When an email popped into my inbox from boohoo just a couple of weeks before heading off on my summer holiday to Greece asking me to take part in their Body Confident Swimwear campaign, I jumped at the chance. In truth, this campaign couldn’t have come at a better time. boohoo are passionate about spreading the word that there isn’t one ‘perfect’ body type and that every girl is gorgeous in her own way…and that summer definitely isn’t reserved for supermodels! They want to encourage girls to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin & share their body confidence stories.
The last time I enjoyed the feel of warm sand between my toes and the heat of the sun shining down on me as I sipped cocktails from the pool bar as I read one of many Kindle ebooks on the comfort on my sun lounger was 4 years ago, precisely one year before I began blogging “seriously” which was in turn the point in my life where I became a lot more confident in my body, especially when it came to being in front of complete strangers in nothing more than was essentially my underwear.
I remember the first time I stepped onto a beach as an adult at 21 years old being hellish. Sometimes I think back to then, a much younger me (with less fine lines and much better at dealing with holiday hangovers) wrapped in a cover up glancing nervously round at the people nearby and making any excuse that I could not to take those tentative steps down across the sand and into the water for the fear of what other people would think of me.
Would they be looking at my cellulite or the jiggly bits of my bottom underneath my swimming costume or the way that my boobs looked with just soft built in support and no scaffolding?
I was so self conscious of removing my cover up that I wore it into the sea so that I didn’t have to uncover my non conventional “beach body” that I felt wasn’t as ready as the slim and toned bodies which are represented in the media as being just that: “beach body ready”.
Wearing a tummy control swimsuit with a swim skirt to hide the tops of my thighs (which didn’t have a thigh gap then and never will in this lifetime), the idea of me wearing a two piece bikini would be unfathomable. Ridiculous. In fricking sane.
Instead of gingerly wading into the sea in a cover up because I was too damn worried about what my body looked like than living that moment right there I spent my holiday mixing an array of two pieces (when I say an array I mean too many, FYI) including this high waisted black crochet number* from boohoo Plus with criss cross strap detailing to the back. I even wore the top with some high waisted printed joggers from Evans Clothing with a lightweight denim shirt and sandals for a dressed down evening look.
Fast forward 7 years, add a lot of self love, surrounding myself with body positive, beautiful women of all shapes and sizes who love their bodies and being exposed to images of not just celebrities who embody the above but normal every day women, I found myself not packing a single ruddy swimming costume. Instead I wanted to flash my tum in the sun in the sun, because let’s be honest, if someone is spending their holiday judging you on how much your thighs jiggle or if your tummy is controlled, they’re quite obviously not taking full advantage of fruity flavoured cocktails, mid day snacks and soaking up some rays. Am I right? & the truth is that more often than not is that those people that you think are eyeing up your cellulite probably aren’t even looking at you and if they are, perhaps they’re wondering where you got your bikini? When you’re second guessing yourself it’s so easy to feel like others are too. You’ll that self confidence, whether you’re in a bikini at the pool or at the local shop in your less than desirable Sunday clothes, confidence comes down to not giving a shit and realising that how you feel is much more important than the opinions of others and I felt like a beach babe.
* denotes a gifted item