My new year’s resolution this year was to buy no new clothes for the entirety of 2015, so I thought I would let you know how it’s going; pretty well! The other day I did have to go shopping with my soon-to-be Mother-in-Law (for her wedding outfit!) and it was a little bit like taking a sugar-addicted Diabetic to a Ye Olde Sweet Shop UNTIL I found a top and dress in the French Connection section of John Lewis which was made from exactly the same material that I bought for £3 a metre in Vietnam and have also made a top and a dress from. There are only three differences; that my material is purple not white (although the pattern is EXACTLY the same); some lining choices and that in its complete entirety my dress AND top cost me around £20 to make (including material, pattern, zips and lining, etc) and the French Connection Dress is £125 and the top costs £85. This is EXACTLY why I decided to do No New (well one of main the reasons anyway). I have been walking round with an entirely self-righteous air ever since.
An image of the material the French Connection top and dress is made from:
If you wish to see the remarkable similarities between the four garments I would suggest you type ‘French Connection Nebraska’ into the search section of the John Lewis website.
I know that I was lucky enough to stumble across (quite literally, the market was very small and the stall owners insisted on napping on the floor) this fabric in a far off land but doesn’t it just go to show what we’re actually paying for when we buy expensive dresses from highstreet designers?
I will be posting up more pictures of my No New year shortly but for the meantime I’d just like to say SUCK ON THAT MODERN CONSUMERISM.
…I hate that Chris goes away all the time, it sucks balls and not in a good way (you know what I mean). When he’s not here I get all morose and mopey, washing my hair seems like a waste of good water and eating becomes more of an optional day time activity than a necessary bodily function (I know you might be wondering why this post is called Let’s Focus on the Positives – stick with me). Chris got back from Indonesia on Thursday and I was in a pretty bad way. It’s taken me the weekend but I have managed to get my mood a little more regulated, things look better today than they have done for a good couple of weeks. But the thing is, this is Christopher’s job (and quite frankly while I’m ramping up the old freelance career it’s COMPLETELY necessary), he’s been doing it for a year and a half now and it’s about bloody time I got sodding used to it. I’m not saying that I want to be happy about Chris going away – that would be weird and quite frankly a warning sign on the whole spending the rest of our lives together thing, but in order to level out my despair at his absence I think I need to come up with a list of positives to focus on the next time he goes away.
So let’s start; Five Good Things About Being Without Your Significant Other:
Underwear Times: I’m not talking about using Chris’ absence as a reason for wearing all the comfy but shit underwear I own (you know, the ones with the weird pattern that hold the memories of when you first felt all independent and free buying yourself pants as a teenager, but which have since gone a sinister grey colour and are weirdly faded in the gusset) – we’re getting married, I stopped buying lace underwear a good two years ago, if you keep that sort of crap up they’re just going to expect it forever. I’m talking about wandering around the house in it. You might think, don’t I do that anyway (?) but really unless it’s pre or post coital I tend to be fully (or mostly) clothed at all times, especially during the winter. Wondering around in a t-shirt and my pants would feel weird if Chris was around and fully clothed too, actually if he was also wearing a t-shirt and his pants it would be even more weird. But wandering around the house in that state of semi-dress when there is no-one in it but you is perfectly acceptable and more than a little bit fun.
No Food Consultations: There’s not the whole “what do you feel like for dinner tonight?” “I feel like curry.” “Curry? Urgh, what about cheesy pasta?” “We always have cheesy pasta.” “That’s because it’s very very tasty.” “I still feel like curry though.” There’s just “CHEESY PASTA YEEEEAAAAHHH.”
Work Absorption: Generally I work all day and then when Chris get’s home I spend the evening with him but when that doesn’t happen I have my evenings open to write and email and all sorts, which can lead to more productivity…but sometimes just a lot of time spent watching cat videos.
