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Amsterdam a City to Relish

Keizersgracht winter, Edwin van Eis

Keizersgracht winter, Edwin van Eis

As the post-Christmas indulgence blues of January merge with the cold and gloom of February, thoughts turn to the glow of a warm holiday. For those of us not too adversely affected by the country’s economic woes, the glossy brochures or internet sites showing sun-soaked faraway places, adventure-filled or just relaxing, hold great appeal.  But there are destinations far closer to home, albeit without the sun-soaked factor that offer the possibility of a highly enjoyable and memorable holiday.  One such place is an all-time favourite city of mine, Amsterdam.

With a population of around 800,000 it’s such a welcoming, relaxing place.  Criss-crossed by romantic canals, its picturesque buildings are adorned with a wealth of flowers.  And culturally, it has a wealth of treasures to offer.

The year 2015 is significant for a number of reasons.  First, the 50th anniversary of Provo is marked by the documentary film The Rebellious City.  Provo was the radical political movement that was also a fore-runner of the hippy movement of West coast US and also a major influence on the ‘evenements’ in Paris throughout France 3 years later in 1968.  It’s worth remembering that for centuries Amsterdam has been a centre for free speech and thinking and a refuge for those seeking a safe haven from religious persecution, notably Jews from Spain and Portugal and Protestants from France and Belgium.

Canal Oudezijds Voorburgwal

Canal Oudezijds Voorburgwal

From 20 March to 17 May, the celebrated tulips from Amsterdam, along with an abundance of other flora, bloom in the Keukenhof, the renowned flower park about 30 minutes from the city.  2015 marks the 65th  anniversary of the project, which gives new meaning to the phrase ‘say it with flowers’.

One of the city’s most famous museums, the Van Gogh, honours this year the untimely death by suicide of the artist.  The museum has just undergone a stunning makeover to mark the event and it will also host a remarkable exhibition featuring the works of Van Gogh and that other troubled northern artist, the Norwegian Edvard Munch.  With 40 paintings from each artist on show, visitors will have the opportunity to compare and contrast the works and to perceive how both strove to convey the human condition.  The exhibition runs from 24 September to 17 January 2016.

There are so many other reasons to head for Amsterdam this year.  The Stedelijk Museum is celebrating its 120th birthday and is putting on a landmark exhibition of the works of Henri Matisse entitled Oasis, complementing the hugely successful exhibition of the artist’s cut-outs at London’s Tate Modern last year.  Oasis runs from 4 April to 16 August.  And the late works of Rembrandt, drawing on the exhibition recently seen at London’s National Gallery will be on show at the world-famous Rijksmuseum from 12 February to 17 May.  While there, it’s a must to contemplate the artist’s Night Watch, perhaps one of the world’s greatest works of art.

Central Station

Central Station

Unusually, in June and July, the Beach Volleyball World Cup will be staged in the iconic Dam Square, Amsterdam being one of the four Dutch cities to build temporary stadia for the event.  London did, of course, showcase the same sport on Horse Guards’ Parade for the 2012 Olympics – beach volleyball can clearly make itself at home anywhere!

As in so many European cities these days, a wide, sandy beach will appear for visitors and residents alike to ‘be beside the seaside.’  And to continue the water theme, from 19 to 24 August, the biggest maritime event in Europe will happen, as it does every 5 years, when a parade of 5000 of the world’s finest sailing vessels are moored for the millions of visitors to the city to contemplate and wonder at.

Moving the family around the city

Moving the family around the city

Finally, looking forward to 2016 when Holland holds the presidency of the EU, it will showcase its most famous city as one of great international diversity.  And so this year, next year and any year will be a great time to visit Amsterdam.


Jeannette Nelson

Arts & Travel correspondent


Fourteen Thoughtful gifts for Father’s day June 15th 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 16.37.32We asked busy garden writer Amily Grossman, to give us some of her ideas for gifts for Fathers’ Day. With a little help from friends and relatives, here is her list.

