Review: Viva by Pour Moi

I’ve been wanting to do a few more “helpful” reviews – for example of brands I don’t already talk on and on about, and ones that I’ve actually wanted to try myself but couldn’t find many other reviews about. So it was pretty good timing when Brastop reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in trying something from their new season stock. I asked about a few things I hadn’t tried and Grace from Brastop very generously sent me the Viva set from Pour Moi in grey.

I’d had my eye on this colour for a while because grey is just so classy for lingerie (and I love grey, it’s very key). However I’d never had the chance to try any Pour Moi lingerie. I was familiar with their swimwear from working in Bravissimo – and I’m actually really obsessed with the Crazy Daisy bikini, which will be mine one day. So I was pretty excited about the chance to try this and review it for you all!

I received the bra in a 30H and the deep briefs in a 12. I originally asked for a 10 but Grace said the pants come up very small, and she was right. The 12 fits comfortably but they do look small for that size. I definitely don’t think I would’ve felt good in a 10, so if you are ordering pants, keep that in mind! I know “deep brief” and “high waisted” are not the same, but I wish they just would be. I love that these briefs come to my actual waist and not hit me awkwardly in the middle of my hips, but if they could just come up the tiniest bit higher. Just to completely cover my belly button. But I like them! They are still very comfortable and although they’re very plain, the colour and the mesh panelling makes them a little bit more special than a bland, everyday set.


The fit of the bra is pretty much perfect! I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve put on a bit of weight recently and have been back and forth between a H and HH, so I was kinda nervous this would be too small. I think I’ve evened out back to my “normal” weight again though as my boobs aren’t as sore and heavy and I can wear most of my 30H bras again without yucky double boob. Thank goodness!


The Viva is described as a full cup, which I would have to disagree with because to me, a full cup comes up higher and shows very minimal or no cleavage. The wires also don’t come up as high in the middle as other, true full cup bras I own do. This is fine for me though, as full cup wires are generally too high for me and hit me in the wrong place, which can be pretty uncomfortable. The straps are set slightly wider like you would expect of a balconnet style. I love the ruching detail on the straps too, it’s another little touch that makes this bra slightly more dressy.

I know I always do it, but I just can’t help it – I compare the shape of everything to my Cleo bras. It’s just my preferred shape, and obviously has become my standard that I hold all other bras to! The wires are slightly wider on the Viva, so of course I’m not going to get the same projection, but I’m still pretty happy with the shape. It’s ever so slightly more east to west than I would prefer, but the cups also give a lovely round, natural shape. The sheer upper layer also gives it a little bit of racy-ness you wouldn’t get from many other of your everyday sets. I did find that I had to tighten the straps quite high to get the lift I wanted – but this is again something I find from most other brands bar Cleo. I think my shallowness on top and my short shoulders mean I find most straps too long anyway. It’s not uncomfortable to wear them as tight as I have them currently, however. And I definitely think this style would be great for other full on bottom breasts. The band felt true to size and was firm enough for my liking.

Overall, I am really happy I asked for this style. I love the colour so much, and this has already become a go-to bra. It’s really comfy to wear and I do like the shape under clothes. The Viva full cup comes in a range of other colours, and the collection also offers a longline up to a G cup, as well as a padded plunge up to an F cup, and a suspender belt in selected colours. I can see this becoming a firm favourite, and I’m definitely interested in adding some of the other colours and suspender belts to my collection!

Things that are absolutely, definitely normal about women’s bodies

Trigger warning: much of the language used in this post refers largely to cisgender women’s bodies. While I completely support and am an ally to the transgender and non-binary members of my community, I can only speak from my experiences as a cisgender woman. 

We all know how the media and societal beauty standards impact on how we see ourselves, and the way we choose to present ourselves to others. It impacts what we buy, what we wear, and can really get right into our brains until we start to truly believe we aren’t good enough as we are without buying into all the diet crap, cosmetics, clothes, fitness regimes etc etc. I had the idea to write this post after a conversation I had with a friend about this sort of thing. We were talking about things we thought weren’t normal about bodies, and how much it can control you. She said she always thought until very recently that nipple hair wasn’t supposed to be a thing on women’s bodies, and she always felt very self conscious about it. So, first on the list of things that are absolutely, definitely normal about women’s bodies is nipple hair!

