Let’s talk about Boobs…

Boobs, bosoms, breasts, the girls, puppies, tits, baps, call them what you will. To me they’re just boobs. Love them or hate them they are a part of you, whether you are male, female or anywhere in between. Small, medium or large. Pert and perky or saggy and baggy, baby ravaged or battle scarred they are a part of you. Man boobs included here.

Our boobs are just one of those fascinating things about our bodies, they provide food and those essential first nutrients for babies, they can make us feel attractive, they are unique to you and can empower you. You don’t have to burn your bra to be a feminist these days you know. They can also do the complete opposite and make you feel like an ‘object’. They can be ravaged by disease and cause you pain. But remember they are a part of you and you are amazing.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Here’s a few facts about breasts for you:

Boobs are just glands and most mammals only have them when they become pregnant, humans are the only ones whose start growing at puberty, hence why we have permanent mammaries.

Statistically the left breast is larger than the right breast. A scientist friend once told me that this was due to the way the heart pumps blood through the body and the left side being the dominant side but how true this is I couldn’t tell you. I don’t disbelieve her though.

Both breasts are sisters and not twins – there will be subtle differences in their shape, size, nipple, colour and so on.

Apparently men are also able to breastfeed. I’m hoping this isn’t an internet fib, but apparently they have all the equipment and hormones can be stimulated enough to bring on the process. I’ve never met a man who has admitted to being able to do this, and if I’m honest I’m not sure the world is ready to accept it yet if it were true. Let’s face it women still get frowned at when they breastfeed in public even in this supposedly open minded day and age!

5000 women under the age of 45 in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. The figure is higher if you are over 45. So remember to check them once a month at least. Breast screening here in the UK is offered to women at 50 or over. Earlier if there is a history of breast cancer. It’s not just women, approximately 390 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year too. Get and check them, don’t be shy. Get your other half, if you have one, to check them too. They know your boobs as good as you and may notice something you don’t. There are plenty of websites to visit if you need help. Coppafeel.org is a brilliant easy to view site, with all the info you need.

A pair of D cup breasts can weigh up to a stone! So we can all blame weigh gain on our boobs now!

So why am I focusing on boobs in this post?

Why not!?! It’s breast cancer awareness month so it’s high time we paid attention to our boobs for a change. Do I love my boobs? Not really, I’ve found them cumbersome and awkward for years. As I’ve got older and had kids I don’t see them as a way to look better, they are just in the way and I think your mindset changes when you breastfeed. They no longer become the sexual element of your body, they are there to serve a purpose and feed a baby. I don’t look after mine as much as I should and I have reached a point in my life where the baby making stage is well and truly gone and I can now be more focused on being me. This is important for me coming into my mid to late forties and realising that there is more to life than being just ‘Mum’, I’m a woman who, like many others, has been through a lot and I feel its time to take life back. Take some control.

Boobs are important, for our health and wellbeing. Especially, in terms of style when we look at what we wear and how the ‘right’ undies can make or break an outfit. A good bra can give you a defined waistline, make you taller and improve your posture, raise your boobs up with support and minimise them where needed. It can work wonders!

I am more of a budget bra girl. I can’t afford to spend a fortune on a Rigby & Peller bra. Whilst they are absolutely beautiful and I am sure are the best there is, I do not have the budget for one. I’m a good old M&S girl. More in my budget. I do know of two of my friends who own Rigby & Peller bras and they do say they are the most comfortable they’ve ever owned and maybe one day when I feel frivolous and there aren’t more important things to buy I may change my mind go get ‘eye measured’ (Yes, that’s how good they are!) for one. But for now, I’m sticking with what I know and can afford.

I’ve had little luck over the years buying bras. My body shape changes so much even in the space of a month so I kind of have to take pot luck most of the time when it comes to choosing which one to wear/buy. I’ve spent a small fortune in little boutiques getting fitted, thinking it’s the perfect bra and merrily handing over the money, and wearing because its soooo comfy, only to find half an hour later I want to rip the damn thing off! I’m a fresh bra everyday girl too, you change your knickers every day so why wouldn’t you change your bra every day, so I have to have a few in my arsenal to see me through. I hand wash not machine wash and never tumble dry so I know they will last – although it is recommended you ditch them after a year as they stretch and lose shape regardless.

I have a drawer full of t-shirt bras, vest bras, sports bras, balconettes, push-ups, full cups, underwired and non wired and anything in between! Most of which I can truthfully say I haven’t worn in ages 😲. I know, heathen! Anyway, I have been wearing sports bras for months as I wanted something comfortable during Covid lock down and beyond. But now I’m back to work I feel the need for something more structured under my outfits. This is causing me a few problems, not least due to the extra covid calories I’ve accumulated, but also to an ever changing body shape. Once you get to 40+ the middle area starts to spread and is harder to control. I seem to be losing my waistline, I’m not sure where my boobs end and tummy starts they’re merging into one 🤣🤣🤣.

