So at Celtic Curves, we were very privileged to be asked to walk in Manchester Fashion Week
on the 21st of May. This was an unbelievable opportunity for us as a group and we jumped at the chance to take part.
Organised by Amanda Moss PR, it was an event not to missed. We had heard great things about Amanda before going to Manchester and we knew it would be a very well run and polished event. Amanda has many, many years experience as a PR guru and is the mastermind behind events such as the Fashion and Beauty Awards (the FAB awards), Manchester and Liverpool Fashion weeks and the Liverpool and Manchester Lifestyle Awards. She is also Editor and creator of Lifestyle Magazine (which we were featured in also!).
So on the 20th of May, myself and the girls nervously boarded a flight to Manchester Airport to
prepare for what was shaping up to be an amazing night! Call time was 1:30 pm.
We arrived for fittings with Perfect 4 U Fashion (arrgghh nerves!) and Sidhu Fashion, two amazing brands based in the UK who cater for all sizes.
The clothes, as you can imagine, were everything a girl dreams of! Cute, figure-hugging and
modern. The lingerie (which I think we were all slightly nervous about modelling for the first time) turned out to be so pretty, feminine and sexy! We had 3 pieces each to model, ranging from baby doll dresses, body suits to sexy suspenders and tights.
While we were in the middle of fittings, standing there in various states of undress/complete nakedness, the host for the evening, the outrageously funny (and honest!) Antonella The Uncensored Reviewer arrived! It turned out that she was there to be fitted for a piece of lingerie that she was going to model on the catwalk too!
(Note* We are all huge fans of Auntie Nelly at Celtic Curves, but meeting her for the first time in only knickers, trying to cover the bit of modesty I had left while I got the best hug, was not how I
thought it would go! But it’s one of those moments I won’t forget!)
2:30 was the start of hair and make-up (our favourite!)
It was a very Mad Max/warrior kind of vibe with the hair and we absolutely loved the concept. Hair was styled by the very talented stylists from Laura Taylor hairdressing .
The make-up was dark smokey eyes and lips in purples, pinks and greens by the make-artists
from Emmaculate Studio Hair and Makeup.
After hair and makeup, we moved on to our choreography class with the fabulous Kay
Monteith. Practice makes perfect and she helped us warm up to be show-ready! The stage was set and it was almost show time.
We got into our first outfits and nervously waited.
The running order was:
6pm call time with Haze, Kita May Designs, Phoenix del Barrio, Kiki Riki and then
we were up modelling for Sidhu Fashions. The clothes were unique and beautiful, and the fit
was unreal! It’s hard to find well-fitting and funky plus size clothing, but Sidhu has it all!
This finished the first half, and there was a short interval, where members of the audience got to ask Antonella some questions and there was an amazing performance from Honey Grace.
Next up was Immanuel clothing (a Dublin-based designer!), then Perfect 4 U lingerie, who we were modelling for, Flency Rose, Pearl Designs Fashions, Apparel 32, Boux Avenue, Gogairy hand painted leathers and closing the show was Tazlima 4 Stitch.
We waited patiently while Immanuel Clothing models rocked the catwalk.... And then it was out turn...
We were all very nervous at the thoughts of modelling lingerie on the catwalk for the first time at
such a huge event, but the ladies who own the boutique were absolutely amazing. They were
even able to size us just by looking at us, and outfit after outfit fitted like a dream. We felt
sexy, beautiful and just like a million dollars! The outfits mostly consisted of body suits and
baby dolls and the range of colours and sizes were vast. Every body is catered for as they go
up to a size 32!
And that was a wrap!!! The nerves calmed down with a cheeky glass (or two) of Prosecco!
Of course, we have the obligatory selfies also!
Photos by Ian Williams and Liam Hartery
Manchester Fashion Week is back in November for their winter showcase - for more, visit https://www.facebook.com/LFWMFW/
We speak very frank and honest about our mental health when it comes to body image and how we perceive ourselves. I know I have battled with it many, many times.
It struck me one day however....Where are the men who feel the same way? I know women aren't the only ones who feel like this, but they are the ones who seem to have the voice.
While the suicide rates in young men continue to rise and rise, we all need to do our part to show men that they CAN and SHOULD speak about their self-confidence, body issues and hangups (amongst other things).
I have a follower on Instagram. His name is Christopher. I approached him and asked him to tell me his story, and what you are about to read is true, from the heart and something we ALL can relate to.
Hi there, my name is Chris. I was asked to write a piece about myself for the girls at Celtic
Curves, so here goes.
I guess I’ve always been “big”, or what people would characterise as “plus sized”. I also
believe that I have always been depressed since I was about 10 or 11 years old. That doesn’t
mean I blame one for the other, but I’m sure there is some correlation there.
As a child, my depression manifested itself with me eating more than I should and eventually
in self-harming, including cutting and deliberately injuring myself; all of which seemed to go
unnoticed, along with severe self-destructive behaviour, including drink and drug use. That
all spiralled out of control several times on the road to where the next chapter begins, and is
maybe a story for another time.
Fast forward to 2011 when I moved to Ireland. I didn’t have a plan - I was a bit of a mess, but
in good shape considering all that went before and that led to the move. I would say I was
roughly 16/17 stone, which isn’t really heavy for me. I tried living with family in Galway, but
that didn’t work out. So in a town where I knew no one, and had no family I could rely on, I
quickly turned to the pubs to meet people. This is fine, except I was doing it every day and to
my detriment, doing zero activity.
