How many calories does the Happy Dance burn?!

Dreams about shopping: 6

Dreams about chocolate: 4

Dreams about Jonny Lee Miller: 2

Dreams about eating chocolate with Jonny Lee Miller whilst walking around Topshop: 1 (best dream EVER.)

This week, I have been mainly dancing around the house (as well as dreaming about Jonny Lee Miller – for those of you that didn’t read my last post and are unsure of who he is – go and have a quick look.  Go on, I’ll wait…you could probably Google him too, whilst you’re online), doing my Happy Dance (copyright C.COOPER/K.SHEPPARD 2007).  It’s a very special dance, created by myself and a rather talented friend of mine (I’m not going to lie, most of her dances are technically much better.  Technically in dance and literal terms).  It’s essentially hopping from foot to foot, and waving your forearms around like a penguin.  And it’s cool.

The reason for my sophisticated and classy hopping around the house (including a few rather tricky negotiations of the stairs)?  Well, I have news.  No, wait – it’s way bigger news than that…

I HAVE NEWS!!!!!!!!

You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned a certain dress from Zara a couple of times in the last few weeks.  Well…my Lovely Stepdad (and Lovely Mum) bought it for me.  Yep, that’s right, they did.  I’m led to believe that Lovely Stepdad was the driving force behind it (it’s not that he’s Lovelier than my Mum, they’re both great, it’s just that she thinks that my whinging shouldn’t necessarily be encouraged with presents.  Really, she’s like Supernanny for grown up children). 

They bought me the black version of the dress (which is better than for me than the red version – with my reddish/purple hair  I could have ended up looking like a giant tomato.  I’m reliably informed that this is not a good look).  (Also, my Fabulous friend has the red version.  If I have the black, I can fool myself into thinking that the different colour is the reason that I don’t look the same as her when I’m wearing it…it’s nothing to do with her being much slimmer than me, and, let’s be honest, a LOT prettier…) It’s the most beautiful dress in the whole wide world – I love it so much that I’ve been tempted to sleep with it under my pillow every night.  Only the fact that I might dribble on it has stopped me.  Not that I dribble in my sleep or anything, you understand.  If I’ve had a bad day at work/thought about the end of Scrubs/walked past a massive display of Easter Eggs in Tesco and started getting the shakes, I put it on, and all of a sudden, things don’t seem so bad. 

But the problem that I have now is – do I wear it all the time, meaning that as many people as possible get to bask in its amazingness, but possibly dimming the special quality somewhat, or do I save it for something really special (meeting the Queen/Jonny Lee Miller/the cast of TOWIE), meaning that it makes the occasion that bit more special, but running the risk of seeming ungrateful to my Lovely Parents?  As dilemmas go, it’s perhaps not the most worthy, but it’s a dilemma nonetheless.  I would also like to point out to The Boy that this is NOT cheating.  I haven’t given my parents anything in exchange for this, except love, affection and money.  (I’m joking about the money bit.  Obviously).

So, that’s the reason that I’ve been doing the Happy Dance.  In other, unrelated news (but news that links to the title of this post), The Boy has recently started using the My Fitness Pal app on his phone.  Wanting to be supportive, (and as I’ve given up all the lovely, chocolatey things that make mealtimes fun), I decided to sign up for it too (and as I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t want a bum the size of Hampshire).  It’s going well (ish) – after 4 whole days, I’ve apparently lost a pound (it fell out of my pocket.  Sorry, but I bet that you were thinking of the same joke, I was only saving you the job), but I would just like to point out that if any of my other ‘pals’ sent me to bed hungry for 4 whole days, we wouldn’t stay pals for very long.  Just putting it out there.


This week, I want to be…

I was lucky enough to have a couple of days off this week, and I would usually spend the time perusing River Island’s new stock.  However, this week I was also lucky enough to have The Boy to keep an eye on me, and to make sure that there were no accidental splurges in New Look.  And he manages to do dissuade me without sounding like he’s preaching at me (most of the time.  He learnt his lesson after once spending half an hour explaining to me why spending £50 on a skirt 2 sizes too small just because it was in the sale was a waste of time.  And I punched him in the face.  *Disclaimer – probable lie*).