Anyway, I digress a little… I decided on a shopping trip to M&S as I thought I really needed to get something more shapely so my clothes wouldn’t look quite so sack like on me and they’d hopefully hang in the right places. So in I go, straight to the undies section, wandering around looking at all the pretty fancy delicate bras and then feeling miserably depressed because I just ain’t gonna get these boobies into those cup sizes! So, I move a bit more to the dd+ bras. Wow, they ain’t no ‘Hello Boys’ Wonderbra style ones that’s for sure! More of a ‘Cross Your Heart’ style from the 70’s. I have come to a point where I really dislike the uncomfortable digging in of underwires, no matter how many I get measured for not one stays on for more than half a day before I start to feel very uncomfortable and want to take it off. So, for support I’m going to have to get into the habit of wearing non wired ones. Which as we all know the under band is the support factor in a bra and the underwire gives it the structure so non wired ones have to have the support factored in differently into the design. This doesn’t always make them the most attractive. I also have had many a wire poking out incident of which a friend of mine will happily tell about one such occasion in class! Only me 🤦‍♀️. I can remember the underwire poking out whilst I was merrily teaching a class full of boys, not noticing why they might have been looking at me a bit strange, they usually looked like it so nothing different, anyway… said friend pointed out the offending wire at the end of the class as one of the SEN students couldn’t stop chuckling to himself. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it. Doh!

Anyway, back to the buying… I chose a bra in the end. A twin pack. Bargain I thought. Merrily paid for them and toddled home. Brilliant, I thought I’d be onto a winner and finally get some decent shape and support. Well, I was wrong. I bought the wrong shape for my boobs. Something I hadn’t thought about much before. The shape of your boobs really does make a difference to the type of bra’s you should be buying and what will fit you best. It’s not just about measurements. I recommend you take a look at this website for advice about boob shape and the right bra to match. brafittingsbycourt.com

I now know that I need a full soft cup (with or without seams) to give me shape and support. I know that a bra that is designed to give cleavage is not a good choice otherwise I end up double cupping and whopping one in the eye! Guess I’m going to need to go shopping again. Oh the joy!

How you put a bra on that makes a difference to the shape and fit. I was told by my mum when I was young that I needed to put the straps on over the shoulders and then bend over so that my boobs fell into the cups and rested in place. ‘Hoicking’ them up I so to speak. The excess boob at the sides is also encased as it should be and then tighten up, you can ease the back fastener off a notch or two later on in the day apparently. Something about it being like our feet and swelling during the day. It works. I have been putting my bra on like this ever since and although I’m sure if people were to look at me doing it, apart from it not being a pretty sight, they would think its strange – I don’t care. It works for me.

There’s loads to talk about when it comes to boobs, but maybe I’ve covered enough for now.

Just to let you know, as this is a personal blog and I have no affiliate partners I post links to sites because I want to not because I’m paid to. I am not gaining any payment from the sites you may click on so feel free to know it’s genuine. Maybe one day I may develop a partnership with businesses but for now I don’t want that.

The moral of this story? Get a good bra, get fitted and check those boobs regularly.

Take care, stay safe

Becks

Xo

Musings of a mum

I find myself pondering a few insignificant things of late. Nothing of any real interest but just those little things that make me go “I wonder why…?”.

Things like:

How many people live in my house when we have four tubes of toothpaste and nine toothbrushes, I’m pretty sure we don’t have any lodgers at the last count.

How come we have so much washing when there’s only four of us?! There are three laundry baskets overflowing. If you put them one on top of the other they’d be taller than me. Alright, I grant you, me being only five feet four inches that’s not particularly difficult, but it’s still confusing as to why there is so much washing. Also see point above re: lodgers!

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Why does the carpet always look like someone’s trailed mud through the house despite only just vacuuming it!

Where does all the Lego come from! I swear I picked it all up. How did it manage to get attached to the leg of my trousers and stuck on my bum! Probably best not to go there.

Why do I never have any change for parking when I swear I raided the change pot for some!

Where does all the loo roll go? We don’t have an ‘Andrex’ Puppy! (other brands are available – haha)

Why has one of my giant pumpkins decided to grow in next door’s garden?!

See… Lots of things to ponder and waste time! I do have the answer to one of my ponderings though…

I figured out the answer as to why the kids bedrooms smell, of which I’m pretty sure if you have farty kids that blame everyone else other than themselves or ones that secretly squirrel food into their rooms and then leave it to fester into a wonderfully green science experiment then this one isn’t such an ‘I wonder’ musing, more of an ewww pass the antibacterial room spray moment.

I love my kids, honest.

I’m surprised I’ve had the time to ponder, I’ve been so busy. I’m nicely settled in at my current contract placement and have managed to make it work quite well to fit my needs what with staggered drop offs and pick ups at the kids school and prepping for classes and such like. But it’s nice to be back in work and having others around me, despite me sometimes being a little anti-social and grumpy. We all have days where we just can’t be bothered to talk to people. I find there is one benefit in the pandemic, I know but hear me out here I’m sure I’m not the only one… I don’t have to make mindless conversation to people who I have little in common with in the school playground when I’m feeling anti-social! If I talk to you it’s because I genuinely want to.

There are other things I’ve been thinking about and I have yet to find the answers to be honest.

