Burlesque and Some BodyLove.

by Lori Dwyer on May 8, 2013 · 9 comments

This month’s RedBalloon mission was quite exciting but slightly intimidating. Four one hour burlesque classes in Sydney, taught by a real live burlesque performer who goes by the name of Satin Spitfire.

Satin is hot. Not to mention crass, funny, loud, sweet, accepting and inclusive, and about a million other kinds of awesome. The class was small, the dance moves relatively easy, and the music loud and sexy.

The idea of burlesque dancing is so appealing to the lush, heady side of creativity. It’s all sparkles and glitter, velvet and feather boas, champagne and sex, and something inherently feminine and powerful. It’s so commonly confused with stripping, but getting naked is not the point. It’s all about the tease.

While certainly not enough to turn me into any kind of sexy, sensual performer (a la Ms Spitfire); four one hour-long classes were just enough to get a taste of what burlesque is like; an introduction to the ins and outs of the theory, attitude and basic moves behind it. There is absolutely no experience necessary- the first class begins with the very basics of a ‘burlesque walk’ and choosing a stage name. Going with my theme, I am now officially (kinda) known as Lilly Bean (like jellybean, only…. not?).

Out of the class of five, only one of us had any prior exposure, having done pole dancing and been to quite a few live burlesque shows. She even had a kick-arse pair of stripper heels to wear. Along with comfy clothes and drinking water, ‘high heels and lippy’ are essential requirements for burlesque classes. I, of course, wore my favorite black and white heels. And when it came to Week Three- Tassle Twirling- I was delighted to discover Satin had a pair of black and white pasties for me to borrow.

Pasties, in case you’re wondering, are the things worn to completely cover your areola and nipples, to which your tassels are attached. You can either tape or glue them on. We played with a stack of props, including gloves and fans and feather boas. And there was no pressure to undress- the option to wear your pasties over bras or even a shirt was there. All but one of us stripped off anyway.

By popular request... a pastie photo. Ta-da!!

By popular request… a pastie photo. Ta-da!!

Just for the record- I suck at tassle twirling. The objective is to get your tassles to spin, just by shimmying your shoulders. Despite being assured that boob size and shape makes no difference, and everyone can twirl… I really don’t think my boobs are big enough. I did get some twirling happening, but only by putting my arms straight up in the air and jumping up and down. And I’m not sure that’s sexy.

Having put on a bit of weight recently, the timing for this one was perfect. I badly needed some self esteem boosting and body love, and this was perfect. All sizes and shapes are celebrated in burlesque. The vibe of the class was lovely- there was no judgement here; no bitchy poking and snarking about weight and lumps and bumps. The instructor was easily a size sixteen, and she was one of the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen. There was something confronting about feeling like a veritable stick figure, and not at all desirable. It was probably a good thing that I found myself looking sexier and slightly fuller-figured as the months worth of classes ran on, and appreciating what curves I do have.

As much as I hate to disappoint you all… I don’t think I’ll be making the transition to burlesque performing any time soon. I’d have to do a lot of work on twirling first. But I highly recommend burlesque classes. They’re a work out- you’ll leave sweating- but the moves are relatively easy. It’s the attitude that takes time to perfect.

And in terms of body love- this has been one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had. I left every week loving my body, feeling sexy and womanly. And given those ten kilos I’ve quite comfortably put on, that’s been exactly what I needed.


As we’ve discussed, sometimes Mother’s Day just sucks. Do yourself a huge favour and invest in some burlesque body love, for you or someone else, this Mum’s Day. Red Balloon gift vouchers are available here.

Red Balloon Blogger

Thanks to the team at Digital Parents  Collective for inviting me to be a part of the RedBalloon Experience Program. Stay tuned- more awesomeness over the next few months. As always, all opinions are my own (because no one else would want them…?) however the experiences are complimentary.
And, just for jellbeans, there’s a special offer for RRSAHM readers- Spend $129 or more on any RedBalloon experience, and receive $30 off.
To redeem: Visit and enter the promo code
REDMUM06 at the checkout to receive your discount.
Terms and Conditions: Offer valid until 31/12/13. Promotional Code can
only be used once per person. All purchases are subject to Red Balloon T’s and C’s.


A Prayer For My Daughter.

by Lori Dwyer on February 27, 2013 · 8 comments

Unashamedly inspired by Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter. She did it better.


