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
Who are you raising? Who is watching how you behave and act towards others? Who is listening to how you speak, and what verbal slurs are said on those late night girl chats?
The answer for most people....The next generation and previous generations before. Whether you are a Mam, Auntie, cousin, sister, visiting a home with a child present, or out for lunch with your ladies....there is generally a child within earshot of your conversation. While we all accept that everyone is entitled to their opinions and to have adult conversation, lets just have a little think about it.
I have a 5-year-old who is as “diva” as they come. Fabulously diva, love everything about her sass and genuinely without being biased, she is very well behaved (for the most part). She is full to the brim with confidence, and with confidence comes the attitude and the feeling that she knows it all. We know she does not. She is quick with her back chat and even quicker with a temper tantrum! So as her Mam, I act daily to keep her in line. No this doesn’t mean I beat her or have her scared to speak or be herself, but it does mean she realises there is a limit… an imaginary line that she shouldn’t cross.
Why do I do this? Because I am her Mam, not her mate. I say this to her frequently too. Of course, I want her to feel like she can approach me in difficult times (in fairness this is how my Mam was and we have always had an extremely open and amazing relationship), but she has enough friends - strong parental figures are different. You see even without you noticing, your child or the children around you will pick up your mannerisms, your sayings… harmless as they may seem. What is said by adults in conversation generally shouldn’t be said by a child, and as much as you and I know I wouldn’t say abusive comments to a person because it is wrong, children don’t…
It is the age old saying of “monkey see, monkey do”.
So why do we now have a surge in videos showing bullying, WhatsApp groups set up where it is seen by people as normal to verbally abuse others and badger suicide, comments on photos pointing out the flaws in a person. Some people will blame social media. “It’s all social medias fault… gave them the tools to do it… gives them the freedom to express themselves”… Well hold on to your knickers because I call BULLSH*T!!
Yes social media is there, yes it’s a wider platform to “express opinions”, but who taught these people it was ever okay to speak to another person like that, or to physically harm another person and record it for pleasure… better yet… who allowed their child to think that is was okay?!
These people, both adolescents and adults, didn’t just wake up one morning with the urge to become an Internet Troll… pet peeve of mine if I’m honest! Keyboard gangsters hiding behind a computer screen, projecting negativity that they call “an opinion” on the world, using social media without any thought of how it may influence the children reading it or the people involved in the article/post/picture they are commenting on. They slowly progressed to this.
No I don’t have a teenager, so for all the “you haven’t been there” comments coming next, I have. I was once a teenager, I’m not that old! I had social media access and peer pressure. Guess what? I still knew right from wrong. I was in no way a saint, but I never trolled to hurt someone intentionally. Do you know why?... Because my family raised me not to. They raised me with that same imaginary line so when I was old enough to “express myself” I knew that trolling or abuse was not the way to go.
Putting someone else down wont build you up. Damaging someone else’s self-esteem wont boost yours. Calling someone fat won’t make you thin...and worst of all badgering someone about committing suicide rather than holding out a hand to help is the lowest scum of the earth and that is exactly what your parents should have told you!
My point overall of this is basically a mini rant; a snippet into my thoughts after yet another week of dipping into comments to read people's responses on the most random of posts. I am disgusted by trolls and fearful of them in relation to when my daughter grows up.
Families across the world have forgotten their roles because they’re too busy trying to be “cool mates” to their children, rather than their parental figures. I see it daily, and I will never understand it. Their phones are too close to their own faces to see what their child is doing in front of them on theirs. Suddenly a verbal slur, as negative as can be, is seen as okay because it is an “opinion”.
Child depression and suicide death rates are at an all-time high. This image is from 2015, http://www.nsrf.ie/statistics/suicide/ and in my opinion it’s a sad day for humanity when 10-14 year olds not only think suicide is their only option, but may have been driven to it.
The youth of today have more confidence in a hand-held device then speaking to each other, or a parental figure face to face and we ask why?…
We can blame social media but who is really to blame?
Rach @ CC xx
An opinionated woman and Mam…
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 write this as an extremely proud Mam of one amazing, 5-year-old, daughter. Alongside that, I am an independent, stressed-out, full time UNI student in my final year (currently working rotation shifts for no pay). I have a partner, family, friends, 4 dogs and a social life on occasion. Oh, and I am also fostering a 4 week old kitten. On top of all that, I have Celtic Curves, blogs and shoots. Needless to say, I am flat out busy!
So here’s some sarcastically humoured Mammy Truths. See, if you don’t have blind sarcasm, wit and a will to live, no matter how much you love them, you won’t survive! I mean YOU, the woman you were before… If you’re easily troubled or have zero sense of humour, turn away now… there’s no going back!
