And just like that, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I'm sweating like Niagara Falls has relocated itself to the middle of my back... oh I love Summer. 

There's something about this time of year that really takes a hit on our self-confidence, doesn't it? Something that just gives us that little inkling of dread. Maybe it's the lack of cozy layers and scarves to hide behind, or the fact that having to whip our legs out, and show them to the world, is the only way we can stay at a comfortable temperature? I think it probably has something to do with the idea that we like to 'plan ahead' when it comes to Summer - to prepare our bodies for the unnerving idea of showing some skin on the beach or even in strappy cami whilst strolling round the city. The object of June/July/August approaching can be daunting when we're surrounded by 'Get Bikini Body Ready!' ads and diet teas are being shoved in our faces left, right and center.

I mean, I'll be honest, I don't feel 'bikini body ready' right now. God knows that social media or magazines wouldn't consider me so... My stomach isn't as toned as I'd like it to be, my thighs still wobble, and cellulite seems to be attached to my ass forever, no matter what I do to try and make it go away (disclaimer: absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things, these are just my own anxieties). It's like each and every insecurity becomes heightened as warmer weather approaches.  But, you know what? I probably never will feel ready - I'll probably never reach a point where I feel like I fit that crazy standard that the bikini-clad adverts want me to.

Now, I do have to say, over the past few years I've slowly gotten more and more comfortable with the approaching summer and the way I've dressed along with that. I no longer fear for my pasty white skin being shown, or my thighs peeking out of the bottom of my ruffle skirt, and I think that's simply something that I've processed over time and have began to care less about as I'm getting older. Plus, it really helps to just not give a fuck. Like, not giving a flying fuck really does help you to just enjoy yourself... and, if there's one thing you take away from this, I want it to be that.

Sure, we could all start hitting the gym in January, eating a set diet plan everyday and by the time July comes along, we'd all look like walking, talking copies of our favourite super models, right? But, that's pretty damn unlikely to happen, and almost 90% of the time, we still don't end up feeling amazing anyway. Like I said, I don't feel 'bikini body ready' at all, despite working on myself for the past year or so. There's just no way I could swan through life without drinking alcohol, munching on pizza and eating multiple entire easter eggs over the bank holidays. My way of living doesn't coincide with what I'd need to do to wake up one morning and look like a Victoria's Secret model (props to them, I couldn't do it).

That's not to say I wake up each sunny morning and feel fabulous about myself and my gin and tonic soaked body - I don't. Sometimes I'll pop on a pretty little sun dress, look in the mirror and think 'bleugh', fixating over my arms or telling myself 'if I just breathe in all day, I'll be fine' (ps, I do breathe out or else I would die). Even despite the 'give no fucks' attitude I try and enforce on myself, it's still hard sometimes to not scroll through instagram and think 'jesus, I need to look like that before I can wear this!'.


The thing with Summer is, it rears it's head way too quickly, and before you know it, we're drowning in a sea of body-conscious anxiety and struggling to squeeze ourselves into a bikini we bought 3 years ago. But, I think we all need to realise that no matter what we look like, who we are or how we dress, we're all allowed to enjoy our summer, and not spend it trying to achieve some unattainable goal we've set ourselves for 2 days time (seriously, I thought I could lose 10lbs in 2 days once...*spoiler* it didn't happen).

I want to look back when I'm older and remember how much I laughed over my summer, or how I had amazing holidays with amazing people, not remember being engrossed in some diet pill ad from a magazine and hiding myself away until I fit back into clothes I owned when I was 17.

We can waste so much time fixating over this idea of the 'ideal self', that by the time we even reach a point where we're kind of content, Summer has pretty much been and gone anyway. What's the point? Why not just get out there and enjoy it, right?!

I get that we all want to feel confident, I get that we all want to look at photos of ourselves and think 'damn, I look good' and strut down the beach like a scene out of Baywatch, but at what price do we really want that? At what price do we want to put ourselves through so much misery? At what point do we say, 'do you know what? I look good as I am, and I'm going to go out and enjoy my life no matter what a magazine tells me!'... I think that point should be now. I think we should all, as many already are, embrace our unique bodies, embrace the way the sunshine makes us feel and wear whatever the hell we want.

"every body is a bikini body"

The pressure that surrounds this time of year and the way we look is so inescapable sometimes, so it's a completely understandable feeling to look at yourself and want to do whatever it may be to give yourself more confidence. However, life is so much less about what we look like, and so much more about what journeys we have, the people we meet and the beautiful weather we get to see and enjoy.

Try not to let the fashion of being 'thin' in summer get in the way of you living your life - no one looks back in wishes they'd gone to the beach looking slimmer, they look back and remember the people they were with and the fun things they did.

Go live your life and enjoy the sunshine!