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Does my bum, boobs and belly look big in this? (The woes of bikini shopping at the end of winter....

While doing my grocery shop on the weekend, I noticed that the new season's swimsuits were popping up in department stores and fashion boutiques. I got distracted. There was a decidedly Spring feeling in the air and I was excited at the prospect of being able to return to the beach again, soak up some rays and hopefully turn a shade darker than refrigerator white!

So I got brave, picked up a few bikinis that I liked and into the dressing room I went.... Lessons were learned and being a teacher, I decided to put those six lessons into an acrostic poem! (Bonus points if you spot it! :-P)

Be prepared. On the outside and the inside. While it was a little warmer, I was still rocking the denim jeans and black boots. Hopping around the dressing room on one leg, so I could strip down to my smalls, proved quite frustrating and time consuming. (Note to self: next time wear a maxi dress) Looking at myself in bikini bottoms with socks, also threw me a bit! Remember that you are coming out of winter and parts of your body have not seen the light of day for at least THREE MONTHS! It was a little alarming to learn that there are, indeed, 50 shades of pale and some so bright that I needed to shield my eyes from my blinding reflection in the mirror. There is also the issue of hot chips. My personal favourite at any time of the year - but in Winter, the intake increases significantly. I am not going to launch into a spiel about exercise and healthy eating, but rather just say, that sometimes we eat too much and that will show when you put on a bikini. Be ready for that! There is nowhere to hide!

Invest in your choice of swimwear. If there's one thing I've learned from being dumped in the surf at King's Beach, Caloundra, is that flimsy bikini tops / bottoms cannot withstand the forces of the ocean! Think of your bikini like your underwear - but everyone can see it. It should be supportive, flattering and compliment your assets. (Resistance to chlorine, salt and sun is also a bonus.) Try and find the best quality swimwear, at the best price for you. You won't regret it.

Know your body. Be honest with yourself. If you're a little top heavy - don't opt for two tiny triangles. They won't support you and in my opinion, there is nothing flattering or attractive seeing a woman, constantly having to "tuck" herself back into her top. And as I mentioned earlier.....

King's Beach. If your tummy is your weak spot, go for a high waist or a one piece. Cellulite? Let's face it, we've all got it, but with so many gorgeous capes, kimonos and ponchos available, it's never been hidden more stylishly! This means you can take a stroll down to the water's edge and dip your toes in, with total confidence. But remember.....

It's ok to have flaws! Nobody's perfect and everyone's gone through Winter - not just you! Yes, there are some total beach babes bouncing along the shoreline, with shell anklets and sunstreaked hair, but we can't ALL tan for six hours a day and be part time yoga instructors. Your body has its OWN story and you have your OWN beauty. What do you like about your body? Find a swimsuit with a cut and colour that celebrates whatever that is. Easier said than done sometimes I know, but acceptance can be so liberating. OWN IT!

Need another opinion? Don't go bikini shopping with someone who will tell you "OMG, that looks soooo amazing on you.", about every single thing you try on. You need an honest (but kind) friend or partner, who can look at you objectively and give you an honest opinion. We are often our harshest critics when it comes to how we look, so you may not see just how smoking hot you are looking! If you're in a swimwear boutique, ask some of the staff what they think. They have seen all shapes and sizes come in and out of dressing rooms and can point you to a swimsuit style that's perfect for you! This is why I love Seafolly Australia. (see pic) A brilliant range for all shapes and sizes, available online AND in stores. (There are some things I just can't quite bring myself to buy online...) Plus, Gigi is their ambassador and she does not do cheap and nasty!

If in doubt, don't buy it! Swimwear is one of those things that once worn, generally cannot be returned (thank goodness!), so don't splash the cash on something that you're never going to wear.

Happy shopping and thanks for reading!

Ange x

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