Moda UK

On Monday I had the pleasure of attending the second day of Moda UK, a bi-annual fashion trade show held in the NEC in Birmingham. Before one of the lovely women I work with told me about it, this was something I only imagined I could go to years down the line if I suddenly became some influential lingerie big-wig. How wrong I was! The exhibition is open to anyone. Obviously, the majority of the people who attend are buyers, but bloggers are also known to visit.

When I arrived and saw my little name badge I had a chuckle to myself. Apparently I fall under the “Press” category as a blogger. Feeling like a bit of a fraud, I entered the lingerie hall. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it to be as huge as it was, but I was slightly overwhelmed at first. I hung around awkwardly at the entrance for a few minutes, pretending to text and trying to find my bearings. I went to the booth closest to the entrance, which was Affinitas and Parfait. I think I awkwardly asked if I was allowed to look around, and admitted that this was my first trade show. Rebecca, the sales manager for Europe (THE WHOLE THING!) was really friendly and welcoming, and talked me through the new Parfait pieces. She also gave me a little Cupcake box which when I got home discovered was holding a pair of pants! Such a nice touch from the company. The gorgeous model (I’m totally blanking on her name, disgracefully), was also a delight and eager to chat. Here she is wearing the Charlotte full cup by Parfait:

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I moved on through the hall, and spotted the Curvy Kate/Scantilly booth. I was really looking forward to talking to the ladies from Curvy Kate, as the brand comes across as really exciting and friendly. Also, I happened to be wearing my Peek-A-Boo set from Scantilly and the girls were very happy to show me the amazing new green colourway on their model. I am so excited for the A/W lines to launch so I can add this one to my collection.

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Here are a couple more Curvy Kate sets which caught my eye:

 

Another brand I was eager to see was Tallulah Love. I’d recently started following them on Instagram and had fallen in love with the Tara set in Pistachio Green (I have a thing for green!). Although Tallulah Love are a small bust brand, I still like to know what’s out there, and hopefully I can convince someone else to buy this set so I can live vicariously through them. Their sets are just so luxuriously beautiful.

They also do these adorable little gift sets. I would be very tempted to buy one of these for myself as the pants are just as wonderful on their own.
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I made a quick stop at Charnos, selfishly because I know they carry my size! This is not a brand I’ve ever tried, but some of their sets have caught my eye in the past and I’d be eager to see how they fit me.


After building up to it for over an hour, I eventually made it to the Panache booth. If you know me or read this blog at all, you’ll know that this was practically a milestone event in my life! I awkwardly hovered around, waiting for someone to make the first move. Eventually, a very important looking man, (he better not have been the managing director, because I definitely came across as some sort of manic lingerie fangirl) asked if I was okay. I explained my love for Cleo and he quickly had me sit down with Tia and Eleanor, two awesome women from the marketing team. They showed me some of the A/W styles, while I hyperventilated and drooled all over everything. Apart from the entire collection, obviously, here are the two I’m most excited about (tough to choose, though!)

 

In the afternoon, I managed to watch the lingerie catwalk. It was my first time ever watching a catwalk, but I’m pretty sure I looked like a total pro with my serious pout.

As I was about to leave, my eye was drawn to a rail of some seriously stunning lingerie. I went over to have a look, and was immediately greeted by the extremely warm and bright Karen, managing director of brand new lingerie brand Rochella. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous her fabrics were, and was also excited to hear her lingerie goes up to a J cup. At the moment, she only stocks from a 32 band but she explained she will mostly like add 28 and 30 backs as the demand has already been quite high. Her lingerie is made with a delicious Italian Satin, and I was particularly taken with the Vintage Floral set from the A/W 2016 range. The duck egg blue and pink floral print perfectly matches all my bed sheets, and I had visions of myself in this set lounging gracefully on my pillows with a glass of Prosecco (my normal Friday night). I have one terrible photo of the Vintage Floral set. I was quite overexcited so my hands were pretty shaky. But please, please check out the website and you’ll see why I have fallen so hard for this new company. Karen also donates some of the profits from her sales to The Eve Appeal, a gynaecological cancer charity, which just adds to her delightful charm.

