Kit for the Curvaceous – Part 1, Tops

Because it’s not just the skinny who want to exercise….


Before I had children I used to go the gym (fairly) regularly. Sure there were periods where I didn’t and I embraced the pizza and red wine a little bit too readily but even so I was (fairly) young and could mostly get away with it. One thing I didn’t worry about was what to wear when I went, I just threw on a pair of leggings and a vest top and my go-to sports bra of the time (I did worry about my bra actually, I can’t afford not to but more on that in a later post).

Since 2 children and the associated period of rapid weight gain, a bit of weight loss, a bit more weight gain (I never understood how some people can get through pregnancy without eating an occasional (daily) custard slice – and there’s my problem in a nut shell) , I’ve got more wobbly bits than I used to. My triathlon training is helping and the diet but some of those bits I believe are here to stay. I know I’m meant to be proud of these wobbly bits and not care what anyone thinks of me when I’m running or boot camping or cycling but I’m not ashamed to admit that I am vain and I do care. I am immensely proud of what caused those wobbly bits (i.e. the children part, not the associated custard slice inhalation part) but I am sure I am not alone in feeling self-conscious and wanting my outfit to at least flatter my good bits and to help in concealing my less good bits (my husband has just commented that all my bits are good bits (bless him).

We may all have different good and bad bits, you might be lucky and/or be more confident than me and have all good bits but my particular areas of concern are my bottom and my tummy.  I want a top that doesn’t leave my bottom too exposed and I want it to flatter/not cling/drape over my (hard-earned) mum tummy. And considering that running, working out, gym-ing is or should be the first stop in a weight loss healthy eating life transformation I am frankly staggered that there is not more choice out there for the not-yet-so-perfect of figure. Nike have only recently introduced a plus size selection – Nike!! – Bonkers.

After considerable research, a Pinterest board and quite a lot of grumbling, I present to you my top 5 “Kit for the Curvaceous” Running/Gym tops. Going in order of Price, High to Low.

Sweaty Betty, Lateral run vest, £65 and Seamless Double Time Workout Tank £60

Two entries from SB, both long line and slightly flowy/flattering. The double time tank my especial favourite, layers work for me and help to break up the tummy/hip area which I find can be flattering and confidence inspiring.

Nike Breathe, women’s training tank, £35


Best bits: the back! Plus it’s basically a loose t-shirt but the cut-outs and netting details make it look more than that

New Balance perfect tank, £24.00


Best bits: Ruching at the sides gives a looser fit across your tummy and a low dip hem at the back

Domyos energy long fitness tank top, £5.99

Best bits: long loose cut, flowing lightweight fabric, lots of different patterns, the price!

Check out my Pinterest board if you want to see the long list (find it here: Kit for the Curvaceous). Plus I’d love to hear your recommendations, I’m sure there are loads more.

Next stop in the “Kit for the Curvaceous” Journey is Leggings and Cycling kit, watch this space (and send me ideas, I am Pinterest-ing the sh*t out of it currently and need help!).


Chlorine – the Breakfast of Champions

Swimming Tips for Beginners

Breakfast of champions

1. You need to get up early. I’ve never seen so many pitch black mornings since I started swimming and amazingly there are loads of other people who get up crazy early to swim for the pure pleasure of it too. I was a regular attendee at a gym for a long time (pre children) and have been running regularly (post children) and I don’t think I ever got up before sunrise just to go to the gym or to run.  Maybe swimmers love it more? And I wonder if cyclists get up this early – to be determined….

2. Pick a lane carefully, my sister wrote about lane etiquette in a previous post but even before that you have to negotiate the minefield of picking the correct lane.  How busy are they, have other people picked their lanes correctly (slowbies or even worse fasties in the wrong lanes). How many people are there just chatting at the end of a lane? And more importantly – why do they do this? If you just want to stand in the water and have a chat, get out of my lane!! The best moment of a swim session is arriving and finding you have a lane to yourself – bliss!

3. Pack your bag the night before. Otherwise you WILL forget something crucial. And it takes away one of your excuses when you wake up, peer at the clock and start to regret your plan.

4. Get a swim buddy and agree to meet them there. My research shows that if I am meeting someone at the pool I am 100% more likely to get out of bed, i.e. the couple of times I planned to go on my own, I just didn’t. You don’t get to chat much when you are swimming (one of the best things about running is you can put the world to rights while you are doing it) but you can fit a chinwag in during the palaver of showering, getting dressed and hopefully a coffee and pastry after.

5. Take a drink. I wouldn’t dream of going to the gym without a bottle of water.  And swimming is hard work. Even though I am still swallowing more water than I probably should be when swimming, it’s not the right kind of water apparently.