Dads can sometimes feel a little left out in the early days with mum and baby sharing so much one on one time together. Water Babies, is a leading baby swimming school with classes all over the country. Water Babies lessons are a great way to get Dad involved as little ones are able to take lessons from birth, giving Dad and baby a fantastic opportunity to bond. Our favourite Father’s Day gift!

The weight of garden tools can become an issue if you frequently dig, hoe and rake. So your dad might welcome on of the new Light Gardening Tools from Fiskars. Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 16.53.27The lawn rake looks especially useful, it efficiently clears grass with much less effort than usual. The patio knife on a long handle would save a lot of back ache. Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 16.57.57Having just broken a wooden handled spade we’re now seriously considering the Light spade for our own gardening activities.

My dad really likes doorstep size slices of bread, toasted muffins, toasted crumpets and fast toast. The Magimix Vision Toaster comes top in all these requirements – the chance to watch the toast cooking a plus feature.

This toaster is great for the man who is of the opinion there is no point in heating up the grill in the cooker for a couple of slices of toast – a total waste of electricity. The side by side design means it fits on the work surface neatly, although we would have it on the table for easy access. Just so you know, this toaster is a Which Best Buy and although pricey at £145 it has good user reviews.Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 17.00.31

OK, so a toaster is not appropriate for your dad. What about a book?

How about the Penguin series devoted to Simenon’s books – he may well enjoy the first Inspector Maigret novel Pietr the Latvian, if only for nostalgic reasons! Penguin are publishing the entire series of the Maigret novels, so this could cover your gifts for several years!

Confessions of The World’s Best Father – a tongue in cheek series of web entries that started an internet phenomenon. His bewilderment as to how to best raise a child makes Dave Engledow’s book an amusing read. The photographs are pretty good too!

If you’d prefer to give a more sober present, you could go for The Death of Money. James Rickards shows how we could avoid financial collapse.

James Lovelock’s A Rough Ride to the Future confirms his belief that the survival of the human race is one of the most important steps in the evolution of our planet. 

With Flowers Shows happening all over the country why not get tickets?

  1. For instance the Blenheim flower show 20-22 June.
  2. Hampton Court Flower Show is on from 8 to 13 July. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s big, a great time to talk to like minded gardeners, many exhibitors are readily accessible and it’s generally good weather! Link
  3. Harrogate Flower Show is 12-14 September.

If your dad is a keen veggie grower he might just like a copy of the Suttons Vegetable Garden Planner <> An absolutely winner for us – it  takes out all the guesswork and is an easy to refer to record throughout the year.

Backdoor shoes – if your dad is constantly in and out of the garden, he might well like a pair of lightweight Backdoor Shoes to slip on and off. Might keep mum happy too with less mud to clear up. We love ‘em, ours has taken 4 years of hard wear and need replacing now. Which design to choose will be a challenge!

11182_1Does this portable USB iShaver razor appeal? Designed to easily slip in a pocket or washbag significant features include:

  • Recharge via USBi shave
  • Stylishly sleek compact design
  • Ultra-thin net foil with floating blades
  • Cleaning brush included
  • Easy on/off switch
  • Comes in a high gloss case and ultra-thin net foil with floating blades for a close, comfortable shave

Finally, some alcohol? Yes, it is a bit of a get out clause, here are some suggestions 

You could sign him up for Naked Wines. The company was started up by two former employees of Virgin Wines, with the added ethos of supporting the wine producers, all small scale but dedicated growers. You might like to make your dad a wine angel! Sounds fun? Here’s a link.

Taylor’s 10 year old Tawny Port is rather tasty, we keep some for special occasions and in the winter when we feel the need for something to keep us warm.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 17.07.34Lastly, for the dad with a dog. The Forestry Commission England has created a one-stop-shop for owners and their dogs looking to take a break in and around forests and woodlands. The Ruff Guide to the Forest showcases 34 Forestry Commission locations across England, highlighting each site’s trails and facilities suitable for dogs, along with dog-friendly places to stay nearby.

Phew, will have to take a break now and go for a spot of weeding! The sun’s out and I’ll don my Backdoor Shoes, pick up the handy trowel with its graduated scale for planting seedlings, put on my Ethel gloves and make sure the waterproof jacket is by the backdoor in case of an unexpected show.

