Sun cream, sunglasses and swimwear...How not to splash out too much this summer
Shop around to get the best prices on swim gear and beach toys, says Sinead Ryan
Summer is such fun, for adults and kids alike. We all relive our childhood when the warm weather comes and after the recent lovely spell we've had, those who still have their holiday break to look forward to get to enjoy it all over again.
This week, I've been looking around the shops for holiday accessories: sun cream, beach toys and swim gear for kids. The panel is filled with luggage tips for getting all the stuff on board - while trying to keep within airline regulations.
Staying safe in the sun is a must - Ireland has one of the highest skin cancer rates in Europe. I think we often believe it doesn't apply to us because it's cloudy so much of the time, but SunSmart, the Irish Cancer Society's campaign, says even in dull weather, UVA rays can still get through. Its tips are:
l stay in the shade where you'll be protected from up to 75pc of harmful rays;
l slap on some clothes (linen and cotton are best), a hat, and sunglasses to keep yourself covered up, and especially children;
l use a minimum of 30 SPF (sun protection factor) and re-apply cream every two hours. Around 35ml is needed to cover the body and chuck out last year's cream if it's past its use-by dates as the active ingredients may no longer work.
Our best value creams are:
1. Boots' Soltan Once range which is €12.50 for Factor 50. The kids swim spray is also €12.50 and there's a Family Essentials pack of three sunscreens and a moisturiser for €24.
2. Ambre Solaire's 50+ multipack is €24 for three lotions, also in Boots.
3. The Piz Buin range is half price in Hickey's Pharmacy while La Roche Posay's kids' cream is €23 for 300 ml.
4. Haven Pharmacies have Caldesun 50+ reduced by 30pc during June to €5.95 for 200ml.
5. Tesco's Garnier 50+ is just €9 for 200ml.
If you're heading on a bucket and spade holiday, drop into Smyths Toys where plastic buckets start from €2.99, spades €2.49 and a pack with little vehicles is €9.99.
Aldi has a great range of beach fun with a cricket set in a travel pack for €19.99 (age 5+), a badminton and net set for €24.99 and garden/beach tennis in a mesh bag for €5.99.
Debenhams is selling a cool giant crab baby shade for €18 and bucket and sieve set or snorkel and goggles for €8.50 each.
Littlewoods.ie has a super soaker - ideal for any beach party - for €18.99.
Keeping kids covered up in the sea is important so investing in a sun smart swimsuit is important. Look for Lycra with a high UPF (ultraviolet protection factor); 50+ means protection from 97.5pc of the sun's harmful rays.
Aldi's sunsafe suit is €9.99 for ages six months to six years. Mothercare has a flotation jacket for kids for €31.99 while their inflatable swim seat is €15.99.
Protecting eyes from UVA and particularly UVB rays is vital. Look for the EU standard EN1836 or British BS27241987 and only buy where 99-100pc of UVB is protected. Consider wraparound or mirror lenses as these offer most protection. Photochromic are best for prescription lenses and go from clear to dark in light. Ray-Ban has an online store (ray-ban.com/ireland) and its Classic Aviator range is €142, but hop onto sunglasses.ie and you can find many Ray-Ban glasses from €122.
Boots has a cheaper range - French Connection's Ladies are €63, while Lipsy's Tortoiseshell are just €33, all with 100pc UVB protection.
If you fancy a serious 'investment', look no further than Cazal Cari in 24kt gold - eye-watering, as well as eye-protecting, at €690 from sunglasses.ie or Bvlgari's cat-eye style is €680 from Brown Thomas.