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On The Run With Shock Absorber

24 May

As some of you may know, I have *tentatively* started to go jogging in preparation for me running the ‘Race For Life’ 10k in a few weeks. Up until now I have been using my trusty Shock Absorber, but I thought it was time to try something a little different to see whether anything else could ever match the firm feeling I got from my trusty bra.

And so I turned to Bras & Honey and asked to try this Shock Absorber bra.



I asked for it in a 36H, and I have to say that the first thing I noticed about this bra was how easy it was to do up! Shock Absorbers are notoriously hard to fasten up, but this bra actually felt ok on the tightest hook. I really loved the style of fastening, and found it helped the straps stay up on my shoulders.

The cups were wire and padding free, and I was expecting them to fit me like my old faithful shock Absorber. However, the cut of the cups differed slightly at the arms. It cut across a little bit, and gave me a bit of dreaded ‘side boob’!


I also found that the bra didn’t quite give me the support needed for running. I jogged for almost an hour the other day, and I didn’t feel too bouncy or in pain, however, it was not the best bra for such an activity.


I then tried my bra out during a few gym sessions, and found it very comfortable for low impact exercise, such as cycling and floor work. It didn’t cut in or move around. It did give my boobs quite a ‘mono’ boob look, but it’s not something that worries me.

All in all this bra has not been the greatest success for what I intended, but it still suffices as a sports bra for gentler exercises.

Why not check out the other sports bras that Bras & Honey sell and see if they have something perfect for you.

The Importance Of A Sports Bra

29 Jan

Regular readers of my blog will know that in a bid to tone up and lose a bit of weight I have been hitting the gym.  And in order to make my experience more comfortable I always wear a sports bra.  It makes me sad and my boobs hurt when I see women working out in their normal bras or badly fitted bras, as they don’t seem to realise the damage they are causing.  It may be that they don’t know that they should wear a sports bra, or that they wear badly fitted bras as it is.

The principle is the same for finding out your sports bra sizing as for a normal bra. You will need to try a number of different brands and sizes to get the level of support you require, as well as to ensure that it does not chafe or rub. To ensure that you achieve the right level of support for your chosen activity, the best guide I can give it to mimic the activity you will be doing to ensure the bra stays in place. I have spent a fair amount of time jumping up and down in changing rooms to test the staying power of a bra!

Sports bras can come up VERY snug, so you may need a larger band, or you may need them to be firmer than your usual size and you will need to go down a band size.

The breast is supported by something called the “Coopers ligament” which stretches during excessive movement or exercise. Once this connective tissue is stretched out, it will never return to its normal contour or shape – so that’s basically what causes the breasts to sag. The ideal sports bra should cut breast movement by up to 80%, and as with any item of clothing you will have to shop around to find one that is perfect for you and your bra size and shape.  I often buy my sports bras online, and I came across a post from Tiffany at Figleaves who recommended the Shock Absorber max. Having tried it, I can recommend Shock Absorber bras for sports and working out, and now the only thing that bounces when I work out is my bottom!  There’s currently a good offer on Shock Absorber sports bras at Figleaves, so why not try one for yourself.    The bras come in a fantastic range of colours and designs, and there is no excuse to not support your bust.

Let me know which bra you use to work out in and why in the comments 🙂


27 Sep

As I say in my blog tagline, I am “Forever battling with diets, huge bras and high street dresses.”
I’ve written a lot about the bras and the dresses over the past year, and today I want to talk about the diets. This will be one of very few posts on this subject, and it is by no means meant to be a lecture or me telling you that to be happy you have to lose weight or any bullcrap like that, it’s just a subject I have been asked to share my experiences on, and if that’s not for you then you may want to sit this post out.