Instead, we decided to walk from his house into town, and back again.  This is a Big Achievement, as I’m allergic to walking, unless it happens to be in a gym. (or around the shops.  You SO didn’t see that coming did you…) Yep, I’m one of those people who will happily spend a fortune in order to join a gym, yet will refuse to get off my bum and get some fresh air, but after just over a year together, I feel that it’s time to start embracing the things that The Boy loves (and he promised food if I did it).  It’s a 2 mile walk, but as I like to point out, A LOT, my legs are a good 10 inches shorter than his, so a 2 mile walk for him is really a 20 mile walk for me (have I mentioned that Maths is my passion?!) but I did it, and actually enjoyed it.  Until we stopped, and I felt the muscles in my head actually twitching.  It’s a weird feeling – it was a bit like my legs were filled with butterflies.  Or crickets.  In a               non-freakish way, obviously.  After some reviving Diet Pepsi, we walked around some shops, looking for a birthday present for The Beautiful One (do you have ANY idea how difficult is it to buy a present for a 1 year old?!  All the things we looked at either had ‘suitable from birth’, which I worried would suggest that I think she’s thick – which she’s really not, or they’re suitable from 18 months, which I worried would suggest that I have no idea of the stages of child development.   There’s a chance that I worry too much.) – luckily, we’d already been told that clothes buying was a bit of a nightmare, as she’s quite tall and slim for her age, so there was no need to go into any clothes shops.  Unluckily, I can’t tell you what we actually bought, as we haven’t seen her lovely parents to give them her present yet, and if I tell you, you might tell them, and then it won’t be a surprise…

Then we walked back.  And I sulked, because I hadn’t fully realised that the walk back would be exactly the same length as the journey there.  And it started to hurt my bum.  (I have NO idea why.)

Then, the best bit of our time off – we went to see Frankenstein at the cinema.  No, it hasn’t been re-released without you noticing, it’s a National Theatre initiative type thing, where they stream the show live – this week with Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein, Benedict Cumberbatch (or ‘Sherlock’ if you prefer) (or, the inept hostage negotiator in ‘Four Lions’ if you prefer)  as The Creature, next week with the roles reversed – on a side note, isn’t Jonny Lee Miller a lovely looking chap?  I hadn’t really noticed before.

Anyhoo, Danny Boyle (the genius, if you prefer) directed the show, and it was absolutely amazing – The Boy bought me an unlimited card for the cinema earlier this year (I have probably already mentioned this, but he likes it when I tell people how nice he is) (he doesn’t.  I do it anyway), so we go about once a week – I usually get bored about an hour in and start fidgeting (chanelling my inner 3 year old), but I was riveted (and ridiculously hemmed in – the cinema was PACKED.  I couldn’t have fidgeted without grossly infringing on the personal space of the nice lady next to me).  The make up was fantastic (even Benedict Cumberbatch’s bald cap with added random tufts of hair), the acting was phenomenal (dah-ling), and I didn’t hear the words ‘it’s ALIIIIIIVE’ once.  Which I was truly grateful for. I could go on for about an hour about it, but that’s just going to bore you – I’d just like to say that you should all go and see it this Thursday evening.  Please.  You’ll (probably) thank me afterwards. 

Except now I want to be a director, preferably Danny Boyle.  Or I would at least like to climb into his head for a bit and borrow some of his ideas.  In a non-weird way.  (Is there a non-weird way of wanting to climb into someone’s head?  I just think he’s great.  I’m really not weird.)

Yes, I know I wanted to be a ballerina after I watched Black Swan.  And I wanted to be in the West End after I saw Dirty Dancing, and I wanted to be Jack Bauer after watching the first series of 24.  But this is different. Because…well…because it is.  Yep, that’s a fabulously constructed argument, right there…

Chocashopaholic…is that even close to a real word?

I’ve been told to write this blog post quietly, because Darling Sister is ill.  I know that ‘ill’ is actually Lovely Mum/Lovely Stepdad’s euphemism for ‘incoherently hungover’.  So, being the considerate and caring older sister I am, I’ve popped my speakers on rather loudly, all the better for her to hear what I’m currently listening to on iTunes (Ellie Goulding, in case you were wondering), as well as turning the TV up nice and loudly (so that I can hear it over the music,obviously).  This was after taking my rubbish (last lot from the wardrobe incident last week, fingers crossed) down to the wheelie bins by the back door, accidentally thudding it against her door.  And letting the dogs in to jump on her head.  In my defence, she did make Lovely Stepdad a birthday cake made out of various types of chocolate this week. 

This is probably the point where I should mention that I’ve given up chocolate for Lent.  (And forget to mention that Darling Sister made me a whole batch of cupcakes to make up for the fact that I couldn’t eat any of the aforementioned birthday cake…)  I’ve also given up sweets and biscuits.  I fear that 2011 is the year that I become one of those dull people who bangs on about their macrobiotic diet, and how they’re going minimalist because being Zen is just, like, so…you know?  On second thoughts, maybe not.

