Now to the untrained eye, it may seem we had a bit of a knees up last night and the injuries shown which flatter the dress so delightfully were sustained due to the old communion wine. This would be wrong. Last night me and the girls were looking forwards to a good old girly night out. I had spent the day wearing this figure hugging, angle enhancing, darling of a dress with only a pair of knee high leather boots and a teeny tiny military style jacket to give off an air of this is honestly not the same outfit I was wearing last night. I wanted to wear it because it has been ages since I have been for a night out with the girls and I was so looking forwards to letting off a little steam and this seemed the perfect party frock in which to simmer.
As Harborough’s restaurants were all either fully booked, overpriced or closed for business I decided to cook the girls a three course meal and after the giant decided to take all the food in the fridge to the land of the poets I had no choice but to take a trip to the shops in my sparkling sequinned skin-tight number. Though the frock is hardly supermarket sensible, I was still left feeling a little upset and frankly at times somewhat disturbed by the bitchy looks and all too obvious glances of grandfather aged men at my frock.
I somehow managed to get the goods, cook the meal and even remembered not to leave the wine in the freezer all whilst wiggling around with minimal room for movement. Me and the girls had a great time getting ready; painting our nails, adding on a bit of sparkle and discussing the prospects of meeting eligible men in the Markets. Though I am not single I am a bit of a romantic and love playing at being an honorary single girl whenever I am out with my bachelorette buddies. Obviously I can not join in with any of the actual flirting but it is still rather good fun casing out the joint for suitable single men of a certain age. I am a terrible match-maker, completely unsubtle in my efforts but I do a great job of setting up mutual friends and at least one of these matches has ended in marriage.
As is the way with all good friends, what goes on tour stays on tour, but what I can say is we had a brilliant night out. It has been years since I have been to Club Enigma but I was desperate for a dance and being the only club in our compact city we drifted towards its doors as the time ticked on. At first it was amazing; they played Don’t Stop Believing from Glee and with the dance floor all to ourselves we performed the kind of choreography only a true musical fan can – see photos above.
Unfortunately about an hour after this happy hoe down there was an announcement from above about a monster munch party. Assuming there had been an error me and the girls continued with our groove until all of a sudden, beefy flavoured crisps, shot out from a canon above, began to rain down on us covering in wheat based high calorie snacks in an unprecedented and frankly foolish assault. Now I know I am rather past my prime, and that I am not necessarily down with the kids, but I fail to see how such craziness is in any way cool. The whole place stank of beef and there was crisp crumbs everywhere; in our hair, on the dance floor, even on our lovely dresses. There were even crisp crumbs on my eyelashes when I woke the next morning. Feeling a little “too old for this £$%”" me and my girls went upstairs to sit back, have a drink and watch the madness unfold. Unfortunately on the way up the stairs as I stepped off a poorly placed mat, my poor shoe connected with a murderous combination of crisp crumbs and sticky al-co-pops. I slipped dramatically, seeming to hang momentarily in the air before falling back on to my cranium, bashing my hip, elbow, wrist and thigh. As well as being utterly humiliating I was also extremely upset as I had even more crisps on my outfit and felt like a total fool as well as being in a quite horrific amount of pain. I dusted myself off and behaving like a wounded warrior, shrugged off the kind assistance of the bouncer who offered me a medic and stumbled upstairs starry eyed to the bathroom above where I burst into tears as my friend trying not to giggle did her best to soothe me.
I felt extremely sorry for myself and after a short time and another slip, this time on the dance floor itself we decided to call it a night. Though I tried to keep a brave face, after a rather tipsy discussion about the blame there is a claim commercial and a deliciously distracting desert of Chocolate cheesecake GU which helped get my levels up, my friend and I decided to document the evidence – again see photos above, particularly knee and cranium bumps.
In spite of all the medical drama and the poor product placement we did all have a really very fun night. Though I wish the frock had a little more padding it was great to wear and gave me a real confidence boost. In spite of the supermarket glares, I felt really great wearing it; for the first time in months I actually felt happy with my figure and though tomorrow will probably be another day of body loathing at this moment in time I feel happy with my figure, battered, bruised and covered in wheat based snacks though it might well be.
