Bras, Boobs and You!

This weekend  I had the wonderful job of going to M&S to get our teen re-fitted for a new bra.  She will not thank me in the slightest for telling you that! What fascinates me is that there are just so many there to chose from… Underwire, balcony, plunge, minimiser, T-shirt, sports, strapless, backless, multiway… and that’s just the few off the top of my head!

The money stats surrounding the bra industry are pretty jaw dropping too…

The UK lingerie market is now valued at $3.18bn (£2.47bn), according to the latest industry figures from Euromonitor’s Passport database.  The market has grown 0.7% on last year and accounts for 22% of the women’s underwear market in Western Europe, which grew 1.3% in 2016 to exceed $14.3bn (£11bn).

This got me thinking about the whole fascination with boobs!  Just go back to the 70’s… when every other joke on Benny Hill revolved around how well endowed the women were… or little Babs Windsor with her well endowed chest in the Carry On films. How different it was back then huh?!

However you view them, boobs play a big part in a woman’s life… big or small!  Even at the early development of those little rosebuds, that would kill when a little dickhead at school would accidentally on purpose elbow you in them.  This would be shortly followed by the excitement of getting your first bra and believing you had now entered the big world of womanhood!

Then there’s the amazing job they do in feeding our babies.  From swelling up during pregnancy to having your milk come in and feeling like you could easily pass as Dolly Parton’s niece… or great niece even! How old is Dolly these days?

If you are able to breastfeed, that is a different story for everyone.  Some women could literally feed a village with the amount of milk they express, others find it impossible to get a bottle’s worth out!  And then there’s the tremendous amount of pain and anxiety they can cause new mothers too.  Not everyone has a great time of it when they decide to breastfeed and difficulties with feeding can lead to painful mastitis.

Unfortunately, there’s a serious side when it comes to our boobies.

We also have to be mindful of checking our boobs regularly for signs of any changes.  Hands up who does this monthly without fail? I wish I could confidently put my hand up, but I am guilty of just having a prod and a poke every now and then when I remember! Whilst I know about the visual changes I should look for, I’m not so good at checking what’s going on underneath the skin!

As I was stood in the changing room with Ellie, I couldn’t help but think about my mum.  It’s pretty obvious that my daughter has been blessed… or cursed (whichever way you want to look at it) with the genes of her Nan which seemed to skip straight past me and right onto her.  Being in an adult’s bra’s (the ones with nine hooks at the back!) at age 13 is a bit shocking, both physically for her and on the wallet for me! No more 2 for £20 offer on here!  She also has such a slight frame (being blessed with a figure like her paternal Nan) that getting her boob scaffolding right at this developmental age is vital.

My mum, being small in stature suffered with sore shoulders and backache due to the weight she had to carry up front! In 1994, her GP referred her to Bristol and after consultation, she underwent a bust reduction.  What transpired was not expected.

They had found pre-cancerous cells in her left breast in what they had taken away.  This was back in 1994, and what they had to offer then was probably very different to what would happen now.  Mum was offered what was effectively be a tummy tuck, and what they took away from her tummy would be put inside her left breast.  Long story short, this operation didn’t work.  The stomach muscle rejected and mum was in hospital for a total of five weeks following a blood clot complication.

This happened at a crazy time of my life. I was 18, at the end of college completing my exams and about to go straight into the local hospital as a trainee medical secretary. I remember swotting for exams on daily trips up to Bristol to visit Mum.

I don’t remember seeing Mum get upset, she kept that to herself behind her bedroom door.  I can’t even begin to imagine how she must’ve felt. She would’ve been 45 at the time, only a few years older than I am now and even though this hadn’t developed into cancer cells, the 10% chance they gave her was enough for her to decide she didn’t want to take the risk for the sake of her family.

Instead, what I do remember is my Mum being the crazy, lovable, life loving lady, who would now and again get her chicken fillet prosthesis out at parties and make everyone laugh with her wicked wit!

I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

For advice on checking your breasts for cancer, visit: https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/checking-your-breasts

For information on signs and symptoms of breast cancer, visit  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms/

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Soul Searching & Taking Action!

