It doesn’t matter where – or how far – you intend to travel this summer, today’s article invites you to take note of a few skin care rules to ensure your face does not suffer sun damage. So, whether you have plumped for a staycation or are hedging your bets on a long-haul flight, you will be covered. You may even be persuaded to holiday at home!
Even if foreign holidays are back in vogue before the end of May, I don’t think I will be temped to book one. As well as all the financial risks associated with planning a trip that may or may not happen, I wonder what sort of an experience it would end up being? With Covid-19 still circulating around the globe, I know where I would rather be – somewhere safe and familiar, just a few footsteps away, that guarantees rest and relaxation with none of the dangers associated with busy airports, virus hotspots and lockdown restrictions. You’ve guessed it – my back garden!
If that sounds boring, I can assure you, my garden will rival the Costa del Sol this year – with all the trappings of a resort hotel, from an all-inclusive bar to a crystal clear swimming pool. And, no, I am not a millionaire with a villa perched on a cliff or with acres of land. The bar is a transformed pine shed (with heating, lighting, optics and a wine fridge, of course) and the swimming pool an inexpensive above ground model. I’ve got a storage box at the ready. It is jam-packed with inflatables, as well as chlorine and even a floating bar – should I find myself having so much fun on a giant blow-up flamingo that I can’t be bothered to climb out of the pool and walk the six steps to the bar in my shed.
How To Enjoy Your Garden Safely
If you are anything like me, you will have to do some work in the garden to get it ready for the summer months. This means looking after your hands. Always wear good quality gloves and thoroughly wash and moisturise both your hands and wrists when you have finished. Even a small cut, graze or chapped skin can let bacteria into the body and cause an infection. Now is not the time to find yourself in hospital. Heathcote & Ivory have an In The Garden glove and hand cream set, which solves two problems in one go.
UV rays from the sun are what ages skin the most. That is why it is vital to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 even on slightly overcast days. Garnier’s Ambre Solaire brand has an Ultra-Hydrating Shea Butter Sun Protection Cream with excellent SPF – and it’s currently on offer. We have all been cooped up indoors for months, and the shock of natural Vitamin D permeating our bodies could result in the lobster-look effect before you know it. If you are moving around the garden, always wear a hat and keep your shoulders covered.
In the summer months, when you may sit outside to read a book, enjoy afternoon tea or partake in an early evening glass of wine, think about how you can create shade that will deliver long-lasting protection. A large parasol with a solid base is ideal for one or two people. If you have a big family or expect to host guests for a barbecue or al fresco dinner, consider investing in an awning. You don’t want to find yourself nudged out from your spot under an over-sized umbrella. Sun shade sails are popular because they are easy to fix in place and much more reliable than a free-standing canopy that will blow away in the slightest breeze. The OldPAPA model is available in a range of colours. It is waterproof and provides a 95% sun block.
Keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and apply a good serum followed by an effective moisturiser at night.
Bring Your Holiday Closer To Home
I haven’t had very much luck with hot tubs. The first one I bought never arrived. The second, which we have only used three times, costs £10 in electric just to get it to temperature and then at least £2.50 a day thereafter to keep it going. It developed a slow puncture after the first week of use and now sits in a big box, taking up far too much space in a spare bedroom. If you really want a hot tub and can afford one, I’d recommend going for something better than a blow-up model.
I love water. That is why, just after Christmas, four years ago I bought a steel-framed above ground pool. It was supplied with an electric pump and chemical floater. In the February and March of that year, I added a ground mat, thermal blanket which covers the surface of the water, a full cover, pool steps, chlorine tablets and lots of inflatables. We erected the pool during the first week of May after doing our best to create a level base. It occupied a large part of the garden and took 24 hours to fill, but looked stunning. Other than the initial water, the running costs are exceptionally low – around 10p a day for the pump. The second year, I added a solar water heater to extend the season and to tackle the cold shock element of getting into the water. The pump filters are cheap and easy to buy and a tub of chlorine tablets usually lasts the whole summer.
The pool has served us well for three years. I’ve now invested in a rectangular, smaller model. My reasoning for this is that I am not sure how long these pools are made to last. The liner is made from triple-thick material and the whole thing still looks brand new but, with my neighbours spending a small fortune on their garden, which is lower than ours, I do not want to be responsible for a catastrophic flood. This is the pool I have replaced the original with – click here for image.
If you plan to use a pool, either while on holiday or in your own back garden, here are some essential skin care tips:
- While good sunscreens are water-resistant, they will still wash off as a result of friction in water. This means, you need to reapply it at least once every two hours.
- When you get out of a pool, head straight for the shower. That cocktail your other half just made you can wait. Rinse off every trace of chlorine and thoroughly moisturise you skin. Chlorine dries the skin and can irritate it. This chemical is known to be a cause of wrinkles. Be careful to also use a conditioner on your hair.
- Garnier’s Intensive 7 Days Shea Butter Body Lotion for Dry Skin is cheap as chips and delivers great hydration.
- If you are a fan of fake tan, you will have to top it up more often if you are using a pool.
Back Garden Breaks
Treating your garden as a destination rather than an extension of the home can transform a summer. In fact, we spent the first lockdown either in our home bar or the pool. We enjoyed playing games, swimming, splashing about and having meals outdoors. In fact, there was never a dull moment.
One of the things I have really enjoyed about having a pool is the maintenance. It isn’t much – a case of topping up the chlorine, checking the water quality and temperature, replacing filters and, my favourite, skimming the surface with a net to remove any floating leaves or small insects. I cannot tell you how relaxing this is. I have now invested in a full extending pole model and am sure I will feel like one of those ‘pool boys’ you see featured in films set in Hollywood.
To top off this year’s holiday in the garden, I have bought a cocktail bowl, fancy cocktail umbrellas and some more coloured lights to string around trees and bushes. Oh, and the other half has bought a replacement plastic greenhouse.
I can’t wait.
Further reading :
Today’s note to readers: This is probably the last blog post I am going to write before I start radiotherapy on Monday. While, I pray, I am not burned too much, I accept I am likely to feel very tired. I need 15 sessions, which will take place over around three-and-a-half to four weeks.
I aim to add at least one new article to the site each week during this treatment period. In addition, I will try to keep content fresh on our social media channels. It will be a case of playing it by ear.
If you fancy transforming your garden into a holiday hotspot for 2021, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can repurpose an existing shed or outbuilding to create a bar – optics are cheap to buy online. Use glasses you already have. A decent-sized and well-made pool will set you back anything from £107 to £350. You may also need to factor in the cost of a pump, up to £30, as well as steps, a cover, solar heater, spare filters and chlorine. Much, much cheaper than a family holiday and good for more than one year.