Holiday Ready with Lands' End - I Even Found Swimwear I Liked!

 I'll start by apologising. I received the products featured in this post from the lovely people at Lands' End AGES ago (gifted) but it's taken me a while to pluck up the courage to pose for pictures. I'm 5 ft 2 and a half (that half an inch is very important) and currently weigh 9 stone 9 lbs which is a bit over what I'd like to be. I am diabetic and have the classic diabetic shape so never seem to be able to lose that belly. I have no hips and no waist. Choosing swimwear is normally a trial to be endured not enjoyed. Until now.

madmumof7 wearing Lands' End swim shorts and rash vest, holding vintage wooden paddle in garden

When Lands' End invited me to browse their swimwear pages I was blown away with how many styles I loved. Believe me I have spent plenty of time this year hunting for swimwear for sunbathing, our holidays and to go paddle boarding and kayaking in, but have hit on a few issues with the high street's options.

  1. High leg bottoms. Even on the new style "big knicker" bikini/tankini bottoms I have been unable to find legs cut low enough to cover my modesty and allow me to be less than thorough with the hair removal or ideally skip it altogether.
  2. There's nothing much between Only Fans skimpy and old lady styles unless you want to go sporty. But racer back with go faster stripes isn't really me and anyway unless you choose a school uniform type cossie you still end up with super high cut legs. I did try one of those unitard types with legs in then laughed till I cried. I could see literally every lump and bump. I donated it to a taller slimmer friend.
  3. Thin fabric. Some items I saw looked fine for sunbathing but I suspect one drop of water would mean not much would be left to the imagination. No-one wants to even imagine me naked, trust me. I reckon that's why our eyesight fails as we get older - because his eyesight is so bad my husband still  tells me I am beautiful, bless him.
Obviously when paddle boarding and kayaking you want something substantial enough to save your dignity if you fall - last year I ended up in men's board shorts and a bandana bikini top.

This year when I'm out paddling I have a choice of practical, comfortable and gorgeous outfits thanks to Lands' End. I love, love love this island emerald green and navy rash vest (pictured size 14-16) which is so soft and will help protect me from sun damage with UPF 50 sun protection. It will wick moisture away from my skin to keep me cool on hot days and will dry quickly too. Lands' End have a variety of rash vests in lots of colours and patterns with short and long sleeve options available.

And how cute are the women's board shorts? Again, Lands' End have a good range with built in swim briefs. They feel gorgeous on too and I love them teamed with the rash vest.

Like the shorts I also was very pleased with the cute women's active skort swim skirt with built in tricot jersey shorts - a bit like cycle shorts. This also goes well with the rash vest and I've also worn it with a black tankini top. Again it's UPF 50 and a little longer than the board shorts. Like the board shorts it has handy pockets to take you from beach to beach bar - just don't have one too many Mojitos and forget to remove your phone when you take a dip. (my son learned this the hard way)
madmumof7 wearing rash vest, life vest  and swim skirt from Lands' End in garden holding kayak paddle

madmumof7 wearing rash vest and swim skirt from Lands' End in garden holding kayak paddle

My last swimsuit has decent coverage but has definitely seen better days and has never been comfortable if I'm honest.  I think this women's Sweetheart Swim Dress Swimsuit from Lands' End (I'm wearing it in size 12) is the nicest and most comfortable swimsuit I have ever worn and I can't stop singing its praises!

madmumof7 wearing swim dress from LAnd's End in garden

With the intriguing colour way (called blackberry/strawberry Jacobean) this suit is available in regular and plus size fittings (sizes 8-28) and is a swimsuit base with adjustable straps, and a UPF 50 attached overdress with a stylish split skirt for modesty. I feel this is far more sophisticated than other skirted swimsuits I've worn and as it's made with Lycra Ⓡ Extra Life™ which resists breakdown from chlorine, sunscreen and heat, I'm hoping with care (hand wash only) it will be good for years to come.

The Sweetheart Swim Dress Swimsuit costs from £110 normally but there's a great promotion on  currently and you could get it for a lot less than that. In fact there's 40% off deals across the site - be quick though!

Even at full price I think this is a suit worth investing in if like me you normally grab a towel to walk from your lounger to the beach bar - this mini dress style gives me the confidence to leave the towel behind. I feel the ruched middle section minimises the full glory of my permanently bloated stomach, and the soft cup bra is comfy and preserves my modesty.

If you want a beach cover up which is elegant and could be worn as a dress for an evening out check out this beautiful simple but stylish Women's Pure Linen short sleeve high low midi dress (I chose the petite version in size 10-12).
madmumof7 wearing Lands" End pure linen midi dress in garden next to pinks in blue pot.

Available in Deep Sea Navy or Baltic Teal Mosaic Dot I love the way this dress hangs with the slightly higher hem at the front. Made from premium flax fibres grown sustainably in Western Europe, this dress has in-seam pockets and a lovely V neck and could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The pure linen will keep you cool on the most humid of evenings and you can even machine wash the dress on a cool delicate wash.

I am so delighted with my new clothing from Lands' End and can't wait to show off the pieces on the beach, by the pool and on the canal in my kayak. If like me you have become despondent at the offerings elsewhere I can heartily recommend the quality from this well established US brand which launched in 1963.

Lands' End deliver all over the world and returns are simple - in the UK via Royal Mail or Evri. You can even opt for customisation with monogramming or even get your trousers turned up (not all products). Have a good browse round the Lands' End website for more details.

True fact - you might have noticed that the apostrophe is in the "wrong" place in Lands' End. Apparently when Gary Comer started his business selling yachting equipment for racing sailors the first catalogue he had printed featured the misplaced apostrophe on the cover and he couldn't afford to reprint the whole run so Lands' End was born and has stayed the name, punctuation mistake and all!

Disclaimer: I received the items featured in this post free for the purpose of this honest review.