Sun, Sea and Skin
June 26, 2015
I’m paying the price for holiday foolishness. I didn’t realise I had been foolish until it was too late. I thought I had planned everything meticulously and for the most part I had. The fridge full of fresh fruit and vegetables; the lean cuts of ham and the fat free yoghurts all helped to keep me on track in terms of my waistline.
Admittedly, the weather was so glorious that I may have had one or two more ice-creams than I would usually, and the beautiful balmy evenings meant that we were dining alfresco late in the evening and I may have felt “full” but still carried on eating (simply because the food was delicious and the portion sizes considerably larger than we serve at home). I confess to having “a bag of chips” one night – because a late night stroll along the shoreline with my Lovely Husband and with chips liberally coated in salt and vinegar is, in my opinion, one of the very best simple pleasures life has to offer. The warm weather meant that I drank rather more cola than I would back at Hudson HQ – but I stuck religiously to the “diet” version with liberal servings of ice and the obligatory slice of lemon and I stayed firmly “on the wagon” for the whole of the holiday. I wasn’t quite as strict as I would have been at home, but I lose control either and was more than happy to have stayed the same following a wonderful week in Wales.
I think part of the reason why I didn’t do any “damage” in terms of what the scales said was because of the sheer amount of walking that we did. Neither LH or I are “loungers”. We can sit by the pool for a while but neither of us are keen on swimming so after a couple of hours of reading or listening to music we are usually itching to get up and out and about. The reason we picked the south Wales coast was because it looked like there were a lot of places to explore and plenty of opportunities for walking.
The coastal paths were stunning and each morning we would head off and walk for two-and-a-half hours along the coast before taking a pit stop and then heading back again. We did this for the first three days and really felt the benefit of fresh air in our lungs; the sun on our faces; and a cooling sea breeze to take the edge off the heat from the glorious sunshine. We set a brisk pace and walking on sand, dune and rocky paths certainly gave our legs a workout. It was very different from the thirty minute constitutionals that we usually take when we get home from work on weekday evenings and I’m certain it helped to work off holiday treats I enjoyed. However…..
The coastal walks highlighted my foolishness. Whilst showering one evening I could feel my skin tightening. A glance in the mirror showed that I had “caught the sun”… not the golden brown tan I was hoping for… but a lobster glow of sub-atomic proportions. I had done myself some very serious damage in terms of sunburn. It was entirely my own fault. It hadn’t even occurred to me to pack suntan cream. Who knew I would need Factor Fifty just down the coast from Cardiff? I had been lulled into a false sense of security from by the cooling sea breeze and hadn’t realised just how strong the rays from the sun were. The only form of protection I had on was sunglasses (which was obvious given the “goggle-shaped” white patch around my eyes in the middle of the rest of my red burned face). I hadn’t worn a sun hat and as I washed my hair in the shower realised that the top of my head was blistered…… and the v-neck t-shirt I had been walking in meant that my décolleté was also bright red and covered in tiny blisters.
After a dash to the local pharmacy for aloe gel, calamine lotion and antihistamines I was feeling a little more comfortable, but no less foolish. I know better than that. The reason we have the Gazebo up at HQ is because I don’t sit out in direct sunlight. When I used to go jogging I would always make sure I was covered up even in summer and never left the house without my baseball cap on to shield me from the UV rays. But for some reason it didn’t occur to me that five hours of coastal walking in temperatures of 22 degrees under brilliant sunshine from a cloudless sky would do such damage to my skin.
Luckily the worst of it has passed now. Liberal application of after-sun products meant it didn’t ruin our holiday – but it serve as a warning.
Living in the UK we often complain about the lack of “a proper summer” and I know that I am really not a “sun-savvy” as I should be. I’m sharing this with you because if you do plan to be outdoor for any length of time during the summer months – whether that is on holiday or moving your exercise to the great outdoors – please protect yourself properly – particularly if you’re along the coastline. The cool breeze had me completely fooled.. and ended up making me look completely foolish…..
Enjoy the weekend weather (which is predicted to be warm and bright and sunny) – but make sure you are Sun-Safe if you are out and about.
With a (red-faced) hug