If you’ve not heard of Carla Bikini before, they’re a lovely French swimwear company that stock a wide range of swimwear, sportswear (if, like me, you’re always after good fitness stuff, they have some great tops, sports bras, leggings and shorts, beachwear and lingerie, from some great brands like Seafolly, Rip Curl, Fantasie and Freya. I ordered this swimsuit (pictured above – sadly not in the sale) a while ago and absolutely love it – it’s so comfy and supportive, doesn’t ride up and washes really well. I’ve done a couple of orders now and found them really helpful too. At the moment, there’s a summer sale on with prices up to 80% off so I thought I’d pass on a few of the bargains I’ve spotted. Here are my top picks from the swimwear sale at Carla Bikini.
Happy Friday! For me, it’s a proper Feel Good Friday as English Mum is a whole ten years old this weekend! I can hardly believe it’s been ten years since we moved to Ireland and, feeling lonely and homesick, I started recording my thoughts and feelings on this, my little corner of the internet. Since then, English Mum has grown so much, creating a fabulous career for me (I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d end up writing for Cruise International and The Guardian, speaking at World Travel Market and appearing in Sainsbury’s adverts!) and picking up quite a few loyal readers along the way.
Win Coco Bay vouchers for you and a friend
All these years later, I still hope the mix of news and updates from our home here at English Towers, gorgeous clothes and lifestyle bits, travel tales, family recipes and all the other little simple pleasures that I love continue to resonate with you guys. I always aim to make it a place where you can grab a cuppa, sit back, relax and catch up from time to time. To celebrate English Mum’s big day, I wanted to do something really special, and team up with a brand that I believe genuinely reflects the same feel and lovely laid back luxe lifestyle/travel vibe that I aim to achieve with English Mum. Take a bow, Coco Bay! I love that Coco Bay was created in 2003 by twin sisters, Anna and Belinda from the spark of an idea for creating a customer-friendly site where women can find sophisticated, flattering, mix and match beachwear and buy it from the comfort of their living room (I’ve long mentioned the hideousness of trying on swimwear in changing room mirrors), supported by great customer service with a really personal touch.
If you’re heading off on holiday shortly, now is a great time to get some beachwear bargains in the summer sales, with loads of great offers available at different retailers.
So recently, I’ve been mulling over the bikini/tankini/swimsuit question. I think I told you recently that I wore a tankini when I was away last week, but actually felt massive and bulky (I know I’m not, I’m a size 12, but I’m not as toned as I’d like to be). The tankini gave a very unflattering flash of flesh every time I moved and the bottoms went very baggy in the water. Attractive. Then again, in a bikini, I tend to feel a bit self-conscious, and I have to hold my stomach in. Still, since the backlash to that ‘beach body ready’ advert, where detractors rightly pointed out that if you’ve got a body and you’re on the beach, then you’re beach body ready, I think it’s fair to say that we should all be embracing our beach body, no matter what shape it’s in!
When I mentioned that I was off to Gran Canaria at the end of last year, the lovely chaps at Beachfactory.com offered to send me one of their fabulous sun hats to protect my poor bonce, which always gets burned – especially my parting.
I have to say, I was really impressed, and it did just as well on the cruise too. The hat has a lovely wide brim and withstood being wedged into a suitcase and stuffed into a beachbag with no damage whatsoever – a quick shake and it regained its shape instantly I even got caught in the rain and it dried out really well and without sustaining any damage. It’s an absolute must, especially if, like me, you really need to keep your head and face out of the sun.
If you get a chance, do visit The Beach Factory. Lovely Anne has been running the company for 9 years and tells me that her suppliers call her The Queen of Lycra such is her amazing knowledge of specialist sun protection swimwear! They have some fab brands, like O’Neill, Quiksilver and RipCurl as well as Platypus, Seafolly Girls and Tiger Joe from Australia, Sunbusters and Snapper Rock from the USA and Mitty James – check them out if you’re off on your hols.
I also tried out a Caxton FX prepaid currency card (and when I received it I found they’d added £50 to it for me, which was a really lovely surprise!). I’ve never used one before but found it quite easy. I was slightly concerned that in order to top it up you have to register your debit card with them online but they assure me it’s 100% safe. Once you’ve topped up your card, you can use it as a Visa card or at ATMs without being charged. Once you’ve registered your card, you can top up the currency card by phone or even by text, leaving your own cards safe at home, which I think is quite a good idea. I used it at an ATM in Miami with no problems at all. Impressive and I’d definitely use it again.
Lastly, I gave the Targus rotating iPad case a whirl. I blooming love this case as it rotates, allowing you to stand the iPad up (particularly useful when you’re reading online magazines and want to see the whole page portrait rather than landscape. It also has a couple of different positions so you can adjust the pitch of the screen. Very impressed. You can find Mobile Fun’s range of iPad cases here. Many thanks to them for sending me the case.
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