Getting Marianna to put suncream on is a constant battle. She doesn't like the feel of anything on her hands and arms - unless it's contraband felt tip pen, of course - and goes into ructions if you try to put it on her face. That, combined with the fact she's about to start school and will need to apply some herself on sunny days, lead me to look for a solution.
Luckily I didn't have to look too far because Solar Buddies are based right here in Cwmbran. In Pontnewydd, even, which is our electoral ward. Created by Kelli Aspland and Laura Griffin in response to the rise in school 'no touch' policies leaving children's skincare in their own hands, Solar Buddies launched in 2015 and have since won a string of awards.
There are a few different purchase options on the website - with a single buddie from £8.99, replacement heads from £4.99, and various brands of suncream. Eventually I went for the Starter Pack (two buddies and two replacement heads for £17.99). You can get them printed with your child's name for an extra £1, so I chose to have one personalised for Marianna to take to school, while the other was destined for use at home.
If you live in Cwmbran you can go and pick your order up from their offices on Chapel Street, or shipping is £1.99. Google found me a 10% discount code so I was lazy and had it delivered!
Naturally, once they arrived the Welsh weather treated us to gloomy skies and plenty of rain, so I took them with us to test out on holiday. Marianna was really excited to decorate her buddy with the free sticker sheet, and everyone was taken with the bright and chunky design.
The only difficulty we had was getting the suncream moving. I had EAD Kids on hand and it's quite thick, so after I filled up the buddy and screwed the head on it wasn't so much a tap as a full on shaking it up and down to get anything happening. When I'm out of EAD I think I'll go for a cream with a runnier consistency so I can be sure Marianna is actually putting enough protection on.
Once it was working however I was super impressed with it! The rollerball applicator is incredibly easy to use, and the sponge around it means the cream is applied evenly and doesn't need to be rubbed in. It was such a nice change not to have greasy hands all the time.
I was also pleased to find that the lid is easy enough to remove for Marianna - but not so easy that it came off in my bag. Usually I end up having to carry a plastic ziplock bag around to ensure my stuff doesn't get covered in suncream.
Solar Buddies shouldn't be left in direct sunlight, but I still wish they had a clip attachment on top to make them easier to carry and less likely to get lost. Ours was forever buried at the bottom of my handbag. If it could be stuck to a lanyard you could wear it when you needed to, and yank it from the depths when it's been relegated to the carryall.
Marianna's only gripe was that it didn't come in more colour options. Because any item can only be improved by coming in a sparkly unicorn option...
Check them out for yourself at the Solar Buddies website! :)
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