Well, I think I’ve got Norway and the upper reaches of the Arctic Circle out of my system.  Norway is a wonderful country and very beautiful, but parts of it were so cold!  And it’s not that I’m saying I won’t visit it again, but I think I’ll give that area of the world a miss over the next five years or so.

Anyway, have you noticed that I’ve mentioned the Caribbean a couple of times? Yes, I’ve booked to go on a cruise in that area in January.  Don’t judge.  I booked that whilst recovering from one of those winter viruses when feeling quite physically low.  And I’m getting quite excited as I’m going round the sales picking (cotton) items to wear.  But I’m also a bit anxious.  Because I just don’t expose my body, or hardly ever, partly due to my fearing the sun for its cancer-producing rays but also, people, I don’t like my tummy, belly area.

And this is mainly because both my babes were big with the second one coming in at just over 10lbs (a very easy birth, btw).  But oh my, did I get a load of stretch marks, which I can see to this day decades later.  That area never recovered. So I’ve always covered it up and hardly ever wear bikinis.  I usually buy those ones that have material to pull down over that tum area.  And I haven’t swum on a holiday for simply years, mainly because most of my holidays have been taken wearing this kind of thing!


Yes, that’s me kitted up in boots and my faux leather jacket.  And on my head I’d be wearing not a sun-hat but a scarf to keep the wind out of my ears.

On Southwold Pier

That’s a bracing English sea breeze I’m in, which was really more like a gale.

And here’s the bracing sea itself!


Also, as an aside I don’t like swimming for reasons of i) My hair – I don’t want either salt water or chlorine to damage said hair (that might change as I slowly go my natural white colour) and ii) I‘ve got very poor eyesight and wear contact lenses to be able to see, and then glasses on top of those for reading.  To swim I’d have to take those contact lenses out and wear bottle-top glasses, which I totally hate.  Anyway, I knew I had one of those tummy hiding bikinis somewhere.  I went searching for it the other day and found it.  Reader, it was mouldy!  It went straight into the bin.

OK, off I went to find something to swim in and I’ve bought a lovely bikini, but you’re not seeing it yet because, gosh that belly of mine needs some work on it before the holiday!

I do hate being so body self-conscious, but I am also saying to myself, this is ridiculous, and anyway, never say never.  So, my goal is to be able to wear a bikini with something approaching confidence with a passable tum that’s not too flabby. And that’s a great goal to have at the age of 70!

I so completely understand this business about women wanting to cover up on a beach, consequently I have been simply, totally, and utterly appalled at the French ban on burkinis.  (Apparently, there will be a high court ruling on this today so it may continue and it may not.*) My view is: excuse me?  What!  I mean you are going to force women to undress?  Are you mad?  And I understand that France is a secular country, I agree with that, and might write about this one day on My Other Blog, but have you gone insane?   In the interests of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are you are asking French nuns to remove their black frocks?  You’re not?  Oh, it’s about Muslim dress.  And, that’s Ok then?  No, it’s not.  Awful, simply awful. France, you are better than this.

And I’m not getting into any debate about why Muslim women would want to wear a burkini (invented by an Australian Muslim women, btw), because it really is not my place to do that.  But France, you can’t put a layer of oppression over and above a woman’s reason for wearing said garment.  Why?  Because women should wear what they damn well please.  We’ve got enough to worry about without French policemen patrolling a beach demanding that women take their clothes off.  Leave those women who want to cover up on the beach alone, ffs.  End of rant.

Actually, I have begun the quest for a less wobbly belly. As well as the mat exercises I do at home, and the walks prompted by my fitbit, I’m going to start a class in Brighton.  And then there’s the condition of my skin, especially on my torso, where I have those old lady scabby things (sigh).  You see, my fears are real, people.  OK, to counter these things (seborrheic keratoses if you want any more information) I had a body scrub two days ago – oh wow.  Made up from salt, sugar and oil (and not those granules that are doing such harm to our environment) it was just wonderful. And I’ve booked my first spray tan next week. Yoo hoo, I’m really going for it!

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

*I understand that the court has ruled that in one town on the south coast of France the ban is suspended as unlawful, which will act as a precedent, but the articles I’m reading seem to say that the debate on whether burkinis should or should not be worn on beaches has not gone away and is still rumbling on.

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10 thoughts on “On bikinis, burkinis and body scrubs

  • 26th August 2016 at 11:54 am

    I absolutely agree about women’s rights about what to wear on the beach, as long as they make their own decisions. However being forced by law to strip would be ridiculous. How would a non Muslim woman feel about being forced to wear an abaya?