A year later, I had ballooned to likely over 25 stone without seeming to realise, until I saw the photos from my mum’s wedding in 2012. I was a mess, and those who saw me thought I was on the road to a heart attack, or similar, soon.
This didn’t change me at all.
A year later, I turned 30 and this was my turning point. I was sick of being the fat guy, out of breath, always drunk, etc. So I joined Planet Fitness in Galway and started my fitness journey, as it’s now called.
I don’t recall weighing myself at the start. I was ashamed I guess, but I remember after six months or so weighing about 29 stone, which is really big and unhealthy. So I kept plugging away, made a few friends along the way, and slowly but surely I made progress from obese to not-so-much obese, and gradually things changed for me. The depression never goes away through it all; it just takes a back seat and waits to rear its ugly head when you think things are going well.
In 2015 with things going well and fresh off the back of a six week trip around Europe with a good friend, I undertook a fitness instruction and personal training course here in Galway; mainly for my own benefit to help with my own training, but always thinking that maybe if I lost more weight etc. I could maybe fit into that “perfect body” idea that people have of PT’s. Well that didn’t happen, but a good friend of mine with a small gym wanted to travel and suggested I take over while he was away.
Now it was around this time that one of the best and the worst things ever happened in my life.
First I met Michelle, my girlfriend, and then about a month later my brother passed away unexpectedly. I knew I’d be a mess and told Michelle to leave me which she didn’t. Fair play to her; she stuck out all the tears, the drinking, and the temper tantrums related to grief. I didn’t deal with my brothers passing, and just a year later my grandmother passed away, which was another big hit. All through this time, I was running this small gym, training myself to the bone whilst trying to keep my depression at bay. The one big thing I found that got me through, besides the emotional support of my girlfriend, was the gym. Being able to switch off and train and put all my aggression in to training has seen me drop more weight and gain muscle and strength I didn’t think I could.
But I have also come to another conclusion - the gym is just another manifestation of the self-harm, albeit a positive one, that benefits me mostly. I enjoy the pain, the aches and recovery, and eagerly anticipate the next session.
What this means, I don’t know - I’m really not a shrink. What I am is a normal guy with a story; some serious ups and downs who seems to be nearly out the other side, until something else comes along and knocks me down again. But I keep getting up and fighting back and that’s what counts.
To end for now, I want to say its possible to be happy and have depression - it sounds silly, like a juxtaposition, but my life is good. I’m 21 stone, and fit and really strong. I’m as happy as I could hope to be with my body right now. I’m getting married this year to a lovely woman with a lovely daughter. I have a roof over my head, a car, two beautiful dogs and a full time job. Yet I’m on antidepressants again. Why? Because right now I feel I need them, and my doctor does too, and they seem to help me. The point I seem to find in this is - if you need help ask for it. My depression isn’t linked to being overweight, or relationship issues, or having nothing in life - all things that would have been triggers before. It has evolved over time so it’s different for me. I’m just doing my best with what I have, and I think that’s okay.
Thanks for reading. If you got to the end, well done! I feel I rambled and maybe got off topic, but there you go - I never claimed to be a writer!!
(Find me on Instagram)
So I finally quit smoking! Wasn't a #newyearnewme or anything; I'm not into them. My daughter actually asked me "Mammy, will you please stop smoking dirty smokes", so I had to - I've no choice with Thals, I'd do anything for her. I quit 3 days later, once I had money to buy my vape because I knew myself I wouldn't do it cold turkey. I'm currently on the 6mg Donut flavour because I'm craving sweets, and one 10ml bottle is lasting me almost 2 weeks.
I'm doing amazing considering I'm smoking since I was a teenager and it was/is my FAVOURITE thing to do, I'm still gasping for one. I loved 'tea and a fag" and I'm not going to lie; I'm still loving the smell of them. I even stand beside my sister and friends when they light up, just to sniff them. I'm obviously not obeying any "personal space" rules at the moment!!
The worst thing that has happened from quitting for me was the skin breaking out! OMG! I was in so much pain. I naturally have clear skin, but these spots were almost like boils of never ending toxins coming from inside me. I don't wear makeup either midweek, so I just had to grin and bear it. The only thing that has helped is using the L'OREAL Trio face masks every 3-4 days during the time I've quit, and that has calmed my skin again.
The best thing to happen is the energy. The energy you have from about 3 days in is just amazing 😍 I no longer feel groggy waking up, my alarm goes off and I'm straight up out of bed and in good form too. I don't know if anyone else felt this after quitting - I've never heard anyone say it, but I love it!
My biggest fear quitting though was weight gain. It's natural for anyone who quits smoking to gain weight, which is fine because your metabolism slows down. My problem is I already have hypothyroidism, so excessive weight gain unfortunately is a battle I face constantly regardless of diet, exercise or smoking.
I don't own a weighing scales because I think they're evil and people become obsessed with the numbers! I already eat healthy, so I wouldn't be changing my diet because there wasn't a lot to cut out calorie-wise. So for my comparison, I took a picture of myself in my tank top and leggings and swore I would take one a week later to see if there was a huge difference. I figured I'm a big girl already, so I won't notice a few pounds, unless it's there in my face.
