I am a sleepy social media madam today. I had an ingenious idea last night that if I went into work a little earlier than expected I would get more done. It was a good idea and maybe I did get more done but now at ten or maybe even eleven at night my brain is buzzing but my body is begging me for sleep. One of the most exciting and addictive things about journalism is the thrill of being ever slave to a deadline. It can be stressful, of that there is no doubt but the pressure of knowing the clock is ticking often forces us hacks to hammer out some of the most inspirational, witty and really just rather wonderful pieces which would never have been as good if they had been given too much time to brew and mellow.
Today has been hectic. For some ridiculous reason our phones went down. This would have been okay by itself but for some reason this also meant our email, internet access and really just about everything went down at the same time. You would be amazed at how adaptable one must be in times of technological meltdown.
Today I have used the yellow pages, not the yell version, but the kind which short men would use in the past to kiss girls which were just that little bit too tall for them to reach up to. I also became acquainted with an interesting tool known as an A-Z. As a girl who is unable to find her way to her fella’s home without guidance from Shawn, my friendly Irish friend of Tom-Tom fame, I was amazed to find I can still read a map. Admittedly I lost at least half an hour on my way home after forgetting to turn the map the right way up but nevertheless I must admit I am feeling fabulously independent.
I was hoping today would be the last time I had to stumble about the town in heels as I was due to have another chat with the giant this evening about the car situation. Unfortunately my mother, the peace maker intervened early on. She apparently sensed that one was too stressed and the other was too tired and so because of her uncanny powers of perception the talk will have to wait till tomorrow.
Though I am feeling rather romantic today about old-fashioned methods of communication and information acquirement there are a number of benefits and charms of the internet and IT which must be mentioned. Copy and paste is one of the most brilliant inventions of our time; one realises this after claw hand sets in after copying endless quotes from paper, actual paper! I was also informed the other day by a friend that Microsoft Office actually gives one the opportunity to recall an email. Just think of all the relationship breakdowns and diplomatic fall outs which could have been avoided had this trick been more widely publicised. Rather than trying to get people to ping, poke or bing, or whatever the new sappy sounding buzz word of the moment is, Mr Gates should be sending out emails across the globe telling people about this, the holy grail of idiots who email.
I had better get my blogging bottom off to bed for tomorrow is my actual first deadline day as a trainee reporter. I am paranoid about getting my patch page just right and have spent the past couple of hours craning over my copy to make sure everything is just so; however my eyes are starting to stream and my head is beginning to lull and if I do not go to bed soon I risk boring the tweeting world with my angst. I think I need to get back in touch with my counsellor.
- Today’s dress is from the lovely Lara who has donated a whole heap of dresses to the project. This dress is originally from Tu which I think roughly translates as Sainsburys. I must admit I am rather impressed with the supermarket frocks at the moment, yesterdays dress was also from a supermarket and I had quite a few compliments on it. I am totally in love with the floral print on this dress and even though I found it a bit too low on the bust the cut is quite clever and it tucks you in at the waist with a tie which runs round the back. I think it was originally designed to be a knee-length frock but Lara is a creative lady who is a little shorter than me and I think she has taken the hem up herself. Mummy took the photos, don’t ask.
I wanted to go anyway as I love the idea that one day we will have a Brady Bunch style holiday where the most exciting thing that happens is my mother burning the toast. Because of this tragic dream I assured the boy things would be different and I actually believed it, there would only ever be four family members together at any one time and there was going to be partners and friends to force us all to be on our best behaviour.
For the first four days everything went well; there were no sulks, no snarls and even sarcasm was kept to a minimum. I started to feel smug at how dull we had become and even considered making cookies for us all. I should have known it would not last. The giant enjoys his space as do we all and in the absence of yoga, Facebook and Sky television the tensions began to mount and all it would take for things to explode was a happy hour combined with an empty tummy too many.
As I am not really meant to be drinking I usually try to back away from situations where I feel obliged to drink. Après ski however is a traditional part of mountain culture and is one of the nicest parts of the skiing day. After the lifts have stopped the skis come off and people gather together with their friends, family and travelling companions upon the terraces which look up to the slopes and swap anecdotes of a day spent with their heads above the clouds. When everyone suggested an après ski drink I could not resist and over a cold beer we had a great time dissecting our day and congratulating ourselves for surviving a blizzard to come unharmed through the other side of the mountains mist.
The problem with drinking after a hard day on the slopes is how quickly the alcohol goes to your head. I have fallen foul of the beer fairy before and in doing so have ruined myself for the slopes the next day; with this thought in mind and an overwhelming desire to finally get up to date with my blog I headed home leaving the others at The Rhododendron; the cheapest and most cheerful pub in the whole of Le Praz. I was feeling quite proud of myself for recognising the limits of my liver and treated myself to a strong coffee and hot shower to ease the aches of the slope.
