Let me begin by reassuring you that despite appearances to the contrary this dress is not a shirt. Though I chose it thinking it would work quite well for a night on the town as well as a day dozing in the garden it turned out to be rather unsuitable for both.
I decided to take today off so I could squeeze in some extra time in Manchester and finally get the chance to catch up with my friend who has been on a show stopping musical theatre tour all over the UK. After having a lovely lie in I sat outside in the garden to have my coffee and it was so nice that I didn’t really move much during the rest of the day. My friend came to join me outside and I got so lost in catching up that I foolishly forgot about the wonder that is sun cream. By the time the boy had returned I was a ridiculous shade of pink which did not at all suit today’s dress and is extremely painful.
As we are going out to a gig tonight I tried to calm it down and undo the damage by applying layers of after-sun. After the tenth layer I started to wonder why it was having no cooling affect in spite of the cucumber coloured bottle. At this point I had a look at the label and realised that what I had in-fact been applying was body glitter which had no healing affects but did make me look like an orange disco ball.
There was no time to take it off so I slipped on some other sparkly stuff in the hope of creating an overall impression of a woman hell bent on matching every accessory, arm make up included. The gig was set to take place at a mansion in South Manchester so I treated my feet to fancy shoes and wincing from the pain of my arms clambered in the taxi with the rest of the band.
I must admit that when I hear the word mansion my first thought is Mr Darcy’s estate at Pemberley. For this reason when we arrived at a rather beautiful but derelict mansion which had soil where I was hoping for grounds I was a little disappointed. It was still however a location for a gig and once I got over the soil which was staining the bottoms of my feet it actually turned out to be okay. There were bands playing sets in their pyjamas, toddlers singing magic penny to a hundred people and if one dared to explore the mansion there was an artists rabbit run inside. There were books on every subject you would ever want to study from the 60s and beyond, a grand piano, an artists easel and rooms where musicians could record, for free.
- The dress is originally from H&M, the belt from Topshop, the shoes from Kurt Geiger and the jewellery from Pilgrim. This was one of those dresses donated by the lovely Lara. Though it made for difficult descents from the taxi it is a cute little number and on someone shorter may be rather less revealing.
Getting behind with blogs always bums me out. I do like to make sure I am up to date but there are times like today when I have so many to catch up on that the task just seems too much. After many attempts to bash out a birthday blog, a tribute to the red dress and even a recollection of the night of my birthday celebrations I had to give up because I just couldn’t get them right and because in the case of the celebration blog my memory has been compromised by too many cocktails. Who knew something so delicious could be so lethal, darn you Oat Hill and your sorcerer ways.
There are times the blogs just fire from my fingers and in a matter of minutes a medley of words will shoot up on the screen. Today though no matter how hard I try I can’t finish even one, or even start it for that matter. My mind is all over the place and I’ve been on a downward slide ever since I woke up on Sunday morning. They say that alcohol is a depressant and the state I was in at the end of the day would seem to support that fact.
I do try to cheer myself up, I really do. I abandon Yoga for a three episode Glee marathon in the hope that the cheesy tunes would prove to be more spiritually cleansing than another session of singing oms. Unfortunately I fear I may have made the wrong choice and find myself wishing I had given the hippy healing another go. Glee is great but if I am honest its a little like Harry Potter, you always find yourself wishing it was real and knowing that there isn’t really a magical world or a place where spontaneous song is totally acceptable makes me a little sad.
In the end I decide to abandon my attempts to become a professional singer and opt for an early night. When I enter my room I am instantly cheered. The boy stayed over last night and I confessed to him that I was fed up of getting behind with blogs and having a room that was constantly in a state due to having a hundred dresses with no real place to put them. He has tidied up the room, put up my birthday cards, hoovered the floor and I even detect a hint of polish in the air. As well as this he has found the picture of liownn and I and mounted it on the wall opposite my bed so that the first thing I see when I wake up is the colourful drawing. Admittedly the dresses are still in a pile at the end of the bed but they are in a neat pile. This makes all the difference. Though things are tough with us living apart he still seems able to find ways to make my week easier even when he isn’t here. Now if only I could remember how to write.
- Today’s dress is from Florence and Fred sent from my mystery dress donor. Unfortunately I still know no more about the identity of this person and feel as though I am getting nowhere after ruling out my only suspect. Though I had thought the Polish Princess was the sender, the boy’s mother was away in Spain when this package arrived and unless she has gained an accomplice I think I must look elsewhere to find the culprit.