They only change I have made, other then quitting smoking, was walking my dogs every day. Not at a running pace or anything; I'd probably collapse 😂Just a nice "brisk" walk. I map it and I walk between 2km and 4km a night, depending on the route I take and time I walk, it's never anything over an hour in duration.
I actually wasn't going to share this because I don't want anyone thinking I'm claiming massive weight loss secrets. I don't want anyone thinking they need to go out now and loose weight because you don't - you are perfect. I won't be turning into a size 0 anytime soon, I am naturally a curvy girl, and I like that about me. We are a curvy group and our followers support us because we are confident and beautiful at any size and that will never change!
I just want to show that unintentionally, without putting any pressure on myself, physically or mentally, I managed to loose a decent amount of weight by just walking.
So if you are thinking I would like to loose weight but you can't afford the classes or seminars or expensive gyms... Why not just try walking? Set yourself some KM or time goals and see what difference you see in yourself. Myself, I would advise the picture rather then a scales or measurements, but each person will have their own individual style.
Two pieces of small advice...
(1) Don't walk alone - company is nice, even if you don't chat, but as a woman I always feel safer walking in 2's or with my 2 huskies
(2) As with any new diet or exercise regime, if you have any questions speak to your GP prior to beginning.
One last thing, extremely important, have support! My biggest support in quitting smoking and walking is my partner Cher ❤️ She has quit smoking with me/for Thals and walks with me everyday! I'm so lucky to have her, so make sure you find your "Cher" for your journey.
So unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've all heard of the Irish blogger controversy. From mild photoshopping, to an alternative reality, to the down right bizarre (seagulls anyone?), we've seen it all come out over the last week. But the big question is...how accountable can we hold them?
Bloggers and models are judged on a daily basis; from what their wearing, make up, hair, shoes and accessories - nothing is off limits!
We are now part of a generation that expects nothing less that perfection We perpetuate it and demand it. You go online and are greeted with Insta pictures of women and men with perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect make up, we've become de-sensitised to reality. Where's all the girls at in there mis-matched pjs, last nights make up on and Hun buns?!?
You've seen the pictures of the 'normal' men and woman, and also seen the comments tearing them to shreds over blemished skin, roots on show, cellulite and few extra pounds.
We scream for 'real' but recoil when we actually get it.
Maybe, just maybe, if we supported, loved and accepted one another, there would be no pressure to maintain unrealistic standards. Yes people feel lied to and conned, but we also need to ask what we contributed to this.
A quote for the Truman show comes to mind......
Mike Michaelson: Christof, let me ask you, why do you think that Truman has never come close to discovering the true nature of his world until now?
Christof: We accept the reality of the world with which we're presented. It's as simple as that.
Yes - bloggers and models have a responsibility to be a good influence, and be a positive in people lives, but we, as followers, also have a responsibility to be aware that there's a human person behind the pictures, and start to have more realistic expectations.
Everyone has a lesson to learn from this - be true to yourself ;don't apologise for being you; don't bow to pressure to be something your not; and most of all be kind to one another!
I sat down late last night and finally got to watch “Girls Trip” with my partner. We have hectic lives and even though it was almost midnight and we were all up early, we grasped at those few hours of peace together. While watching the film we laughed! We laughed harder then we have at a film in a long time, but we also saw similarities of ourselves and to our own groups of friends.
This week is mental health awareness week and with all the extra that goes on in our heads and our lives, sometimes we just forget to take time for ourselves with loved ones, friends, family and laugh!
Sometimes we feel like the world is crashing down upon us. Nothing needs to have happened to trigger this. I can be having the best day and then the anxiety hits out of nowhere. I know myself I suffer with it more during times of high stress. When my routine changes, if I’m late or someone is causing me to be late (I’m OCD about time), small fights with family or friends, exams, deadlines, sleepless nights, Christmas when you’re literally pulling money out of you’re a*s to feed consumerism bullsh*t (that’s another rant in itself). I genuinely see myself as insane during these times, and I’m open and okay at the fact that I’m a wound-up spring of stress who lets my mind get the better of me occasionally. That is just me, and the people around me accept it. If not “jog on!”.
I don’t dwell on these days, I brush them aside and continue to move forward day by day, but not everyone is mentally able to do this. That is OKAY!! It’s OKAY to not be OKAY. It’s OKAY to seek out help and speak about your problems, or the fact that your mind is a rollercoaster of crazy because you were 10 mins late to someone’s birthday. Trust me, you aren’t the only one who feels this way.
I am lucky in the fact that I have a family who sees my crazy and accepts it in all its chaotic wonder. My partner is always there to tell me I’m acting insane, and then comforts me until it passes. I have friends that know if we’re late or I’m stressed because of exams, I’ll be off form and bitchy because my brain cannot cope with it. Better yet, I accept them for their “moments of madness” too.
I am not trying to make light of mental health, but I’m showing how it affects me personally on a daily basis and, how I feel personally about it, and how I personally deal with it. Generally, its only my nearest and dearest who know about it, but that is because I don’t feel the need to broadcast it, and I have been lucky enough to be mentally strong enough to get myself out of my own head, or have had help from them closest to me.
