It’s known as the exotic country on Europe’s doorstep boasting luxurious retreats, elaborate architecture and breath-taking scenery.

Morocco is billed as a dream holiday destination and I’m off there in a couple of weeks – and the truth is I’m absolutely petrified!

African adventure

Next month I’ll be leaving the UK behind and flying to Morocco, where Misery Guts is taking part in the Marathon des Sables, a 150-mile foot race across the Sahara Desert.

Known as the toughest footrace on earth, it’s a massive undertaking for anyone, but especially so for Misery Guts as he’s type 1 diabetic. He’s only the second type 1 diabetic ever to attempt the challenge, and needless to say I’m nervous!

I can’t be there to cheer him on, owing to the small matter of the race being in the middle of the Sahara Desert and miles from anywhere, but I can be in the nearest town on the edge of the desert on standby ‘just in case’, and there to meet him at the end of what will be the culmination of the last three years’ of our lives – for him and for me.

The truth is I’ve had my head in the sand about the whole thing for months. Not only because Misery Guts could come home in a box (the runners have to take out special insurance to have their bodies retrieved from the desert if the worst happens, although no-one has died – yet) but because I’m increasingly risk-adverse since becoming a mum and the trip will take me right out of my comfort zone.

It’s the first time I’ve been outside Europe in more than a decade and the first time I’ve travelled outside of Europe alone, it’s the first time I’ve been abroad leaving all three kids at home and the first time in more than six years that I’ve been on holiday and haven’t been either pregnant or breastfeeding. Oh, and it’s the first – and hopefully last – time I’m going to be waiting on the edge of the Sahara Desert for a diabetic husband to emerge from the dunes after running across it!

I use the word holiday in the loosest sense of the word – although I’ll be on standby in a nice hotel with a pool the chances are I’ll return home with more grey hair than I had when I left – but either way it is an adventure. The flight is booked, I’ve shed a few pounds by eating like a French lady (a summer body is made in winter and all that) and it’s time to starting thinking about what I’m going to take with me.

So, when designer swimwear and beachwear company Simply Beach got in touch introducing me to their swimwear range, it seemed as good a place as any to start!

Prepping for an African adventure with Simply Beach

Having been either pregnant or breastfeeding it’s been years since I’ve had the chance to wear ‘normal’ swimwear, by which I mean beachwear that doesn’t need to hide a bump or have easy access to a boob.

That said, after three babies, I do need a bit of help in the tummy department, so I was pleased to see Simply Beach has a huge range of tummy control swimsuits including this Gottex skirted bandeau swimsuit (£108) that will hide a multitude of sins! You can filter by brand, size, cup size, price and colour too, so if you have something specific in mind there’s no need to trawl through lots of pages to find it.

African adventure

Even though I’m staying in a touristy hotel with lots of European holiday makers, being in Morocco I do need to be mindful of not showing too much flesh, which means shoulders covered where possible. This Watercult tie front play suit (£99) is just the job with a loose fit and ample shoulder coverage – and a gorgeous print too.

African adventure

A hat is a must in the African sun where even in spring the temperature can range from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and I love big floppy ones like this Seafolly wide brim fedora (£30).

African adventure

Travelling on my own I’m also mindful of keeping valuables with me at all times, and I love this foil print pouch bag by Ashiana (£31.50) which is both pretty and discreet.

African adventureLike shoulders, keeping toes covered when you’re out and about in public is also the done thing in Morocco. Watercult’s espadrilles (£23.70) look ideal for this and they come with contrasting trim in peppermint or coral too.

African adventure

A spot of virtual shopping has certainly taken my mind off what’s to come in the next few weeks. Are you going abroad this year and have you started shopping – virtual or otherwise – yet? I’d love to know where you’re off to!

I was gifted a Simply Beach voucher in exchange for this post. If you’d like to see what I chose keep your eye on my Instagram feed where I’ll share what I bought from Morocco! And if you’d like to know more about Misery Guts’s quest to run the Marathon des Sables he’s blogging about it at Diabetic Dad Runs.

If you liked this you may also enjoy reading:

Quick & easy ways to hide a mum tum

4 of the safest places to travel for a family holiday

10 things they don’t tell you about holidays with kids