How I came to publish a book , 'Love the Skin You're In!'

How I came to publish a book , 'Love the Skin You're In!'


Oh my goodness it is hot here in Devon, we have just returned from a fab week in Polruan, by the river Fowey in Cornwall. Quite glad it was a bit cooler for us down there, as there were a lot of hills to climb .



Now over the past 3  months or so I have been very busy working on a new venture for me. Things like this are always a bit nerve racking, trying something new, and attempting to get things looking how I want them to look. 

However lots and lots of you asked me if I could do a book of my swimming ladies, mermaids, older couples ...and include my poems.

"No I can't  !  " was my initial response, when the idea was first put to me.

But over the next few months and then years I thought can I ?

So I tried. I approached a few publishers and went down the self publishing route. 

I went to short run press in the end, in Exeter, as they were close to me and seemed very easy to talk to .

I needed to paint lots of new originals so they could be scanned for the book.

From mastectomy mermaids....

To my original idea of older women enjoying the water

To couples enjoying the view.

Then to get the poems right, choose the type face , decide on the layout. Oh my goodness...lots of decisions to make. Things to read.

I know I am impatient , I like things done , I am no stickler for detail, so luckily my husband would double check things.

Then the cost, gulp !

Oh my goodness I hope someone will buy one or two !!

Then while we were away I got the call to say they are ready.

And Monday morning a pallet arrived....what had I done !

But the excitement of opening the first box and seeing My Book !

Then flicking through the looks ok, it looks good !


 They did a good job and I have so many people to thank, including all of you, for me getting to this place. 

I am now exhausted from packing books, and getting orders sorted... My husband is keeping track of how many have sold and when I will break even !

I am so thrilled so many of you want a copy, I hope you enjoy them when they arrive

Now here is the blog I wrote about how I came to paint them in the first place.......


Wow, I had no idea, that some fun times at the beach and my lack of body confidence would resonate with so many of you . A couple of years ago I began painting my swimming ladies, just for fun and for a change from the norm.

This one started my journey with my swimming ladies, and my attempts at poetry. 

I always struggled with people, skin tones, making people look 'right'. This was the perfect way to paint people ( for me) 

I loved doing them and loved giving them the very brightest and fun costumes I could imagine. I enjoy people watching , and far from judging anyone , I am always very envious of the people who just go for it, and really don't worry about what anyone else thinks. We all struggle with body confidence, and these words grew out of my own feelings and talking to my friends.

Three good friends went for a swim
The one who was fat wished she was thin.
The one she was curvy wished she was clever.
The one who was clever wished she swam better
The really great swimmer wished she was witty
The one who was witty wished she was pretty
All 3 friends thought the other 2 were just fine
If only they could let their own bright light shine
So throw on your swimsuit if you're fat or you're thin
Enjoy fun and friendship .... love the skin that you're in

By Rachel Toll

My husbands finds it very amusing that people like my words...she's a poet and she didn't know it ! My bad grammar and lack of punctuation, make him sigh, as he writes for a living ( a journalist / legal type job) ., but he has had to eat his words as my poem has become very very popular, and for that I cannot thank you all enough.

My second poem, which I wrote just after my cancer diagnosis  at the end of 2019 also means a lot to me.

  I am blessed with huge thighs and way too much cellulite for my liking , and now after my brush with cancer, also missing a boob, which doesn't really add to my model potential! It also means I have a much better view of my wobbly tummy! However life is precious , and these words expressed how felt and continue to feel. 

It puts things in perspective….

If only you could tell yourself…30yrs down the line
That the body you didn’t like back then, was absolutely fine.
In fact your imperfections, are what make you ,you
And artists don’t like perfection, it isn’t fun to do!
It puts things in perspective, when things start to go wrong
The things that are important are the things that keep you strong
So, enjoy the world around you, and the people who are close,
Enjoy the ocean and the woodland, take the highs and ride the lows.
Don’t worry about your makeup or the wrinkles that appear
It’s a privilege just to be alive so enjoy it while you’re here x

Rachel Toll

Now I don't profess to be William Wordsworth, I think I am more influenced by Pam Ayres than Seamus Heaney . But poetry and words mean a lot to me as those who follow my posts will know, and I felt that I wanted to get my feelings down on paper.

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but the poems and the pictures together fitted like pieces of a jigsaw.

I begin with a group of women, my friends mean the world to me.

Then I add the skin tones, I add wrinkles, and bingo wings. They are such fun to paint , and most of us have parts we aren't too fond of. 

I have a special pallet now, for my ladies, with all the colours I put into skin tones. I am reflecting what I see, and love, friendship, sharing , are all beautiful to me. The colours are rose madder, yellow ochre, violet , some reds, raw sienna, and some blues.

Then after a lovely day painting ,my women are ready to hit the beach.

I know these pieces aren't everybody's cup of tea, but if I have learnt anything whilst being an artist for a living, it is that you can't please everybody all of the time. 

These pieces are meant to be fun. They  ( hopefully ) show I can diversify and paint different things) I still adore painting landscapes and wildlife , but writing and women's experiences are also very much a part of who I am. I find life funny too, I don't know where I would be if I couldn't laugh at myself and with my friends.

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Love this will be buying the book

Brenda graham

You are an inspirational woman Rachel and I love your painting and poems. Thankyou 😊


Your story is so lovely …… that ‘moment in time’, for you, that ‘speaks’ to so many ……… ‘a gift’! I am impatient to receive my parcel

Lyn Waring

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