitten mule in ill fitting speedos and I’m covered in factor 50 goose-fat, looking like I’m ready to swim the channel. And by the time we’ve walked 2 miles to find a suitable spot away from other families, marauding jellyfish and the nudies (as quite frankly I’m getting bored with his worldwide research project into Nipple Sizes of the Female Specie), we’re sweating like a couple of glassblower’s arses! By the time we’ve set up camp, we’re hungry, thirsty and covered in enough sand that we could effectively rub down a small wooden table.

Therefore, it is with rampant envy that I sit on my sandy towel and watch the bronzed Spanish couple pitch up beside us. He has one small rucksack and she has a small wicker basket out of which they produce two flannel sized towels, a bottle of oil, a handbag sized copy of Spanish Vogue, a book and a bottle of water. They spend the rest of the day, in and out of the water, sipping their Evian and rubbing oil on each other. I can only think that the Spanish are born with sand-repellant skin. And at the end of the day, they pack up their minimalist paraphenalia and ridiculously tanned bodies, brush 3 grains of sand off an arm and wander off into the sunset.


Meanwhile, Mr H and I spend the next hour decamping having had a fairly restless day manouvring various items in and out of the sun, passing and spilling drinks and getting covered in breadcrumbs. He’s attacked by a swarm of enraged wasps whilst trying to discard the remaining sarnies in an already overfull bin and I’m wrestling an unpredictable parasol. And by the time we get back to the car, we’re hot, bothered, red, sweaty and I have a hair-do that Wurzel Gummidge would be proud of. Oh and I have a sunburnt left foot!

So I resign myself to the fact that I’m British and I will never look good on a beach. Maybe I should just stay at home. The effort may soon start to outweigh the sheer embarrassment, stress and the huge expense of Piz Buin. And apparently, 47 is the latest age a woman can wear a bikini! Well, if you ever take any notice of the Daily Mail that is. Anyway. It’s decided. Next year, I shall be holidaying in the comfort of my own garden. Facilities on hand, Eagle-free and cheap!


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