It’s not a miracle experience! It’s not beautiful! Its blind, agonising pain from the minute you find out your pregnant with stuff stretching, swelling and itching. Its blood, bodily fluids and poo (yep poo, yours...theirs....everywhere!) in those 9 months, and during the hours of labour, not once did I say “Awh jaysis, now isn’t this the most fabulous scenario I ever pictured myself in"... No, not once because at the time, when you’re in the moment, its bleeding not, it’s just horrific!!
The night feeds… holy sweet divine… If you ever want to mentally torment someone… make them do night feeds! You’re only in the bed and your back up. Your down in the kitchen boiling kettles, your pouring coffee into bottles instead of cups, you’re back up the stairs, forgetting the bottle and you’d rather fling yourself out a window then walk back down 13 steps! Your bed becomes the floor beside their cot because the walk is too far. Or worse… you co-sleep, the biggest mortal sin of all time! Just accept you’ll never sleep again, and be tired forever, and it becomes mildly more manageable!
Nappies and formula… Awh, the fear of having a poo… nappies and formula… can’t close my legs or sit down… nappies and formula… sweating everywhere, greasy hair that’s falling out…nappies and formula…oh look my boob is leaking… nappies and formula… belly is saggy and stretchmarks are itching… nappies and formula…
Right let’s do this!! It's gonna be a good day. I actually washed myself! Let’s get me and this child out of the house! So, we’ll need 7 outfits because she’ll poo and puke on them all, 50 million nappies, 67 bottles, 4 bags ,a pram with 4 different attachments because the car seat needs its own handles, the bottom detaches, the pram clicks into a base… oh and none of it fits into an average sized car, so you have to load part of the pram in the boot and part on the front seat, because the 700 other items are on the backseat. Now I’m sweating, and the child is waking, because it took so long to get ready and now she’s due another feed… and I'm crying because I'm exhausted…f*ck this sh*t...back into my PJs and we’ll stay in!
Visitors coming today… YES adult conversation with people who live outside, in the real world!! The house looks like a nuclear missile of sh*te just went off, so let’s rant at our partner for 6 hours about how they do nothing and that it’s all their fault - not just the house, OH NO - everything, the fact that the sky is blue! Why?! Because for the 1st year or so they become your enemy! They will literally bug you for breathing, why do they even need oxygen?! Then by the time the visitors come, your both just scowling and wishing everyone would leave!
,Every mother before you… especially your Mam or worse your partner's Mam (the aul bag) is now the bible of total bullsh*t that they “swear worked for us”, and they insist on either telling you or showing you how it should be done...because obviously, we’re doing it all wrong. HOW has the child even survived this long?! Eh, back the f*ck off and have a seat, your child ate dirt till they were 5… trust me I’ll manage!
iYour first night out! Woop! I have a sitter, the baby is gone and I'm going out with the girls! Skinny b*tches with no flabby bits, because their uterus is where it’s supposed to be inside them! Freedom… bye bye baby!!
And then the tears start because you’re a terrible mother for leaving them.
Then the fears... I have to wash myself and style my hair… I have to do makeup…OMG my bush hasn’t been waxed since pre-baby, and for the love of god don’t put a mirror down there! It’ll never look the same again and that causes more tears! I’ll have to stay awake and have a conversation about how wonderful their lives are in the real world… I’ll have to have a hangover! Maybe I’ll just stay In and sleep, all night!
My body - what is this new body?? I hate it and I want the old one back! For some magical creatures, their body just snaps back like an elastic band. For others, it never goes back… the baby pouch is there, the stretchmarks, the varicose veins, the flabby boobs and thighs, cankels… the f*cking cankels!
Accept them and stop hating them… they’re you… you just grew a whole human being!! Cut yourself some slack!
This is only some of the thoughts and experiences you might have. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s wonderful too. Your hormones will turn you into a blubbering mess and you’ll be so consumed with a love you’ve never felt before. You will have a new reason to live! The point of this little snippet into my thoughts is simply that all the craziness is normal! Any of the above doesn’t mean I love my daughter any less. It just means my life 360 flipped and I had to learn how to live a different way.
I’ve only taken on (self-titled because of how they affected me not her) “the terrible 2's, the traumatic 3's, the furious 4's and the FML 5's”!
There’s a lot more to come, and I honestly can’t wait for them because I get to do it with my daughter and then add humour to keep my sanity!
No one is perfect so stop trying to be… no one can do it all, you won’t have enough hours in the day… no woman is the ideal mother… embrace the crazy as well as the good, and accept that you are no longer the woman you were… you are now Mammy!
Rach @ CC xx
We’re all just winging it!
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.