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My Wardrobe Has S.A.D

16 Aug

In the spirit of starting in a new office and the idea that you have the chance to reinvent yourself, I have been addressing the current state of my wardrobe, and I assure you that it’s not a pretty sight. If you can imagine a bomb going off in TK Maxx or Primark, then you are probably 90% of the way towards understanding the turmoil of the cupboard. The mantra is, if you can throw it in and shut the door in time to stop everything falling out, then you are cooking on gas.

Not my actual wardrobe.. but if I ever own a dressing gown like that, please somebody shoot me. Immediately.

The first step of this process was to actually sort out what I have in there in the first place. My bedroom is on the ground floor and has limited space, but I have a bathroom a floor up with ceiling to floor wardrobes, stuffed full of clothes. The problem is that I am too lazy in the morning, so have a back up chest of drawers that contain 10% of my wardrobe (call it ‘capsule’ if you will, I think that’s a word that fashonistas and organised people use) and tend to wear the same things every week, leaving me without a clue as to what is lurking behind the mysterious wardrobe doors.

I started a banshee like clear out, throwing everything into the room, and hanging and tidying for what felt like days, until it resembled a well organised shop offering a vast selection of wares in length order, with shoes nestled under the shortest stuff.

This threw up a new problem. It turns out that my sister is right, and all I wear is black, navy, coral, or a combination with some polka dots thrown in for good measure. Christ. My wardrobe has seasonal affective disorder. And fashion (and shopping) are not my forte’s.


So I went shopping with a more fashion forward friend, and tried on a gorgeous dress, which I bought. The problem is, that it came with a net skirt, and while deliberating it in the changing room I nearly caused a woman to suffer death by choking when I innocently asked my friend “but does it make me look like I’m harbouring a secret pregnancy scandal?” It apparently didn’t, so I bought it. Now it’s looking very pretty in my cupboard, but when I put it on I talk myself out of wearing it on the basis that I look like a little girl heading off to a birthday party in her finest party dress. Not a good look for a girl whose ‘glam’ look is wearing a pair of (tiny) heels with her jeans and throwing on a blazer for good measure.

And dresses come with so many conundrums, as I found today when shopping with a friend for the summer party we are going to tonight. After she bought a new dress, we headed straight to Marks and Spencer’s for girdle style hold-it-all-in pants, which would go as high as our neck and as far down as our knees, to prevent us from looking like a condoms stuffed with walnuts. It was an interesting experience. I picked up a dress style weapon of torture, dreaming that it would make me look like Gisele on a thin day, and went to try it on.

The reality of it was that I spent 20 minutes in the changing room in diving position with it round my shoulders, wondering how the hell I was going to get it off. I had visions of falling out of the changing room door in nothing but my knickers and a rubber ring of girdle stuck round my neck, for all to see and if I’m honest, the panic set in and I began to believe that I was going to be hampered with this unusual body addition for the rest of my life.

During this low point, I sympathised with the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and had to talk myself off the ledge of thinking I was going to be ostracised by society. I did eventually get it off (after sweating about a stone of weight off) and managed to give myself a nosebleed in the process.

If that’s fashion, then I will put my pyjamas on and politely decline!

Beep Beep…. aaaaaah Toot Toot!

22 Sep

I’m not the best driver in the world. Even if you don’t know me then by now you must be getting that impression. I become very affronted when confronted with this information, but I have a habit of taking bits off my car by colliding with inanimate objects. I failed my driving test twice, the first time so spectacularly that when I got into the car for the third test and saw the same examiner as the first, I nearly died. I passed (go me!)  For example, my Friday was going relatively well until my boss left for the day and came back two minutes later. “Laura, could you remove your car….. from my car?!” it turns out that the dodgy hand brake that Betty was suffering from pre MOT is not fixed, and she has rolled backwards down the steep hill that the office is nestled on, and embedded herself on a Porsche. My bosses Porsche. I understand, it’s like men isn’t it? We gravitate to the most dapper looking one, maybe my car is the same. But it left me with a red face, yet thankfully, no damage bar a little scuffing to the number plate. All that could go through my mind was the amount that my Uncle had to pay to get a crack in the bumper of his Aston Martin fixed. $5000. I envisaged having to live off corn flakes for the rest of the year at least.