When I was studying to be a journalist two of the women I was most impressed with were Rebekah Wade and Anna Wintour. I read bits about Rebekah in Piers Morgan’s autobiography and I was impressed with how fearless and ferocious she was. There was one incident described by Morgan when she hides out in the boys toilet with a hat covering her auburn curls just so she can snatch the paper from the printing room for.
What attracted me about these women was there ability to survive in what is so often a male dominated industry and not just survive but excel. Today, faced with a flurry of stories I succumbed to tears in the girls bathroom and thinking of these two women I felt ashamed. I want to be ferocious, cut throat and ambitious but sometimes I find myself filled with self doubt. Taking on a new job will always be daunting and I am assured by many that tears in the toilets is an occupational hazard of any job but still I wish I could be a bit stronger.
I hope that this is all a part of a learning curb which will soon become a little more level, but whatever might occur I must still my moans. I am living the dream and must lap up all that lady luck has granted upon me. Whilst talking to the boy tonight he said something which made me cry even more than I have already done today. ”You might wish it was all over, but what if this is all we’ve got?” Sometimes it is these kind of stark statements which bring you back if only just to realise how much there is to lose by giving it all up.
This is the job and this is the dream and I guess I just have to dry the tears, hide the fears and fight through it wondering all the while what Rebekah would have done on the same day.
- Today’s dress is Marks & Spencer, the jumper is Prada-mark and the belt is Topshop. I felt a little stocky in it but I was cold and didn’t ant to freeze and after all the colourful choices of the past few days the chance to just be in black was too good to miss. Big thanks to my secret donor who I believe sent this in a shoe box of love.
Everyone keeps telling me that in time it will get easier to juggle the job, the boy and the blog, but it has been six weeks and I am still struggling. Last weekend, finding myself behind with my posts because of a busy week at work I tried to catch up. The boy was down for the weekend and my writing dug in to our time together. Though he said at the time that he did not mind, my mother later admitted that she had seen him mock tossing my little laptop from the door. Either he does not like my laptop or he is jealous of all the time we have been spending together.
To try to make him happy and to prevent the blog from coming between us I left log ins to a minimum and only wrote when he was elsewhere. Though this did mean we got a lot more time together, by the time it came to me heading home I was stressed and tearful. I had done no washing, writing or ironing and in spite of my best efforts to catch up on sleep I was still feeling tired.
After saying goodbye I managed to drive till I was just around the corner before having to pull in for a cry. Though I managed to pull it together enough to engage my natural sense of direction after the sat nav ran flat by the time I got home I was a wreck. I do not know why I cannot cope, it seems ridiculous really. I am a grown woman who should be quite capable of living if not acting independently and yet being away from my boyfriend for five nights a week leaves me in a mess. Though I want to stay up to get caught up on the blogs I have left behind over the weekend, tomorrow is deadline day and if I fail to get enough sleep now I’ll be all over the place in the morning. I do hope the girls are right and that sometime soon I will get better at juggling and be able to handle everything more easily with a lot less stress. Spending Sunday evening and Monday morning in tears is never a good start to the week and I am afraid that if this carries on any longer I will have no choice but to drop one of the three. What on earth is wrong with me?
- Today’s dress is on loan from Sinead Kenny. It is originally from Miss Posh. As we are getting a bit bored with the same old background and props we decide to take the pictures outside using a dandelion. It is a nice idea but my heart isn’t really in it as all I can think of during the whole shoot is my car parked behind us which I will soon have to drive away in. The dress is meant to be worn sleeveless but I do not have enough up top to make it stay there by itself so I pull on a Marks & Spencer long sleeved top and use a bobby pin to keep it in place.
Every year Salford puts on a two day festival called Sounds of the Other City. It has a little more grit than most two day inner city dos and plenty of good ales, fancy foreign beers and tasty fresh food more commonly found at a farmers market than a festival. The weekend has not started well but I’m trying to be a more positive person and so I pick out the prettiest dress, comb out my hair and with my glad rags on try to raise my spirits for what has traditionally been a slamming party.
Though it wasn’t meant to be the way the boy and I end up alone and having the kind of time alone together that we rarely have these days. It is one of those days when you find yourself falling in love just a little more than ever before, I hope you’ve had them. You remember why it is that you work through the tears and the tantrums because in truth this is the one in your life with who everything just feels right.
We go skipping through the shops like children, searching for a cardigan to keep me warm because I was too worried about looking good for my boy in the band. The weather is freezing and the boy does his best as usual to usher me into his hooded top but its blue and for boys and the dress is too pretty to be covered by it. We end up settling on a long grey cardigan from Wallis which will now be my new cover it up for work. The problem with the project is that I have lots of very pretty dresses which are borderline suitable for the workplace, some a little short, some a little low, this will make even the shortest shimmery shift suitable for the most conservative court appearance.
