My Bikini Body Guide

I’m going to talk today about another societal construct that infuriates me no end.

The Bikini Body Guide

There are so many GET YOUR BODY BEACH READY and IT’S HOLIDAY TIME, CAN YOU STILL FIT INTO YOUR BIKINI? memes and magazine articles circulating just now. Just like every other year as the weather (supposedly) starts to brighten and the air gets a little less nippy.

If you know me at all, you’ll know my feelings on these. I can’t stand them.

They force this idea onto society that bikini wearers can only be busty, flat stomached, round hipped, long legged women with perfectly smooth legs, a dazzling smile and not a bead of sweat in sight.

It’s all lies.

Equally, though, I sometimes find the whole “To get a bikini body, put a bikini on” rebuttal a little too simplistic. For some of us, who are perhaps more prone to a lack in body confidence or have never before bared their belly outside the bedroom or bathroom, it is not as easy as slipping into a two piece and running towards the sea Baywatch style, desperately hoping you don’t accidentally flash your tatas to the world.

IMO, there are a couple of steps between deciding to buy a bikini and doing a PamAn along the golden sands. Here’s my 4-step bikini body how to guide for all of you planning your holibobs this summer.

Bigging up your body

The first step to buying a bikini is actually finding the love you have for your body. This may come naturally to you; you may be incredibly comfortable with how you look.

Or you may struggle with that horrible, terrible, oh-so-convincing voice that pipes up every time you start to find your confidence that tells you flat out that you can’t or shouldn’t wear a bikini.

So, to begin your bikini body journey, you need to stand in front of your mirror. You can strip down to your skivvies if you like, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. But you have to look yourself in the eye and find your beauty. Look at the parts of you that make you go “Heck yeah I look good”. Appreciate them. Hug them. Tell yourself you love them.

Then go to the bits you maybe wish weren’t on show when you wore a bikini. Give them a long, hard look. Accept them for how they are. Maybe you’re in the process of changing them, maybe you’re not. Understand that this is the stage they’re at now. And they’re beautiful.

You have likely lived with those parts of you your whole life. They’ve grown with you. Propped you up on exam tables. Been a cushion for someone to rest their head on you. Moved you across a dance floor or acted as a table for your plate when you’re eating dinner in bed. Maybe it’s the source of your obnoxiously loud or mouse-like sneezes. Perhaps they jiggle when you laugh or run.

They’re unique.

And brilliant.

They’re the building blocks that create you – the things that help make the glorious human that you are.

Buying a bikini

This is potentially harder than just rocking up in Primark and picking a pretty pattern. There are shapes, sizes and the whole separates issue to battle through first. I own a pair of breasts. They are quite nice breasts. They tend to fit into a size 14 t-shirt without much complaint.However Primark’s t-shirt sizes for boobs don’t work well for me.

And even if my boobs did fit the size 14 top, there’s no way my butt is squeezing into the same sized bottoms that come in the matching set. It may be £12, but the savings enjoyed by my bank account will soon pale in comparison to the loss in my confidence as I hope that somehow my butt will not burst straight back out those bottoms.

There are lots of different places to buy bikinis from. Shop around, find the style that suits you and make no compromises. You’re going on holiday, you want to feel good. Don’t try and force yourself to wear something you’re not comfortable in.

Hitting the beach

Accept that, if you’re a little short on the body confidence front, you won’t be the only one. When you walk onto that beach or to that poolside, remind yourself that while you’re so busy worrying about how other people see you, many others will be thinking the same. Then there will be those too busy enjoying their holiday to notice who’s wearing a bikini and who’s in a turtleneck.

So much of what those magazines peddle at us is nonsense – but the biggest lie of all is that the general public’s opinion of your looks matter in any way. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When you truly find yourself believing that the only opinion of any value is yours, you’ll start wearing your bikini for you and not the rest of the world.

Self Appreciation Time

Take a selfie. Give yourself a wee hug. Or another mojito. Eat a whole watermelon or have a burger and dessert.Whether you share your love for your body with the world, or just yourself, is up to you. (Personally I’d appreciate you all filling my Instagram feed with your bikini bods, but that’s just me.)