I wonder how Halloween will happen this year? Sweets are usually wrapped but do I really want my kids trick or treating and touching sweets in bowls that have probably been handled by umpteen others? Knowing what kids are like they aren’t going to hand gel themselves up every time they touch a sweet are they!

One of my neighbours had a great idea; rather than take sweets from others we could still go trick or treating but parents/guardians take a big bag of sweets with them and every house they see with a display up then give their own kids a sweet from the bag. That way there’s no calling on others, but you still get the fun of going out trick or treating and have the sweets too. Just safer.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

It’s a shame the school Halloween disco isn’t happening as although we moan about the noise, a sign of getting old, and the faffing about I’m sure we secretly enjoy the occasion. The kids are on a high for half term and it starts it off with a bit of fun. Never mind we’ll have to have our own disco this year. I love decorating the house and garden for Halloween so I’m going to have to go all out for the kids this time around.

Christmas is going to be a bit trickier too this year. I’m not sure I can get away with saying Santa can’t come to visit because of covid! Although it’s tempting to leave an elf hat on a chicken bone skeleton shaped like an elf with a note from Santa saying ‘the elf was delicious!’… maybe too much? Yeah, probably traumatise the kids for life. I’ll rethink that one.

Have I managed to sort out the wardrobe ready for Autumn/Winter?

No. Not fully. I have managed to sort out a bit of it, but I need to get some new vacuum bags – those ones that squash down to nothing so I can pack away summer clothes. I really need to work out better storage for my bags and footwear as I have managed to accumulate a few more into the collection and this house hasn’t got the best storage. I will be scouring the depths of Pinterest for ideas on how to solve this small problem. Another small project for me to do.

I do have workwear sorted for now, although the weather is changing and I’m going to need to dig out warmer top layers. The heating isn’t on in my classroom and a chill has been noticed by my students. I’ve been banned from opening a window as they moan at me it’s too cold. They are softies. I can’t believe I actually wore tights for the first time in months it was a little chillier than I expected it to be. That’s another area I’m going to need to look into. New funky coloured tights! Boring black is too dull. Although I might have to invest in SNAG tights this time round as they are reported to be excellent fit wise, you don’t get the extra long baggy legs that usually come with having to buy the bigger sizes! Oh, and they come in some really amazing funky colours.

I’m going to look for clothes that have both comfort and style to them when shopping for new ‘to me’ items. As my friend says ‘reflecting our changing needs due to the pandemic’ comfortable lounge wear that can be made to look smarter is how many of us will be dressing over the next few months. Who knows where it’s all going to lead but we can’t slob about in joggers everyday especially for those of us who are going into the workplace, but we may have a few more calories on board so I’m all about comfort!!!

Oh and note to self – don’t wear heels when there are cobbles on the way to your classroom. It does not make for an attractive looking gait. I have a sore ankle from attempting to hobble over the cobbles in wedge heels.

Anyhow, I guess I’ve rambled on enough for now. I’ll continue to ponder, as usual and I’ll no doubt think of many more useless ponderings. But it’s fun and fun is a good thing during this odd time we’re having.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo

I’m back and hopefully on a roll!

Thanks for being with me whilst I have been grotty. It has been a fairly uneventful couple of weeks of my family and I mostly being full of those pesky ‘back to school’ bugs that you get when little ones return to school. This time I think as we have stayed away from others as much as possible our immune systems are a little lower than usual and in a state of ‘lets chill and revive for a bit’ and then Boom! the germs from hell hit you. Younger children germs are hellishly potent. I, like most teachers, used to manage to get to at least half term before I’d be feeling really bad but we were knocked for six this time round.

With hubs and I both being key workers we had to have a Covid test to rule it out. But with all the issues there are with the Covid Labs we couldn’t get a test for at least 2 days after first symptoms. Eventually ended up travelling to a test centre near Oldbury, West Bromich as there were none locally to us. Given the issues the scheme is having our test results didn’t take too long to arrive which was a relief. As I expected we were all clear.

The kids were feeling fine with no symptoms other than a snuffly nose after a couple of days of being at home so they were feeling well enough to go to school. The school were on board and allowed them back. Hubs and I were still feeling rough, hubby more than me most of the time, but I think we as mums and being women tend to put ourselves in default parent mode and just get on with everything that needs to be done despite really only wanting to curl up and sleep it all off.

Photo by Julian Paolo Dayag on Pexels.com

I was due to start a new contract on the Monday, but couldn’t start until the Thursday but thankfully the school were understanding enough to still want me to start with them. A week on and I’m enjoying being there as Head of IT by default – I am the IT department! The principal is an pleasant, amiable person to work with and its a nice little family atmosphere there. I work hard as teachers do but my class sizes are enviable and I have a timetable that has been worked around me and my needs enabling me to be able to do the school drop offs and pick ups and still have valuable family time. WIN WIN all round.

I have been obviously focussing on getting myself bug free but also I have been thinking about all the planning and bits and bobs that need to be done. Now I’m working and have a fixed timetable it makes everything so much easier. I sat down and meal planned, shopped for what I needed and have batch cooked so one less mum thing to worry about. If only everything else would be so organised.

