Repel those stigmas…

In two weeks time I’ll be in the air flying to Perth for my Wedding! I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. For over 2 months now I’ve had a countdown on our whiteboard in the kitchen. Each morning I patter out to the kitchen, wipe the previous count off the board and happily count down one more day. Can you tell I’m excited?

BUT, over the past few weeks I’ve found myself checking myself on more than one occasion. You know that niggly feeling you get when something doesn’t feel quite right? Today I suddenly realised I’d fallen for it, the state of mind I pride myself on had fallen prey to stigma.

“Oh what diet are you following for your wedding?”

“How much are you hoping to lose before the day?”

“How much weight have you lost so far for your big day?”

Those are but a few questions I’ve fielded with perfect strangers during the past few months whilst shopping for my wedding or buying a coffee.

Really?

When I answer with “none” or “I’m not planning to”, their faces change from musing to complete shock.

What is wrong here?

For years I’ve worked so hard to project positive body image. I’ve lived, worked and breathed it. I, like every other woman on the planet, have the normal twinges of doubt about how I look, or those parts of my body that I might prefer to be different, but on the whole I am proud to say I am a VERY confident woman. So what happened?

I’m really annoyed with myself. I let others stigmas and yard sticks measure me and impact on my own sense of self.

My superman Pete loves me just the way I am. In fact, he doesn’t just love me, he LOVES ME, all of me. My kids love me just the way I am, my friends and family love me, and suddenly I realised I was doubting my love for myself.

EBook_Teaser_1_Final

Last year I invested in the Inspirational Self Love Quotes, a beautiful e-book by my gorgeous friend & colleague Julie Parker at Beautiful You. Now this lady knows her stuff when it comes to Positive Body Image. I have some of her quotes framed in my office, and today, I decided it was a good time to re-visit this book again. Relief, and pure irony – cause you know what? – this is what I preach and I KNOW THIS STUFF, I live it, it is me.

STOP. STOP. STOP.

So today I had a shower, moisturised my skin, and then for five full minutes I stood naked in front of the mirror and I just took all of myself in. All of me.

Janine Sans

….and you know what? I’m ok. I’m beautiful just as I am.

Silly thing is, I ALREADY KNEW THAT!!! Oh the things we do to ourselves!

Message to self: I repel such comments, I repel other’s lack of confidence in themselves masked as a question couched to me – and I REINSTATE my own body confidence. I own my own self. I will NEVER give my self esteem and spirit away – I am BEAUTIFUL and UNIQUE.

I love and appreciate

that my body is entirely unique.

There is no other like me and

I will never compare my body to anybody else’s.

I am beautiful, and…

I love my shape!

Love YOUR Shape!

Janine x

Curvy clothing on a budget = A+

A few months ago I was contacted by a lovely bubbly lady called Erin. As a new-mum to her gorgeous son Clancy, she was researching the plus-size market with a fresh idea – a second-hand clothing market exclusive to size 16+ women right here in Melbourne!

Over a cup of coffee (or two!), we had a wonderful chat about the challenges of dressing our curvy figures on a budget. As a mum myself I understand the switch in thought process when you don’t come first anymore and your clothing budget goes out the window!  But, like Erin and I, women still want to look great and feel great, just not fork out the same amount of dosh that we may have done before we were changing nappies. Buying recycled or second-hand garments is a great way to save some money and to buy some unique pieces for your wardrobe. Whilst op-shopping is fun and popular, it can be quite challenging with limited numbers of garments available, and usually requiring that you visit more than one store to put an outfit together. A+ market’s cater exclusively to curvy figures which equals – all the options in one place! Bliss!

Erin says ““Years of shopping disappointments left me discouraged. I found myself wishing for a place where I could find bargains and one-off pieces in my size – but there just wasn’t anywhere – so, I’ve decided to do something about it.”

A Plus Markets is Erin’s business baby. Her market will showcase local designers, makers and sellers who celebrate “plus size” women. Ladies from the community will also offer their pre-loved clothing & accessories. Erin says “there are an astounding number of locals designing and making clothing and accessories in the Darebin area and so it made it logical to launch my first market in Preston”.

A+ Markets Flyer

Erin also has dates planned at other locations for later in the year:

Saturday 31st August 2013
9.30 am – 2 pm
Darebin North West Uniting Church
399A Murray Road, Preston

Sunday 29th September 2013
10 am – 3 pm
Box Hill Community Arts Centre
470 Station St, Box Hill

Saturday 30th November 2013
10 am – 3 pm
Darebin North West Uniting Church
399A Murray Road, Preston

Sunday 8th December 2013
10 am – 3 pm
Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre
5 Sargood St, Altona

Stalls start from just $40 per stall, giving you a 2x2m area, flyers to distribute to advertise the market, support & advice on setting up your stall and a well publicised and patronised market to sell your wares – targeted at 16+ customers!