A quick, quiet prayer to whoever may be in charge, regarding my sweet, fairy daughter. If it be within the keeping of your (admittedly skewed) sense of humor…

May my darling little girl always keep her uniqueness, her sweetness, her sense of humor. She may need it.

May she know that, no matter what, she is loved by a great deal of people; and will undoubtedly be loved by many, many more people over her lifetime. And if everyone else seems to have failed; I hope she will know that she always, always has me.

Allow her to be teased, bullied and left out, but only once or twice; just enough to grant her empathy and convince her never to hurt someone else like that. When it happens, may she have enough of those people who love her unconditionally around to break the humiliating impact.

May she feel the simple platonic pleasure of being mates with members of the opposite sex. Let her know, every know and then, how it feels to be ‘one of the boys’, so she might respect them and demand the same in return.

Let her know herself enough that she is able to find interest and hobbies she is passionate in. Let her know, through some divine intervention, that high school, homework and final exams are not the end of the world- six months after her eighteenth birthday they will probably seem insignificant, anyway.

May she be at ease with her body, know herself and how she works; and never think of herself as shameful or dirty or unpleasant. Allow her to know the decadence of food, untainted and untouched by belief her body is not perfect as it has been made.

May she fall in love, hard and fast and blissfully, at least twice. And may the first time break her heart, shatter it to pieces… much as that hurts to ask for. But allow her that so that, the second time, she appreciates and understands what it is to love someone and be loved in return.

Give her the ability to appreciate simple pleasures that come with being female. Allow her to feel the simple fancies of lipstick and high heels, having her hair done and dancing, dressing beautifully and batting her eyelids. Let her enjoy the ripe pleasure of sex. But give her control over herself, and make her at least a little aware of how awesome she is, so she avoids doing the same silly things that I did.

May she be blessed with children, should she want them. May the conception be without the heartbreak of infertility, and childbirth as fast and pleasant as her own entry into the world was.

Give her the blessing of female friendships, of sleep-overs and coffees and play dates- give her sisters in other women that she will not have by blood.

Let her work hard enough that she knows what hard work is; but never to, nor for, desperation. May she find a job where every day is an adventure, where her mind feels stretched and her comfort zones questioned.

Let her live, completely and fully- taste things, feel things, smell things, see things. May her life be peppered with experiences, with happiness and sadness and realities and laughter.  If she is afraid then allow her the strength to see through that and do the things she wants to do anyway. May she see every day as something new, every road as a possibility.

And when things do go wrong- when she loses her favorite toy; when she misses out on something she really wanted; when her best friend hangs out with someone else; when that first love breaks her heart or the pregnancy test comes back positive; or her own daughter won’t stop screaming at her for something undetermined…

May she known that I have been there, done that; and even if she never, ever wants to admit it, I kind of understand. And may she not hesitate to come to me. Without guilt or fear of judgement, though no doubt she will have them.

But may she know that whatever she confesses to, whatever the problem may be; I will always, always love her, and never turn away.

And may she know that’s because she’s beautiful, inside and out. And even if she wasn’t, I hope she knows that I would still be there, anyway. Because that just what mothers are for.



by Lori Dwyer on January 16, 2013 · 4 comments

I get a stack of PR emails. Most are awesome. Some are not. The one I received recently titled something along the lines of  “How To Look Hot After Birth” was most definitely in the ‘not awesome’ category.My response, as seen on Twitter, went as thus.

Click image to embiggen.

And obviously, I was quite smug and happy with my response, yes… thanks for asking.

But it bitches at me in the most unpleasant way that, for every response such as mine, and for every twenty other people who received this email, rolled their eyes and moved on… there is probably at least one woman who didn’t.

At least one woman who didn’t dismiss it and return to thinking about more important things than looking ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘reclaiming a pre–pregnancy figure!’.

For every one of us who hears sentiments like those and feels a bit disgusted, a bit cheated out of the ripeness that should be a feminine birth right; there is at least one new mum who feels fat and inadequate.

For every grown woman who views her body as a soft place, a miracle, a playground; there is a teenage girl who’s convinced, positive, that her bum is huge and life would be better if she were just that bit prettier, if her hair was that bit longer.