Next on my plan is to sort out the wardrobe. Getting Autumn/Winter clothes to the front and getting outfits ready so I can grab and go in the mornings. It’s an awkward crossover time seasonally, as the September days can be glorious yet the late afternoon/evenings can be quite chilly. I notice the weather is a little unpredictable. It was wonderfully sunny one minute and yet just as I was going to my car it chucked it down with hailstones. I got caught out, despite me usually being prepared (four seasons in one day and all that!), a slightly soggy and battered mum collecting kids is not a good look.

I did the forgetful mum think the twice this week. Usually I’m on the ball and do our morning ‘have you got’ checklist with the kids. But, not for the past two days running, and consequently forgot youngest dear daughters’ coat. I am now being nominated for the bad mother award. In my defence I did ask them both if they had all of their things for school but I didn’t go through the list as I was in a hurry… oh dear… my kids think I’m the worst mum ever and it’s all my fault they can’t remember things. I’m pretty sure they’d expect me to wipe their backsides if I didn’t refuse to! It’s hard trying to get the balance of what they should really be able to do and actually doing. My two can be lazy and given the chance will get others to do everything for them. They are good at manipulating people into doing things for them!

Anyhow, I digress. I have now made sure I have a bag of coats in the boot so I don’t get nominated again for the worst parent award.

Now back to the wardrobe…

In the style club I’m a member of, the Autumn capsule has just been released which is really helpful as I can look at what I already have in my wardrobe and substitute as and where needed. I like orange as an autumnal colour, but its not my best colour so I would substitute it for a green, blue or a pink/purple which would flatter my cooler colouring better. I do wear orange though, I’m a little rebellious and will wear a colour that’s not my best but I usually compensate by upping my makeup when I decide to wear any, or using different accessories or styling my hair differently. I have brown hair with copper in it, naturally I hasten to add, and whilst my hair is warmer my skin is on the cool side, I can get away with some warmer toned colours but I do have to ensure they are the correct contrast level otherwise I get worn by the clothes and not the other way round.

I’m also looking at what I have that fits as I’m still battling with those extra pounds lock down helped me gain, it is in no way my fault, I did not up the UK’s glass recycling tonnage by an extra 50% at all with my wine bottles! I did have a rummage in a few charity shops one day a couple of weeks ago for a couple of ‘new to me’ items. I’m on a fashion challenge of the help the environment type. I would like to minimise the amount of new, proper new not new to me, items coming into my wardrobe and work on getting more quality items rather than fast fashions and poorly made items. I like the idea of reusing/repurposing items which is why I like a rummage in a charity shop as bargains can be found and if you need something for a shorter while it’s not being wasted and keeps the carbon footprint down.

What else happened this week?

Not a lot of interesting things going on I’m afraid. Just the usual daily grind and boring stuff that we just get on and do. Had an email offering me even more work, but I can’t take it as I’m already signed up for some. Contract work is like buses, they all arrive at once! Never mind, maybe next time.

The car had to go in to the garage for an MOT. Oh dear. It had been given an extension due to the lock down, but as I had a broken coil spring happen it would have been a failure and illegal so I booked the car in for some work and a service which was very much needed. Knowing the car would be for a day or so and Bessie bus would be sleeping over I had a little courtesy car whilst she was away. It was an automatic. I hate automatics! But it wasn’t a bad little car if I’m honest, it did what it needed to do. Got me from A to B and further without any glitches. And to be fair I almost stalled Bessie when I got back in and drove it as I’d got used to driving the auto in a short amount of time. Maybe I’m warming to them, maybe when I win the lottery and buy a posh car I’ll have to get one. In my dreams!

I could breathe a sigh of relief when it came to the bill as it wasn’t as much as expected, especially as I’m waiting for payday to rock up. Although, I noticed when I got home that I hadn’t been charged for the MOT so I’ll be popping back up to pay for that bit. I believe in Karma and I can’t let this slide, I like to be honest and I couldn’t feel right not paying for something like that. Call me a fool, whatever. My daughter doesn’t like Bessie bus anymore as she has had a really bad rattle fixed and little one says that Bessie doesn’t talk to us anymore. Sweet. Kids have some strange attachments don’t they? I’m just happy the heatshield is fixed and doesn’t make the car sound like its having a coughing fit ready to keel over!

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What’s next?

I haven’t a clue! Apart from the wardrobe reshuffle, I haven’t planned much. But now I’m feeling more human again I will need to start looking at organising myself over the next few weeks.

I know that I have a couple of interviews with stylists coming up so that’s something to look forward to. I have a travel bucket list post I’m writing and I do need to do some style posts somewhere in amongst all this too.

I may have an update on the kitchen and it’s progress (or lack of). Who knows. If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be….

Thanks for your company. Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo

It’s oh so quiet…

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I’m feeling a bit Meh, at the moment. This week has been a bit difficult. Tired kids equals grumpy kids and top that off with equally tired parents makes a stressful week. It’s been one of those review weeks, where I sit down and review the year, I can’t believe Tiger King was the most normal part of 2020, and look at going forward into next year. Budgets are done, plans made and it’s a busy time, but I can’t help thinking it’s all been in vain 🤦‍♀️.