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I’m so glad I made the decision to attend this exciting trade show. I’ve been feeling so inspired and positive since I got back, and can’t wait to see how my journey with lingerie continues in the future.

 

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Fleur Rose – Lulu Tout by Figleaves

  I found this set on my daily scroll through Figleaves. Yes, I look at lingerie every single day. I wouldn’t be a true lingerie addict if I didn’t! Normally I would just stick to what I know, like Cleo/Panache, adding stuff into my basket and looking at older styles in the sale. But this time I decided to search by my bra size to see what else I was potentially missing out on. I hadn’t even known about the Figleaves styles available up to the H cup, and this style was something I’d always wanted in my own size but didn’t know where to look. Also, the prices are very reasonable at £40 for the whole set! (And it’s now in the sale!

I always feel a bit anxious when an online order arrives, especially if it’s a brand I’ve never tried. And honestly, I didn’t think this bra would suit me because my post-weight loss boobs can be so stubborn and hard to work with sometimes! However, when I put it on I was really surprised by the natural, rounded shape it gave me. There is a slight bit of stretch in the cup which I personally like as it tends to work better for my loose skin. And that lace overlay just made me feel so luxurious and special. It’s just so different to anything I’ve bought in the past. The only small negative is that whatever way the lace is stitched over the top of the cup makes it kind of tight at the bottom, so from the side it gives a strange pointed shape. I think if a HH were available this would fix this, but honestly, the cup fits so nicely everywhere else and if I wear it under something loose you can’t really tell. 

  
You can see in this photo how the lace slightly pushes my boobs from underneath. 

The shorts too are very delicate and comfortable to wear. I don’t think they give obvious VPL, which is something I’m very particular about! All in all, despite the fact that the cup may give me a strange shape, I’m happy to overlook it and will probably buy this style in other colours!

Am I still fat?

Remember when I said I used to hate my body? Sometimes I have days when I still do, and it upsets me to admit it. But I think learning that the self-love journey isn’t all plain sailing is one of the most important lessons. I only started this blog a couple of weeks ago, and my reasons for starting it were to share my love of lingerie, meet other people with the same passion, and to spread a message of acceptance and positivity.

In a lot of ways, even though I’m still very new to blogging, it has helped me in my own body love journey. I asked my awesome sister, Cait to take some photos as she is an artist and also knows what she’s doing with a camera. Even though she’s my sister and probably knows me better than anyone, and even though she’s seen me in my underwear countless times, I was still really nervous to be photographed in this way. I think it was more the knowledge that these photos would be seen by complete strangers. It’s also still really scary that my closest friends and family can see them.

The first couple of photos she took made me feel strange. I’m only used to seeing myself in a mirror or by looking down at my own body, so obviously I was going to be shocked. What hit me the most was that I immediately had the “Oh my goodness, I’m so fat” reaction. I know deep down that I’m not. I used to be. And I know one is not necessarily better or worse than the other. I know that I’m happier now than I was when I was heavier, but honestly a lot of the timing has been coincidental. Around the same time as my weight loss, I found a way to pull myself out of depression. I found an amazing job which has also helped my confidence. I also came out to my family and friends. So I know my happiness has very little to do with my weight. But sometimes the way I view my body still has an effect on it. I only wear a 30 band in bras and a size 8-10 in bottoms. I have a 28 inch waist! How can I still be fat?? These insignificant facts sometimes make it hard for me to see my body how it really is, and I think knowing that I’ve worked so hard and lost so much weight, then seeing myself looking “fat” makes me feel like I still have a warped image in my head of what I look like. Maybe I always will. But I’m pretty sure I look really good.

As time went on and I got used to seeing my body from a different perspective, I started to feel a great love for it again. I even said my belly looked cute in some of the photos. There are a few photos that still make me cringe, but I’m not a model, and I don’t know how to position myself in the most flattering way possible, so of course I’m not going to look perfect (whatever that may mean). In some photos I look better, because my posture is better or the angle works for me. But what I also had to realise was that, when we move our bodies move with us, our rolls and wobbly bits change with whatever position we are in. Of course I can stand in front of a mirror and suck my tummy in and stand in a certain way so I look really skinny. But I won’t always look like that, and that’s okay.