For every handful of us who find ourselves angry at such irresponsible, un-sisterly bullsh*t; there is at least one media outlet– social or mainstream– who has taken this PR approach on, who is promoting it, who is saying it’s a good idea to fill the heads of a million impressionable minds- male and female- with this crap. At least one publication who’s allowing this kind of unhealthy, detrimental pressure and focus to continue to seep into the spot where women are most vulnerable, where insecurities lay stagnant in dark crevices of the soul.

And I know (thanks, those in the peanut gallery– shut up already, this is my show), that by addressing it here I’m quite possibly giving it a voice, giving this platform attention it certainly doesn’t warrant.

But if I have a voice here, the let me use it. And if for nothing else, then let it be to ensure, every now and then, that things like this don’t seep into the female psyche so… quietly.

If this idea is to be presented to us as valid, then let there at least be a voice that speaks otherwise.

And so, to every woman reading this, to the mothers who are and who will be, to the grandmothers, aunts, best friends and cheer squads, to the millions of my sisters around me who bear the weight of being female, who feel all the weight of the immortal responsibilities of reproducing, nourishing and rearing, to you; let me say this…


Eat… gloriously. In health, and good fortune, in company and pleasure. For sustenance and growth, for love and pleasure.

There is no hunger that compares to the famishment of a new mother, her body shell-shocked, tired arms cradling a baby freshly birthed. All energy has been spent, used, burnt– labour, birth, the body pulsing and recovering, retaining shape slowly like strong tempered rubber, producing food perfectly weighted and optimally nutritious. There is no meal that tastes as good as the first you eat following childbirth, no hunger that could possibly be so demanding nor so satisfying when satiated.

Babies eat and suck and chew calories from their mothers, swallow kilojoules in slurping breaths, literally and figuratively sucking your life away. Mother’s milk, enough to sustain life. Compound the exhaustion of constant waking, continual watching, always worrying. Then babies grow to toddlers and they move, fast and unpredictable, with you the only one to catch them and still their tiny feet. You the only one who’s energy is eaten and resources drained by the constant thought processes, the constant re-prioritizing that’s required to keep up with hundreds of questions, the mental fog of attempting to stay one step ahead and quench that frantic curiosity, that intense drive of seeing, doing, thinking, being; a constant sponging of information from the world.

And toddlers, eventually, they become children. And still it’s hard work, still it’s constant. Playing, running, making, hugging, cleaning, building, doing. It feels as though it’s been five years since I sat down, relaxed and put my feet up… maybe it has been.

Being a mum– being a woman, in general, I believe– it requires energy untold. I’m always tired, always slightly shabby. My body always feels as though it needs that little bit extra nourishment, something that bit more to get me through. As though it needs a big cuddle and warm blanket, a bad rom-com on DVD and a big plate of soft lasagna, with hot chocolate and marshmallows to follow.

There is, so they say, three guaranteed pleasures in the human existence– sex, sleep and food. Primal, tribal, biological…. urges that cannot be ignored.

So I say, mothers, ladies of all ages and denominations… let us eat. Let us eat breakfasts and brunches, lunches and suppers, dinners and teas and snacks and midnight feasts by fridge light. Let us eat food real and rich, cooked and raw, prepared or thrown together, freshly cooked or lukewarm and waiting for hours. Munch, nibble, graze, chew, masticate, relish, swallow and suckle; dine, pig, nourish, gorge, pick, fuss and tuck in. Eat real food, and enjoy every mouthful. Taint it not, for today, for right now, with weight and calories and peer pressure and pairs of size-eight jeans.

Just eat, the way you did as a child– ripe peaches held with both hands over a scratched stainless steel sink, flesh stuck between teeth and juice flowing down china, streaking the backs of forearms and pooling tangy iridescent on elbows. Sticks of fairy floss bigger than your head that leave sticky pink spiderwebs strung between your fingers. Mangoes eaten in bathtubs filled with tepid water at the humid height of a bushfire summer.

If you are, or plan to, or have been providing with every piece of yourself in order to nourish a new life on this planet; recognize the divine in that, and worship that divinity with the pleasure of food, eaten messily and hungrily and without care of who’s watching on, in the sunshine of the altar of life.

No mother needs to ‘look hot after birth’. Especially not by starving herself, by punishing herself with exercise that’s excessive to the detriment of herself and her child.

Nurture yourselves, ourselves.

Be kind to ourselves, and one another.

Being ‘hot’ is such a relative concept. As is being ‘healthy’.

But beauty comes from within.

And so I say- ladies, women, sisters… eat.

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