Kids are back in school after almost six months at home since the start of lock down. Fair enough the little one went back for a good few weeks leaving me with the eldest to home school and then BOOM! the summer holidays happened. Oooh fab, she says with an eye roll, another six weeks with my lovely dear little darlings making fab memories already taken off the rose tinted glasses by this point!

I felt sorry for the kids teachers having to deal with all the feral children all that little bit older and wiser or so they seem to insist. But, then again, I have to deal with everyone else’s feral teenagers so actually I’m in this for myself! I need to get earning some money – I’m going to need more Gin!!!

Have they been put back educationally? Not that it seems to be if I’m honest. They are doing well catching up on their work missed, and having loads of fun with their class ‘bubbles’. Reading, writing and spelling is coming along a treat and they’ve only been back a few days. Kids and teachers working hard together.

A friend asked me what was I going to do with all my free time now that the kids are back. Seriously?! Eyebrows getting higher and higher and are about to leave my face! Free time? Whats that? I get the kids ready, take them to school, faff with the staggered drop offs battling for a car parking space where the car stands a better chance of not being hit by parents who clearly haven’t been behind the wheel for a very long time as they’ve forgotten the general rules of the road and how to actually drive, then I make it home do battle with mountains of washing, do the housework, run some errands and then go and attempt the pick ups repeating the faffing of parking. Once said children are collected, it’s home to do spelling, reading and hand writing practice, doing things for the blog, whilst attempting a wholesome evening meal simultaneously. And, no… it doesn’t always happen. They get fed, and they get fed healthily most of the time but sometimes a shop bought pizza will do!

Oh, yes, and this is often squeezed into a small micro slice of time if I have work on. So my free time? I have none! Straight to work after dropping kids off, work, then collect, then do all the kids stuff, food prep and housework. Woohoo, such a fulfilling life, another eye roll. Have I had a break this year? No. Do I need one? Hell yeah! Am I going to get one? Probably not this year, Covid-19 and all that. Although, I may eventually get a honeymoon next year – 10 years you know. Yep, I haven’t had a honeymoon despite being married for almost 10 years. Sigh. There is a story behind this though and it involves me being preggers when I got married and then having to go straight back to work teaching two days after my wedding day. It will happen one day I’m sure.

My days this week since the kids have been back in school do remind me a little of the BJork song ‘Oh so quiet’. It is eerily quiet without the kids about, but then when you have been lulled into a false sense of security… they’re back! The house then resonates with screams of laughter, tears, he said she said, and the usual “Muuuuummmmmm”. Ah, its lovely.

Despite it being a faff it’s actually useful having staggered drop off and pick ups, at least this way with social distancing in place I don’t have to play the playground politics with clique little groups, biting my tongue whilst being polite as I was brought up to be. The best bit that made me laugh was last year finding out that your car just is just “too shit to be in our group” but when you rock up in another car (much newer, and borrowed because the old knackered one is in the garage being fixed) you are flavour of the month. And, yes someone actually said that and is actually that shallow. If you speak to me pleasantly and engage in polite conversation because you want to do so that’s great, but if not I’m not that bothered. I’m only annoyed with your ignorance and arrogance. Maybe we are fighting the same battles or not. Doesn’t matter, we are who we are and we shouldn’t have to ‘prove’ ourselves to anyone. That’s something I’ve learnt over the past couple of years after my kick up the bum boost (referring to a past post here!).

On a style note, I have the task of figuring out what to wear now for work as I have some part time work at a local school. I’m also going to have to go Bra shopping! I have been as feral as the kids I think since lock down started, I haven’t worn an underwired beastie for almost 6 months!!! I have been keeping the ‘girls’ under control by wearing sports support but let’s face it they are great for support but not for style 🤣🤣. Watch out M&S here I come.

I have been learning a lot from my amazing friend who is a stylist (again mentioned in a previous post), and I am looking forward to getting myself out of the rut I’ve found myself in and I’m going to start by looking at how I can bring out my personality in my clothes and accessories as I do have a great collection but they are seriously underused. I’m fed up of wearing my daily scruffs, of which I have been slobbing about the house in since lock down. I need to find comfort and be a little bit stylish. Or at least try. If I’m feeling brave enough maybe I’ll share before and afters at some point. Be nice to me though!

Anyway, it’s a short one this week. But I do hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll do better next week😉.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo

Surprised? I was!

Last week’s confessional was a surprise! I honestly didn’t think I’d want to put all of that down yet, but I have said in my opening gambit on the home page that I would be honest and that this is a journey, so that’s exactly what it needs to be. Maybe my experience and thoughts have helped someone else reading my posts out there somewhere. Maybe you experienced similar and needed a little bit of a guiding hand to give you the oomph to kick yourself up the bum and challenge your insecurities. Baby steps, please. Don’t do everything at once. You’ll become overwhelmed and shrink back into yourself.