I do not know why everything went wrong but I do know when it started to slide downhill. I had curled myself upon the couch after returning to the apartment alone and was looking forward to spending some time alone. I had just finished coming up with a concept for the day’s blog when my thought structure was interrupted by my sister’s partner crashing through the door upon the arm of my father’s godson. Admittedly he had been moaning while we were in the pub and had asked for a cold pack but we had all assumed he wasn’t too injured as he had skied down the mountain on it just fine only an hour before. One look at his face convinced me he was not faking, he was pale and acting as though he was in total agony. Though I do not have the most maternal of bones I felt I should at least attempt to care for him. His knee was the size of a tennis ball after all and with my sister absent and my mother back in the UK I applied the medicine of every good Irish woman, a cup of tea and a sandwich.
After adding to my cure a couple of painkillers and some snow packs, (my father’s godson’s innovative invention) ,it was clear he might need more medical attention than I could provide. Although I did a first aid course when I was twelve all I could remember was something about a triangular bandage and I didn’t really see how that could help us now. It was about this point that I started to panic.
My sister and the giant were over at the bar with no idea about the deteriorating knee situation. Though my sister had said she would return home after one more drink I had little faith in her keeping this promise. I have echoed the same spiel myself when the boy has rang to see when he could expect me home. Though one likes to believe one will be home in a jiffy the craic of the bar will always outweigh any call to come home, especially as the caller will usually be a cross patch by the time you get back and be none too amused when you tell them you wuv them very smuch indeed.
As I feared she may not be in the mood for problem solving when she returned I had sent a messenger to find out whether there was any hope of getting help on a Sunday and found out that the nearest hospital was forty minutes away. When I heard this I had another unpleasant realisation; I was the only one capable of driving and I haven’t been in a car since December. I was beginning to feel rather overwhelmed by responsibility and upon hearing another groan from my sister’s partner I realised I had no choice but to get the doctor involved. When she arrived she seemed quite concerned and advised a hospital visit for X-rays and painkillers. After deciding it would be best to wait till the morning to take him I began to feel relieved that something had been done.
My sister had returned just before the Doctor got there which left me free to return to my writing whilst she played at being nurse. Just as I had settled into the couch however and opened up a monthly magazine, the giant returned. If it wasn’t for his rosy cheeks I probably would have jumped out the ground floor window upon seeing the look on his face. The giant had been unaware of the developments in the knee situation and as far as he was aware I had called out a seventy-five euro doctor for no reason and was a bit of a fool for doing so.
There is little point in going into detail about who slung the mud and how deep was the colour but what got said tonight has destroyed the delicate peace of the last few days. I feel foolish for coming away and annoyed because come the morning I will be the only one who will remember the harsh words spoken. The boy is perhaps right, maybe the time has come to call a day on the annual family hell-a-day.
- Today’s dress is another loan from my sister who also took the photos from today. It is from Hennes and though it looked great with a beret all of us were feeling a bit too bitter about the rugby to promote French culture any more than we had to. The mountains in the background by the way are Swiss.
- FYI – The reason I am smiling in the pictures is they were taken before everything kicked off when we were still on speaking terms. I do hope our family will be at peace again., I just find it hard right now to imagine how.
My mood has been all over the place today. The first part of the day I was feeling as high as a kite, after having a luxurious lie in and bubble bath I started snooping around the house for dresses to wear which were conservative enough for my visit to my new place of work to sign the contracts. After having a bit of a snoop in my mothers wardrobe I came across a combination of flowery shirts, one old dress which I know is her favourite and a kaftan top which is quite long. Though the shirt was too short and the dress was just to desirable to steal without first asking the long kaftan dress fitted just right and I added it to my pile of packing along with my dinner dance dress, a silk 1920s Vintage ball gown or bridesmaid dress and a jumper dress which may well be a tad too transparent. Having had such a productive start to the day I set about the task of finding an outfit for the day again. I tried on countless nighties with fancy belts and slimming slips, attempted to turn a skirt into a dress and even raided the giants wardrobe for shirts with “shirt dress” potential. Whatever I tried though just wasn’t right, although I was rather keen on one nightie when combined with a silk cotton 1970s French Connection sleeveless top, there was no way of getting around the behind issue; whichever way you looked at it the nightie was see through and as the contract I was signing was not an agreement to enter rear of the year I started to despair.
Having just about resigned myself to a “shirt dress” with a long coat which would never come off I traipsed downstairs for some tea. Imagine then my delight then when I stumbled across this dress which I had only received yesterday from my lovely London based friend. I had somehow completely forgotten about it and although it is a teeny-weeny bit tight and shows off every hump lump and bump it is a dress and it is black. To ensure the look was completely conservative I classed it up with some blue Marks & Spencer tights which I bought in one of their outlet stores for £1.50. I had to pour myself into the dress so I quickly did some evil squats and sit ups to prevent the seams from splitting once I felt confident enough to breathe in it. Once I got the hang of sucking in my stomach and throwing my shoulders back I loved wearing this dress and by the time I was ready to head down town I was feeling like a slinky with a hill to master rather than a set of stairs.
