Midlife Loves

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Midlife Loves

Holiday Cover Ups

Well we are heading to that time of year when most of us start paying our bodies a little bit more attention.  Especially if you're anything like me where the thought of wearing a bikini/swimsuit anywhere other than my garden makes me feel more than a little anxious.

So whilst the summer months mean a lot of us will be slapping a bit more of the old fake tan on, shaving and moisturising more, I sadly think most of us ladies will also be giving ourselves a hard time on how we perceive our bodies especially with the thought of exposing it to all & sundry whilst on holiday & will kick start the diet/excercise plan in a desperate attempt to resemble 'The Body' herself Elle Macpherson.

Firstly I'd like to say that I wish when I was younger I appreciated my body more because after you reach a certain age (30 in my case) I've really had to work hard & on top of that of course our bodies really do change after children (unless of course you're a celebrity in which case you'll just ping back to your pre-baby figure the instant you give birth!).  I really think that most women have some form of body dysmorphic disorder, especially after having children & we REALLY shouldn't be as hard on ourselves as we are.  

So each year whilst on holiday people watching & seeing other women seemingly comfortable in their own skin I vow that next year I will be like them & stand up tall & not scurry from the pool to the comfort of my sun lounger before anyone has had chance to catch the hideous stretch marks or my 'mummy tummy', which as a proud mum I know I should feel proud to bare!

However, it's safe to say that I haven't mastered this inner confidence of being comfortable in my bikini & whilst I know I should probably ditch the bikinis for the safety of a swimsuit because if would hide the stretch marks & hold in the saggy skin which I seems to have a life of it's own especially when I go & bend to pick something up, I just don't want to have a white tummy & back!

So that leads me to the wonders of a holiday cover up.  I used to love sarongs, & whilst I still love them sadly after giving birth to our wonderful son they don't cover me as much as I like to be covered.  I'd love to be one of the women who saunters up to the poolside bar in just their bikinis but really would that be fair on the other holidaymakers?  I think not.

So whilst I master my inner body confidence (perhaps this year will be the year - after all there really are far more important things to worry about & life really is too short) I'll turn to the good old faithful of the kaftan.

Now the first problem I have with finding the right kind of cover up is I would LOVE to look as stylish as our fellow Europeans do.  They seem to ooze this inner sophistication & glamour that I simply fail to achieve when slapped in suncream & coping with the glorious hot temperature you can bask in abroad. In fact I seem to wilt faster than a piece of lettuce left out in the sun!  Of course it could be that I seem to take the view that any old summer dress/tunic that I've decided to get rid of can be used as said cover up because who'd buy something new to then get covered in suncream, sea salt & sweat?!!!  Of course I feel this is my big mistake, so this year I have decided to embrace the cover up head on & invest in some new ones brought solely for the correct purpose & promise not to not wear them on holiday for fear of ruining them!  

So the first cover up I have found is this stunning embroidered one from Next.  I love the colours & it really is a classic that you could bring out each year but my only problem is that when I've worn similar old tops before I get myself in a real state.  Firstly as I've mentioned before I am highly (& when I say highly I really mean it) claustrophobic.  I mean I have to hold my breath when putting or taking off a jumper & don't get me started on how I used to feel when having to dress our son & pulling things over his head!  So whilst I can just about cope with putting this type of kaftan on, factor in the blistering heat & the fact that when pulling it on or taking it off in said heat it is likely (no matter how big it is) to have started to stick to the suncream & sticky skin then you can probably imagine that I am starting a full scale panic & flip out that I am in effect 'stuck' in my kaftan, so all hope of elegantly pulling the same on & off have TOTALLY gone out the window!!!  I've even tried the sort of cover up that has sleeves with buttons all the way down so no over the head stress but I still seem to stick to the said cover up in a not very sexy or elegant way!!! However, if you're not like me (& goodness knows I hope not, I'm sure I'm just a freak of nature) then you will be wondering what all the fuss is about & will simply love this gorgeous cover up which sadly for me I will have to drool over because if I purchase it, it will not be pretty & will definitely end in disaster!

However, if there are any other nutters like myself that seem to have these problems (& boy would I love to hear if you are) then unfortunately it has to be either a short sleeved version or sleeveless kaftan/cover up to avoid any weird behaviour whilst by the pool!  Of course there are also the strapless variety but unless I can match my bikini straps to said dress (which can be a little restrictive unless I take several) or wear a strapless bikini top then the following styles are going to be where I'm heading.  I've also discounted long maxi dresses because in the past this has resulted in me fighting with the fabric to try & find where my head goes - again not a good look!

So first up is this gorgeous one from Accessorize.  I really love the embroidery & colours and think this could look absolutely stunning & with a big neck & short sleeves even I should manage to take this on & off without getting into too much of a flap!

I also love this gorgeous one from H&M, which is in one of my favourite shades of blue.

However, if you fancy something with a little bit of bling then what about this gorgeous one from Next?  Of course it's semi-transparent (sounds less frightening than saying see-through!) but would still give me more confidence that just walking around in my bikini.

