Amongst other lovely things, I got a very nice blue and white striped shirt to ‘throw over’ my bathing suit for my birthday.  Unfortunately, not only could I not throw it over my bathing suit, I actually became trapped in it when I tried it on.  Let’s just say that if there is no give in the clothes, even the XL is not extra large enough for me.  So today I toddled off to the GAP,  gift receipt in hand (whoever came up with the gift receipt was a genius) to change the gift.

I went to Brent Cross shopping centre because it is really near my house, and has free parking, so win win.  After locating the store I wanted and avoiding the man who keeps harassing me about my skincare regime, I wandered into the store looking for something to buy instead of the shirt.  As soon as I walked in, an older lady stopped me.

“Excuse me,” she said, smiling at me.

I paused, about to tell her that I didn’t work there.

“How tall are you?” she asked.

“Er about five eight.” I answered nervously.

“Great, could you turn around so I can hold something against you?”

“Sure.”  I turned my back on this lady, and she came up close and pressed a hanger into the back of my neck, smoothing it over my shoulders.

“I want to buy this shirt for my daughter, and she is five five. “  Immediately I thought to myself why did you ask me then?

“She likes her shirts to be quite long, so I think this would come down below her bottom, don’t you?  It comes to here on you” she said touching my backside.  I tried not to laugh hysterically because seriously,  getting molested by an old lady in the GAP is too funny even for me. 

“It should be fine I said, my mum is about that height and everything is always much longer on her than me.”

“Thanks very much” she said.  I could see her sizing me up and wondering if it was ok to have me stand there indefinitely while she held things to me and touched me up.  I nipped it in the bud by smiling and walking away.

I was still smiling when I left the store 10 minutes later 5 tops richer.  I hadn’t been to that shop for years, but saw loads of lovely stuff, all of which I wanted but none of which I needed which brings me to my next point.

Shopping. 

I never thought I was a shopaholic, but as it turns out, I kind of am.  I mean, I can not shop for months at a time, and I don’t miss it at all.  But then, one e-mail about a new collection or a sale which isn’t immediately deleted starts to fester in my mind.  Before I know it I have ordered tonnes of stuff online.  Of course, the way I shop means that I will only ever spend half of the money I originally thought I was spending.  I am always relieved when something doesn’t fit or suit and I have to return it.  That way I have had the pleasure of shopping, with none of the cost. 

Still though the summer is the one time when I find myself a little out of control.  There are several reasons for this.  Firstly, I have never really mastered the summer wardrobe thing.  My summer and winter wardrobes are similar (in fact identical) the only difference being that in the winter I layer long sleeved tops under my t-shirts for warmth.  I have some sandals for the summer, and boots for the winter, but generally, it is much of a muchness.

This year with three weeks of high 20s, low 30s temperatures in London, and facing a month in Greece during August and September, I thought I should attempt to buy clothes that won’t make me look as if I was caught unawares by the weather.  Since I graduated from university, I have never actually been on holiday for more than 2 weeks at a time.  In Greece, I would usually be on the island and this involves swimsuits & shorts during the day, and jeans and a t-shirt in the evenings.  Couple that with the fact that the Great British Summer is usually three days long (and not in a row) it never seemed like I was suffering unduly.  A summer wardrobe was never a priority.

This year however, I decided to change all that.  I shopped.  A lot.  And I found a look that I was comfortable and cool (the temperature not the concept) in.  So true to form, I bought it in every colour.  There is no point in having a pair of cropped trousers if you have the wear the same ones every day.  One thing about summer is that with all the extra showering, you run out of clean clothes much faster.  If I shower three times a day, then my underwear runs out three times as fast.  I have never done so much laundry.  Fortunately, it also dries faster.   Anyway.  I bought these trousers from  M&S and am really thrilled with them.  Well I am thrilled with the black ones and the cream ones.  The blue ones come up just a tad too short at the waist and I am constantly hoiking them up.  The indigo ones are the same.  Although they are billed as the same pair of trousers with merely a change in colour, the differences between each pair is obvious.  First of all, they are billed as jeans, but only the blue and cream ones are actually made of denim.  The other two are a completely different material.  They are all the same size, but two of them are shorter in the waist.  They are also all different lengths on me, and I feel fairly certain that it is not the length of my legs that is fluctuating here. Three of the pairs are made in Turkey and one in Egypt.  I find this extremely frustrating.  Having established that this year I am an odd size (ie: hugely inconvenient as sizes go up in even numbers), having clothes companies tease you in this manner is more than a little annoying.  Nature is doing enough to annoy me without M&S being in on the joke. 