In fact, hair in general is normal. We are mammals, after all. Yeah, some people have more than others, and women especially are taught to believe that we should get rid of all our body hair so we can appear visually appealing to men (and not at all like a baby alien). Whatever you choose to do with it is completely up to you, as long as you’re happy. But just remember, it’s there for a reason and if you decide to let it grow wild and free, that’s totally okay. Body hair that is normal includes:
1) Armpit hair
2) Leg hair
3) Butt hair – on the outside and in the crack
4) Stomach hair – women can have happy trails too
5) Chest hair – not just limited to nipples!
6)Arm hair – this is something I used to be embarrassed about because I have such dark hair, which is more noticeable on my arms and hands
7) Hand hair – we all have it, lil hairy hands and knuckles
8) Pubic hair – gotta stop censoring this and acting like it’s disgusting and wrong
9) Foot hair – which extends to yer toes too!
10) Back hair
11) Facial hair – something which is very embarrassing for a lot of women, cuz god forbid you don’t look “feminine” enough. I have this one chin hair that always seems to appear over night. It’s jet black and grows to like an inch long. I don’t know who it thinks it is or where it comes from, but it’s normal too.


We are not symmetrical. Our faces and bodies are naturally asymmetrical, because that’s just how it is. I have a slight underbite and crooked teeth despite having had braces. I also have wonky eyes if you really pay attention, but it doesn’t affect my life in any way.

 

Fat, and all the different ways it sits on our bodies, is also totally normal. Belly rolls, back rolls, cellulite. They are ALL FINE. Try to remember that lots of tiny, insignificant things that are seen as flaws, are photoshopped out of ads and other photos. Even the models in all the ads we’re bombarded with daily don’t look like models. I’ve seen them on the catwalk, and they do actually have cellulite and jiggly bits. And they’re made to feel just as bad about it as we are.

 

Stretch marks are meant to happen, whether or not we’ve been pregnant. They are a sign that our body went through something, and adapted to accommodate the changes. The opposite of stretch marks is not smooth skin, it’s ripped skin. Your body is protecting you all the time. Stretch marks are frickin fascinating and beautiful, and EVERYONE has them.

stretchymarks

 

Boobs come in so many shapes and sizes, just like people, and yet we’re still led to believe that one very specific boob type is the “perfect” type. It’s extremely rare that they’re actually round and perky, no matter the age or weight or circumstances of the person they belong to. Believe me, as a bra fitter I’ve seen all the types of boobs you could imagine. They are as unique as finger prints, and all are good and normal. On the subject of boobs, may I remind you that nipples are also completely normal. There’s nothing sexual about any part of a boob, whether or not we’re forced to hide or censor the nipple in photos and in life. Nipples again are just as varied in size, colour, shape and placement. Yours are fine the way they are.

lownips.png
My boobs are long and low and my nips are at the bottom – which is totally fine!
The last thing I want to mention real quick is the dReAdeD vulva. Learn your anatomy, cuz the vagina is on the inside and you can’t see it from looking at a woman in her underpants unless something has gone very, very wrong. Some women have what has been termed a FUPA, or fat upper pubic area. Ya know the way Cosmo magazine has solutions to all your gross, fat body problems. They even have ways to reduce the size of your FUPA. JESUS CHRIST. Please don’t think this is okay. Please don’t feel like the size of your vulva somehow dictates your worth as a person. PLEASE DON’T READ THESE MAGAZINES. The size of you FUPA and the length of your labia are both perfectly normal, and if you’re worried about what someone you’re dating might think when they see it, chances are all they’re thinking is how excited they are to see it. There is nothing wrong with it. Please leave it alone.


There are so many other things about your body that are normal. Freckles, moles, scars, birthmarks. Try to see the beauty in your individuality and reject the narrow beauty standards we’re expected to live up to.

 

 

Large cup sports bras: Bravissimo, Freya and Royce

I am by no means an athlete, but to keep myself sane and happy  I try and do some form of exercise when I can be bothered. The endorphin rush is great and that feeling the next day in my muscles is so good, but I don’t guilt myself for not doing “enough”. I get bored of things quickly so I try and mix it up – zumba, running, pilates and now yoga are all things I try to do at least once a week. Pretty much anyone with boobs will know the struggle of making any vigorous or sudden movement and trying to keep them from falling out of your bra or hurting too much. Sports bras are another one of those things that have been readily available for pretty much ever in the core sizes (up to a D/DD), but anyone above that will most likely have had issues trying to find something to work for their bodies. When I first started running, it was before I knew my correct size so I wore two sports bras at the same time because one poorly fitting one was not enough. The two together still wasn’t enough, and I had to do an awkward arms-pushed-into-boobs run to try and keep them from flinging all over the place. It’s not funny. It can be really painful. So shut up.

My first sports bra REVELATION was after I finally discovered my true size and decided to buy the Bravissimo Inspire sports bra. I can’t remember why I chose this one out of the range they offer, probably the price to be honest. But I’m so glad I did because to this day it is still the best sports bra I’ve ever tried. The one I bought was from back when Bravissimo were first trialling this, but when it finally came back into stock this year, I sold the crap out of it when I worked there. It’s super high impact, so really great for stuff like running or zumba – anything that has you constantly moving up and down. It’s unbelievably comfortable. Sometimes I forget I’m wearing a sports bra after exercising and end up wearing it all day. The shape is a bit pointy, but I really don’t care because when I’m getting my sweat on I’m not really worrying about what shape my boobs are, as long as they’re under control.

