Monday, April 23, 2012

Bikini Torture

Last weekend saw a momentous and slightly traumatic event: the first bikini outing of 2012. Surprising as this may sound for someone who lives in perpetual sunshine,  I haven’t actually worn a bikini in full public view since last November. I’ve had a few balcony outings but it’s been too cold (30 degrees) to fully disrobe and prance around a beach club. 

And boy oh boy had I forgotten how brutal it feels. Due to regular running, healthy eating and cutting back on the booze, I’m actually in better shape than I’ve been for a long time, and at my pre-Dubai weight. But there’s something incredibly cruel about stripping off and standing semi-naked in the bright sunshine when you’ve been under wraps for five months. Even worse when you have to walk the streets nonchalantly in your bikini to collect your paddleboard from a twelve year old with a body like Abbey Clancy. Sigh. 

There are a few things you can do to ease this pain: lashings of fake tan, a flattering bikini, good posture and a whole load of chutzpah.  Failing that, wine helps. Failing that, surround yourself with fat friends. 


See? Brutal. I’m off for a run.

Paddleboarding: The Britney of Arabia Guide

Not as easy as she makes it look...
After four years of living a camel’s whisker from the beach, last weekend I decided to actively get involved in some actual beach activity. Beach activity for me usually means collapsing onto a sun lounger and scouring the horizon for the nearest Evian sprayer, iced-lolly distributor and white wine spritzer (LOVE beach club!) so this goes against all my usual leanings. Nonetheless, we woke early on a Saturday morning and headed to the beach with enthusiasm and adventure whistling in our ears. 

The mission? Paddleboarding.  Jenifer Aniston, Nicole Scherzinger and Cameron Diaz all do it and they look FABULOUS. They also make it look extremely easy. Was it? Read on for the Britney of Arabia Paddleboarding Guide:

Check the Weather
It looked calm when we left the house but on arrival at the beach it was pretty windy and the water was very choppy.  I am sure this provided many comedy moments for people on the beach as we wrestled to get the boards into the water, but the waves actually crashing over me meant any real technique was lost.

Check What Else is Happening on The Beach
A huge jet-ski race you say? Right next to where we are paddleboarding? Incessant noise, diesel fumes and even choppier water? Brillsville.  The one positive to take from this was that the police boats patrolling the event a) gave me a feeling of safety b) provided conversation opportunities when I was drifting out to sea and feeling a bit lonely.

Consider a Practical Outfit
I realized I’d gone a little too far down the fashion route when others in the group started stripping off to reveal practical, surf-style vests and shorts. I’d actually selected my coral and gold bikini thinking it was practical (halter-neck, cute short style) but it soon revealed its short-comings when I was wrestling myself onto the board on all fours.   Moving onto….

The Board is Heavy. And Big.
I know I can be prone to exaggeration, but paddleboards are HUGE! We’re talking twice the height of me. And heavy! Thank the lord JT was on hand to drag the thing back out of the water when I was finished. (I’d abandoned it halfway down the beach like a dead body.)

Know Your Limits
It’s safe to say the entire group threw themselves into paddleboarding with gusto, but a combination of wind, choppy water and rogue jet-skis meant that spirits quickly dampened. Quite literally – it’s tiresome  to fall over every two minutes and even more tiresome to spend the next ten minutes desperately trying to get back onto the board in manner of half-stunned salmon.

Once I’d realized that standing and kneeling was challenging, I sat down, in manner of kayak. OH the relief. I actually quite enjoyed this part and got a bit of control over the board (by this I mean I only decapitated three children in 5 minutes as oppose to the twenty I was averaging before).  The rest of the group followed suit and eventually we discovered an even better solution: get off the board completely and have a little chat and a swim. Treat!

So there you go. Paddleboarding: fun, great exercise, I will most definitely be doing it again. But you really need calm water.  Oh, and, try to go without a hangover. Choppy water, incessant rocking, need I say more. Bleurgh.