Good luck!

Amily Grossman, gardening expert and occasional contributor to In Balance Magazine


Holidaying with your Dog

Dog and owner enjoying Alice Holt Forest, Surrey

Dog and owner enjoying Alice Holt Forest, Surrey

Help for holidaying with your dog is here, with the launch of Forestry Commission England’s Ruff Guide to the Forest.

Forestry Commission England has created a one-stop-shop for owners and their dogs looking to take a break in and around forests and woodlands.

The Ruff Guide to the Forest showcases 34 Forestry Commission locations across England, highlighting each site’s trails and facilities suitable for dogs, along with dog-friendly places to stay nearby.

Each location in the guide has been reviewed by one of its regular four-legged visitors, helping newcomers to find out useful information such as if some areas are kept dog free and where to find water and waste bins. There is also the opportunity for owners to share their thoughts and recommend places to stay nearby.

Paddy Harrop Recreation and Public Affairs Manager for Forestry Commission England commented:

“Across the country, you are never far from a Forestry Commission England location – which means you are never far from a great walk with your dog.

“We want to make it easier for people to bring their four-legged friend with them on a great day out, short break or longer holiday. By showcasing the dog-friendly facilities at our woods and forests and local dog-friendly accommodation, we hope we can provide all the essential information for a fantastic forest visit.”

The Forestry Commission’s accommodation partners, Forest Holidays and Camping in the Forest, have also seen a rise in popularity for dog-friendly holidays.

Camping in the Forest welcome dogs at almost all of their sites and they even camp for free, whilst all Forest Holidays locations have plenty of pet friendly cabins where your dog will feel right at home.

The Ruff Guide to the Forest is being launched as part of the Forestry Commission’s Paws Outdoors campaign. The campaign marks ten years of working together for the Forestry Commission, the Kennel Club and Natural Resources Wales. The organisations signed a new concordat at Crufts (7 March 2014) to promote opportunities for responsible dog-walking in UK forests.

The Forestry Commission has also announced England’s first Walk Your Dog Week, which takes place from Monday 28 April to Monday 5 May 2014. The awareness week will encourage dog owners to get into the habit of giving their pets more regular exercise, including time off the leash when appropriate, to improve their health and well-being and reduce dog obesity. Dog owners can also nominate their well-behaved pet as a contender to become the dog face of the Paws Outdoors campaign.

Links for further information:


Gloves for Outdoor Activities

climatec-longWe found MacWet Climatic sports gloves to be suitable for many activities where a good grip is essential: including gardening, cycling, golfing, Nordic walking, even walking the dog!

They are well grippy, non-slip without being sticky, in wet or dry conditions and keep the cold at bay, though perhaps not as well as a fully lined glove. Again they are breathable, wicking moisture away, so you don’t get sweaty hands. A Velcro wrist strap provides a weatherproof closure.

I used them for the first time, sawing wood, an activity when you need a good firm grip. The day was fairly cold, but I didn’t feel it at all – though the exercise probably helped. I was using both a hand saw, then a circular saw. With a circular saw, it is crucial to have a good grip on both saw and wood, slips could be disastrous. But the results were fine with no problems. The wood was not thorny, so any anti-jab protection was not tested, but they did seem jab-proof. The only downside could be that they don’t stretch, hence sizing has to be accurate, easily solved by the sizing template given on the MacWet website.

The gloves did get dirty, with the fine sawdust, but they are washable – the Velcro wrist strap provided weatherproof closure and stopped debris getting in.

On a country walk on a very cold day they were ideal. Light, warm and comfortable when used with Nordic walking sticks. They are very popular with the shooting fraternity and golfers* too.

Highly recommended.

Prices vary from £24.99 to £29.99 (Amazon) Note the Amazon comments were generally supportive, but you do get the picky ones occasionally.

Christopher Johns, occasional contributor on topics related to sports activities

View of Coet Per from the lake

View of Coet Per from the lake

* If you are keen on practising your game while on holiday do have a look at Coet Per in Brittany. This 5 bedroom holiday chateau/country house, hidden away in beautiful countryside has its own four hole golf course.