The first thing that people have said to me for most of the week about this is ‘but you’ve already given up clothes, why on Earth would you torture yourself?!’ but the sad thing is that, without New Look and Primark to distract me, I’ve been eating rather a lot of chocolate and biscuits for the last month (and far, far too many chocolate biscuits).  It’s worrying me because if my bum gets too big to fit into my trousers, I can’t buy more, and will have to be one of those people whose bum spreads across 2 seats on the bus, encroaching on the personal space of those around them (not that I take the bus, ever, but still), or one of those people that one of my friends (who will remain nameless – she probably won’t even realise that I mean her when she’s reading this) will snigger about secretly, and make sly digs to my other friends along the lines of ‘well, I didn’t want to say anything, but someone else happened to mention that her bum’s now the size of Hampshire…just saying…’

So, I’ve knocked the ‘bad boys’ on the head (special thanks to the Fabulous one for letting me use that phrase), and so far, it’s not too bad.  As well as having Lovely Stepdad’s birthday this week, it was also a Genuinely Wonderful friend’s birthday (she used to be a friend of The Boy, and has very generously adopted me as a chum too), and she invited us over for various form of cake, including some *insert gushing adjective* scones, which I could have eaten 16 of (however, as there were other people there, I restrained myself, and only ate 6) (ok, 7).  It almost didn’t matter that everyone else was eating white chocolate cheesecake that Her Boy made (and that I will be insisting he make for me sometime after Easter Sunday.  Easter Monday, perhaps).  And I got cuddles from the Beautiful One* (admittedly, we had to make sure that she was unconscious before I had cuddles, so her Marvellous Mum got her to sleep first, but still – a cuddle is a cuddle).

It’s also been brought to my attention this week that I’ve developed a habit of getting people to do/eat the things that I’ve given up (that’s doing shopping, and eating chocolate – I’m not asking people to eat their shopping bags or anything.  That would be weird).  For example, one of the girls in the office (one of the funniest people that I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a LOT of people), asked me why I keep sending her discount codes and pointing out things that she really wouldn’t wear (ever) in magazines, but that I quite like.  She asked me if I’m trying to get her to shop on my behalf, to which I pointed out she’s 2 sizes smaller than me, so if I was getting her to shop for me, I’d be in trouble.  She may still be suspicious.

Then, I asked my Fabulous Friend if she’d mind eating chocolate on my behalf (the sneaky option clearly didn’t work with the shopping, so I thought it best to ask outright).  She told me that it wouldn’t be a problem at all, and she was already working her way through a Lindt mini-egg, just for me.  Panicked, I pointed out that I will always eat at least 3, so if she’s going to be a good friend, I really need to see some more commitment from her.  Fingers crossed that she’ll soon be working her way up to a Lindt bunny a day…

So, as well as sighing wistfully at pretty dresses from Zara and nice shoes from Office, The Boy will also have to put up with me throwing my slippers at the TV every time that Galaxy advert comes on.  He’s going to be thrilled.

*the Beautiful One is a lovely little girl (and I’m not just saying that because her Mum is nice about me), who I would very much like to steal (I say this about a lot of my friends’ children – I can’t help it, they’re just all really, REALLY cute).

Wardrobe Wars

I’d just like to make a quick apology for yet another blog post on a Sunday, instead of a Saturday…what are your thoughts on me just making sure that I write one at some point over the weekend each week?  It would take some of the pressure off, and who knows, without the pressure I might stop looking at it like I used to look at essays, thinking ‘Oh sod it, I’ll write it later’.  (Obviously I’m joking – I was never allowed to write essays on shopping.)

Anyhoo, the reason for this post being late is because I was clearing out my wardrobe.  It was much more labour intensive than I first thought, and ended up being a 2 day job, instead of the hour task that I originally intended (we lost a lot of men, they were ready for us, etc., etc…), but on the plus side, whichever charity shop I decide to grace with my presence will now have at least 3 months worth of stock.

For several months now, my Darling Sister and my Lovely Mum have been telling me that I don’t need to buy new clothes, that I have lots of nice things, and if I cleared out my wardrobe, it would be like wandering round the shops, but from the comfort of my own home.  I generally snorted, and told them that online shopping was invented for that very reason.  I used to feel as though they were picking on me, and just being a bit mean.  Besides, I have the smallest room in the house, if I have more than 4 items in it at any one time, it looks crowded.  (It amazes me to think how many justifications I actually came up with.)  I’ve discovered a ridiculous amount of clothing still in the original packaging, some of it actually quite pretty, and my room looks pretty tidy.  And almost spacious.  For a coffin.  So, Lovely Mum, and Darling Sister, I’m sorry – you were right, and I was very wrong (just don’t expect me to say it to your faces….)