I mean, nature has conspired to make me a non-conventional shape.  I have shortish legs (just ask my brother – long story), a shortish torso and am long from the waist to the tops of my legs.  I am also in possession of bingo wings which I have long sought to conceal.  And what does the fashion world do?  It introduces low rise trousers and sleevelessness.  Whoever decided that sleeves should become de trop in the late 90s and stay out of the picture until now is no friend of mine. And low rise trousers? No.  Just.  No.  I cannot wear them for a multitude of reasons the first being that I want my trousers to come up to my waist and the last being that if I wanted to have builder’s bum, I would have become a builder (or a mouse man).  It isn’t sexy, not on men, not on women, and that bit (or lot) of thong showing… Just no.  So fashion Gods, here is my question:  When is it my turn?  When do we get clothes with sleeves, and trousers that sit on the waist and shirts that cover the bottoms of five foot eight (or taller) women.  When do regular length jeans stop trailing on the floor under the assumption that all women wear them with killer heels, but the short ones come up to above our ankles?  When do we get clothes without decorative zips once more?  I recently bought a dress that has a zip at the back that zips and unzips but doesn’t actually open.  It’s just there irritating my skin behind it and serving no purpose at all.

WHEN DO CLOTHES START MAKING SENSE???!!!

I just want to know, so that I can save up and shop til I drop and buy it all in different colours and sizes and then never have to deal with it again.  It must have become apparent to you by now that I am not a slave to fashion, so I am not above wearing the same things season after season biding my time, waiting for another trend that I like to become available.  I will just have to do as I have done in the past.  Go out and buy an outfit when someone is getting married.  There is no other explanation for the amount of formal wear in this extremely casual girl’s wardrobe.

The best thing about this summer was that I discovered espadrilles.  I know, I know I am late to the party, but I genuinely had never owned a pair and now own about six.  They’re comfy, they stop the mosquitoes getting at your toes, and they look nice.  (well I think so, D disapproves wholeheartedly, but allows that they are better than crocs).  But all of the shopping has made me realise that I could very easily be a complete shopaholic and therefore I have to tackle it as I would any addiction –indeed as I tackled smoking – I have to go cold turkey.

So no more shopping for me until it’s time to buy Christmas or birthday gifts.  I cannot justify spending the money, and I do not need any more clothes.  I have those comfy jeans I bought in ’95, and tops with sleeves in various colours and they will do just fine…

On a completely unrelated note, I know I have talked a lot about the lift in this building, but in my defense, it is where a lot of funny stuff happens.  Anyway.  Last week the lift broke down.  I know I stated some time ago that I wouldn’t take the lift up, but believe me 7 floors in 33 degrees is not something you should do at my age.  Anyway.  After about 5 days, they ‘fixed’ the lift.  Now it goes even slower than before, (and believe me that takes some doing) and when you eventually reach the floor you want the lift pauses and judders.  That in itself doesn’t sound too unusual.  But this lift actually shudders for long enough for you to wonder if it is going to open.  You know, like babies through monitors.  They breathe constantly and then they stop.  And they don’t draw breath again until you have shot off the couch and started running towards their room to investigate.  This lift does the same.  It pauses as if it is bracing itself to open the doors.  And you wait.  And you take a step forward in preparation for leaving the lift, and just as you start to think that something has gone wrong and your heartbeat is elevated (no pun intended) and you start to sweat a little at the thought of spending the next I don’t know how many hours trapped in a tiny box (for four ha! people), or questioning if you will ever see natural daylight again, the doors open slowly and you tumble out in relief.  And it doesn’t get better every time you get in the lift.  It has been a week now and I still experience brief panic every time I arrive at my floor.  Maybe the pause is getting longer, I don’t know.  All I know is that there is probably a lift engineer somewhere giggling to himself and waiting for the call to come and sort it out.

Oh, and by the way –

OI!!!  M&S!!  PLUCK YOUR CHICKENS!

The reason I don’t live on a farm is because I like to kid myself that chickens grow in plastic containers nicely cut up into breast, thigh or leg portions.  If I wanted to pluck the bloody thing myself, I would have bought a live one.  Jeez.

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