Wednesday, 11 March 2009


It's Wednesday. It is. Is it? Excuse me if I sound disoriented. I think that in our house, Wednesday is often the worst day of the week. The day when Husband - if he's in the country - seems invariably to have an early start, so the rest of us do too. When I say 'early', by the way, I may only be talking about a wake-up of 10 minutes ahead of time, but on a Wednesday, I feel every lost second of sleep. And on a Wednesday, the boys seem to be at their most difficult when I pick them up from school.

For some reason the moaning and complaining really get to me mid-week. "Why can't I have television as soon as I get home from school?" "Why do I have to change out of my school uniform?" "Why do I have to get out of the car NOW and come with you to fetch Boy #1? I want to sit in the driver's seat and switch on the hazards / windscreen wipers / anything that's going to give you a start when you put the key in the ignition in a few minutes..." "Why do we have to eat that?" "Why do we have to have a bath / brush our teeth / go to bed? I'm not tired..." (Invariably this last one is followed by the sound of snoring less than 30 seconds after heads hit the pillow...)

Most of the time, and always when we are in sight of the school gates, I maintain a jolly Butlin red-coat exterior, cajoling them along and out of their mood, often with the help of biscuits. But just occassionally the Pollyanna act starts to slip ('just' occassionally?). As this evening when I checked my e-mail late, tired, and quite frankly at a time when I would have been better off getting some much-needed beauty sleep.

But no. I had to do it. And there in the inbox was my latest in a long running if one-sided correspondance with Mr Johnny Boden. If you have a keen memory you may remember that in Autumn last year I foreswore all things Boden (for myself; the Boys are another matter, though only when the sales are on, I'm not a complete basket-case) when I realised that my mother-in-law also shopped there, and what was even worse, we even posessed similar items of clothing (albeit in different sizes). Do I like my mother-in-law? Yes. Do I want to be her? No. So since then not an item of clothing wrapped in pretty pastel polka dotted tissue paper has been delivered to my door.

Admittedly in these crunchy financial times this hasn't been as hard a resolution to stick to as I had feared. I simply remind myself of the great 'Mother-in Law in My Denim Skirt Debacle' and recycle the catalogues that come through the post without even looking at them, and bin the e-mails that poor forlorn Johnny still sends hopefully through to me. 'Don't you love me any more?' they may as well ask... Poor J. Oh yes, you dear man, I and no doubt thousands of others who have similarly foresaken you can read the subtext in your frequent e-mails offering us money off.

But Johnny, there are limits. Today's e-mail stank of desperation. Admittedly, alone amongst my friends I prefer watching paint dry to spending more than 45 minutes trawling clothes shops. Please, leave me in the coffee shop with a good book whilst you ransack Selfridges. I'll keep you a table. Just don't ask me to get involved with the actual purchasing.

And when I do shop, I operate a two-stage approach to buying clothes. First, having realised that bag-ladyness is just around the corner (normally as a result of prompting by my dear Husband in a subtle 'You really need to buy new t-shirts / a new dress / get new shoes without the soles falling off' kind of a way) I trick myself into being near or outside a clothes shop that I like. As in 'Oh, I'll just run into Paperchase and buy so and so a card and gosh, look, there's xxx on the other side of the road! What a surprise! Might as well just pop in whilst I'm here...' Then, I move onto a 'smash and grab' technique; if I walk in, like what I see and it suits me and fits, I buy it, and keep it. None of that fadding around with 'what shall I wear it with? Maybe I'll just buy it and return it if I don't like it when I get home...' (Cate, Christina, Sarah; you know who you are...)

Luckily for my bank balance I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've been shopping in the last couple of years.

So yes, Johnny dear. I know, it's clear that when it comes to shopping, I need guidance. But even I know that there is one item of clothing above all others - with the exception of bras, which you definitely need to try on yourself - that has to be purchased in person, and preferably only after a severe bout of stomach 'flu and with flattering mirrors (Gap do the best in this area, I find) in the changing rooms.

You know it, Ladies. I'm talking about jeans.

