Trailblazer, now there’s something I never really thought of myself as. I’m a mum, wife, cancer thriver and these days also a small business owner. When I stop and think about it though, having a digital business connecting with women all across the globe is kinda crazy and writing as openly as I do about style, body image and everything else in between is dare I say it….trailblazing.
Well, the wonderful peeps at Yarra Trail thought so and invited me to be a part of their ‘Trailblazer Woman’ campaign. Pretty damn cool! I mean Yarra Trail have been around since 1996 so they know a thing or two about trailblazing.
I often talk about my life as ‘BC’ (before cancer) and in the here and now. Almost five years ago my world was completely tipped on its head. Not just my world, but also the worlds of my little family, the Huz and my two divine boys. My story isn’t entirely unique; thousands of people receive a cancer diagnosis every single day. What makes my story unique is how cancer changed ‘our’ lives and how I chose to make my life really matter….no matter how many days were left to live.
And just like that my life changed forever.
Cancer changed me, but it was a fucking glorious gift. I know right, I bet you are raising an eyebrow and furrowing your WTF lines. Look, don’t get me wrong, cancer messed me up for a while. It messed with my head, my soul and my body. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and it can leave its mark on everyone it touches.
For me, I had a fight on my hands. Treatment and surgeries (sooo many surgeries) took their toll and for a while there I was in its grip. Then treatment ended and I slowly put my body back together. More surgeries, alternative therapies, diet and exercise have all brought me to a place where I can live this beautiful life a little more on my own terms. Along the way something magical happened.
I fell head over heels in love with my body. Yes, madly, deeply and crazy in love. Watching this body of mine wake up and come back to life after being battered by treatment was thrilling. Every single day I cheered my body on, relished in its amazing power and thanked it for being bloody glorious. I became my own biggest cheerleader!
Before I knew it, Styling Curvy was born.
Such a revelation was this new way I suddenly saw my body and all the rest of me I found myself wanting to share this joy, and that my friends is how Styling Curvy came to be.
I opened up Facebook on a Tuesday night in March 2014 and started chatting online about style, fashion and body confidence. It still blows my mind that this middle aged Mumma from the burbs can connect with thousands of women online every single day. I mean, I could barely send an email when I started this crazy ride.
These days Styling Curvy has evolved, just as I have. It now encompasses speaking, workshops, consulting, freelance writing and modelling. It’s my full time business with heart, contributing to our family budget and giving me some work life integration that works for my physical and mental health and for my family.
I know right, who would have thought! Cancer forced me to truly embrace life, to say ‘yes’ to more, to be resilient, to embrace change and to open my mind and heart to new things.
So yeah, I’m blazing a trail, one that was unimaginable just three short years ago. And you know what? I believe I’ve crammed more into these three years than I would have crammed into twenty years BC (before cancer). I’m plugged in and loving my life. More than that, I’m feeling it and making it count.
So how did I get to a place of loving hard on my body and more importantly how can you get there with your glorious self?
-Once we change our perception around body image and what the perfect body looks like it’s pretty easy, in fact it gains momentum and pretty soon the positivity spills over into more than just body image, pretty neat huh! Change your thoughts, change your life.
-Stop looking at your body as something that needs to impress other people, because the truth is people care way more about kind hearts, change makers and being a decent human.
-There are countless amazing humans that intrigue me and who I hold in high regard and not one of them holds that place because they have a bangin rack, tight arse, zero cellulite or smooth skin. I mean it’s all pretty shallow hey, in the blink of an eye all that supposed sought after perfection can disappear. Look deeper.
-Disease can invade a body, limbs (and bangin boobs) amputated, flawless skin can be torn or burned and for countless reasons people can become immobile and sure as shit the cellulite free gym body can morph into something that you may see as less desirable.
-Happiness is not size specific. We are more than the size tag on our clothes. We are more than the bullshit fairy-tale that marketeers have shoved down our throats for decades. Our bodies do come in different shapes, sizes and colours. They age. They change. They are ALL ok.
-What other people think of my body is none of my business, but what I think about my body matters a heck of a lot, because what my mind thinks my body feels.
Go on, read that line again. What my mind thinks my body feels.
Powerful stuff. Well, it was for me. These days I speak kindly to my body, I challenge it, I cheer it on and I’m bloody grateful for every day my eyes open to live another day. I’m grateful my heart beats and is bursting with love for my family. I’m grateful my legs get me through the day….you get the picture. Sure my body is different these days and there’s pain and limitations but this is not something I can focus on, it serves no purpose to.
I’m in the business of empowering women to live a ridiculously awesome life from the inside out, because they kinda go hand in hand although for some it’s not a simultaneous shift.
Sometimes working on getting the inside right is hard and while we are doing that we can work on the outside, we can work on our style. These days we have so much help at our fingertips, we have stylists, Pinterest, u tube, Google, social media and of course bloggers…like me.
Here are my top tips for working on the ‘outside’.
♦If you don’t wear it, ditch it. Our clothes should not be haunting you or taunting you so if it doesn’t make you feel good, pass it on.
♦Keep a style file. Get in the picture and snap a selfie in your outfits, do it daily or have a big trying on session where you spend a few hours creating as many different outfits with what’s in your wardrobe. The photos can be for your eyes only but they are a fabulous tool to use in the days when you feel like you gave nothing to wear.
♦Get your foundation pieces right. Foundation pieces are the garments that we wear more often, spend a little more on these as they are work horse pieces.
♦Get good dollar per wear. If you only wear something one or twice how much is it really costing you per wear?
♦Start with a small colour palette. Colour can be confusing so I suggest starting by clearing garments in three colours (plus your neutrals of grey/black/white). This will ensure all the pieces in your wardrobe will work back with each other seamlessly.
♦Wear print. It’s a game changer, print is a fun way to create interest, add colour and also camouflage any areas that make you feel less than confident.
Yarra Trail is also all about empowering women too, through style. They are also doing it through inclusion with a size range of 8-24. Yes, they now incorporate more of their styles into their ‘Woman’ range (which I’m wearing), stylish garments sized 16-24.
Yarra Trail is designed in Melbourne and embraces classic styles and beautiful fabrics perfect for casual wear any day of the week. I’m wearing all new season spring/ summer garments and personally I loved the pull on pants, three quarter sleeve lengths and colours. You can check out more of the range online HERE. Yarra Trail is also available in-store at David Jones, Myer and boutiques nationally in New Zealand and South Africa. Find your local stockist HERE
Blazing this trail is fun and even better than that it fulfills me. Big thanks to Yarra Trail for the inclusion in this Trailblazer shoot, the reflection on how far I’ve come has been pretty rad and of course any chance to get my fancy face on is fun!
Have you worn Yarra Trail? Got any great body loving tips or style tips to add to my list? I’d love you to share in the comments.Let me know of any other rad Trailblazer women.
Til next time,
this is a sponsored post brought to you in collaboration with Yarra Trail. Read more on my Disclosure policy.