I touched on a couple of things last week – being verbally bullied and my loss of identity. Both are semi-intertwined with each other in a way, as I still had residual confidence issues from being bullied. Which as we know will impact on how we feel about ourselves for years to come. I do feel that although I know the reasons behind my confidence hit, I may never be a really confident person. There will always be a nagging doubt behind the things I do or say. I do know though, that I can ‘fake’ it. This is a strong tool for some who are able to do it. If you can fake it you inevitably end up changing your mood, which can then begin to change your outlook on things.

I’m no scientist, and what works for me may not and will not work for everyone, but if it helps just one person then that’s enough in my book. I rarely open up about how I feel deep down, but now I think it’s time to get my big girl pants on as a friend would say and get over it. I sometimes think that by opening up about these things perhaps people may think I’m trying to say I’m depressed. I’m not. I have low days and struggle just like many others but my feelings on those occasions are not a complex minefield but rather more simplistic. I’ve not had enough sleep, or the kids are pushing every button possible or simply that I’m just not in the right frame of mind. I applaud those that have been able to face up to depression. In my eyes it takes a huge amount of inner strength for someone to say “I feel crap, today is not a good day and I can’t do this anymore. I need help”. Depression is a complex and difficult illness to understand. I implore anyone reading this who feel they may have it, or may be on the cusp of depression, please talk to someone. Your best mate, the coffee shop barista, stranger on the station anyone. But just tell someone. It might help. If your mate’s been texting you asking if you’re OK and you’ve completely ignored them. Text them back. They are looking out for you, and they care. It’s not about ‘manning up!’, so forget about all the male bravado, it’s about getting help and getting YOU back.

Where do I go from here?

My challenge to myself is to get myself back on track to becoming ‘me’ again. I will never be the ‘old me’. Those days are gone. We change a little, or a lot, as we age. Age makes us more understanding of what we really need and what we want and also, what we can achieve. Growing older has given me an edge, where I can be slightly more demanding of others and particularly of myself. I joke about turning 60 and dying my hair purple and getting a tattoo, buying a motorbike and sticking two fingers up to the world 😉. Actually, I might just dye my hair purple and get a tattoo anyway!

I absolutely love this quote by Roald Dahl. It’s from The Twits if you aren’t sure. I really feel it sums up a lot of how I feel I want to feel. Good thoughts make you glow. They show in your face. The slight crook of a smile appearing, the glint in the eye. It all shows you know. I look better when I feel better. Its simple psychology really. We lift our head, stand straighter and become more of a presence. When we feel unhappy the opposite happens, we look hunched over, we scowl and look as unhappy as we feel. 

What changed my viewpoint?

I didn’t have many mirrors in my old house as I just couldn’t stand looking at myself in them. I had such a negative view of myself, every time I did look in the mirror I used to pick out the flaws I could see. I was ugly, had a wonky nose, square jawline, fat face… the list just went on and on. I just couldn’t see anything nice about myself. I had a change of view when I met up with some friends I hadn’t seen for ages, some years in fact, and the one sweet friend of whom I’d always thought was the most confident admitted she’d always been envious of my hair. Then another said she felt annoyance at me as she was fed up of wearing false lashes and mine were long and full and I ‘just didn’t have to go through all the hassle everyday’. I felt better about myself for a moment or two, and then when I got home I actually looked in the mirror and thought to myself they had a point. I began to like my hair. It’s full of body and is healthy. I noticed that I didn’t look in the mirror and feel so negative. I was beginning to like myself again. A little bit more each day. There are still days where a negative gnome sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear I’m ugly or some other flaw that I have but no so much anymore. Devils and angels are ‘so last year dahling’ as Patsy would say! Like I said it’s baby steps. It’s not being vain either, it’s about learning to have personal positivity, which includes body and mind.

Colour plays a big part in the impression we give, both to others and to ourselves. If I’m feeling happy then I tend to wear brighter colours and make an effort. When I feel miserable and stressed I wear darker more neutral colours without adding accessories. The days where I just feel low I tend not to look at what I’m choosing to wear, I just grab anything and rarely does it go with anything nor is it flattering and if I’m honest it probably isn’t allowing me to blend in with the background despite me wanting to do just that. Because it’s so badly thrown together it makes me stand out, perhaps giving others an opportunity to think ‘she doesn’t care’, or ‘what does she think she looks like’ or something to that effect. And, when I’m at that point, the days where I’m so totally not in the zone, I actually don’t care nor do I wonder what I look like so their thoughts are futile. I’m just not thinking about me.

I recently grabbed one of my old Trinny and Susanna books from the shelf when I was having a sort out and started reading it. I forget which one, it might have been ‘what your clothes say about you’ maybe. But, anyway, I laughed at the picture of a stressed, harassed mum carrying plastic carrier bags and dressed in beige (really not my colour!) with a child pulling her in one direction when she was trying to go in another, it was a set up shot of Trinny role playing but it made me think that I have been that mum on more than one occasion. A Tesco bag in one hand despite owning some fabulous family sized totes, along with kids coats, bottles and school paraphernalia in the other. Trying to coax the kids down from the climbing frame because ‘we really need to get home’… read ‘mummy just wants to go home and get tea ready, and have a sit down as she’s been busy all day cleaning up your mess again!’.

