Can I be Serious for a Second?

Firstly, sorry, sorry, sorry – this post is being written on a Monday, and I promised that I would always write one at the weekend.  Although, technically, as this weekend is a Bank Holiday one, that means that this is still the weekend (yep, it’s weak reasoning, but…well…I can’t think of anything else).

It was The Boy’s Birthday Barbeque yesterday (which went ahead even though the Weather Fairy refused to return our calls, and insisted on leaving the sky looking as though someone had gone over it with a roller and a tin of grey paint.  But it could have been worse – at least the rain waited until today to make its traditional Bank Holiday appearance), which meant that most of yesterday was taken up with ‘hostessing’, and when I say ‘hostessing’ I mean making random concoctions and forcing people to drink them, and gossiping with my chums.  Saturday was taken up with supermarket shopping.  Which I am never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER doing on a Saturday again.  Screaming children, unruly trollies, unsupervised children (including a lovely young soul who very nearly ended up under the wheels of my car, after running out in front of me in the car park, and whose parents saw absolutely no issue with her doing so), dawdling shoppers, angry couples…the list of joy is almost unending. 

On the plus side, I think that everyone enjoyed themselves.  I certainly did – partly because I got to see all of our Brilliant Friends, and partly because The Boy bought me a new dress  a few weeks ago, from a lovely shop called M Butterfly in Cambridge, which I was saving for Something Special, and people kept telling me how lovely it was – now that I’ve worn it once, I’m not sure that I’m going to take it off.  Although during an unfortunate ‘Magners falling out of the fridge and smashing all over the floor’ incident last night, the dress got covered in cider.  So I may need to take it off to wash, or nasty ‘don’t you ever wash’ accusations may start flying around, and no-one wants that (even if you don’t ever wash, it’s not nice to have it pointed out).

So, those are my excuses/reasons/explanations out of the way, now onwards and upwards…

I’d like to be serious for just a second, if I may (sorry about that).  Lovely Stepdad went over to Germany last weekend, for some motorbike riding/racing, and good, old-fashioned male bonding, with lots of other men who have bikes.  Which was great.  What wasn’t so great was the phonecall that Lovely Mum received on Monday, letting us know that Lovely Stepdad had been in an accident, involving his bike and a patch of diesel.  Very luckily for all of us, he’s ok (unless you count his left arm, which, after being landed on by his bike, is currently at Popeye proportions – not a great look unless you are actually a cartoon character with a fondness for spinach), and was allowed to come home on Tuesday (also luckily, one of the chaps that he was with drove in a car, as Lovely Stepdad’s bike is currently in a very sorry state somewhere near a German race track), and he’s at home recuperating (whilst Lovely Mum and Yes Dear, the guy that works for them) are running around like very speedy things, keeping the garage running as smoothly as possible (Did I mention that my parents own a garage?  It’s a rather good one too).  Yes Dear goes on holiday tomorrow evening.  I’ve offered to help in his absence, but apparently you can’t just sit under cars and make ‘hmmm’ noises, you actually have to do something with them.  So I’ve been informed that my services will not be required.  So my serious point is, some things are more important than shopping.  Yep, that’s right, it’s out there, I’ve said it. 

However, you didn’t come over for a bit of armchair philosophy (I say armchair, I’m actually lying on my bed, but bed philosophy just sounds a bit…well, a bit wrong), so let’s talk about clothes and other frivolous things.  Well, actually, it’s just going to be about clothes. 

 As you know, Boohoo is one of my favourite websites.  As you won’t know (unless you’re one of my lovely workmates), Boohoo sent me an email with these exact words;

‘We haven’t seen you for a while’

And a 20% discount, valid until 1st June.  So you see my problem – it would have been rude not to look at the website with a discount like that, but I wouldn’t be able to buy anything, even if I fell in love with something.  Which I did.  Two things actually – both playsuits (which usually make me look like an overgrown toddler, and like I should be carrying a bucket and spade with a knotted handkerchief on my head, but I’m an optimist).  Then Lovely Mum hit on something of a solution – as my birthday is just around the corner, and she likes to buy me things, she offered to buy me 1 of the playsuits as a gift, meaning that I could order both, then send one back (this agreement was made on Sunday, before all the bike related trauma – I may be shallow, but even I’m not callous enough to bother my Mum about chiffon related prettiness whilst someone we love is in pain.  Well, I like to think that I’m not callous enough to do that, but the situation has, fortunately, not yet presented itself).  Both were consequently ordered, arrived in double quick time, and Lovely Stepdad had to spend his first night back at home making interested noises whilst I discussed the benefits of the green over the floral design (should you be interested, this is the green one, and this is the floral one).  Lovely Mum, Darling Sister and Lovely Stepdad decided that the green would be best, but I always like a third, fourth and often, seventeenth opinion, so I took the playsuits into work, and forced the girls in the office to let me have a fashion show.  They all preferred the floral, which left me a little bit of a problem, as I really, really liked both.  So I put my ingratiating tone on, and fluttered my eyelashes at my Lovely Parents.  And they offered to let me keep both.  See – lovely.  And perhaps slightly relieved that they don’t have to do the usual last minute dash to the shops, when I decide 2 days before my birthday what I’d like (decision making isn’t my strong point – just as The Boy.  He has to ask about 20 minutes before he wants breakfast what I’d like, so that I have time to dither between toast toppings).

