Author: LaurenDungey

Mental Health Awareness Week – #BeBodyKind

So as we near the end of mental health awareness week I thought I’d share my thoughts and feelings on why it’s so important. My absence for only writing about this now, ironically due to my own mental health. My own anxiety. Sometimes the hardest, most meaningful to me blogs take the longest to write. But I’m here now. So here I am, talking about why I think we need to talk more, why we need a week to focus on the realities of mental health. This year the focus was on body image and some surprisingly shocking stats were released by The Mental Health Foundation. Here are just three that I want to go deeper on.

1. One in eight adults have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.

2. Over a third of UK adults have felt anxious or depressed because of concerns about their body image.

3. Almost half of 18-25 year olds said social media had caused them to worry about their body image.

These are facts from the Mental Health Foundation, from a survey they conducted online which included 4,505 UK adults, for over 18’s to mark mental health awareness week.

And honestly although these facts shocked me at first, I completely related. Body image. We are surrounded every day by media, by social media, by people day to day, by family, and even by friends that tell us how to improve our bodies in some way. How to buy into the diet industry, how to buy into the beauty industry.

And as I thought more about these stats it made me realise. I don’t actually think I know a woman who hasn’t at some point been on a diet. Who hasn’t been on a ‘health kick’ who hasn’t wanted to try oils and lotions and creams to make stretch marks, cellulite, and wrinkles disappear. And then I thought, do I know any men that haven’t? I don’t think I do. We’re surrounded to believe that something about us, can be fixed. And it’s everywhere, as you walk down the street, as you scroll through your phone as you sit and watch your favourite programme. We are living in an age where more and more of us are speaking out about mental health, and about these feelings we hold deep down. Which is great, the more we talk the less stigmatised it becomes. The more we can fight to have more mental health services, to have more understanding than judgment. But sadly with the diet industry booming and sales to become ‘fitspo’ and ‘healthy’ I don’t think it’s an industry that’s going anywhere soon.

And then it makes me wonder. If these industries are growing, and more people are starting to doubt their worth more because of simply the way they appear to others, what will stop them? What scares me most is that the statistics shared above were taken from an audience of over 18’s. With social media growing and teenagers living in an age that is so heavily influenced on looks, it worries me what would the stats be if they looked into the 12-18 age bracket?

The three facts I shared above. I relate so much because at some point In my life I’ve felt this way. Body confidence doesn’t happen over night. At 16 I felt like there was no turning back. My mind controlled everything I put into my body and everything I did. And not in a positive way. It lead to dark times, a time where my only reason for existence felt like it was to loose weight. Since then things have been better. In the last few years I found being pregnant and having a post-partum body extremely difficult to accept. Then ‘shedding for the wedding’ the ridiculous diet I put myself on just to be a dress size smaller for the biggest day of my life. I looked at the photos and it made me realise. It didn’t matter what size I was, it was my mindset that had to change. In the last three years I’ve come so, so far. The bad days still occur, the days where I wonder if I’d be more worthy if I were a few stone lighter. But then I remember my weight does not define my worth.

The theme for this year’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek – Be Body Kind. It’s one I think we can all relate to. And it’s not to forceful, it’s not saying love your body! Be best friends with it! It’s saying simply be kind. Nourish it, take it for walks, relax. Try to be content in the skin you are in. In a world surrounded by Instagram models and a new ‘Kardashian’ diet each week, try to just accept who you are. Don’t put something off simply because of the label you wear.

I’ve shared some images along with this blog, they feature a set that was gifted to me by Brastop recently. I don’t ever feel the need to post underwear photos when talking about body confidence, but for me it’s empowering. After spending so many years hating my body, the way it looked, the way it felt, wearing underwear and appreciating the beauty of it and how it makes my body look and feel. It’s so wonderful.

This Mental Health Awareness week I want to ask you, are you okay? Have you been body kind to yourself lately? And If the answer is no, then just know it’s okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Surround yourself with positive influences. Take time out and please reach out if you need to. Speak to your GP, to your best friend to someone that can help. Below I’ve added some details of a few organisations and crisis lines UK that I found through the Mental Health Foundation if you need someone to listen. Please know it’s okay not to be okay, you are so worthy and there is always someone there for you.

The Samaritans – free to call, 24/7, non judgemental, just there to talk to. UK number – 116 123

Beat – Trained Eating disorder helpline open 365 days of the year, open 12-6pm Monday- Friday and 4-8pm weekends and bank holidays UK number – 0808 801 0711

The truth about being the part-time blogger.