Taking the bling & the price up a serious notch is this stunning kaftan which is available from John Lewis.  This is simply stunning & would definitely give the European ladies a run for their money poolside & it's also available in turquoise.

Back to the slightly more reasonable prices of Accessorize, I absolutely love this cream embroidered kaftan.  I think this could look so stunning worn with some gold sandals (ooh check - I've got those!) & a classic straw panama (again check), gosh I can feel myself falling for this even more as I type!

Or if you fancy less of a sleeve this is another gorgeous one again from Accessorize.

I also love this navy one again from Accessorize (they have some amazing stock in at the moment).  I'm not a fan of the tie at the back so that would be snipped off straight away so would need to check it still stays on the shoulders without it but as long as I'd got my bikini top on underneath then a little shoulder slippage would be fine.

Or perhaps even this blue one from Next which is also available in white and lime green.

Or maybe this navy one from John Lewis which is great price and would look gorgeous with some gold or silver accessories & maybe even a belt worn under the cross over.  Again the ties wouldn't survive but other than that I think this could look stunning accessorised correctly & is also available in white.

Or how about this gorgeous coloured one from Next, which is also available in black or black with large cream dots.

Finally what about something more patterned such as this great animal print tunic from Wallis which could not only be worn as a cover up but also as a dress or over some skinny jeans/leggings.

And of course you can't go wrong with stripes so what about this one from Next?  It's also available in white, which would look stunning with a tan or in a parrot print if you want something more colourful.

Or how about this zebra print kaftan from H&M, which at £7.99 is an absolute steal & is also available in black, white, turquoise & multi-patterened.

Of course there are always shorts, linen trousers or jumpsuits that you can wear but I find I have the same problem with them sticking to my legs & that I can't simply swipe them on as quickly as you can a kaftan & for me the quicker I can get it on the better!

Finishing with a round up of what I've been wearing the last few days which as the temperature has dropped has resulted in going back to my jeans!

Outfit One

Scarf - Massimo Dutti
Bracelets - Massimo Dutti & Banana Republic
Jacket - Zara
Jumper - GAP
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - brought in Majorca

Outfit Two

Necklace - Zara
Jumper - Massimo Dutti
Bracelets - Massimo Dutti & Banana Republic
T-Shirt - Zara
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - Next

Outfit Three

Necklace - Wallis
Top - Zara
Jacket - Massimo Dutti
Bracelets - Massimo Dutti & Banana Republic & Banana Republic
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - Next

Outfit Four

Necklace - Banana Republic
Top - Zara
T-Shirt - Zara
Bracelets - Banana Republic & Massimo Dutti
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - Next

So what do you think & more importantly what do you wear as a cover up when on your hols?  Is it just me or do you have the same problem with long sleeved kaftans or do you know of a trick to avoid the whole 'head stuck in a kaftan but unable to move' look I seem to have problems with?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend x


  1. Post 35 it's the work you put in, not just the genes that give you your bikini bod. Somehow this is much fairer than in our twenties when some were just blessed with effortless perfection.
    Elle trains in Holland Park, I used to see her regularly and she runs for hours, like a woman possessed.
    The most beautiful linen tunics are Sunday St Tropez, 120% Lino and vanita rosa, they are all expensive but amazing quality and design.
    For something more blingy I would go for a kameez, with all that beautiful workmanship at a fraction of the cost of the high street.
    You need to come to the spirit of summer, the beachwear and fashion is much better than anything on the high street and most isn't designer prices.

    1. Ps this brand so a trademark kimono style kaftan in all their collections, might be good for your over the head problem! http://www.lolitajaca.com
      I did a new year bootcamp in st barths, the home of the amazing beach wrap, and learnt lots from one of my ladies who was a fashion buyer.

    2. Oh thanks for that I'm off to check out their website now :) x

  2. Some gorgeous cover ups there - I love the Accessorize ones, especially the cream crochet one. I too look enviously at all of those women on the beach that sit so comfortably in their own skins while I'm too busy worrying about the spare tyre around my mum tum! Add into the equation my pasty white skin - it's really not a good look for me so kaftans are the way forward! Lynne x

    1. Lynne the Accessorize ones are amazing aren't they. In fact I feel I may have to go in store & check them out lol!!! I'm determined this year to be more comfortable in my own skin, although of course I say this every year but you never know & I'm sure people have got better things to do that look at me!!! x

  3. I have a new found confidence on holiday - you don't know anyone and will never see them again, and you have a tan - the best way to make you look and feel better. I wear little make-up on holiday for these very reasons too! But on a bad day (reality!!) I love the Next Mink sequin cover-up and the Wallis animal print one! Also loving your green Zara jumper:)

    1. Yes this is very true, we just need to keep remembering it!!! And I definitely feel better with a tan but hate the first couple of days when you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb as the newbies with the blindingly white skin! :)

  4. I have grown with confidence in these past few years - I am who I am and I look like I do - that said I do wear a cover up to the beach!!

    1. I think it's about finding your inner peace, which of course is all well & good when fully dressed on a day to day basis but can desert you when semi-naked in your swimwear!


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