Summer Sizzlers

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With the sun shining (some of the time) and kids and adults alike thinking of their next day off, we've rounded up the hottest summer and outdoors offers. Scorching deals include £1 BBQs, £1 sun cream and free outdoor activities.

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Sun cream

  • Summer is coming and you should be wearing sun cream in the UK, not just on your holiday abroad. Staying safe needn’t cost the earth though, if you’re willing to ditch the brands you know, you could save with sun cream for £1. It sounds too good to be true, yet we've found a number of products available for £1 rather than the usual £6-£12. We've contacted skincare experts to find out how safe the lotions are.

    Are they safe?

    We've been in touch with the British Skin Foundation (BSF) charity and the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) trade body. Both say people shouldn't be put off by low prices, as long as they check packaging for:

    • The UVA rating. This tells you how much protection the product is giving you from harmful long-wave ultra-violet UVA rays. Some bottles have a star rating (the BSF recommends four or more stars) - while others don't, they should at least contain a circle with the letters UVA inside, as this indicates the minimum level of UVA protection. See images below for the logos you should be looking for.

    • The SPF number. This stands for sun protection factor. The higher the number, the greater the level of protection against harmful medium-wave ultra-violet UVB rays. The label should also tell you whether the product provides "low", "medium", "high" or "very high" protection against UVB. See the CTPA's section on sun protection for more info.

    The BSF says: "When choosing a sunscreen look for a high protection SPF (SPF 30 or more) to protect against UVB, and the UVA circle logo and/or 4 or 5 UVA stars to protect against UVA."

    You might be a bit sceptical about sun cream for £1, we always are too, but we’re trusting that these big companies such as Savers (owned by Superdrug) have done their own independent checks to ensure these sun creams are fully tested and are legit.

    Important -  As with any product, if you have sensitive skin it’s important to do a patch test before using any new skin care or hair care product and sun cream is no exception.

    How long will it last? 

    The period after opening (PAO) number should also be included on the bottle. This will be displayed as an "open jar" symbol with a number inside indicating how many months the product will be safe for after opening, providing it is stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight (see example below). 

    Don't automatically chuck old sun creams away

    Most of the cheap sun creams we found are good to use for at least 12 months from the date of opening, so don't throw away your excess sun cream after your holiday, check the PAO as it's likely you can use it again on your next trip.

    £1 sun creams

    We checked the big pound store chains and scoured the high street. The products we found may not be the same as the ones you find and are subject to stock, so make sure you do the checks above. It's also worth noting these bottles are slightly smaller (40ml-120ml) than some of the better-known brands (norm 200ml). They may not be brands that you recognise, but all have the UVA rating symbol to indicate they meet at least the minimum level of UVA protection.

    Poundland (find your nearest)

    It stocks a range from a brand called Anovia Tropical Sun, which should be available in its 400+ stores for £1. We found:

    • Tropical Sun lotion for kids SPF 30, 65ml (next cheapest £4.95 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

    • Tropical Sun lotion SPF 30, 65ml (next cheapest we found, £5.99 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

    Savers (find your nearest)

    It stocks a range from a brand called EAD sunscreen, which should be available in its 230+ stores at £1. We found:

    • EAD Sunscreen SPF 30, 120ml (next cheapest we found, £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)
    • EAD Sunscreen SPF 45, 120ml (next cheapest we found, £3.49 delivered via a third party Amazon seller)

    A 200ml EAD sunscreen SPF 50 is also available, but that's £1.99.

    Own-brand sun cream for less than £5

    At MSE we're always trying to get you to think about downshifting, so we've had a look for the cheapest own-branded sun creams on offer, all under a fiver:

    • Aldi Lacura sun spray SPF50+, 200ml - £1.99 in store at Aldi. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Lidl Cien sun lotion SPF 30, 250ml - £3.49 in store at Lidl.
    • Boots Soltan kids SPF 30, 200ml - £4 at Boots*. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Superdrug Solait SPF 30, 200ml - £4.49 in the buy one get one half price offer at Superdrug*. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Asda Protect SPF 30, 200ml - £2.39 at Asda*. Five-star UVA rated.
    • Wilko Suncare SPF 50, 200ml - £3.50 at Wilko*. Five-star UVA rated.

