August 30, 2017

The Importance Of Body Happiness… And Really Great Swimwear!

quay Australia After Hours Sunglasses in black

Finding Body Happiness

I’m a firm believer that you can’t have body confidence without first getting to a state of body happiness.

Start with one and the other will follow.

Who among us is totally 100% body confident? I suspect not many, if any at all. Whatever our size or shape, we’ve all become so good at pointing out our own flaws and agonising over the parts that we wish we could overhaul and change.

And all this without remembering to give a shout out to the bits we actually do like!

I don’t need to get my body
“ready” to go to the beach…

Don’t even get me started on comparing ourselves to the intensely perfect images we’re presented with… usually captioned with the phrase “beach body ready.” Urgh!

I don’t need to get my body “ready” to go the beach. The fact that I spend much of my time there all year round means I’m more than qualified to be beside the sea without entertaining thoughts of juice cleanses and clean eating.

So when Figleaves got in touch and asked if I would like to partner on a swimwear blog post for their amazing Icon Collection, I decided to kickstart my journey to body happiness by challenging my own perceptions.

looking out to sea at Black Rock beach Cornwall

online stylist walking along black rock beach

finding body happiness

I’ll be honest with you – the thought of actually doing any kind of swimwear shoot instantly gave me an attack of the “Oh my good god… NO! I cannot do this” jitters. Queue all the agonising over my own flaws whilst carrying out a mental Instagram scroll scroll of all the perfect bods in social media world.

And then that “Relatable” word that I kept banging on about earlier this year popped back into my head.

Most women I know would feel this way about being photographed in their swimsuit and then sharing the results online… so I decided to draw on my other favourite phrase “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Time for camera, action… and getting over myself!

Figleaves icon mesh black swimsuit worn with white shirt

monochrome beach wear

online stylist swimwear shoot for figleaves

WEARING: Sunglasses – After Hours by Quay Australia | Icon Black Mesh Swimsuit – Figleaves c/o | White Linen Shirt – Taylor Wren | Hat – this one similar | Nails – Essie in Chinchilly | Denim Cut-Offs – Topshop | Straw Tote – (old) Mango : love this one | Sandals – Birkenstock

Just like the right underwear, really good swimwear that fits and flatters makes such a difference and is always worth the investment.

The Figleaves Icon Collection is straightforward in essence and brilliant at delivering on it’s promises.

Simple, well made swimwear in black (Er… you had me at Hello), that smooths and gently sculpts your shape. All these crucial elements can be found across the range of styles – my only conundrum was choosing which one to wear!

the importance of body happiness

shop the figleaves icon collection

I loved the fact that all the designs have that invaluable tummy control factor – even before giving birth some twelve years ago, I was never in possession of those wash board abs so any help in this department is gratefully accepted!

Also being able to choose from soft bra cup styles or those sized up to a G cup gives scope for that extra bit of uplift for your top half if you want it.

Feeling those Bond Girl vibes!

The combination of the two made me feel instantly leaner and more streamlined whilst wearing the Icon Mesh Swimsuit. Plus the simple but sleek styling made it just a little bit Bond Girl which I loved!

I took it on holiday to Cornwall and loved wearing it both at the beach and to the indoor pool where we stayed.

online stylist sitting on rocks at black rock beach

beach essentials online stylist

a black shape wear swimsuit style staple

The fit was secure but comfortable and instead of doing the normal dash from the water to grab a towel and envelop myself as quickly as possible, I found myself walking head held high whilst poolside.

First comes the happiness, then the confidence.

lazy summer days at the beach

figleaves swimsuit and quay australia sunglasses

Here’s my three step formula for body happiness…


Getting comfortable in your own skin is an oft used saying but I firmly believe in the sentiment behind it.

After spending I don’t know how many years thinking if only I could be that size 8/10, 126lb woman again, I’ll find true happiness.

This is utter nonsense. The one time I got to that weight was through a hideously miserable relationship that caused me no end of stress and subsequently, my friends to pull me aside and ask if I was suffering from an eating disorder.

No thanks. I’ll take happiness, acceptance and my current size 12 top and 14 bottom any day!

Be Realistic

Doing a swimwear shoot in broad daylight during tourist season in Cornwall aged 48 is a great exercise in getting real.

More so the image editing* part having all your “flaws” laid bare in front of you and choosing a few acceptable images from the 300 you shot.

Un-firm tummies, dimples on backs of thighs, upper arms that need some serious toning – I’ve glared at them all in the process of putting this post together.

But when you’re faced with the realities of how most of our bodies react to age, childbirth and gravity you realise how ridiculous and pointless it is to compare ourselves to a stereotypical image of perfection.

*For the record my editing consisted of exposure, de-saturation and a lot of straightening of the horizon. Everything else has been laid bare in the interests of that relatable word again!

Appreciate And Care

As well as happiness, the real important issue here is health.

As I grow older I’m increasingly feeling that any fitness I may have is at the Use It Or Lose It stage so fitness and I are still very much a work in progress.

Remember what an amazing thing your body is and what it enables you to do.

Visualise being nice to to it for a change! Say Hi to the bits you love, smile, put on a really great piece of swimwear… and get down to your favourite patch of coastline before the summer disappears for good!

Over To You!

What does body confidence and happiness mean to you?

Have you ever struggled with accepting the changes that come about as we get older and how do you overcome those bad comparison habits?

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below!

Thank you to Figleaves for sponsoring this post and to you for your continued support of the brands that help Online Stylist to maintain a place in the blogosphere!


10 comments on “The Importance Of Body Happiness… And Really Great Swimwear!”

  1. Good for you, thank you for sharing . This post confirms that I am not alone!
    Top of my wish list used to be longer legs, but short of going on the rack or extremely dodgy surgery I may as well admit to myself that it isn’t going to happen. It takes most of us at least a couple of decades to accept our bodies as they really are.

  2. Lovely post again Amanda and very wise words. I have spent the last few years going to start a diet every Monday morning,but I am the same size as you and you look fantastic,will now put dieting out of my mind,Thankyou.
    I’m so glad you did the shoot,love the ones of you on the rug,well done Mr OS.
    Ps The swimsuit looks good as well!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely words Colette!
      Ooof those Monday diets are the worst! They start off really well but generally evaporate come the evening for me!
      No more diets – just positivity, as many healthy habits as possible and a lot more kindness to ourselves!
      Amanda xxx

  3. Gorgeous photos and wonderful post. Very inspiring too! I am also often agonising over getting back to the size 8 twenty something version of myself, but there are definitely other priorities- health and happiness for a start! x

    1. Thanks so much Laura!
      I don’t know why we’re always wising to be something we once were – so many people I know do this. It seems like such a waste of precious time when you really think about it doesn’t it?
      Health and happiness all the way my lovely friend!
      Amanda xxx

  4. Gorgeous photos and so true. Three women embracing this body positivity movement over here in NZ are Makia Carr, Leah Light and Leonie Barlow. It’s great to have real women writing fabulous blogs about relatable topics. Thanks again. I’m off on a girls trip with five friends to Hawaii on Tuesday and I’ve packed not one, but two great fitting swimsuits and I cannot wait to get them on. X

    1. Janine – what a lovely comment – thank you so much! You’re so right – it feels great to know lots of us face similar thoughts but that we can get over it and appreciate our amazing bodies for what they allow us to do!
      I hope you have an amazing time in Hawaii and get that bod on the beach and in the warm sunshine!
      Amanda xx

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