But I try my hardest and am relatively good with other people on the road. It’s just fences and kerbs that better watch out for me. But I get the rage when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere and I’m on the dual carriageway and there is someone in the outside lane when there is no one in the inside lane. They are almost never doing the speed limit, are nearly always male and more often than not driving some sort of Chelsea tractor (to my non brits, that’s like a jeep or range rover). This morning it was a man (check!!) driving a BMW X5 (check) in the outside lane with nothing for miles in the inside lane, doing fifty. In a seventy speed limit when I’m cutting it super fine for work and having to do my makeup at the lights, this is not ideal. I am far too much of a good girl to undertake because knowing my luck a police car would come whizzing out of a bush, or the annoying man in the BMW would actually be a policeman, so I sit there patiently, waiting. I don’t even flash (see previous policeman comment) so I just get more and more annoyed until I want to pop. It does no good, apart from increasing the potential of me popping a blood vessel in my otherwise sparkling peepers.

This teamed with my lack of happiness in the morning doesn’t make for a happy little princess. I sit at my desk for an hour mainlining tea and making sure I triple check emails before sending to make sure I haven’t put kisses at the end (I really have to watch myself with this. I’m a natural xxx at the end of a text message person, and I have to ensure that I am remaining professional when sending passive aggressive emails out. ‘Please ensure this is paid today. Xxx’ doesn’t have the same authoritative tone).

Thank goodness it is nearly the weekend and I am getting cheery texts about digging ditches to cheer me up, plus I have Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine (who else, I mean really?!) on repeat.

What kind of driver are you?

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I Be Cursed

22 Aug

I am cursed. Let you all be warned before you start to read this tale of woe, I have bad luck and will claim no responsibility should some of it rub off on you.

My particular strain of curse is to do with the automobile. The car, a piece of machinery that aids our lives and makes things a whole lot easier, the common car.

Don’t let me near yours. Lets just say as a magnet attracts iron filings with alarming force, I attract car issues. Anything from your minor scrapes to total wipe-outs, and I can’t seem to help it. I don’t think I am a particularly bad driver (although one frequent passenger always comments about putting his seatbelt on so he doesn’t die at the start of each journey) but I have a high incident rate.

When I failed my first driving test, I did so with three majors, one being the fact that I had got to a roundabout and looked left, and then pulled out in front of a car. Yes, nerves had got the better of me and I had looked the wrong way. Ooops.

And it hasn’t really got any better from there. My first car was wrecked in an accident where I rear ended another driver at a roundabout (roundabouts have never brought me much luck) and it had to be retired, and then I got Betty.

Betty was fairly new, and I was scared to drive something so shiny. On my first trip in her, a massive stone flew out from the car in front and cracked the windscreen. As if this wasn’t bad enough, it’s in a place where it cannot be fixed. Marvellous! Then my sister reversed her into a skip, but not before she had to have considerable work done when the engine broke in her first year of life. Luckily she was still under warranty but I haven’t always been so lucky. Last week I accidentally rammed a fence and lost half the bumper, and the week before a girl scratched all down the side with her Barbie pink car, and didn’t even stop to say sorry. Oh good!

But the worst has to be when I lived in the cottage and was in a bit of a hurry one morning. We had a lovely little front lawn that rose to the side of the drive, all lawned and trimmed, which I regularly dented on my hasty trip to work. I whizzed out one morning and bumped up said lawn like I had done a million times, but didn’t realise that on this occasion I was slightly more on the hump than normal. I hedged my bets; on the one hand I could go forward and try again, but on the other I could commit and just bump off the other side.

I committed.

The long and the short of it is that the event ended with two nice men having to lift my car off the hill that the bumper had got wedged in, while I looked embarrassed as I blocked the road from both sides, causing a tailback of traffic.

So Betty is in the garage tomorrow for her annual MOT and I am hoping that for once in her short life she doesn’t cost me a small fortune. Otherwise my love, you will be getting put down. You have brought me nothing but trouble!!

Oh To Be A Cyclist!