As cliché as it sounds I’ve pretty much always been that bit larger. I was fairly average sized in primary school, despite my huge bum that seems to have been around forever. And then I hit 11 and I got bigger. I was told it was puppy fat but the puppy fat never left, not that I tried very hard. I was always active, at school, I played on the girl’s football team for a few years, I was sports captain in my first and final year – more due to no one else volunteering to be honest, but it did mean that I had to do all the sports I couldn’t find participants for! The boobs arrived when I was about 15 and by then I got bullied pretty badly for being ‘fat’.
As I have said in previous posts I struggled to fit in – in every way. I struggled to fit in with my ‘cool’ college peers as I struggled to fit into size 14 TopShop dresses. I felt like I freak and went through phases of starving myself and then binging, but they never lasted very long. I come from a food loving family and anyone would find it hard to resist Sunday dinner cooked by my grandparents, or one of my Mum’s famous desserts! So I joined the college gym, visting between classes and at the end of the college day. I definitely looked and felt better, but I was still far bigger than most! I never had a problem with making friends or finding boyfriends and so it didn’t plague me, but the comments I got would, and sometimes it got a little too much.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself in New Zealand. I remember going for a bungy jump (it’s not something I’m likely to ever forget!) and they wrote my weight in kilos on my hand. I knew it was a lot but it didn’t bother me – at that point in my life I felt amazing.

I was travelling on my own, I had been surfing, hiking, sky diving, white water rafting, to the outback – my weight and size did not impact any aspect of my life whatsoever! That number was a number far higher than the one Bridget Jones gets in a tizz about, but why should my weight define me? I understood the implications of being obese – how could I not, gossip magazines were everywhere. But I didn’t feel obese. I didn’t struggle to do anything. I led an active life – yes I drank a lot of alcohol and didn’t always make the best food choices, but my weight never held me back.

After I returned home I once again became a cliché. I got a longterm boyfriend and the short story is I gained weight, a fair bit! At first I didn’t notice as it crept on, but slowly I started to cover my arms more, my size 14 skinny jeans lay untouched in the wardrobe, I started to need bigger t shirts. And I realised I was becoming a danger to myself. I remember a trip to the doctors and she weighed me. I couldn’t bear to look at the number, so much higher than when I did my bungy jump. The doctor then informed me that if I allowed my weight to increase any more then I would be at risk of preventing the birth control pill from working. She was very unpleasant about the matter and I felt awful! Sometime later at work a woman said to me “You’re a lovely girl, with a beautiful face. So when are you going to do something about the weight?”

And so I decided that, once and for all I needed to lose weight. I toyed with the idea of a quick fix, one of those liquid diets where the weight falls of. But I abstained for two reasons: I would not be able to stick to that way of life, and I feared the loose skin I would be left with.

It’s been four months since I made the decision to lose weight. To be honest it’s actually closer to 13 years, but I’m not that good at diets! So far in the last four months I have lost just over a stone, which is pretty poor progress but better than gaining weight!
Going to the gym has definitely helped me. Firstly I was so relieved to find out that, despite being ‘morbidly obese’ I am in fact very healthy. I have no risk of diabetes, something that I was very worried about. My glucose and cholesterol levels are perfect (it took a mere 3 months to lower my cholesterol levels from being just a shade above healthy to being well in the zone) and my blood pressure and fitness levels are spot on. I just need to lose some weight as I am still at risk of problems developing. I worry that if I fell I would break my arm and if I passed out I’d need an army to get me up. I don’t feel happy in my underwear – posed photos on the blog are one thing but the reality is not quite so kind. I fit onto train and bus seats but I don’t ever want to be at a stage where I can’t. And whilst I respect that some people are bigger than me and happy, I would also like respect to be shown for my own decisions and feelings. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me ‘but you’re not fat’, ‘you’re beautiful’ or all the other standard replies, what I see when I look in the mirror upsets me and I want to change that.

