Lesbians, Little White Lies and Lipglossiping

Driving home tonight I was having a full on rant about a person who had pissed me off, they weren’t in the car but I was determined to get all the things I should have said off my chest. I was so wound up that my stomach started to hurt and I could feel a vein in my temple throbbing. Not cool.

Suddenly I remembered a tip I read somewhere the other day to sing any negative thoughts to the tune of “Happy Birthday”. Conscious of the need to calm down a bit before meeting my lovely friend Lipglossiping I gave it a whirl. Turning the radio down I belted out:

“Yes I think you’re a twat, you have no manners, if you speak to me like that again then I’ll punch you in the face”. (go on, sing it!)

I couldn’t help but smile as I realised how ridiculous it was and how silly I must have sounded and I started to laugh. A LOT. Before I knew it my mood had calmed and I had a smile on my face. It’s definitely a technique I’ll be using again.

Walking through the shopping centre I clocked the film rental man from a mile off and steadfastly tried to avoid his gaze but it was no good, “Excuse me Madam”
“Sorry! I’m already a customer!” I trilled. A total lie but he wasn’t to know.

I met with lovely Lipglossiping to have a coffee, chat and shop (a Pret ‘n’ Shop) and it was really nice to see her. We caught up over lardy cream laden hot drinks and then had a mooch round the shops. I was good and didn’t buy anything but I relished my role as enabler that’s for sure!

After a couple of hours shopping we stopped for another drink and feeling my bladder was about to explode I excused myself and headed for the ladies. I’d almost reached the safety of the escalator when I heard a familiar voice, “Excuse me Madam, do you watch movies?”
Balls. It was Mr Movie trying to lure me into his web of monthly payments,
“Still a customer!” I shrieked, by this time concerned I was about to piss myself. Clearly knowing I was lying he was undeterred,
“What package are you on?” Fuck.
“I don’t know, my girlfriend sorted it out!” I yelled at him before escaping down the escalator.

Why the fuck did I say that?! I don’t have a boyfriend let alone an imaginary girlfriend! I like girls but not in that way and really why didn’t I just say “I can’t remember”.

What a nob.

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Sign The ‘Fession!

No I’ve not been eating all the Haribo but I do have a ‘fession to make. Earlier when I was in Waitrose doing a shop I let two magazines fall into my basket. Actually scratch that I went over to the rack and stood there perusing the selection before putting two in my basket and heading for the till. In the grand scheme of the shopping ban it’s not a total disaster but it still feels icky and like a failure.

I guess that makes it shopping ban 1, Ally 0 but it’s not over until the fat lady sings and I’m not warbling any time soon. I suppose the important lesson to learn is why I felt I needed them because I spanked almost six quid on something that entertained me for about half an hour and will soon be chucked in the recycling. I may as well have thrown six pound coins into the big green bin at the end of the driveway. It seems like an overreaction to write a blog post about it but sticking to the no shopping thing is something important to me and I’ve messed it up.

But why?

I’m on a bit of a confidence backslide at the moment and am having difficulty in getting my head round some goings on, which is bringing up uncomfortable prickly type feelings that I’m not sure how to deal with. In the past I’ve eaten or shopped to give myself the buzz to make them go away, in fact I’ve normally done both but now I can’t do either. This of course means I have to find another way of dealing with them which might involve *dun dun dunnnnnn* actually talking properly about them and letting people in.

I know I blog about all sorts of bullshit that’s inside my head but it’s rare that I let friends in properly by having actual conversations with them about it all. Perhaps it’s time for that to change.

Refund Reticence

I am learning a lot from stopping shopping and some of it is brilliant such as, “I can survive without blowing £20 MAC lipstick even if it IS limited edition”, some of it is amusing like “who knew I had six red tops I’ve never worn because I don’t like red” and yet more of it is just pathetic like the latest, “I will avoid getting a refund on things because I’m a sook who doesn’t like to cause a fuss.”