21 Aug

I was a late learner when it came to riding a bike, always having been content just mooching around and being the only girl in a group of boys. They played football; I made daisy chains by myself. They played water games, I was permitted to play but they knew not to get me wet or I would cry. I was allowed to take part in the reconstruction of Jurassic Park, but not allowed to shed a tear if I got eaten early on the game, for fear of never being allowed to play again. We had our chalked out battle lines, and we knew nothing different.
But when I turned seven, a girl called Katy moved into the street with her little brother. We were alerted to the fact that there was a new child in the street when a little boy appeared in the cul de sac and went round and round on his little tricycle, so I went to investigate. It was her little brother. There was a girl!
She was the negative version of me, a little blond girl who liked to play with other girls and got offended by the taunts of the boys in the street; she was nothing like me but I was over the moon to have a girl to play with who was my age, and not my little sister.
And she could ride a bike. I had never learnt to ride, as I never needed to, content with being pulled along on a skateboard, or walking. But suddenly I wanted to; to fit in with her and the friends she had to play. I did have a bike, inherited from one of the boys who had outgrown it, and it now sat rusting in our garage; neglected in its potential to make a child happy.
To give you some background, our estate was built on a massive hill. Our garages sat at the top, my house half way down with very steep steps to the front door, and across the road a steep hill down to her house. My sister had suffered various accidents at the peril of the hill, but it had never really bothered me as I was fairly sensible and trouble free.
That was, until Katy decided to take it upon herself to teach me to ride a bike. We didn’t start gradually; I was introduced to riding in a baptism of fire, put on the bike at the top of our road and directed down to her garage. Of course I lost control, ending up a tangled heap of skin and metal, bones and bicycle spokes and garage door, and a face full of driveway. Scarred and bruised I cried my way home where my mother patched me up and advised wisely to begin to learn to ride on a flat patch of land. “Wait till Dad gets home” she said “he’ll show you.”
A few days later, I summoned the courage to try again and learned to ride slowly and surely, like a baby learning to walk. Soon I was confident and proud, and decided (somewhat unwisely) to have a go on a hill again. Up and down I went, Whizzing and whirring with gears changing and the wind in my hair until the last fateful; attempt when I came shooting down the hill and forgot to steer quickly at the end. My front tyre made contact with the kerb on the other side of the road, I went shooting off my bike and the handle bar somehow made contact with my face. The boys rushed to my aid, picked me up and took me into my god mother’s house where I was patched up, although the glorious black eye turned through the colours of the rainbow over the next few days, giving me a war wound to rival any boxer.
And for this reason and this reason only, I do not use Boris bikes in the capital, nor will I be entering the Tour de France this year.

Sibling Rivallry

9 Aug

Me and my sister are like chalk and cheese. I was the little girl who wouldn’t stray far from the skirts of her mother; seeking approval at anything unknown. I was sensible and ponderous, and knew the consequences of my actions, weighing up the possibilities with studious intent before deciding on breaking the rules or not. Don’t get me wrong, there were times I would just do it anyway, but I knew there would be trouble. Take for instance the time when we were doing a ‘bring and buy’ for the Brownies. My friend convinced me on a Sunday that we should go and knock on doors, collecting presents to sell to raise money for the African kids. I knew there would be trouble.

My mother was one of those women who absolutely wouldn’t let you knock on people’s doors on a Sunday, as it was the Lord’s Day and people wouldn’t want to be disturbed from their families. My family are not remotely religious, only going to church as a child on brownie occasions and christenings, but my mum was eternally mindful of everyone else, and therefore it was not done. We were not allowed to knock for friends in the street, so we used to ride around the cul de sac on our bikes, or watch out for our friends to do the same. This was before the widespread use of mobiles!

Anyway, I knew there would be repercussions, but I did it anyway. The upshot was that I was grounded for two weeks, and had to miss out on the ‘bring and buy’ sale that I had been so desperate to help out with. Life’s a b*@tch!

My sister on the other hand was flighty and accident prone, and this led to a multitude of A&E visits through our childhood (the first time I went to A&E myself was at 17 with diabetes; before that I was the picture of health).

The first occasion I remember was my sister running down a hill (with my mother as the soundtrack “don’t run down the hill Danielle!!! You’ll fall!!) I secretly was willing her to fall; the only way I would be able to push the pram of the six month old baby that my mother looked after was if something happened to my sister. Low and behold, she fell, skated down the concrete on her forehead and scraped all the skin off. She still has a dent where she hit a stone and I smugly pushed the baby home while my mum ran off to patch my sister’s face back together. Triumph!