I swear to God, my head has been a crazy frenzy since the weekend!

Soul Searching…

Sunday of last week, the day after I attended ‘The Scaling Summit’, I had a long hard think about what I wanted to do on this new path of self employment.  I’d had thoughts the day before about re-igniting my blog that I’d set up last summer, and the workshop certainly gave me some inner belief to follow my dream.

So, taking the bull by the horns, on Sunday night I sat and wrote a blog all about my experience on Saturday… of how these three women I have never met before managed to get into my soul and make me think about achievements in my life that I’d buried deep, not really giving them any significance.  There was this huge emotional pull from that day that if you believe it, you can do it.  It was like they could see all my insecurities better than I could… probably because it’s the same insecurities that most of the women in the room had…

Am I good enough?

Can I really do this?

I feel like an imposter.

So, once the blog was complete I decided to post it out.  Admittedly, it was a little late for many people to see it, but figured what the heck!  What I didn’t expect was the wonderful response almost immediately from the hosts from the day Andrea and Emma, who loved what I had done and asked permission to share it.  What also followed was lots of lovely comments from the ladies that attended, saying how well I had articulated the day and put out there exactly how they felt.

My god!  Little old me did that!  To say I was buzzing was an understatement.  Hubby was already in bed asleep, but I made sure I was moving around loud enough that he stirred and I then promptly told him what had happened!

A Renewed Vigour

Come Monday morning, the blog had received even more views and lovely comments.  I was starting to shut up the voices in my head telling me there is no way I should waste my time on developing this blog idea further.

I’ve re-evaluated my business goals and what I want out of my new business as a social media manager (Social in Somerset).  I already have a client that I do business support and social media for and I want to help SME’s with their social media platforms – setting them up, putting together a strategy and consulting them on how to get going.  However, I’ve made the big decision that I want one more long term client and my other big client will be… ME!   I need to treat myself like I would a client in order to make this happen.

The other thing I’ve been doing over this last week is listening to audio book ‘Mum Boss’ by Vicki Psarias.  Her words of wisdom have spurred me on to take make some changes in the way I do things.

So far I have;

  • Created a lovely little desk space for me to work at during the day.  It really helps to have a designated work environment.
  • Joined a local running group to ensure I get some much needed adult interaction now that I’m working from home, and hopefully I will re-discover my love for running while I’m at it!
  • Ensure I listen to my body and practice self-care.  My monthly Reiki sessions started back up this week and I was booked in for first thing Monday morning! It was heaven!
  • I make sure I take regular breaks and don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, it might be a walk with the dog to clear my head, or I have been known to set the alarm on my phone and have a half hour disco nap!
  • I also try and get up before everyone else does to get something done, even if its a peaceful cup of tea.  Usually I would only get up to do a workout, but now on rest days, or days where I’m doing something later, I still get up 40 minutes before the rest of the family – it’s BLISS!

 

Taking Action…

I’m pretty good at the art of procrastinating… I have the good intentions but they are never fully completed… my hubby calls me ‘Half-a-Job Bob’!  Well enough of that!  I have taken some big steps this week.  I have;

  • Booked a new networking event targeted at ladies in business within the county of Somerset. If I want to work with businesses in the ‘well woman’ arena then that’s where I need to be.
  • Booked some training on using mobile video for social media – not just for me, but as part of my social media management business, I want to be able to show companies how to do this for themselves.
  • Met with a graphic designer who is going to re-invigorate my website and logo to make it look kick-ass!

I find if I don’t overthink it and just do it, it will get done! Putting it all out here for you to read is also a big push… cause I really don’t want to come back in one or two year’s time in the same position as I am right now!

The time has come to stop thinking and start doing!

Until next time,

Love and hugs xxx

💗📖

Yesterday, three women changed my life!