Plan of the four hole course

Plan of the four hole course


Know your Bike – How to Get the Very Best from it

One of the joys of biking is the feeling of freedom, the wind in your hair and a sense of wellbeing. Certainly riding up the hill you once had to walk your bike up gives a great sense of achievement.

Sixteen and raring to go

Sixteen and raring to go

I started fettling my own bikes as a teenager and soon found the right way and the wrong way to join up a cycle chain by having a chain break 10 miles from home and using someone’s garage to fix it! Similarly the inevitable punctures! The Bike Book should have been available years ago, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy.

Having said that, bikes have evolved a long way from the old simple Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub gear to today’s 24 or more gears (33 are possible, though not really useable).

For me, servicing your own transport gives an appreciation of the limitations of  the individual components, for example simply banging over large pot holes makes you realise that you will have to sort the front suspension the following weekend, to replace the bent king-pin or worse, wish-bone, reminding you not to be so stupid! Similarly servicing the bike helps to realise that servicing the bike brakes is just as important as servicing cars. Bike brakes may look simple they are not necessarily so, as you find out when they fail, when they shouldn’t!

This book helps bike users to realise the amount of development that has gone into bike parts. Just because things look the same they frequently are not, this book carefully explains the whys and wherefores of fitting bike parts. This is not to say that as soon as things go wrong, you should give up and haul the thing to the local bike shop to get it fixed.  To me a large part of biking is, that it is ME; I chose the bike and very often the parts for my own good reasons, for a purpose, whether it be racing, or riding to school. The pleasure of owing a bike is vastly enhanced, by knowing something about the bits that make it work; especially when a funny noise starts!  What is it? Can I fix it? Does it matter? Can I get home OK?  In short, knowing simple maintenance can go a long way, literally and again save a lot of wasted effort. Pumping the tyres up, is a prime example of this, the number of times I see bikes, with nearly flat tyres is really painful; 5 minutes with a pump saves a lot of time and effort propelling the bike and in all likelihood, repairing the almost inevitable puncture. Just pump the tyres up, then see how much more easily you go and fun it is!

An excellent book for the enthusiastic biker that gives a good introduction to the evolution of the bike and its parts. There are discussions missing, but these are more likely peculiar to the racing fraternity, who very definitely service their bikes with great care; such as the more specialised tyres (for example tubular tyres and bar extensions).

The Bike Book: Complete Cycle Maintenance  £16.99
ISBN: 978085733 118 2  Haynes Publishing, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ

Reviewed by John Reynolds a cyclist for the last 60 odd years and counting!


How to get rid of the winter blues – Positivity breeds success

Kelly Holmes at De Vere Village Wirral 30 Oct

Kelly Holmes at De Vere Village Wirral 30 Oct

The clocks may have just gone back and the world economy may still be teetering on the brink, but a positive mind and a healthy heart can beat the winter blues, according to Dame Kelly Holmes.

The Olympic legend has been sprinting between Manchester and Liverpool this weekend inspiring over 3,000 locals across four De Vere Village hotels with one clear message: ‘Positivity breeds success’.

A leading psychology academic also believes evidence suggests that winter-induced mood swings can be fixed with a bit of physical activity.

Dame Kelly, who designed De Vere Village’s fitness plans for all ages and fitness levels, believes that people shouldn’t give up on exercise just because the days are getting shorter.

Dame Kelly said: “Times are hard for many people right now, but fitness really is one thing that people should not give up on. It’s not just about the mental kick of looking good, it’s about the energy you have and the happiness you feel as a result. The better you feel, the better you’ll perform in whatever you do – whether it’s a day job or a sports event.

“Most important is a positive attitude. Despite all my injuries I still knew what I wanted to achieve.”

Dr Jason Halford, head of experimental psychology at University of Liverpool, said: “People who exercise are shown to be more motivated and this can help on many levels. Exercise is shown to produce a positive uplift in mood. Given that the ‘winter blues’ are just a bad mood, exercise can elate you to avoid that sense of feeling depressed.