Cat Favouritism: Not that I necessarily want to be the cats’ favourite owner but I LOVE that I am (love’s not a competition…but I’m winning). Little Gusgus just follows me around like a feisty little imaginary friend, and these days I can just walk up to my little scaredy cat Nunney and give her a stroke, which has taken MONTHS to achieve. Cat’s are fickle and I know that if Chris was the one feeding them and cuddling them at night they’d like him more, but he’s not, so there.
Keeping the Magic Alive: Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer it if Chris were here all the time, getting under my feet, telling bad jokes, generally annoying and irritating me, but in the spirit of looking on the bright side I do have to admit that there is excitement to be found in his frequent absence; I get all funny in my tummy when I’m on my way to pick him up from the train station or when I get the text to say he’s landed and he’s on his way home. In fact I get butterflies every time I receive a text from him. I plan lovely things we’re going to do when he’s back, sometimes I do buy a pair of pants with a bit of lace on (as long as they’re in the M&S 3 for 2 section). I have plenty of opportunities to miss him and this means a constant reminder of just how important he is to me, how much we love each other and how lucky we are that this is the case. Abracafrikindabra.
If there’s one thing I know about my brain it’s that it is inclined towards the melancholy, so hopefully this will be part of the training to get my mood at a more consistent level of contentment. I’m not asking to bounce out of bed every morning rejoicing in the rising of the sun (although that would be nice), I just really want my first thought to be “Oh! Another day!” not “Oh. Another day.” – if you know what I mean. Onwards and upwards people, onwards and upwards!
Oh my God I forgot one! What I fool.
6. Sometimes I get to go too! Now THAT’S a pretty good deal.
See, once you look for one positive, you’ll find many more!
How to dress for an Eclipse – there is an outfit for every occasion.
This morning I woke up and two amazing things happened; no. 1: Chris was in my bed! Or as he likes to call it “our” bed, but as he’s away 15 weeks of the year I’m claiming ownership. His last stint in foreign lands was pretty hard for me so it was a nice little celebration to wake up next to his sleepy face. No. 2: THERE WAS AN ECLIPSE! There won’t be another one of these until 2026 and there may not even be a world by then (can anyone say “Nuclear War”?) so I was up drinking tea and staring at the sky from about 7.30am, which resulted in one of my favourite #FashionFridays ever…
Yes that is my favourite nightie and yes I do dress like Miss Marple in my sleep as well as in my wake but this nightie also doubles as Elizabeth Bennet and sometimes Deadly Ghost of an Ex Lover in the 1900s.
I did try looking at the sun through sun glasses but that just resulted in a lot of multi-coloured flashing so I ventured into the attic to fetch my trusty ski goggles, these bad boys have seen me through (pun) two seasons as a ski instructor so I thought it only right that they get to experience a solar eclipse as well.
All in all I think it was a pretty good beginning to a Friday and after watching one of the wonders of our mental universe my #FashionFridays got a little more stylish…
…or not, depends on which side of the old lady nightie debate you fall.
A week or so ago I decided that I would create one thing every day, in the hopes of pulling myself out of depression, living a more creative as well as active existence and getting the creative juices flowing on the whole business building, making money thing. So far it’s going quite well, I’ve been busy knitting and sewing, emailing and networking and I have to say that I am indeed feeling hopeful on all counts and it all started with a pom pom…
And since then things have been progressing nicely…
The days can still be dark but spending some hours writing, knitting, sewing, making and creating provide vital and much treasured moments of light. I think the important thing is not to push it, to do one or two really good things a day, rather than three of four not so good ones. I would encourage anyone struggling to see the light to do the same.
By the by, if you click on the above image it’ll take you to my Etsy shop – just so you know…
…Plan a wedding when you couldn’t give a shit about weddings.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for two people celebrating their love in the traditional way of getting married and most weddings I’ve been to I’ve balled my eyes out and had a great time with everyone else but in today’s “Which Disney Princess Are You?” society, I feel that weddings have kind of lost all sincerity about them. People seem to get married because they want a wedding not because they want a marriage, which is why the wedding industry has become worth a huge £10 billion in the UK alone and why the average wedding costs around £21k, because who cares about a deposit for a house, I want to wear a Cinderella dress!?