The latest case in point being a very expensive external hard drive I bought (before I stopped shopping) in order to back up my manuscript and various other important documents, and also so I can easily take my work with me when I am mobilised to some god forsaken corner of the earth with the Thunderbirds. I thought it would be as simple as plug it in and away we go but in reality could I get it to work? Could I fuck. I spent hours poring over manuals and reviews online trying to find the trick to make the damn thing come to life but no dice and so it remained a very pretty, very expensive paperweight. I caved and started asking the techie men and women around me for help but even they couldn’t crack the code and get it working.

This is where I’ve learnt my lesson since trying to make myself more fiscally aware as my wussy head was trying to convince me to put the hard drive in a drawer and look at it again a few months down the line when somehow (magic?) I’d suddenly have the skills to make the damn thing work. Of course if I had done that I’d have fished it out 6 months into the future, not been able to make it work and been lumbered with a £99 doorstop so instead I decided to stop being such a bloody girlpants and take it back to the shop for them to sort.

I plucked up the courage to go and ask for my money back and so with my heart in my mouth I went into the store clutching the useless hard drive. Cue Mr Patronising Computer Shop Worker who clearly relished looking down on my from his computer knowledge ivory tower and was determined to make me look like an utter thick by plugging the hard drive in and making it work instantly. Well, IN YOUR FACE Mr Patronising Computer Shop Worker looking down on me from your computer knowledge ivory tower because you couldn’t get it to work either could you! I confess I did internal cartwheels when he admitted defeat after about ten minutes before handing me a replacement (different brand) and some cold hard cash.

When I went into the shop I could cheerfully have vomited on him through fear but by the time I came out I was practically skipping with delight at my bravery. Alright so it was hardly the twelve labours of Hercules but it was an important step forward in my quest to reclaim some financial nouse. Buoyed by my success with the hard drive fiasco I then tackled the next thing on my hit list and took back some shoes that I bought in a final act of financial recklessness on the day before I stopped shopping. A month later and the heels are coming apart which is a pretty poor show given I’ve only worn them a couple of times so with a hop, a skip and some steely determination I made it into the shoe shop and back out again with a full refund in my purse. Old me would have swapped the shoes for another pair and then probably spent a squillion pounds on yet more shoes I don’t need so to come out in the black with dollars in my pocket was a bonus.

I’m almost at the stage where if you stop moving for long enough, I’ll try and get you refunded…

Barter Jarter…

Oh okay so that doesn’t work as a title but I wanted to come up with my own ‘Swagger Jagger’ type catchy catchphrase (FYI I am in love with that song and like to do the rap bits in the car and make a face like an angry duck which is what I like to imagine Princess Cher of Lloyd doing when she’s on her own. I also do the fist bumpy thing and the shoulder brushy thing that the cool kids do). (Yes, I’m a twat).

So the no shopping thing continues and I’m watching my brain slowly cope with not being able to flex the Visa whenever it has a problem which is interesting to say the least. I’m a little bit bonkers, case in point being finding the new IKEA catalogue on my shelf in the fridge, I’m a little bit frightened, I checked my bank balance and panicked I didn’t have enough money to last me the month that I begin stopping shopping (WTF?) and I’m a little bit excited about the new world opening up for me. Yes ladies and gents that’s right, I went to Poundland!

I had been in town for an appointment and was walking past to get back to the car when I realised I needed some new shampoo so on a whim I decided to nip in and buy a whole bottle for ONE ENGLISH POUND. It was a bloody revelation especially as I managed to get some that is formulated for brunette hair and promises to make it vibrant. Of course it might make it vibrant but no longer attached to my head which is a worry but in for a penny in for a pound (quite literally). I could have gone on a rampage in there buying all sorts of shit that I’d never use but I didn’t need any of it so I didn’t bother. I had a mooch and a browse to see what goodies I might be able to pick up there when I do actually need things and then skipped home swinging my bottle of hundred pennies shampoo merrily.

Continuing the hair theme, last weekend I also bartered for a haircut with a lovely friend who is a whizz with the scissors as my hair was starting to look like an experiment at the Playdoh mop top hair shop. To be honest she could have hacked at it with some secateurs and it couldn’t have looked much worse. In exchange for a cut and chat I am going to spend an evening of her choice looking after her little boy so that she and hubs can escape for some grown up time. What she doesn’t know is that I properly enjoy spending time with him and would have offered to have him without her going near my bonce with her mad skillz yo.