After sipping down strawberry beers and munching on chicken tacos and tasty chilli which even my soft-core taste buds can handle we slink back on the walls to watch a wailing guitar guy leads us in a chorus of She’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes. We glimpse an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time, she is looking well and loved up and there is something about seeing somebody so content that cheers me through just as much as my cherry beer; strawberry got sickly quickly.
We head over to the gig where the boy plays an acoustic set. The crowd seem to like it and I wish I could be playing the part of the reviewer once more. The venue has a great feel to it and the two girls who put it on are either extremely excitable or just pissed. Either way their enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd laps it up.
We end up hanging out with the other Onions and our friend Ben, who is just lovely. The last time we were here our gang was a lot bigger and I miss the rest of the crew, especially the girls; Anna, Clara, Ellen and Niki. They are all great company and I wish we had all found work in the same city. Sometimes I find myself a little jealous of London which has landed all these great ladies and I lament not making it down there to see them as I should.
We watch a surf band from Wales. They are playing at one of the city churches where they are selling beer and alcopops. It is surreal and though I fear my mother might not like it I lie beside the boy on a blown up sofa beside the altar. I figure its okay because this is the Church of England and I figure they do things different from us Catholics, we kneel.
Later on we head back to The New Oxford, where the boy had his gig. There’s a band Frazer King, friends of the boys who are playing and based on the last time I saw them they are well worth a watch. Though I do not tell the boy, there is something a little sexy about their lead singer who growls the lyrics. When we get there we find the band outside, setting up on the steps of Salford Magistrates Court, having decided they are too big for the venue. I am amused by their arrogance but their choice of setting is inspirational and the set is sublime. I shiver throughout and see traces of blue on my lips but I don’t want to miss a moment and dance and sway with the boy just to keep warm. They put on a show and its one of those gigs you just know you’ll never forget. I wish the crew were all here but its great and I’m happy and in love and I don’t care if it lasts, its here and we’re happy.
- The dress is from Topshop, a tea dress. I usually hate showing my back, its broad and has a mole which I would love to move but its an eight and when it fits I get a bit carried away and forget all my usual insecurities if only for one day. It is on loan from Kat Ingham, who is in Manchester but who I unfortunately missed out on seeing tonight as she was at the sound of the other city, or Maps.
One of the difficult things about this project is constantly being on camera. Every day, no matter how rough I feel I put on a smile, well sometimes, strike a pose and with a little bit of make up and a lot of low lighting, try to look pretty. Lately though I have been suffering from the body blues and though I long to slip into arse skimming slimming trousers and shirts my never ending pile of dresses beckon and the camera calls to record my every insecurity.
I want to be happy with my figure I really do but I honestly can’t remember when I was last able to look into the mirror and be pleased with what came back at me. The difficult thing is that its my own fault, the tablets I am taking threaten weight gain and unless I start getting into some serious cardio I am going to continue to struggle to combat the effects.
I know I am not alone in this problem, anti-depressants and bipolar medication is renowned for causing weight gain and an increase in appetite and it is a pain. For me it felt all the more frustrating when I started to gain the weight as whenever I am going through a manic phase my metabolism peaks and I burn through food like fire licks through fuel.
Though it is vein and self centred, part of the reason I protested to going on the quetiapine in the first place was because I was afraid of putting on weight. I have been trying to force myself to move more quickly in the morning so I can have more time at toning up but as another side effect which I am still struggling with is sleepiness so far I have managed just a few snatched sit ups and a run of squats whilst brushing my teeth.
What cheered me up a little when I got home this evening is knowing I am not the only one. My mysterious dress donor wrote again and quite considerately to my current condition sent size 12 dresses with a little more room to hide away in. In the letter she admitted she too is currently struggling with her size and the temptations of left over Easter eggs.
It is always nice to know that one is not alone and the letter cheered me up enough to keep the hip hugging dress on till the photos were done. Inspired my letter writing friend I make a decision to stop being such a lazy bum and start moving more and snacking less on the tempting pastry puffs sold downstairs at the delicatessen.
Just because it cheered me up, and in the hope it will make you smile I have included the third letter from my mystery sender. For a change I thought I’d give it you unedited without my take on the translation. It came again tucked into a shoe box with three other dresses. Perhaps she is a shoe box collector or a fan of footwear? The puzzle continues.
Hulow ugayn Eeleenor
Howes yew bin keepeeng? Ay howp yoos wel nd lyf bin treedeeng yew goot. Iym owkay. Feal betr wen weder ees varm.
