Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Persepective. And boots.

Sometimes it takes something serious to put ridiculousness into persepective. I speak, dear Reader, of course of my own ridiculousness.

After throwing myself about (metaphorically) over the photos, it took a text from P this morning to make me realise that if I look awful, in real life, in the photos , it just doesn’t matter. P, who is stoic on the matter of health, who has never had a bout of man flu in his life (“Don’t FUSS” being his mantra), who almost never goes to the GP, sent me a text saying that he’d gone to the doctor/hospital: “I think there’s something wrong with me”.

Now, I have a tendancy to catastrophize, but my heart squeezed painfully in fear. He’s been waking in the night, choking and gasping for breath, in a cold sweat. And getting headaches and spitting blood. He’s now had blood tests and x-rays and there doesn’t seem to be anything seriously wrong, thank goodness.

But it makes me realise, all that matters to me is standing up in front of most of the people we love (and a few assorted hangers on ;-)) and saying that I love him and I want to be his wife.

The chances are that I am not going to be happy with the way I look – I will be a dumpy, fat, older bride and there’s nothing I can do about any of that. The photos are going to show that too as unfortunately the camera never DOES like (damnit). But. I will be a happy bride, surrounded by people I love and marrying the man I love.

On a shallow note: advice please. My beautiful oh-so-expensive shoes (easily the most expensive item in my wardrobe) are crippling. Never believe the hype about expensive shoes being more comfortable (I still have scars on my feet from Jimmy Choo ballet pumps). I am wearing them in - currently over socks for an hour or two each evening in a desperate attempt not to add a rictus expression of pain to the photos. But I think I’ll need to change in the evening if I am to dance or, you know, walk or stand or something. I had thought ballet pumps but to lose 3” is going to give me a problem with the hem of my dress. So, given that we’re having a barn dance, I wondered about cowboy boots. What do you think? Witty and practical or hideously mismatched? My dress is quite sparkly and vintage looking but funnily enough, the only real bride I found a picture of was wearing boots. Of course, she was from Texas and not East London.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pretty as a picture

The wedding was lovely.  The bride and groom were so in love that they glowed with it.  The weather was beautiful - freezing but sunny and bright.  My dress fit (and I was complimented) and I kept my shoes on for almost the whole night.  All very positive.  Lest I get carried away by the relative glamour of my dress and super high heels, I have to tell you that I bought a hat to try and keep warm.  Reader, I looked startlingly like an Ewok (teddy bear creatures in Return of the Jedi).  It was not the look I was going for but I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this hat.  It covered up the scarlet stripes a treat!  Actually, I did some concerted washing and managed to tone those right down.  AND the hat also kept my ears warm.  A useful wardrobe addition.  Especially if I have to go to a Star Wars themed party any time soon.

I managed to tick off a few more wedding tasks which made me feel calmer.  I'm even relatively upbeat about the fact that I feel ill and coming down with a cold (not flu I hope) as it must surely grant me immunity for the wedding.

But it only takes a small thing to derail me.  I got the photos from our 'engagement shoot' today.  I look awful.  I think if I hadn't got them at work I would have cried.  I look stiff which is only my own fault as I was so anxious at the time - maybe now I've seen the worst I'll be able to relax.  Maybe booze will help.  Maybe the wedding atmosphere will help.  But I want to throw away everything I wore on that day - it was actually a shock to see how bad I looked.  P is fed up with what he sees as my moroseness and negativity - and I've put on a positive act for him! - we had a quarrel about it. 

Really I am only just keeping a grip to not pitch headfirst into self-loathing.  It's not our photographers' fault; as I said to them, 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'.  Their technique was great - I can see that, save the subject, they are good pics.  They sent me 3 photos on email at work and I hated one with a frenzy, one was okay of me but not P and the third was not too bad (I just look lined and haggard).  Then the disc arrived tonight with an additional 5 - they were mostly worse (although the one I hated is still in the bottom two).  And they took loads on the actual afternoon - it's terrifying to think what the others were like.  I must be vainer than I thought - I must think I look better than I really do.  Or think that getting married would sprinkle shimmery magic dust on me.  I looked lined, dumpy and fat with piggy suspicious little eyes.  And roots (but that I can fix).