What a perfect reason to clean out your wardrobe and get some $’s to spend on your new-season needs. Need some help with a wardrobe revamp, I’m ready to help!

There will be lots of giveaways and specials on the day too, including a chance to win your own copy of My Curvy Girl’s Guide to Shopping valued at $19.99!

I’m personally looking forward to visiting a few of the upcoming markets, I look forward to seeing you there!

Love your shape!

Janine x

 

Breast Foot Forward…

As you know, my beautiful mum battled breast cancer last year. I’m so pleased to say that she is a survivor and we’re enjoying watching her recover and go from strength to strength.

Mum

The journey of watching someone you love so dearly battle such a horrible disease is to put it mildly – traumatising. The disease itself is horrible, but the treatment is almost worse than the disease. It’s crazy that you have to almost kill someone to get them better again, and those are the lucky ones.

Cancer has touched my life in so many ways, I myself was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer at the age of 29. I had many operations to remove the disease, and was one of the lucky ones who found it in it’s early stages and did not require chemotherapy or radiation.  My paternal grandmother (who is now 91) also had breast cancer many years ago and I remember as a teenager,  after her mastectomy when she came home with her prosthesis -the hilarity that she preferred to carry her prosthetic breast in a bag rather than wear it! “It’s just too heavy & annoying” she’d say.  Those were the days when prosthesis were cumbersome and heavy, these days technology has made it possible to wear incredible prosthesis that are comfortable, light and more realistic.

Presently I have three gorgeous women around me who are battling cancer. One of my dearest friends in Holland has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The shock of this news is still ringing in my ears. Roelien and I met when I was an exchange student in The Netherlands in 1987-1988. She was my best friend during my school exchange year and we had lots of fun times together. I’ve visited Holland many times over the past 26 years since, and each time we spend time together, sometimes going away for a few days and visiting other cities in Europe. She is so much a part of my other “Home” and the news that I likely won’t see her again is simply devastating. She is very brave and is fighting hard, and I’m so grateful that technology now allows us to “see” each other via Skype.  Two other friends are battling breast cancer, both have had their surgeries and are about to embark on their chemotherapy treatment journey.

All of these women are beautiful, gorgeous, positive, independent women who live full lives, they are all under 50 – how can this be?

Of course, I am grateful that we have amazing medical treatment and multi-discipline teams to help them through their battle. But I find myself sitting feeling so helpless and wanting to do something to help.

What can I do to help?

    • I can raise awareness by getting the message to as many women as possible
    • I can raise funds to support research into cancer
    • I can be there to support my friends to the best of my ability

A few weeks ago I opened my local newspaper and saw a photo and editorial about one of my customers, Lisa. Lisa’s mum Corinne had a battle with cancer. I was very happy to hear that Corinne has been given the all clear! Lisa and her mum Corinne, together with some friends Kath, Sharon, Tasha & Mark, have created a team working together to raise funds for the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute.

LisasTeam

Their challenge is to compete in The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers which is a 2-day, 60 kilometre walk through the neighbourhoods of Melbourne – what a challenge!

LisaGarland

Lisa says “My commitment is based on love for my fellow sisters, mothers, grandmas,
daughters, nieces, and friends everywhere. It’s based on the realisation that we each need to do our part in this fight. I can walk. I can raise  funds to benefit Peter Mac and their efforts to end women’s cancers. I can and choose to be a part of this movement to take down women’s cancers! I ask you to take a stance with me and join this life-saving adventure for all women. Be a part of my very personal journey – by giving, by walking with me, or simply by sharing my story with your circle of influence. Don’t stand back and think about what you could have done – take that first step today! Take a chance with me – we have the opportunity to change thousands of lives, beginning with our own. This isn’t just my journey – it’s yours, too”.

Lisa, I support you, your mum Corinne and the rest of the team wholeheartedly! Please dig deep and donate to this worthy cause. You can donate by clicking this link.

My knee injury won’t allow me to walk so far in two days. Lisa lives locally to me so I have pledged to support her by walking with her during her training, and helping her spread the word.

I’ve also pledged to donate $1 from every copy of my Curvy Girl’s Guide to Shopping to the Cancer Council of Australia.

Donation

Ladies, remember prevention is the best weapon we have.

BOOK NOW for your Breastscreen – it’s free! And don’t forget to regularly check your breasts. If you’re not sure here’s a great illustration of how to do it yourself.

breastscreen

REGISTER NOW for Cervical Screening Register. Your doctor can also sign you up to the register. It’s a fantastic service that ensures you receive a reminder and keeps a record of your results. Remember, this regular test could save your life.

Look after you, and those around you.

Love your shape!

Janine x