In fact I was rarely concerned about my accident prone sister, more annoyed that she had ruined my day. The day I took her out tree climbing and she fell into nettles: day ruined. Had to drag her home crying to mum, only to get told off. The day she fell in the rose bush at a friend’s house: not so bad, mum took her home, I got to stay. The day she fell backwards off a swing because she wanted to wave at her big sister: day at the park ruined, spent evening with old lady across the road as mum took her to A&E.

It came to a head when she fell off the worktop trying to reach the biscuit tin when mum wasn’t in and cracked her head on the slate floor. I was so mad at her, but had it in my head that she wasn’t to go to sleep. I was sixteen and angry, so spend an hour yelling “if you go to sleep I will BLOODY KILL YOU!!” until my mum got home and rushed her to A&E. She had concussion; apparently my gentle bedside manner had saved her life.

Isn’t it funny how you actually despite your siblings at times? Now I would throw myself under a bus if it prevented her from getting a paper cut, but then she was literally the bane of my life.

Groomed Goddess

12 Jul

Mine is not.

In  fact there is no sort of grooming that I would say was my forte. You might think “oh no, you used to work for a beauty house!” but I can whole heartedly say this doesn’t give me free rein to be any good at grooming.

Here’s the evidence:

#1: I get really stressed, especially at work, especially when using Excel. It causes me to aimlessly twiddle my eyebrows. Please don’t ask why, I have absolutely no idea I am doing it until I have eyebrow hairs in my hand. I guess it’s a little like a psychopathic killer who thought they were just sitting at home reading the paper, and then looked down and they had a knife in their hand and blood all over their white shirt (always white, isn’t it). so my dear sister often greets me with “OH GOD! What happened to your eyebrows?!” it doesn’t help that I have one of those magnifying mirrors that shows you all the tiny, invisible-to-the-untrained-eye hairs, and then suddenly you go into the bathroom to normal light and realise you went a little over the top and have to now draw them back on with a biro until they grow back.

#2: Last boyfriend asked me to cut his hair. I was unsure, regaling him of the story when first boyfriend asked me to do the same thing, and I trimmed it ‘A little wrong’. When I say a little wrong he was pretty precious about his hair so probably shouldn’t have asked an eighteen year old with no hair cutting experience other than My Little Ponies as a child and her sister (sorry sis!!) to have a go. But he did, and therefore the whinging was stricken from the record, as it was His. Own. Fault. So still, last boyfriend insisted that you couldn’t possibly go wrong with some trimmers/shavers/razor/whatever the devil they call a man head lawnmower. And in fairness I did a good job, until I changed the setting to do the bit on the neck where you have to ‘blend it in’. You have to change it to a shorter cut, and I got a little enthusiastic and whipped it right up the middle of his head, not remembering. Woops. I think I would describe the general mood as ‘not impressed’ as he then had to give himself a grade one to blend it all together and not look like a twat, therefore resulting in looking a little like a member of the White Supremacy.

#3: Once, when I was feeling particularly skint and empowered, I decided that I could cease to pay the beautician for waxing, and do it myself. Why not?! I thought. it’s just warm wax, strips of fabric and baby soft skin. What could possibly go wrong? What went wrong was me sticking the strip to my leg and not having the balls to pull it off again. I had a little go, and then decided that actually I had made a pretty bad life decision, and I wasn’t going to yank it off. So it stayed stuck on my leg for a few hours until I got the courage to regale my housemate with the story, who told me to stop being such a massive pansy and yanked it off for me.

So am I the sort of girl that wakes up in the morning looking coiffed and ready for the day ahead? Am I hell, I’m the one with the fro and the bleary eyes!

When Bad Hair Happens To Good People

27 Jun

The sun returned this weekend. I don’t know where it has been, but like an old friend, we forgot that it has been monsoon season here, donned shorts and sunnies and headed for the great outdoors like true British tourists.

Little Bean and I did the same. We went to the pub, choosing to sit in the garden and eat our lunch. And in true English fashion, we got too hot. But we totally styled it out, and sweltered in the thirty degree heat of the day, splashing ourselves in sun cream and soaking up the rays.