I’m digressing…and also getting married. It’s nearly two months away now and I really haven’t had that much to do with the planning, so far I’ve felt like my wedding is happening to me instead of me feeling like I’m actively participating in it, but that is nobodies fault but my own. I’ve wanted to marry Chris since our fourth date and I always just thought we’d decide the time was right, call up our immediate loved ones and say something like “are you free next Wednesday? We’re getting married” but then when we actually did get engaged (and that’s a whole story in itself) it turned out that actually what everyone else wanted (I must say including Chris) was a big, family wedding. So here we are with two months to go, a day-time guest list of 80 and having to come up with a table plan so that the ones who don’t like each other don’t have to look at each other, and the ones who are really fussy are sat exactly next to the people they want to be.
A couple of weeks ago I realised that I was so un-excited by this prospect that it was genuinely depressing, I was excited to be married, just not to get married, so I’ve decided to take control, I’m getting my wedding-on.
In case anyone else is feeling disillusioned about their forthcoming nuptials, I’ve put together 5 top tips for planning a wedding when you actually couldn’t give a shit. Enjoy:
Realise that your wedding is not for you. People will constantly tell you that what you want for your “big day” is the most important thing, they’re lying to you. You’re getting married for you, you’re having a wedding for those who want to celebrate with you, and actually the more people you have in your life who want to celebrate your love with you, the luckier you are, so embrace it, do it for them, it’s a hella better reason than doing it because you’d like to be an animated “princess” for a day.
Delegate. I’m really lucky because I have a sister and a mother who are AMAZING at this sort of thing. The amount of times when they’ve asked me a question like “what about favours?”, seen my blank and blinking expression and said “don’t worry, I’ll sort that out.” Literally would be having a reception in a completely blank room with no decorations or seating plan without them to help me.
Choose good music. Now this is where I would say to anyone to really go for what YOU want. So many couples’ relationship and memories of each other and of special points in their lives together, are based around a love of certain songs. Use those songs, tell the relative who’s telling you to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon to shove it and walk down to whatever means the most to you as a couple. Those moments really are just for you two, so make sure you stick to your bridal guns.
Make things! Emotionally invest in the things you would never normally care about by making them yourself, that way when you see them hanging somewhere in your venue or on your tables you’ll feel really good about them, instead of thinking of them as the useless little touches that no-one cares about anyway. Plus it’s WAY CHEAPER. All the invitations for our wedding have been handmade (although, alas it would be an untruth to tell you that I did them – I provided comedy and alcoholic support). Now I’m on to bunting and attaching vintage chandelier crystals to things (too many things probably). Getting into it.
Try. Even if table plans make you roll your eyes and you’re quickly loosing all respect for the guests who instead of having thanked you for the invite, have gotten their knickers in a twist because you haven’t invited their other half (who you’ve NEVER MET before), just try to be excited. Focus on the stuff you are excited about; seeing the person you’re marrying standing at the end of the aisle waiting for you, having a glass of fizz and getting ready with your nearest and dearest, having a good old dance with your mates. Forget about the people who have pissed you off, you don’t have to spend any time with them on the day if you don’t want to anyway. Bridal prerogative.
I hope these have helped! Let’s go get hitched (not you and me…that would be weird)!
On this amazing day of celebration I would, perhaps somewhat controversially, like to focus on men (I know, because it doesn’t happen often enough…). I woke up this morning to a bunch of misogynistic tweets by uneducated men thinking that International Women’s Day was an excuse to tweet pictures of scantily clad girls and call it “appreciating” women. So these men are twats, statement of fact, but I’m not sure that it is entirely their fault.
I’m not worried about women; we’re strong; there are more and more of us not just overcoming the oppression of our society and marching towards an equilibrium of respect, but also starting to overcome the ridiculousness forced upon us by our fellow kind in advertising and the media. I am confident that as long as we remain strong and true in our push for complete equality, that we will get there, perhaps not in my lifetime but I’m fully planning on educating my children to carry on the fight when I’m gone and just maybe, it might happen in theirs. It’s the male-folk I’m worried about.