I find that the only way I come out of it is by someone highlighting it and saying, “your acting crazy Rach” and then I realise that I can talk to them, be held by them, or give out because they’re never on time,and it drives me cracked and they mentioned it so it’s already out there!
Then I feel better and we laugh about it. We drink tea and we laugh about how crazy those few moments or days or months where. I laugh because when I am feeling good in my head again, I can see for myself that what I thought was the end of the world and what I thought was going to mentally destroy me, wasn’t that huge a problem after all once it was shared. Once it was out in the open and I am helped to see a solution or just allowed to be furious at it, then it isn’t as scary.
All I’d ask of you this week, as my crazy self, is to ask someone for tea and ask them while they’re there “Are you okay?”. If they are - great. and if not, you have given them the opening. You have given them a safe place to air what might be on their mind without fear of judgement.
Tea dates have saved my sanity on more than one occasion, and I am blessed each day to be surrounded by people who accept the fact that myself and themselves are not always 100% but we drink tea, solve the problems of the world and then…. We laugh.
Rach @ CC xx
If you need to talk and you feel you cannot talk to those closest here are some numbers and emails of organisations that can help;
“Lyons Tea has been at the centre of conversation in Irish households for generations. Many a problem has been shared over a cup of our tea.”
This is an open letter to the girl I used to bully...
Did I think I could ever be a bully? No I didn't, but I was. It started off small; little comments or remarks when she would do something ''stupid'', when she couldn't get something right or would say something I thought was silly.
I would tell her to keep her mouth shut; that people would think she was an idiot; to stop embarrassing herself!
The more things she got wrong, the worse I became. The more she annoyed me and messed up, the comments got more vicious. "Why are you always so stupid?", "Why can't you do anything right?", "No wonder no one likes you, your an absolute embarrassment".
I hated who I was becoming, but I couldn't stop. I started picking on her clothes, her make up and her hair. "Why did you wear that, you look horrible". "No amount of make up will fix your awful skin". "You can do what you like with that mess of hair, but it will still look horrible on you".
The more I commented, the more I hated myself. The more I hated myself, the more I took it out on her... "You're getting fat". "Who would ever fancy you when you look like that?". "Look at all that fat on your stomach - it's disgusting". "How can you leave the house knowing people will have to look at you like that?". "Your friends don't even like you, your so fat and ugly".
It kept getting worse......
"Why don't you just get surgery, your never going to be good enough the way you are?"
"Look at those stretch marks, you haven't even had kids yet and your stomach is a mess". "Crying won't help you lose weight, you'll still never be thin or pretty enough!"
I wanted to hurt her, I wanted her to just go away so no one would have to look at her, least of all me... But it's hard to make someone go away when she's staring right back at you through the mirror.
THE GIRL I BULLIED WAS ME.
So to the girl I used to bully; I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for not loving you; for not encouraging you; for not being patient while you found yourself lost and confused in this world. For all the times I told you that you were useless, stupid and couldn't do anything right; I'm sorry.
For all the times I called you fat, ugly and useless; I'm sorry.
You deserved better. You deserved to be nurtured, cared for and most of all...loved.
I'll never bully you again.
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
So recently I posted this photo of myself and I didn't realise the storm it would cause - and not for good reasons! I was asked why I would post a picture like that of myself? Well here's a few reasons why!.....
I spent most of my teens into my early twenties battling EVERY SINGLE DAY TO BE THIN; sometimes resorting to extreme lengths to acquire what I thought was the perfect body....and for who?!?
It certainly wasn't benefiting me when I starved myself for days on end. My hair became thin and brittle (like my body). I would sit crying some days, unable to leave the house because I couldn't bare anyone seeing how 'ugly' and 'fat' I was (at the time I was 6 stone lighter).
I used to imagine cutting the fat off my body when starving it away wasn't quick enough, looking up cosmetic surgeries in the hope of chasing perfection.
So who was it all for?!? For everyone else except me; for all those who called me fat and told me I'd had enough to eat; those who told me I'd be so pretty if I was thinner; those whose own unrealistic body perceptions were being projected onto my body!
So why would I put up a picture like that? FOR ME AND NO ONE ELSE! It's my body and I make the rules now, for what makes me happy and is good for my body and mind. I do it for all the girls who message me and Celtic Curves everyday saying we are changing how they view their bodies and are able to start the process of loving themselves.
So the next time someone makes ANY comment on your body or questions why you do something tell them #mybodymyrules
Be unapologetically you , there is nothing more beautiful!
Love and curves
I just wanted to have a little talk about individuality.
Within life, and especially in this industry, people are sometimes expected to fit into a mould and a certain category. People who meet me often think that I am very confident, but I always have this fear when I meet new people about how much I need to ‘dumb down’ my personality. You see I'm a little quirky. I've always been a bit of a contradiction. I used to be a ‘goth’ who loved cheesy pop music and glitter. I'm a professional business woman who is often being silly. I often take on the mothering role, but I am the most childlike. I'm the most insecure confident girl. And I'm a needy independent woman. And yet all of them are me (I blame the fact that I'm a Gemini!).
Fiona is our big sister of the group. Always fussing around us and being so kind.
Emma is our intellect who comes out with the funniest things and has a crazy laugh.
Nicole is our mischievous little pixie, who is so much fun.
Charlotte is our rocker princess. So glamorous.