In other news, Darling Sister has very definitely moved out now.  I went to her new flat, and all of her things are actually there, not just hiding somewhere in our house.  Weirdly, I still keep expecting her to walk through the front door, so that I can complain that she hasn’t fed the cats.  Her flat looks like a showhome, but she’s still nice enough to invite me over (although she only lets me drink water.  From a beaker.  And I’m not allowed, under any circumstances, to actually sit on the cushions.)

In other, other news, New Look sent me a letter this week, telling me that they’re going to increase my credit limit.  Now that’s just cruel.

Courier Condundrum…

Indulging in some weekend television, I decided to watch ‘Nine Months’ this afternoon.  An advert popped up (they tend to fairly regularly) about short term loans.  This one was implying that it was better than the others, as you can take 6 months to pay the loan back, which is nice.  Except that, when you read the bottom of the screen (yep, I’m one of THOSE people), the APR is over 3000%.  Yes, that’s right, OVER 3000%!  Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is totally ridiculous.  The smallest amount that you can borrow is £80.00, and if you took the 6 month option, that could cost you £1280 (I think.  I’m not that great at maths.  Even if that’s only close to being right, that is shagging well ridiculous!), and that is why loan companies are evil.

But I’ve already done a blog about the ridiculousness of store cards, so there’s really no need for me to rant all over again.  (Believe me, I need no encouragement to behave like a broken record and complain about the same things over and over again.  Just ask my Lovely Friends, to whom I still whinge about various injustices that happened at around the same time as our GCSEs.  Ten years ago.) (Ooo, I’ve just made myself go a bit funny.  Was that really ten years ago?  I’m still trying to decide what to do when I finish school.  Which may explain my career path…)

So, clothes ban wise, it’s not been a bad week.  As Darling Sister’s birthday is the day before mine (I know, not great timing on my parent’s behalf, it makes for a rather expensive week), I’ve been looking at birthday presents for her.  Even though she’s picked up the keys for her very first flat this week, and would probably prefer gifts such as kettles, toilet brushes or duvet covers, I think it’s safe to say that at least one of her presents will be clothing related.  Because it cuts down on the guilt – I’ve spent many happy hours this week perusing various online retailers, finding some lovely things (and even Lovely Mum pointing out in gentle tones ‘buying that in your size isn’t really going to impress Darling Sister is it’, (she’s 7 inches taller and several dress sizes smaller than me.  And thinks nothing of voicing her disgust if people buy her things in a size 12, until she sees me giving her a ridiculously Mean Stare, and then backtracks furiously. It makes me chuckle every time.) and ‘is that really something that she’d like?  Really?!’ haven’t put me off.  Although my experience with a ridiculously inept courier company nearly did put me off buying anything.  Ever.  (Maybe I should buy things from companies that I know use awful couriers, so that it puts me off shopping forever?  It’s a thought…)

Anyway, back to reminiscing – I’d found something that I thought Darling Sister would really like (even though it wasn’t cushion related).  So I ordered it, cunningly asking for it to be delivered on a day that she was working.  Except that it never turned up.  I spoke to the couriers (whose name I won’t reveal.  Although I don’t know why I’m bothering, they were so ridiculously rubbish that they deserve to be shamed) who said that the driver had run out of time (poor planning in my opinion, he should have used his accelarator more, and his brakes less) and asked them whether I could collect the…ahem…item from the depot, as Darling Sister was on a night flight, and would have brutally beaten me had she been woken up to answer the door (also, it’s her present.  I don’t really want her to see where it’s from).  They agreed that this was absolutely fine, so I prepared to beg my (very understanding and nice) manager to let me take a slightly longer lunch, in order to get to the depot, several million miles away (ok, half an hour away).  Then, I decided to double check that I could collect the item without a card.  Apparently not – even though I’m willing to bet that the driver didn’t even make it to my village, never mind my road, he’d put in the notes that he’d left a card.  I don’t wish to cast aspersions on his character, but he’s a liar.  Anyway, after repeating this argument several times, it became clear that I was getting nowhere, and not only could I not collect the parcel, but after the nice man on the phone had confirmed that there were notes on the system stating that the order should not be sent out for delivery on that day, he reliably informed me that it had been sent anyway.  So I asked whether I could have the parcel delivered to my work address.  No, apparently,  Then I asked that the driver be contacted and told not to deliver the parcel, he ummed, ahhed and muttered, then said that the systems were down, so he’d have to call the driver.  As if this was a ridiculously unreasonable thing for me to ask him to do.  So I asked him again. 

