The hunt for the Elusive bra size

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Okay.  I'm mad.

Following feedback I've received on my lingerie reviews and my own dissatisfaction I've continued my quest to find my true bra size, if ever 'one size' ever existed.  It seems every year I'm wearing a new bra size.  It was only 2009 when I thought I was a DD.  Now I'm in 32F bras but still defiantly not happy with settling on this.

One suggestion which would surface a few times was that I'm perhaps a 30FF, in that, I go bigger in the cup but compensate in going down on the back size.  Seemed common sense enough to me so I bought (stupidly) a 30FF Freya bra off eBay.  When that arrived I knew instantly it was not big enough.  The cups were impossibly tight as was the band.  So, aside that bra has gone.  (It wasn't even as if it was cheap...)

Then a week or two ago, figuring it can all depend on the type of bra as much as the brand, I decided to go try some bras on in House of Fraser.  I guessed they would have a good range to choose from including brands as opposed to just a shop's own make.   I tried on some Freya bras again in the hope I would find one that would fit.  After several bras and different sizes I ended up buying the Freya Rio bra in a 30FF.  To me in the changing room, it did feel a whole lot better than the 30FF I bought online.  Just goes to show.  When I came home and then wore it for a few hours, I decided I really wasn't happy with this one either.

I'd read a lot online about the Freya Rio for being a good overall bra, and that apparently lots of women are first fitted with a Rio, in shops like Bravissimo.  I did really like the look of it, despite the fact I usually like a slight padding and wouldn't normally go for a soft cup.

What I foung with the Rio, in the 30FF, is that to begin with it felt a job getting it on.  Maybe it's because I'm used to a wider band than I need, but it did feel very tight fastening it up.  I like to fasten my bra reverse to me then twizzle it around but I struggled to do that with this one.  Once on it did feel snug and decidedly fitting.  My boobs were contained well in each cup, which was good, and the centre gore  fitted flat against my chest bone.

This is what it looks like on me.  Looks okay?

Looks a good fit,  no bulging double boob.

But as I wore the bra for a little while I found the ends of the under wire were digging in to under my armpit, and when I ended up taking it off because it felt quite painful, it left quite prominent indentations in my skin.  Then I thought I did actually get a little 'double boob' on the front of the left cup.  After that I didn't feel comfortable wearing it again, so the Rio too has been relegated to my eBay pile.

But this is where it really pinches.  You can see how it's nipping me in.

Doesn't look so nice here.  The cups seem too snug and the centre gore doesn't look very happy.

So I don't know whether the 30 band was just too tight and that I really do need to stay at a 32, or if it's because the cups were a FF that made the band feel so constrictive and the under wired cups so painfully nipping me in.  If I measure myself with a tape measure I'm a 28.  I understand that measuring means nothing really and that the old fashioned 'plus 4' shouldn't apply.  But where does this leave me?  Any ideas?

Today as I was in town I decided to pop into Marks and Spencer and to see if they did 30 backs, and if so, if they had a 30G (figuring I should try a G following my experience with a 30FF).  I couldn't see any on the racks of lingerie but when I asked one of the sales assistants they said they had one upstairs, which they brought down for me to try on.  I didn't know whether I was lucky or not.

I tried it on and annoyingly the 30G was just too tight and uncomfortable.  Inevitably as I knew it would happen the assistant 'came to my aide' and started bringing me a variety of different sizes to try on.  They all didn't fit quite right but the majority of the bras were plunge style which I don't usually go for because I find they don't really fit me well.  The assistant wasn't sure what to try next so brought in her superior to measure me and see what she thought.  The minute the tape measure was mentioned alarm bells rang and I knew I wouldn't like how this was going.

The lady said I'm bordering on a 34" back which horrified me, and even more so when she suggested I try a 34E!  I knew fine well that totally wouldn't fit, which surprise! surprise! didn't fit.

In the end she brought in one of the new bras in the DD+ line. We were now back to a G cup but in a 32 back.  I didn't know whether that was because she truly thought I was a 32G or because there was only one 30G bra in the shop and I'd already tried that one on!

After all the faffing about and with a mountain of bras I'd by then accumulated, I ended up deciding to go with the 32G.  I felt snug enough and I didn't have the double boob effect I usually get with my uneven boobs.  To be honest I think I was half persuaded by this point and naively I bought it.

Looking at it now, I see exactly where it's not happy.
The sides don't dig and the cups look wide enough.

The cups seem big enough.  The centre gore doesn't lie flat though.