Also, does the rap bit in Swagger Jagger remind anyone else of the Mathlete rap that Kevin G does in ‘Mean Girls’? No? Just me? Okay.

Letterbox Hell

Day one of stopping shopping and well I err, went shopping. Before you all crack the shits about me falling at the first hurdle though, I went with two lovely friends and although we spent several hours in town I didn't buy a THING! Well okay I did buy coffee and cake for us all but as they have both been super after I got some disappointing news last week clearly that's alright. Besides it wasn't like I bought something else to clutter up my room which is the basic gist of this and even more besides my slice of cake was free because the nice man in Johnnie LouLou's clearly wanted to get into my pants. Actually the girls took the tray and went and sat down before he'd rung it through the till so he did what he could before saying "ahh I can't remember what the last thing was" and asking for my card. It was as if the universe was gifting me a free slice of cake and well who am I to argue with the universe?

Lovely friends were a bit bemused by the stopping shopping thing, especially when I explained that clothes were on the 'can't buy' list unless they were really needed because the old stuff was dead such as underwear or gym wear and that the only way I was allowed to buy other clothes was if I contracted malaria and lost a shit load of weight and thus had to buy a whole new wardrobe to spare my blushes which let's face it is highly unlikely. They tried to argue that "ooh that dress/shirt/bag is gorgeous I NEED it in my life" was enough of a reason to splash the cash but frankly that just isn't going to cut it. I tend to buy beautiful clothes that I never wear because it feels like putting lipstick on a pig or more accurately Monsoon clothing on a water-buffalo and so what is the point in spending on them in the first place? Take for example the amazing peach pleated dress I recently bought from Primark which I will blates never wear because it would make me feel utterly ridiculous – it's hanging unloved in pride of place on my wardrobe door, the last thing it needs is more clothes to join it in the "unworn and unloved club".

I read somewhere that fashion designers would be happiest if they could send their sketches down the runway or at the very least empty clothes like that bit in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" where are the suits of armour come to life. The reasoning is that bodies ruin the line and look of clothes which may go part of the way to explaining why high fashion models are all so bloody skinny – they're trying to be walking, talking A4 pieces of paper. I love clothes and I could pore over fashion magazines for weeks without getting bored so I love having clothes hanging in my room looking beautiful – I'd rather have them there than on my back making me look like a dumptruck wrapped in tinsel but something's gotta give and I think I have enough "key pieces" (wanky fashion term) to display in my room like some weird shopping obsessed woman to last me a lifetime.

After window shopping I came home to make dinner and do a bit of work before bed. Just settling down in front of the goggle box I noticed my pile of post from this morning:

My payslip, normally a harbinger of doom.

A Long Tall Sally catalogue.

A Joe Browns catalogue.

A Simply Be catalogue.

A Boden catalogue.

Can you see a pattern there? ARGH!!! I had to hide them because looking at them would only cause me pain. The Boden catalogue in particular makes me want to whip out Vinny Visa and go to town, well, as long as Mr Boden is including a magic body fixing wands with all purchases of course!

Veni, Vidi, Visa. (I Came, I Saw, I Bought)

Those of you who know me for reals (yo) will attest to the fact that I’m a bit of a shopaholic. Oh alright a lot of a shopaholic who owns so much stuff that she frequently forgets what she already owns and goes out to buy the same thing over and over. The amount of stuff I have has been starting to get me down and so, inspired by my lovely friend Holly from Shopaholly I am about to undertake something that may or may not be the death of me. Dramatic much?

LONG TALL ALLY IS STOPPING SHOPPING…

I feel that this is where there should be a massive crack of thunder and an ominous lightning strike above the roof of my house as the universe recoils in horror at the thought of me abandoning my Visa. Obviously I can’t abandon it completely as a girl still has to eat but on the whole my flexible friend is going to be staying in my wallet for most things. Tomorrow is D-day, the start of 365 days of frugal familiarity as I reacquaint myself with the things I already own. In preparation for putting my plastic on ice I have drawn up some rules and had a little farewell shop today which was actually pretty boring as I needed some new shoes for work, an external hard drive and some toiletries – not exactly the most exciting of farewells!