“Obviously people over-consume food or alcohol if they are depressed or have a low mood, so one could argue that things like exercise could elevate people’s mood and make them less likely to indulge in unhealthy behaviours.

“Exercise is one means of reducing stress, it helps with sleep patterns by relieving nervous tension and reducing levels of cortisol – a hormone that can cause heart disease and psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression.”

Gary Davis, chief executive of De Vere Village, said: “Unlike regular hotels, we drive a third of our revenue through our full blown fitness centres with cardio gyms, fitness classes and pools with an average of 4,000 local members at each location. We believe that our clubs are a benefit to the local community and positive fitness for the family definitely improves lives and attitude.”

Dame Kelly added: “My work with De Vere Village is all about inspiring people and getting people in the right space so fitness can make a real difference to themselves. And with the Games less than a year away, there’s no better time. I think it’s absolutely vital that the North takes some of the glory too and doesn’t let London scoop up all the benefits. There are plenty of great things to do, so it’s essential we get sports fans up to Liverpool and Manchester too.”

“Although I grew up on a council estate in Kent, I always had a sense that anything was possible. My Saturdays were spent working in a sweetshop, so being able to spend my weekends inspiring people now and sharing some of the things I’ve learned along the way is fantastic.”

More information please see

Kate Campbell says: I have a love hate relationship with exercise. When I haven’t been active for a while the effort of restarting is so huge that it seems impossible to get going again. However, what works for me is to just do a minute one day! Then 2-3 minutes the next, and I generally find (because I am an on/off exercise person) that because I begin to feel better – clearer head, less aching in my limbs, I want to get on with longer sessions. The aim is an hour of course, that’s what I usually achieve – swimming, or walking, or cycling. At the moment it 5 minutes max! But I haven’t had a single headache in the last three days … so I’m off to work on the turbo trainer again today. Don’t know what a turban trainer is? It’s what serious cyclists use to warm up before racing events … I use the one my husband bought to keep exercised during the winter months. It’s the same as an exercise bike really, but I use mine outside in a covered way so I can imagine I’m outdoors! With my iPod I can listen to music, podcasts or best of all brush up on my French with a Teach Yourself French Course! It all works together, I promise you!

Kate Campbell, contributing author.


Bohn Swimwear – Problem-Solving Swimwear Range For Women

Sarah Bohn

Sarah Bohn

Earlier this year we ran a feature about Sarah Bohn who set up UK Swim Store, an online women’s swimwear shop offering branded swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes. But now Sarah has taken things further to provide women with stylish quality confidence-boosting swimwear, by creating her own cover-up swimwear range! We caught up with her recently to find out more …

So what was the thinking behind the Bohn Swimwear range?

The branded swimwear we stock has been great for so many women. By offering swimwear in larger sizes and with various body shaping/support options, ladies of all shapes and sizes have managed to find swimsuits which enable them to feel happy and confident whilst swimming.

But what about those women wanting more coverage? The standard swimsuit is still far too revealing for a lot of women to feel comfortable – legs, bottom, arms, back etc can all be on show, and for some women that’s a deterrent to their swimming.

Idyllic swimming - Isles of Scilly

Idyllic swimming - Isles of Scilly © Pintail Media

And cover-up swimwear was the answer?

Well, over the years we’ve stocked a few items that offer more coverage – for example, swim jammers – and they’ve always been very popular. I’ve heard from a lot of women who’ve loved the extra coverage. So why not have a range of cover-up swim separates that women can mix and match to get the right level of coverage for their own specific requirements?

What’s in the Bohn Swimwear range? 

The current range is made in classic black, and comprises: ankle length swim leggings, three quarter length swim leggings, ladies’ swim jammers, a swim skirt, short sleeve swim top, and long sleeve swim top. Quality and durability are important – I wanted the Bohn range to be able to compete with the Speedo and Maru we stock, so it’s designed in a material that will not degrade in the pool and has a Sun Protection Factor of 50+. The fabric, which is proper swimwear material, also does not absorb masses of water and is quick drying, so you can jump in and out of the pool without taking half the pool with you!

