How To Be a British Beach Babe

A new survey shows that women spend more readying their bodies for a beach holiday than they do on the holiday itself.  £472 is the average required to help us hold our own by the poolside, according to research by Debenhams.

I am relieved to discover that I am not alone. This year we are ditching our annual jaunt to some Mediterranean hotspot and are heading to Cornwall. The idea was to save money. The sums we've spared ourselves on airfares and car hire have, however, been swallowed by my extravagant summer accessories. I insist, you see, on feeling good on the sands, and perfection comes at a price:

These thermal vests should flatter any contours and shield my skin from the most extreme summer temperatures. I've experimented and can fit all three at once under my beachwear.

Who says that essential accessories can't be funky! This is small enough to stow in a handbag and, in extremis, to shove up the three vests when stretched on my lounger.

I always think that beachwear should be brightly coloured and, if possible, striped to get you into that holiday humour, so I should certainly strut the summer look in these, especially when accompanied by my other rainbow extravagance below:

The real cost of a beach holiday is, of course, absorbed by those soothing scientific potions. You can't let your kids frolic half-clad or venture a summer swim without them and, although, like everyone else, I have half-empty stashes of the stuff left over from previous holidays, there's never a reassuring use-by date. So off I went to Boots to buy a new supply, which should hopefully see us through the next two summers:

I've been saving my guiltiest extravagance until last. The highlight of beach body is, of course, the swimwear in which you flaunt it. I searched long and hard for the perfect costume and, finally, I triumphed. The confection below has everything: the seasidey stripes, a cosy and capacious brushed-cotton fabric, beneath which I can fit those three vests, and enveloping leg sections which will keep the breezes out. I've twinned it here with a pair of wool tights for maximum effect:

Hold on! Just listened to the weather forecast, which is predicting slightly warmer temperatures next week. That might mean I have to surrender the tights so I've had to get my shrinking wallet out yet again to make sure that I'm prepared:

Right, I'm off! See you in a week. While I'm gone, do tell me: how much do you spend on your beach body? 


  1. This made me chuckle!

    Personally I would never dream of spending such amounts on beach-readiness! It is true that I like to look primped and polished but I've always been a lover of DIY. I shave with 99p razors (that's 99p for a bazillion razors, not one). I then exfoliate with 99p exfoliating gloves from the pound shop and will fake tan my own wobbly bits no doubt with some dodgy pound shop find as well (holidays are the only time I do). Tanning works wonders on my ghost like Scottish pallor. I find many people admire how I manage to match my skin tone so closely to the colour of Irn Bru. Clearly I'm a very proud Scot!

    Totally loved your summer essentials. Fairly similar to my yearly summer accessories for living in Scotland! With one don't have any midgie repellent!

  2. Ha ha ha! Brilliant. We too are trekking off to Cornwall for our holidays the beginning of September. I am hoping for fairer weather, but will certainly heed your practical advice - especially the hot water bottle!

  3. I buy a bottle of sun cream every couple of years and a new cossie when the old one gets embarrassingly thin on the bum, so about every 4 years... Um, that's it.

  4. I will believe it...when I take my boots off!!

  5. That brolly looks far too glamorous to be one of yours. Did you filch it from the church porch? As a man, I never used to have this beach body thing, but now that I'm in the outer peripheries of middle age I find that I am falling victim to moobs and hairy back syndrome. My preference is simply to keep my shirt on. I wish more men would do the same.

  6. Amazing how it costs so much to look good in a place where you traditionally were next to nothing. My friends are all dreaming of holdays like the one you have planned to get out of the heat for a week or two. Emjoy!

  7. I love this!

    Though I am still reeling from the £472 figure. I have thus far spend £0 on preparing myself for our week in Filey. The children have done better, as I bought them both a swimming top for £2.99 each. They have long sleeves, so will come in very handy on a British beach in August.

    The only beach-thing I normally buy for myself is a large packet of oat crumble biscuits.

  8. Fab post!!! Have a lovely time!!! x

  9. Your preparations stagger me! Mainly because I was far less well equipped last August when I was forced to spend 5 consecutive torrential nights in a tent near St Austell squeezed in-between husband and step-daughter. The highlight of our holiday was lingering in the Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes at the Eden Project!

    Hope you're enjoying your holiday! x


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