Lauren Dungey, mother, blogger, sometimes a runner, gin and undies lover. This sentence has summed me up for a long time. It’s a round up of me, what I’m about, and what my blog is about. But recently I’ve not been such the blogger. Working full time Monday to Friday and living for the weekends has meant that although my goal this year, was to focus on this blog, it hasn’t always happened. And this year I’ve been trying so hard to make my blog stand out, I’ve been so passionate about writing, until this month.

This month has been hard. I’ve had bloggers block, and the reality is the outfits and underwear blogs that I love writing about, I haven’t been able to do. And I’m going to be completely honest, I just can’t afford to. I feel so blessed when I get gifted products and that’s why I write about them, even though I have no obligation to. It’s because I love them. Because I love sharing outfit looks, I love sharing new styles of underwear and swimwear and I love discovering new brands. And the reality is I can’t afford to buy new outfits monthly to write about, as much as I’d love to! In the New Year I reached out to a few brands and had such a wonderful response, I never knew reaching out was even a thing until this year. I’ve always been very fortunate to have been contacted by brands. But I put myself out there, and maybe that’s something I need to do again, keep the contacts up. But at the moment, with algorithms, and shadow banning, it’s hard to grow an organic following and it’s hard not to focus on numbers. From a blogger and a brand point of view.

We live in a society obsessed with hauls, mass ordering, fast fashion. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’ve been there, done that and I’m sure I will again. But the reality is we need to make small changes, and fast fashion isn’t sustainable. It almost puts me off ordering a haul to try on just to know I’ll be returning. I know most bloggers do it but I don’t want to as much anymore. Instead I’m trying to think of new ways to show you all new styles I’m loving without all the shipping back and forth. But it’s hard. High street shopping is hard.

Yesterday I went into a well known high street store and could not fit into a single piece of clothing. Even though they were all my size. It was deflating, and online shopping for the plus size woman is the better option. Knowing that they want your custom, that the designs are specific for you. There are so many gorgeous brands that now have on trend looks, for the plus sized women, delivered to your door, where you can try on in the comfort of your own home. So why would you put yourself through the dreaded changing room dilemma? The handing back every item to the fitting room attendant, saying they’re all no good.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to get over it, and put myself through the fitting room dilemma. Hopefully they’ll be some positives! I want to find plus size friendly shops on the high street and write about them. I’m thinking a series of new blogs called the fitting room, featuring… and then writing about what I find. It’s a little different from what I’m used to, far from my brick wall images or well thought out park or beach looks. But it’s me, and I want to re-focus on the fashion. Shopping locally is something I definitely want to focus on, especially small businesses. Taunton’s high street is relatively busy, with most shops still full, I want to focus on them.

When I did a Q&A on Instagram recently so many of you said you wanted to see more looks for the plus size woman at a reasonable price. And I want to make it my mission. I want to also make it my mission to attend any events or talks I’m invited to, to take the time for me and if I can’t make it to focus on why I can’t and turn it into a positive. I want to do what makes me happy, and what’s best for me and my mental health. Pushing my anxiety and not letting it hold me back.

I’m also trying to find new times to fit in writing, I no longer get the bus into work, so there’s no more bus blogs and there about to be a few more changes in my life that mean a few things have to be shifted around. Saturday morning blogging before everyone is up and ready is my current new solution. My dream would honestly be to write full time, but right now that’s really not an option and for now The Mum Style is just a part-time hobby.

I’ve been using my ‘dot-creates’ blog planner and it’s really helped me through this block. It’s helped me come up with this piece.

Writing more about body confidence through fashion and where I am with my journey to body confidence is definitely something else I want to incorporate. Recently I’ve taken a back step, with a few more than wanted bad days, and I want to turn that around. I’ve been very honest about it on Instagram and I hope that this is just a bump in the road. But I want to be honest on here too, and so I’m also going to feature another new blog series, called the truth about… as you can see I’ve started with this one! The truth about being the part-time blogger.

Here we go then, it’s a little different, a slightly new approach but I think it’s what’s going to work for me. Don’t get me wrong, the brick wall and undies are going no where! But until I save my pennies or am lucky enough to collaborate. This is it, say hello to ‘the fitting room featuring…’ What do you think? Could this work? I’d love to know your opinions so please let me know in the comments. X

Four day weekend. Three nights. Three outfits with Pink Clove.

