Middle-Aged Slip Slop Slap

Skin care is of prime importance when you reach middle age, because every exposure to those scary UV rays has the ghastly potential to create another line on your face or a melanoma.

English: Peking Duck, being dried for 5 hours.
English: Peking Duck, being dried for 5 hours. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Gone are the days when us POMS would whizz off to some Mediterranean hotspot for our annual two weeks of holiday, slap oils with as much skin protection as olive oil all over our bodies, and then fry until we were a Peking Duck shade of brown.


Similar to the dangers of smoking cigarettes, eating red meat and drinking too much alcohol, in those days we were naïve to the inherent dangers of a tan, of course. For us a tan symbolized healthiness and fitness, rather than impending doom.


There’s nothing healthy about a tan.


But there’s also no greater feeling than lying in the sun for a few hours after a hard week spent in air conditioning, creating some vitamin D; an important commodity for the health of our bones at this time of our lives.


The old man and I are partial to our local outdoor pool for our place of sun worship, mainly because there’s no sand to contend with. It also has a wonderful terrace area, which due to its position at a distance from the pool, is child free and generally full of attractive twenty to thirty year olds, many of whom are obviously gay men who have a pleasing knack for looking after their bodies.


CHILD FREE…and the coffee’s not bad, either.


There is absolutely no better way to soothe a Sunday morning hangover than a perv at the local pool, where you can stock up on vitamin D and caffeine, swim twenty lengths and convince yourself that’s the exercise for the week done, all at the same time.


But with no shade on aforementioned CHILD FREE balcony, it’s not a place for the fair skinned, English Rose. Australia is a harsh habitat to live in for those deficient in melanin and it can turn even the most experienced British sunbather into a lobster within minutes, much to the delight of the local community.


Embed from Getty Images


The old man and I have been arguing over sun creams of late – and yes, our life really is that interesting. Rather like coffee, wine, knickers and men, it’s just so hard to find the perfect sunscreen. They are either too gloopy, as runny as milk, take ages to rub in (or don’t rub in all), or you need a second mortgage to pay for them.


Which is a first world problem, I know, but it can turn even sunbathing into a chore.


The old man has settled on one of these new-fangled sprays, but never one to give from his wallet lightly, he acquired his can at Aldi. I, on the other hand, although happy to use my Aldi purchases in the privacy of my own home, refuse to let everyone know the true state of our finances at our local pool. And I’ve also become a bit of an expert when it comes to sun screen (compromised as I am by skin as white as alabaster) and have road tested all the cheap brands over forty years of sunbathing.


So the only brand that works for me is Le Tan Coconut Spray, which as the name suggests,  conjures up wonderful memories of sun, sand, sex and Pina Coladas in the South of France in the good old days when I used to feign ignorance about sun damage and would douse myself as liberally in oil as Kim’s arse in THOSE recent photos.


Yesterday, I watched the old man spray his Aldi screen all over him like perfume, with what could only be described as a smug grin on his face, (which is his ‘I’m saving money’ face), aimed at me, as I lathered my body more carefully with my coconut spray.


(These petty little competitions keep our marriage alive, I hasten to add).


Later that day, during our well-deserved afternoon nap – a treat for all that hard work at the pool – I watched the angry lines of redness appear on his chest, like Masai tribal markings, where the spray had missed his body, and smiled smugly too.

Dysfunctional Family Holiday Alert

Did I mention that I’m slumming it on Hamilton Island for the next week?

Don’t feel bad for me – sometimes a girl just has to suck it up and do what a girl has to do, and I’m prepared.

Apparently it’s only going to be 25 degrees, though, and unfortunately the Australian mens Olympic swimming team are there, training, at the same time as us and HAVE to practise in our pool in budgie-smugglers

The old man is already spitting because I’ve blunted his razor with the sheer volume of hair I’ve removed from my body this last week.

The Princess is spitting because the minute she spotted the suitcases, it dawned on her that she will be spending the next week in the company of DOGS!

