09 August 2018
Remember that time you came back from the beach, and found sand in your pocket, underwear, hair, between your toes, all over your kids, inside your phone, under the sofa a year later…
Or remember after you went for a dip in the sea, the wind had draped your towel over a sleeping stranger? Awkward.
OR! (grrr) when the cheese in your sandwiches sweated, and your water supply almost boiled?
Did you know, these aren’t things you need to put up with?
Okay, true. They’re first world problems. And a miniscule price to pay for a fun day at the beach. But – they happen – and with some easy life hacks they can unhappen.
1. Put Your Mobile Phone in a Sarnie Bag
Now it doesn’t matter if you have wet hands, sandy hands or sticky hands – you can prod at your phone without care. And, yep – the touch screen (should) still work. But hey, don’t you go to the beach to get away from technology for a second?
2. Buy Some Towel Anchors
You could push some tent pegs through your towel, but that might ruin it. Who knew someone had solved this very niche issue. With these you’ll never have to go questing for your towel again.
3. Put Folding Money in a Film Case
Remember those plastic film cases? They’re still a thing and make ideal storage for a few notes. It doesn’t matter if the case gets wet and you can even bore holes in it: a film case money necklace. Admittedly it’s not a shark tooth or some far-out beads – but being sensible is totally cool.
4. A Nappy Safe – What?!
So, you have your folding money stuffed into a film case – but what about the rest of your valuables? Keys, debit cards – how do you keep them safe?
You put them in the last place someone would look during a bout of casual thievery.
Clearly, this is in a (clean!) nappy. It’s not out of place on a family beach, and no one in their right mind would rifle one. This concept is odd, but ingenious.
5. Talcum Powder Sand Removal
Wet sand sticks to human skin like drying beans to a pan. Short of finding a shower there’s little you can do to completely remove it. Or is there? Talcum powder is superb. It absorbs the moisture, and you can brush the sand off – try it.
6. Turn Your Car’s Steering Wheel
Nobody enjoys slipping from under the hot afternoon sun into what feels like the core of a nuclear reactor. Hot, followed by hot hot. HOT.
Scorching cars are unavoidable, beyond cracking the windows. Although, you can stop the top of your steering wheel being like a rod of hellfire by turning it when you park.
7. Soothing Aloe Ice Cubes
You’ll have to remind yourself not to put these in a cheeky beach bevvie. Unless you like the taste of succulents.
Aloe Vera is great for scrapes, cuts and – in frozen form – a sunburn soothing wonder. Simply squeeze and freeze aloe gel in an ice cube tray. It's readily available from all good gel retailers (supermarkets).
8. Freeze Water Bottles Not Ice Packs
If you want cold water you’re not going to tap into an ice pack. By freezing water bottles, your picnic will stay chilled, and it won’t seem like you’ve filled your bottles at a volcanic spring.
9. Freeze Juice Pouches or Adult Lemonade
Frozen H2O has its place, but if you fancy something more interesting to keep you cool –
Adult lemonade sounds a bit suspect, sorry. Let’s try again - lemonade with a measure of your favourite tipple mixed in. Freezing this in a sandwich bag works.
For kids, freezing those name brand “orange drink pouches”, is brill. You know, they rhyme with “lapsifun”.
10. Tinfoil Anti-bug Lids
What’s yucky is the absent-minded consumption of a little beach hopper, or some grubby thing that’s been lurking in the sand. Much like humans, bugs love sugary drinks – who can blame them?
Rather than let them perish in pursuit of their “sweet dreams” and allow them near your mouth – cover your cups with a pierceable tinfoil lid. Sorted.
11. The Super-duper Towel Pillow
This hack requires a little more effort than the others.
We never bother to take a pillow to the beach. At best we’ll rest our head on a jumper, or someone else’s leg. Nothing says beach like a cricked neck.
To avoid this – place some stuffing material at one end of your beach towel, with room to spare. Then fold it and sew it up. Welcome to the towel pillow life. You won’t look back.
Woah, hold on. The photo stays... but first time round we didn't see the calculator.
12. Paddling Pool Hangout
On busy family beaches, kids as lovely as they are, have a way of spreading themselves and their toys over what seems like every spare inch of sand. A feat that deserves a slow clap.
Forget spiny fish or barnacled rocks – stepping on a chunky plastic toy can be eye-watering.
Older ones will not be interested in staying put, but toddlers can sit in a blow-up paddling pool and play. An ideal portion of personal space for them.
13. Fitted Sheet Playpen
Like the above, but an emergency measure if you can’t find a paddling pool. Simply flip a fitted sheet upside down and weigh down the corners. You now have a rectangular playpen that’ll keep sand out and kid’s toys in.
14. Mini Toddler Pool
You can hold the hand of little ones as they splash in the sea – but you can’t let go. To give them a mini ocean of their own, dig a hole in the sand, line it with a clear shower curtain and fill it up.
Not only will this water become lovely and warm, but you don’t have to clutch at them and can go back to normal supervision.
15. Plaster of Paris Hand Casts
Pouring plaster into a handprint in mud or dirt isn’t quite as easy, fun and clean as sand.
Creating moulds of your kid’s hands and filling them with plaster of Paris is a brilliant way to entertain them – if only for a little while.
And, just think – they’ll be excited to have a cast of one of their body parts. This type of thing only becomes uncomfortable when you grow up.
16. Mesh Sand Sifter
You’ve seen those mesh laundry baskets, right? The fabric ones? They’re normally used to store fresh air and dust.
Anyway – we’ve found a new use for them!
Once you’ve used talcum powder to clear skin of any surplus sand, it’s time to address that pile of toys. When it comes to uninvited sand in the house, they’re a big offender.
If you drop them into a mesh laundry basket it’ll act as a sieve – a smart idea if ever there was one.
17. Sun Cream Top Up Record
When do you put more sun cream on? It’s hard to remember to reapply it amongst the joyous mess of a family beach day. Not the kids, you remember them – they whiz about looking like they’ve been dipped in yogurt.
What about yourself? We forget don’t we? The first we know of it is when we look in the mirror later - and find a tomato staring back.
Bring a permanent marker to the beach and scribble on your sun cream bottle the times you apply and must reapply. It’ll help you remember.
Put These Hacks to Work at Hunstanton Beach in North Norfolk
Photo - Hunstanton
There’s no use for them without a beach.
Hunstanton or ‘Sunny Hunny’ is one of the best beaches in North Norfolk, and a family favourite – you’ll love it. It's diverse: there’s pure sand, shingle, rock pools, fossils, pretty striped cliffs…and because it’s the only west facing holiday town in East Anglia, it gets more sun than the others.
Our nationally popular leisure resort, Searles, is walking distance from Hunstanton beach, and for decades we’ve been giving families a Great British Holiday to remember.
If you’ve not booked a summer holiday yet, here’s your chance. Let the fun times roll.