Unfortunately a slight damper was put on my day by the usual troubles with getting a prescription and having a uncomftarble conversation with a doctor I had never met before about why exactly I was on weekly prescriptions. ”I think it might be because they were worried I would take an overdose.” Que awkward silence followed by me grinning in a misguided attempt to lighten the mood which probably left me looking a little loopy. Couldn’t be helped but not the easiest start to an acquaintance by any measure. In spite of this little awkward moment I had a really rather lovely bubbly day. As well as signing my contract without bursting into tears of joy, I also found a bar in Market Harborough which has WiFi. It is called The Square Bar should anyone ever be around the area and is as pleasant a place to work as any. Delicious coffee, plenty of natural light and unlike Cafe Nero two doors down does not charge for internet access and gives you a warm glow for doing the right thing by local business.
I do not know when the anxiety started to kick in. It might have been after I got home and realised just how much I had to do. I have been putting off a couple of reviews and doing the women’s week proved more difficult than I thought. I am trying to find decent quotations and if possible direct quotes from the women in question particularly in letter form to give the postings more warmth and authenticity but all of this takes time and as we all know so well time has a habit of hurrying on regardless. To be fair the anxiety may have well been much to do with being alone in the house for a couple of days and having little contact with anyone other than shopkeepers and cyberspace. Usually there is at least one person in the house or even the dog to keep one company and I find it difficult being by myself for too long. I love the idea of getting my own place once I start work but perhaps I am more suited to the social aspects of sharing a flat.
Though I managed to get quite a bit done with a little help from the Glee massive, by the time I went to bed my head was ticking with all the things I wanted to do the next day and it was impossible to switch off. By all rights the dose of the dreaded nauseating Quetiapine should really be all that is required to send me into a near comatose state for eight hours but for some reason tonight it just never kicked in. Perhaps it was the eight cups of tea I drank whilst trying to stave off hunger pangs; the tablets stimulate ones appetite but I am desperate not to gain any more weight even though I know its shallow I just don’t feel I look like me and it makes me feel fed up. Whatever it was I ended up lying here till three am, trying to get to sleep and desperately trying to ignore all the unanswered questions in my head. I think it was about three that I gave up on getting any shut-eye and just decided to do the work I wanted to.
For months now I have been considering getting business cards but have not yet found a suitable site. Last night however whilst tweeting through the witching hour about my desire for prettily designed cards of my own with lostinnotation as my home I was sent a tweet from a stationary angel from across the pond. She writes a wonderful fashion blog called Prim Knickers and recommended me a decent site. I do not actually remember ordering them as I was so tired but here within my email is a confirmation of the 500 business cards I ordered. The difficulty of the internet for occasional insomniacs like myself is it allows you to do pretty much everything 24 hours a day. Decisions which would previously be denied to the sleep deprived are now available and openly promoted. Once after not having slept for five days I booked my boyfriend at the time a trip to Amsterdam for his 21st birthday, it cost me around £800, nearly all of my savings and for some unholy reason I had booked us in to The Botel, a boat which is also a hotel because I thought it sounded romantic. It was not, but there was no getting out of it because they had my card details and I had confirmed it. I sometimes think there should be a universal law for those who suffer from instances of mania no matter how brief that once they have emerged from their spell they should be allowed to take back all their ridiculous purchases and get a free refund. Alas they do not and so soon I will have 500 business cards, at least they look pretty.
- Dress today is on loan from Clara De Los Acres Diez. She is an utter legend and the dress is a great shape from Zara and with blue tights and Kurt Geiger boots it looks extra special. I wore my hair up today as I think it makes me look more serious plus it has started to get on my nerves and if it continues to fall into my face I will be getting a bob before you can say limp lank and lifeless.
When I opened my wardrobe this morning it was to find some frightfully slim pickings of dresses. I am by the last day of January largely down to a collection of frocks more suitable for ball gowns or beaches. As I had booked a table for myself, the boy and some friends at Cafe Bruxelles in Leicester I had to choose an outfit which I wouldn’t feel too ridiculous in once my coat and my self were parted.
Cafe Bruxelles is one of my favourite places in Leicester City Centre. Lately the city has undergone a terrifying transformation in the form of regeneration and unfortunately, as is usually the case with city centre regeneration, the result is more traditional areas are fast becoming abandoned by most shoppers and shops who have moved to the swankier area where there is less grime and graffiti but also a little less character. There is a host of chain stores and depressingly all too familiar mid-range food chains all offering overpriced dishes which taste pretty much the same whatever you order from the menu.
