Taking part in a body confidence campaign with Deakin & Blue
So in April, an exciting opportunity was posted on the admin group of the Bluetits wild swimmers. A chance for 10 'Top Tits' (admins of the Bluetits groups) to be part of a body confidence campaign this summer with the amazing swimwear brand Deakin & Blue.
It's informed by the fact that lack of body confidence can present a barrier to swimming, which was the reason Rosie began the company producing swimwear to fit women of all sizes and make them feel fabulous in the first place! Have a look at their website here https://www.deakinandblue.com
The campaign was aimed at telling the stories of 10 women who have overcome barriers by swimming with the Bluetits. Taking the form of 10 blog posts, each from an interview with a different Bluetit, accompanied by a beautiful portrait and group shots taken by Ella Richardson Photography. I entered and then received a phone call to say I was in!
I was super excited and made plans with my husband about how we would get to Pembrokeshire from Suffolk in a weekend. It was incredibly tricky as I had a really painful back and hip then due to sciatica, and wasn't sure I could camp for the weekend so we decided to book an apartment nearby.
We travelled to Pencarnan Farm (home to Bluetit HQ!) in stunning Pembrokeshire at the end of May for the photoshoot. Due to work and school we didn't leave until 5pm and didn't arrive in Wales until gone midnight! Our lovely landlady waited up for us to show us into our apartment. It was great, two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen area. Exhausted, we call crawled into bed and I fell asleep about 1.30am. Setting my alarm I was then up at 6am so I could get ready for the shoot the next day! I crept around the apartment, making myself a cuppa and breakfast then getting into my costume and making sure my hair looked ok for the photoshoot!
I crept out of the door, leaving everyone still snoozing, and drove half an hour to Pencarnan. I was SO incredibly relieved as the Friday had been torrential rain but the Sunday was bright sunshine. Phew! As I drove along the twisty roads my heart sang to be in a new place after a long lockdown and seeing the beautiful countryside. When I started to get glimpses of the beautiful sea I nearly squealed with excitement! When I arrived I met up with the other ladies, some of whom had had a bit of a tricky night in their tents with really strong winds and rain.
We headed down to Porthsele beach, which the campsite has private vehicle access to. This amazing sandy beach has plenty of rock pools at low tide and was the stunning location for our shoot. We set up chairs and towels on the sand and chatted nervously whilst awaiting our time in front of the camera. Although all nervous we bonded immediately and cheered every woman when it was her turn.
Ella made us feel incredibly relaxed and soon had us dancing around in the surf and smiling. I explained that I didn't like my back (for reasons you will read in the Body Story) and she told me confidently that she would take a photo which would make me love my back. See below, I have to admit she is right!
When all done we did some group shots and ended up right in the surf. At the end we were properly swimming in the sea and jumping the waves. It was the first time I had swum with so many women and without a wetsuit and I really loved it.
Around lunchtime when we had finished, the rest of the group went off on a swim walk adventure which sounded amazing. Unfortunately with my sciatica I was unable to walk that far so I drove home to the family and we headed out for a family trip to the Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy Beach. A popular tourist attraction, this was beautiful to see and I wished I had left my swimming costume on instead of having a shower at the apartment so I could swim in it! Whilst I would have loved to do the walk it was really nice to share this adventure with my family and we all enjoyed the trip out. Especially with the stunning scenery.
In the evening we drove back to the beach where they had set up a campfire. We gathered around with drinks and food and enjoyed chatting whilst the kids ran around the beach. It was a perfect ending to what had been such an amazing day. When we left for the evening I really felt like I had made lots of new friends and went home feeling so inspired, it was magical.
Rosie from Deakin & Blue then gave me a call to be interviewed during the following week. We had a lovely chat about how I felt about my body and she wrote it up into an article. You can see it here: Bluetits Body Stories: Natasha
Since I came back from the trip I decided it was time to do the first group swim of my new flock, the Shingle Street Bluetits. So at the end of May we had our first group swim. It was fabulous and eight people turned up. After that we had more regular swims and now the group is up to 300 members. On the Longest Day, Summer Solstice and Suffolk Day, we even had several members (including myself) do a triple dip which was amazing.
The campaign is accompanied by an exclusive Bluetit discount code for use on Deakin & Blue's website. Have a look!
D&B x Bluetits Body Stories
Content warning: some of these Body Stories contain reference to issues such as sexual abuse, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. If you're not in the right frame of mind or think you might find this content triggering, then please feel free to give them a miss today.
All Deakin & Blue photos were taken by Ella Richardson Photography.