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Shopping shenanigans

22 Nov

For days I’ve been wanting to tell you about my brilliant Saturday! I don’t know where the time has gone, but somehow it’s nearly Wednesday and I haven’t done it yet.

So, here’s my Shopping Saturday for your delectation. Brilliant eats and some lovely bargain clothes too.

Firstly, eats. I picked up this fab Beetroot and Walnut Pesto at our farmers’ market which is just a couple of streets over from my flat every Saturday morning. To be honest with you, I feel a bit smug-liberal whenever I go there, so I don’t often buy much. I think there’s a class-consciousness beating deep in these veins that would somehow prefer me to go to Tesco as it’s ordinary! The farmers’ market does have brilliant veg and meat, and lovely crafts, but as someone who’s cutting out bread and cakes I have to pass by so many of the stalls. I didn’t really use the pesto as sauce, rather as more of a relish in delicious wholewheat pittas with cucumber that brightened up Monday and Tuesday in the office.

After the farmers’ market, I headed off to my butcher’s. The class consciousness kicks in less there, as though I’m doing the trendy thing and asking my butcher for odd unfashionable cuts alongside other Guardianistas seeking ingredients for Nigel Slater’s latest, the butcher is also serving elderly West Indian ladies who he greets by name, putting their bacon and lamb chops in their bags ready wrapped. Anyway, I bought a whole shoulder of pork (and my arms nearly fell off carrying it home) – but more about that in my upcoming WIAW post.

Next stop was some charity shops to see what was on offer. As you know if you read this blog, I’m nearly two stones into a three-and-a-quarter stone weightloss journey, so buying new clothing now isn’t clever. Instead I’m charity shopping for the odd new piece that’ll update my wardrobe in line with my svelte-r but not svelte-enough figure. I got three super bargains this week.

A brilliant M&S Autograph silk t-shirt with three-quarter length sleeves and optional snood in size 12 which nearly-but-not-quite fits (it’s the arms that are the problem!). This was £4.99 – still with the tags on.

Also Next boots for £4! One of the joys of losing weight is being able to wear jeans again (albeit that mine, last worn in 2007, are dreaded indigo bootlegs, so I look a little throwback amongst all the skinnies of the last four years!). For jeans you need boots – preferably heely boots. These do the trick:

My third brilliant purchase: a size 12 chunky black cable-knit with no fastening from H&M. No pic, as it looks like nothing on the hanger, but is so smart for a winter office wardrobe, and goes with everything. £3.99! Marvellous.

My final expedition of the day was to Waitrose. I wanted frozen edamame beans for my go-to late dinners or light lunches, and thought I’d have a look around while I was at it! I ended up with a brilliant haul: edamame, Dorset Foods Gingerbread Porridge (which I’d read about at Skinny Latte’s place, but hadn’t seen to buy), chipotle paste, and a pack of no-sugar Old Jamaica Ginger Beer! I did a little dance on seeing this last, which is legendary in slimming circles but so hard to find!

Also in Waitrose I got this: Aveeno daily moisturising lotion with lavender. I’ve been needing something more heavy-duty for the winter cold and daily showers of my exercise routine, and was sort-of holding out for a chance to buy Dr Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream – the gold standard, and the product that when you smell you’ll wonder why no-one told you about it years ago. Sadly our outlet in SmallCity has closed, and I needed something straight away, so the Aveeno it was. And it’s stunning – my skin has not felt this soft or hydrated in years. I’m not sure this product is supposed to be for your face – but it’s certainly doing mine no harm, and it’s positively slaying my dusty elbows!

So, that was my brilliant Sunday! As for what happened to all that pork (and the chipotle paste), watch this space!

By her tote will you know her

29 Oct

I find commuter style is a particular modification of office style.

Firstly, money: by the time you’ve taken the decision to commute, you’re probably out of the Primark phase. You’re heading mid-market – M&S for basics, plus Next, Wallis and maybe even Reiss, Hobbs and Whistles. But commuting imposes costs (steep ones); so spending money on clothes when annually you write an enormous cheque to the transportation company of your choice, not to mention all the ready meals, feels extravagent. I deal with this dilemma by buying pretty much everything secondhand, from charity shops and the clothes agency at the foot of my road – a wardrobe of British high street classics at Primark prices.

Secondly, preparedness. I leave my house on commuting days at five to six in the morning. At that time, it’s impossible to know how to dress for the day’s weather, so I best guess. As I step out of the house, nervously checking my watch and wishing I’d hurried up in the shower, a cross-section of my capacious tote would show you (variously) sunglasses, flats, an extra cardigan, an extra scarf, a winter hat and gloves, two mobile chargers for the blackberry and iphone/ipod and a necklace or chandelier earrings in case of unexpected drinks after work, plus, always, a gym kit. There are some months when the hat and gloves are left behind, but they are few.

Thirdly, comfort. When I sit down in my place, I wish to snooze from just past six until our arrival in London at half-past seven. I want dresses that will stand up to a day that takes in my early start, smart office meetings, errands, running to the gym and socialising. My weekday wardrobe is thus dresses with some stretch, worn with a rotating set of jackets and jewellery, and patent courts – with patent flats for running.

Fourthly, commuting makes you fat (all that sitting and the temptation of a-little-something-for-the-journey-which-can’t-hurt). Be prepared, like me, to have a number of wardrobes at different size points. This was not a planned undertaking, but a result of my 18-month cycle, faithfully maintained over more than half a decade and several revolutions, of curving up through a 16 peaking at 18/20 and then slowly curving back. Joyfully, I am now on the downwards trajectory, after losing more than a stone since the summer. I took pleasure in looking out from their vacuum bags the dresses there consigned following the last upward curve of the yo-yo. These dresses will hopefully enjoy a brief swansong before being packed away with the 18s and 16s as I move ever closer to that elusive size 12. Then the fight will be on against the uptick as the cycle starts again…

So there we have it: commutershrink’s ruminations on commuter style.