I am a slender, captivating, beautiful woman…unless there is a mirror in front of me then my delusions shatter like glass and the mirror remains intact.
It has been a while since I have had to play dress up but when an event calling for black tie comes around it immediately sets your thoughts jogging on the same old track – why did I eat that last slice of cake; why didn’t I start my diet last week/month/year/decade; why did I cancel my gym membership; why didn’t I use my gym membership…yep, the only treadmill I get near to these days is the one in my head!
So, finding myself unable to don any of my glamorous outfits as they appear to have shrunk from disuse (yes, they can do that!) I have to find an alternative. I decided to go clothes shopping (something I detest unless I’m with giggly friends). My daughter was supposed to join me but HRH the Duke of Edinburgh saw fit to hold a training day on Saturday so I was left to pound (yes, I am now that heavy!) the arcades of the Eden Shopping Centre on my lonesome (feeling sorry for me yet? No? Just wait). It was bitterly cold and the snow fell gently – it looked wonderful – and converted my once-sleek head of hair into a halo of frizz. But, no matter, I didn’t once glance at my reflection as I swanned into Monsoon. There, I found a beautiful beaded gown on the sale rack marked down from £280 to £40 and in my size (almost). The reason for the severe mark-down was a small ink-stain and, sure enough, rubbing at it with a tiny drop of water from my hair (melted snow) the ink began to disappear. Wow! A bargain – something heart-lifting in the first shop! Unfortunately, it had suffered the same fate as the gorgeous outfits in my wardrobe: it too had shrunk while it languished, unloved, on the For Sale rack. But I was not dismayed and bought it – my goal is to lose enough weight to fit into it by August next year when my husband will take me to the opera at the outdoor theatre in Verona (and a good friend had better direct his eyes to this particular sentence or he’ll be married to one seriously pissed off woman come August 2014).
Where was I? Oh, yes, one gorgeous dress bought – but the item on my list remained unchecked. So I strolled into a few more shops – horror! HMV are having a liquidation sale. I love that shop. Can never find anything without assistance, but I love gawking at the covers. I digress. Strolling along…more shops…no more evening gowns (where can they have hidden them? I ask and am told they are only available online as it isn’t ball season! Really?)…walk into House of Fraser. Lovely. I have to go through the shoe department (okay, I might have taken the long way round…). Found a gorgeous pair of silver heels to go with the dress I am going to buy, reduced by 75%. Heart even warmer, I make my way up to the second floor. Bliss. Colourful, elegant and tidy – this is what Primark lacks. To top it there are more sale racks and I managed to pick up three gowns to take to the changing rooms. There is no escaping the mirrors in there. I look a wreck. I am deeply grateful to the assistants for managing to contain their stunned laughter. Of course, the dresses don’t fit – HOF do not do heffalump sizes – and as I struggled to peel off a shimmering aqua creation the tannoy began to announce a sale of some men’s shirts by a well-known famous designer. Had I accidentally strolled into Tescos when I walked into the changing rooms? HOF were actually doing a cheesy Grace Brothers meets Asda tannoy announcement. The only thing missing was the aisle number! Disillusionment firmly glued in place, I went to find the dining room. I managed to resist the Danish pastries.
My shopping day ended with a lovely pair of shoes (to match a gown I didn’t own), a gown I couldn’t fit into and hair that looked as though it had been hit by its own personal Hurricane Katrina. Had my daughter been with me none of those things would have happened.