Sunday, May 20, 2018

Swimwear, self confidence and smog brain

The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Lookbook Italy Praiano Positano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast
Pretty much everything I'm wearing in the post is Figleaves but it's all linked in the below text!

Ok, so, today's post has two parts and please bear with me on the first part - I hadn't planned it and it just came tumbling out as I was typing (picture something very similar to thisso it might be a little convoluted in parts.

So, bodies. I definitely haven't always had a funny relationship with my body, I don't really remember being particularly aware of my figure or shape until the age of around 19 or 20. Throughout uni I lived on a diet of Irn Bru, Dominos, tuna pasta and not much else (no ragrets) and was quite... soft by the time I got to my third year. But I don't really remember ever feeling bad about my weight or the way I looked until a while after I graduated. There's so much focus every day on women's bodies and what they should look like - there always has been - but, for me, Instagram in particular played a huge part in how I viewed myself. My eyes were suddenly opened to a world full of beautiful, slender gazelles (not actual gazelles, although you can find them as well on a different hashtag) and, despite being about two foot taller than me and a completely different body shape, I convinced myself I wouldn't be happy with my body until it looked like that. I know, I know. It looks so silly written down but such is the way the mind words. My self worth became linked incredibly closely with my weight and my head was often so all-compassed with negative thoughts that I'd notice myself acting like a different person if I had a particularly bad day. I'd become quiet and withdrawn and felt like I had nothing to offer. I indulged in some crazy-lady behaviour, including - wait for it - crying in the middle of the gym because of how I looked (at this point I weighed 46kg), crying in the middle of taking blog photos when I saw them back because of how bad I thought I looked (my tear ducts have had a really hard run over the past few years, yes), ruining evenings out for myself because I didn't feel nice, and shying away from being spotted in the nudey (quite the passion killer, believe it or not). People could tell me I was kind, considerate, loving, friendly, funny (it's mainly my Mum that tells me I'm funny but it still counts) but as soon as I felt a bit self-conscious about the way I looked none of it mattered. I instantly became this person who was completely unworthy. Now, I'd like to point out that I'm not saying in any part of this post that I was or am an unhealthy weight and I don't want it to come across as  'woe is me' or that I'm digging for compliments, I just want to show how poisonous and warped your brain despite your shape or size.
The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast
Ok, so where am I going with this and why on earth did I choose this post to talk about it. I'm getting there, I promise. So, between the end of last year and the beginning of this year I had a few things going on personally that knocked me a bit and, when I get knocked, I comfort eat. Simples. I gained a bit of weight and although I'm not talking huge amounts, maybe around half a stone, to me it was huge. Normally where I'd fall down the slipperly negative slope, I instead took a long hard look at myself and realised, well, I was an arse. It's hardly an Aristotle-level realisation, I know, but I've wasted so much of my adult life worrying about something as trivial as weight and it had to stop. My poor body has seen me through 26 years of life being healthy and strong and all I've done to repay it is mentally beat it up. I started exercising with the view that I wanted to get strong and fit, not because I wanted to lose weight, and tried really hard to stop the bad smog from creeping into my head again. You know Hexxus in Ferngully? It's like he's wrapping himself round my brain. Anyway, I've uploaded a couple of bikini photos this year since gaining that little bit of weight (again I'd like to point out here that I'm aware I still have what is deemed a slimmer figure, just that I was a little softer to what I was last year, really) and had lots of lots of people saying they were happy to see a curvy figure on their feed, which of course is lovely. However, I did have a good handful of comments that were along the lines of people congratulating me or telling me I'm 'brave' or 'inspiring' for having the courage to post bikini photos with 'my kind of shape' which made me feel sad about how many people are sitting with the mindset that just because someone doesn't have that stereo typical supermodel-esque figure they should be deemed brave for uploading a bikini picture. If I'd used my bikini top as a lasso to escape from a burning building, that would be brave, but we need to move away from the whole 'bikini ready' concept where you should look a certain way to be uploading a photo of yourself in swimwear.

5D3_8250 The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Lookbook Italy Praiano Positano The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast So this post is two pronged-really. A promise to myself to keep working on having a better mindset and for us, as women, to celebrate ourselves as we are, no matter what our shape or size. I understand that some women out there already have a really healthy, lovely mindset where there is no link at all between their appearance and their self-worth who might be thinking, 'what kind of balderdash is she speaking' but I also know that far too many of us are caught up in the same thought process as me. Our bodies are miraculous things; they hold us up, they let us walk, they let us write, they let us jump and skip, they let us dance, they let us grow and nurture an actual real life human being in them and yet we're incredibly unkind to them if they dare get a bit wobbly, if they're too slim, if they've given us small boobs, big feet, bad eyelashes, thin hair and so on and so forth. Our appearance isn't in any way related to our worth or who we are as people so why are we all so hard on ourselves? I'm not saying don't take care in your appearance, but just don't let it affect your view of yourself as a person. Instead of berating yourself for letting your stomach initiate rotund mode think, 'I make an excellent - eggcelent? - omelette', 'I'm always there for people if they need me', 'I have fantastic timekeeping' or 'my shower singing sounds just like Adele at the Brits' and shove that bad thought to the back of your brain. And if you're having a day where that's particularly difficult just try to remember and rest easy in the knowledge that your that your head has the capacity to exaggerate and make things seem much worse than they are. Take it from the arsehole who cried at the gym.