6. Have a plan before you get in the pool, in the same way as I wouldn’t just run out the front door without thinking of a route first, I can’t survive a swim session without a “route” planned. My sister started us all off on these plans she found on the internet [Swim Britain Training Plans]. There’s also loads of ideas on Pinterest (cue shameless plug for my Pinterest profile, do follow me, I’ve gone pin crazy recently for Triathlon-ing, Fitness and Gin generally), find it here [Swimming hints and tips on Pinterest]. We’ve printed the guides out and after much experimenting with laminating and plastic bags have found that a good old poly pocket keeps them readable pool side. It’s as simple as warmup for X lengths, kick for X, arms for X, alternate drill/swim, one length fast, one length slow etc etc.

7. Drills – these are worth looking up (or checking out my Pinterest board). Before starting my Swimming lessons I had no idea these even existed. Basically they are how you improve your technique, the principle is you over exaggerate one thing in the stroke for a length or more or make it harder in some way (like swimming (or in my case drowning) with clenched fists…I know CRAZY) and then when you go back to swimming “normally” you’ve improved your form or got stronger or whatever. Bear with me you experienced swimmers, I am sure there is a better way to explain it (and please do if you have the time and inclination). It’s as simple as pushing your elbow up higher in front crawl or pretending you are putting your hand in your pocket under the water. Look at some diagrams online or buy a book or check out my Pinterest board……

8. Buy a swim hat – not because you are trying to keep your hair dry, which is what I always thought they were for – but because it keeps your hair nice and tidy (hair in your mouth/eyes/nose is very distracting) and you are generally more streamlined too. Also buy a float and a pull buoy. Having kit to play with makes the session fly by.

But the most important thing that is vexing me currently is whether I should be washing my swimming costume and hat after every swimming session. Granted it’s a first world problem but I’m throwing mine in the washing machine willy nilly at present and I’m sure that’s not good. More research needed.

Cycling is quite good actually

I haven’t been on a bike since I was 18, fast forward 20 years to our decision to do a Triathlon and this had to change.



I got a shiny new bike for Christmas (it was actually second hand but still shiny), my husband bought it for me (basically I think so he had an excuse to buy the ugly big black speakers he wanted without feeling guilty) but also because he is a brilliant husband who is very supportive of my Triathlon journey etc etc (love you darling, thanks for my bike).

I patted my lovely new bike on Christmas day and then put it in the garage and promptly forgot about it. I was nagged into getting it out a few weeks later and I cycled up and down our road being chased by a 4 year old on a scooter, flapping my hands a bit trying to understand the gears and terrified because the wheels are SO THIN, how do they hold you up? Also the saddle is SO SMALL and NOT PADDED. After just 20 minutes I was a bit bruised and cold and put my bike back in the garage, patted it again and went indoors with good resolutions to do something about all of these things.

By the end of February I realised this was ridiculous, invested in some gel shorts (as recommended by my cycling Sis in Law and some gloves and got out there.

It was ace! You go so fast, who knew it was so fun (other than all the cyclists already obsessively doing it obviously). It even rained and I didn’t really care. I’ve been out a few times now and these are things I am learning or want to work out more about:

1 – There is a reason there are so many gel infused trousers/shorts for ladies – definitely invest in some, it might not hurt at the time but unless you are very lucky and have a rubber downstairs it will hurt eventually or afterwards, sometimes even days later (I made the mistake of doing a spin class recently in normal gym leggings and have been in mild discomfort for about a week now).

2 – Wear gloves and thick socks – especially if you are prone to feeling the cold (hello, all women in the world). There are all sorts of special gloves and over shoe covers out there if you are so inclined. My running gloves seem to be doing the trick so far. Possibly won’t hold up for long distance.

3 – Strava or Garmin or other fancy satellite tracking/speed recording type gadget yourself up – work out a route before you go and check it occasionally while you are out to keep tabs on yourself. If you want to get fitter or faster you have to make yourself work harder and measuring progress is a scientifically proven thing that motivates most people (definitely me) plus then you can post smug route summaries on FB or Instagram about how fast and clever you are.

4 – You don’t have to “serious cycle kit” if you don’t want to but you do need sweat wicking, wind resistant minimally flappy stuff. I think if you want to go really fast, you do need some proper kit though. There is a serious dearth of kit out there catering for normal sized women, i.e. ones with shoulders or boobs but I am hunting some down, will keep you posted.

5 – Pick a hilly route – so fun! Up is hard, down is awesome but basically you are doing interval training and actually going somewhere at the same time

6 – Cleaty shoe/peddle things. My bike has them, I own the shoes. That’s all I can say right now, not yet tested. By all accounts, it will “revolutionise my cycling experience” and make riding easier etc etc. I’m just not there yet, I still can’t believe the tiny tyres are going to hold me up let alone to trust being locked into my peddles as well.  It’s on my list of things to work on.

There is so much more to learn and research, but in summary Cycling is not rubbish and I think I quite like it.