Good Move, Debenhams!

Just over a month ago, I was musing/complaining about the lack of real-size mannequins in our stores, and showing the example of a Swedish store who have been successfully using normal sized models for years.

Well, to my extreme surprise and delight, Debenhams have announced that they have an army of size 16 mannequins which they will be using in all 170 stores across the UK.

Debenhams Size 16 Mannequins





Hopefully this will be an emerging trend. A recent study involving nearly three thousand women in North America, Canada and China undertaken by researchers from the University of Cambridge found that women in Canada were three times more likely to buy clothes when the models in advertisements were their size.

So we don’t necessarily respond favourably to the stick thin coathangers on legs we’re always told ‘sell clothes’ after all!

So come on, UK retailers – let your profits expand with the waistlines of your mannequins and give us something we can relate to!

Mermaid or Whale?

Rather liked this so I thought I’d share. (don’t know how true it is, but ho hum!)

“A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?!”

A Happy, Bouncy Whale here!


Shop Mannequins – Why Can’t They Be Life-Size?

Anything about this picture look unusual to you?

Swedish Mannequins at Åhléns

Åhléns Department Store, Sweden

Yup, the Mannequins in Swedish department store Åhléns don’t look like your normal shop mannequin. They look like REAL WOMEN!!! (well ones with dodgy wigs, but we’ll forgive them that).

Even better, this photo dates back from 2010, and they’ve been using models in a range of sizes for 10 years according to this Guardian article! Hurrah for the Swedes and common sense!

Why is that so rare? Why are our clothes displayed on models and mannequins that have little more flesh than a coat hanger?

Evans uses larger sized models, it’s true, but then their clothes start at a size 14. What about large retailers who cover a range of clothing sizes? I’m thinking of you, Marks & Spencer, with your massive billboard ads showing ‘Britain’s Leading Ladies’ (not one of whom is above a size 10, I’ll bet, despite the fact that the average size of a UK woman is a 16).

The usual excuse given is that clothes look better on a thinner model.

Look at the two pictures below. Can any fashionista look me in the eye and tell me that’s really true?

Sensible Sized Catwalk Model

Can we have more of this ^

Skinny Catwalk Model

and less of this ^ please?










The photo of the Swedish Mannequins has become a bit of an internet sensation this year.

Here’s hoping some of our high street stores take Åhléns lead and find some mannequins which represent their true customer base. I’d rather my daughter grows up with a positive body image, thanks.

At last! Good news! A study on LOW RISK obese mums!

I’ve said it for quite some time. I know that having a high BMI puts me at greater risk of developing complications in pregnancy, but what I’ve never understood is that when I don’t go on to develop those complications, why aren’t my pregnancies considered ‘normal’?

At last a large study, from Oxford University no less, has asked this question.

The impact of maternal obesity on intrapartum outcomes in otherwise low risk women: secondary analysis of the Birthplace national prospective cohort study (13.5 KiB)

They discovered that obese mums pregnant with their second or subsequent baby, who haven’t previously had caesarian sections, and haven’t developed complications like high blood pressure, diabetes etc. are actually at lower risk of interventions or complications than ‘normal weight’ mums having their first baby!

The figure for intervention or complication at birth was 21% for very obese but otherwise healthy women having a second or subsequent baby, but 53% for women of normal weight having their first baby – about 2 and a half times more!! What’s reassuring too, is that this was a large study, looking at 17,230 pregnancies.

Which begs the question, how is it fair that first-time mums with low-risk pregnancies can plan to have their child in hospital, at home, or in a midwife-led unit; with or without a pool, depending on what is available where they are, when women with a BMI over 35 are generally restricted to birthing only in an obstetric unit and on dry land, even if they’ve had previously uncomplicated births (unless they assert their rights as I did, and insist on a home birth)?

‘This finding does highlight a possible anomaly in the guidance given to women on where to give birth.’ said Dr Jennifer Hollowell, the lead author.

As expected, the researchers did find that the risks of complications during childbirth increase with increasing BMI even among otherwise healthy women, but they found that the increase was surprisingly modest. The relative increase in risk was actually only 6–12% compared with women with a ‘normal’ BMI.

When I was planning the home birth of my second baby (after an easy hospital birth of my first) I was booked to meet with a consultant obstetrician at 36 weeks. She wasn’t terribly impressed and tried to talk me into birthing in hospital – even when I pointed out that it was the hospital’s restrictive policy on forbidding high BMI women from using the birth pool that was making me choose home birth.

After a waste of time for both of us, in which she misquoted NICE and RCOG guidance (and I corrected her), and she couldn’t explain why I was still so scarily ‘high risk’ when the majority of complications made more likely by my size had not come to pass, we agreed to disagree and she signed me off to the care of my lovely, supportive midwifery team.

I then met with the Supervisor of Midwives, who was far more sensible, said that she thought current policies are non-sensical and discriminatory, and said that as far as she was concerned, she was more interested in my previous birth history as an indicator of how this birth would go. I’m so pleased to say that this study totally supports the midwife’s experience!

On the flip side – if I hadn’t been subjected to non-sensical and discriminatory policies, I probably would never have had the courage, inclination, or determination to birth at home. Which was wonderful, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Every cloud, eh?