My life as a colour chart

Due to a slight communication breakdown what was supposed to be yesterday's post was delayed, hence TWO posts today, you lucky things!

If you were to ask me what I did over the summer break my honest but somewhat disappointing response would be "watched countless episodes of QI and de-jungle-ified the garden", the first of these activities accompanied by "eating several linear metres of chocolate".

As a happy consequence of one of these activities I have managed to achieve something else that I had previously had difficulty with - tonal evenness. That is to say, my legs are now more or less one seamless shade of mocha from spending so much time outside in the garden in shorts.

Usually my colouring is a bit patchy. I get really brown arms and legs (up to just above the knee) and then the colour abruptly stops where skirt hems and T-shirt sleeves start. A bit like an unevenly baked gingerbread person.

You'll note that I've added a nicely baked bit on my head. This is the part of my forehead that I've inherited from my father's side of the family. It starts out more or less vertical before angling itself, much in the manner of a solar panel, directly toward the sun, hence I tend to get a nice toasty brown stripe along my hairline.

In the interests of helping you picture what my variable skintone looks like, I had a look at the Resene website and decided that my legs are sort of in the range of Resene Pizza. This pleased me very much as it made my pins sound most delicious.

Then the Silver Fox got in on the act and discovered there was actually a Resene iPhone app he could use to take pictures of my skin and match them to a paint shade (I don't think they intended it for this purpose but surely that's just shortsightedness on their part - who wouldn't want a study the same shade as Barack Obama with accents of Gwyneth Paltrow?). This method, we decided, was a good deal more "scientific" and therefore hilarious. So it's with great pride that I can tell you that I have Porsche legs, Party Animal arms, a High Five forehead and a rather luxuriant sounding Cashmere tummy. Certainly my puku area is very soft and accommodating so this seems appropriate.

The best part about having evened out my tanned appendages is that finally, I've acquired the skill of realising when I'm approaching my limit in terms of time in the sun and the good sense to adjust accordingly. That is, I haven't been sunburnt at all so far this summer. It's good to know that at the ripe old age of 38 I've figured out that sunscreen is a must, shade is not an enemy, and a light cotton top with long sleeves can actually be a friend.

Because despite the brown genes in my DNA I still have a great capacity for burning and then emitting radiation like a heatlamp. Need I remind anyone of the Very Burny Shoulders In Singapore

My most unfortunate sunburn was one I received on a sunny afternoon in my friend Consuela's backyard. My shoulders were covered this time but sadly my decolletage was not, at least, not all of it, which resulted in a rather comical sunburn that looked a bit like this.

As you can see, the neckline of my open cardigan created a rather unappealing angular effect on my chest. For weeks I went around looking as though I had flesh lapels. With the pastel pink and triangles could I have written this off as an homage to Art Deco? Perhaps, but I hope you'll take this as a cautionary tale - sometimes completely innocent looking items of clothing can sucker-punch you.

Thankfully it appears that I have learnt my lesson and have started being sensible. It also doesn't hurt that I feel as though I've reached an age where I have the confidence to pull off wearing a really massive sunhat in public. I'm thinking Diana Rigg in Evil Under the Sun. Next stop - middle age... and turbans!

How patchy an individual are you and do you even out in the summer or do your changes in tone just become more defined? Have you been sunsmart this summer? What's the most ludicrous sunburn you've ever acquired?

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Check out Stuff's Golden Globes coverage on Monday when I will be live-blogging the red carpet and the awards ceremony with On the Box's Chris Philpott!