Jewst senteeng yoo unodder feew dreseengs unt beltses. Howpes dem fited yew.
Iyam feree oops set at de mowment bekaos Ayhv pooted on sum wayt. Bin eeteeng Eestr egses unt siteeng om baksyd eensted ov dooeeng fingses.
Mast stp dees ut wuns – nortee roomn dat Ay am.
- Today’s dress is another from my mystery sender. It is beautiful linen and button downed with a cute little collar. I wore it to work with a long sleeved black top and red heart shaped belt but by the time I got to Manchester I was feeling a bit constricted and lost the belt and extra bulk of the top. The tights are a gift from my mother who picked them up from one of the Loros charity shops. They were still in their sleeve and though they look like they come from the 80s tights are tights. My mother and I often find really decent tights in charity stores which have never been opened. Its a good place to look and often you can find silk stockings for a bit of a fifties feminine treat for your feet.
I last had a letter from the mysterious dress donor last Friday. She sent another shoe box package filled with beautiful dresses and pretty belts in all sorts of colours and styles. After a friend suggested last weeks letter had Germanic influences I decided to investigate more thoroughly. The boy’s mama, the polish princess has always had a good eye for charity shopping. In the past she and I have trawled around the garden city in search of cheap treats and both get giddy when we find designer clobber in great shape and at a fraction of its original price. As the Polish Princess is, well Polish I start to wonder whether or not it could be she who is my secret sender. I am not sure how best to make enquires so I spend some time studying the latest letter for a hint of her land, customs or language.
My dearest Ellie (Scottish?)
Unudr weeck haf parst. I am sendeeng yoo sum moor dresess und de beltses.
Another week has past. I am sending you some more dresses and these belts. (Dutch perhaps?)
Howp dem ees onlite. eye howps de oder wones were sewtibl. Eet ees veree hardee too fynd wones een yur syzes wot ees alsow sooteebl fovr vorck boot ey vil bee triing two fynded dem fo yoo. (What now?)
Hope these dresses are all right. I hope also the other dresses which I sent to you last week were suitable. It is very difficult to find ones in your size which are also suitable for work but I will endeavour to seek them out from the four corners of the earth for you. (Somebody familiar with my size and that I have a job, interesting.)
eet masted bea veree diefkootd twoo fynd ay deefrend dress vor eetch dey – sevenn wonses eetch weec.
It must be very difficult to find a different dress for each day – seven dresses each week. (A person obviously familiar with the basic principals of mathematics).
Good luck to you in your quest. How are you keeping? I am okay and enjoying the delightful weather. Thank goodness it is sunny. (The Polish Princess is a sun worshipper and garden enthusiast, could this be a clue?)
ekskoos may speleeng bat mi enklish ees nod sow gut.
Excuse my spelling but my English is not so good. (A foreigner!)
Ryt two yew soons wid unnudr parcle.
I shall write to you soon with another parcel.
I am puzzled indeed. From the look of the letter the sender could be a member of any EU state or simply a child let loose with a marker and an antiquated spell check. Perhaps they used a defunct quick quotes quill at the end of the line, oh if only Potter life was real. Anyway back to the mystery. Armed with the second letter and my suspicions about the Polish Princess I approached the boy. He denied all knowledge but as he was giggling giddily I am not sure how honest he is being with me.
I call the Polish Princess hoping for a confession. I ask her out right but she genuinely sounds as though she has no idea what it is I’m talking of. At first I think she is playing a part but when she says she does not know what a blog is I remember her aversion to technology and start to believe her. When I tell her about the notes she suggests the frocks are being sent by a mad woman. If she is lying, she is good. Though she lets slips she has been trailing the treasure shops for clothes for herself she does not falter in her flat out denial and in the end I have to accept my press powers are no match for the Polish Princess. I do not now know who it could be who is sending the dresses and wonder if I will have to wait till the next note to find out more.
- Today’s dress is from my donor who is not necessarily the Polish Princess. As I can not find the person to thank, do know, whoever you might be that I am grateful for the frocks. So many people have now donated dresses to the project or loaned ones of their own to keep me going. As well as the mystery donors there have been parcels sent from Florida, Germany, friends, family and even a fairy (God mother). One thing which has surprised me is how difficult it has been to gain support from actual shops. I had rather hoped the interview might lead to a few local shops in the Harborough area getting in touch, but so far I have had no luck.