And last but certainly not least is Rachel who is just ‘too cool for school’ and is ‘uber funky’. Yes... I am using old school weird phrases but she warrants it!
And me...well I'll be the one ruining a picture by doing something silly. Yet, I can be the uber organised bossy one when I need to!!
Individuality is important. Trying to be someone you're not is stifling (trust me I know). It can pull you down. Please never be anything other than yourself, as it's OK to be different. Life would be so boring if everyone was the same!
That is what is so amazing about being with Celtic Curves. We are all completely different characters who love and respect each other's ‘quirks’. This is what makes us special. There is no one like us. As we are ourselves.
Just like there should be know one like you. I'm not saying that everyone should be crazy as that is not everyone's personalities. Just be yourself because we love you just the way you are. So go forth my pretties and, to quote a song from Shrek the musical - "Let your freak flag fly’.
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.
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?”
Well I hope today you started by saying “I am!” If not, here’s a few fun facts and information for your beautiful self before your too hard on that face staring back at you.
Do you know that it is scientifically proven that women are less pleased then men by their reflection? That what we see in our reflection is greatly distorted from what others see of us?! This reflection of what we think is our true self apparently isn’t us at all! So, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Our face, body etc. can be more loved by a bystander then ourselves - how is that right?!
What you see in your mirror reflection can be greater or less distorted from your true reflection by anything from mood, age, sex, weight, past emotional experiences and even just what you ate for lunch. That’s a hell of a lot of variables to consider when you wake up with a puffy face, drool down your chin and your hair like a nest!
Do you ever open your camera accidently and your met with an image like this?
And you just think “FML Sideways!” All chins and nostrils! Honey relax, no one - and I mean no one - looks good at this angle!
That being considered, everyone has their “good side”. This is the part that we conceive to be the best angle to view our reflection from, but it’s us viewing it and scrutinising it; and remember, what we ate for breakfast might make us hate it!
Next to that you deal with everyone’s nightmare - the ideal selfie! You know the score, its Saturday night… you’re with your mates… 600 selfies in and FINALLY one we all mildly approve on. The head tilt is right, the forehead isn’t glossy, my nose hasn’t got the weird snot shadow AND go team, cleavage game is strong!
See what once was called vanity has now become the entire opposite. You see we have become a society that now instead of being vain and overly loving ourselves (like was once thought), we now are entirely insecure and tear ourselves apart.
We take 600 selfies… we glance at every mirror or reflective surface that we pass… we spend 3 hours doing our hair and makeup and people would say we’re narcissists, but I think it’s more because we are totally insecure to the mind-f*ck that is perfection. So, we spend every day, every mirror glance and every picture searching for it.
It does not exist! You are the ideal mirror image of you and true beauty is only skin deep! You can be society's ideal beauty but I’ll tell you something for nothing; your personality and attitude can be rotten to the core. I’d rather be loved for my banter then how I look in a picture.
What you need to take from this is that you, as you are, standing there in front of the mirror, hating on yourself are beautiful. That picture of you that just got tagged on Facebook, okay it’s not your finest but it’s simply one moment frozen in time. The mirror you just walked past is only one glimpse, one angle of a face and body that is beautiful, even if you can’t see it right this second!
A reflection or an image cannot provide you with self-worth. Your number of likes on a social media image doesn’t directly relate to the amount of love or true friendship in your life. Your image cannot show your warmth, compassion, personality or aura.
My favourite quote has to be, mirrors “are a temporary receptacle for some tiny fraction of our soul”. There’s a huge amount of truth to it. If people could all see our soul instead of our skin, would you be beautiful?
What is more important… the likes and the good picture, or being a good person who is true to themselves while still being happy in their own skin without justification from anyone else?
Rach @ CC xx
Body positive week was the 8th to the 14th of May this year….but it doesn’t stop there!
Body positivity is here to stay……it’s for life!
Unfortunately, body positivity is a relatively new concept to me because for as long I could remember I hated my body. I was so cruel to myself and said things to the mirror you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy. Thankfully in the last year I have finally put all that behind me, my confidence has grown and I am so much happier.
Events such as body positive week are so important as they provide support, education and a platform to reach out to people who are hurting.
According to everyone’s best friend Google;
“The Body Positive Movement is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being”
Now, this is the technical definition of body positivity but what does it really mean??
The very fact that body positivity is now been described as a movement is a triumph itself.
This means its gaining momentum. We are bombarded everyday with images, articles, and adverts that tell us there is something wrong with us if we don’t look a certain way. The only problem is there are so many “certain ways”, that having them all is physically impossible. We are all guilty of, at some stage, chasing that idea of “perfection” - this again is physically impossible as what’s perfect is completely subjective and unique to every individual.
Body positivity does not discriminate!
Body positivity is about every man and woman being able to appreciate and admire the skin they are in without feelings of guilt or shame. It is also about changing peoples attitudes and creating a culture of acceptance where no one will judge another for their size or shape.
This doesn’t mean we should all start prancing around in the nip telling everyone how much we love our bodies, but it does mean that you should be kinder to yourself and to others.
When you learn to accept and love what you do have instead of been consumed by what
you think you should have the world becomes a brighter, happier place, going to the beach wont fill you with dread, showing your partner your new lingerie wont fill you with fear.
