After losing 2 stone I wanted to do something to mark the occasion; something exciting and out of my comfort zone. I wracked my brain trying to think of different things to do, then I thought what could be more out of my comfort zone than lingerie - a word that would usually make me shudder. I had seen a few things online about boudoir photoshoots. The pictures of all the women were just stunning and something just told me to go for it.
I called and booked my appointment with Secret Boudoir based in Dublin for just a few days later. I figured the less time I had, the less chance there would be of talking myself out of it.
I did what any woman does when confronted with a scenario that involves photos....I pampered,
primped and preened. I got my tan, hair and nails done all in preparation for my big debut.
The day of the shoot came around in a flash, and I remember feeling so nervous I thought I was going to be sick. I arrived at Secret Boudoir not knowing what to expect. My nerves were quickly settled when I walked in and saw this beautiful room all decorated in pink...it was so girly I just loved it!!! One wall had those old 50's style dressing room mirrors, dressing tables and chairs I felt like I was stepping into backstage at the Oscars. The girls were so friendly and welcoming, and I felt completely at ease. I was offered a glass of champagne or orange juice and was showing to my makeover station. The makeup artist gave me loads of makeup looks and hairstyles to choose from. As I flicked through the pages I thought to myself I hope I look even half as good as these woman.
After my makeup and hair was all done I was brought up stairs to pick out my outfits. They had a huge
range of styles and sizes. I was spoiled for choice something I wasn’t used too. Myself and the
photographer spoke about the look I wanted and the parts of my body I was conscious about. She
reassured me by the end of the shoot I would be bursting with confidence. I chose 5 outfits ranging from
fancy dress to lingerie.
The shoot all in all took about 3 hours. She showed me countless ways of posing to highlight the parts of
my body that I loved but also hid the parts that I didn’t. At the start I was a little bit apprehensive but by
the end of it I was walking around with boobs and butt out and had never felt sexier. The support and
encouragement throughout the shoot was fantastic and walked out with a smile from ear to ear.
I could not wait to see the pics, and after a few days I was sent my personal online gallery. The pictures
were so sexy yet so tasteful. I couldn’t believe that it was me. I chose my favourites, which took me hours
I loved them all. I will have those pictures for a life time, and whenever I'm feeling low I look at them and
build myself back up.
Boudoir shoots aren’t just for a certain body type they are for every woman. No matter what age, size,
look or walk of life. Every woman deserves to feel sexy so what are you waiting for? Book yours now and
How many of us can say that we are happy with our bodies? I bet it's few and far between. What would it take for you to be happy with your body? Thinner waist? Shorter legs? Smaller feet? Skinnier thighs?
Some of these thoughts can occupy a persons every waking moment. From the moment they wake up, they look in the mirror and while they're okay with what they see, they're not happy.
The media can play on this. Photoshop can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. As a plus size model, I've had photos edited to smooth out skin tone, get rid of unsightly lumps and bumps & generally make me look "marketable"; and while I'm happy (no, over the moon!) with the finished product of a photoshopped photo, it's not me. But it's given me a glimpse of the type of body I could have.
I am a very proud mammy of 2. I've grown two babies, and have the stretchmarks to prove it. Like a lot of mothers, they're my stripes that I've earned. Pregnancy is hard - very hard. But NO ONE prepared me for the feeling I had when I saw my body changing.
I was never "skinny". I am 5'10" and I was always a size 14/16. And I loved it. But even back as a teenager, I was fat shamed. Fat shamed on the street, school, by so called friends.....And I know all these years later, it still happens. But I was made of stern stuff and I didn't pay any attention; probably a thing a lot of teenagers can't do. But when I became pregnant, that all changed.
Yes, the object of pregnancy is growing another human inside you. And to do that, your body has to adjust. I wasn't mentally prepared for this. I was 20 years of age and while I knew of the science behind pregnancy, I didn't know about the physical. I gave into every craving I had.... to the detriment of my waist line. I suddenly went from a confident-in-myself size 14 to a very pregnant size 22. I had a Caesarean section which resulted in my stomach developing an "overhang" or "pregnancy pouch". While I slimmed back down to an 18, I was still horribly uncomfortable with myself....and of course turned to food to comfort myself. Next thing I was back at a size 22 (well, 23 if they did that size....not 22 but not quite 24). I. Hated. Myself. The more I hated myself, the more I ate.
Shopping was a nightmare. This was 14 years ago and there literally was next to no shops that stocked past a 16. So I lived in tracksuit bottoms. Lovely & comfy, but not what I wanted. I craved wearing nice heels, a dress, even trousers that didn't show off my massive protruding belly. And because I was so heavy, I couldn't wear heels cos the weight was bearing down on my ankles. Coping with this was a vicious cycle.....Can't wear what I want....eat...hate how I look....eat.... It went on and on.
Then one day, something.....snapped.
I couldn't carry on like this. I couldn't play with my daughter, couldn't fit properly in plane seats, couldn't fit into my biggest clothes.
So I stopped. It was something my Dad said to me actually. He said "You can change a situation by the way you react to it". Wise words that have stuck with me ever since.
My relationship changed with food, and I quickly lost 4 stone. Suddenly the fat shaming I used to get was replaced by compliments on how amazing I looked and wanting to know how I did it. And I loved every single second of it. Don't get me wrong, my overhang was still there (and it will always be there), but it wasn't as noticeable.
And then I fell pregnant again.
ALL of my old fears came rushing back. I knew what was happening with my body this time around and was much more prepared for the emotions and changes. I still put on weight, but I didn't lose the run of myself. I had a second Caesarean section, and they cut into my same scar, so the overhang became a bit more noticeable again. But that overhang coming back made me sink into old habits. I hated it.
I've spent every day of my 20's with major body issues. I am that girl who spent every day thinking about how much she hated her body, picking every flaw out and obsessing about it. And that's no lie. To be honest, I still do. I am a lot more confident in myself, mainly thanks to my beautiful besties in Celtic Curves, and my amazing husband, and their unwavering support. They take me as I am and they don't judge, don't question, and love me for who I am.
I'm plus size. Plus size and proud. I'll never be skinny, as I said, and I have some tweaks that I personally want to achieve for myself to be the most fabulous I can be.
I'll always have that self doubt in me, it won't ever leave me. But I am proud to be a spokeswoman for any woman out there who hated their bodies during pregnancy, or any person whose hated their bodies at all. Plus size ladies (and men!) are the norm now (who'da thunk it!), but society just can't seem to get their head around the fact that bodies come in different shapes, sizes and colours. And I am proud to be in a position to be someone's voice in this emotive subject.
Be your authentic self. Why would you want to be anyone else, everyone else is already taken.
Be kind to yourself; you got this.