And now onto the true purpose of this post!
I try to go to the gym 3 times a week for at least an hour. My membership means that the pool and all of the classes are included and I take full advantage of everything. The PT who assessed me initially advised that I do around 30 minutes of cardio every session and finish up by doing some squats with weights, as well as attending a few classes.
Generally I got to a class every week. I like the classes as they are fun, I have no way out and I know that I am actually working hard as the routines are put together by professionals. Of course there is a worry that with classes you can feel embarrassed or do things wrong and possibly not benefit from them, but you just have to keep alert, keep pushing yourself and don’t be afraid – I’ve yet to see anyone get booed or laughed out the door! Sometimes I am the most unfit one there, sometimes I do struggle to do everything that the others do but that’s ok, the gym is there for progression. As a bigger girl I do find the bouncing around that some classes require to be quite a strain. I feel like I’m wobbling around and my trousers are falling off and I’m making a noise! But no one is watching, no one cares and I still get a lot out of being there.
When I don’t have an evening free or fancy my own company I hit the main gym. I try to pick a sports bra that is suited to what I have planned, but as I often change what I want to do when I get there it makes little difference! My Shock Absorber is fab if I want to run and it is magnificent at keeping my boobs still – in fact the only thing that bounces is my bottom! My Freya Active and Elomi Energise are the best for medium level activities – the cross trainer and hill walking. And as my Panache sports bra is a bit big for me I keep it for those lazy days when I sit and cycle.
When I go to the gym I like to stick to a piece of cardio and stay on for 45 minutes; a goal that is more often missed than hit! I try to use one piece after if I have failed or if I still have energy. I don’t have a favourite piece as it changes every time – I used to be able to zone out on my iPod for 45 minutes whilst my body did the work on a cross trainer, the next week it was all about the bike. I’m not a creature of habit! When I do use the equipment I do have to have certain distractions and items with me. I like to always have water as I drink a lot of water as it is – years of spotty skin got flushed away once my water addiction started and you will rarely see me without a bottle of water when I am out and about. I also like to have a towel to mop up the inevitable pools of sweat and my iPod. If my machine has a tv attached (and to be honest, I tend to go for those machines!) I will either watch something that looks interesting or has subtitles, or plug my headphones into it. The hardest bit of a work out for me is the ‘zoning out’, checking my time or calorie intake or who’s walking behind me really drags the session out. I do check my display every so often to see if I can push myself a bit harder or if I have done a good workout, but generally I just try to get in the zone and push myself, not so much that I have to stop every thirty seconds, but enough that I am benefitting. The tvs with the bikes are the best as they stop working if you stop working! As I have a fitted gym kit, great trainers and fab well fitted sports bras my work out is never hindered by them – unless I am very energetic and sometimes my leggings fall down a bit and my top rides up. I also like to mix things up, so if I am on the bike then I will pedal faster, then slow it down and up the resistance. The programmes on the machines are fab as well: the hill function is the best as it helps you work hard and slow in equal measures. The best thing that I have found it the hardest – hill walking. I up the incline on the running machine and speed it up to the point where I am a little out of breath and off I go. It does seem silly to come to the gym just to walk, but it helps me see how far I have gone, how many calories I may have burnt and I feel motivated.

Once I am done with the cardio machines I always move onto the weights and some floor work. As most machines that I use are leg based I do try to do a few things to target my arms as well. The best thing you can do with weights is reps. Yes you may be able to bicep curl 40kgs, but doing it once is no good, doing 20kgs 15 times and then repeating it a few times is far better. Doing weights is a welcome break from the constant slog of the cardio machines which can make it seem easy when it is in fact still hard – this is why I choose to do it after my cardio work.
I also like to play with the gym balls! My one at home lies untouched, but in the gym I seem to concoct all manner of things to do with the ball! I like to lie with my legs over it in an ‘L’ shape and do sits ups. I also like to put it between my feet, lower them out straight so they almost touch the ground and then bring the up and pass the ball to my hands, then lie straight again, hands and feel almost touching the ground and repeat. You’d be surprised at how much that works your tummy! You can just play around with the ball and often you will find some exercise that helps, whether it’s lying down with it under your feet and slowly elevating and lowering your hips, or lying on top of it and rolling yourself backwards and forwards. For me the ball is great to help me work on reducing the number or tummies I presently have, but it can be used for anything. The balls are strong enough to take pretty much anyone’s weight and I would recommend buying one for your own home if you are unlike me and can easily motivate yourself.
Occasionally I do use the pool, but like I said I need distractions and a soggy iPod isn’t a great accessory to have! I think the pool will be something I use more as the weight drops so that I can tone and also feel less terrible as I walk past the giant glass window next to the main gym room, thighs wobbling and bingo wings swinging around!