 

When I was running 5k 3-4 times a week, unsurprisingly I lost a lot of weight. The first Inspire I had was a 32J. When that became too big, I panicked because it was no longer in stock. I tried all the sports bras Bravissimo had in my size, and the next best thing for me at the time was the Freya Active Core. I got this in a 30H. It doesn’t feel quite as supportive as the Inspire, but it still does the job for running and other high impact activity. One day when I was hoking through my drawers, I pulled out an Inspire in 30HH which somehow I completely forgot I’d bought when my size changed. The love affair lived on. But now I felt like a super serious athlete with TWO WHOLE SPORTS BRAS.
The shape and the fit of the Freya is quite similar to Inspire. There isn’t quite as much structure or lining to the cups though, which is where I think the extra support comes from in Inspire. It also doesn’t come up just as high enough as I’d like, but I don’t bounce out of it so it’s not really a massive issue. I would still definitely recommend giving this style a try.

 

The final sports bra I’d like to share with you is the Impact Free sports bra from Royce. It’s a wire free option. Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. I could sleep in this. And I really, really don’t like sleeping in bras, even non-wired ones. The material of this bra is the softest thing I’ve ever felt, and the squishy soft cotton underband makes it feel like you’re wearing nothing at all (nothing at all, nothing at all…).  I’ve tried a few non-wired sports bras in my previous searches, and none of them did anything for me. I know a lot of people wear non-wired sports bras for high impact activity, but they just never seem to work for me. So I was really pleasantly surprised by the amount of support I got from the Royce bra. Personally, I don’t love it for running – I went for a run wearing it last week and while the support was pretty good, I’d much rather wear one of my underwired ones. However it was perfect for yoga when I was doing a lot of leaning over and bending and stretching. That’s not to say it won’t be good for high impact for other people. I know a lot of customers I fitted were happy to wear it for running and such. It may be important to note that I went for a 32H in this bra. I remember it being much tighter than most other styles when I was fitting. I think I would be able to wear a 30, but it wouldn’t be very comfortable. The level of support in the 32 is enough for me to feel secure.

Learning to love me more (again)

Disclaimer: I’m not gonna write this like an academic article with great paragraphing and points that flow smoothly from one to the other. This is a way to process my brain stuff from the last couple of months to figure my shit out, but I think it’ll still be a good read and hopefully help other people deal with some shit too. So, if you don’t like stream of consciousness stuff and random paragraphs, *shrugs*.

 

A few weeks ago I had a photoshoot in a forest beside the river with my friend, photographer and fricking inspirational goddess, Dalyce Wilson (here and here). I only met Dalyce in March of this year. I think I desperately needed someone who understood that I wasn’t getting over my broken heart, and we bonded over the sadness while laughing through the ridiculousness of it all. Do you ever meet someone and like, ten minutes into your first conversation with them you’re just thinking, this is going to be an Important Person? Dalyce is one of those people. I just instantly felt so comfortable with her, like I could say anything and it wouldn’t be judged, but that I’d find some sort of answer or solace or understanding through talking to her. She left last week for Thailand on a one way ticket, and I never said goodbye to her even though I meant to. It was my typical anxiety-ridden, talk about doing stuff then drop off the face of the earth thing that I do quite a lot. I’m pretty sure she’ll understand, and also that she was probably too busy getting ready to worry about it too much. I’m also pretty sure that I’ll see her again some day and we can just pick up where we left off.

Anyway. We’d talked about doing a photoshoot for ages, because we were both craving some sort of creative collaboration. I had all these ideas and visions, but when it came to the day all creativity seemed to have left me with my confidence and self-assurance (which have been in hiding for a little while), but I felt like I was in good hands with Dalyce. Also, it’s really fucking weird getting your photo taken in your underwear by an actual person when you’re used to just propping your iPhone up and taking selfies in your room. Not weird in a scary way. Dalyce wouldn’t make you feel like that. But it’s easier to do dumb poses by yourself than to try and do them in front of someone else and act like that’s totally normal. Dalyce was good at directing me though, and once I warmed up it felt pretty good. I didn’t even try to hide when families and cyclists were passing by.