Back home I tried it on again and low and behold I'm not happy.  The 32" band does feel on the loose side and the straps feel like they want to ease their way down my shoulders, the cups feel slightly baggy, especially underneath, and the centre gore doesn't sit flush against me.  Oh and the side panels which lead to the straps feel like they're digging in and annoys me just in that moment of having just put it on.

The cups look baggy and the centre doesn't lie flat.
The straps feel too wide and dig in to my armpit.

I'm gonna have to take it back.

So if the 30FF Freya was too tight and the 32G M&S feels big and baggy, what do I do?  Please, any thoughts, suggestions and stress-relieving vibes are much appreciated at this time!!  :-)

Becky x

Market Research Love

Friday, 24 February 2012

Today has been a good day.

It didn't start so well this morning though; I woke up half lying on my pillow with a painful crick neck and discovered I've got a dodgy eye again.

For some reason every now and then I get really irritated or infected eyes.  I can't decide whether it's the mould near our backdoor and bathroom (don't you just love crap landlords) that keeps sending my eyes into a hissy fit or if it's the coal fire.  It's basically a knackered ancient old stove fireplace and when it's windy especially, it bellows smoke into the living room.  I'm hoping it's not a full blown infection like conjunctivitis again so I'm frantically dropping 'irritated eye' drops every now and then to relieve the soreness somewhat.

I had a scheduled press shoot in the afternoon so I couldn't believe the timing of my sore, flaming red eye.  I don't like wearing eye make up if I may have an infection because it means my mascara and anything else I use near my eyes has to go the journey.  So, I had to chance it and do my make up anyway.

Unfortunately I'm sworn to secrecy at the moment so I can't let on what I was having pictures taken for but I can say that all will be revealed very very soon.

I didn't get to check my email until I got home this evening and I was happy to see I'd been made 'member of the week' in a newsletter sent by a market research panel I'm part of.  (They incorrectly said I'm in the North West and not the North East, but never mind!) I was quite chuffed with that because I've been really active with my panels lately.  I've had quite a few surveys and secret trials, including some super health foods and some shampoo and conditioner.  I love doing these kinds of surveys and trials because I am quite opinionated but also believe in the power of the consumer.  If we don't say what we think about things that concern us then companies aren't going to know if we like their products or services.  If something is relevant to me then I like my opinion heard.  It's nice to be an important part of a company's brand and if it's not enough to enjoy being heard and find enjoyment in ticking boxes and answering questions then the freebies and rewards are nice when you get them!

Are you on any market research panels?

Becky x

My Top Beauty Buys

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Last night as I was in the bathroom I began thinking about what products I enjoy using. I seem to use so many different things all the time, constantly trying new fan-dangled creams and on the quest to discover the best value lotions and potions.  I go through periods of my life being more ready with cash and being able to afford the more expensive products to times when I really do have to think frugal and be as thrifty as I can with my beauty buying.  Generally though I'm a very realistic person with a no-nonsense approach to shopping and I will stop at nothing to find a bargain.  If something's five pence cheaper elsewhere I'll walk the extra distance to save it!

I don't keep to the same products all through the year because of my deals led mind, and to me, often brand loyalty is a sure way to spend more than you need to.  You do have to know where to draw the line, some products that are cheaper are rubbish and sometimes spending a little bit more is worth it for the quality and effectiveness of the product.  The trick is to be aware of which shops are running which offers, and that way you can get your most desired buys for a less than guilty price.

These are my favourite beauty products:

1.  Olay Daily Facials (sensitive) - 30 cloths - £3.99 (Boots)

I love these because they're great for a thorough cleanse and are amazing for removing all traces of make up, even stubborn heavy photo shoot make up! (Eyeliner, shadow, mascara, the whole shebang.)  I've tried the normal skin cloths but find the sensitive version to be so much kinder.  The single use cloths lather up well under a little running water, feel smooth and creamy on the skin and my face feels lovely and soft after washing.

2.  Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Facial Scrub - 150ml - £4.59 (Superdrug)

I love how effective this scrub is, how it feels, and the smell.  It's gorgeous!  I feel like I've had a good pore cleanout and totally facially refreshed when I've used this, and I've not found anything to smell more delicious that I can put on my face.  :-)

3.  Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing Toner - 200ml - £2.98 (Wilkinsons)

After having a thorough cleanse I like a toner that's pretty neutral but will still do the job.  This is my favourite because it doesn't upset my skin and my face feels fresh after applying it.  I don't believe a toner needs to be any more fussy.

4.  Lacura Q10 Day Cream - 50ml - £1.99 (Aldi)

This is an absolute bargain and I'm glad I gave it a try.  I anticipated a watery thin texture but I couldn't have been more wrong.  This cream smells really fresh and feels light and silky without being greasy.  It absorbs well into the skin and I feel well moisturised with no tightness.