Have you had any feedback from customers?

Varicose veins

Varicose veins

Yes, loads! Sales have been great, and there have been lots of emails from women thanking me for giving them back the confidence to swim, which has been so lovely. The market for cover up swimwear is broader than I’d ever imagined. We are selling to Muslim women, women with scarring, women with unsightly veins, women self-conscious of their cellulite, more mature ladies … I’m blown away by some of the feedback we’ve been receiving, it’s beyond anything I’d hoped for.

Here are some testimonials from very happy Bohn Swimwear customers:

Bohn Three Quarters Swim Leggings

Bohn Three Quarters Swim Leggings

I have not been swimming for many years as I am embarrassed by the veins and marks on my legs. I bought a pair of Bohn 3/4 length leggings in April and wear them under my swimming costume.  I have now joined a gym and swim regularly – thank you. (Beverley)

I ordered and received a pair of Bohn Swim Leggings. I have had psoriasis quite badly on my legs for the past four years. Before that, I was swimming every week. I am now a mum of five, and had never swum with my kids in a swimming pool. I was using a wet suit for the summer, but the sea is too cold to swim in winter time. BUT NOW … I have been swimming with my children twice this week already. What a difference, I didn’t feel selfconscious at all. A very big thank you for giving me a part of my life back I never though I would. I really can’t thank you enough.(Laraine)

I had an accident recently, and am very selfconscious about showing off my scars in the pool … however, I found your site, put the order in and am over the moon – I can go swimming again.(Catherine)

I purchased the Bohn three quarter length swimming leggings and they have had a huge impact on my life. I love swimming, particularly in the sea, but I used to shy away from it as I didn’t like to wear a regular swimming costume. With the leggings, I am far less self-conscious and have been enjoying frequent swims. They’re comfortable, good quality and actually rather stylish. I’ve been wearing them both over my swimming costume or with just a bikini top and have had many people admire them. I’d highly recommend them, particularly for anyone who’s that bit body conscious like me. (Pam)

I absolutely love the Bohn 3/4 swim leggings. I am quite slim but I have really bad cellulite on my thighs and with these leggings I can now go swimming with my six year old and not worry about my cellulite and I can run on the beach without seeing the tops of my legs. Hurray and thank you. (Lisa)

Bohn long sleeve ladies top

Bohn long sleeve ladies' top

Being a very cold-blooded person I was absolutely thrilled to be introduced to UK Swim Store’s Bohn long sleeve ladies swim top. I love going to my aqua class but the prospect on a cold and frosty morning was one that I always had to brace myself for! Now I feel warm and comfortable with a close fitting black top that I can wear in or out of the water. (Margaret)

I am very pleased with your Modesty Cover Up Swimwear, as before last year I had never ever been in a pool in my life, and after purchasing one of your tops and leggings, and at fifty years old, I am taking part in Aqua-fit and signed up for some swimming lessons. (Loonat)

Sarah has plans to expand the Bohn Swimwear range over the next twelve months so there will be more pieces to choose from and in more colours. We wish her every success in her mission to transform women’s swimwear.

Val Reynolds, Editor


How do I look from behind?

Finding comfortable, fashionable swimwear for the well endowed can be a bit of a headache. Bulging out of a swimsuit is the least attractive aspect, especially if you can’t see what you look like from behind. So with comfort and confidence in the pool area a priority I was immediately interested to find out more about a range on offer from UK Swim Store and I asked Sarah Bohn to tell us all about it. Val Reynolds Brown, Editor.

When you think about it, there are few activities or hobbies, which you would do in public, that require you to wear so little. Normally when out and about, whether exercising or not, I like to keep my bottom and thighs nicely covered and my breasts safely in my bra.

So why is it then that to enter a swimming pool in the traditional view is to wear a garment that offers no support to your breasts, allowing them to pop out all over the place and that displays far too much of your lower half than you are comfortable with.

Fortunately this outdated perception is being eradicated by the increase of swimsuits offering women a whole lot more. The days are gone of swimsuits only coming in high leg or with gaping open back cut outs. Now women can cover their bottoms and thighs, suck in their tummies and secure their ample bosoms comfortably.