Amidst these culinary crapes are two fantastic places to eat, Cafe Bruxelles and Cafe Italiano; I shall save going into too much detail about Italiano till another day as the man who runs it is a legend and should I visit there this year he will command an entire post just by his greeting; there is however two very defining characteristics of both places which chains will always lack, a clear sign of who it is who is in charge of the place. When you walk into a restaurant and know immediately who it is who owns the place you know you are in for a treat. In both of these places the owner offers at least a friendly smile when you enter and it is their everyday involvement in the running of the place and the personal pride they invest which ensures you never walk away feeling duped of hard-earned cash. It is a place you take pleasure in paying because you know every pound is well deserved.
I first went to Bruxelles with my God-Mother or Fairy-God-Mother when I was fifteen. I know her as my fairy-god-mother because she used to be able to treat all maladies with the touch of her magical wooden spoon when I was a child. My mother also used to have a magic wooden spoon but this was used to ensure good behaviour; the threat of a beating by the spoon was enough to guarantee goodness and I once came very close to experiencing its wrath when I was nine and swore in front of my mother; I had never known she was a runner but she chased me round the garden path, spoon in hand, for what felt like hours but was probably only mere minutes. Anyway my fairy god mother took me there after a shopping trip to find an outfit for a family wedding. It was only a few days since my sister had died and unfortunately the wooden spoon had failed with its magic so Bruxelles was a treat to try and take my mind off our family tragedy. I still don’t think any of us believe we got on a plane a week after my sister died to attend the wedding in Ireland but people do strange things when they are grieving and even though it was a surreal and difficult experience, we would have felt worse if we had not gone.
Bruxelles was at the time everything it still is today. It was formerly a bank and has a carved out ceiling with intricate paintings all around which look as though they have been finely etched with gold. The bar is long and its fridges filled with unusual beers; we brought six and shared them between four of us, each having a little taste which sounds sensible but becomes a little silly when one glances at some of the labels afterwards only to find some are as strong as 12%. Generally when one goes to Bruxelles, one gets mussels which come with thick white freshly baked bread and frites. It is such a luxury and at £8.99 is enough for two to share as a starter or a light lunch during the day.
That day when I came with my god-mother I was allowed a very small glass of wine and a hot chocolate and though I remember feeling distraught the warmth of the place did help to wake me from the trance I had started to fall into. What is most difficult when someone close to you dies is that afterwards for a long time you feel angry at yourself when you experience joy. Happiness seems somehow inappropriate considering the enormity of what you have lost; it is of course a sign that whether you want it to or not life will go on and if you keep resisting the urge to live you will get left and the despair will eventually consume you completely.
When I chose this dress today I could not help but think of my sisters favourite dress which was a red silk Chinese dress, the one which we eventually had to bury her in as was her wish. In Irish families unlike English ones you lay the body out in the house prior to the funeral it is a tradition which is difficult for those who live in the house as you can find yourself going a little crazy hoping the person might still be able to hear you but in many ways it removes the idea of death as something which is scary and should not be talked of. Later after my sister died my parents brought me a black silk dress for my 17th birthday. It is and was beautiful and when I wear it is mas much a homage to the loss of my sister as it is to the joy she brought us. Today at Bruxelles, surrounded by friends, few of whom had known her I couldn’t help but feel sad and full of sentiment and although I meant for this posting to be about the joys of Sunday dinner at Bruxelles, which by the way was lovely, in my melancholic state thinking as I was of my darling sister it seemed a bit too trivial to post only on luncheon.
Today I had a wonderfully productive day. ALthough I usually do a lot from day-to-day I also find that I waste an awful energy just faffing and flitting from one project to another. I am crazily organised about what needs to get done but I still continue to do it in an order which makes no sense to anyone bt myself. Yesterday though I was able to focus my mind completely on one task at a time and as a result I was able to get two blog postings done; my sincere apologies for the delay I have had a topsy-turvy week; write two single reviews for citylifer’s website and an article on Manchester’s newest night out, Sound Control. As I had done so well I was about to take my mother’s advice and just “take it easy for a change”, in spite of the fact that this is a concept which I find rather alien and quite frankly somewhat frightening. As I settled down to catch up on my weekly TV treat, (I can’t watch any more than one programme at a time, I get confused and lose the plot and asking what’s going on every five minutes is a quality not many people appreciate whilst relaxing) which was Big Brother as it happens I received a txt from my mother saying she was staying for a fascinating evening lecture and would I mind making the dinner for the giant.
Usually I would have no problem with doing so. The giant likes to think he can cook and most of our family friends think he is a chef of such respectability that he no longer has to prove it by preparing anything but the truth is he would struggle to put together a tuna toasty if it wasn’t for one of us running around after him finding impossible ingredients and wiping up potential bio-hazards. The difficulty with her asking me to cook last night was that as well as having to catch up on two episodes of Big Brother, darn social life, I had also suffered a bit of rejection with regard to the dress project and was feeling a little in need of some love and care myself and as the giant is usually a bit of a grump about what food he eats I knew I wold have to conform to the usual meat and two veg speciality. I am a creative cook and enjoy either following strange recipes with lots of new fangled types of vegetables and pulses you can only get in health food shops or just stirring a load of leftovers together, sprinkling it with balsamic and mozzarella and calling it something foreign. Admittedly this does mean I have produced some memorable culinary catastrophes but generally my food goes down well and I resent cooking dull food.