A few simple ways to be more body positive;
If you get nothing else from this please remember these 2 things;
Lots of love,
Can you remember....Putting on your Mam's reddest lippy, finding your most fabulous dress-up princess dress....don’t forget the plastic tiara, oversized jewellery and plastic play time half inch heels!! You were totally over the top… Then you would strut up the street like the fabulous little girl you were!... Feeling invincible and beautiful…
What I wouldn’t give to be that fearless 5-year- old again! The little girl with the world at her feet and nothing holding her back because she hadn’t yet been subjected to the mental torment our society continues to dish out daily… that there somehow is an ideal woman… an ideal body… an ideal figure… and if you don’t have exactly what is shown in advertising/music videos/sign boards then you are lead to believe, from a young age, that you as a person are not worthy of self-love or body acceptance!
You see this shoot was probably the hardest ever, for all of us! Not only was it beach wear but it
included a 2-piece bikini, on an actual beach, in front of normal people going about their business. As models and ambassadors for body acceptance we at Celtic Curves do lots of photoshoots but we have never had one so public or with our bodies so bare. When we received the package from Viva Voluptuous we were all genuinely excited. “This is it ladies… we’re doing this shoot to be plus and proud… we’re going to show that normal women with plus size bodies are beautiful too…”. The package included the “Daisy Plus Size Swim Suit”, “Daisy Plus Size Tankini Top and Bikini Bottoms” and “Sabrina Plus Size Bikini Top and Bikini Bottoms”.
As the day drew nearer division in the ranks about the shoot became apparent. This was getting daunting for all of us. Not one of us escaped the self-loathing that week. We began to nit-pick at ourselves. We spoke honestly to one another about how we didn’t feel confident. Tears were shed and confidence was at an all-time low. Our stomachs were bloated. We had all gained a little weight from down time. Our stretch marks had suddenly become more raised, red and visible overnight. The cellulite on our legs had suddenly developed into pot holes on our skin. Our bingo wings had gotten so large they could be used as wings to take off.
None of this was the case; we were simply scared. Grown women and mams, scared to put on a swim suit on a beach! Body ambassadors who constantly strive to build up a positive body image for Plus Size women, scared to show their bodies. Role models for the next generation, scared to put themselves out there. Honestly, it was a low for us all and it did take a toll. Fiona and Emma, due to personal reasons, decided not to participate in the shoot. Even after all of us trying to badger them into it. They personally were not okay with their bodies that week and did not feel confident, comfortable or ready to participate in a beach wear shoot. At Celtic Curves, we have a united stance - we are a support network for each other; we are a family. So, it was hard to continue without them that day, and even harder that we couldn’t make them see just how beautiful they truly are. However, we will never force another person in the group to do something they are not 100% ready for.
You see what people don’t understand is that putting yourself out there, to help other women, to possibly be judged by trolls and people with ideal body images, is hard! We are normal women, with normal jobs, normal bodies and normal everyday feelings. We are not always full of confidence. We don’t wake up every morning and say “YES I AM THE MOST STUNNING CREATURE CREATED!” We genuinely have down days too; we’re normal women, we also have days where we hate the sight of ourselves. We hate the rolls we have, the stretch marks, the extra boob at the side, the fact our old jeans no longer fit us.
On the day, myself, Rhian, Charlotte and Nicole took to the beach for the shoot with Emma and Fiona there to support us, because we needed all the support we could get for this shoot. We started the shoot behind the sand dunes. This was intentionally done so we could almost hide ourselves from the public eye. We were literally hiding ourselves in beach wear, on a beach! I was the first to put the bikini on...not going to lie, I was terrified, but someone had to do it… What happened next was true strength, love and acceptance for ourselves and each other. We all stood there together, looking at each other, waiting to see what everyone thought of the “hideous body” we hide underneath our clothes. The responses began to flow and do you know what??… they were all POSITIVE COMPLIMENTS! We all looked amazing!
The beach wear completely flattered our body shapes. All the suits sat correctly on our chests and stomachs, while providing support without cutting off circulation. Our thighs weren’t bulging out of the end because the fabric was flimsy or too tight like normal beach wear. My boobs weren’t sagging down to my knees because the tops are all underwired. We didn’t have belly over flow because the briefs are made to size. These suits gave us back our confidence, they enhanced our best assets, and allowed us to look and feel comfortable in them. All plus size women will know the struggle to find good, solid, comfortable beach wear that works with a larger body instead of against it. Well ladies this is it!
The shoot continued, we moved out onto the main beach. We got into the water. We rolled around. We ran up and down the beach. We laughed. We had fun. All the while we were oblivious to anyone around us. Mostly because no one batted an eyelid in a negative way at us and because we felt good about ourselves. Emma and Fiona after being around us in the swim wear that day have decided to complete their Viva swim wear shoot at a later date! The day was a complete success on so many levels.
You see, I feel your life and emotions are greatly affected by the vibes you put out there or vibes you are subjected to daily. The vibes and comments we allow ourselves to dwell on. That week not one of us as good vibes to add about ourselves to the group, and it did affect us all negatively. This is normal though. It is okay to not always be okay about every little thing about yourself and your body. You just need to remember not to allow it to consume you. Rise above it! Push yourself to be the best you! Take a risk. Take a chance. Trust me, all of us can now say it was the best and most fun shoot we’ve ever done!