- Today’s dress is from HP. A friend of my sister from her University days she is an absolute legend who is a great surfer and good craic to go clubbing with. She is a business whiz, can drive a motorbike and is also the mother of two very lovely little girls. A supporter of the blog from the beginning, H has harangued her friends to find dresses for the project and shares the posts with her friends through her own Facebook wall. She once posted a very nice note about how reading the blog had replaced Farmville as a form of entertainment for when she has to get up in the night to care for the kids. It is because of this that I do make an effort to get something up on the site every day even if it is just a few photos. She kindly donated the dress a few weeks ago but I have been saving it for a special occasion like tonight. It was originally from Hennes and has to be worn without a bra which was frankly quite liberating if a little bit ris risky during the dancing.
Today has been a sad day for footwear. Back when I was a a 23-year-old with the world at my feet and a job as an events manager which paid a tidy little sum my main outgoing other than restaurant bills and bar tabs was shoes, I was obsessed with them. For the first time in my life since I was 18 I was totally debt free. Out of my monthly salary after all bills were paid I still had an indecent amount left over to spend on myself. Though I smoked and had a fondness for Marks & Spencer sushi and sausage and onion cobs every Friday when I was too hangover to use the phone, I had no children, no mortgage and no monthly car insurance or pension payments. I was young, free, practically single and absolutely loving the independence of it all.
The boy was living a hand to mouth existence as he was still studying for his music degree but I was free to fund our outings and as one of the girlfriend of Manchester’s hardest working band I got to play the part nearly every weekend; we would all hangout backstage drinking down the riders, dragging on rolled up cigarettes and generally just hanging out feeling ever so slightly like the cool kids.
At the time I guess I knew the life we were living would not last forever. I was having a hell of a good time but work was taking its toll on my health and I’d dropped down to my smallest size since I’d had a minor eating disorder back when I was 18. I remember looking at my bank statement and feeling sad at how little I had to show for all the brilliant nights out and evenings just spent drinking red wine round a rickety table listening to music and playing cards in between musing upon our dreams for the future.
Other than Sylvanian Families I had never really felt the desire to collect anything. My sisters had their key-rings, their badges and even at one stage their dice and my brother had the monopoly on every phase and craze out there including Thomas The Tank Engines, Thunderbirds, Power Rangers and even at one stage care bears which was extraordinarily cute. It was when I realised I was spending much of my money on momentary pleasure products that I decided to start a collection and as I had no particular interest at the time in tea cups I decided I would collect shoes. As my regular readers know I am a slave to Kurt Geiger. The shoes they make are so well balanced you can stamp around in a pair of stilettos for sixteen hours straight without feeling an ache. They are creative, original and considering how well they last lusciously priced.
This then brings us to today’s dilemma. There is a man in Market Harborough, his name is Andy but I have always known him as the saviour of shoes. Many times I have brought him a forlorn pair at the end of their life and he has carefully restored them to beauty. One time he managed to restore my red or dead spike heeled stiletto ankle boots to spanking brand new in spite of me having ground the five inch heel to a mere three inches after a weekend in Liverpool visiting a friend where we danced till we dropped to sleep in his dorm just before dawn. Today Andy very kindly explained to me there was sadly nothing he could do for two of my favourite pairs.
One of them was the first pair of pricey shoes I had ever purchased. Brought in my lunch break from Berties at Kendall they were soft white leather with five inch thick wooden heels. Generally I believe white shoes should be saved till ones wedding day and even then they should be hidden and if possible cream but these were divine. Unfortunately as I tend to run in heels as well as walk whilst racing to get the bus back to see the boy after an after work drink my heel snapped on Deansgate. It was humiliating and I actually sat down and cried. I hadn’t even had any hooch but I was just so sad for my poor innocent shoe. Andy said it could be saved in an expensive operation but the job would have to be sourced out and the operators may well break the wood in the process.
The other pair are of the Kurt Geiger variety. I bought them foolishly after getting made redundant from Webb PR a month before Christmas. I was a little heart broken about losing the job and in a fine example of someone who had temporarily given leave to their senses and indeed their financial situation I sneaked away on a Christmas shopping trip with the boy, and bought three pairs of shoes in the sale. Admittedly they should have cost £400 and came to just £120 but still I had just been made redundant and with no job on the horizon it was a foolish mistake. I guess I have never regretted it because today, 15 months after the fact, I still have the shoes and they are still stunning. Unfortunately one of them, a pair of mustard yellow t-bar three inch heels was mortally injured back in May. I was chasing a story at the time and as I tore down the road the pin snapped and I had to traipse around on tippy toes the rest of the day. Andy says there is no hope for them and though I know I should consign them to the bin they are just too lovely, perhaps at some time in the future there will be better technology for such injured shoes? I live in hope.
