Now this is a bikini I would love to wear…

One of my hopes, once I’ve overhauled my mind and body, is to wear a bikini.

At the moment, my swimwear choices are either a ruched navy one-piece or a bright pink tankini with embroidery. Those choices probably sum me up, wanting secretly to wear the bright colours more often, but sticking to the safe options, acting my age not my shoe size.

When I was a teenager I remember buying a pink leopard print little bikini….those were the days…and then wearing it with a sarong, not wanting to take that final step and throw caution and (my pre-children non-wobbly) bits to the wind.

There was an article in the Daily Mail recently, Jilly Johnston was modelling bikinis for the “mature figure” and, one stood out for me:

These are Jilly’s opinions and words:

VINTAGE
Haiti bikini, £79 for the set, samanthasage.com
My heart sank when I saw this. First of all it’s white – a horribly unforgiving colour that highlights every lump and bump.
Second, the bottoms are so huge even Bridget Jones would have turned her nose up at them.
But as soon as I tried it on I was won over.
Like most women of my age, I am self-conscious about my stomach and love handles, but these pants neatly tucked it all away.
The little belt is a lovely detail and it defines the waist, too.
The top comes with extra padding that can be removed, gives good support and is thick enough not to go see-through in the water.
I can imagine wearing this on holiday with a big, floppy hat and huge sunglasses. Very St Tropez!
Rating: 5/5

Best for: Holding it all in

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I decided to take a look at the website. Jilly starts off so negatively and purely based on her first impressions. I wondered what other colours the Haiti bikini came in.

I wasn’t disappointed, so many different colour ways:

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I particularly like the pink option and the butterflies print, here’s a link to the page. Admittedly the Haiti is an investment piece at £89.00 but it looks flattering and above all comfortable.

Something for me to aim for for next summer!

Disclaimer: I was given permission to feature the Haiti on my blog. I have not received a payment nor a sample. My views are my own.

It wasn’t meant to be …

Copied over from the autism site, apologies if you’re reading this twice:

A month ago I was practically burbling over with excitement:

D was a day away from celebrating her birthday, a very exciting time for her as she’d never really recognised birthdays up until the last couple of years.

And I was shortlisted in the Brilliance in Blogging awards, something which I felt very humbled about. I don’t go by stats and traffic and blog for the enjoyment and awareness-raising. The spam and nasty comments are a downside but there’s a delete button for a reason.

Two days later, everything changed.

I wasn’t a finalist in the awards. I felt bitterly disappointed but felt I’d let everyone down who may have voted, who may read my blog, I felt I’d let down my children. T, in particular, was very proud of me and wondered what a trophy would look like, he decided it would be fingers tapping on a phone screen – bless him!

I have to admit that I cried and felt a bit sorry for myself, that I wasn’t doing it “right”, that I wasn’t in the blogging cliche that seems to exist. I felt like the chubby girl chosen last in PE, except I wasn’t chosen.

I felt sad that I wouldn’t be attending the ceremony, I hadn’t been organised enough to get a ticket to BritMums Live and it was too late.

Lovely Kate, who writes for BritMums ran a competition to give away a ticket and I decided to enter, fingers crossing.

Another day later and my world as I know it, turned upside down, back to front and inside out.

Suddenly the ceremony didn’t matter anymore, the thought that I wouldn’t be going paled into insignificance.

My mum, who’d been showing the symptoms for years, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and neither radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an operation were an option. The consultants were not prepared to perform a high-risk operation.

Focuses change when news like this reaches your family, they have to.

I definitely won’t be going anywhere far away from a hospital in the next few days.

Last week, in a dramatic u-turn, they agreed to operate on my mum, she (assuming there is a bed) has the very high-risk operation tomorrow.

There are very mixed feelings going around my head, this operation will either prolong her life or end it suddenly tomorrow, there are no guarantees with anything.

I could be doing the school run later and be hit by a bus – I sincerely hope not! – but in this situation, everyone that needs to know is aware of tomorrow. She’s spoken to and told who she wants to tell, she’s seen who she wants to see.

It will be a case of waiting and hoping.

Obviously had I been a finalist in the Brilliance in Blogging awards, I would have had a decision to make as to whether I attended – it would have been a no-brainer, I wouldn’t have.

So I’m grateful that the decision was made for me, both by the BritMums judges and Kate, her ticket went to a very deserving mummy blogger.

Next year though, I’ll be there with bells on! I just need to get through the next few days/weeks/months first.

Fingers tightly crossed.

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Royal Bump watch and beyond…

Has there ever been a bump watched as enthusiastically as Kate’s?

Every clothing choice has been scrutinised and the nation (scrub that, the world!) waits for news of the boy or girl destined for that metaphorical silver spoon and much, much more.

Kate has dressed impeccably throughout her pregnancy, it can’t have been easy making decisions, knowing that every hemline will be debated, the “at this stage, she should be…” and it’s easy to forget that she will be a first time mother, with all the usual pregnancy worries but the rest of us do it without the world’s attention.

When you think of Kate’s non-maternity fashion, what do you think of?

For me it’s form-fitting dresses, very body-con, generally neutral colours and very classical, very elegant.