Just make sure to take some time to really appreciate the fact that you look good, you feel good and (if you’re like me and rarely go for practical holiday beachwear) you’re going to come home with some interesting tan lines.

The whole point of this 4 step guide to a bikini body is to highlight the hypocrisies of those magazines that promise to get you “beach ready” in 4 weeks. The fact of the matter is that if you have booked your holiday you’re beach ready.

The trick is to find the love for yourself to wear a bikini that those magazines may try and convince you that you’re not allowed to wear them. They are made in all sizes for a reason.

Wear that bikini proudly and loudly.

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New Year – New Approach

Happy 2017!


It’s been a bustling start to the year for me, work came round pretty quickly and there was no easing back into the routine. We hit the ground running with a live stream to prepare for and a huge research-and-write project to get stuck back into.

With life being pretty hectic, I hadn’t really had the chance to put much thought into my New Year’s Resolutions.

In the lead up to Hogmanay, I had thrown the usual remarks

“I’m going to get skinny”

“I’m going to stop eating so much”

“I’m going to exercise more”

But as expected, January 1st rolled round and I didn’t touch a single vegetable. Quelle surprise.


A few days later, I had a really interesting conversation with my flatmate. She told me she doesn’t believe in New Years Resolutions because they’re damaging. At first I didn’t understand, but for some people – myself included – it makes perfect sense.

New Year New Me is a slogan cashed in on by many a brand. It’s everywhere in the run up to Christmas. People lamenting how much food they ate on Christmas Day, but it’s okay because they’ll start being healthy again in the New Year.

This is a problem for 2 reasons.

Firstly, it can breed illness. This sounds a tad dramatic but for lots of people the build up and quasi-determination and nothing-but-lettuce diets and extreme exercise regimes are unsustainable. This is an exaggeration, for sure, but you get the idea. This punishing and super strict mindset ends in disappointment and – more often than not – a negative self-image. I know I’m guilty of it. For some, this will result in illness, poor mental health and often poor physical health too.

The second problem is the now societally-accepted ‘festive overindulgence’. There are articles all over the news just now about sugar being the most readily available drug on the market, but as we draw closer to December 25th, we throw all good intentions about healthy eating out the window in favour of Chocolate Oranges, Christmas cocktails and fancy nibbles.


This “I’ll be good in the New Year” mentality makes excessive overindulgence not only acceptable, but expected. This is almost worse than the gung-ho diet and exercise overhaul people put themselves through afterwards, because their minds and bodies have gotten used to the sugars, fats, alcohol and unnecessary treats they’ve allowed themselves. This makes falling off the bandwagon so much easier.


These are both things I have been guilty of in the past. The very recent past. But it gave me a lot to think about. I still wanted to be healthier, but maybe I didn’t have to buy into the whole overhaul-your-life philosophy? While it fits some people and they see real, sustainable results from their new resolution efforts, it obviously hadn’t been working for me, so why not take a new approach?

My flatmate gives herself goals without a specific deadline. They are achievable processes that won’t mean she goes into the following year having ‘failed’, because instead of completely changing something, she focusses on improving or learning more. So I decided to do the same.

I have decided to focus on kindness (thanks to a wonderful colleague for giving me the idea).


I want to be kinder to myself, especially with the nonsense my brain has been putting me through recently. I will actively give myself more time and patience to work through things, and focus on relieving stress in productive, fun ways.

To keep up the self-kindness, I’m going to carry on doing things that make me happy. One thing I am absolutely determined to do is to pour more attention and energy into my blog. I enjoy it, similar to journalling, and it’s a good way to force myself into new situations so I have things to write about. (As a side note, watch this space for some teenage-angst-born creative writing that I’ll be sharing with you next week. Trust me when I say they make me cringe.) I do struggle sometimes to think of things to write about, but I’ll be getting my planning cap on over the weekend to map out some potential convo topics. I say convo, but it’s really just a one-sided ramble…


Crafting is another thing I want to get better at. Hobbies are a soothing, productive passtime and provide the downtime I need to maintain a healthy work/play balance. The repetitive, but brain-engaging nature of my chosen activities will be kind to my mental wellbeing (although at times, perhaps not my sanity…). So far I have knitting, calligraphy and photography to be getting one with. There is definitely huge room for improvement on all creative fronts and I’m determined to take up my passions again and fill my evenings with little rays of sunshine in crafty forms.