- Today’s dress is from the wonderful Rebecca Allison. She sent this in a lovely package from the states and as well as a pair of earrings there was a beautifully written letter. I realise the dress comes up a little short on me but I hope you will not take too much of a hump at me modifying it for the workplace by pairing it with the skin tight Lycra number from Zara sent by the lovely Clara, believe me it is to protect your eyes from a legging lovely sight. Again if you do get the chance take a little look at her website. It is a fabulous way to start ones day and has given me goosebumps in the past with the sheer poetry of her posts. http://solsticetosolsticetosolstice.tumblr.com/
Release Date 22/02/2010 (Rock Action Recored)
By Elinor O’Neill
As one listens to A Rumour In Africa, it is not the coming world cup, the political turmoil within, or the vast plains of the African nations which come to mind. What one thinks of is jumping out of an aeroplane in Australia or New Zealand or some other god awful backpacker occupied island.
Not, you understand, because you are jumping from the plane in a bid to escape listening to the mind numbing rift which filters through the track to invade your cranium, creating an irritation akin to a fat child kicking your seat all the way from the UK to the USA.
It does not have a hard enough beat to make it dance worthy, but if your head has been mushed up by mood enhancers from the first three letters of the alphabet, you may enjoy its lyric lacking beat.
It is not nice to have so little nice things to say about a track but when the band describe themselves on their profile page as “Four guys without any spark of talent”, one feels the guilt lift a little.
As the track continues, occasionally daring to bring in some interesting sections, you slowly realise that unfortunately, you are not partaking in a parachute dive or even politely watching a video of a friend doing so. At least if you were there would be a chance to slip out to “use the loo”, or alternatively of dying mid jump so there is a less painful end to Errors musical suicide.
Today has been one of those days where my mood lifts but only for a short period at a time, much like the periods during which I managed to find a live stream of the United match the highs are short lived and unsatisfyingly fuzzy. I blame the dress; although it is gorgeous; a mac design by Topshop which has to be pinned together at the bottom to stop any Cheryl Cole esq front rump, (yes I know she is having a hard time but really why did this mean we had to see so much of her) but even still I am not a fan. It is partly because I feel I look too healthy to be wearing it, the last time I wore it I was decidedly more slender. The other reason is that wearing it reminds me of a bad decision I once made in it when I had too much to drink and trusted someone to look after me who was a friend, but isn’t any longer.
The details are unnecessary but it is foolish decisions like this and my tendency to feel low for days after if I have had too much that has led me to want to give the booze a rest during lent. I am not giving it up as such, I find that as soon as I give something up it is all I can think about so I am going to treat alcohol in much the same way as I did cigarettes. I’m not giving up, I’m just not having it at the moment. This way I don’t put myself under too much pressure and if I fancy a glass of wine one night or am out for a friend’s birthday I wont feel the need to be a total kill-joy. I just feel I need to get back to the point when I have a limit on what I can drink which I know suits me and which I can stick to. .
The last time I tried to give alcohol up for lent I was in an incredibly intense but simultaneously extremely destructive relationship. I was utterly in love with the guy, not at first but he wore me down and eventually I let myself go to him. Unfortunately when I met him I had just recovered from my first episode of depression and having left my first boyfriend I was vulnerable and although the euphoria of falling in love at first kept the lows at bay, once they returned he couldn’t cope especially when I drank to try to get me back to what everyone expected me to be, fun.
To be fair to him he was younger than me by a year and prior to meeting me was widely known as a man who played the field. It was inevitable that something so intense would end in tears, and it did when he got with someone else whilst I was back at home trying to put myself back together. I had sunk too low and he wanted to be with the girl I was when we had first got together, I tried desperately to get her back but with being away from home and a doctor that was keeping an eye on my moods I couldn’t lift myself and so understandably he went elsewhere.