As I have said, I like the gym as it motivates me. I feel lazy if I don’t go and like I’m wasting my money, the staff there know me and say hi and that makes me want to go back as it’s a nice environment, and also so they don’t think I am skiving! If you are someone who can and does work out at home then a gym ball is a must. I also quite like skipping ropes and hula hoops as the do a great deal and are great fun. If you have a garden then get a trampoline and a fab sports bra as you want to be the only thing bouncing around. I wish I was a person who could use when it around me to lose weight, but I have tried that route and until now nothing worked.

Of course weight loss is two fold – diet and exercise. The diet has been such a hard part for me. If you saw me eating you might wonder why – my meals are veggietastic, I don’t tend to fry things or have carbs and if I do I try to have beans. But it’s my snacking that I need to keep under control. I never know if I am hungry or bored but suddenly I’m a chocolate bar down and feeling guilty. The best thing for me would be to fill my house with healthy options and up my will power. It’s a slow struggle, but I am not as bad as I used to be. Like I said I drink a lot of water, and that can sometimes satisfy my cravings, real or habitual. The best thing to remember with diets is that you don’t need to be hungry or bored or deprive yourself. Yes you may crave a pizza, but if you eat some steamed veggies and grilled fish instead you will suddenly be full and no longer crave. You can snack – just in moderation, choose healthy snacks that fill you up and satisfy what it is you want. And if you have gone a week or two without chocolate and it’s keeping you awake at night then buy a small bar and savour it! Otherwise you will be miserable and be more likely to go back to eating how you may have been before. It shouldn’t be a diet, it should be a lifestyle change. And that is the part that is proving hard for me, but slowly I hope to get my bikini body.

I wish you luck if you are also trying to make a change to your size and shape. There should be no shame in being whatever size you desire as long as you are not impacting negatively on your own life – and only you and a health professional know whether that is the case. If you are wanting to make a change then good for you. You can either be miserable at missing out on the foods you love, or saddened at what you see in the mirror. It’s great to feel empowered as a bigger woman, to say that scales don’t measure happiness and size is just a label, but if that is something that gets you down then do what you can to be happy.

A Guest Review Of The Panache Sports Bra

4 Sep

At Panache’s recent press event I was measured as being a 36HH/J. As their highly aclaimed sports bra stops at an H cup it meant that the best size for me was my sister size – 38H. Sadly it was just too big in the band and I although I adore it for low impact sports I didn’t feel that I could give an honest review of it.

Luckily I have a friend who frequents the gym and was willing to give the bra a go. She is a 32FF/G/34F/G and so I advised that she try a 32FF as the cups are a tad generous and the band is true to size, unlike a lot of sports bras. Here is her account of it…

“As a rule I don’t like moulded bras as the moulded shape and natural shape are not always the same so there are spaces where the breast does not fill the mould.
This seems to be less of a problem in ‘normal’ life- just moving around naturally. I expected more of a problem in a sports bra, used mainly for Zumba, so a reasonable amount of bouncing would occur. Having used a non moulded 34F Shock Absorber for years I was expecting some rubbing from this Panache sport bra, moulded and wired, size 32FF. There were some spaces in the cups but they did not cause any discomfort as I bounced through my Zumba class. I felt very secure, in fact I was not aware of my bra. There is a little more flesh overhang under the arms but I can live with that.
It was a bit too tight to wear in the racing back style and not yet been washed so I can not advise on how it will deal with that.
All in all, I am pleased with the bra’s performance during my rather vigorous work out. I also really rather like the grey and lilac colour.”

