…And I’m back (again).

This post is dedicated to a lovely old friend who took me to my first dance lesson (and my first pub, but I digress), and wrote me a lovely message on Facebook (other social networks are available) to tell me that she likes my blog, and that I should start writing it again.

So, I haven’t written a post in a while, and I’ve fallen off the ‘not shopping’ wagon quite spectacularly. I feel that these separate lifestyle choices may be linked, so thought I’d better start writing again (I also fear that The Boy will leave me if I don’t stop shopping. He’s very patient, but doesn’t particularly want to live in a house made of shoe boxes – no, I don’t understand it either).

In the background while writing, I have a BBC4 show on (because I’m cultured and that) and just heard a dinosaur described as ‘not shaped like a people carrier’. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really thought about dinosaurs in terms of the car shapes they resemble (or not, as the case may be). For example, I’ve never looked at a Triceratops and thought ‘Well, it’s no convertible…’

But I digress.

Although I’ve bought some clothes (and shoes) that I shouldn’t have, I have discovered some fantastic websites in the last couple of months. One is funkydivaa, who have really cute clothes (especially the printed maxi dresses and playsuits – I love them so much that I want them all!) and amazing customer service. Customer service is a big thing for me, and I’ve stopped shopping at some well-known shops/websites on the strength (or, to be more accurate, the weakness) of their customer service, so it’s great to find a site where I actually want to be friends with their agents, they’re that nice! I ordered a gorgeous daisy print maxi dress, which is just lovely. It’s really flattering and fits really well. The only thing I would say is don’t wear it when it’s raining – I wore it yesterday and managed to suck up most of the puddles on the pavement – not a good look! (Disclaimer – not paid to promote this site in any way, I just think they’re fab.)

Another is Chockers Shoes – I’ve ordered the shoes that I’m wearing to my cousin’s wedding from here, and they’re so pretty that I want to cry a bit (I have an intense emotional attachment to my clothes). They are so high that I’m nearly the same height as Darling Sister in them (and she’s 7 inches taller than me). They got delivered to work, and we had an enjoyable afternoon where I wore them and tried to break them in – it was a bit like that scene in Bambi, where I tripped around the office and stepped very, very gingerly around my desk. Totally worth it.

In other news, I auditioned for a well-known game show recently (I didn’t get through. I’m not bitter.) and we had to speak for a minute about something we were passionate about. Other people knew about this in advance, and had prepared something. I didn’t, so I spoke about my love of clothes, writing, this blog, and the perils of saving for a house deposit. If I could do it again, I’d definitely share my love of Philip Glenister (he was appearing at a fan thing on the same Sunday as I auditioned, and I now wish I’d gone to that instead. Which either makes me a) worryingly obsessed, b) a bit of a geek or c) actually a bit bitter) – The Boy and I had a conversation about how I’m one step away from thinking Phil is sending me messages through the TV – or maybe Doctor Who. Not because I think it would get me further in the audition process, but just because I think it’s time more people knew that I have an inappropriate crush on Gene Hunt (for those of you that haven’t watched Life on Mars, or Ashes to Ashes, please do it. You need it in your life.) and that I am properly emotionally attached to a proper sci-fi show. I cry watching it and everything (usually only at the sad bits), and I still miss (and complain about missing) some of the characters that have left the show, like they’re actual people.

So, the shopping ban is almost back – I’ve decided to give myself until my birthday (17 June) and that’s it. As I clearly can’t be trusted to buy one emergency item a month, I will go back to buying nothing at all. It’s the only way. (I’m using the same argument with The Boy as to why I should go on The Cambridge Diet – I just can’t be trusted with food…I eat a carrot, then a yoghurt, and it segues seamlessly into family-size bars of Galaxy caramel. I can’t explain it.)

Next week – the week my lovely friends got married, and I went blonde.

You can follow me on Twitter (for musings and random updates) at FashionFarewell – see you there!

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.

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.