On the opposite page it showed a more serene, organised Trinny with same child pulling on her hand, but looking much more as though she could deal with it. It was all down to staging the perfect life, yes, I get that. But it was also about looking the part too. Well cut jeans, sensible but trendy shoes, jacket just in case you got caught in the rain and nice top underneath, oh.. and a good sized bag for all the kid bits! Although I’ll probably always be a little bit late in dropping the kids off, and always be slightly disorganised and forget their coat or water bottle or something but I can at least try to look the part. So my first challenge is come September, I will aim to get my head in the zone and be a little more put together for the school run. That way when some supply work does come along I’ll have a go to outfit readily available to grab and go.

Baby steps…

But, I’m going to start small. A little bit at a time. Beginning here, my aim for the next two weeks is to make sure I put mascara on. Everyday, without hesitation. I will make it a habit. Isn’t it a habit after fifteen days? I’m sure I read that somewhere. Anyway, small things to start my positive image habits off. I don’t see much point in trying to form a habit of wearing foundation or even my usual BB cream as it usually comes off on the masks we have to wear out. Although it’s swings and roundabouts at the moment as I don’t really like going out much and I like the freedom of having just sun cream on my face. Perhaps that little habit might have to wait a little.

I think I also need to look at forming an exercise habit as currently it’s a bit hit and miss. OK, I admit more miss than hit! I don’t like exercising and rarely enjoy it when I do it so I need to work up to doing this habit. gently does it. Twenty minutes a day to start off with and then work up to thirty after a couple of weeks maybe? I think I’m going to need to do a reward chart just like we use with kids! I really hate exercising! I’ll keep you updated on this one as I’m not even sure where to start.

Have you been an exercise star during lock down? Or have you been watching Joe from the sofa with a cuppa every morning during PE with Joe? Me? The latter 😂

I’m going to be honest with you, I lost my way a little…

Part of the idea of starting my little blog was to write about my life and style, or lack of as I have mentioned before. So, I thought I’d do a post looking at the style part. To do this I think this is the time where we delve into a bit of my background to start with and see where we go from there.

I’m not huge on being a girly girl. I like getting mucky and grubby, and rarely wear makeup or style my hair. And as for being stylish, well that’s something I’m still trying to figure out! I would love to be one of the school mums that look amazing everyday without looking as though they do. I know contradiction in terms, but what I mean is they look amazing without really having to put much of an effort in to looking good. We all know this isn’t necessarily the case as it often takes a little bit of planning getting stuff organised and ensuring a routine is in place. But these are the mums who seem to effortlessly glide onto the playground with finesse and no stress. They have the perfect outfit on for whatever they may be doing and just seem to have it all. I know that whilst this is happening on the outside, what is going on on the inside may be very different, but she hides it well! What I would like to achieve is something near this but be me. I’m not going to copy someone’s style as that might not be mine but I want to find my ‘style’ for me now and be confident in it. I know my style has changed. A lot. I wonder if I can get away with the boho floaty dresses I once coveted? I wonder if my love for Joules, Seasalt and Boden clothes is my way of being more countryfied? Simply to look good in a pair of well cut jeans and a tee would suffice at this point maybe? Only time will tell as I find my real ‘me’. What I do know is that I’m going to have to up my game a notch!

When I was younger I didn’t stand out, nor did I particularly want to. I was a bit on the geeky side at school and was never overly confident in my looks. I always shied away from the camera and if someone did manage to catch me on film you would find me hiding at the back in a crowd or have something with which I could semi-hide behind. After growing up a bit and looking back into why I felt like this and still do to some extent as just doing a selfie for me is agony! I realised that this all came from one person in school telling me I was ugly, and that if I didn’t have long hair I’d be mistaken for a boy. Bullying can come in many guises for me it was verbal. I was told I was fat – even though I was far from it and that my clothes just looked like I’d put a bin bag on. This was something that was a constant occurrence in my school days although I hid being bullied from everyone. I pretended nothing was going on and I tried to just blend in. I wanted to be friends with the popular kids as well as everyone else, but I just didn’t have the confidence to go up and say “hi”. Looking back at it now and knowing what I know, a bully is someone who is fundamentally insecure and needs the feeling of power over someone to make themselves feel better. Perhaps the person bullying me was insecure about their own looks and weight and decided I was an easy quiet target. Who really knows, I just hope they now genuinely feel better about themselves and not at someone else’s expense.

It has only been the past few years where I have had to become a stronger person due to a couple of ‘big’ moments, major surgery and a long term relationship change, that made me sit up and think and coupled with my experience of being a teacher which has enabled me to put it all into perspective and gain some of the lost confidence back. I’m what you might call a high functioning introvert. Being a teacher there is an expectation for teachers to be confident individuals with extrovert tendencies, there are in fact studies showing that many are actually mild introverts and do exactly what I do – put on a performance. Every time I step into a classroom and deliver a lesson I put on a show. When I work in industry I am the same everything I do is a performance, delivering training programmes to big business CEO’s and even top ranking civil servants. It all involves me putting on a brave face, a façade you might say and just taking a deep breath. The truth is deep down all I want to do is hide away from the world and blend in. I want to be the unseen.