Trying to 'reframe' this: now I know the worst, it won't be such a shock after the wedding.  And I don't need nice photos to have a good time - all that really matters is marrying P; I'll look as good as I can and not let my hopes of what I might have been spoil our day. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Red for danger

I'm back in Blighty.  And about to leave it again.  Kinda. 

But back to the rest of last week: India meant long days and room service in the evening whilst typing at my computer (work, I'm afraid!) so I have very little knowledge of the country outside of my very nice but bland hotel.  Except.  One day we went out to the countryside for some business visits.  It was an experience.  Firstly, the drivers out there are crazy - it's terrifying.  They all fold their wing mirrors in so they can shimmy through gaps in the traffic; shimmying is not comfortable.  We were the 3rd car in a convoy when I thought my end had come.  We were overtaking a fast mountain of steel - a lorry bowling along a narrow country road so fast that we struggled to overtake.  And then a car driving a similar speed zoomed round the bend (yes, they overtake on bends, crowns of hills - you name it); our driver had to slam his brakes on to a standstill and pull sharply behind the lorry.  The oncoming car didn't bother declerating and missed us by about 6"; even the Indian people in our car gasped and moaned.  On the way back we carefully pulled around the sign saying the highway was closed until - surprise! - we found the highway blocked; we drove onto the scrubland and tried to drive around the blocade, we couldn't; we reversed back on to the highway and drove back down it.  The wrong way.  In the dark.  Until we came across a wall of sand.  Back down the road (the right way this time) until we found the slip road we'd entered on.  Then back down that (the wrong way) at high speed.  And we hit a dog.  Not clipped it, comprehensively bashed it.  I can only hope it was dead or it would have been in terrible pain.  And then we went over such a big bump, so fast, that my colleague in the back got mild concussion from being thrown against the ceiling.  And all this on a day where I went 15 1/2 hours without being able to eat and 16 1/2 without being able to use the loo.  Possibly a record. 

Then another appalling flight - NEVER go BA direct.  Inedible food, scruffy planes and screeching children running wild.

I had hoped that routinely missing lunch might have meant I lost some weight, but eating biscuits when I could just because I didn't know when I'd be able to eat again, did not, I suspect, lead to weight loss (haven't dared to encounter Scales of Doom).  But when I went for a wedding dress fitting it was distinctly snug.  And whilst I'm not battling with jet lag (mostly because I was up for 19 hours a day over there and the last day I was up from 7am on Friday solidly until Sunday 3am so was just generally exhausted) I am battling to come off sugar.  What's annoying is that I don't even LIKE biscuits - it genuinely was re-fuelling.

Tomorrow off to County Down for a wedding on Saturday.  In a very tight dress (that Vivien Holloway one again) and very high painful shoes.  There's a lot that could go wrong here. But I'm hoping I've negated the jinx by trying to add some colour to my faded hair:  there is colour but sadly it includes bright scarlet streaks at the back.  Oops.  My hair is literally scarlet with embarrassment at itself!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Currying favour

I write this, waiting for a biryani at my desk.  In an hotel in India.  I'm here for work and feeling a bit sorry for myself.  Despite the hotel room being incredible (ginormous bed, a stylish (if immodest) glass cube of a bathroom, a chaise longue and a desk) and emphatically not what I'm used to for work. 

I'm sorry for myself essentially because I've had two and a half hours sleep; this is not enough.  I was the only person who travelled economy and apparently business class was lovely and premium economy was bearable: economy was UNbearable.  There were a lot of small children who were allowed to run up and down the aisles, screeching, everyone else seemed to have an extraordinary view of what constituted hand baggage (bigger than the case I checked), I had a rubbish seat and the food was the worst airline food I have ever had - and it was BA!  Really, truly inedible.  And the flight was expensive.  So I arrived, hungry, sleepless and cross, got 2 1/2 hours sleep and then worked for 10 hours, missing dinner. 

