Beach days and bikinis

I’m a big fan of feeling good about yourself. I don’t always practice what I preach. But I do try.

I’ve recently started a meditation course and part of it is learning to use kindness and compassion on oneself.

I am, and always have always been, very self deprecating, it’s a protective measure I suppose, in that no one can say worse things about me than I have said about myself.

But I have found since having cancer I have been kinder to me. When I used to look in the mirror I hated what I saw, I starved myself on and off since the age of 16 to 36.

At one point when I was 16 I was 6 and a half stone…and later as an fully grown, mother of two adult I was down to 7st 9lb. (I’m a lonnnnnnnnng way off this now).

I can say in all honesty I still wasn’t happy with how I looked though. My life was happy, but I disliked what I saw in the mirror.

I was striving for an acceptance from others and from myself in some ways, in my skewed belief that my low as possible weight was the pinnacle of this endeavour.

When I came round from my operation 9 years ago I felt different. Obviously I now looked different but I didn’t feel stressed or traumatised like I did pre operation.

It’s possible that my education in being more self aware and less self condemning started a few months before I was diagnosed with cancer, when my then 13 year old son Sam was in hospital being treated for cancer. When you’ve seen your child suffer horrifically and other children suffer things a child never should I’d say it’s almost impossible to worry about what you look like.

The inconsequential things in life are exactly that.

We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.

It’s very freeing. I’ve heard cancer be referred to as a ‘dark gift’, I totally agree with that, it really sorts out your priorities. I don’t recommend it as a pathway through life but I’m perfectly happy to collect all the positives it brings with it along the way.

When I came round from my AP resection I felt a beautiful sense of calm. It’s something I never expected or experienced before, but that calm has never left.

I agree it’s very weird that now having a bag of poo attached to my abdomen I like what I see in the mirror (not because of the bag of poo itself you understand, we’re not starting all that nonsense again!) More startling than that I feel positive about how my body looks.

Even though it’s much much bigger than it used to be, the pre cancer me would have had a fit at the now me, and even though I always have to have a colostomy bag on I feel I look great. That’s not to say I do look great, it’s just that I feel great! What others think of me is none of my business.

Years ago an extended family member called me chubby when I had gained weight and gone up to 8 st 3lb….eight stone!! Chubby!!?? Hahahahaha classic! Luckily we don’t have contact with them now, which has probably done wonders for my self esteem and self confidence.

See, yet more positives cancer can bring. It not only shows you who’s important to you, but also who you’re important to. That can also be very freeing.

Am I frustrated that I’m over weight? Yes, to a degree it’s annoying as I know I’m not over indulging. But is it repulsing me when I look in the mirror? No. It really isn’t.

I so wish I’d felt this way since my teenage years. How wondrous would that sensation be!

On holiday I tried on my new bikini, when buying it at the airport I said to my friend Fay oh I’ll Just save it for sun bathing on the roof terrace - a safe place, where no one can see me.

But then it struck me, why would I hide this gorg bikini away. It just screams summer beach fun.

My friend and I decided on a day at the beach and I wore my bikini with pride!

I’m still here on God’s green earth (God’s quite parched earth in Spain).

Getting to love life and enjoy walks on the beach and eating delicious food, seeing friends, holding my children tight and holding my husbands hand, smelling the flowers and admiring the night sky. That’s what surviving cancer does for you.

For everything negative I have found 10 positives.

The main one of my favourite positives is body positivity!

It’s been so liberating!

There is no perfection and that’s ok. I feel for the young these days, being bombarded with Instagram perfection and ads for this and that cosmetic procedure.

And no, I’m not encouraging obesity either, there are definite health risks from obesity.

I know I need to lose 10lb to get me back into a healthy weight bracket but while I attempt to lose some lbs I’m kinder and more compassionate to my outward shell, because my inside me is at peace and calmed.

Bikini from Oasis. Was £40 but got it for a tenner in the sale at the airport.

Bikini from Oasis. Was £40 but got it for a tenner in the sale at the airport.

There are some incredible people who I follow on social media. Full of positivity and exuding positive mantras. Be they incredible people going through illness or horrendous cancer treatment with a smile on their face and showing how to live well with cancer - to this particular young lady below who blows my mind daily, although I’ve never seen an episode of Love Island in my life, can’t see I’d start any time soon either she amazes me with her resilience.  She was a previous Love Island participant who has endured such crushing losses in her life, from her mother and father to most recently her gorgeous baby girl.  And yet she has dedicated her life after to promoting real bodies, body positivity and helping those with mental health struggles and more importantly showing how you can carry on when you’ve been through a personal hell.  She’s telling girls to embrace who and what they are. That they are worth more than to be sliced and spliced about for the sole purpose of an unattainable perfection.  She’s wise beyond her years this one. I believe her parents would be incredibly proud of how she has decided to use her platform.