Why do I do what I do then? I’m good at it, that’s why. I love teaching, imparting my knowledge and skills on to people who may benefit from it. Getting students to engage in whatever I’m delivering and them walk away thinking they learnt something useful. And, I will say it again I’m bloody good at what I do. If it means putting on a brave face and being a showman for a while then its what I must do. I can always shrink into myself afterwards.

Most of the time I come across as being chatty and confident. It’s a ruse. I’m dying inside. I feel I have to chat otherwise it might have an impact on something in the future. What? I don’t know. If you’re a mum collecting your kids and I chat to you, it’s because perhaps yes we could become genuine friends but it may also be that if I don’t my child may not get invited over for play dates and may miss out on social things. It could also be that I need to set a positive example to my children, if they see me being sociable then they will be confident enough to hold conversations with others and not shy away. I want what most parents would want for their kids, I would love for them to be happy and confident and be liked. I would love for them to be popular kids in school but for some this is too much and for my kids? I know they’ll have friends, I would just like those friends to be true friends to them. I don’t want them to go through what I went through.

I picked up a book called ‘Bigmouths, bullies and so called friends’ by J Alexander, initially for my son who has been bullied and still gets called names by one particular boy at school. He was a little too young for it when I first bought it but now I may encourage him to read it as I found it to be really good at identifying bullies and why they do what they do. I like the book as it puts it in kid speak and although was written a few years ago its still relevant. As daft as it may sound it really put a lot of how I felt and still feel into perspective.

There are many ways age has helped me. I don’t suffer fools gladly and will not take $#!% from anyone these days. I say things how I see them but I try not to do it in a manner that will cause upset. I prefer constructive criticism whether it’s me receiving or giving it, I can’t abide narcissism or arrogance. I try to follow the motto ‘if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all’. It’s not about being a snowflake, it’s being polite and considerate something that we seem to be lacking in this day and age. I don’t always get it right, but at least I try.

I’m beginning to feel happier about myself these days. I had a huge slump in confidence when I had my first child and the second one came along and my feelings still hadn’t changed. I often feel that I’m not me anymore. I seem to have lost my identity. I’m not Becks anymore, I’m just “Muuuummmmm”. Nobody of any interest, just someone who’s there to make sure kids are fed, watered and have clean clothes every day. I’m still after the holy grail of mums – going for a wee in peace! Although its not so much these days as the oldest is now eight and doesn’t follow me everywhere unlike my five year old who seems to be my shadow. I was a bit overweight before I had kids but after having them I put on even more weight which I convinced myself I could lose and didn’t, so now I have a ‘mothers apron’ belly and a backside you could park a motorcycle in, let alone a bicycle, which is the bane of my life! I did lose a stone and a half a year or so ago but that seems to have gone back on along with bad eating habits – snacking in the evening before bedtime!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I know that I need to lose weight not just because I would like to look better but I would like to be healthier. I have high blood pressure and scoliosis which are not helped by being overweight. My joints are hurting me all the time and I have no excuse I need to get my head in the right place and make a commitment to making weight loss happen. This isn’t going to be easy as I’m a comfort eater. I’m not one for sweets and chocolates. My nemesis is savoury snacks, especially crisps. Exercise is another key factor I need to start doing more of. I huff and puff just going up the stairs these days. I know clothes hang better when they are not straining over a huge tummy or ample derriere slim or not. I’m fed up of being tired all the time.

I knew I needed to get out of my slump and thought about my next steps. It’s not easy. Some people have a natural ease to looking good and make it seem so easy. I thought that if I joined an open style club community on Facebook for those over forty it may help to give me some of the old confidence back as most people were there in a similar boat to me. Initially this was quite good but after a while the group got huge and admins didn’t monitor comments as much and trolls started getting on there so I left. I then chatted to a dear friend about it as she had been one of the stylists in the paid club connected to the open community and she invited me to join her private style club. This has been a real eye opener for me. I have been learning lots about style, including how I find my own particular style to suit my personality, colouring and shape. There will be more on this another time I think, perhaps a series at some point (along with an interview or two with stylists). It’s a learning process and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my quest. Yes, some of it is common sense and intuition but there is a sort of science behind it all. And, I like being part of something that cheers me up when I need a little pick me up. I join in the activities when I have time and often just dip in and out of the club when I have a few free moments. It’s not silly in any way, this is my little bit of me time, be it five minutes or half an hour. It makes me feel better about myself and it’s the medicine I need. I’m beginning to care about myself again. I’m beginning to feel there is a new me inside somewhere. I put mascara on occasionally and might look to at least colour co-ordinate an outfit. But, I’ll still have days where I’ll turn up to school wearing my scruffy clothes, no make-up and unkempt hair. Some weeks it will be more often than not. Sometimes I’m just not in the zone but hey, I’ll always chat just don’t be put off by the way I look I’m just having a bad day😉

Perhaps this may be you too? Maybe you’ve experienced similar feelings and don’t quite know where to go from here. There’s a part two to this coming next post if you’d like to find out a bit more. Feel free to comment.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo