Throughout the year, I dream about putting my bikini on to bask in the sunshine. In fact, I’m sure most of us anticipate our summer holiday more than any other week or two of the year. It’s a time to relax, recharge, re-energise and spend quality time with loved ones. For me, it’s a heady yet healthy mix of enjoyment and indulgence with a sense of freedom thrown in for good measure. Freedom from deadlines, from emails, from food shopping, cooking and housework. It’s also a chance to read, to chat, to laze, to drink Cava with breakfast and eat ice-cream every lunchtime. And that’s exactly what I did for ten days in Nerja.
Sunshine makes me feel more alive and more vital. In addition, I welcome the subtle changes it imparts on my appearance – the golden tan, the freckles and the highlights in my hair. It makes me feel better, and after all, we all want to look and feel our best. Yet, even the most self-confident of women can feel a little vulnerable in her bikini, so what can we do to look and feel our best in our swimwear?
How To Shine On The Beach (Without The Bikini Bootcamp)
-First of all, exfoliate, exfoliate and exfoliate some more. Dry body brushing is excellent for smoothing the skin and boosting circulation. Moisturise daily, especially after bathing or showering and pay particular attention to knees, elbows, ankles and heels. As a result, a tan, whether fake or real will be more even.
-Have an eyelash tint, especially if, like me, you’re fair and need mascara but want to submerge your face. Every waterproof mascara I’ve ever tried had mutually exclusive staying power and removability. This resulted in either panda eyes in the sea when it came off, or panda eyes all night when it wouldn’t.
-Have a professional manicure and pedicure. For 51 weeks of the year, I paint my nails myself, but a beautician or nail technician always produces a neater finish, so I treat myself. Bright colours in bright sunshine work perfectly but so do soft pastels because they contrast beautifully with tanned tootsies.
-Suncream is a given, but remember to protect your hair and if you have a parting, protect that too. A sore, red sunburned parting is a friend to nobody. Take it from one who knows.
-Accessorise with a fabulous and functional pair of sunglasses. Mine are StyleColours by Transitions. They darken in the sunlight and protect the eyes and surrounding skin from harmful UV rays and furthermore, they fade to become clear when indoors which saves taking them off and on.
-Most of all, have fun. Why not play in a rubber ring, jump into the pool, have a lilo race or try a new watersport? There is little more attractive than seeing someone laughing and loving life.
How To Choose The Right Bikini or Swimsuit
Of course, as with any clothing, the right swimwear makes all the difference to how we look and feel about ourselves.
-Try on several different styles and colours including some that are out of your comfort zone- as a consequence, you may find THE perfect silhouette.
-Take a few quick snaps on your phone from all angles, therefore you can be sure it fits and looks as good from the back as it does from the front.
-If you are between sizes, opt for the smaller. This is important because bikinis and swimsuits expand when wet.
-Make use of ties and straps. Go tighter than you think, lean forward and keep adjusting until you feel confident and secure.
-More fabric does not necessarily mean more flattering coverage. The extra fabric will draw attention to the area you wish to conceal. Try something less demure, especially with bikini bottoms. You may be pleasantly surprised.
My Red Leopard Print Bikini
My bikini is from an exclusive new collection of swimwear styles at M&Co. This summer, the swimwear range was designed to boost confidence in women of all ages, aiming to help them to discover their perfect poolside look. The collection focuses on a range of swimwear styles including swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis and slimming beachwear.
A halter neck bikini top is always very flattering and this one is no exception. It fits extremely well and has subtle shaping. The briefs are particularly comfortable and have a little bit of matte gold embellishment which makes them that little bit more special.
I always take plenty of beach cover-ups and this long red, lightweight beach dress, also from M&Co is ideal for wearing over my bikini, to go to breakfast and lunch. The lace and embroidered detailing is beautiful yet simple.
What Women Really Think
M&Co conducted a survey among their customers, (which you can read here), and asked about their swimwear style, habits and preferences. They received 1300 responses from women aged 18-80 and consequently discovered some fascinating facts about bikini bodies, celebrity style and body shapes…
Younger women appreciate an icon with 18-34 year-olds preferring Marilyn Monroe to Halle Berry.
Women of all ages prefer natural bodies as opposed to fake.
85% of women would not give up their other halves for a year in exchange for the dream bikini body.
The most confident ladies in their swimwear are 65-74 year-olds.
This latter fact made me smile because I was on holiday with my parents and children and both my 67 year-old mother and my 16 year-old daughter wore (two-piece) bikinis. Without doubt, my mum is just as happy in her bikini as my daughter and I are. Of course, as we age, so do our bodies and she does on occasions refer to “lumps and bumps” but we all think she’s a fabulously gorgeous granny. Her self-confidence and love of life are all we see when we look at her. I have every intention of rocking a bikini just like her when I’m in my seventh decade, and what a wonderfully positive message this is for my daughter.
My Thoughts On My Bikini Body
I’m 43 years old and a mother of two teenage children, so consequently, my bikini body isn’t what it was twenty years ago. Without question though, I’m happier and feel more self-confident now, than I did back then. I look after myself; I work out at the gym and go to spinning classes. Because exercise has always been part of my life, it’s second nature to want to feel fit, strong and toned. Having said all of that though, I do believe that it’s what’s inside that makes a difference. I’m healthy, loved and fulfilled. I’ve never felt happier and I think it shows. And, for the record, I’m definitely among the 85% of women who would not give up their other half for a year in exchange for the dream bikini body!
So in conclusion, maybe the best thing to wear on the beach is a smile!
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The animal print underwired top, £14.40, animal print roll over bottoms, £11.20 and the crochet maxi beach dress, £32, were gifted to me by M&Co. This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with M&Co but my opinions are always honest and the content is always my own. It’s lovely when you support those brands that support What Lizzy Loves. The photographs were taken by my daughter Poppy Johnston and I’ll be linking this post to I Will Wear What I Like, Brilliant Blog Posts and The Saturday ShareDisclosures:- I am a paid Brand Ambassador for STEPPER Eyewear - I am a paid Company Ambassador for MAC Eyewear - I am a paid Columnist and Content Creator for Optometry Today - I am an employed optometrist at Benjamin Opticians, Skipton. Like most blogs, some posts contain affiliate links (from which I make a small commission if you make a purchase). Such links are identified with an asterisk *- Gifted items and PR samples are identified as such either in the the body of post or in the notes section at the foot of the post - Shop my looks, eyewear and homeware here: https://www.shopltk.com/explore/whatlizzyloves - Thank you for reading and supporting my blog.
You look lovely but I feel body confidence is much much deeper rooted in some of us. You seem to have grown up and been nutured by loving positive parents. However when you grow up and have not been nutured in a loving supportive healthy way then your body confidence can be pretty low. I was brought up by parents who told me I was fat, legs like tree trunks, scruffy, pull your tummy/bum in etc and thats just my body. What was done to my mind was worse.
Oh Sian, I’m so sorry to hear that. You’re right. I WAS brought up and nurtured by positive parents and was influenced and encouraged to love and respect my body for the amazing “machine” that it is. To date, mine has functioned and served me well and it is strong and healthy, so I’m very grateful to it. As I said in my post, I have always enjoyed sport and exercise and that definitely helped with my own self-esteem both as a teen and now- I was interested in its functionality rather than its appearance. Without question, body confidence comes from within and it’s so important to give our children that inner confidence. I feel particularly strongly about this with having a daughter. I can’t bear it when people criticise others for their appearance and it’s worse somehow when one woman says something negative about another. Our bodies ARE to be treasured, looked after and appreciated. I knew I would be writing this post, so I spent quite a lot of time observing others on the beach. I noticed that the local Spanish women, (from teens to octogenarians) seemed much more at ease with their bodies and not a single one cowered or hid herself in any way which was very refreshing to see. Of course, their climate means they are able to wear beachwear much more often than we can so they are more used to showing their bodies, but there does seem to be a cultural difference too. It’s vitally important isn’t it that we instill confidence into our children from an early age so that they grow up loving themselves in every way. Thank you so much for your very honest comment xxxxx
Oh Liz, you look so fabulous, and I love your confidence in a bikini! I think of the angst I had over my body in my 20s, and I wish I had just shut up and enjoyed it more, because I’d kill to have that same figure now. Still, I hate that society and judgemental people make ANY women self conscious of their bodies. I remember the first time I ever went topless on a beach was in France, and I was right next to a lady who was in her 80’s. She was perfectly content baring her top half, and I admired her for it. I hope to be just like her! Thank you for being brave and showing women over 40 they have nothing to hide. xx
Thank you very much Lisa. I have always been happy with my body and so much of that is because of the very positive role model I have in my mum and the self-belief and self-esteem she instilled. Her words are still backed up by her own actions of proudly wearing her bikini aged 67. To be wearing mine in my forties seems such second nature and I’m very thankful to have the inner confidence to think that. As I said in my reply to Sian’s comment, so much of feeling good comes from inside and a lot of it is about self-confidence rather than size or shape per se. I’m certain you’ll be rocking the topless look in your 80s Lisa and so you should!