It’s a four day weekend, and honestly after the past few weeks I have needed it. And not to mention, it’s not just any bank holiday weekend, it’s Easter! A holiday that’s celebrated by sharing chocolate eggs, I couldn’t think of anything better. This four day weekend also means there’s the potential for three nights out… or three nights in (this option is usually me!) So tonight I thought I’d show you three very different bank holiday ‘out-out’ outfits that I was very kindly gifted from the babes at Pink Clove.

First up a very daring jumpsuit, the Alexandra plunge jumpsuit to be exact, but daring, why? Because I do not have a bra that caters for this style so therefore opted for bra-less! Saggy boobs all out, and it was so freeing, I felt like a comfy queen. So the jumpsuit? It was a little long in the leg but when paired with some killer heels was perfect! The material is thick enough not to have to worry about nips pointing through if you did opt for no bra, and it was actually incredibly soft against my skin. I received mine in a size 18 and it was very true to size. Look one, I was sold. Perfect for dinner then cocktails or for an evening that needed a little more glamour.

Secondly florals for Spring? Groundbreaking. It’s me though, and if you know my style by now you’ll know how much I love a floral! My only wish? That this dress was a tiny bit longer and had a longer tie, to perfect that wrapped look. The Liana dress was also gifted in a size 18 and the overall fit was pretty good. For this look I opted for a plunge bra underneath as it wasn’t as supportive daring bra-less, as the jumpsuit. This is definitely a dress that I will love all summer. Throw a t-shirt underneath to make casual or keep it as it is for a night out. Paired with some bright earrings and my go to heels though, it’s a perfect floral for Easter dancing!

Last but certainly not least, animal print is going no where and I love it! I’m usually a leopard print lover but this zebra print had me sold. Another wrap style and so comfortable. One of my worries being that it was white, was seeing everything underneath, but actually the material is thick enough to hide all! Paired with my zebra print earrings this is definitely a look that will turn heads. All the inspiration in one outfit for, dare I say it… A wild night out! This dress I also received in a size 18 and again very true to size.

So there we have it, my round up of three very different looks for you bank holiday bells! Although these items were gifted to me, all of the opinions are my own. If you would like to take a peek at what bank holiday offers Pink Clove has lined up for you, take a look below! I’ve also as always linked each item below. What are your plans this weekend? Typically I’m staying in every night! But let me know what you’re all up to, I’d love to hear 💕

Pink Clove Liana Floral Dress

Pink Clove Alexandra Jumpsuit

Pink Clove Kalani Zebra Print Dress

Beach ready with Artesands.

As you may know I love the summer sun. Who doesn’t? But for a long time I dreaded the summer, not because of the warm rays but because of the thought of getting my kit off. And only in the past couple of years have I gained the confidence to say I am bikini body ready, always.

What I also now love, is discovering new fuller bust friendly brands and brands that understand the importance of quality and good support when supplying fuller busted clothing and swimwear.

So today I’m going to introduce you to Artesands, an Australian brand that specialise in a range of plus size swimwear and beach wear including bikinis, tankinis and costumes from a size 14 to 24. Until they’d contacted me, I’d never heard of them, but my goodness I’m so glad they did.

I was very kindly gifted the Zig Zag Delacroix Bikini top and matching bottoms. I received both pieces in a size 18 and I was a little apprehensive to say the least. Seeing that it had no underwire and that it wasn’t sold in cup sizes, made me question just how supportive it would be. But I wasn’t going to judge until I tried.

This is hand on heart my new favourite bikini. I was so surprised and so pleased at the sheer support in the bust, it was a real treat. As for sizing I’m usually a 36H in the bust and it was so comfortable, no bulging, no falling out and no cutting me up. And no underwire? But all the support, and so gorgeous. The criss-cross style top and print are a match made in heaven. The bikini also has moulded cups inside to give a rounded shape, and the straps are wide so no digging in! This set also comes in tankini version, bandeau bikini and full costume so plenty of choice if you love the print but the styles not for you.

The matching briefs were right up my street, high waisted, also so comfortable. The print is so simple but so gorgeous. I love the navy, I’m a big lover of a cute blue, gives me all the nautical feels! The stretch material used on this set is perfect for swimming and you can really feel is such a high quality.

This bikini set currently comes in at $89.95 for the top and $59.95 for the bottoms. But the price 100% reflects on the quality and I can tell is a real investment. Artesands currently has 15% off for new customers and free shipping on over $100. I’ve invested a couple of times on swimwear that’s a little bit past my budget and they are the sets that have really lasted me. Just make sure you hand wash in soapy water not to damage the gorgeous material!