I forced myself to get on with it however and abandoning the delights of Davina entering the house; I am not even embarrassed of how much I have enjoyed it, I stopped watching over four years ago but this year’s has been brilliant; I got in with making a chicken and mushroom pie, some peas and mash. The giant was still not happy as I do not think he appreciates his wife having become a part time student. He found it difficult enough when we asked if we could go and laze about for three years and thought he was finished with all that jazz when my brother started work. He showed his crotchetiness by asking whether these were some new fangled type of peas I had made, they were petit pois, and by waiting until the last possible moment to sit down for his dinner.
I mentioned to him before dinner that I had a bad day and as is customary he screws up his face and tries to take it in but worry gets the better of him and as he is terribly English he struggled to engage in such emotive talk. I took pity on him and switched the conversation to the business of getting dresses and the possibility of expanding myself as a freelancer. This cheered him up greatly as he has a fantastic business mind and is so good at arguing his point without ever raising his voice that he would have made a fantastic barrister had he not become involved in the car industry. He was so much more comfortable advising me on best practice and with whom I should be talking to that he even remembered to thank me for the tea and did the washing up.
I worry that prehaps’ today’s dress was a bad choice and this is the reason for the rejection or giving that the dress is quite frankly fabulous I think perhaps it may have just been that I have to accept the fact that even though the project is close to my heart not everyone will feel as enthusiastic about it as I do. It was ridiculously cold today and to visit Harborough town I was forced to layer up to a degree which made me look rather round. With a grey cashmere polo neck which the boy has by accidentally shrunk and a pink blazer and thick tights I think I just about made it work for winter but really this is a Summer creation belted and worn with killer heels being as it is a luxurious combination of silk and thin leather panelling. I do not know if it was the result of going to contact the creator of a bipolar website or comment on the forum and finding I could not or that I got my consultation write-up through in the post but in spite of today’s knock back I am feeling incredibly positive about this project. I am thinking I may have decided to go with one charity, a mental health one and though I don’t want to get too excited about it I will be trying to arrange something with them which would mean 365 dresses can run throughout 2010.
Although I have previously waxed lyrical on my lack of any burning desire to pro-create; thank the stars I hear you think; there are three children who I fear will eventually change my mind leaving me a child wanting wreck of a woman. The children in question are all those of three of my closest girl friends and are also the offspring of some of my oldest friends. The first with whom I chose to accessories with today is Isabelle Faulkner the child of my married friends Sue and Chris. Isabelle ran the risk of being called Smedley by her father but thankfully when she arrived into this world, her dark hair and dastardly cute behaviour ensured Isabelle was a more proper choice. In the photos Isabelle can be seen in the early stages of a fashion addiction which will bring her parents as much joy as it will pain. She became fascinated by my shoe especially when teamed with the shoe song, you really don’t want to know. Unfortunately whilst trying to kiss or possibly chew the shoe; she is teething; she somehow managed to head-butt it and turned from giggly angel to crotch patch in a split second.
The other two children are Ben Slessor, a four-year old who rises about the same time but who has a very pleasant way and who when he is told it is bed-time will go with minimal fuss leaving myself and my friend to gossip well into the early hours of the night; and Olivia Nicholson Steel, the curly blonde toddler who stole my heart back at Christmas when I taught her The Pogue’s Fairytale of New York and carried her with a blanket over her head through the naughty section of an art exhibition I had gone to with her mother at the Tate. She is ridiculously advanced for her age and gives both her parents Niki and Marcus endless pleasure with her sing-songs, sticker art and bed time run about. She is a fashion forward young woman with a wardrobe which puts even my collection to shame and already owns a matching fur coat and hat; gifted to her by yours truly; and a leather jacket with sheepskin lining; all animal friendly of course.
One of the greatest things about these children is that becoming a part of the smug parent clan has not resulted in them becoming smug or horribly mature at all. Though they are all wonderful parents who go out of their way to meet the needs of their child without spoiling them they are still all bloody good fun. Kat in particular is my oldest friend, I was her maid of honour at her wedding and we opened our GCSE results together after a holiday in Lanzarote where I had a rather foolish affair with a Greek waiter called Eric who was utterly gorgeous but had extremely limited English other than “honey vodka?” or “Ellieali”. We still go out on the town on the odd occasion but are equally happy to stay in for a bbq or cook a meal for one another. Kat is utterly hilarious and in spite of being scarily intelligent she never makes anyone feel foolish for being ignorant on any point. On arrival at Sue’s house on Saturday on being asked by my friend Monica whether she had read my blog, she promptly lifted up her long checked shirt dress to show carefully covered leggings beneath. Although I was traumatised I was very pleased to see she had made time to read.
