Every year as the evenings get longer – we are supposed to subsist on lettuce leaves and direct our earnings towards making ourselves presentable for al-fresco dining – rooftop cocktails – and pool parties. The fact that the majority of us don’t know people who own pools is neither here nor there. Prepare ourselves we must.
‘Here comes summer… Seven days to a flat stomach’ a magazine trills in my local news-agent. ‘259 swimwear solutions’ says another. Curiously not one of these ‘solutions’ involves ditching the swimwear and buying a kaftan and massive parasol instead.
None of this is good news for pale – beauty treatment-averse – happiest-in-jeans women like me. On the first day of sunshine the world dictates that we turn a beautiful shade of butterscotch – and bare as much skin as is decent.
Visit a chemist as I did last weekend – and you’ll be greeted by tanning aisles as long as the M4. There – sun-drenched – sand-flecked models gaze down from the walls – willing you to admire their honey-coloured hue as they seductively hug a palm tree.
‘Discover your perfect way to sun-kissed skin’ says one advert for self-tanning lotion and for a second I’m tempted. After all my natural skin tone is white with a hint of blue. Or is that blue with a hint of white? Either way – on a bright day – my skin can cause snow-blindness.
But then I remember that I’ve tried this stuff repeatedly and it rarely ends well. I invariably end up with unsightly streaks and white patches – or just looking like the Ready Brek kid. Worse is the overpoweringly sweet yet pungent odour.
For at least 24 hours after you’ve applied it – you smell like a cocktail that’s been puked up.