    • 28th August 2016 at 8:51 am

      Yes, in the best of cases every decision we women make about what we wear should be an autonomous and independent one, but in reality our thoughts of what is right and wrong clothing is pretty much culturally determined. I’m old enough to remember that a bikini was once a very shocking garment. Our great-grandmothers had to have a bathing-hut before they could enter the sea. In some instances today, some women still wish to be ‘modest’ and who am I to disagree with that. What I can’t stand is a State adding rules that harass women. And it’s always let’s address women’s behaviour, whereas in actual fact the French should be more bothered about young Muslim men – they’ve gone down the wrong road here, I think. I’m just about to up-date the blog post on the ruling, btw, but thanks so much for commenting. And yes, I agree about the imposition of being told to cover up, leave us women alone is my view.

  • 26th August 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with you absolutely, it’s shocking indeed that France would even consider such a move. Just incredible! Surely we don’t need to learn any methods from terrorists and dictators?
    PS. Good for you re: the bikini! I have had a belly that’s large in proportion to my build all my life; only after my third kid did I wear a bikini for the first time ever (at the age of 31).

    • 28th August 2016 at 8:57 am

      Hi J! Yes, what do the French think they’re doing – well, actually they’re pretty hot on being secular country and that’s where it’s coming from. And although the court has ruled to suspend the ban (in one town) the debate still seems to be rumbling around, maybe because there’s an election I think pretty soon.

      And yes, I’ve got a lot of work to do on my belly area! But that’s no bad thing! Thanks so much for your comment.

  • 26th August 2016 at 3:30 pm

    We are shocked and disheartened here in Canada also, at the practice of police asking women to remove their clothes. Our Prime Minister (thankfully a young humanist 44 year old 2016 man) has assured us that in Canada, women dress as they choose. I am sure most western countries feel the same, though it is also a worry to us Canadians about what will happen should Republicans win the US presidency, given their candidate.
    The bikini question. There are some exquisitely cut and constructed one piece suits which look excellent on women who simply do not feel they can ever be comfortable in a bikini. When we arrive at 70 or so, we do the best with what we have. And a one piece suit can be coverted quickly with the addition of a skirt (and perhas a light stole) for a visit to a beach bar.
    Regarding the spray tan…do tell us the results, Penny.
    Love the outfit with the jacket and boots.

    • 28th August 2016 at 9:00 am

      Hi Margaret
      I do envy you your Prime Minister who seems a pretty decent guy. But oh my what is going to happen over your border? A bit worrying to say the least.

      Yes, as well as working on my tum, I will buy a one-piece swimsuit although I’ll have to hurry as Autumn clothes are being put out fast. Thanks so much for your comment – good to hear from you.

  • 26th August 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Dear Penny, I bought a new bikini this summer, very cheap in the sale in Decathlon (http://www.decathlon.co.uk/). I’m 70, but regularly wear a bikini on the beach or when I swim in an open-air pool.(Although not when doing lenghts in an indoor pool) I don’t have a perfect body, but I’ve seen younger, fatter people than me wearing one with confidence, especially in France, where I holiday a lot. I also saw a couple of women my age or thereabouts the other day in the pool in bikinis, looking fine. I’m in France at the moment and the temperature is in the 30’s (Centigrade) so very hot. Bikini’s are very appropriate wear in the circumstances. Go for it.
    As to the burkini hoo-ha, I hope the legal challenge at present going through French courts is successful. The pictures of French police forcing a women to remove some articles of clothing on a beach in the South of France does not show the land whose motto is Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood in a good light at all.

    • 28th August 2016 at 9:06 am

      Thanks so much for the link as I hadn’t heard of the company but it all looks very good as are the prices – thanks again – the swimwear looks excellent so I might buy a one-piece from them.

      And agree totally with your comment on the burkini – leave the women alone, is my very strong view!!!

  • 14th September 2016 at 10:20 am

    Dear Penny

    It was amazing to come across you in Seaford. I am enjoying your blog (I don’t do facebook or anything like that so it’s all new to me). I also dress mainly from charity shops (where else after my job history although I did work at the Inland Revenue before that and now for the NHS).

    In haste, but just wanted to reply (I’ve been away – to London for the week).

    Love Enid

  • 2nd October 2016 at 6:49 pm

    You are brave wearing a bikini.

    I haven’t worn a bikini for a very,very long time. I either wear a swimsuit or a tankini. Like most older women, I , too, have a belly that I don’t want to display – not because of stretch marks – luckily I don’t have any, but it’s just one of those areas I’m not comfortable with showing.

    I thought the ban on burkinis was laughable – who cares what anyone wears on a beach? Imagine demanding a woman undress on the beach; absolutely ludicrous!


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