    Other low-cost branded sun creams

    For those who just can't ditch a brand they know and trust, we've also compiled a list of the cheapest we've found some of the most popular products. When they are cheap, we found quite often prices elsewhere are only a few pence more.

    It's worth remembering that sprays and special formulations (eg, clear/coloured/sensitive) usually cost more, so check to see if your chosen cream could be cheaper in a different bottle.

    • Garnier Ambre Solaire kids moisturising spray SPF 50, 200ml - £4  at Asda* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Sainsbury's).
    • Garnier Ambre Solaire ultra-hydrating sun cream SPF 30, 200ml - £4 at Asda* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Tesco and Sainsbury's).
    • Nivea Sun moisturising sun protect & moisture SPF 30, 200ml - £4 at Asda* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Tesco and Sainsbury's).
    • Piz Buin allergy sun-sensitive skin spray SPF 30, 200ml - £4.99 at B&M Bargains (next cheapest we found, £8 at Superdrug, Boots, Sainsbury's and Asda).
    • Nivea Sun moisturising sun lotion SPF 50, 200ml - £4 at Asda* (next cheapest we found, £5 at Tesco and Sainsbury's).

    Buy before you fly - watch out for hand luggage restrictions

    Research from the Post Office suggests sun cream is generally cheaper in the UK than abroad, so it's best to buy before your holiday - especially with the weaker pound this year. Don't forget though, if you're flying, you can only carry a maximum of 100ml in your hand luggage, unless you buy in shops after you've gone through check-in. You may find items will be taken off you if transferring flights, so be sure to check before flying if you're unsure.

BBQ deals

We don't currently have any deals.

Electric fans

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Outdoor activities

  • If you go online to free physical activity provider Parkrun you can sign up to take part in completely free weekly timed 5K runs at selected parks (find your nearest) across the country, usually at 9am on Saturday mornings.

    You don’t need to be Mo Farah to participate, Parkrun welcomes all abilities. You don't even have to run, you can walk if you prefer and kids and dogs are also welcome. Once you’re registered you’ll be allocated a barcode which you’ll need to print out and bring with you to the park as this will be scanned to give you an accurate 5K time.

    What is Parkrun?

    Parkrun has been running (pardon the pun) since Oct 2004 with funding from sponsors. It currently has more than two million registered runners and volunteers and operates free weekly runs in 850+ parks worldwide. 

    Junior Parkrun for 4-14-yr-olds

    Junior Parkrun is similar, and often at the same locations as the regular Parkrun (which children are also welcome to run), but is 2K long instead of 5K and held at 9am on Sundays instead of Saturdays. Children aged between four and 14 years old can participate.

    How do I get a 'free' T-shirt?

    On your 50th official timed run (as an adult), you can claim a 'free' Club 50 T-shirt (you'll pay £3.95 postage, see full T&Cs).

    If you're aged 17 and under, you can claim a 'free' Club 10 T-shirt after your 10th official timed run.

    If you don't want to run or prefer to volunteer, you can get a 'free' volunteer's T-shirt after volunteering on 25 separate occasions. 

  • If you go online to free fitness initiative ParkLives, you can sign up for completely free exercise classes for adults and children held in more than 130 outdoor locations across Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Newham in London and Nottingham (find your nearest park).

    If you live in London or Bedfordshire, see Our Parks free fitness classes.

    There are 69 different classes to choose from, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, bootcamp, family rounders & baby ballet (see ‘more info’ for all classes included). Classes like this would normally cost £5-£10ish, but it's worth bearing in mind that all ParkLives sessions are outdoors - so if you fancy taking part, during the summer is your best bet.

    What is ParkLives?

    ParkLives is a partnership programme funded by local authorities and Coca-Cola Great Britain, that runs 260 hour-long fitness classes per week in playing fields and some other venues across England & Scotland. It currently has about 10,000 users and has funding to run until 2020.  

