Wednesday, 5 April 2017

LOLL, the wearable poncho towel for grownups (review)

Have you ever had one of those day-to-day annoying situations that could have been avoided or maybe a pet peeve that leaves you thinking, why doesn't someone make a product to get around that problem? One of mine is something that I'm sure any parent - and, in particular, any mum - will recognise if they've ever been on a family holiday to sunny climes - that moment, at the end of a day spent splashing in the pool and lazing on the sunloungers, when you have to collect up an assortment of arm bands, books, water bottles, towels, inflatable toys, hats and goodness knows what else and struggle back to your hotel room while trying to keep your towel knotted over your swimming costume to spare your blushes. One year, when I was struggling back with a particularly large inflatable ride-on crocodile that someone had gifted us because it wouldn't fit in their suitcase when they went home, I glanced over at a couple of mums, one with the ends of her towel in her teeth and another who had, rather ingeniously, brought a clothes peg with her (presumably) for exactly that purpose, and we all just burst out laughing ! Well, this year, I will be moving from lol to LOLL with the life-saving (OK, maybe not, but definitely dignity-saving !) adult poncho towel from LOLL.

I love the story of how it was born. Creator Lara (LOLL stands for Lots Of Love Lara) roadtested her first designs in Australia, where she lives, after seeing kids wearing beach ponchos, but the germ of the idea came from much closer to home - a towel with arm and head holes rustled up by her granny to use on Worthing beach back in the 80's for getting changed discreetly. Not too far away along the coast in Hastings, I was still relying on my parents to make a mini changing tent with a couple of beach towels, which wasn't always easy on a windy day !

Lara has really thought about all the little things that could turn this from a good idea into a really useful product, starting with the size. She wanted a genuine one-size-fits-all (up to about size 22) that would suit every kind of body shape - tall or short, curvy or slim, male or female - without being too tight or looking like a tent and goodness knows how but she's managed it ! Proving that teenagers can effortlessly make anything, even a poncho towel, look cool is Sophie on the left, me on the right and below, even 12-year-old Juliette wanted to try it on. I said it would be way too big for her but amazingly, she can wear it too !

Other factors that have been taken into consideration are making them longer at the back to protect the backs of your legs from hot car seats, using a lightweight but absorbent Turkish towel material so they don't take up too much space in the suitcase, adding ultra-practical secret pockets on the inside for keeping keys, mobile phones, money or jewellery safe and zips down the sides so that you can open them right up and lay them flat as a towel. They are perfect for giving you a bit of privacy when you are getting changed (not just at the beach and holiday pool but also if you or your kids hate the communal changing rooms after swimming at the local pool) and eradicate the problem of how to go to the toilet in a one piece swimming costume that is soaking wet and sticking to your body ! Even around the house, they overcome the problem of night-time trips to the toilet if you wear a onesie and they are also great for throwing on straight from the shower when the the postman has just rung the doorbell !

They are available in various colours and designs but these are all limited edition and are frequently changed so if you see one you like, grab it while you can. LOLLs retail at US$40 plus postage, which is about $5 per shipment. They are shipped from Australia but mine didn't take longer than a week to arrive.

Lara is currently working on a new project and has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new Shark version for adults - why should the kids have all the fun ? These look great but there are only 10 days left to make it happen. (I've just checked and $50AU dollars is currently equal to about £30.)

Instagram - @LOLLbeach
Facebook - LOLLbeach

Disclosure : I received the product in order to write an honest review.

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