- Today’s dress is perfect for work as it is not too short or too low and actually looks like a pretty serious piece of work wear. It is perfect for work as it has little pockets where I can stow away a pencil and paper. I always think it is better to approach people with stationary out of sight so as not to alarm people scared of seeing their name in the paper. I feel I rather destroy my attempt at sophisticated office chic with my choice of stack gold heels and purple tights but I’m still rather ropey from last night’s poorly and I need a little lift to get me through the day. My brother took today’s photos which I tried to make a little different with the shades. Also I had a headache and they helped protect my eyes from the flashing light.
I feel restricted. Today’s dress to an outsider looks beautiful, flowery and feminine but throughout the day it has been slowly killing me. There is a corset structure on the inside which I believe may have realigned not only my bust but also my inner organs. In all fairness the dress has not been particuarly helped by my decision to go for the trio of meats at the Oathill for my Sunday dinner. The dress does not take kindly to my choice and even when I am ordering it I feel it twisting in outrage trying its best to remind me that corseted ladies should stick to neat little cucumber sandwiches and at a push a stick of Ryvita.
When the boy has to leave for home I am inconsolable; the weekend as always has gone by all too quickly and it feels as though there was no time at all to just be. Fearing I will embarrass myself on the platform by crying or trying to board the train I say goodbye at the door and let him get a lift with my baby brother. I don’t want him to see me sad but when he says goodbye I start to cry and can’t seem to stop.
I try to force myself out of it by sitting down to catch up on blogs but there is a problem with wordpress and I can not post. I do not know why but this leads to further tears which confirms my fears that I am starting to lose it a little this evening. Until now I had not realised how helpful writing the blog is for my general well being. There is something about writing it which allows me the creative release which I so obviously need. I spend so much of my time trying to keep my emotions under control and monitoring my behaviour to make sure I am not falling to low or climbing to high that it is nice to just write and not have to worry too much over what comes out.
When I write for the press I am constantly fretting over minute sections of sentences. I spend time trailing through the thesaurus to find the perfect word and seek out alliteration and rhyme wherever possible, checking the metre of the sentence by reading it aloud in my head. With the blog though I just type whatever I feel about whatever has moved me that day.
There are days where I do specific posts which I have thought about in my head for weeks but I never feel pressurised to perform when I blog and this I suppose is mainly down to you. I have been lucky enough so far to have readers who do not judge, demand or criticise too easily. I know the quality waivers and that posts are at times too long or too short but thank you, from the bottom of my heart for bearing with me and finding the time to read.
- Today’s dress is a donation from my lovely Fairy God Mother. I do not usually wear this style of dress, I am paranoid about my wide shoulders but with a cardigan the dress is balanced and thanks to the corset everything is pulled tightly into place to give me an hourglass shape which I guess is worth a bit of discomfort. I stuck with bare legs but am beginning to think the time has come to invest in a little sun in a bottle to stop my milky white limbs from blinding people with their ghostly glare.
I have sunk. Over the past few days I have felt myself falling and today I am just totally flat. I am worried about work, about the way I write and about how long it takes me to get a good introduction done. I am anxious and annoyed at myself for not getting on quicker; I am trying desperately hard but I just want to be there so much faster than it seems to be taking me.
I was gifted with the opportunity to write and research the splash, the front page of the paper. I managed to get the quotes and the contacts which is often the hardest part but when it came to writing it I froze. I couldn’t seem to convey what I wanted to say in the opening paragraph and after writing it and discarding it twelve times panic set in. It was so annoying because I had the time I just folded under the pressure. I was starting to feel last week as though I was finally getting the hang of things but after fluffing up today I just feel so angry with myself for not being able to follow things through. I know I can write but I just seem to be struggling.
I do not think that it helps that I have been coming home to an empty house the past couple of days. I like to think I am an independent woman who is happy in her own company, and most of the time I am. It is times like this evening though that I feel myself getting a bit tearful and wish the boy was here so I could curl up on his chest and warble out my worries from the day. As it is though I am alone and sad and have little enthusiasm for anything. The football was on and I watched it for a little while but couldn’t seem to summon the usual love of the sport. I knew I should eat but there was nothing I wanted and I did not see the point in cooking for myself. I had started to wonder whether it might be good for me to move into a place by myself, where any stresses were all my own but on days like this I worry how I would cope. Perhaps I will be one of those women who ends up with seven kittens or maybe I shall be sensible for once and take up Tai Chi.
- Today’s dress was brought for me by the boy as a cheer up treat yesterday. It is some unusual make but it was from British Heart Foundation and was only £3.99. I wore it with my checker tights and some huge heels to give me a bit of a boost. I am not usually a fan of purple but according to the boy it suits my hair colour. My baby brother took the photos for me before having to head out to see his lovely lady. He is a big fan of strange angles which he creates by spinning the camera around and randomly taking the photos when I am least expecting it.