And I know it's only because of the sleep deprivation that I feel left out that I couldn't find the others.  Since my day starts again in 9 1/2 hours, an early night would do me no harm anyway.  My nerves are already shattered by the journey here and could do with some re-building - they make the Syrians seem like crazily cautious drivers.  My colleague wondered how quickly they go through their brake pads; I reckon they probably write the car off before that becomes an issue

Biryani has arrived.  How can rice be so hot?  That's spicy, not in terms of temperature.  Wow.  The man was so pleased I'd ordered Indian food too!  I've stuck with veg in an attempt not to get ill before the wedding.  To be honest, my body must be a hostile place for germs with this biryani ripping through me like an inferno; ouch, ouch, ouch, not sure I'll be able to eat it all, hungry as I am.  Ohhhhhh, the pain.

Friday, 12 October 2012


This is a post-fitting, post-WI and post-interview post.  I am currently the poster girl of posts.

None of these was a happy experience. 

Firstly the fitting.  You remember my alchemy moment dear Reader?  Well, the tarnish is back.  The dress was fine (although oddly both paler and deeper in colour than I remember) but I was...not.  It was fine.  But I don't look amazing or anywhere near it.  I look okay, considering.  Considering that I'm fat, I suppose.  I look in the mirror and I don't feel joy or excitement, I feel sad and apologetic and I don't want to look for any longer than I have to.  Situation normal I guess.  Still, at least I KNOW I've done my best to lose weight for our wedding - I think if I'd faffed about and not tried as hard as I have, I would really hate myself.  The fitting lady was lovely as I joked and apologised my way through a frenzy of embarrassment and self-consiousness about being semi-naked in front of her (and my mum).  She told me stories of bigger brides (including one that lost 4st, bought her dress and then put on the 4st again before it arrived.  Got to be Lighter Life) and asked me "Are you healthy?" (yes), "Does he love you?" (yes) and told me that was all that mattered.  I know it's true.  Or it ought to be.  And yet...

Post WI.  Despite some very tough starvation days, I had not lost so much as a 1lb.  Of course there was the hen day but the tea was very dainty and I had 2 cocktails, 1 G&T and 1 glass prosecco.  I'm not sure that that balances out the 4 starving days.

Post interview.  It was really tough and, quite frankly, totally over the top.  A written exercise, a presentation as well as that role play and the actual interview.  I think I did okay.  And when I got the call this afternoon, some 5 hours after the 3 1/2 hour interview, I thought it was a good sign; it was not.  I did not get the job.  I kind of know that I'm more upset and disappointed than I would have been pleased and happy had I got the job, but it still feels ugh.

It's also post-hen.  It was a lovely day.  It was SO nice to see all my friends there and after a while I forgot to worry about whether J was having a good time or whether anyone was talking to M.  We started off with a charleston lesson - surprisingly tough, I really ached the following couple of days - but great fun.  Then tea in a lovely pub; that sounds odd but really wasn't.  Then cocktails at the most unusual bar - it was like Heston Blumenthal does cocktails.  Mine came with liquid nitrogen poured in (this was at approximately the same time as a girl was having her stomach removed because of that same ingredient!), another was flamed and a third had a balloon coming out of it which the barman lit the string and caused it to explode, releasing lemon scented gas into the air.  Then back, relatively sober by 10.30pm!  And I was fine the next day - well, except for a bit of post-Charleston ache.   Perhaps it's my halo that's weighing heavy and bulking out that dress?!

Thursday, 11 October 2012


No, Lesley, not the game where a couple of dozen men run around in man-made fabrics, embracing one another but something far more vital: shoes.