There are some incredible people who I follow on social media. Full of positivity and exuding positive mantras. Be they incredible people going through illness or horrendous cancer treatment with a smile on their face and showing how to live well with cancer - to this particular young lady below who blows my mind daily, although I’ve never seen an episode of Love Island in my life, can’t see I’d start any time soon either she amazes me with her resilience.

She was a previous Love Island participant who has endured such crushing losses in her life, from her mother and father to most recently her gorgeous baby girl.

And yet she has dedicated her life after to promoting real bodies, body positivity and helping those with mental health struggles and more importantly showing how you can carry on when you’ve been through a personal hell.

She’s telling girls to embrace who and what they are. That they are worth more than to be sliced and spliced about for the sole purpose of an unattainable perfection.

She’s wise beyond her years this one. I believe her parents would be incredibly proud of how she has decided to use her platform.

It took me 36 years to appreciate fully that the body I’ve been given to hold all my organs in isn’t half bad. Sure, It’s not note worthy like a super model, but I’m not here to be compared to someone else, nobody is.  We’re just here as far as I can tell to get through it as best we can, helping others where we can along the way.  I’m 46 now and I truly, fully believe my worth is unaffected by my girth!  Being happy isn’t something that can be taught. But feeling grateful is the right path for future happiness. xx  I have had a gratitude book since I saw it discussed on Oprah about a million years ago.  Feeling happy about every day little wins is one of the best feelings you can have.  Even when nothing significant has happened simply saying thank God/universe I woke up this morning is enough.  I’m still on my holiday with Fay, and now Chris has arrived too I couldn’t be happier, well maybe if the boys and all came over to stay but our little villa is a bit tiny for all that love in one place.

It took me 36 years to appreciate fully that the body I’ve been given to hold all my organs in isn’t half bad. Sure, It’s not note worthy like a super model, but I’m not here to be compared to someone else, nobody is.

We’re just here as far as I can tell to get through it as best we can, helping others where we can along the way.

I’m 46 now and I truly, fully believe my worth is unaffected by my girth!

Being happy isn’t something that can be taught. But feeling grateful is the right path for future happiness. xx

I have had a gratitude book since I saw it discussed on Oprah about a million years ago.

Feeling happy about every day little wins is one of the best feelings you can have.

Even when nothing significant has happened simply saying thank God/universe I woke up this morning is enough.

I’m still on my holiday with Fay, and now Chris has arrived too I couldn’t be happier, well maybe if the boys and all came over to stay but our little villa is a bit tiny for all that love in one place.

Dress from Zara, Shoes from Ralph Lauren, Bag from LV.

Dress from Zara, Shoes from Ralph Lauren, Bag from LV.

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Top from M&S, Skirt from Roman, Shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo

Top from M&S, Skirt from Roman, Shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo

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Top from Oliver Bonas, Shorts from Tesco, Shoes Ferragamo, Husband - models own hahahahaha

Top from Oliver Bonas, Shorts from Tesco, Shoes Ferragamo, Husband - models own hahahahaha

Beaching, bagged and happy. xxx

Beaching, bagged and happy. xxx

Top from H & M, Shorts from Next, Shoes Ferragamo  Today is 22nd June which marks my 1000th day of being alcohol free.  A great milestone in the milestones of staying off the drink.  1000 days of having to face the world stone cold sober. It’s not particularly easy but it’s now my preference.  1000 days of no crippling hangovers, heaven absolute heaven.  Chris, Fay and I went to our local marina for lunch and celebrated the only way we can…food glorious food!  Spain is fabulous for eating out in the day time. A 4 course meal, including drinks and coffees for €10!!  That’ll do nicely. :)  I’ve got an exciting week coming up once I get home from this holiday. Can’t wait.    As I always say, have bag - will travel. :)

Top from H & M, Shorts from Next, Shoes Ferragamo

Today is 22nd June which marks my 1000th day of being alcohol free.

A great milestone in the milestones of staying off the drink.

1000 days of having to face the world stone cold sober. It’s not particularly easy but it’s now my preference.

1000 days of no crippling hangovers, heaven absolute heaven.

Chris, Fay and I went to our local marina for lunch and celebrated the only way we can…food glorious food!

Spain is fabulous for eating out in the day time. A 4 course meal, including drinks and coffees for €10!!

That’ll do nicely. :)

I’ve got an exciting week coming up once I get home from this holiday. Can’t wait.

As I always say, have bag - will travel. :)