I get super paranoid when it is sunny, from working for a beauty house for years. I saw such a plethora of ladies with youthful faces whose age was given away by their hands and necks, and it panics me. So I apply total sun block to these areas in the hope that when I am ninety and my face looks seventy (I still get ID’d for alcohol. I have been legal for seven years) that my wrinkly, sun damaged hands and neck won’t give me away!

Anyway, so we hung in a pretty little beer garden for the majority of the afternoon, and ate lunch. It was pretty hard to pick off the menu, due to the extreme heat negating a need for salads and light bites, rather than sausage and mash and the normal hearty pub food that you want on a Sunday with an ever so slight hangover. I had haddock fish cakes (mmmm!) and my sister opted for a sandwich and coleslaw.

Then we went home and lay in the garden for a while, soaking up the sun and lapping up the humid temperatures (“you can’t go topless, the neighbours might see!!!” “I’m sure they have seen a boob before”) All was well and good, until we were so sweaty and hot that we decided to do something different, plus my delicate skin burns at the sight of sun, so I have to minimise exposure to not cause physical damage and pain when trying to get dressed for work the next day!

So Little Bean decided she wanted me to dye her hair. She has naturally brown hair, but over the years she has been various colours, and she had it set in her mind that she wanted to go white blonde. Like, punk rocker, super cool, white blonde. She had bought a bleaching kit, and I looked at it, and looked at her, asking the question “really? Are you sure you want to do this? Really?”
She did. And stubbornness runs in the family, so she wasn’t going to change her mind. I duly agreed, and followed the instructions to a T. I combed it through, massaged it in, waited, rubbed it in at the roots, left it the allotted time, etc etc. And she still went the colour of an orange highlighter.

I’m not going to put the picture on here, because that would be far too mean for an older sister, but it was interesting. Yet she laughed (which was good, I’m not great with criers) and then instructed that I go ahead and do the next stage. After a further hour of bleaching, her skin burned, and although her hair was lighter, it was still yellow. It sort of clashed with her skin colour too.

Eeek. I think today she is going to try and get an appointment with the hairdressers. I think we can all learn from this.

If you are planning on making a dramatic colour change, ask an actual hairdresser. Doing it yourself might be cheaper, but it’s never better.

ET’s Fingers

24 Jun

Until recently I have stuck by my decision to ditch shoes around April and opt for flip flops till March when my toes go blue and fall off. It is met with derision from the masses, but I think that should it rain, I can wipe my feet off and not have to sit with wet socks and shoes. Plus I’m a bit of a hippie kid. I don’t like shoes, and I’m not a fan of heels either.

But I’m admitting defeat. I regularly stub my toes, drop things on my feet and generally mangle them, but yesterday was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
I went to the party shop to get some fancy dress attire for the weekend (you’ll have to wait and see about that. I don’t think I’ll be giving it away but if the wrong person stumbles here I might ruin the whole surprise so ill save it till Monday!) And got completely soaked. I had forgotten it was monsoon season in June and therefore not made alternative arrangements, so had to do the mad car dash. You know the one I mean, park the car on the high street, run with flailing arms and legs to the meter to pay for my half an hour, run back to car etc. I did have a really short conversation with a man who was holding up the queue when he informed me the machine wasn’t working. “Do you think it might be because its eighty pence and you are only putting in seventy pence?” I muttered as the rain got harder, something I didn’t think was possible! Yep, that’s the issue. Pay the right money dude, I have fancy dress to purchase.
Clothes bought, I hot footed it out of the party shop and fell over. Not a dramatic fall, something fairly small, but as my flips have no grip, I landed in a massive puddle. Wow, I’ve not been living up to my accident prone nature recently, so I guess I had to even the balance. And. It. hurt. Then about twenty yards down the road, I did it again.
Getting back in the car I huffed about the dampness of my jeans, and realised my toe was actually really painful.

Twenty four hours later the whole thing has gone black and blue and looks a bit like ET’s finger. It’s most definitely broken. I can’t put any weight on it, so accelerating is proving difficult when driving. Ouch. Normal shoes are back out tomorrow. Sad times.
Its Friiiiiiday!!
What has everyone got planned for this weekend?