The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast 'Ok Amy, yes, thank you for that, but tell us where your bikini's from'. I know, I got waylaid and I will return now to what I'd originally written. So today's post comes to you from the Amalfi Coast and - hence my previous essay - features swimwear, lingerie and nightwear because the nicer weather has finally (finally) decided to grace us with its presence. Swimwear shopping is always a wee bit of a pain in the butt so I've started doing most of mine online where I can try them on in the comfort of my own home with nice non-fluorescent lighting. I'm very sure you all know of Figleaves but, just in case you don't, they're a website that stock a whole variety of brands (from Maison Lejaby to Seafolly to UGG) and have all your lingerie, swimwear and sleepwear needs covered. So today I'm going to show you my Figleaves x Amalfi wardrobe! 
The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast
I used to be strictly a bikini-only gal but I've been getting quite into my swimsuits as well recently,  which I think might be something to do with getting older but let's not focus on that. I packed two black swimsuits this time; this one and this one. They're both incredibly flattering, they hold you in and give you support without looking like those mad heavy duty swimsuits from the 50s and each have little details to them that make them stand out. I did, of course, take some bikinis with me as well. The first is this yellow bikini which is so much girlier than what I'd normally go for but I love it! It's high waisted, which I often find myself drifting towards, and has a very cute retro vibe to it. My bottoms are a little big as it was a sample one but you should be fine with your normal size if you go for it! I also brought these lovely striped retro bottoms with me too (which come with a matching top as well FYI!). As well as the lovely brands I've mentioned, Figleaves do also have their own swimwear line as well with some beautiful (and well priced!) pieces which you can find here.

The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast

Now that we've covered swimwear we have - dun dun dun - lingerie. I love a good bit of lingerie so I do; nothing beats your old, well worn and deeply comfortable pants, but there's something about a beautiful lingerie set that makes me feel very good about myself. Like I've got my shit together. Like I understand taxes and mortgages (I don't). The first set I wore is from Bluebella and is so utterly beautiful and delicate that it makes my heart hurt to look at it. It's got a real pin-up girl vibe to it, whilst the lace keeps it nice and soft. The second piece is a black lace body (which also comes in white and pink) and I loved it so much that I decided to style it two ways; the first just on it's own as lingerie and the second for an evening look. I LOVE a body worn as a top, I think there's something really chic and - dare I say - sexy about it. I paired it with some big wide-leg trousers and a hat as I was in Italian Coast mode but I think at home it would look beautiful in black skinny jeans with a leather jacket and a red lip. And a chignon bun. Oh yes. 

Loungewear. My favourite word. These pyjamas are one of the best things that I've ever owned; it was the colour I was drawn to at first and then they arrived and turned out to be the softest most easy to wear set in the land. They're the ideal pyjamas for prancing around in during the summer months too as they're so light and airy. I also picked this charcoal grey Calvin Klein bralet and matching pants set which is SO comfortable, a little bit different to your usual black or white sets, and is especially enjoyable to wear whilst travelling.
The Little Magpie Figleaves Swimwear Diary Positano Praiano Amalfi Coast

And there we have it! I really hope that it helps you on your own swimwear searching path and gets you excited for the warmer weather. And, in regards to the first part of my post, I really hope that it helped in some way or got you thinking (even if all you're thinking is 'I can't believe she cried in the middle of the gym').


All photos by the incredible Kirsty McLachlan | Post in collaboration with Figleaves


leyleypie said...

Very well said Amy!! I can very much relate to everything you said! You look amazing as always!

Eloise Evans said...

This is the best blog post I’ve ever read! You have vocalised all my internal thoughts that I haven’t been able to string together in a coherent sentence! I think you’re beautiful sistaaaaa. Thank you for the blog, for being so open and honest but also for providing some clarity to others. I myself love my body some days and other days it’s my enemy ... couldn’t agree more with your sentence on how your mind can exaggerate things .... so true!!! Thank you again ��

Holly M said...

I feel like you have just perfectly put into words something I have always had going round in my brain!! I think you look incredible, Amy. I'd love to get into the gym to feel stronger too. I know I'm not overweight and could probably be considered slim, but 'soft' is the perfect way to describe it. I don't want to lose weight, but I want to feel stronger within myself too. Amazing blog post!

Holly / The Writing Finch

The Gold Lipstick said...