Finally, I have a goal with a deadline. I want to, after 6 months, be able to say that I’ve sustained a manageable exercise routine. Kindness to my body is as important and works in tandem with my kindness to my mind. I sounded so sage and wise there…I think.

I have signed up for a 2-hour Tuesday yoga class and am hoping to drop into a dance class every Wednesday. For someone as unfit and asthmatic as me, that’s enough to get me started. Plenty of achievement and progression to be seen from those activities if all goes well, so sticking at them when the going gets tough is the first hurdle!


So, there you have it. My first post of 2017. Kindness through happy thoughts, crafting, exercise and a hell of a lot more writing appear to be on the horizon for me. I hope you have big dreams and high expectations for the year ahead – no matter what form of resolution, goal setting or planning you subscribe to!

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Weight Off My Mind

I am 5’6". I have mid-length, dark brown hair. An average nose. Eyes that aren’t any one colour.

The dimples that grace my cheeks when I smile are so pronounced people can’t help but tell me I have them (which has never made much sense to me, but I’ve always enjoyed how much joy they give other people).

When I was a teenager, an elderly woman stopped me in the street to tell me I had lovely long legs I should be proud of (which also confused me because I didn’t plan for them to be that length, it just kind of happened.) Nevertheless it put a spring in my step and I thanked her for the compliment.

The day I realised I’d outgrown my B-cup bra was an exultant day, indeed.

My boyfriend is the first to tell me I have a great butt and he peppers conversations with compliments, truly boosting my ego massively.

Grandparents are also great at compliments: mine are no exception.

I adore the body positivity movement. The idea that society now praises lumps, bumps, size, shape and colour really fills my heart with pride. I get so much satisfaction seeing others happy in their own skin.

But I am currently not happy in mine.

I love my shape. It is soft and feminine and it silhouettes beautifully. But I, like so many others, have major hang ups.

My belly upsets me the most. It sets my shape off balance and makes dressing very difficult at times from the belly button down.

Food is not my friend in this instance. Partly because food is my best friend. I am a stress eater. A comfort eater. A binge eater. A “let’s celebrate with cake” eater. Food has always been there for me, whatever the occasion. This has, over time, and with little exercise to combat the intake, resulted in a part of me that causes many shed tears and the foulest moods.

I champion people all over the world who are embracing their bodies. I admire and envy those who can accept that their bodies are not perfect by society’s unattainable standards, but love theirs anyway. The people who work hard to get their bodies the way they want – they impress me greatly.

I just am not there yet.

I am not comfortable in my bodycon dresses now. I cry if my jeans are too tight. I feel gross when I sit on my bed and feel my stomach rolls. Shopping for trousers and skirts fills me with dread. When my stomach touches my thigh I immediately put clothes on to build a barrier.

The biggest problem, though, is my lack of urgency to change anything. Therein lies the ugliest, most frustrating contradiction of all. I am unhappy with how I look, but I am doing next to nothing to change it.

I dance once a week, practice yoga halfheartedly every so often and maybe walk for 2 hours a week if I’m lucky. I did cut back on unhealthy foods, only to binge and undo what little work I had managed.

It’s a constant tug-of-war between satisfying my perfectionist tendencies and fear of not achieving my potential in every aspect of the life (the struggle is real) and my apathy to my situation.

I am overweight. I am unhealthy. I am unhappy. Those things need to change.

Body positivity and self acceptance are hugely important. Self love and care create such a healthy mindset and breed positivity and happiness elsewhere. It makes sense.

I started writing this post having just stood on the scales and measuring at my heaviest weight yet. I initially was trying to find myself a path to follow that would lead to accepting myself, but I’m now realising that I won’t accept until I start committing to making a positive change.

While my weight is the issue, I know it’s my lifestyle that needs to change. It’s a hard change to make for someone who thrives on habitual living, but some habits really need breaking. I guess I’ll just have to ensure I make more of a conscious effort and watch this space for improvement.

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