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Health and Beauty Articles

The Summer Holiday preparation guide

Before we go on our highly anticipated summer holiday, we harbour a few fantasies of what our blissful week in the sun will look like from afar – sun kissed skin, perfectly manicured hands and feet, flat stomach and no hairs in sight (apart from on our brows and head!). But the reality often sees you abandoning these beauty rituals in favour of a quick splash of polish (more on the skin than on the nail), a razor thrown into the toilet bag, and you ‘don’t need any tan because you’ll get one in the sun’ (Yes, we still always believe this despite our Scottish heritage!). The key is definitely time management, so I’ve drawn you up a little schedule that should see every pre-holiday stone uncovered – and one of the great things is that it lets you feel like you’re on holiday weeks before you’ve left! (We really do drag these holidays out for as long as possible...)

4 weeks before...

Zap the stretch marks: As if putting on a few pounds isn’t frustrating enough – we end up with purple looking worms on our bodies as punishment! If the blood supply is still in the stretch mark (if they haven’t turned white), they can be treated through regular exfoliation and product use. Matis’ Restructuring Stretch Marks Cream comes highly recommended but isn’t a cheap option at £45.

Although the most effective way to get rid of cellulite (‘orange peel’) is through a healthy diet, Chanel has produced a product to help this problem – Chanel’s Body Excellence Slim £79. I think I’ll just cut down on the crisps though...

2 weeks before...

Begin the de-bloat: It makes me shudder, and admittedly feel a bit sad, when I hear of people going to the gym on holiday and choosing the fruit instead of the naughty stuff at the buffet (I have not had this conversation with many people funnily enough...) I mean, come on! You’ve worked hard all year round, and you should be entitled to seconds, thirds, fourths and then pudding and cocktails followed by the stash of nibbles you’ve hidden in your room! But (oh there’s always a but) it’s a good idea to begin your trip feeling de-bloated; you will be more confident pool side and guilt free table side, as well as having more energy to enjoy your holiday fully!

Try to avoid eating large quantities of starchy foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and cakes. These foods tend to be harder to digest and can cause the intestine to expand. Also try to cut out alcohol completely pre-holiday – it will help your gut, as well as your skin, hurray!

Asides from our obvious good-for-gut foods (fruits, vegetables, wholegrains), some other ingredients to include in your diet could be: Probiotics such as Acidophilus and Bifido, peppermint, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, ginger, fennel and camomile – you’ll find a lot of these in herbal teas and herbal supplement drinks/capsules. Also try to drink as much water as possible as it’s a great way of flushing out toxins.

You could also try a ‘Shrinking Violet’ inch-loss wrap by therapist Angela Andrews of A & M therapies – a very effective treatment for de-bloating and losing a few stubborn inches!

1 week to go...

Start scrubbing! I usually recommend for people to do two exfoliations prior to going on holiday, especially if you are planning on getting a tan done before hand. Exfoliating rids the skin of dead skin cells and will assist you in having a better result from your tan, or a better result from your efforts on the sun lounger - or both! Recommended scrubs are: Body shop mango body scrub £12.50, St Ives apricot scrub jar £4 or Soap & Glory ‘the scrub of your life smoothing body buffer’ £6-£7.

3 days to go...

Transform your tootsies: Unless you plan on suffocating your feet, chances are your toes will be on show the majority of your holiday so this is an absolute must. Although I will be recommending Shellac for your hands, this is not necessary on the toes; if you paint your toe nails correctly they should last up to 4 weeks (yes, really!) First of all treat any dead skin using a pumice stone, or try something more thorough such as the Scholl micro pedi electric foot file. Apply a peppermint foot scrub to banish any impurities. Push back cuticles, and apply a thin layer of base coat. Once this has dried apply two thin layers of your chosen colour, followed by a high shine glossy top coat. Try to avoid putting shoes on for a couple of hours, just to be on the safe side. Remember to take the bottle with you for any polish that flakes off – better to be safe than sorry!

Two days before...

Bye bye hair: We usually saunter from week to week plucking hairs here and there, but without paying a whole lot of attention to the job in hand; this is the Western Isle after all, who is going to look that closely? But the second we are exposed in our swim-wear unwanted hairs are simply not an option! I’d recommend waxing, as it will last you the length of your holiday. For facial hairs, I’d recommend to try threading, as it lasts even longer than waxing, and the regrowth comes in finer.

Shellac time: There is no denying that painting your finger nails with normal nail varnish is a hopeless task – even if you make it past security at the airport, chances are they will be more than a little chipped by the time you sit down with your first Pina Colada! Two days before your trip, or even the day before your trip, book yourself into a shellac salon for a manicure – this polish paints on like a polish and sets like a gel – giving you beautiful talons for up to 2 weeks! You should be offered some solar oil to take away with you, without this oil your manicure won’t last as long, and your natural nails may suffer.

One day before...

Golden goddess: If you want your tan to be at its best, which is the first 3 days from your initial application, you want to get this done as close to your holiday as possible. Remember to scrub prior to your application, and cover dry areas such as hands, elbows, knees and feet with moisturiser. Also do not apply tan if you have deodorant on – green armpits really aren’t the look we’re aiming for! If you are like myself, and like a dark, golden colour, then look no further than Fake Bake Gold – this has to be one of my favourite cosmetics ever! (£28 per bottle); or if you want a more natural coverage then try Shiseido Brilliant Bronze tinted self tanning gel (£26).

Sit on the suitcase: Possibly the least fun part of going on holiday is the dreaded packing. And you really don’t want to be 30,000ft high and realise than you forgot something at home! You should not be leaving Stornoway airport without the following in your bag:

1. Banana boat aloe vera gel – your skins best friend after a day out in the sun!

2. P20 sun protection – This non-greasy and fragrance free protector is a fantastic product for offering sun protection all day (seriously!).

3. Body shop coconut body butter – this will keep your skin nice and supple to avoid the skin drying out, or even worse, peeling.

4. Estee Lauder double wear (have I ever done a column where I haven’t sung this product praises?) This will make your complexion more Marilyn Munro than The Melting Man!

5. Maxfactor 2000 calorie mascara (waterproof) – panda eyes (or no eyes at all without mascara) at the pool are a no-no, so keep this effective mascara close by!

6. Imodium – whatever you do, do not, I repeat do NOT forget the Imodium – new climates and exotic foods do not bode well for our delicate tummies!

Struggling to get that suitcase closed after all that? Just do what I do and shove the heavy items into your other half’s luggage, and try not to laugh when his case is heavier than yours at the airport – genius!

Happy holidays!

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