Darling Sister came in from work yesterday (she’s cabin crew.  She hates it when I call her a Trolley Dolly, so I stopped doing it.  To her face.), not long after I’d managed to pull everything out from the bottom of the wardrobe, and chuck it on the floor/bed/desk.   After skating over carrier bags, shoe boxes and dvd cases (some even with DVDs in them), she cleared herself a space on the bed (it’s lucky that she’s teeny), and proceeded to watch me sort through the stuff.

Now, Marian Keyes is my favourite author (I promise that this does link to the story, and isn’t just one of my strange tangeants) – I love her, and wish that I could climb inside her head and work out how she manages to write so ruddy well (but not in a weird way).  I met her once, and it was pretty much one of the only times I couldn’t think of anything to say.  My friends were thrilled.  I don’t want to give away one of her storylines, but in one of her books, there’s a scene where one character discovers something about a relative.  She goes through the relative’s belongings, revelations throwing themselves at her with gay abandon as she finds more and more evidence of addiction.  What I did yesterday gave me some insight into how the relative must have felt (maybe I should re-read the book, with my new-found insights?), and I really, really didn’t like it.  It was not comfortable, nor was it pleasant.  I’d always assumed that people were messing about when they told me that I shop too much, or that I have a ridiculous attitude to money saving and the like.  However, after discovering 3 brand new pairs of shoes (including a very nice pair of Airwalk trainers that I don’t even remember buying), 3 bags still in their original packaging, and (literally) countless tops, pairs of jeans, and lovely dresses, it’s come to my attention rather forcefully, that they might have been right.  Darling Sister sat with eyes wider than a very wide thing, as I pulled out yet another tag laden guilty purchase. (I even found a book that I already have on my bookshelf.  I clearly remember buying the one on my bookshelf as I thought that I’d lost the one in the wardrobe.  Luckily, Darling Sister doesn’t know about that yet…)  I was absolutely mortified.  I know that people say that a lot (especially me, I’ve been known to be overdramatic on more than 5 occasions), but I genuinely wanted the ground to open and for me to slide right on in.  I was so ashamed of myself, and I dearly wanted Darling Sister to sod off.  She didn’t, so I had to see it through.  It does seem to have dimmed my urge to whinge about not shopping.  For now.  I have no doubt that normal service will be resumed early tomorrow morning.  I’m not likening my ridiculously frivolous situation to the awful reality of alcoholism, but I think that I now have a small, tiny idea of what it must be like when someone realises the extent of their drinking.  It’s horrendous.

Another author, Sophie Kinsella, writes the incredibly successful ‘Shopaholic’ series of books – if you haven’t read them, the main character is called Becky Bloomwood, and she annoys the bejesus out of me.  She has no control over her spending, and when there’s a choice between the rent and a designer bag, I’m almost certain that she’d take the bag.  She shops for useless crap that the reader knows she’ll never use, and continually makes excuses to her family and friends about her spending.  And you know how some amateur psychologists say that if you instantly dislike someone, it probably means that you see things in them that you don’t like about yourself?  I’m now concerned that I AM Becky Bloomwood.  Although she has a job as a journalist.  So she’s actually cooler than me.  You have no idea how much this irritates me.

But that is IT now – I’m already going cold turkey, so hopefully I will have kicked the habit by the time that June rolls around.  My chums that I used to go shopping with, please don’t think that I no longer care for you if I don’t contact you once I can enter New Look again, instead of walking past and whimpering, but all counsellors advise cutting yourself off from the friends that you had during your addiction, and I’m not sure if you’re enablers.  It’s nothing against you, you’re lovely, it’s not you, it’s me…if you prefer, you may insert your own excuse.  I will always think of you, and the skirts we shared, with affection.

On another note, I decided to send The Boy a phot0 of my room yesterday, just after the emptying of the wardrobe.  I could imagine his face draining of colour, as he wondered exactly where the Hell we were going to put all of my stuff when we move in together (he needn’t worry – a lot of it went  into the ‘Charity Shop’ pile.  Plus, we’re not moving in together unless the house has a walk-in wardrobe, and there would be plenty of room for all my stuff in one of those).  He replied to my message, telling me it looked pretty.  It’s nice that he still fibs to me occasionally (although I’m now starting to worry about what he really thinks of my new hairstyle…and, indeed, my new hair colour.)