And if you're reading this Johnny, this was a lesson I learned through trial and bitter disappointment over the years, more often than not in a pair of jeans that you yourself had sold me, probably at 25% off, just like you're promising now - do you never stop?. And always, contrary to my sky-high and misguidedly optimistic expectations, they failed to transform me into slim and lissom Sophie with the washboard stomach who according to your blurb 'likes: ice-cream in the park, and training and running in the rain...' (Ice cream in the park? The only cream that girl sees is face cream, based on the size of her behind).

Instead, the jeans I was struggling to do up - before I posted them back to you in a rage - would leave me all too clearly 'slightly too well-padded and sometimes even - horror - muffin-topped Potty' with the c-section and appendix-scarred stomach, who 'likes: Green and Blacks, and running from the rain...'


  1. This was so funny! Do we all have identical wednesday school run conversations? It sounded like you were repeating back verbatim our standard trawl home.

    As for shopping - I love to shop but it had been drummed into me by my dad that you had to always buy everything on sale wherever possible. Preferably clearance. Which is why the majority of my wardrobe is a load of old tat where it's only redeeming feature was the 50% off sticker, obviously removed, so no longer attractive in any way.

    And as for jeans I made a fatal mistake about 5 years ago (FATAL) of being persuaded to try on designer jeans. Oh God. The denim felt like butter. They were so flattering. They cost an arm and a leg and were never on sale - but I had to have them. I now live predominantly in jeans and to my shame have never been able to revert back to normal store brands. I have so many designer jeans they have even surpassed my shoe fetish (which is a whole other story - I have shoes that don't even remotely fit me but that were a bargain so had to be bought). As for jeans by mail order...yeah, that is a no go area. As depressing as jean shopping is (and this seems to be a fairly univeral experience) it can never be done successfully via the interweb!

  2. What I really want to know is why the 'same' size is totally different in every single shop and sometimes on different garments within the same shop. It's just so bloody irritating! So even now that I've accepted the need for a larger size I still have to try everything on or take the risk of having to return it. Jeans especially, although shoes can be problematic too. I hate shopping now and have resorted quite often to buying more than one of almost anything just to get it over and done with.

  3. I hate clothes shopping, too. No-one understands. Even hubby likes it more than me. These days, given the choice of traipsing round the shops in Cheltenham with him, or Dundee when up with the in-laws, I will agree to come along and then park myself in a cafe with a book while he spends hours trying on trousers after trousers after trousers and browsing Game and HMV.

    If I go with my sister, though, she can usually make it fun, and has the most amazing sale-rail radar, which means I can end up with about 5 (often very fancy) outfits for under £100 and fit ice-cream in the trip, too. I should rent her out to people, I think!

  4. I either shop on line at one store or I shop at one store downtown. That's how I get all my clothes. I buy bra's and underpants on line and never have a problem with them. I also have bought jeans that way in the past and that was fine too, but I have stopped wearing them for the sake of skirts and dresses. I know my size at both these places and never go wrong.

    At the downtown store, I don't even bother trying things on before I buy them. I just looked at the tag with the size on them and hold them up in the air. If it looks right, I buy it.

    That's why it is a good idea to always shop at the same place and know your size. A good on line store has a large variety of clothes to choose from. The downtown store has dressy and casual clothing and accessories to go with them.

    This is the only way I enjoy shopping.

  5. I went shopping for togs for the first time in three years before Christmas. Not a big fan. And sizes are all over the place, and for us chaps it should be easier, like how does a 34" waist differ? That's just shoddey tolerances.

  6. I am soooo with you on the shopping front. Bluewater is my idea of hell.

    Exceptions can be made for Marilyn Moore cashmere, the LK Bennet discount shoe store (responsible for some of the more ridiculous shoes in my wardrobe) and the occassional floaty dress.

    But shopping as a hobby? Why???

  7. A woman has a very intimate relationship with jean-purchasing in my opinion. It's a very private affair and one which desperate sales teams sending out emails on a daily basis should not be interferring with!

    My daughter is also difficult on Wednesday - must be the mid-week blues.

