Vicki in a bikini

While in Jamaica, something a little bit surprising and absolutely incredible happened.

I asked my husband Peter to take a quick shot of me on my phone in my bikini, a red Boux Avenue number I bought last year but had barely worn, so he snapped away, bless him, telling me I looked gorgeous.

This man has always made me feel as confident as possible, at my heaviest and most uncomfortable pregnant, and even when unwell, he never fails to make me feel good about myself.

Like my Dad, he isn’t a man who ever sees body changes, or cares about size or shape, and nor should he. I’m so lucky to have such strong body role models in these guys, and my own Mum, in my life.

This holiday in Jamaica thanks to Beaches Resorts who invited us to review their heavenly resort, marks the first time I’ve REALLY felt confident in a bikini again, now that my youngest son, Alexander is  2 1/2.

I’ve had 2 c-sections (an emergency and an elective), carrying big, tall baby boys both times and it’s safe to say my body is definitely not what is was and why and how could it be.

My tummy has lost definition and I have stretch marks, but here’s the thing, it doesn’t bother me at all. Honestly.

I feel, finally, confident in my own skin, my body made and carried two beautiful babies and I’m pretty proud of myself, and must note that day to day I never, ever think about those marks (I love them) and my body size is actually smaller and firmer than before babies. I’m healthier too.

I feel I can rock a bikini or anything I like, and shouldn’t be made to feel otherwise, and nor should you.

As a real woman (we’re all real right, but someone who is 5’6″ and a UK size 10 not 0) I regularly model for style brands who love me for who I am (I’m also an ambassador for Nova Harley and The Essential One) and even had a swimwear shoot for heidi klein whom I’ve worked with for a while, out in Jamaica, and have another shoot for them back in the UK soon.

I also had another swimwear brand asking me to model for them after seeing my bikini shot on FB too. Just goes to show huh?! Progress. The beauty of reality.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to accept our own bodies, confidence takes a hit particularly when we go through such remarkable change with pregnancy but I welcome the day when a picture of a Mum like me, with stretchmarks, isn’t a big deal, when it’s regarded as completely normal, natural and images like mine are naturalised to the point that all we see is a woman wearing a bikini (or whatever she likes).

That picture has reached over 100,000 people so far on FB, Instagram and Twitter and is still being commented on over on my FB page and instagram daily, with the reaction moving me to tears.

I sat crying reading the hundreds of comments from women saying that because of that shot, they’ll now buy/wear a bikini or swimsuit with pride, will take their kids swimming when they felt they couldn’t before, and are committed to starting a journey of loving their bodies.

How wonderful is that?

That we women, together, have the power to create change and promote body confidence to one another with the ease of one single photograph. Each and every one of us.

I never for one moment expected any of this, I was admittedly nervous to hit publish as I would have felt pre-kids and stretch marks, and I must note and probably surprisingly to my readers, feel that a lot when it comes to photographs generally of myself, but when I asked Peter if I should, he encouraged me, saying I looked great, happy, glowing and radiant.

And you know what, I thought, why the heck not, why shouldn’t I share a picture in a red bikini I love, like many other women do daily on social media, particularly when I feel good about myself and want others to, as well.

I honestly thought that perhaps just a few blogger friends or maybe some family members might comment on the image, so to receive such an overwhelming, positive reaction has touched me.

I hope we’re at a tipping point where every single woman, mother or not, bikini or not, can start feeling proud of their bodies.

No woman (or man) is perfect, we’re all diverse in our looks and bodies, and as you know, the models you see in magazines usually undergo 10 hours or more of photoshopping and editing. Perfection doesn’t exist people.

Imperfection is perfection.

I’ve created a hashtag #proudinmybikini and would love you to share your own pictures rocking your bikinis/swimwear on social media if you feel like it, and I’ll include all the images in a blog post here, at the end of the summer celebrating we wonderful women.

Here are some simply super bloggers: beautiful women inside and out, who’ve joined me so far…

Proud in my bikini

Clockwise: Lizzy of What Lizzy Loves, Sarah of Life with the Munchers, Renee of Mummy Tries, Tanya of Mumaleary’s Blog, Sian of You’re Not From Around Here and Charlotte of What Lottie Loves.

Thanks for your support all, and for making this mama on holiday feel her very best.

We all deserve that, right?!

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138 Responses

  1. Nellie Stubbs

    I think I’ll cry. This is so amazing. I know I could do this in theory, but it is absolutely different when you see somebody do it.

  2. Katie Kingsbury

    I have never ever worn a bikini. I’ve never even considered it. Not because I am ashamed of my size, shape or body, simply because I just took it as a given that they weren’t for women over a size 12 (I’ve been everything from a size 14 to a size 20 in the past 15 years, though I’m now approaching a 12). This year we’re going on a Med cruise and, you know what? I’m going to buy a bikini! I’ll see how I feel wearing it on the privacy of our balcony first but who knows, I may even brave the lido deck. There’s literally no reason why I shouldn’t!

    • honestmum

      Go you girl and beauty has nothing to do with size, well done you for going for it, you will look beautiful, I hope if you feel like it, you’ll join in with #proudinmybikini x

  3. Gemma - @mumofabean

    Crikey!!! You look awesome!! You have also inspired me to buy a bikini for summer!! Might go for a retro high waisted one as I’m not that brave yet hahahaha! !!