She is synonymous with Reiss and with that in mind, I’ve been taking at look at Reiss at John Lewis website to try and second-guess Kate’s off-duty post-pregnancy wardrobe, focussing on practicality, comfort and style. I doubt there’ll be much jimmie-jammie wear, although she’s perfectly entitled to. Can you imagine the visitor list for the baby after all?

Here’s what I came up with:

These black leggings would be perfect for those first few weeks after the birth, they look very stylish and comfortable too, a tapered fit with lace panelling:

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I loved this top, admittedly it’s not the most practical if the baby will be breast-fed and that sounds like TMI, but the frill neck and ruffles looked very stylish, very Kate:

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And to complete the look, a pair of espadrilles and this hat, perfect for providing sun cover whilst sitting in a Royal garden, the baby snoozing nearby:

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I couldn’t end the post without highlighting one of Reiss’ body-con dresses, an absolutely gorgeous colour and perfect for when Kate returns to duties but, in the meantime, I wish her the very best in the next few weeks as she tries to relax whilst the world watches and waits.

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Disclaimer: Images brought to you by Reiss, words and options are my own.

Having a girlie time with our new shoes

It’s always a challenge finding shoes that are affordable, practical and in stock! There’s nothing worse than coming back empty-handed from a specific shopping trip, especially with special needs children.

So, D and I were very pleased to have the opportunity to review a pair of shoes each from Shoe Zone.

I must admit, I hadn’t heard of Shoe Zone before but their stats are impressive:
“currently trades from over 550 stores throughout the UK and Ireland. Selling over 25 million pairs of shoes per annum, equivalent to 50 pairs every minute!”

Of course, there is the online site too, which we eagerly went on to.

There was a lot of choice, D – despite just turning 9 – is an adult size 3 and I’m a size 8 and we found plenty to choose from in shoes, sandals, boots and trainers, all well as bags.

Here’s what we chose:

D went for this:

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A Lilley Women’s Black Suede Effect Ballerina Pump at £9.99, reduced from £12.99. She was very attracted to the gem stone effect all around them and drew a picture in anticipation:

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I went for these:

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A pair of Adesso Women’s Flexible Multi Coloured Woven Shoe at £29.99.

We ordered online and they were delivered within two days via courier.

So, what did we think?

The service from selection to checkout to delivery couldn’t have been easier. Although we weren’t in when they were delivered, the package was left in a very secure place with a card put through the door.

Here’s D in her shoes, they’ve been tested on the trampoline, in the garden and she’s worn them to school today.

She thinks they’re “great” and says they are comfortable.

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My shoes are fantastic, I love the woven effect and because it’s all elastic weave they are very comfortable, the rubber soles providing a light weight alternative to my usual summer wear when it’s been raining too.

There is the option of wearing them as clogs but I prefer the heel effect. They do come in a more orange/red effect as well as sandals and I’ll definitely be getting some. Ideal for beach wear too.

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A thumbs-up from D and I, thanks to Shoe Zone.

Disclaimer: we were sent two pairs of shoes of our choice for the purpose of this review, our views and words are our own.

Fat Family Tree #WobblesWednesday

Even though it’s Thursday, I’m linking this in with the Wobbles Wednesday support group, founded by Kate at the nakedmum.co.uk as I found the programme very interesting.

Here’s the 4 on demand link to the programme.

I took some notes whilst I was watching, once a PA, always a PA and they’re below:

The programme focused on a mother and her two daughters, all overweight, with a family history of excessive weight. The grandchildren of the family were heading that way too unfortunately and bullying had already started.

The adult females had all gained weight from teens onwards and were concerned as they’d tried diets without success and there was a history of weight-related illnesses and deaths in the close family. The mother/grandmother had recently been told she was on the verge of diabetes, almost certainly weight-related.

The purpose of the programme was to look at the women’s genes and create a science-based diet that would (hopefully) reduce their weight and a lifestyle change that could both be adhered to and reduce the risk of weight-related illness.

The scientists were predominantly testing for “fat” genes which:

* affect how signals are sent to brain to say when full,
* genes that affect where you store fat, * genes that test how much pleasure you get from eating,
* genes that encourage over eating.

The test results agreed that the women had the “fat” genes and, as such, there was a high likelihood that the grandchildren did too.

The idea of the scientific diet was to reduce the amount of fat consumed and refined carbs which don’t create feeling of fullness.

The diet rules were:

1. Look out for hidden fat ie 3 tablespoons worth in granula cereal

2. Walking helps cut the amount of fat levels in the blood by up to 38%, take more steps!

3. If you must snack, go for fermenting carbs

Choose foods that will keep you fuller for longer.

Choose the right type of carbs, unrefined carbs ie porridge.

Refined carbs leave stomach quicker so you feel hungry quicker. Examples of refined carbs are white bread, white pasta, cake and crisps.
Change to: Fermenting carbs (gas producing!) as they keep you fuller for longer!

4. Drinks don’t trigger the fullness signals that food does, food stretches your stomach.

Eat your fruit rather than drink it.

So additionally: cut out the liquid calories because they do not fill you up.

The women all followed the diet for 4 months, all reported a weight loss and the mother/grandmother’s diabetes risk had gone.

I found the programme very interesting and the benefits and results for the women were very visible.

The Rules detailed above are certainly easy to follow and I know most people will think “aah, common sense” but the fact it was a scientific experiment made it interesting viewing.

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