Eventually, before I took my phone, put it on my passenger seat, drove to the depot and battered him with it, I said goodbye and spoke to the company directly.  They were brilliant, helpful and arranged for the parcel to be delivered to work the following day.  It was there when I arrived at work, and the girls were all very excited.  We opened the package up, and Darling Sister is going to hate it.  So now I have to return it.  Unless I can get down to a size 8 in the next 5 weeks.  That’s fairly unlikely, and would probably count as cheating on the shopping ban.  I’m thrilled, as you can imagine, and Ireally, really hope that UKMail have absolutely nothing to do with the returns process.  Oops, I may have just given away the name of the rubbishly rubbish courier.  I feel bad about it.

Chocolate for Breakfast – Right or Wrong? Discuss.

I don’t want to be one of those people who constantly bore on about diet and exercise (you know, the sort of people whose every Facebook or Twitter update is something about how many bites of grape they’ve allowed themselves in the last hour, how many triathlons they’ve managed to complete of an evening or exactly how many tenths of a second they’ve shaved from their 6 mile sprint), but today I’ve decided that I need to give up chocolate again.  My diet had been going really rather well, but this week I have eaten chocolate for breakfast on no less than 3 occasions.  I had thought that this nasty habit was one that I’d broken after giving the bad stuff up for Lent, but apparently I have less willpower than I thought.  So, until my birthday, I will be Cadbury free.  During Lent it was a bit difficult, but at least there was some sort of support network with the other poor souls who had given it up.  This time I think it will just be me.  You can imagine my excitement.

The Boy has been travelling the world this week for work (he has the actual Best Job in the World), so I’ve had lots of time to surf the internet, and online window shop.  It’s become much harder to restrain myself recently, and I’m constantly adding things to my basket, before sitting on my hands to stop myself hitting ‘Checkout’.  I think that it’s becoming harder because when I first started this (ridiculous) challenge, I knew that all of the things I saw in magazines and online would be long gone before I could shop again, and besides, even if I did buy them and secretly hide them in my bedroom (no-one would notice, I still have enough clothes in my room to stock a medium sized retailer for a good couple of months – provided that the clientele is sized 12-14), there was no way that I could pretend that a Fair Isle print jumper was purchased after my birthday, once the challenge was over.  Now though, there are gorgeous playsuits, pretty dresses and beautiful sandals to salivate over, and it’s becoming harder and harder to stop that persistent bugger of a voice that keeps insisting, ‘if you bought it now, no-one would know and you could hide it until 18th June’.  I don’t mind admitting (well, actually, I do mind this – I know that you’re all going to judge), but on Wednesday night, I was actually at the point of inputting my credit card details before I realised what I was doing, and threw the laptop across the room (*Disclaimer – the part about throwing the laptop across the room is blatant overexaggeration*).  The only thing that stopped me was thinking about the look on Jiminy’s face (for those of you that don’t know, one of my Work Chums has taken on the role of my conscience, much like Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, hence the name), and the disappointment of literally everyone else.  She keeps telling me how proud she is of me (when she’s not berating me for the amount of cash that I spend on make up – it’s really not that much.  And she should know, she keeps all of my receipts), which is lovely.  Other people tell me that they’re proud of me too, which is also great, but people like The Boy, Lovely Mum and Lovely Stepdad are always telling me that they’re proud of me.  Even when I don’t do anything – I think it’s partly because they’re nice, and partly because it stops me from whinging about my lack of bestselling novel.  However, it still helps.  So, I’d really, really like it if people could keep telling me how well I’m doing.  It’s always nice to be praised, and it’s you never know – if you don’t, I may begin to descend into addiction madness and buy the entire stock of Boohoo.com.  And it will be all your fault…

Also, I completed 3 triathlons in half an hour at the gym earlier this week, along with one of my Lovely Chums.  I promised her that I’d mention it.  (*Disclaimer – actual, proper lie*)

And you’re sure that Lady Gaga buys her underwear from La Senza?