This place is really cool and I love all your outfits!

Mireia from TGL

Microscopic Magpie said...

You're practically perfect in every way! (and you always make us laugh 😆) ❤xx

Emma Rollason said...

I love how honest you are in this post!! We are so caught up in how we look, without realising we're all beautiful exactly as we are. I, myself am working on being happy in my body and I only hope I can one day learn to embrace and be as comfortable in my body as you have become in yours. Your photo's are absolutely beautiful and your outfits look amazing on you.

Emma x

Emma Mejlstrup said...

Oh, wow. This post just makes me wanna drop everything and go on vacation x


Ashley Gruendl said...

LOVE everything about this post! The body positivity and the amazing suits are just incredible!


Olga Ortega Cain said...

Thank you so much for thia post <3

7SEVENDAYS said...

The striped top as a pareo is sooooooo cool...the right pop of colour

Lara said...

Such an important message you are sharing here! Also, I know it's not what you wrote this for, but you are incredibly beautiful and hot AND funny, you always crack me up even when dealing with such serious matters as this one! You're the best and so sweet too! xx P.S. those bikinis look *fire emoji*

Courtney Hardy said...

I love all of your tips!! The swimsuits look so cute, and the photos are gorgeous. It looks amazing there.

Clara Rachel said...

Howdy Amy,

Since this blog post talks about body confidence, I take this as an opportunity to tell you how bloody gorgeous you are, in swimwear or not.
I've hopped on your instagram feed a little while ago and have since been wowed by your outfits and photos in general as well as amused by your cheeky smile and appearances in other bloggers' posts or videos #meganellaby

Yup I know you didn't write this post to be complimented so I will also add that I find it clever to remind your readers that we should be grateful to what our body let us achieve strength and health-wise. Totally agree with working out for getting stronger and not to look like the supposedly perfect body!


Megan Ellaby said...

A truly beautiful post Amy! The photography is absolutely outrageous, you and Kirsty totally nailed it!
And as per the body confidence part, you my love have a body I would kill for but alas you're insanely beautiful on the outside but you're SO ridiculously beautiful on the inside and your mamma is SO right... You're flipping hilarious!
Beautifully written and styled as always my wee amigo!
I love you to pieces! x

The Style Rawr said...

Oh Amy! This is such a relatable post - when I was younger I didn't even think about my weight, I'd always been slim even though I ate badly. Over the past two years I've probably gained about 2 stone which has definitely messed with me, on one hand I want to embrace my size and be grateful for a functioning, relatively healthy body but on the other hand I just want to be a skinny bitch. Thanks Instagram. It's so easy to fall out of a gym routine but I feel amazing when I'm keeping fit and eating well! Good for you for realising what you needed to do to start feeling confident again. Personally I think you always look beautiful, you're hella witty and always smiling - they say beauty comes from within and that somehow comes through your snaps!

I hope there's a big shift and as women we focus more on what's really important, especially for the younger generation. I have a lot of respect for Jameela Jamil about this topic! I recommend checking out her feed if you haven't seen it.

Oh and as for the swimwear, these snaps are ridiculous! So editorial! I love your lookbook style posts. Gotta love Figleaves and their ever expanding collection!

T x

P. S THAT action shot!

Kamlesh Jain said...

Gorgeous pictures, the swimsuits are very nice and you wear their very good.
Beautiful outfits.

Sally Barton said...

I haven’t commented on blog posts for years. But As someone who literally had the same meltdown yesterday over looking like the typical toned slim girl on instagram - crying into a sharing pack of sensations - I really needed this post!
Thank you for sharing ❤️ You really do look amazing xxx
(found via Liv’s Sunday subscription)

Nikki McMullen said...

I can’t believe you’d get comments saying ‘it’s brave of you to take photos because of your figure’. I remember seeing those photos on Instagram at the time and thinking: ‘wow Amy has an absolutely perfect figure’ and then just sort of dismissing it as you being blessed with amazing genes, haha! I’m sorry you’ve had the mean brain fog. I definitely need to be more mindful of that when I scroll through my feed!

I think it takes confidence for any shape or size to take swimsuit snaps, because it’s such a vulnerable thing to do. So that is brave. You are brave. But just know that the majority of us are like ‘wow, she looks amazing’.



Tara said...

This is such a beautiful post (both the pictures and the words!). I loved it so much. You have an amazing way with words and the photos are gorgeous! Thank you for writing it x

Teresa Hamilton said...

You looks so stunning!! Wow!! All the outfits are gorgeous!
instagram viewer

SLDS said...

You look absolutely stunning and not a pound over perfect at all but I completely understand what you're saying because I do the exact same things to myself on a daily basis. But I'd much rather look at you in a bikini than someone who's edited their body to look a certain way that isn't real. You make everything look great because you've got it all! So don't worry about the bad days because we can't notice. Thank you for this post! xxx