What was so strange is that when I decided to knock the booze on the head for lent he brought me a shot of vodka and placed it in front of me. I don’t know why, perhaps he too hoped the drink would cheer me up and it did if only for a time. After things fell apart, as all destructive relationships do, I was left a sad little soul and it wasn’t until a year later that I really began to recover from our affair. Eventually I got my drinking back under control, I learned what my limits were and avoided drinks that had a tendency to send me tearful and other times just chose not to drink.
The one person who helped me throughout this period was a boy I lived with in my flat in the halls I was President of at the time. He was a muslim who was enjoying his first taste of freedom, loved getting down to R&B as I did and cooked the nicest curry I have ever had in my life. He also shared my insomnia patterns and so we would stay up watching Godfather together and playing silly computer games and pranks. He kept an eye on me and never let me unravel too far and even put up with my pathetic tears. If it wasn’t for him I think I had the potential at the time to fall into full-blown alcoholism simply to escape the hurt and sadness which had as much to do with my mental health at the time as it did with the humiliation of being publicly betrayed.
What my friend taught me which was extremely important at the time was first and foremost to hang on; that I needed to get my confidence back because I was a good person I just couldn’t see it. The other was why it is that we give stuff up during lent and the importance of sharing ones wealth for one’s happiness. During Ramadan I joined with him in his fast, unfortunately I only lasted two days because of my delicate disposition, my low blood pressure and my tendency to faint if I stand for too long. What the experience and my friend taught me is that we give things up to recognise how much we have available to us. although for me it is essentially a religous tradition it is equally a chance for me to reflect and be grateful on all I have.
He also told me about how it is the done thing in the muslim world (and forgive me seriously if I am getting this wrong I am happy to be corrected but this is what I remember) to give 10% of ones earnings to the poor. I always thought it was such a brilliant idea as if we are lucky enough to have money why not share it. Even when I’ve had jobs that paid I’ve always been struck with how much I have compared to how much I need. The boy told me I was crazy when I suggested this to him as he pointed out that tax means I don’t need to give it away as someone will do it for me but it is a nice idea and I hope i will one day get paid again so I can carry it through.
For the meanwhile though this will essentially be my last day of chocolate and sweets. Also because I want to make sure I can and because I am concerned about what the latest drugs may be doing to my liver this glass herein pictured will be my last glass of wine for 40 days and 40 nights, I’m gutted it isn’t bordeaux.
So first things first, where is the photo of lady Elinor I hear you ask. The dress is here and yet there is no girl in the dress, a mystery. Well in spite of being a bit of a lazy daisy this week I have finally decided to put you out of your misery. Yes I did wear the dress all day but by this point in the evening I was simply too tired for photos partly because I had partaken in a new sport called roller derby, like rugby but more fun and with a high risk of injury which makes it slightly cooler; the other reason was a dreadful argument I had on arriving back home with the giant.
On this day of 365 dresses, day 38, I was feeling (largely as a result of the previous nights dreadful disappointment) a little bit blue, grey, and other non bright or sparkly colours of the spectrum. I had to leave the boy behind and as we have had a few troubles it was not easy. I also had to climb on to a train where I was once again confronted with idiots; idiots who charge £1.50 for a cup of tea; idiots who eye you up through sunglasses which aren’t dark enough whilst sitting next to their poor spouse; idiots who drink red wine from a bottle before midday and idiots of course who think its ok to run a train service which is nothing short of appalling. By locating a couple of magazines on the train I finally started to feel as though I might make back some of the £300 I have spent on rail travel over the past three months. I am unemployed for goodness sake, how can they get away with this, it is preposterous.
Anyway enough of the rant, in short at the start of the day I was depressed and at the end of the day I was exceptionally depressed but there was a small short two-hour window spent with my sweetheart of a sister at Roller Derby when I was happy and writing this now I struggle to remember it but I was.
Roller Derby is an amazing sport from the states where, as I now understand it you have to knock people over and skate really fast. When I first get there I must admit I was surprised at all the padding and by the girl sitting taking photos with a plaster cast round her leg. I was wondering what need there was for such decoration when all we were doing was having a disco party, there were sweets and flapjacks after all. It turned out that when my sister invited me to a roller disco she actually said derby. The two are it would seem rather different and when I asked our tutor, who kept teaching me how best to fall, why it was one would be falling she looked at me rather alarmed. “Do you know anything about roller derby? Anything about the hitters?” Well if I was not a braver woman I would have immediately left, I knew nothing of these hitters or of the heathen sport of which she spoke. It turns out much of those of us in the beginners pen were not aware of what we were there for. We were being trained like pawns to be used during practice. Roller derby is a team sport, one which you have to sign a waiver for which absolves them of your death.