Sooo, this week one of my oldest chums (I mean this in the sense that I’ve known her for about 20 years, not that she’s old.  Although she is 6 whole weeks older than me) celebrated her 26th birthday.  With a Lady Gaga themed birthday party.  Which meant that her house was liberally decorated with posters, we played Gaga tunes, and such.  Oh, and everyone had to dress up.  My friend, who I will simply refer to as Legs (because her pins go on for, literally, miles) had no problem costume wise.  Nor did her (similarly proportioned) cousins, or our other, teeny-tiny, friends.  As a slightly larger girl (size 12/14, in case you were wondering), I didn’t relish the prospect of working out an outfit (seriously, how many people do you know that look good wrapped in hazard tape?), then it dawned on me that I can’t buy clothes.  And apparently, after a quick poll of the (mean) girls in the office/The Boy/Darling Sister, I discovered that fancy dress outfits come under the heading ‘clothes’.  Quick side note – do wigs count?  They thought yes, but I’m unsure.  For the rest of this experiment, I would like to be able to buy a wig, should I decide that one is necessary – all the other girls had them last night, and I felt that I was letting the side down.  Because I was letting the side down.

Rummaging through my wardrobe, it became clear that I have nothing that resembles a leotard (except for a swimming costume, and…just no.), or one of the crazy get ups that the Gaga has become known for.  So, I borrowed The Boy’s laptop, and googled ‘Lady Gaga outfits’, and there she was, resplendent in a fetching bra and pencil skirt number, with ridiculous shoes and ‘cupid bow’ lipstick (like Geisha girls’ lipstick).  In all the excitement at finding an outfit that I could actually put together from the random bits and pieces lurking in my room, I forgot that I was essentially going out in my bra.  Less Agent Provocateur, more La Senza (or, if I’m honest, Primark).  I asked my Lovely Mum for advice, and her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I showed her the outfit.  I assured her that I was going to be staying in Legs’ house for the whole evening, and that I was going to beg to be allowed to put a top on at the earliest opportunity.  So I moved onto my lipstick, which took 5 attempts and looked ridiculous (plus, I did it before Burlesque, so I creeped out Lola on top of everything else – every time she turned round, she saw my lips.  And they looked ruddy strange). 

So, after my Burlesque lesson (this week we experimented with hats – amazing), I popped over to Legs’ house, and ran to the bathroom to get changed.  On the way, I just had time to glance at the other Gaga outfits, and to feel completely inadequate.  And fat.  Anyhoo, I was getting changed, and overheard 2 Gagas talking about going into town.  I’m sorry, TOWN?!  Dressed like this?!  I contemplated staying in the bathroom until everyone had left and I could sneak back to the car under the cover of darkness, but I could hear a queue forming, with comments such as ‘I have to get in there soon, as it’s going to take at least half an hour for me to find my pants.’  (*Disclaimer – I don’t think that this phrase was actually uttered, I’m paraphrasing/making things up.)

I walked out of the bathroom to a massive cheer.  Which was nice.  And possibly due to people’s bursting bladders, as much as them being pleased to see me.  Lots of photo taking ensued, with me trying to hide in the background and give Poker Face Gaga more photo opportunities, but I kept getting dragged to the front, which I’m not sure the millions of Facebook users will thank my friends for (especially when you see Poker Face Gaga.  She looked HOT).

There are also many photos of me teaching Legs some Burlesque moves.  And of her teaching me some MC Hammer moves.  It was a truly special moment, which I am THRILLED has been caught on camera for all eternity.  Honestly, thrilled.

Eventually we made it out of the house, with much giggling and such.  Once we got to town, I got out of the car and put my sunglasses on, to give my outfit more of a Gagaesque feel (I was really feeling the lack of wig), and promptly fell over.  Some would say that I should have seen that coming, what with it being 11 at night and already pitch black…I’d also managed to sneak a vest top on over my bra at this point (did I mention that I was completely, 100% sober?  Because of my diet, I can’t drink.  The idea of going into town in just my bra would probably have seemed more appealing had I swallowed half a litre of vodka, but as it was, I had visions of the bouncers taking one look at me, crying at me to go home and then running for the hills, being found months later, rocking, gibbering wrecks.  So I took advantage of the darkness/everyone else’s tipsiness, told them that I was going to move some stuff from my car’s backseat to the boot, and rummaged around for any sort of top.  Sometimes it pays to have an extended wardrobe in the car.  Not all the time, but sometimes.), and strutted to the bar with the other girls.  We were there for approximately 4 seconds before I heard the first bitchy comment about our group.  I don’t want to say that the girl was jealous, but with the exception of my good self, the girls looked stunning, and I would like to look like them all when I grow up (or, more accurately, shrink down), and, you know, she had a funny face.  (Actually, she didn’t, but she started it.)