I was surprised this morning when I came across a tweet that said “happy #internationalwomensday boys” accompanied by a picture of a bikini clad celeb. For me this seemed to be a complete lack of understanding of the point of International Women’s Day, and I commented as much…I may have also used the word “cretin” but in my defence I was only stating the bloody obvious. I was then surprised further still by the tirade of responses I got from men telling me to “go back to my knitting” and that I had completely missed the point that they were just being “ironic” and that they were actually “appreciating” my entire sex. My bad, I didn’t realise that actually by subjecting women to only physical forms and rating them on scales of appreciation based solely on how pleasing they look, was a perfect example of appreciating the true wonderment of women on International Women’s Day. Don’t I feel silly.
But the thing is while we’re busy educating ourselves to create a better future for our gender, I’m slightly afaired that we’re leaving the other half behind in the dark ages. Men aren’t born chauvinistic twats, they develop these traits and glowing attributes as they grow and learn (or not as the case may be) and of course I do expect a couple of old toggers to pipe up with “there’s no such thing as International Men’s Day” (uh, that would be every day), I really don’t expect a bunch of young, average guys to fundamentally misunderstand gender equality in the most stupid of ways. Women are amazing, every day I am surprised and astonished and proud of us (granted not all of us, but I do think the majority) and I sowant to be able to say that exact same sentence about men. I’m lucky because I am surrounded by men who do make me feel that way, but I feel know that they are the exception, not the rule.
I’m constantly told that I should temper my opinions (especially at dinner parties) but how can I when faced with men who think equality (and indeed the norm) is them wearing suits and women wearing bikinis. I’m afraid actually that from today onwards I may have to be slightly more militant in my tolerance (or lack thereof) of these people, and if you want to live in a world where you are praised for your free-thinking brain instead of degraded for it then I suggest you do the same.
IT’S SPRING TIME! Well, nearly. Sort of. IT’S GOING TO BE SPRING TIME VERY SOON…WHEN IT’S STOPPED BEING SO BLOODY COLD! There.
So I have been welcoming in the spring with a floral celebration. I know Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada wouldn’t be impressed but I’m not that impressed by her either (the character Miranda Priesly I mean, not Meryl Streep, I am of course, like everybody else under the opinion that she is a good witchy goddess of a woman) and spring time means flowers pushing their determined little way through the cold, mostly dead, earth of winter, which I believe is cause for great celebration!
Not only is the spring time for florals but also time for BROGUES! In the winter one wears boots, apart from those stupid girls you see on the train wearing dolly-shoe-pump things which result in their feet looking the white colour of corpse feet (they’re also the ones that have those tiny umbrellas), anyhoo the winter is for boots, I do look at my brogues and think “I really do want to” but then I realise that my socks are three times thicker than my duvet and pick up my boots, but not anymore!
So of course, this #FashionFridays is flower and brogue based, I’ve toned it down on my outfit, but apparently not in my house…
Chris always complains that our house looks too much like a Miss Marple set but up until now I’ve always thought he was over-reacting…until now.
Sometimes I see mental health issues as some kind of weird blessing. Couple of reasons: because my bad can be really, really bad I am able to truly appreciate how good the good really is. I used to envy the people who seemed to drift, freely and lazily through life but now I almost feel sorry for them, I have the experience of extremes to draw from, and it benefits me greatly, they do not. Also, because my fight with anxiety and depression helpfully highlighted some changes that I really needed to make to my mindset and my living and this essentially freed me from a situation in which I was completely stuck and deeply unhappy.
Somedays I feel like that, but not today. Today feels shit. Yesterday did too. Suppose you can’t suffer from depression without getting depressed sometimes – bugger.