  8. I clicked here from Bush Babies as saw Wednesday is worst day of your week and I thought it was just me who had horrible Wednesdays, always in the playground at the end of the day.
    I hate shopping too... and can usually be found in a bookshop after I've lost interest while my friends are trying on clothes.

  9. Nicola, on the school run conversations yes, I think we probably DO have identical 'chats'. Not sure if that makes me feel better or worse!

    Sharon, I know, it's annoying in the extreme...

    Tasah, you could be on to something there. Maybe a virtual sister available on blackberry, with pithy comments and a sale-seeking homing device?

    Irene, sounds like you've found a way to make shopping for you. Must try harder...

    SPD, couldn't agree more!

    Mud, I have no idea why shopping is an acceptable hobby. Lying around eating chocolate? Now THAT'S a hobby.

    Rosie, so will you tell Johnny he's overstepped the mark, or will I?

  10. Amanda, hi and thanks for commenting. And you are not alone on Wednesdays it seems. It's looking as if it's another of those things no-one talks about, like eating crips or sweeties behind your childrens' backs or the stretch marks that never completely disappear...

  11. Fab post potty, really funny! The boden models are an amazing feat of advertising sren't they? You can tell they're thin, you can see their thinness oozing out of every pore, but yet, but still see yourself looking exactly like them in the jeans. Even if they are 5 sizes larger than said models, somehow they will work their magic. Hats off to Johnny though, no other catalogue has quite the same effect...MH

  12. Oh despair. Me and the Queenager went jean shopping a few weeks ago. Groan. While she lamented the fact that she is now a size US 2 instead of a 0 (and 5'8"), I lamented the fact that she came out of my stomach rather than the proper way. That bloody c-section thing. Ugh.
    I tried on 7, yes 7, pairs of jeans. Now, my hips and thighs are not my problem areas so jeans should not be a problem. (Sleeveless tops or waisted dresses, yes). Suffice to say I was knackered, depressed and sorely tempted to cough up a lot more money for a custom pair!

  13. MH, that's SO true! How do they do it? I'm clearly not a size 8, never have been (since I was 8, anyway), never will be, but still I imagine myself looking like that.
    I think it's witchcraft.

    EPM, so did you? Get the custom pair? Would love to know someone who has!

  14. Oh I am so with you on the jeans front; I have found one pair of suitable jeans in the last 10 years and was over the moon when they fell apart and I found the exact same pair was still on sale at M&S; ok, they're not the most handsome jeans around but hey, look who's wearing them...

  15. So should I cancel those jeans I've just ordered from Johnny Boden, then?

    And, yes!! Wednesday is the worst day of the week. It is a well known fact that lessons on a Wednesday afternoon are the worst of the week, worse than Friday afternoon. I try to time tests for Wednesday afternoons to avoid the stress of it all!!

  16. Ha ha!
    Come and live in rural France - clothes shopping is impossible. And jeans? You just go to the farm stores and they fit you out with a functional pair of overalls. And a cow bell, for some reason. I didn't ask for it, they just gave it to me. And no muffin top showing. Hoorah!

    Mya x

  17. I love the ending labels this post gathered!

    Once and only once did I buy jeans online from a company that I had tried a thousand times in the store and they all fit but the one and only time I buy the same size online, they do not fit. It boggles the mind. Maybe they use their secondary factories to sew online & catalog items? Don't ask me how I know about such factories.

  18. There is only one pair of jeans worth buying - the Not Your Daughter's Jeans, also known as Tummy Tuck jeans. A sensible waist-line, unfeasible amount of lycra, and an leg-lengthening effect Tom Cruise would approve of.

    Unlike you though, I live for my frequent e-mails from JB. He is my ticket into a world of glamour and style than I can - just for a second - pretend I too inhabit, despite still being in my dressing gown at 2pm.

  19. Sparx, we're all worth designer jeans, remember that. It's just that we can't all (myself included) afford them!

    WM, no, absolutely not; if the Boden shape works for you then fabulous. It just doesn't for me, that's all!

    Mya, I assume you wear the cowbell as an avant garde single earring...

    SB, I know about those factories too. Depressing, isn't it?

    Thanks More Than - I will be googling those jeans immediately!


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