This is definitely a brand that I would recommend if you’re looking for true comfort and style in your swimwear this summer. As always I’ve linked the items below or if you’d like to take a browse on their site I’ve also linked below. So have you sorted your summer swimwear? Or have you discovered a new hidden gem too that you’d love to share? Let me know in the comments! X

Artesands Zig Zag Delacroix Bikini Top

Zig Zag Rouched Side High Waist Pant

Artesands Home Page

That Friction Free Feeling!

I don’t know about you babes, but during winter I’m not going to lie, I hardly shave my legs. They get covered with tights, and they get next to no TLC. Some call it lazy. I call it survival. The cold weather, we all need an extra layer don’t we? And let’s be honest the worst thing in the world is far from hairy legs, it’s natural for goodness sake!

But about a month ago I started following ‘Friction Free Shaving’ on instagram. A shaving company that delivers new razor heads to your door every month for a monthly fee. They also claimed to be friction free and the first ever metal razor for women. I was interested to find out more, so I kept following, kept reading reviews and seeing what they had to offer.

So as Spring dawns and I start to show off a little more leg, I love a good shave. That fresh feeling, legs shaved, legs out, skirt on! So a few weeks ago I entered a competition on ‘Friction Free Shaving’s’ Instagram and I won! I never win anything so I was stupidly excited to win a silver razor, engraved with my initials.

When it arrived it came in the cutest little postage box, perfect letter box fitting, so I didn’t have to be home when it arrived! It came with four razor heads, one for each week of the month.

Why are you only hearing it about it now? Well I like to try a product to it’s full capacity before I write about it so as I dispose of my last head in the pack, here’s what I thought!

I’ve always had sensitive skin, anything from a new moisturiser, body wash, to different washing powder can set a bobbly rash off. Attractive I know. But it also means that usually with razors I have to be careful, I hunt to find the ones suitable for sensitive skin. So I was a little apprehensive to say the least in trying this new one. But I was soon pleasantly surprised, I used it effortlessly, no cuts, and no rash! It has a vitamin E strip and six stainless blades that glide across the skin and is perfect for a bikini area trim. Honestly it made such a difference not having to worry about the itchiness, the soreness and the redness. My legs felt good.

Finding a gem of a product that you can love and trust makes such a difference, I’ll definitely be ordering my refill heads this week. At just nine pound a month with currently free delivery on everything, it’s a real bargain. ‘Friction Free Shaving’ also offer a range of shaving cream, and pre-shave scrub that are all cruelty free, and full of natural cooling ingredients such as coconut and almond milk.

This is now a must have product in my beauty regime. I’m not going to lie I’ll still have my hairy leg moments but for when I need to treat my legs to a freshen up I know where to go! As always I’ve linked the product below if you like to check it out. Let me know what you think, have you found your ‘Friction Free Shave?’

Friction Free Shaving

The perfect set to put a spring in your step!

Right ladies we are nearly there, Spring is on the horizon! The daffodils are out, the mornings and evenings are getting lighter (slightly) and I’ve had a proper spring clean! A good sort out of the wardrobe and a good re-home to a lot of house hold bits we just don’t use anymore!

But what about underwear? It’s usually this time of year I start treating myself to new prints, new styles. A bit of a treat for my baps! A new over the shoulder, boulder holder! But this year the babes at Brastop beat me to it! And gifted me the gorgeous Flirtelle Viola set. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it this set is just what I needed!

I’ve been having a few moments of self doubt lately and one thing that has helped me massively, is underwear. The empowerment a good set can give you is honestly incredible. The feeling of putting on a matching set on a Monday morning and feeling like a total boss! The feeling of being fully supported, uplifted and ready to take on the day! So here she is, let’s talk about the oh so dainty and pretty Viola.

The Viola bra is currently online, in stock from a 32HH to a 40K, and from F cups on a 34 plus back. And the briefs from a size 10 to a 22. I received mine in a 36H and the briefs a size 20. Usually I wear a size 18 in briefs but these were definitely comfier sized up. I really love the polka dot mesh and the total coverage they provide. The bra is very true to size with a gorgeous stretch cup, 3 option hook back and adjustable straps.

I really do enjoy a basic white set, perfect for everyday and perfect under a blouse or white top, and so so comfortable! The gorgeous matching lace detail from the briefs to the cup are simply stunning and the comfort of a full stretch cup is wonderful. This set will be a staple for summer as I love wearing white crop tops without having to wear a strapless!