So today I made a decision! I’m absolutely happiest when I’m creating things. I like reading, and drinking wine in front of the telly really can feel blissful, getting dressed up to go out for cocktails can be fun, but really I am my most excited, content, joyful when I’m in the zone and making something from not much (mostly just thoughts – and sometimes a bit of old curtain). The only problem is my slightly malfunctioning brain; instead of waking me up in the morning and saying “go forth Milldred! Create things of such wonderment that people will laugh at you until they’re blue in the face and you’ll bloody love it!” It says, “oh look, it’s the day-time, we don’t like that do we? No, let’s stay in bed, shall we? Yes. You know it’s really not safe out there, you’re better off in here, with the cats…and Facebook.”
But I’m taking charge! I’m going to create something, anything, at least one thing a day. And by saying to my brain every morning, ‘back off you old grouch, we’re making knitted pom poms today and we’re going to like it, aren’t we? YES.” I’ll be able to take back my mood and turn the day into a positive one, instead of a negative one. It can be anything; a blog; a short story; the chapter of a book; a tea cosy; a table runner; a great opportunity; a treacle tart (sounds like a good one for tomorrow). And I’m going to challenge myself. I mean for starters I’m already trying to create a whole self-employed business thing out of thin air (also a great deal of passion…but mostly thin air – if it keeps everyone else alive I can work with it). Yesterday I sewed part one of my bridesmaid dress for my best friend’s wedding (it’s currently see-through, part two is the slip – would be bad if I forgot that bit). I’ve signed up to do a craft fair, to try to sell some the nonsense I make, because I love the idea of the things I have so much fun creating going into someone elses’ home and becoming part of their everyday lives (plus I have my half of the mortgage to pay). I’ve never sewn a shirt before so I bought a cheap pattern and some £2.99 a meter cotton and I’m going to try to make a shirt, probably going to turn out really badly but at least I will have tried and you can’t get take-two without doing a take-one. Today I’ve created this blog post, tomorrow I’m going try to pitch some freelance articles and create an opportunity to get my work published.
Once I’ve gotten out of bed to create one thing, who knows what other things might present themselves during the day? I’m taking charge! And I urge anyone else who’s pesky brain is keeping them down to do the same. And I’m going to need picture evidence of all that is created…
By the by I shall be posting a daily picture of whatever I’ve created every day on my social media so follow me on Instagram or Twitter for the #createaday low down!
…a whole heap of stuff! I haven’t really done that much travelling in my life. I’ve been lucky enough to spent a lot of time holidaying and sometimes living in Europe but my travels outside of this lovely continent have been minimal thus far in my life. So I knew that my trip to Vietnam and Brunei was going to be a learning curve, just not quite such a steep one!
Okay, here we go…
Never carry your passport around with you when you’re sightseeing or exploring and always leave a bit of money and a credit card out of your purse and in your hotel room.
I need a giant and gold Buddha in my garden…
…To go next to me pink sparkly Happy New Year tree.
I need to improve my maths to avoid getting conned out of the correct change.
Food is just better when it is in miniature.
Being in a completely blacked-out plane whilst it shudderingly and shakily descends towards earth in a full-on thunder AND lightening storm is HORRIBLE. Fully abused the free booze in the airport lounge after that experience.
The Vietnamese sure know how to make a mausoleum.
Severe food-poisoning on a thirteen and a half hour flight is a harrowing experience.
Air Malaysia toilet paper is proper rough…
Money does grow on trees.
Don’t look up the symptoms of Malaria and then consult your doctor about it – you’ll spend hours in A&E.
Giving blood is a less traumatic experience than I remember it being.
Hotel slippers are generally quite small.
There can be great inspiration in travel.
There can be great relaxation in travel.
I think out of all religions I’ve ever come across I like Buddhism the best.
I need to take a leaf out of the Vietnamese ladies’ book and learn some self-defence.
I need to stop letting Chris take pictures of me.
I’m a very lucky lady to be able to experience other countries and cultures. I have so much compared to some of the people I met on my travels and I should remember to be thankful for that every single day.
I’m not a born or natural traveler but I think I should see as much of this world as I can, to widen my mindset as well as my knowledge of the planet I live on and the world I live in.