Isabelle’s mother Susanna or Sue is one of the sweetest people one could ever meet. She is a wonderful hostess, relaxed but generous with her home and delicious cups of tea and when wanted pink rosé wine to satisfy both the drinkers of red and the drinkers of white. Katherine and Susanna are as I said are some of my oldest friends, and the fantastic thing about old friends is how well they know you. There is never a need to put on a fake smile or hide how one is feeling. When around old friends I find as I imagine many people do that I can relax and become part of the furniture or join in with the banter and tales of past naughtiness as much as I wish. Older friends are also thankfully never afraid to give you a good telling off if they think you have gone astray; I was carefully questioned by my friend Monica over what my problem was with the legging lovelies as well as my dig at Moyles. They also had no qualms about asking me whether I had abandoned the 365 dress project for the day and was instead going for 365 slightly longer than average tops. I covered myself with a sky blue scarf when sitting down and did all in my power to stretch it out once more.
The dress I am wearing, yes it is a dress, today is by Topshop from their autumn / winter collection 2005-2006. I bought it during a rather large spending spree at the beginning of my last year at Manchester University. It was an extravagant buy at £40 but we were having a cops and robbers themed house party and it seemed worth the green. It was longer to begin with but has I believe shrunk now a little. As you all know by now I am not one to shy away from high hems but I would recommend that if one was to wear a hemlines this short that you do so with longer slouchy boots or perhaps thicker denier tights or dare I say it leggings; so long as you have no plans for front rump flashing.
I shall end the posting with a joke from one of my oldest and bestest friends and mother of the beautiful Isabelle; “Look Ellie, it’s a horse shoe”.
Sir Winston Churchill
There is one day in the year where mental illness is guaranteed to get more press than any other day ; that day came two days ago on the third Monday in January or as many would have us call it the most miserable day of the year. What is strange then is on this day I for one was happily free of any symptons of depression or mania most commonly presented in people with a biopolar type two illness. What was also strange was on this day I was outwardly presenting all the signs of having a mental illness, being as I was sat inside the out patients cliniuc at the Brandon Mental Health Unit at Leicester general awaiting my consultation with a new doctor with whom I would access my current health and discuss alternative methods of medication. I was feeling then surprisingly sparky as I left the appointment because for the first time in months I felt as though a medical professional had actually heard what I was saying and had taken what I had said into account than dismissing it as the Dear Diary ramblings of a troubled girl, very rarely do they refer to me as a woman even though I am now a quarter of a century old.
Rather than just send me away with a prescription for the standard treatment, the consultant, a lady sat and went over my past, present and future before having a frank conversation with me about medication. Being as I am now in remission from depression there is a concern I will fall into a mania. People with bipolar type two are characteristically troubled with depressive episodes but these infrequently peppered with episodes of mania or highs. unlike bipolar type one, the mania one has with type two does not involve hallucinations or delusions rather an extended period of intense energy which tends to last about five days. The difficulty with these highs is in some ways they can be rather wonderful, the problem comes when they stop, and they always do come to an end. When I awake from a high I tend to be 4 lbs lighter and physically and mentally exhausted. It is these highs then which me and my consultant are trying to control and she sat with me patiently as we went through the various treatments. We finally came to a decision one tablet with which we were both happy and a low dose as I feared becoming zombie like as other tablets have left me feeling in the past. Before we reached a solution however we had crossed out salts due to family history concerns and two others on account of possible birth defects for the offspring of women who take them.
In spite of feeling positive when leaving the hospital however, I have since been feeling myself sink a little lower into the haze of the black dog and little by little it is getting harder to see the colours.
It is quite possible this is the result of the tablets working their way into my system, but more than likely it may be the frustration I feel at having to take medicine to normalise my mood. The most troublesome issue is the fact my condition has only recently been recognised as not being merely depression combined with anxiety disorder. Indeed only in the US, obviously, do they recognise the existence of bipolar type two, a type of mania which is not prolonged and where you do not experience delusions or hear voices. One poor man in the waiting room for a second obviously thought he had been given a brand new symptom to tell his Doctor about; as music played quietly in the background he suddenly sat up straight and said rather delightedly, “I can hear voices, I knew it!” The receptionist, apparently well used to his outbursts, told him in a bored voice that what he was hearing was in-fact Chris Moyle’s ramblings in-between the few records he plays. Admittedly we must feel for this man. No doubt many people have at one stage found themselves questioning their sanity as this king of the waves continues to pour out a near constant stream of $£”%!*.