5.  L'occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream - 30ml - £7.50 (L'occitane)

L'occitane make the best quality hand creams in my personal experience (and I use a LOT of hand creams) and this is their original shea butter cream.  It contains a high percentage of shea butter which is what makes this cream so super thick and moisturising.  I love it when L'occitane bring out special editions of fruity or floral versions of shea butter hand cream but this one is their stand alone multi award winning cream and it's clear why.

6.  Nivea Pure Fine Talc 500g - £1 (Morrisons)

Some may say using talcum powder is a little dated and probably only for babies (or those who talc up for wet/dry suits) but I still swear by using it.  I've used lots of talcs and this is my absolute favourite.  It smells gorgeous and feels so silky.  

7.  Botanics Bodycare Nourishing Body Butter - 450ml - £5.62 (Boots)

A super moisturising butter which you get a lot of for your money.  I love using this when I feel a little dry and my skin wants some attention.  Great for soothing and replenishing skin following hair removal - my legs saviour when I've waxed.  It does feel more on the greasy side but in a good way.

8.  Proclere Argan Oil Hair Treatment - 100ml - £9.99 (Superdrug)

I've used hair serums for a long time now and since buying this I've realised it is now my must have.  You get a lot of serum in the bottle so it lasts a long time but this really is a great serum.  My hair feels softer following my usual shampoo and condition and does actually seem to be more relaxed and easier to tame and style.  This isn't a beauty buzz word for nothing.

9.  Palmolive Naturals Black Orchid and Moisturising Milk - 250ml - £1.65 (Superdrug)

I am very particular about body wash.  I like body washes to be thick and creamy and ultimately not drying.  I can't stand a body wash that smells gorgeous but makes my skin feel tight, and this one ticks all the boxes.  Really nice scent and leaves my skin soft and moisturised.  I was more than pleasantly surprised when I gave this a chance.

10.  Molton Brown Relaxing Yuan Zhi Bath and Shower - 300ml - £17.50 (Molton Brown)

This is my absolute favourite.  Molton Brown products don't come cheap but they're my biggest love if I had to choose a brand I covet most.  I love many of their shower gels but this one is my particular to-die-for body wash.  It smells divine and never fails to relax me.  You don't need much to get a good lather too and I firmly believe that despite the big price tag this product does actually work out quite economical.  

What do you think of my top beauty buys?  Do you share the same love as me?  

Becky x

Review Revisited: Latest in Beauty - The Products

Friday, 17 February 2012

Earlier I told you about February's 'The Refresh and Recover Box' themed beauty box by Latest in Beauty which cost £6.95.  I was very keen to try the samples as soon as possible so I'll let you know what I think of them.

The first product I tried was the 'Clarins Multi-Active Day early wrinkle correction cream', 15ml.

Having cleansed my face, I squeezed a little amount onto my finger and applied the cream like I would normally use a day cream.  The bottle itself is a fairly substantial size for a sample which I was pleased with and it should last me a week.

I've never used a Clarins product before so I don't know if their products always have the same scent or not, but it does have a lovely light fragrance like an older woman's perfume.  The cream is actually quite light to the touch, like a silky lotion.  It's easy to massage into the skin, doesn't feel greasy at all and leaves your skin feeling and looking fresh and dewy.  I love the smell of it on my skin and my face feels well moisturised.

As I'm only 30 and I generally have good skin I won't be able to gauge what this is like for wrinkled skin but I can imagine it to be effective judging solely by it's skin quenching properties.


I love hand cream and would say it's my essential beauty product after lip balm, so I was keen to try out the Lavera Basis Sensitiv Hand Cream', 20ml.

I'd not actually heard of this brand before so I came to this product open minded.  The tube looks like a quality product and I was appealed by the fact this cream not only contains both organic almond and shea butter but is vegan society approved.  Animal welfare does interest me greatly so so far this product was looking good.

When I opened the tube I was instantly taken with it's essential oil fragrance, which reminded me of Neal's Yard Remedies' Rejuvenating Frankincense range.  It's a gorgeous heady scent which oozes natural goodness which can only be down to the bountiful oils of soy bean, jojoba seed, sweet almond, sunflower seed, shea butter, and it's plethora of flower extracts and natural scents.

Squeezing the cream out onto my hand it felt luxuriously thick.  It was a treat to massage into my hands which absorbed into my skin well whilst releasing it's natural oils scent.  Once rubbed in my hands felt thoroughly moisturised and smelled lovely.  This cream has definitely found itself on my must have list and is going straight into my handbag.