    How to book

    • Join ParkLives by filling in a few details on its website, including your email address, postcode and local council (you can leave the boxes at the bottom of the page unticked if you don't want to be sent marketing from your local council or Coca-Cola).
    • Browse available classes in the list of upcoming sessions.
    • Reserve a place by selecting 'save me a spot'. Classes can be booked up to two months in advance and you can book as many as you like. ParkLives told us that some classes have started to build a regular following, so it'd be worth checking the website in advance if you've got a particular session in mind.

    Under-13s must be signed up and accompanied by a parent. All session leaders are qualified professionals employed by the council, so should be DBS checked.

    • Classes included:

      Active push
      Adult come and try tennis 
      Baby ballet 
      Baby loves disco
      Basketball
      Beginners netball
      Bootcamp
      Bowls
      Buggy bootcamp
      Buggy safari
      Canoeing 
      Circuits
      Conservation and down to earth
      Couch to 5km 
      Cricket
      Cycling 
      Den building 
      Dog walking 
      Donkey grooming 
      Exercise to music
      Family circuits
      Family frisbee golf
      Family fun fishing 
      Family fun fitness
      Family fun golf
      Family games
      Family rounders 
      Family tennis
      Family Zumba
      Fitness
      Fitness bingo
      Flexibility & wellness (over-16s)
      Football
      Gentle bootcamp (over-50s)
      Green fit baby
      Green flag walk
      Kids & teenage giant twister
      Kids & teenage sports day
      Led walking group
      Lickey explorers
      Mousercise
      Muddy hands
      Multisport
      Nordic walking
      Park rangers 
      Park rugby 
      Parkfit
      Pilates
      Play in the park
      Power walking
      Reggae aerobics
      Roaming rangers
      Rounders
      Rowing 
      Rugby
      Rugby fitcamp
      Running 
      Sailing 
      Skateboarding 
      Summer games
      Tai Chi
      Tennis
      Ultimate frisbee
      Walk to run 
      Walking football
      Women & girls' Zumba
      Women only bootcamp
      Yoga
      Zumba

  • If you go online to free fitness initiative Our Parks, you can sign up for completely free exercise classes for adults and children held in more than 50 locations across London and Bedfordshire (see ‘more info’ the full list of boroughs).

    There are 28 different classes to choose from, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, bootcamp, dance, tots tennis and kids' fitness (see ‘more info’ for all classes included). It provides free group exercise classes mostly in parks, but also in community centres and libraries during winter.

    Classes like this would normally cost £5-£10ish, but it's worth noting that some of the calmer classes in particular, would normally be indoors.

    What is Our Parks?

    Our Parks has been running since March 2014 with funding from local councils. It currently has more than 20,000 users and offers around 160 hour-long classes per week. 

    How to book

    • Join Our Parks by completing a short registration form online (you'll need to give a contact email address and fill out a health questionnaire).
    • Subscribe to one or more boroughs near you.
    • Browse and book classes. Classes can be booked online up to two weeks in advance and you can book as many as you like. 
    • Sign in with your instructor at the start of each class.

    Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. Our Parks says all trainers are fully qualified and all coaches who work with children or vulnerable adults are DBS checked. 

     

    • Classes included:
      Abs, bums & thighs 
      Baby yoga
      Bootcamp
      Boxfit
      Boxing yoga
      Buggy exercise
      Cardio tennis 
      Dance fit
      Elite fitness 
      Flow yoga
      Hula hoop fitness
      Kids fitness
      Olympic fitness
      Our circuit
      Our circuit with box fit
      Parkour
      Pilates
      Run fit
      Skip fit
      Soccercise
      Social basketball
      Social football
      Social volley
      Social netball
      Social rugby
      Tots tennis
      Yoga 
      Zumba

      Boroughs and other locations included:

      Waltham Forest
      Hackney
      Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
      Tower Hamlets
      East Village
      Haringey
      Brent
      Harrow
      Hammersmith & Fulham
      Hounslow
      Hillingdon
      Central Bedfordshire
      Baking & Dagenham
      Camden
      Kingston-upon-Thames
      Southwark
      Lambeth
      Richmond-upon-Thames
      City of Westminster
      Peterborough
      Redbridge
      Cannock Chase
      Croydon
      University of Roehampton
      University of Warwick
      Newham
      Waverley
      Bexley