This set comes in at just £33.00 for the bra and £16 for the briefs so a real uplift of a bargain! You get it? Uplift! Never mind, anyway this will definitely be a set I wear daily. Cute, comfortable and perfect under work wear. So are you in need of a pick me up? A treat yourself girl moment! Honestly the power of a good set of underwear is unreal! It really works for me, seeing your body in a different way, treating the parts of you, that you may not love all of the time.

Take a bit of time to give yourself some self love this Sunday. This set was the biggest reminder not to be so hard on myself. So if you’d like to try the beautiful Flirtelle Viola, I’ve linked her below. So tell me, how do you turn the self doubt around? What is your pick me up on those ‘bad body days’ – what uplifts you? Let me know how you stay positive, how you stay full of self love. Also have you tried Flirtelle yet from Brastop? Let me know what you think! X

Flirtelle Viola Bra

Flirtelle Viola Brief

Happy Second Birthday to me, to my blog, to The Mum Style.

This week my little blog – The Mum Style, turned two. Two whole years of blogging, instagramming and hours of typing. Seventy blog posts, over twenty thousand readers and over seven and a half thousand of you joining me on Instagram. To a lot of people this may not seem like much, but to me it means everything.

I started blogging as a kind of therapy. A way to get the things I wanted to talk about off my chest, a way to express myself. It has worked wonders for me. After having Parker, I wanted to regain my identity as me, which I guess is a little ironic as I named my blog The Mum Style! But I remember it like it was yesterday, trying to choose a blog name, I honestly think it took me a good week! Why The Mum Style? I wanted a name that would sum up me, and what my blog was about. I introduced my blog with my first ever post – This is me, this is My Mum Style. So what does it mean to me?

I love underwear (as you all probably know by now!) I also love fashion, and I love being a mum more than anything. And for me, this name summed it up perfectly. The Mum Style had a ring to it. So with a name set in stone, my journey began.

I’ve talked about a lot over the two years! From discovering new underwear, new brands, to talking about life with a child with Cystic Fibrosis, to my own mental health and how I’ve coped with some big life changes. But one massive change I’ve definitely noticed is my mind set. My confidence has grown leaps and bounds, my attitude towards my body and journey to self love has come so far. My confidence in my own words.

I’d be the biggest liar if I didn’t say blogging has also brought me moments of self doubt. When everyone is at an event and you’re not invited, when you don’t get the second opportunity to work with a brand. When you reach out and no one replies. When you can’t find the energy to type, and you wonder if anyone is actually wanting to read anyway? When you feel like an outsider in an already built community. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in, I don’t have an exact theme. I’m not really a travel blogger, or a mum blogger or even a fashion blogger. I just sit here with my cup of tea and vent, and take that time for me. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m just me. And I’m just writing. And it’s taken me a long time to realise that’s okay.

This blog is now a massive part of my life. I’m no longer just a mother, a wife, a purchasing administrator. I have the confidence to say I am a blogger. I am a woman who has confidence in the words and photos I share. And this year I want to take that further. This year I want to grow my blog, I want to keep writing about everything I love, sharing my stories, my love for pretty pants! I’ve been so lucky to have built life long friendships from my blog, to be inspired by so many people also in the same blogging boat.

And that’s just it, I believe blogging is for everyone. If you’re thinking of starting writing, I 100% recommend it. My advice? Don’t get hung up on numbers, do it for you. Write with the mind set that you’re the only one reading, that it’s a personal diary of things you love, that happens to be shared online! Try not to compare yourself with anyone else. Easier said than done right? Everyone’s on their own journey, fix each other’s crowns, lift and support those around you. Celebrate others success. Because the friendships that I’ve built mean more than any numbers or any campaigns. And most importantly Be You.

Staying true to yourself. Only allowing yourself to write about what you love. I find the words come naturally when you feel passionate about what you’re writing about. These blogs may actually take a little longer to write, well for me they do anyway! A few days of editing, trying to make sure the words come across how I want them to. And that’s okay, take your time. Feel like each post is your own little page of self expression. And lastly read and re-read. Practice what you preach. I read my own blogs when I need to. Having a bad day when you feel a little rubbish about yourself? Uplift yourself with you. Go back, inspire yourself with your own words.

This year I want to really focus more time on my writing. This year I’m going to give a little more of me time, more family life adventures, more body confidence, more mental health venting, more outfit posts and a lot more pants reviews! So if this sounds like it’s up your street then please do stick around for the adventure.

Because this is me, and this is My Mum Style.