This is written in collaboration with Simply Beach.
It’s sub zero outside, well minus one, and my weather app keeps telling me it’s going to snow.
So we’ve started thinking of the sunshine and booked our summer holiday, it’s time to start getting ‘Beach Ready’.
When I use the term ‘Beach Ready’, I don’t mean the media interpretation about how one should look in order for it to be socially acceptable for them to sit on the sand.
Rather I mean I need start thinking about all those things we need in order to successfully navigate the beach as a family.
I hear you cry.
You just rock up to the beach and step onto it
The thing is, we just aren’t very good at going to the beach. I don’t know if it’s a ‘Goldthorpe’ thing or a British thing, but we are just not beach efficient.
When we’re on holiday, planning a visit to the beach is akin to planning a military movement. We ensure that we have every piece of kit required to ensure it is a success- an oversized beach bag, fancy beach towels, sun cream, swimwear, large bottle of water, sun tent that will remain vacant, beach blanket, sunglasses, hats, phones and keys.
We just completely lack the skills to use all these things effortlessly.
The French are really good at going to the beach, they turn up with nothing but a medium sized bag and a parasol under their arm. They peruse the scene and make camp. With a flick, their towel is laid out neatly, they make the transition from human clothes to beachwear seamlessly, they take their bronzed selves for a dip in the sea. Lay in the sun for a while. Shower then leave. It is all done calmly, with an air of elegance.
We, on the other hand, arrive at the beach laden down like donkeys. We spend a while finding the perfect spot (close to the sea but not too close to other (beautiful) people). We shake out our blanket, everyone within a two metre range is covered in sand from our last beach visit, the wind picks up the blanket and it bellows about us until everyone can grab a corner and lay it out.
The attempt to change into our swimwear, protecting our modesty with a towel is undertaken in a way not too dissimilar to that Mr Bean episode. This is actually the only point in the trip where I beach win. As an avid fan of the kaftan, I don’t need to endure this struggle.
The kaftan is, in my opinion, the must have beach item for the ‘fuller’ lady. It’s like beachwear and actual clothes all in one. They’re cool, they’re beautiful (not unlike us – amiright ladies?) but they also hide all those bits I need no one else to see and means I don’t have to change into a swimsuit in the sand – winner! This one from the Fantastie swimwear range at Simply Beach is right up my street. The darker colour means the kids ice-cream hand won’t ruin it right away too!
Once every other family member has flashed their backsides to the beach, everyone is then smothered in sun cream and fun commences. Rory and the kids hit the sea whilst I remain firmly on the blanket trying to ensure that not one bit of my sun creamed self comes into contact with the sand.
I take five minutes to quietly recce my surroundings, to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and hear the waves gently lapping against the shore.
Then I then spy my boy child running up the beach, soaking wet, flicking sand over all the beautiful people as he passes by. He inevitably parks his freezing cold, wet, sand covered self firmly on the blanket and me. Mission complete, EVERYONE is now wet and covered in sand.
He pootles off back to the sea while I start trying to remove all sand from myself. He comes running back, soaking wet…
Repeat for an hour.
Once the fun stops, we prise the kids (reluctantly) away from the sea, wash all the sand off and begin the sand-avoidance dance to the pavement. I load up with all the kit and Rory has a wriggling child under each arm as we begin our less than elegant departure in a hail of sand.
Every year, I envisage our trip to the beach as an elegant affair. Every year I convince myself that this is the year will be the year ‘we will beach like a local’. The kids and Rory will frolic in the sea while I watch on in my oversized hat, sunglasses and kaftan looking like some movie star of old.
In actual fact I look less Goddess and more ‘escaped marquee on the breeze’ – I’ll be honest, I don’t think we’ll ever be Beach Ready.
*EDIT* since writing this post this morning and now I have been reliably informed that talc removes sand in a very hassle free way! Every day is an education – thanks Hannah!