Being a huge lover of lip balms I was looking forward to trying the pretty 'Balance Me Hydrating Rose Otto and Shea Butter Salve', 15ml.  It's a full size product so a great value addition to the sample selection.

After squeezing the tube for quite some time it was clear the salve was not going to come out easily.  I decided it must need to have a seal broken somewhere inside so I pierced a needle through the applicator hole to open it.

By moving the applicator tip across my lips and gently squeezing the salve out I coated my lips.  It has a very light scent and taste of the rose flower oil which is quite pleasant although I felt the texture let the salve down.

There are quite a few essential oils in the recipe along with shea butter and it's also 63.7% organic, so it is a quality product.  It does feel slightly greasy for my preference though, and the consistency isn't as thick and moisturising as I'd want it to be.  I definitely wouldn't say my lips feel hydrated, more irritated.  I'm quite disappointed that I don't love this product like I thought I would.


The prettiest and most eye catching product of all of the selection is definitely the 'Figs and Rouge Balm', 8ml.  It is such a beautiful little tin with an intricate vintage look.  I score the product 5/5 for it's packaging alone!

The balm is 100% certified organic and is suitable for use on the lips, face, in fact anywhere on your body where you have a little area that needs extra TLC.

You would most associate a balm with petroleum jelly, like Vaseline lip salve, but unlike it, Figs and Rouge balm is petroleum free.

Removing the dainty lid you are met with creamy solid balm and a delicate scent of sweet geranium.  Despite it's high content of natural fruit and flower oils it is not an overpowering fragrance.

I swirled my finger gently around on the salve then rubbed it into my lips, which made my lips tingle a little.  My lips do feel moisturised.  I like this.  A lot.


I will have a little dabble with the rest of the samples in my box and let you know how I get on with the Teapigs remedy, Monu Recovery Balm, Actimints and Cosmetofruit elixir.

Becky x

Review: Latest in Beauty

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Recently I've noticed a new revolution in the way we can try out new beauty products without the huge expense and investment into a full size product.  Initiatives such as Glossy Box and Joliebox (formerly Boudoir Prive) have created a mini luxury pampering service by selecting premium branded products and sending out sample size versions which are new or highly acclaimed for a small fee.  The little collection of mini goodies arrive through the post in an attractive small box ready for us beauty-a-holics to covet, try out and  enjoy - and (in the companies' favour, we then go on to buy the full size product.)

I decided to try out Latest In Beauty's version of these sample filled boxes and went with their themed boxes which vary each month, and bought February's 'The Refresh and Recover Box'.  It cost £6.95 which is a bargain compared to the price or their competitors, upwards from £10.

I ordered on Sunday the 12th February and today, Thursday the 15th February, I received my pretty pink box in the post.  It's recyclable cardboard so environmentally friendly but as it's a cute box you could easily reuse it to store knick-knacks.

On opening the box I found my selection of samples laying on a bed of pink shreddy packing material, so very girly and attractively presented.

'The Refresh and Recover Box' contained: 

  1. Lavera Basis Sensitiv Hand Creme 20ml
  2. Actimint Probiotic Supplement - 3 'taster' mints
  3. Cosmetofruit Luxurious Hair and Nails Beauty Drinkable Elixir 30ml
  4. Sun Shots SPF25 Medium UVA Sun Protection 20ml
  5. Monu Soothing Touch Recovery Balm 5ml
  6. Figs and Rouge Balm 8ml
  7. Teapigs Tummy Tonic - 1 teabag

And two extras which I could choose from a selection:

  1. Clarins Multi-Active Day Early wrinkle correction cream 15ml
  2. Balance Me Hydrating Rose Otto and Shea Butter Salve 15ml

I think nine products is fantastic value for a beauty sample box and I am already looking forward to seeing what theme March's box will be.

I'm going to do a follow up review for each of the products to show what they're like once I've had time to try them.

Becky x


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I hadn't seen the Grammys but last night I saw on Katy Perry's Facebook that she'd performed a new song on her first outing since the split from Russell Brand.  I am totally blown away by it, it's an absolutely amazing song and definitely the right tune to belt out at this point in her life.  The song's called Part of Me and if you've not yet heard it, you must!  I'm totally addicted to it already - and you can hear here:

I got an awesome phone call this afternoon and I'm so bursting to tell about it but I have to be sworn to secrecy at the moment.  It concerns my lovely bunny Bobby (who's in my main picture with me) but that's all I can say!  It's really good news anyway - may not sound that great, but really is good, for Bobby and me.  I will tell all soon enough...!