The best thing for all of us as individual women, and as a group, was we didn’t allow it to stop us. We did the shoot. We wore swim wear, with our bodies bare, on a beach, in front of the public! This truly was a huge step for all of us! The confidence we all felt from being around each other. From being around strong fearless women who faced their terrors (and yes, sometimes being half naked is a genuine terror for a plus size woman!) and came out all the more fabulous for it! That’s the kind of inspiration and good vibes that will get you through the hard days. It is what you need to hold onto on the dark days when self-loathing is consuming you.
We are so happy that Viva Voluptuous provided the swim wear for the shoot and we would just like to take a chance to thank them from the bottom of our hearts. Firstly, because they allowed us to test ourselves and push our boundaries. Secondly, for making such amazing swim wear for Plus Size women.
We at Celtic Curves all believe that every woman deserves an enjoy full day at the beach, feeling confident in her skin and would highly recommend this brand and swim wear to provide you with all that and more. So go on, embrace your inner 5 year old, or better yet, show your child, that fierce 5 year old who watches you in amazement, that you are the strong, empowered, fearless woman that she already knows you are!
Rach @ Celtic Curves xx
Daisy Swimsuit 1 piece
Daisy Plus Size Bikini Bottoms
Daisy Plus Size Tankini Top
Sabrina Plus Size Bikini Top
Sabrina Plus Size Bikini Bottoms
Photos by Mark Leddy
Rachel's MUA - Emma's Makeup Room
So I was asked to do a little piece for the lovely ladies at Celtic Curves - positive role models in every sense of the word. I wasn’t sure what to write about that would be of interest to everyone. I was a little scared because it’s one thing writing for myself, but to write for others is a little harder.
Then I remembered the quote below, fear doesn’t open doors.
So a little about me from way back when, before the world turned upside down.
I’m an only child, but not the spoiled type that people go on about. My dad was a lot older than my mum, and unfortunately when I was 9, he passed away. Life got tough and I moved from Sligo to Donegal at age 11 to live with my aunt.
I was such a shy awkward child who was bigger than the average child, and boy did I pay for it. From the age of 11 till 13, I was badly bullied. I had two nicknames courtesy of the bullies - R.A.T (Russian army tank) or for anyone of a certain age you will remember the advert for Domestos that went (sing it it makes more sense!)...."Big Big Dom". Well I was big Anne. I was often kicked and punched, had rotten eggs pelted at me etc. One night, I finally had enough after being punched in the stomach. I got up, pulled my fist behind my head and hit that boy with all the force of the big girl I was, and left him on his ass. From that day on, I was never bullied again, I realised bullies are cowards and once you stand up to them, they cower.
I think that was the start of my journey fighting with myself to be like everyone else so I wouldn’t stand out. God or the heavens had other plans. At 17 I got Alopecia. It was just patches to start with, but by 22 it was all gone & I’d lost all my hair on my head and body.
So why now am I putting myself out there? Two reasons - a broken heart, and I’m tired hiding. So many people hide for various reasons but not me; not anymore. I want people to see me. I want to make a bald woman the norm. Hell, I want to make the type of person I am the norm. I won’t let the lack of hair or the size of my clothes define me and neither should you!
Be you. There’s no one else like you in the world, and that should be celebrated. I love this quote “I am me there is no one else I’d rather be”. Be you, be brave and most of all be authentic to yourself.
Ms Amazebald xx
So a while back, I came across this picture. Two sisters; two very different models. These women are obviously both physically stunning, but while its easy look at this photograph & think 'gorgeous' and just keep scrolling onto the next image, it has resonated with me for so many weeks, I just had to write this blog.
I think as a woman (a plus size woman at that), I've become so accustomed to seeing pictures of thin beautiful woman beside a thicker woman, usually with some connotation along the lines of 'drop 10 pounds in a month' or 'look at how fat shes gotten' or 'shes wasting away, where have her curves gone?'. For example, type into Google 'Celebs thin to fat'. 15 million hits come up. Now type in 'Celebs fat to thin'; 18 million results come up. Why is this so important?? Because as a society, we have moved towards becoming more accepting of plus size - but at what cost?
We've moved to the movement of Thick Vs Thin. Now its all about the weight gain/weight loss, who has cellulite and lose skin-game. Shock horror! Kim Kardashian's ass has cellulite! Tyra banks gains a few pounds! Kate Middleton loses a few. Why are we pitting woman against each other, and themselves, by constantly comparing and criticizing them by sticking a picture of whatever they are this week (too thick or too thin) next to a picture taken of them 10 years ago, accompanied by the headlines crying out 'Whats happened her body/face??'
Why has this become the so much the norm that it doesn't even register with me the way it should anymore? Why does it take a picture like the first one above to stop me in my tracks and make me think?
This is what should be normal! Stunningly beautiful woman of ALL sizes rocking their bodies beside each other; big hips to thin hips showing us that EVERY SINGLE BODY IS BEAUTIFUL! Next time you pick up magazines and see these B******T images remind yourself; your perfect and so are they, don't feed into the problem. Be the one to turn away and tell the next woman you see how amazing she is just the way she is........
“If you worked out, you would be slimmer"....
"If you dieted, you’d lose it quicker"
"There’s no excuse for being your size"....
"People don’t look better with weight on them"…
"Big is not beautiful”...
Well #effyourbeautystandards society and all you trolls out there. Our bodies are not “One size fits all!!"