Things LTA can’t buy:

Food: Takeaways/fast food or alcohol – an utter waste of money and I don’t like how they make me feel so they’re outta here! Also, sorry Mr Sandwich Man but you’ve just lost a customer.

Magazines: I spend a LOT on magazines each month so in order to stop buying trash when I could read the gossip on the internet for free I’ve subscribed to my two favourites and will look forward to them plopping onto the doormat at the start of each month. Plus it was only £20 for both for a year which is an utter bargain, saving me a massive £47.20!

Clothes, Shoes and Bags: There’s just no need for me to buy anything else in this category…. EVER. Exceptions being if I need new grundies or gym wear or if a miracle happens and I suddenly lose loads of weight like shit off a greasy shovel and have to buy a new wardrobe to spare my dignity. Ooh look, is that a pig flying past?

Non Essential Toiletries: I’m the proud owner of an IKEA Helmer unit which is pack-jammed full of makeup, lotions, potions and balms. I could probably makeover the whole of Southampton using the contents of the drawers and so relying on that once my usual makeup runs out will be a nice challenge and hopefully get me out of the makeup rut I’m currently in. I treated myself to a bottle of perfume today from Cheap Smells which was 48% cheaper than in the shops and also had free postage – my last little indulgence.

Jewellery and Accessories: See clothing, shoes and bags. I could open my own branch of Accessorize and if there’s something I need for a specific event then I can always borrow something suitable from the girl council.

CD’s, DVD’s, Books: I thought about whether I could give up buying books for a year and then I looked round my room at my heaving bookshelves crammed with books I’ve never read and figured yeah, I probably could. It might even enable me to catch up on my book backlog. Between a combination of what I already own, friends’ collections and the local library I’ll be okay.

Stationery: My weakness, I’m a stationery hoarder. I can kiss goodbye to going near Staples for the next year as every time I come out of there I’m lugging a massive Santa style sack of goodies that are neatly stacked in my bedroom for use ‘one day’. I’m one of those freaks who can’t bear to write in a crisp new notepad. I better get over this little quirk quickly or I’ll be writing on the back of my hand for the next year…!

Things LTA can buy: AWOOGA!

Food: Obviously I can’t stop buying food (as much as the skinny girl inside me trying to get out would want me to) but I can shop smarter. Gone is the mini shop every few days which is a killer on the bank balance and in comes the weekly shop *gasp*. I know, it’s a bloody revelation.

Petrol: A full tank, once a month with the goal being to make it last longer than a month…. Wish me luck!

Essential Toiletries: When the stuff I’m using runs out then I can replace it. But only when it runs out of course…. Although if there is a great offer on shampoo or conditioner which I get through at a rate of knots then I’m allowed to stock up. I’ve also finally sorted a pre-pay card for my prescriptions which will save me £155 a year *gulp*

Presents: I did consider giving up buying birthday pressies for my nearest and dearest but you know what, I like them too much for that and I’ve been told I’m pretty good at present buying so who am I to deprive the masses. I am going to try and be a bit more creative with my gift buying as after all, price doesn’t = love.

So… There it is in all it’s glory. Argh. In a bid to become less of a consumer I’m also going to be having a huge clear out with a massive eBay sale to come of anything I can put my hand to in my room that I haven’t used in 18 months or can’t see myself using in the future. Sadly this won’t include the Mulberry’s though… sorry ladies!

Why am I doing all this? Well I’m hoping to end the cycle of feeling like I need to buy things to make myself feel better or to get over a bored day or just because. I know it’s going to be a challenge and I’m honestly cacking my pants but I’m hoping that this time next year I’ll be able to see a lasting change in my shopping habits (and my savings account!). Wish me luck!

#94: Do a forward roll in the pool


A silly one I’m sure you’ll agree but one that made me smile when I managed it, legs flailing and swallowing half the pool. I always wanted to be one of those girls who could do tricks in the water, handstands, backflips etc because of course that also meant you were one of the cool kids – at the age of 29 and 42 days, I finally became a cool kid!