I felt so energised and inspired after the shoot, which is kind of a normal feeling after being with Dalyce cuz she just exudes that woman magic – I hate myself for saying that but it’s the best way I can describe it. I was more motivated and felt slightly more equipped to keep pushing through the shit that is being unemployed and trying to become self-employed and being 26 and living with my mother and feeling like a lost 16 year old and losing all confidence in myself and trying to ignore the dark, negative thoughts I thought I’d pushed away forever years ago and trying to remember how to deal with hating my body when I only just learnt how to love it and feeling sort of worthless and pointless and pathetic but not wanting to give up. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit stuff like that when you’ve created this online presence and preach about body positivity and believe so strongly in the message that all bodies are good and beautiful and normal, but then one day look at your own and suddenly it’s changed and this time you don’t know how to accept it and be positive and love it. I’ve been looking at my body lately and the immediate thoughts I have are so negative and destructive and just SAD. I haven’t felt this way in such a long time. I got used to being pretty happy, and confident, and self-assured and really believing in myself. I got used to looking at myself and loving what I saw, and not giving a shit what people thought or said about me. I guess I kind of forgot that I’m still just a human. Things change. And especially when you’ve already dealt with the good old depression, and “got over it”, you feel like you’re cured somehow and that you couldn’t ever possibly feel bad again. It super sucks, but that is just not how life works. Mental health is a journey in itself. It isn’t something that stays one way forever. And sometimes a bunch of stuff happens all at once, so it makes everything seem so much worse and harder to deal with. But hey, I’m still here and I’m pretty sure I’m doing the best I can, which is all we can ever ask for.

So, a couple of days after the shoot, I got the photos from Dalyce. I was so excited to see them and the first couple I looked through I loved. Then I started seeing things I didn’t like. Things I wanted to change. I should’ve stood differently. Angled myself that way, sucked that in, hidden this, worn something else. I noticed how much weight I’d gained and all I could think was that it was bad, shameful, disgusting. But then I saw this photo:

5P2A4526.jpg

I know it doesn’t show an awful lot of me or my body, but, it also kind of does show a lot of me. I saw a bunch of little things all at once that would have made me sad the day before. Seeing it did make me cry, but it was happy cry. It was relief, and love, and release. I saw stretch marks, hairy arms, scars, fat that wasn’t there a couple of months ago and fat that has always been there. I saw some breast tissue falling out of my bra which as a bra fitter makes me cringe but as a human, I can accept it and see past it. I also really fucking love my tornado tattoo and what it means to me. And this is just such a beautiful photo. I looked through the rest of the photos and still picked out the things I didn’t like. About myself. The photos are so gorgeous, because Dalyce is super talented and sees beauty in so much. But no, the photos are also gorgeous because I’m in them. I had to keep reminding myself that when I was standing in the middle of those trees where anyone could pass by, I wasn’t thinking about my fat or stretch marks or boobs or anything else. I was barely even conscious of my body or how I looked. I was just having a really good time with my friend. It was peaceful and relaxing and so badly needed. I want to share a load of the photos from that shoot, because I really do love most of them. But even though there are ones I don’t like as much, and in most of them can pick out things that bother me, I’m going to write something I love about myself in each one. I’d highly recommend everyone do something like this for themselves with their own photos.

5p2a44285p2a44155p2a44295p2a4432

I like how in the first photo, I’m making the exact same face my great-grandmother is making in a photo I only recently saw of her. I like how dark my hair is, and how my skin looks in this light.

I have terrible posture from years of trying to hide my body, but that’s part of who I am now. I’ve put on weight and my belly is bigger, but that’s one of the most human things to happen and if I was looking at a photo of anybody else with this body, I wouldn’t see anything bad. I like my hands, and the side profile of my nose which I have never liked before.

My lips have a natural pout, which friends have made fun of but it looks pretty good. They are such a nice shape. I have a great smile, and even when I’m taking the piss it still makes for a pretty good photo.

I have a great pair of legs. They work, and they keep going even though I’ve had trouble with my knees for over ten years. They respond to different types of exercise, and heal and get stronger.

My freckles are really pretty and my eyes are amazing.

My face is good and kind and interesting.

I love my cheekbones and my dark eyes. My eyelashes always seem to stand out and my hair is shiny even if I haven’t just washed it.

My back rolls are cute, and so are my front rolls. My face is super cute too, and I know it makes people happy when they see it.

I’m just a person. It’s impossible to love myself all the time, but when I’m not feeling it the best I can do is to not say negative things about myself and try to remember what is good about me. Body positivity, just like life, is a journey. There are setbacks, and obstacles, and bumps in the road. But it’s how we deal with these things and what we learn from them and the kind of person we become through this that is important. And if we really can’t see how beautiful we are, sometimes it’s good to remember that we aren’t our faces and our bodies. We are people with unique and interesting qualities.
I’m kind, caring, passionate, intelligent, ambitious, introverted, funny, anxious, loyal, hardworking, warm, friendly, curious… I’m so much more than my body. But when I remember how to love it and be kind to it, it makes life a whole lot easier.

 

 

(Bra is Clara by Panache, briefs are by Marks and Spencer, suspender belt is by What Katie Did and stockings are by Charnos)