We talk about body confidence daily at Celtic Curves - it’s all over every social media site, it’s in every newspaper, and this week is #BodyPositiveWeek. But to be body positive and confident, you need to have the strength to be positive mentally too.
I watch what I eat (but I never diet) and I “workout” a little. I don’t do it to lose weight, I don’t even own a weighing scales. I’m extremely happy and confident in my skin. I do it for fun with my friends. They do more hardcore classes and gym work also, but I go to Zumba and Pilates. I LOVE Zumba and Pilates!!
Zumba is a fast-paced dance to some really good songs and it just gets you out of your head for 40 minutes. You let loose and shake every inch, while not being in a room of judging eyes. I am always sweating after it, and look, as one of my mates says every time “tomato faced”!! But I come out feeling happy and refreshed for doing it. It increases my positive look on life because in raises my endorphins without me feeling like I want to collapse from running 100 miles on a treadmill.
Pilates is relaxed and challenging. My hips don’t move like they used and my size 38F boobs try to smother me several times in class (Haha)!
None of this puts me off though. We do Pilates on a Friday evening, and after a stressful week of being a mammy, partner, friend, college student, daughter, model, blogger...(you get the idea - I’m busy!), I need something to chill me out and relax my mind. I don’t know about you but sometimes 40 minutes of rolling on the floor just listening to yourself breathing can help mellow you out, and also gives you a giggle and a smile when your friends are there beside you looking just as odd!!
In this day and age, mental health awareness has never been more prominent and I can promise you, getting up and out will help clear your head and allow you some “me” time.
We all NEED “me” time.
Why not try it??? Zumba and Pilates are low impact classes and no one there will judge you because we all look as ridiculous as each other bouncing around, and I swear it’s really fun!!
There’s only one me, in one body, and I love her!
Rach @CC xx
#StayFabulous #BodyPositveWeek #ConfidentInMySkin
p.s. as with all physically activities, please seek advice from your GP/class instructor before beginning if you have any underlying medical conditions or injuries.
We at Celtic Curves had the honour of being contacted by Viva Voluptuous for our opinion and review on 2 of their products. We are 6 friends from Ireland who also happen to be plus size women with a background in modelling. Our overall goal is to promote body positivity and raise awareness to appreciate the diversity amongst women. We range in dress size 16 to 24, bra cup sizes B to E and ages 25 to 45. None of us are of similar body shape (we are everything from hour glass, pear, triangle and apple), and we all carry weight in different areas on our bodies.
The items arrived within 3 days of posting from the UK. On opening the packaging, the fresh fragrance filled the room and almost set the mood for what lay beneath. The items were all individually wrapped; they were almost too beautiful to open but we made short work of it in all the excitement! The Black Lara set was immediately seen to be sleek, seducing & sexy. The Yellow Celia set was fun, flirty and feminine and encouraged a side of playfulness to our shoot. The combination of handcrafted lace, silk and sheer chiffon throughout the garments enticed a sense of arousal, while still being elegant in nature.
Now for what we strive to give all our followers, and anyone who contacts us - a totally honest insight to what we felt about the experience and the product. The Black Lara set was a size 42E and the Yellow Celia set a 38E; neither an ideal fit for all of us. So at the beginning of the shoot, the majority of us were honestly pessimistic; how would the pictures look? Would we feel comfortable enough to be that exposed, not only to our friends but a photographer and then the world?
Would the items hide our “flaws” (which we all still feel we have we just try to concentrate on the good)? Were us curvy women sexy enough to wear items of this calibre??.. At the end of the day, we are every day women, we all work, have families and other commitments but what we collectively do have is the confidence inside ourselves to try and the encouragement of the group to succeed.
So, to answer all our original questions and worries… YES… we all fit into the items and, not only did we fit, we rocked them too! They both complimented so many aspects of our bodies, even when none of our bodies are like each others, in size or in shape.
The chiffon allowed coverage for the tummy and hips area by not clinging to the skin, and instead skimming at all the right angles. The silk of the underwired bust accentuated what already lay beneath whilst providing support and shape. The lace/daisy details and length of both the baby dolls and kimonos were eye catching while providing seductive coverage to keep the overall outfits classy and chic.
From all of us at Celtic Curves I can 100% say we LOVED these garments and would have no hesitation on recommending them to family, friends and the greater public. The confidence boost we all received after wearing them was phenomenal. We truly felt sexy from the inside out and hopefully that shows in our pictures. You don’t need to have the “ideal” body to wear this lingerie; you just need the confidence in yourself and after trying them on you will ooze confidence!
Viva Voluptuous where have you been all our lives?!
Rach @ Celtic Curves xx
Black Lara Babydoll - https://vivavoluptuous.com/product/lara-plus-size-black-babydoll-chemise/
Black Lara Kimono - https://vivavoluptuous.com/product/plus-size-luxury-lace-kimono-robe-gown/
Yellow Celia Babydoll - https://vivavoluptuous.com/product/yellow-plus-size-celia-babydoll-chemise/
Yellow Celia Kimono - https://vivavoluptuous.com/product/yellow-plus-size-celia-kimono-gown/
Photography by Mark Leddy - https://www.facebook.com/mark.leddy.14
Models/Review Celtic Curves - https://www.facebook.com/CelticCurves/