It sounds dreadful but turns out to be the most fun I’ve had since hockey games at Canterbury Court and cadets. It is dangerous, my bottom is severely bruised and I have mini anxiety attacks about my weak ankles and wrists, but you are padded up well and they only let you get in on the game if you wear a gum-shield. We learn how to do spinning stops, sliding stops, race relays, play tag and it turns out I am quite good at running on my breaks, though look a little too like a ballerina than a rolling rocking roller derby girl (I am secretly happy about this as it looks like the lessons paid off after all and I no longer prance like an elephant). I guess it doesn’t help that I am wearing sparkly tights and a pretty dress or that my hair is down unchecked by a bobble.
Fortunately roller-derby is a place of great female solidarity. Whilst in the outside world women are waiting patiently to get their claws into each others men, or so the press would sometimes have us believe, in here we look after each other and there is a great community spirit. There is no bitchiness, of which I was aware; I am lent a bobble by a friendly lady and we all cheer each other on. I even get teased about my porn star falls, (both knees, both elbows, face hits ground) and I don’t mind because it is just teasing.
It is great to find a sport which is physical yet does not feel aggressive. It is very competitive and amazing exercise, my thighs feel like thunder and every muscle aches. When I leave I am desperate for a bath and a hot water bottle and so when I receive a surprise attack from the giant I am most upset. I leave the place buzzing with endorphins and on being collected by my kind parents I was chattering away and unfortunately said something which put the giants back out and from here on it was less than forty minutes before I was upstairs crying to the boy like a child as he flipped out asking why the hell it was I get on ok up at his and at his parents but fall apart as soon as I get in the door. He does not mean it he just feels helpless but I know what he means, my home life is always on a higher stress level but it is as much my fault as anyone elses.
I do not know why it is myself and the giant clash. He is not a bad giant, like Hagrid’s brother Grawp he has good intentions, and is even able to form strong attachments, his only problem is he, like all giants is territorial and is not a fan of calm and collected communication as a way of doing battle. Yelling is much more effective he feels and I believe it was my unexpected early arrival upon his territory/ home that led to his show of strength. I foolishly joked about his pride of place, his giant throne which is the comfiest chair in the house. He did not take to it kindly and cited my annoyance at his response as another example of my rashness which meant I was manic. I miss Manchester, I’m starting to think it is time to leave the home of the giant and seek smaller dwellings.
Today has been a bleak day. I have tried to pull myself out of it but right from this morning I have struggled to lift my mood and having a back log of reviews to write has not exactly helped. Some days I think I am invincible and really do genuinely believe I am capable of doing anything and indeed everything I want to but other days like today I just can’t wit till I can crawl into bed and shut my eyes to join the darkness which has unsettled me all through the day. I read a dreadful article today, by a mental health care practitioner of all people about how we choose to be happy. What I found most frightening is someone in his place believes that people with a mental illness are merely somehow choosing not to get better which as most people know who have either experienced mental illness or who has had close contact with a person who has a mental disorder knows this is utter tosh and irresponsible to say the least. One of the things I have found when I try to force myself out of a depressive state is that I usually end up having an episode which often comes extremely close to a break-down. Thankfully it has been months since I have experienced such an episode, but it is hard to forget the utter despair and loneliness you feel when in one. If someone insults one’s intelligence by suggesting one has chosen a state of mind such as this, often the result is an extremely dangerous desire to duck out and end it all due to one feeling tragically misunderstood.
As I said though, today has been a bleak day thus why I have at least tried to brighten this post with floral images and mostly I am sad to say forced smiles. Since Tuesday I have had my dosage of mood stabiliser increased and to be honest it broke my heart a little when I found out the plan was to do so all along providing I had no drastic side effects from the tablets. the ideal dose is 300mg apparently this is the dosage at which the drug acts as a mood stabiliser to stop any dramatic highs or lows as well as having anti-depressant properties. Of course if it works it will be wonderful; highs as I have said before can be wonderful but can also be quite difficult to handle both for myself and my loved ones. The problem as the title suggests is the side effects; not you understand the extreme ones these tablets could cause such as jaundice, a long-lasting and painful erection, a rash, fits or difficulty in breathing; but the side effects which are deemed to be acceptable given the eventual positive attributes of the drug.