If that doesn’t convince you to snap one up here then why not check out Cheryl’s review here.

Laura’s review here.

And Kelly’s review here.

Elomi’s Breast Supporting Role

6 Jun

You may have seen that I am on a bit of a health kick right now. And just like every girl, no matter what size her breasts and what kind of activity she does, I need sports bras.

As seen in these posts I do own several sports bras, but can a girl ever have too many?


I was recently lucky enough to receive two Elomi Energise sports bras.

One was in my usual Eveden size of 34HH, one in a 36H my firm band bra size – the size I wear most often in Curvy Kate and Panache. I found that the 36H fit me best as the band with four hooks and eyes was very firm with little stretch.

The cups were pretty perfect. It gave my breasts a slight pointy look but nothing that I can’t handle whilst sweating heavily at the gym.

I have been going to the gym for around 3 weeks now and have done a variety of exercises and classes. I’ve cross trained, x trained, power walked up hills, cycled, lifted weights, done dance classes and floor work. And guess what? I have felt well supported, comfortable not at all restricted by my body size and shape. The bra hasn’t ridden up, the fully adjustable straps haven’t fallen down, I haven’t had to tuck myself back into the cups and my eyes remain unblackened. If that doesn’t prove what a fab sports bra it is then I don’t know what will!

Wearing a correctly fitted sports bra is so important! I cannot stress that enough. I see far too many ladies at my gym in normal bras or no sports bra at all and I really have to bit my tongue. Having little or no support will put your boob muscles under more strain and cause sagging and pain to your breasts and who wants that!? Yes sports bras are often pretty plain and leave your boobs looking a little flattened or pointy, but you are at the gym, who cares?! Better to look a bit funny in your sports bra and keep your boobs looking a little perkier out of the bra!

Thank you Elomi for my Energise, I will continue my worry free workouts in it for as long as it fits me.

Putting My Shock Absorbers Through Their Paces

28 Oct

So as you may well have gathered from the look of me I am not the sportiest of girls! My work is at the lower to middle end of being physically demanding, I enjoy the odd boogie when I go out in my sensible heels and every few months I vow to start some new exercise regime – usually running or the wiifit. I do own a sports bra as I mentioned in this post and previous to that I owned a very ill fitting 38FF Shock Absorber. I did like the Shock Absorber, despite its incorrect size and so I was quite pleased to have been sent two 36H bras recently as a way of saying thank you for attending the Playtex Focus Group – this white bra and this black bra.

Let me talk about the white one first.

I have found that the mark of a good sports bra is one that you really really struggle to do up! A lot of women seem to hate wearing tighter bands when it comes to regular bras due to back fat which is not ideal, but I have always firmly believed that when it comes to exercise you should aim to work out hard and not care about how you look. Therefore a tight band and a bit of back fat shouldn’t deter you, in fact it will help keep the puppies in place and relieve the strain from your shoulders. Even the least strenuous forms of exercise require proper support and uplift and you should not jeopardise your health for the sake of appearance.
This bra was so tight I had to loosen the shoulder straps completely to fasten the bra and then tighten them fully. The shoulder straps are only half adjustable which may be a problem for those with smaller shoulders than I. It is a three hook and eyes fastening which I love and always feel much more secure in. The straps themselves are cushioned which is amazing and a feature I have never had in a sports bra or indeed any bra – and I wish every bra had this feature, it is soooo comfortable! The straps are set slightly closer to the neck as well which is perfect as I used to find when I was running that no matter how tight I adjusted the straps they would always slip off my shoulders. I found that I had some slight side boob when putting the bra on, but this is something I get even with bras that are too big for me and it is probably due to me being lardy and wearing bras that were too small for many years, causing my breasts to migrate slightly. The shape is gave me was pretty darn good for a non underwired non padded bra.