Attending the ‘Scaling The Summit’ workshop opened up my mind to the possible!

woman with blonde hair at the top of the mountain raising her hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending a day with three business experts and had the benefit of their life experience and advice… me and 59 other women!  We had all been invited to be part of a ‘test group’ for this new dynamic trio of Linda Davis-Carr, Andrea Callanan and Emma Van Heusen presenting their take on how to upscale our businesses.

Each of these women have been incredibly successful in their careers, faced difficulties along the way, made huge changes and sacrifices and after a lot of hard work, carved out their own successful businesses.

Andrea was our MC for the day as well as leading on the ‘Mindset’ section. Andrea did an amazing job of building the energy in the room with her infectious passion.  Even the shrinking violets succumbed to her demands for us to shout “Hell Yeah” to her motivational questions.

Three sections were covered during the day… Linda was on ‘Business’, Andrea on ‘Mindset’ and Emma on ‘Marketing’.  This blog isn’t an account of what they talked about… you’ll have to book up on their workshop to find out!  What I will say, is that the women in that room had the opportunity to assess how far they have come and start to believe that they can achieve their dreams for the future.

‘The Triple Threat’, that is Linda, Andrea and Emma, talked candidly about their own experiences in business, their fears, worries and the good old ‘impostor syndrome’ that so many of us seem to suffer from.

One of the most poignant parts of the day was during Andrea’s Mindset section. Now, I’m a very open minded person when it comes to ‘the mind’ so I was looking forward to this, but I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  We were asked to stand up and put our hands by our sides.  When then did some breathing in time to Andrea clicking her fingers.  The energy in the room shifted and we were all receptive to her every word.  As she clicked 1,2,3,4… 1,2,3,4, Andrea started to talk about our memories, asking us to go back to a time when something amazing happened.  A memory that made you feel like you could do anything, a memory that we could see, a memory that we could feel.

As I stood there breathing in and out, a few visions flashed in and out of my mind, but there was one memory that came back to me, so I went with it.  It wasn’t anything to do with the kids, or my husband, or my job… it was just me.  I thought of the day when I had made a massive decision in what was undoubtedly the biggest crossroads in my life.  You know the one, where which ever decision you make, you know your life will never be the same again.  I won’t go into what it was about, that would take all day, but the overwhelming feelings I had was that I could do anything I put my mind to.  I did it once and I can again.

As Andrea continued to talk us through the exercise, I was unable to stop the tears from pouring from out of my closed eyes, it really was that powerful.  As we came out of the meditation, I looked around to see that so many of the other ladies were feeling the same!  Tissues were passed around as we gathered ourselves together and it was clear to see that Andrea was also clearly affected by what she had just witnessed… lots of women in one room connecting with their emotions.

We did many other tasks during the day that made us think about how amazing we are… and if we didn’t think it at the beginning of the day,  by the end, we were starting to believe it.  It’s not something that will happen overnight, it has to be worked at but undoubtedly, having a tribe of women to support you like the ladies in the room is only going to help.  Sometimes, just having somebody else saying that you are capable, you are valuable and you can do whatever you want to do is all you need to give you the push to do it.

What I came away with at the end of the day, was the thoughts that I had been playing around with the last few days were now confirmed. I want to get back to blogging, and build this little corner of the internet called ‘Tales of a Mother’s Daughter’.  I want to create a place that shares information on all the things I like to talk about and feel passionate about.  I want to work with companies that support women in all things ‘wellbeing’ or produce amazing products that make women feel good – shoes, bags and make up are obviously top of my list!  This is all going to take time and hard work, but other people do it, so why shouldn’t I?  If you have the drive, you can do anything.

The blog I started last June about our little girl’s Autism story had already started to evolve and despite being neglected for the past nine months while I up-skilled as a Social Media Manager, it’s time to get back to it.  Time to get a re-brand and create an awesome website and go with it.  It will take time and I’m not going to pressure myself into doing everything tomorrow (which is usually how I think)… I need to plan, make shit loads of lists… but I can make this happen.

As women, we are all daughters, and a lot of us are mothers too… and what was highlighted yesterday is that we all have our tale to tell, so lets tell it!

Until next time….

 

Love and hugs xxx