The search to be happy in my own skin. A bike trip in the outer Hebrides.

“You’re not small…” he paused, and scanned me up and down, “…in fact you’re pretty stocky”.

“I’m sorry?” I replied, taken aback by his directness.

“You’re pretty stocky for a lady”.

This short interchange stopped me in my tracks. My bubble of contentment abruptly burst as an old familiar pain flooded over me.

What to expect

A ten minute read, 2600 words. I explore how even in the wildness and remoteness of the Outer Hebrides I had a body image ‘wobble’. I explore why this happened and I share what I did and what I’m doing in my pursuit of a peaceful and loving relationship with my body and self. Continue reading

I wish I looked like her

It is impossible to ever compare two people because each stands on such different ground.  When you compare yourself to others, you are inviting envy into your consciousness; it can be a dangerous and destructive guest.”        (John O’Donohue, Anam Cara).

The last time I was in this club it was a drunken night out – my work Christmas do.


Similarly, today the room is darkly lit. Yet the floor is less sticky and instead of the familiar club odour –  alcohol, vomit and smoke  -there’s a scent of fake tan and tuna fish!

The air of desperation that I sensed on the night out has gone and rather I feel an air of anticipation –  a buzz – as we gather and await the start of the event.

The club is packed, standing room only. I peered through a gap in the crowd to watch the bikini competitors.

In this post I look at the increasing pressure to be lean and the myth that it will make us happy. I’ve previously found myself caught in the trap of comparing my body to those of competitors, fitness models etc. Here I argue that this is a very bad idea and that comparison is – to quote Mark Twain – “the death of joy”. Continue reading

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… Am I beautiful?

Years ago I asked my boyfriend if he thought I was beautiful.

He thought for a moment, smiled and said no, I wasn’t beautiful but I was attractive. He is no longer my boyfriend – but not for this reason!

I liked his reply – it was honest and kinda rang true for me.

I don’t consider myself physically beautiful. If I look at my face harshly I’d even describe it as little wonky! One eye is a little lazy in most photos of me and from a side profile my nose can look pretty pointy. I imagine if you are honest you could find countless things like this to pull apart in your appearance too. But, for the most part, I’m comfortable with the way I look and I feel attractive much of the time. This certainly wasn’t the case in the past.

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the question of beauty again.

I was asked to speak on a panel discussion at a conference about: how I define beauty, what pressures do I see on women through my work and what is needed to change the narrative? In this short blog I consider these questions and ask again, am I beautiful? Continue reading