Sunburn, an unfortunate side effect of beautiful summer weather, and I have a long and storied past. Last summer, as I sat there covered in aloe (thank you Nationals baseball for this particular set of burn lines), I figured I would pass on how my super Irish skin and I handle sunburns.
Hydrate or die: my solution to most things is to drink some water. After a full day in the sun, your body needs refreshment. And when my skin is in need of nourishment, my insides will appreciate hydration as well.
Lather up early and frequently: the second I think I might have a burn, I cover myself in lotion. I’ve had burn lines show up a day or two later so I do not trust my skin to give me timely warning on a sunburn. I step in the door, shower off any grime and cover myself in lotion or aloe or whatever is available. And I reapply constantly – when I wake up, on lunch, as soon as I’m home again, and once or twice more before bed.
Mix it up: everyone’s skin is different and I find that my skin loves lotion but isn’t too keen on aloe long term. I also vary my lotions because sporadically one will burn or will not do the trick or I’ll hate the smell, but then the next time around it might be the perfect blend. It’s always an adventure to find the perfect combo for my skin. (Pro tip: stick your aloe in the fridge. It’ll feel even better)
Loose fitting clothes: based on past mistakes, avoiding tight fighting clothes is key to surviving a burn. This is the perfect time to ditch bra straps and leggings and opt for flowing dresses and linen shirts. Keep the air flowing and the clothes away from the skin.
Lastly, pack sunscreen next time. I’ve built the habit of wearing a moisturizer with sunscreen everyday but carrying sunscreen in your purse or car makes it a thousand times easier to remember to apply. And then reapply throughout the day. Bring a hat or an umbrella and stay in the shade.

A Day in Brighton


Every year, my family gathers around the television and we sit down to watch “The Snowman“. It’s a wordless animated film about a little boy who builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. The snowman comes to life and flies with the little boy over the English countryside (and the Brighton pier) to visit Santa Claus. It’s an adorable film with a song that breaks my heart every time I hear it.

So I am bringing up a Christmas tradition in June for a reason: I finally went to Brighton.

Thanks to Pinterest and the interwebs, I preplanned my day. Going alone, I was a bit worried that I would get bored or “waste my day”. I was also worried about weather: British clouds have been keeping me from soaking up the sun.

I got so lucky.

The weather was gorgeous, there was no line at the Royal Pavilion when I arrived in the morning, and by the time I was growing tired people were out and about to entertain me for hours.34398677_10214383142146270_427980601849544704_n

I had pre-bought tickets to the Royal Pavilion, which was a worthwhile two-hour wander while I waited for the sun to come out. I only got overrun by a school trip of middle schoolers twice. (I’d recommend either getting the audio tour or listening to music as the sound of everyone else’s audio guide is annoying.) You can’t take pictures inside, but good golly I wanted to. The wallpapers, the ridiculous chandeliers, and the tiny details!

I ate a nice slice of chocolate cake and had a soda in their café, before making my way down to the waterfront.34259059_10214383142386276_4044758762081222656_n

Brighton is known for its beachfront: a pebble beach, lined with cafés and shops and bars and a nice paved path. I ended up walking the beach twice, sitting down on the beach or on a bench for a while and soaking up the sun. The beach filled throughout the day, but as it’s still early in the season, it wasn’t too horrible. Plus, everyone brought out their pups!

After getting pooped on by a seagull, I stopped at the Bandstand Cafe for lunch. A nice burger and a beer filled me while I watched folks wander by and listened to the sound of the ocean. (Later as I walked by, someone got married on the bandstand, so that’s exciting!)

My walk along the water tended to stop once I had hit the Hove beach huts, a series of little colorful sheds all lined up in a row facing the water. The bright colors brought out the sun and some colorful characters.34398065_10214383142706284_3154201193085927424_n

From the huts to the Brighton Pier was about a 45-minute meander along the boardwalk. You can walk on the Pier without paying and wander through the attractions and stalls. Families were out in masses with sticky children and drunk adults. I am fairly certain that every hen party in the U.K. was in Brighton this weekend (same as when every hen party in Scotland was in Edinburgh when I visited two years ago).

I also took a wander through the shops to find ChoccyWoccyDooDah, the most absurd chocolate shop on the planet. After grabbing a chocolate milkshake and a water, I wandered the boardwalk from Pier to huts once more, settling in for a bit, here and there, to burn in the sun.

34393596_10214383142866288_6724776100896964608_nMy initial plan was to stay until sunset, but my exhaustion kept me from sticking it out. (The sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. now; it’s officially summer!) I made my way back up the hill to the train station and set off for London, only snoozing on the train once on my two-ish hour journey!