The new tablets make me feel sick on the day after I first take them and I am conscious of being horribly drowsy come the morning forcing me to do most of my work from under the duvet where I am safe from the dizzy spells which are another unwelcome side effect. I try to force myself to not become too disheartened, but as my train nightmares continue into the middle of the week and Dell continue to hold my laptop hostage I do sink a little deeper and though I choose purple tights, my choice of this black dress is yet more evidence of how difficult I am finding it to surface from the haze. The dress is a French Connection number from autumn/ winter 2007 which I got in the sale for £36. I bought it during my first proper job as an events manager and though it now sounds like an extravagant purchase to my poverty-stricken ears, at the time when I was able to eat out a couple of times a week, it seemed like a bargain. It is again rather busty at the front but with a crop top worn over one’s bra it is suitable for day-time and if wearing to the office a black vest would make it more conservative if needs be.
The one thing I try to remember when a black dress mood strikes is the positives of having such a condition. People with bipolar disorder type one and two tend to be rather more productive than the average person and other than the difficulties they might experience during periods of mania the majority can live perfectly functioning if not perfectly ordinary lives. Some days it is difficult to keep the black dog of despair at bay than on others and I do hope I have not assumed too much by commenting on this condition in my post, but I feel it is important that some writers come out of the closet with regards to mental illness. It is not something of which I feel ashamed but I once did and I think the shame many sufferers feel is down to a lack of faces of people who are able to admit to their condition and at the same time be living, blogging, breathing proof of how one can live perfectly happily with a mental illness without it defining you or restricting you as you often first believe it will.
Keeping a mental illness from consuming you is a life long battle and though in this quote Churchill was talking at a time of war, I think it speaks true to the ongoing battle he had with his own illness whilst reminding us of the great rewards that await those of us who refuse to give in.
“Never give in–never, never, never,never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except tp convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. “
Sir Winston Churchill 1941
I woke up to the realisation that on some days this project will feel overwhelmingly daunting. I have now separated my skirts and silk tops to another wardrobe as I could no longer bare to look at them, I have also covered all the dresses I have worn to date, washed and pressed with a pashmina. In spite of this; perhaps as a result of having had awful nightmares about the fish being poorly and having died of frostbite whilst we were away in Ireland; all I wanted to do was pull on a pair of jeans and a soft jumper. My desire for the comfort and ease of denim was increased by knowing that all today held in store was waiting patiently around the house for a Dell technician to turn up to fix my inspiron; an inaccurate name, when one considers that the only thing it has inspired in me is mechanical rage and a desire to revenge myself on the pesky critter which refuses to turn on in spite of all the stroking and praying to St Anthony in the world. Upsettingly the boy has foiled all of my plans to just throw the thing away and get a Mac, reassuring me that when the technician arrives everything will be alright. Needless to say, he lied.
Usually I love lazing round the house on Thursday. This day of the week serves as a lovely gap in my week, an intermission before the madness of Friday when I usually spend all day commuting across the country. Knowing as I do though that today I have no other choice than to stay at home I quickly become restless. I am itching to leave the house but have been placed under near house arrest by the full force of the Dell support team; I must, or so I am told, stay here from nine till half five. Because of this barbaric curfew, I have had to forfeit my lazy Thursday bubble bath and exfoliating shower, wake up before nine to get ready for the technician and skulk about the house with only the internet and the dog to entertain me. Even when the menfolk came up at lunch time, all they did was create a dreadful mess and moan about my use of the printer and the lack of tomato soup. I think they are starting to see me as a kind of house servant who is there to make tea and cheerily enquire how their day is going. It would be a lot easier to contradict this flawed way of thinking if I had actually been able to leave the house.
When the Dell technician finally arrived, I nearly hugged him with relief. It soon became clear however that the man had been sent by Satan to test my patience. After taking my lovely little laptop to pieces in a way which I felt amounted to technological assault he yanked my motherboard unceremoniously from its resting place and replaced it. He seemed quite pleased with himself until the laptop decided it was not being turned on in such an unloving way. It had an almighty sulk and started beeping again; I like to think it was calling him a tactless £”!$%£” but I can not be sure. By the time he had decided there was nothing to be done other than order more parts for which I would have to wait around the house tomorrow, I was quite happy to see him leave along with his various tools of torture. When he comes tomorrow I think I will let him work in private. Like the alleged beauty of a woman giving birth, I think there are some things that only a professional should see in order to keep any hope of future love and intimacy in a coupling.
As I am not yet in pocession of a denim dress, ha hem, I was forced to go with the next best thing. A silk zig zag patterned light blue dress and slinky blue tights with T bar blue and white rimmed courts with a modest house bound heel. The dress is extremely short and due to the placement of the panelling below the bust does not lend for much room or maneuverability, however, as I had no great plans today I thought it best to wear it. If one was wearing it and expecting to see people it would be wise to make sure one sat down on the very edge of a seat or if possible not at all. Bending over in any capacity is strictly prohibited in this dress. I got it from another sample sale, (keep a look out for any in your area, if I hear of any I will let you know), this time for a pound. The sale to which I went had a lot of dresses which were originally designed for Marks and Spencer, Next and other high street retailers but were turned down for whatever reason by the buyers at the viewing stage. There is something so wonderful about knowing the item of clothing you are wearing will not be seen on three other girls when you step outside, obviously I will not be seeing any other girls today but this is not the point. It has a really nice feel to it and although it is short, the underskirt does serve to give you the boost of confidence to leave the house. I usually wear it with boots as it is a bit leggy but having worn a pair every day whilst in Ireland I couldn’t resist pairing it with these blue and white beauties.