    • honestmum

      Yay thanks darling, so pleased to hear that, please tag #proudinmybikini if you share on social media as I’d love to have you join in, if you fancied it xx

  4. Katie @mummydaddyme

    I was honestly so proud to see your photo on Facebook Vicki, well done you for doing it. You inspired a lot of ladies and you looked fab. I love what you said there ‘imperfection is perfection’ – that couldn’t be more true. xx

    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Katie, the response has truly blown me away, so happy together we can all make ourselves feel more confident x

  5. Otilia

    I wish I trusted my own body more….I am not at all how i used to be so I find it hard to be in pictures these days 🙁

    • honestmum

      I’m not how I used to be but it’s OK hun, I hope you start to feel more confident, you are beautiful and we all deserve to feel good xx

  6. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops

    I saw your gorgeous photo and it really is inspiring. It’s so great that you have reached so many people – I am sad to say I had never even considered wearing a bikini after I had Boo but I am on the lookout for one now! So thank you!

    • honestmum

      Yay that makes me so, so happy Jenni! Whoop, whoop, thanks for your amazing comment, it’s made my day, you will look amazing hun x

  7. Rachel

    I saw your picture on facebook and think it is bloody amazing what you have done. Not only is your picture beautiful but the confidence you have given to so many women including me is amazing #brilliantblogposts x

  8. Ann Krembs

    Vicki! I have done something crazy myself. I just posted a #StyleStory about what I find to be THE bikini for over 40! I posted 7 pics of me in my swimsuit. I can’t believe I did it, but I just felt compelled to put myself out there. I don’t think I’d ever make a reach of 40,000! Wow! But, I would like to help women realize that confidence is what makes an outfit–including our swimwear. You look great Vicki! Right on!! And so do all the other ladies. I’ll be adding my hashtag;D


    Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    • honestmum

      How amazing are you lady, I’ve just seen the post, you look stunning in every shot, you have an incredible figure and I’d be honoured to have you share an image tagging #proudinmybikini xx

  9. Penny @onepennytourist

    I saw you post this on Twitter last week – it’s an absolutely wonderful response.

    Sadly I don’t think there will be any miracle changes in attitude from society as a whole about body image, but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction.

    You have every right to feel very proud that you’re a part of that 🙂

    • honestmum

      Thanks Penny, definitely a long way to go but I love how blogging and social media offers an alternative voice and imagery to the mainstream and they really do have an impact x

  10. Michelle Murray

    Well done you for feeling confident enough to wear a bikini. I think you look fab and I wish I was comfortable enough to try a bikini on. Maybe next year xx

    • honestmum

      Thanks Michelle, I hope you find that confidence, we all deserve to rock what we like, I know it feels hard after kids but I can’t wait for images of real mamas to be the norm everywhere xx

  11. The L's Mum

    Amazing, you are a real inspiration to women. And definitely are to me. You look wonderful. Well done for inspiring so many ladies. You rock 🙂 #BrilliantBlogPosts

  12. Natasha

    Imperfection is perfection! I love that line. You are such a role model to all women out there and I’m glad you decided to share your picture because it shows the reality of motherhood. You’re still beautiful, with or without stretch marks. You go mama!! xx

  13. Sophie Chandler

    In short – you look fab. Hope I look that good when I’ve had a baby. Excellent blog post. Thank you for writing.
    Sophie x

    • honestmum

      That means a lot, you will look amazing and remember I had my last baby 2 1/2 years ago, we have to be kind to ourselves, thanks so much Sophie for your lovely words x

  14. Zena's Suitcase

    Well done Mama! I love how you’ve inspired women all over the world to love themselves and feel confident in their own skin. It’s such an empowering picture and has truly mad a lot of difference to a lot of women. Love the skin your in is what I say! xx

  15. Carry On Katy

    You look H.O.T…HOT in that bikini!
    I’m inspired to put mine on now. I’m not going on holiday this year but I’m going to wear it anyway!
    Great post.

    • honestmum

      Do it girl and I plan on wearing mine lots in the garden, might just pop to the shops in it (I won’t) hahaha x

  16. Mim

    I’m proud of you in your bikini 🙂 you look absolutely beautiful and so confident – you’re really going to inspire so many others by being brave! Mim x #brilliantblogposts

  17. Adventures of a Novice Mum

    Well done and so lovely to have such fab men in one’s lives, hey! Indeed, there is no perfect body; the imperfect body is the norm FOR ALL OF US!

    I have never won a bikini; otherwise, I would literally join in. Nonetheless, I’m cheering you on. It’s so wonderful that you’re happy with your body as it is, loving and embracing what you’ve got. Indeed, making it work for you. ‘The beauty of reality’ indeed. When you your worth and love you, others see your worth even more and love you. I’m sure you’ll have more folks falling over themselves to work with you.

    More strength to you dear one. #aNoviceMumBlogVisit

    • honestmum

      Oh hun thanks so much, your comment has brought tears to my eyes, that means so much, I think it’s a journey isn’t it, we all have bad, low confidence days but the more we practice self love, the better we feel and happiness just radiates and it’s infectious. Thanks for all your support x

  18. Amy

    You my darling are an absolute Goddess. You look absolutely beautiful and I love that you are confident in your bikini and rightly so. Here’s to having husband’s who love and accept us for who we are and make us feel confident despite the odd stretch mark. I have been following the photo and have so enjoyed reading all the comments, so am not surprised at how moved you are. You are a true inspiration and a bloody marvel. Thank you Vicki for being you, for shining brightly, and empowering women to feel confident. Lots of love xxx

  19. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    I love it!! You look gorgeous and so do the other beautiful ladies. Keep going with your movement, it will help so many women’s self esteem. x

    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Becky, it has touched me how many have said it’s inspired them to feel good about themselves x

  20. Gemma Capocci

    After not getting one stretch mark when pregnant with my first baby, I was HORRIFIED to see a tummy full of them after giving birth to my enormous boy. I thought I’d never wear a bikini again. Now nearly 8 months later I am beginning to get my mojo back and I’m caring less and less about the marks and all my other imperfections. I just don’t have the time to be precious and as long as my family are happy and healthy WHO CARES! x


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