Our week away has been truly splendid.  You can see from the above picture that my new mastectomy swimming costume was a triumph.  The same cannot be said for the footwear which looks like it would be more at home in Irish dancing than on a beach.  In fact, wearing slightly different footwear I managed to get my feet a little crispy.  As in burnt.  I had duly slathered myself in the aforementioned Neal’s Yard sun cream SPF 30, only my sandals rubs patches off.  Which I then stupidly forgot to reapply.  Stupid stupid stupid.

I have been more focused than usual on tanning during this trip.  I am generally not bothered, given that I have had fifty years on this earth of just burning.  However, in that time I have learnt a thing or two and, sandal incidents and stupidity aside, I generally know how to avoid burning now.  My usual colour is a shade warmer than deathly.  But just a shade.  Apart from my cheeks which always boast a ruddy glow.  However, given my impending date with the Poison Department (aka Chemo Unit), I fancied at least beginning the process with a reasonable tan.  Especially since all sun needs to be shunned unless painted in factor 50.  So I have embraced the opportunity for a bit of sun worship.

I will be feeding back to Neal’s Yard re their sun cream – I don’t know if I have had a dodgy batch or not, but everything, and I mean everything, that has come close to it or me while anointed has been heavily stained yellow.  I know that sun cream often stains clothing but this has been something else: my towels, my bed sheets (even after showering), my clothes and my beautiful swimming costume all now shades of yellow.  This does worry me regarding my tube of factor 50 at home as I will have to either chose my clothes very carefully, not wear it or buy some more sigh.

Anyway, in the middle of all this sunbathing, I have managed to end up with what will become the most stupid tan line in the history of stupid tan lines.  On the beach, after swimming, I tend to wear a bandanna to keep my hair off my face.  At some point I must have pulled it down slightly.  Not much.  Of course, the sun chose that moment to bless me with a nut brown complexion.  In an instant.  So I have a line.  And under other circumstances it would never be noticeable.  But given that my hair is about to fall out I am going to look more than a little ridiculous.  The Captain has offered to dust off his range of wood stains to colour match my scalp in anticipation.  Rude.


FEC-ing Sun!

*Updated 18th June – see bottom paragraph*

Beach Shade Lady Kid

One of the less unpleasant side effects of the chemo regime I will be subjected to, is an increase in sensitivity to sunlight.  I have it on good authority that factor 50 is the SPF to go for and much to my surprise, this does not actually mean white emulsion.  In fact, I am rather pleased that I have ended up with one of the Independent’s best suncream recommendations for 2016!

I have bought Neals Yard Organics Lemongrass Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 50 in readiness for those days I am up to sitting in the garden.  I have a large hat too.  I wanted Neals Yard because they do not use chemicals in any of their products that can disrupt or cause overproduction of oestrogen.  This is especially important to me as my cancer was/is oestrogen receptor positive meaning oestrogen feeds it.  Suncreams are particularly good at including chemicals that do this so I am choosing to avoid such products as much as possible.  I am gradually working through my toiletries and sifting out those that include harmful ingredients.  Nothing like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

More information on Neals Yard is here but this is a summary of what they avoid when making their products:

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 21.55.57


I am sorry to report that the Neals Yard Lemongrass Sun Lotion was something of a disaster.  Well, maybe this isn’t entirely fair as it worked brilliantly as sun protection and smelt fantastic.  However, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that came into contact with it was stained a virulent yellow.  All suncreams stain a bit so the disclaimer on the packaging warning to keep out of contact with fabrics, did not unduly concern me.  Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of staining.  My lovely new (expensive) mastectomy swimsuit was ruined, so were several towels and some clothes.  It is fair to say that this product is not fit for purpose.  Unless you are a naturist.  With a fabric aversion.  In that case, it is the suncream for you.  In fairness to Neals Yard, I wrote and told them of my problems and they gave me a ‘good will’ payment of £75 which more than refunded the cost of my creams.  Since then I have ordered an SPF 30 from The Green People on the understanding that the jump from 30 to SPF 50 only affords a further 1% of sun protection.  Here’s hoping.