I know, I know – like lots of women I get cross with the whole “get beach ready” “get bikini ready” concept and I’m fully with the “To get Bikini Ready? Put on a Bikini!” train of thought. But I’m talking about the right bikini! One that you feel good in. And wow – did I learn that lesson the hard way?!
I once went filming to Florida with a travel programme. If you think that first holiday bikini moment is stressful, imagine 8 million people are scrutinising your body and then imagine the horror that TV adds about a stone to your frame! Yeah. Every woman’s dream, right?! In my quest to source my ultimate apple-smuggler I literally visited every specialist shop and department store London had to offer at the time.
And then, in the most horrific of ironies, the pressure of flying across the pond was apparently too great for my luggage and it went missing, forcing me into a US shopping mall with 20 measly minutes to buy all the toiletries, cosmetics, outfit and bikini I’d need for filming early the following morning!
I think I aged about 10 years in that dash and the least offensive bikini I could find? White leatherette with gold studded boobs. Sadly not exactly the look I was going for! Sadly there was never any explanation for the poor viewers, who would have thought the Elvis tribute swimwear was my attire of choice for my BBC-1 flesh-baring moment.
Needless to say, these days my holiday swimwear comes in hand luggage. Which THIS year will mostly be in my gorgeous basket from Marrakech. And just incase that sounds a bit Ab Fab “Schweetie” – I didn’t even need to get on a plane for it since I bought it on a stall at Ascot earlier in the year. I adore the extra detail the wonderful Tricia from Butternut Baskets added to customise it.
And for my swimwear? Step forward Figleaves with their amazing range, all from the comfort of my own sofa whilst catching up on
very serious news programmes Housewives of New Jerssey! No schlepping around London these days. Be serious – I’ve got full on end-of-term-itis with a blur of sports days, shows, recitals and teachers gifts. Ordering from my laptop suits me just fine.
The company has saved me on more than one occasion, since I often get asked to go foreign filming in the winter. So whilst everywhere else is swimwear-free, even when there’s snow on the ground, I can rely on Figleaves to deliver the goods!
The site has the most amazing range and with loads of designers to choose from, plus their own ranges, they cater for EVERY BODY (see what they did there!). They also do wonderful kaftans and accessories so you can channel your inner Ibiza Chick on the walk to the pool or beach. I’m loving the Pour Moi ranges, especially the Azure with its padded, underwired top. And when that little purple box arrives at your house and you rifle through tissue paper, it’s does feel like the summer version of Christmas!
When it comes to bikinis you order separates for the perfect fit and I usually get a couple of different sizes to try since returns are so easy. I also love trying swimwear in the comfort of my own home with mirrors I trust, rather than shops with their slimming mirrors which lie to me that I look like Elle Macpherson!
Figleaves also stocks some of my favourite brands from my years living in LA, like the stunning Vix – I’m loving the Solid White and Potira and the quality of the Vix bikinis is amazing. There are often sales on the website too, making some of the more expensive brands that bit more accessible.
Lastly, Heliocare – the best sun protection I have EVER used on my face. Since learning that 50% of ageing is down to sun damage, I’ve been fastidious about wearing SPF 50 over my moisturiser on a daily basis, 365 days of the year. It’s no exaggeration to say I’m slightly obsessed with the SPF50 Gel which is light and rubs in beautifully.
For holidays I sometimes switch to the SPF 50 Cream which is thicker than the gel and I feel gives me longer protection. Heliocare have recently added a tinted version. Happy days! I’ve even got the fabulous Caitlin Moran hooked!
Now I just need to sort my beach reading, since I’ve somehow fooled myself I’ll be relaxing on a lounger in the sun, sipping mojitos and losing myself in a novel. Losing my mind more like, as I attempt to smother lotion on my two “moving targets” whilst likely sporting a not-so-attractive, but thankfully stylish, wedgie!