And it’s okay to still be on a journey. Yes, I’m a lot happier with my appearance and my body. But I won’t feel the same about it every single day. As long as I treat it well and remember that it is good because it’s mine and unique, I think I’ll stay pretty happy and healthy in my mind. I’ve decided to share the photos I like the least here because I know it will help me, and maybe it can help someone else out there who struggles in the same way.

 

 

A Love Letter

Dear Minnie,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love your polka dots and bright colours. I love the feel of your fabric. I love the way you never change, even when your colour does.

I love the shape you give me, and the compliments you bring. I love how you brought back my confidence and brightened up my boob future.

I will love you til the end of time.

Yours forever,

Niamh

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Just remembering life before Minnie 😦

Minnie (by Cleo) was the first bra I ever put on that made me think HEY HOLY WOW MY BOOBS ARE GREAT. It was during my first proper fitting since my big weight loss, and I was truly about to lose all hope. Here I was, excited about my new figure and all the new clothes I could wear, but I had never thought about how much losing weight could really mess with your body. Obviously I knew boobs come in all sorts of sizes, but I’d never really thought about the different shapes. I suppose back in the dark days of ill fitting bras, I wasn’t actually that aware of my boobs and what shape they were and what would work for them, because nobody ever told me. When I was heavier I had very “full on top” boobs, but losing the weight took allllllll the shape away from the top, leaving me with “shallow” or “fuller on bottom” boobs. I did not know this was a thing. And I did not know it could make finding the perfect bra even more difficult.

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Thinkin’ about life since Minnie

And then Minnie came long. I don’t know what it is or how she does it (I suspect it’s the wire placement common of Panache/Cleo styles) but she lifted me way back up and gave me that rounded shape I never knew I would miss. I’m pretty sure I nearly cried. Actually I’m pretty sure I cry almost every time I look at a Minnie but that’s probably a normal reaction…

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Anyway, I have four now. Five if you include the second navy/yellow version I bought because I love it so much I wanted a back up for when the current one gives out. And six if you include the spare sky blue one I had in a cup size bigger when I put on weight briefly whilst finishing uni last year. She’s been there for me through it all!

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The Beginning of my Chronicles

I used to hate my boobs. I used to hate my body. I was your typical, slightly overweight, big boobed teen. I was embarrassed, I hated seeing photos of myself, and I often sat with my back hunched over to disguise my boobs and stomach which just made me look worse. To add to this, I was definitely not wearing the correct bra size. I’m not sure what size I would have been back then as I was heavier, but I’m pretty sure I was usually made to wear a 36-38G, as that’s all that was offered to me. I know now that I was not an unmanageable size, but as I was limited to two high street retailers who offered a supposedly good range of bigger cup sizes but who never fitted me properly, it seemed to me that I was just doomed to endure the pain of underwires sticking into me and the weight of my unsupported bust causing strain on my shoulders, neck and back. What also bothered me, being young and wanting to wear fun, colourful bras like my smaller-busted friends, was that I only ever seemed to have the choice between black, white or nude. Plain bras are okay for certain outfits, but for as long as I can remember my clothes and outward presentation have been a way to capture and project my personality, which for the most part is fun, witty, slightly weird. Not having everything match up with that just annoyed me deep down.

Jump forward six or seven years to my first proper bra fitting in a Bravissimo store in Edinburgh. I still can’t remember how I discovered Bravissimo, but I know it changed my life. Within minutes I was wearing the correct size and couldn’t believe the difference it made to not just my boobs, but the rest of my figure, my posture, my back, everything. I was instantly hooked (lol).

This is not an unusual journey. Unfortunately many women have and will continue to struggle with their bodies, their boobs and bra size. I just hope by sharing my story I can show other women that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve since started working as a bra fitter myself, and my passion for lingerie continues to intensify. I love the knowledge I now have. I love knowing that something as simple as changing someone’s bra size can change everything. I love the fact that my own self confidence has grown vastly, all because of that one fitting. I love knowing that my body isn’t perfect, but that it’s still beautiful because it’s unique and it’s mine. And finally, after years of hating them, I love my boobs!IMG_9830.jpg

Pictured: me at my happiest – wearing an adorable bra by Cleo by Panache, rolling around with a few of my faves (this could be you too!)