It was a brilliant night, marred only by the fact that I lost feeling in my feet about 16 minutes into our trip to town.  And the other girls all smoked, so I spent a lot of time with Darling Sister (who was out with one of her chums), who were not dressed up.  So I looked like a fool.

In conclusion, fancy dress parties should never be attended unless you can purchase your outfit in advance.  And Lady Gaga fancy dress parties should never be attended unless you’re a size 8/10.  At least the Birthday Girl had a good night, and the photos aren’t up on the internet…oh.  Bother.  Well, at least the Birthday Girl had a good night.

7 Weeks to Go, and All’s Well…

This week, I’ve had the week off work (it’s not a secret, they know about it and everything).  Usually I would have spent at least 1 of the days purchasing many pretty things from various establishments that sell women’s clothing, but as that’s still technically off limits, I had to find somehing else to do (I say technically off limits due to the situation outlined below).  After reading a ridiculous amount of books, attempting (and failing) to clean out my car boot (ok, I’ll be honest, I didn’t try THAT hard), and trying to make my peace with Jeremy Kyle (who still hasn’t forgiven me for saying, back in January, that I don’t love him as much as I used to – he can hold such a grudge), I decided to drive into town – officially it was to buy a present for my friend’s little girl (who is 3 weeks old and so cute and tiny that I tried to put her in my handbag when I saw her on Thursday.  I don’t think that I’ll be invited back.  On another note, their house, with a newborn, is still tidier than my bedroom, even though I’ve just tidied.  Twice.  Hmm.), unofficially it was to have a look in Primark to see if the yellow dress that I’ve seen in no less than 4 magazines is in-store yet (I can’t help it, even though I can’t buy clothes, I still like to look at them.  And stroke them.  That’s normal, yes?) but it was not to be.  The dress was not there.  I’m simultaneously pleased and disappointed.  Instead, I bought the cutest polka dot dress for my friend’s Little One (which I wish that they did in adult sizes).  This is where the technicality comes in – buying something from a clothes shop doesn’t count if it’s for someone else does it?  Especially if it’s for a child?  (Yes, I’m using a child to justify myself.  I’m ashamed.)

On the way to and from town, I couldn’t help but notice that other people’s driving is pretty rubbish.  I’ve recently taken to having conversations with other drivers (in my head – if I do it out loud, people start muttering nasty accusations about ‘road rage’, all of which are totally unjustified).  I say conversations, what I actually mean is that I put some words into the mouths of other drivers;

‘Indi-cay-tors, you say?  Nope, never heard of them.  Are you sure that my car has them?  What, ALL modern cars come with them?  No, I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t sound right – I’ve never used an indi-cay-tor in my life!’

Well, yes, I’d gathered that.

‘When a car’s turning left at a roundabout, 3 junctions before the one that I’m coming out of, it means that I can go?  Are you sure?  I mean, I know that it’s  going to be nowhere near my car, but I think that I’ll wait here for the next 12 minutes, just to make sure that nothing’s coming.’

Brilliant, it’s not as if I’m running late or have anywhere to be or anything.

‘You have brakes. It doesn’t matter if I pull out in front of you and then proceed to drive at 20 miles an hour under the speed limit along the road.  It’s fine.’

Yes, you’re right – it’s totally acceptable.  As will the sharp poke with a stick that I will give you if I ever bump into you again.

Apart from these imaginary conversations, this week hasn’t been too eventful.  Which has been brilliant.  Shopping ban wise, I’ve been pretty good, and not had one urge to ask my sister to swap £20.00 for a Primark dress, possibly because she bought me a dress instead of an Easter egg.  As did my parents – they’re the best.  Or it might be that I’ve received some more things from BigWardrobe, (including a lovely black Warehouse dress), or it’s (more likely) because I can eat chocolate again.  And biscuits.  And sweets.  And I can most certainly eat chocolate biscuits.  I’ve ruined the hard work of the last 4 weeks in the last 4 days, but it was so good that I don’t even care…

And, not that I’m counting, but 7 weeks to go…I may have to get a calendar, so that I can cross of the days (yep, I’m just that cool)…