Meanwhile, I’ve painted my nails, made several last ditched attempts to lose a few kilos in the block’s tiny gym and drunk more wine than usual to get my tolerance up for the trials of the week ahead.

Did I mention that my father, who we are sharing our holiday with, puts me in the shade when it comes to familial alcoholism?

Kurt is coping reasonably well with the impending change and has only asked me twenty-eight times in the past hour what time we are leaving in the morning. His bag has been packed for two weeks.

The old man is depressed at the thought of spending a week in the company of his father-in-law, whom Kurt takes after in a spookily clone-like way.

There will be many stories to bring back to you, upon our return – of that I have no doubt.

NC is bidding farewell to NB tonight, unconcerned that she hasn’t packed, it is the night before we leave, the state of her bedroom gives the cockroaches no challenge whatsoever whilst we are away, and her mother is an anxious mess.

I have warned the muffin top to be on best behaviour in my tankini, I have told my liver to man the fuck up and I have told the kids that if they dare eat with their mouths open in front of their grandfather I will remove them from our will.

The Princess continues to eyeball me with a distinct look of betrayal in her big brown eyes.

Holidays bring out the best in dysfunctional families. I’ll keep you posted either here – if I can manage the stretch from cocktail to keyboard – or on my Facebook page.

Louisa x

Dear Facebook…About Those Perfect Family Holiday Photos

Dear Facebook,


Why do you insist on tormenting me?


While the rest of the world (it appears) is basking in the Mediterranean sun in the Northern Hemisphere, we freeze (our nuts off) in unseasonably cold weather down south, yet you force me to gaze on the exotic and ‘perfect’ holiday photos of people I once knew to be friends, on a daily basis.



Dear Facebook...About Those Perfect Family Holiday Photos
Jumping in Puddles by Nick Page at http://www.flickr.com


I am not an envious person and do not covet what others have, generally, yet I am also not a fucking saint. Which is why I am finding it increasingly hard on these chilly winter mornings to feel happy for my so-called friends while they rub suntan lotion into their sun-kissed bodies, languish on exotic beaches, frolic in the ocean, sup on cocktails and enjoy those pivotal family moments that only holidays in the sun can capture.


Frankly, I don’t want to see how much better my friends are ageing or look in a bikini and I certainly don’t need to be reminded about how successfully they’ve parented their children, before my first coffee of the day. Especially when my children would rather kill themselves than pose in a ‘happy family’ photo with us.  Does that make me a really shit parent? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?


Even worse are the photos of my old stomping ground in London, where so many of my Aussie friends have migrated for winter. There’s only so much I can take of them waxing lyrical about what a wonderful a city it is and their question as to why on earth I moved away in the first place.


I know that in reality, golden, tanned skin is more symptomatic of skin cancer than glowing health and that in the long term binge-gorging on food and alcohol is not the secret to happiness, but after two arduous months of wearing boots and lip balm, I am ready to risk it and chafe my skin, burn my toes in hot sand and add a few extra crows feet to my alabaster face for the sake of some precious vitamin D. I think I could forget all my troubles via a chilled Mojito or eight, served by a Greek Adonis, too.



There are only so many happy underwater family snorkelling shots I can stomach as I toil through exam time back here in the cold with a teenager who is hell-bent on failing life, self-destruction and taking me with him in the process. If I see one more photo of iridescent, tropical fish swimming in crystal clear waters, (presumably unaware that their fate will be sealed in the fishing net of some chirpy Ketut-type tour guide later that day, who feigns to like working for over-pampered tourists for the minimum wage, while his own family starve), or lavish beachside barbies full of grilled, iridescent fish, I will vomit into my flu remedy.


I know that I don’t HAVE TO torment myself mercilessly by subjecting myself to this daily torture, and that you have kindly given me the option to change my Facebook settings, but I am a weak and vulnerable person whose only latent talent in life seems to be the ability to live vicariously through my old friends. And you prey on that talent.




Bitter and Twisted, Sydney