I know they are trivial given what the drug could result in but I must admit I was quite happy with just the anti-depressant and having to take two types of tablet makes me feel like a drug addict without the confidence or alleged cool factor. These side effects are mainly weight gain, sleepiness and a lack of a certain drive of which I shall not mention, but those who have been on antidepressants will know what I mean. There are certain s-words which I don’t feel are appropriate topics and a lot of you I hope would agree. This then leaves us with the other two offending troubles – I hate feeling sleepy and I hate putting weight on, I really do. For someone who usually rises around seven naturally and who has beans enough for three not waking till ten and still feeling as though I am sleep walking for an hour after is extremely depressing; the opposite effect of what the silly things are meant to do. I am having to drink coffee like I usually do water and still at night I am falling straight to sleep barely a few minutes after I’ve swallowed the stabiliser. It’s rubbish because I love chatting in bed to the boy about our day and this is something which we are missing out on at the moment and it’s not as though we can chat in the morning instead as he gets grumpy if there is too much chatter from me before midday by when he is wide awake. I hate it and its making me irritable and as sensitive as a stick of magnesium.
The other issue I have is the weight gain; they warn you that you are likely to put on weight in the first weeks of the treatment, they don’t tell you how much but based on the last time I took tablets with a sedative effect left unchecked it could easily be as much as 2/3 of a stone. It’s not that I mind being curvy, I am happy to have reasonably sized breasts and a bit of a bottom as it just makes things look better. What I can not stand though is putting weight on round my middle; I like my tummy being reasonably flat and toned and do all I can to make sure it stays so. I do squats whilst brushing my teeth and washing my hair and pull my tummy in when I’m walking. If all else fails and start to get a bit jiggly I do some exercise; cut back on sweets and cheese; limit my alcohol intake and even do the odd sit up (at least until the boy tells me I’m doing them wrong at which point I sulk and suggests he do some himself).
Unfortunately as shallow as it is my misery is added to today both by the post and the fact that when I look in the mirror I have a bit of what can only describe as a bit of a bakery, rolls. It upsets me because I like to feel confident, I like the boy to still feel attracted to me after four years and I like my clothes to fit nicely. Also for less shallow reasons I enjoy being fit and healthy as it means I can dance till 4am, beat the boy on the odd occasion at play fighting and run for the bus, the train or the plane when I need to. I know it’s a trivial problem, I know there is a lot more issues in the world than my waist-line but today it is making me blue and when I take off my dress, which is Kookai from the stock-x-change in Market Harborough, brought for fancy dress nearly nine years ago, I am delighted to dive under the covers and pull on some pyjamas.
A funky little disco tune, Stand, is a tricky little track which urges us repeatedly to Stand Up for our minds. It sounds like a meaningless but pleasantly familiar lyric ideal for dancing; but as the song ends you realise Woolf was issuing an early warning to us to beware of a tune which leaves you questioning your sanity.
You can’t help but shake your hips to his soulful voice, but just when you get used to the beat, Woolf lets rip with a musical head fuck so thoroughly unexpected even Red Riding Hood would have been unprepared. You wonder if you imagined it, you might have even liked it but mostly you will probably think the DJ has messed up or that you’ve swallowed one too many dodgy disco juices.
It is clear that Woolf has gobbled his way through back catalogues of Talking Heads and Prince and found inspiration from both. What is unfortunate is that although he has clearly tasted their tracks he has failed to digest them. Instead of assimilating them into his sound with the reverence, they command they are spat out at random with little understanding of their genius. The track has got a good enough beat to keep you on the dance floor but is not quite strong enough to get you there in the first place.
The problem with Woolf is not that he has a lack of talent or is musically too narrow; it is that he has gobbled his way through so many genres that his own music sounds like a mass musical crash with too many bars that clash rather than compliment each other. It does create a new, sound which in many ways gives a great tune, but more than anything it leaves me feeling a bit dizzy and in need of a sit down.