Please excuse my appearance in today’s post,  as I said working out should not be a fashion parade or about trying to look good…though I did try a little bit for the camera!
I put both bras through their paces by doing various things on the wiifit, including hula hooping, boxing, step aerobics, balance exercises, yoga, jogging, cycling and much more. I found this bra to give me excellent support, comfort and allowed me to be flexible and not cause any irritation or discomfort. The band is tight but I never felt like it was too tight, I just very very secure and would highly recommend it.

And now onto the black bra.

This bra was so tight and complicated that I did it up at the front and turned it round – something I do not normally do, however the snug fit felt spot on. It has two and then two hooks and eyes at the back which I will show you in a bit. I did not have to adjust the shoulder straps on this one but I did find it to be very small over my bust. Maybe a 36HH/36J could work for me a little better. I loved the straps and the fact that they were set almost next to my neck which would mean there would be no danger of them slipping off at all. The shape it gave me was not so favourable, but that could be due to the smallness of the cup.

Here is me in action on the Wii, try not to laugh!

I of course found the white bra to be the most effective and I loved how high it was as I really felt secure. However, the black bra was surprisingly good for something that didn’t fit well and so I would say that one in my correct size would definitely give the white one a run for it’s money! All in all I would say well done to Shock Absorber, there bras were pretty damn comfortable, firm and excellent at keeping my large assets nearer my head than my knees!

Check out Cheryl from Invest In Your Chest’s review

My Hen Weekend Essentials

21 Jun

So, this weekend was my sister’s Hen Do. I usually associate Hen Do’s with a lot of drinking, inflatable willies and maybe a stripper but oh no, this was much much more…

We started at 0845 when my sister’s fiance drove us to Southampton to Go Ape, a tree swinging ladder climbing extravaganza. I decided to pack my 36H Freya Active Underwire sports bra, and when I turned up and saw what lay ahead I was glad I did. Zip wires, jumping into nets, crawling through tunnels – not great activities if you have to constantly worry about tucking your boobs back in or holding them in place.

What’s great about this sports bra is that it doesn’t give that pointy boob look that some can, and whilst I am not one to be overly vain whilst working out, this is not a look I feel happy with rocking:

This is how the bra looked on me:

Having 4 sets of hooks and eyes is great for peace of mind and you feel very secure. This bra does come up very tight in the band and despite being a 34HH/J in most Freya products, I found that this in a 36H was the perfect mix of comfort and support. Here is a little montage to show what happens when being active in the bra (and by active I mean ‘jumping off my sofa’)

(yes those are my chins)
As you can see there is some movement but they still remain safe inside – a fabulous sports bra through and through.

After some pottery painting:

and belly dancing:

It was time to get ready to go out! As I was opting for a tight dress I decided to try out my new Maidenform Shapewear. I decided to try this one out as it had shorts attached and I was finding my other shapewear that had just a skirt attached a bit annoying as it would roll up and look a bit unsightly. I was apprehensive to try this one out as I feared that the shorts would cut into my not-so-tiny thighs – but it fitted like a dream:

And as the night progressed and the willy shaped objects came out:

and I started to get tipsy it was a joy to not have to worry about adjusting my shapewear. The only problem was…using the loo as it has an overlapped hole to allow you to go without stripping, but it did feel like you were still fully dressed…however, it is still the best piece of shapewear I have ever worn and I felt happy and confident all night.

We finished the weekend with a trip to a spa the next day, and after my aching muscles were pleasantly pulverized by a lovely masseuse I went for a swim and some time in the steam room in my trusty 38G/16 Azure Poir Moi dark blue bikini.

It is rather loose in the back but perfect in the cup – a bikini to sunbathe in but not jet ski! I WISH Pour Moi would make bigger cup sizes but for now it still remains the best bikini I have ever owned. I am considering getting a tankini version for those days when I want a bit more coverage and I own this in turquoise as well. I prefer the tie side pants and clip back bikini to the turquoise version in which I got a tie bikini and regular bottoms but that’s just me.

All in all a perfect weekend ❤