Like sands through a tube of sunblock, so are the days of our lives…….

Taking toddlers to the beach requires the expert planning of a logistician.  A number of scenarios need to be considered, with contingencies to manage each of them.  The equipment required is a bit of a combination of first-aid kit, canteen, sports store and clothing shop.  You’ve got to pack for wet, dry, hot and/or windy conditions, insects that sting and bite - sand fly (or even worse, March fly), hungry and thirsty kids, mini-scientist-kids and sand engineers, even budding marine biologists who like to collect things.  All of this before you even think about sun protection.

So you’ve packed what seems to be enough kit for the entire neighbourhood and your mind returns to an essential aspect of a beach day: letting your littlies turn lobster-pink just isn’t cool these days. It’s time to add the chemist or dispensary part of the beach tool-kit – the sun block, zinc or block out.

If it’s a family affair, then sure, a nice little pop-up cabana works a treat, but having watched a tall and evidently strong man pack down their beach tent the other day, I reckon that you have to be able to dead-lift 50 kg to hoist it onto your shoulder.  A retro beach umbrella can be carried more easily perhaps, but when you’re trying simultaneously to hold hands with one toddler, carrying the beach bag and keeping an eye on Miss 5 with her Elsa-terry-toweling-hoodie-come-beach-towel and hot pink Crocs as well as urging Master 7 to keep up with the boogie board without scalding his toes on the sand – well, that beach umbrella gets kinda unwieldy.

When the time comes to settle the kids into your patch of sand, hats on and you’ve rubbed them all down with sun screen – really, it’s quite like applying a liberal layer of fluid sand paper – the last thing in the world you feel like doing is getting tiny sandy hands to rub your back with sun block. Wouldn’t it be easier, and far more glamorous, if you could just stride with pride from the café, back to the car and onto the beach already wearing a rashie. And one that looks good?  If it’s tossed into the bottom of the beach bag, that won’t matter, either, because non-iron Lycra looks good whether scrunched up or squashed under the piles of afore-mentioned gear.   A boldly printed fashvest, either tee-style or zip front, is a very practical fashion statement.

No sandy fingers to rub sun screen on your back. No daggy-as black and baggy rashie to make you feel about as sexy as a seal lying on the sand.  It’s easy. Wear a fashvest with a sarong, shorts, skirt or loose pants and at least one member of the family – one who’s already had her work out just getting to the beach – is looking good and ready for action.  Head straight into the waves or beach pool with the kids without even needing to change!

When you’re all sitting back on the towels, eating crunchy dried-out sandwiches with limp lettuce and drinking luke warm water and sipping what’s left of your tepid latte, you’ll know that later on you can herd them home again, via the supermarket, looking amazing with beach hair and wearing a statement top. And only the kids will be covered in a crust of sun blocky sand.

Yep. There’s a mum sitting on the beach with her kids thinking, “there’s got to be an easier way to get here. What mums need is a stunning rashvest so that ticks both the sun protection and fashion box.” Gold. 

That mum – with five of her own, and who has a bit of experience in wrangling kids on the beach – is me. I sat on the sand one day and had an epiphany. A flash of insight, that all those mums could look hot, feel cool and be sun smart in one easy step. That’s the idea behind Solar Bare.