If anyone is sorting through their wardrobe and has any dresses that no longer fit or that they no longer want, I would really appreciate any donations as though I still have a few left and am speaking with various retailers about getting supplies, any help to keep this project going would be great.
Whenever I find myself getting carried away with this project, with vast notions of hiring photographers, purchasing lashings of accessories, shoes and scarves, I have to remind myself that I am a freelance writer, a struggling artist if you will. Thankfully I have never been a starving artist, thanks to the fact that we live in a country which recognises the need to support people who are struggling to find work and because I have supportive parents. In some ways it is rather a pity I have never been able to assume the starving artist role as I always found the notion rather romantic as a child. Due to my great love of food however, all eating disorders I have struggled with have been short-lived and though I range from seven stone to my current weight of just above nine my family, friends and lovers have always seemed most pleased with my figure when I am around the nine stone mark.
In an attempt to keep this project inexpensive, thus raising more for charity, and in turn making it more realistic to continue this section of the blog the whole year I have so far been using the boy as my primary photographer. Unfortunately he is in a bit of a sulk this morning, as having forgotten that I am still getting over a whooping-cough he decided last night that his new found role of photographer included being a modern-day Lothario who had a god given right to seduce his “model“. Unfortunately for him, his attempted advance led to a fifteen minute coughing fit which only subsided when I lay tucked up in bed with an electric blanket and cough medicine. Although I am not the “model girlfriend” I did concede to playing a game of draughts in bed so I don’t think I am completely out of favour just yet.
Today I have gone with “the white dress”. I had already decided on this outfit before sighting a similar creation on the page three lady on big brother last night. Although I am sure she is perfectly lovely, the girl is painfully ignorant and so I would like to suggest ways one can wear a dress like this without diminishing ones intelligence, feminist beliefs or by setting womankind back at least a hundred years with every utterance. I figure that when all the celebrities were forced to squash into the mini they survived by using the air flowing in plentiful quantities from her head.
A white dress was traditionally reserved for one’s wedding day, christening, confirmation or baptism. My Mum reluctantly agreed to let me wear a crocheted Sisley white dress for my confirmation, providing I kept the unflattering linen sheet suit jacket on during the service and wore nude rather than red underwear to prevent the priest suffering palpitations ( I was rather a rebellious teen in terms of clothing at least). These days white dresses are everywhere in abundance. They are sold in silk, lace and crêpe and give a wonderful light option in the Summer and a reprieve from the ever prevalent black in the winter. The main mistake the page three lady made on her appearance at the house was wearing the dress with no sense of amusement at the virginal connotations such an outfit suggests. A sense of humor, confidence and an understanding of double entendre is essential in such an outfit choice and sadly I fear she lacked all three.
The best way to wear it is with skin as pure as snow – minimal make up but a slick of YSL touche éclat around the eyes and a dusting of blushing on the very edge of the cheekbones along with lashings of kohl should do the trick. In better weather I would have gone for T bar shoes in block colours but today wellies or winter boots are pretty much our only option if we are to make it along the shore walk without going for a paddle In all fairness , page three lady does get credit for wearing the dress with black tights, but the hearts all over them were too desperate a cliché; heart on ones sleeve perhaps?
The one issue I have with the page three lady is not her profession, in many ways what she does is a quick money-maker, and being employed in such a way would lend more time to pursue other outlets without forfeiting ones beauty sleep. The issue I have with page three lady is her ignorance; surely she would have known days if not weeks in advance of the kind of people she may be spending the month with and could have easily googled them or gotten a PA to do it for her?
As we leave behind the frivolous indulgences of the n word decade, (I truly can not bare to use it) I think our tolerance as a society for women who play the dumb blonde will reach breaking point. We are no longer living in a time where excess is an option even for those on the rich list. Ignorance in this age is not a trait which should be encouraged. Women have fought their way through centuries of oppression in this country alone to be recognised as equals in the eye of the law at least. All over the world women still die of preventable causes such as child-birth and illegal botched abortions. Equal pay is as much a myth in many companies as Father Christmas and to see a woman downplay (I can only hope she is not actually as stupid as she behaved last night), her intelligence and the strength of character which makes a woman is depressing. My only hope is that by spending time around Dynasty’s old flame she can learn to be comfortable enough with herself to give up playing the princess and recognise it is only when you are happy with yourself you can truly start to realise your potential. I am a feminist, no buts, and it is important that no matter what we wear, or in this case do not wear, we hold tight to female solidarity and pride.