You have a fantastic body! I am not sure if I want to wear bikini’s or bathing Suits! But I guess that is something to think about for next year. Your bikini is fabulous BTW!
Thank you so much Nancy. I do look after it and respect it because it has served me well. I love the bikini..it’s comfortable and flattering but also, secure! No chance of a wardrobe malfunction with it! I’m sure you’d look wonderful in swimwear but it’s all about personal choice and feeling comfortable with those choices. Have a lovely week xxx
You look absolutely gorgeous, Lizzy! You’r right about the smile – it really is the best thing to wear, especially on the beach lol. I was never that confident when I was younger. It’s only now (with a few more lumps and bumps) that the confidence has finally found me. It’s funny how things chance as we age. Perhaps it’s because we finally accept that this is the body we’ve got, take it or leave it, right?
I’m super lucky to live in the Algarve all year round where we’ve almost always got sunshine and I could go to the beach every day if I really wanted to. It’s only reading posts like yours that I realise I take this for granted when I really shouldn’t. I am incredibly fortunate to call this place home… hopefully one day you’ll visit Portugal and see for yourself how awesome it is 🙂
You’re soooo lucky Suzy to have year-round sunshine! And I would love to visit The Algarve!!
It’s so interesting isn’t it that so many of us are happier to reveal more as we get older. It must be something to do with being happier in out skin and not giving as many figs 😉 xxxx
Fabulous post, Liz! 43 is my best year yet! When my body was in stellar shape and so completely bikini ready at all times in my teens and early 20’s, I didn’t have the confidence to wear one then. At 43, I still don’t choose a bikini but I am much more confident in my swim wear now than I ever was. And I couldn’t agree more that a smile is the best thing to wear on beach! None of us have the perfect body and we all have our insecurities. My best method for dealing with my insecurities is to ignore them and have fun no matter what I am doing! You look amazing and beautiful and so very happy in these gorgeous photos!
Shelbee, thank you so much. I’m very happy and I’m convinced that it makes the biggest difference of all. It’s so interesting that so many of us acknowledge that we looked “better” a decade or two ago, yet we all seem so much happier to wear our swimwear in our 40s. And 43 for me has been the best year of my life too (so far). Here’s to our 44th!!! Lots of love xxxx
You look gorgeous in your bikini! I really love your photos too! This was such a fun and positive post to read! 🙂
xo, Chloe // http://funinthecloset.com/skylar-body-natural-perfume/
Thank you very much Chloe. That’s exactly what I wanted. A positive post which hopefully will reassure us all that it’s what’s inside that matters, (while acknowledging that it’s important to take care of our precious bodies). Much love xxxx
Great post Liz, really positive …. lovely to hear your mum still wears a bikini. Reading this has encouraged me to research and try some after years of wearing swimsuits and to be honest, not feeling that great in those… so thank you!
Hope you’re having a good week.
Thank you Rosie and yes, my mum is very happy in her bikini! It’s always worth trying something out of your comfort zone and I honestly think that a briefer bikini is often more flattering than those with say high-waisted briefs.Of course, it’s about feels right for the individual but it’s very worth trying lots of different shapes, style and colours. I hope you find something that you love wearing! Thank you the lovely comment (as always) and have a lovely week yourself- mine has been fab so far thank you xxx
I’m 62 and as long as the “thighed burns” are shaved, I’ll continue to wear my bikini. And when in France on the beach. My bikini bottom!
You look great!!
Thank you Catherine. And “thighed burns’ is a fabulous turn of phrase!! It seems that it’s second nature to you to wear your bikini (bottoms) and that you don’t give it a thought. Isn’t that a brilliant way to feel? You look stunning might I say. Thank you again- have a lovely day xxx
You look amazing-adore your swimwear and the tips are fab too. So important to try on different styles and to get properly measured as you would a bra so you can find the best match x
That’s exactly it yes. Treat it like you would lingerie. And thank yuu for the lovely compliment Vicki xxxx