Speedo Premiere UltimateSuits such as the Speedo Sculpture Premiere Ultimate are such a fantastic revolution that I can’t stop talking about them. Firstly made in a material that is designed to sculpt the body, it holds you in. And with extra tummy control too it gives you confidence in the stomach department, so you can breathe out once in a while.

The next fabulous feature is wide adjustable straps and bust support given by a lining piece and not an underwire. This means the swimmer can tighten or loosen the straps to give a perfect fit, just like with a bra, and is supported without a wire annoyingly poking into the side of their breast when swimming. With a low leg, small opening in the back and going up to a dress size 22, this suit is ideal for some many women. At £45, it is not the cheapest suit available, but with a host of confidence boosting features in one suit it is well worth it.

The next revelation in swimwear that I simply must share with you is the legged swimsuit (sometimes known as a knee suit or boy leg).

Speedo Mindset Legsuit

This style of swimsuit is basically a swimsuit with legs or short style bottoms integrated into the suit. Many of these styles have bust support, offer great coverage at the back and even have adjustable straps. When purchasing a legsuit look out for the leg length or crotch seam measurement. The length of the leg will determine where the suit finishes on your leg. Some styles are quite long going down almost to the knee, others are particularly short offering a more sporty style, but might not give you as much coverage as you need. But with such a variety of legged swimsuits to buy nowadays, you will never need to expose your bikini line again.

A new breed of swimwear is also hitting the pools, swimwear separates that allow you to create your own level of coverage. Items such as ladies swim jammers, swim leggings, swim skirts, bra tops and tea shirt style tops all allow the swimmer to buy different sizes top and bottom and create the look and fit they need. Swimwear doesn’t have to be a one piece suit that might not suit your individual shape and coverage requirements.

For example you could add a swim skirt to your favourite swimsuit to give a bit of coverage to the tops of your legs. Or choose ankle length leggings to protect your legs from the sun on the beach, but wear with a bra top to expose your arms. Now your swimwear can be as individual as you.


Tips for buying swimwear for curvier women

  • Think about back shape. If the back of a swimming costume is very open or strappy, you may feel like you are oozing out the back of it. Instead go for a closed back suit, or one with a small open back.
  • Look at how much material there is under the arms. If the suit is very cut away or has a racing style or strappy back, then they may not be enough material to cover your breasts. This means when you swim your breasts may feel like, or may actually pop out the side of the suit.
  • If opting for a legsuit, think about where the suit is finishing across the leg. Some ladies may find the way the suit creates a horizontal line across the thighs unflattering or even uncomfortable. A swim skirt may be a better option for some ladies.
  • Black is slimming, yes, but navy can also be slimming, and a warmer colour for some skin tones. Also patterns can be slimming too, a busy pattern can have the effect of hiding lumps and bumps.
  • If you want a slimming style look for a swimsuit with vertical side panels or stripes which will give shape and definition.
  • A detail under the bust is also very flattering and gives a beautiful shape.
  • If you are in-between sizes always go smaller in a swimsuit than bigger. This may seem strange advice, but a lot of materials will get ever so slightly bigger in the water. It is better to have a suit that holds you in, than one that is too loose and falling off your shoulders.
  • Look for chlorine resistant fabrics. This type of fabric has been designed to last longer in the chlorinated water. So once you have found the perfect suit it will last and not degrade (that horrible see-through eaten effect) like a basic elastane swimsuit can.
  • To keep your suit looking its best for longer always read the care label instructions and rinse your swimsuit thoroughly after use. Avoid shampoos and products and hang up to dry as soon as possible.
  • Sign up for the newsletter, to get regular updates on new styles and colourways in stock. If you have found a perfect style of swimsuit for you, it is always handy to know when it has been released in a different colour, or if alas is being discontinued.
  • And my final tip that I give all women who ask for my advice is, once you are in the water no-one can see what you look like anyway. Just jump in and enjoy swimming.

Sarah Bohn    Director of UK Swim Store and Founder of Bohn Swimwear

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