I also had a phone conversation with a tv production company who are making a new Keith Lemon show.  Unfortunately the huge idea I had to go on with seems too rude for it!  Now, knowing what Celebrity Juice is like, you'd think a new show would be equally if not more rude than that, but no, apparently it's going to be for family viewing.  Very disappointing on my part, I think I sounded absolutely crazy and that guy on the other end of the phone is probably wondering what a kind of mad woman I am.  Hmmm.  I think I need a plan B and come back to it.

On a different note, I finally used my sewing machine!  Woo-hoo!  I had been petrified of trying it out, since the last time I touched one was at school and I remember how pants at it I was.  But yeah, it was kinda cool (once I'd had a melt down trying to figure out how to rig it up and ended up reeling Sean in to figure it out for me.  He's a man.  It's mechanics.  That's how I'm seeing it.)  It reminded me of the first driving lesson I ever had, oh my goodness, that feeling of touching the accelerator and not daring to actually push your foot onto the pedal.  I'm sure it'll all come with practice, I'm hoping!  I had a little go of stitching in a straight line with various stitch types and then reinforcing stitches by reverse stitching.  Then I decided I would just jump straight into it and finally sewed some lining on the bedroom curtains.  I think it helped that I did stitch something tangible, and makes me feel more confident about going on the sewing machine again and trying out other stuff, like the cushions I've been wanting to make for months.  If anyone has any tips for a sewing machine beginner, please do share!  Being a perfectionist it frustrates me that I can't do it perfectly right away and I want to be a proper sewing machinist.  Well, capable of producing more than lining on curtains.  :-)

Becky x

Lingerie and Religion

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I actually posted this yesterday on my modelling blog, Becky's Boudoir, but thought I'd put it on here too.  It's something that is rather important to me, so here it is if you missed it.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Today I read on that a Victoria's Secret model, Kylie Bisutti, has decided not to model for the lingerie big name any more because of her religion.  She says that being a Christian it is not right for her to model lingerie when she has young girls looking up to her as inspiration.

As much as Kylie is entitled to her own beliefs and do as she wishes with her life, I can't help but feel profusely frustrated with where she's coming from.

I am a Christian myself but I am also a lingerie model.  I feel my religion is in no way conflicting with my choice to model, because lingerie is not a sin and I don't believe it right that any woman should feel she is doing wrong just by wearing it.  Lingerie is more often that not worn for the better of the woman.  Lingerie makes you feel great when you wear it.  Lingerie has a purpose!

God made women as we are, we have boobs, you can't argue with that.  Some people don't mind their bosoms flapping about their chest freely but I, like millions of women out there, like to keep ours under control.  For this you need a bra.  How and where do you buy a bra?  A shop on the high street, internet, mail order catalogue, all of which require stock from lingerie manufacturers to actually sell you a bra.  These suppliers need pictures to show off the bra to the best of it's ability, to get you to choose their bra over the next manufacturer.  Simple.  Someone has to be the woman that wears those bras whose pictures need to be taken of them to be put on the box.  How can anyone say that being one of these women is living in sin?

Aside from necessity, there's the self appreciation factor.  A bra that looks beautiful, is well made and constructed with love and with the loveliest of materials, makes you feel great when you wear it.  There is nothing wrong with appreciating this feeling, the sense of self loving, that gives you confidence.  What helps you love your body, which God gave you, is not a sin.

Then there's those 'naughty' lingerie pieces.  Are they really naughty?  Naughty is a word for wrong doing, acting with ill meaning. But if we're wearing them with our partners with whom we dedicate our lives and souls too, are we really doing wrong?  Is it wrong to enjoy our bodies and to nurture a close loving bond with our life partners?  No, I don't agree that that is a sin.

If we are being honest with ourselves, enjoying ourselves and feeling good all from the pleasure of lingerie, whether we be wearing it or looking at it, it can not be bad.  And being a model, a person who wears a piece of clothing to encourage you to buy the product can not be wrong.  Wearing something that is completely natural, a bra, can not be seen as wrong.

We are what we are on the inside, and this is not what's shared outside our relationships.  What we share with our partners is not just our bodies because what we truly are is inside us.  A model does nothing to share this exclusivity with viewers of a product catalogue.

Women are too often made to feel ashamed of our bodies in this world and it's time we realised this and put an end to it.  Lingerie is not a dirty word and it exists to make us learn to love what we have, whatever our size.

Like I said, I do have a Christian faith and hand on heart believe I am not doing anything myself that is wrong or contradictory to my beliefs.  Some people may say that modelling is not a job for Christians but I contest this.  I was made a woman, I'm proud of what I am and love what my body is, and believe above all that anything that is done with the best intentions and generates good feelings can only be good.

Long live the good lingerie model!

Oh, and I'll take Kylie's job at VS if there's no objections... ;-D

Becky x

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