Shoes are currently very much on my mind due to the fact that my feet seriously hurt today. I bought an amazing pair of damson high heels (see http://www.duoboots.com/ladies-shoes/purple-suede/bacall/d/) which felt fine in the shop but wearing them just to sit in the office, wander to the loo and the kitchen and stand outside in them for about 15 minutes yesterday has caused my feet to still be throbbing today. They’re to wear to a wedding and I think I’m going to have to buy some flats too. This makes buying shoes an (even more) expensive business.

Also, I am trying to wear my wedding shoes in. They also hurt – after an hour of just sitting, I lost sensation in my toes. Wearing them with pop socks (ugh) makes a huge difference though (I had naked feet!) and they are incredibly soft suede so the sales assistant assures me that perseverance will lead to them moulding to my foot. I do hope so as they are more expensive than any other object I own other than my Mulberry bag.

I also wore some high bronze t-bars to my hen do. I wore them to meet my mother – about an hour – and again lost sensation in my toes and had to remove them on the train for some frumpy-feeling ballet pumps. I was back in them later but I was disappointed with my lack of staying power.

Now Reader, I have put the effort in here; I have been wearing heels in the office for some time to build up the appropriate muscle tone, so when is wearing heels going to become a pain free business? Does it ever? Is there anyone out there who knows? I do love them, and the way they make my ankles and calves look, but I am emphatically not loving the pain.

Organising a wedding, looking for a job and preparing for a week’s overseas trip are not things that should be contemplated together. I feel somewhat overloaded – hence the scarcity of blog posts recently (this may be a blessing for you, dear Reader, of course!). I have a dress fitting this afternoon and an interview first thing tomorrow: this is more stress than I can comfortably cope with. It is only by an effort of supreme will that I am not running about aimlessly, shrieking maniacally. I view both appointments with the same degree of dread – a three and a half hour interview (which includes a role play. Shudder. No, I am not auditioning for RADA and I find this as repellent an idea as it is unnecessary) and stripping to my underwear to be (possibly) squeezed into the most important and expensive dress of my life, I am not in love with October so far.

More on the hen do tomorrow post-traumatic appointments, hopefully.

Friday, 5 October 2012

(Not) all is vanity

I can see the point of vanity sizing: if I find an item of clothing that I like, it suits me AND it’s in a smaller size, well, that just about makes my week, if not my year. And I clearly have to buy it. But the opposite? Reader, that doesn’t make a jot of sense to me. I went to Vivien of Holloway for a dress to possibly wear to my hen do the other day (I know Linzerellos is a fan) – I had to take an afternoon off work to do this as they’re based out in zone 2 in the opposite direction to me. Anyway, they measured my waist and declared me to be a dress size 2-3 sizes larger than I usually wear. Four sizes than my current smaller clothes. Now, I know that I can usually wear smaller skirts than anything non-stretchy for my, ahem, top half but this was ridiculous.

“Oh it’s because they’re vintage sizes” explained the assistant.

But they’re not actually vintage dresses are they? They’re repro dresses so why make people feel bad about themselves? I bought the dress but it’s difficult to take any pleasure in it because I know what size it is – and that size is what I was wearing three stone ago.

So this weekend is the hen do. Having bought this dress for it, my friend who will be class swot at Charleston says it makes her “glow” so much that she’s often “dripping in glow”. I don’t think I’ll be wearing a snug 1950s style dress to sweat in. I need to go home and find something else to wear from my – frankly rubbish – wardrobe. It’ll be fine. Somehow. And I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends – I just don’t get to see them enough.

P is very sweetly making sure he’s home to come and meet me from the station.  It's a 5 min walk so possibly overkill but it's nice of him - I don't know if he's expecting me to be a bit befuddled...

I finally stepped aboard the Scales of Doom today. I was 1lb up from before the East-West holiday (typed that as Eat West by mistake – some truth in that typo). It’s depressing as I’ve had 4 starvation days since then and many a sensible day. Tomorrow will not be a sensible day. And tonight we are out for dinner with friends (Lebanese). And I have finally made an appointment for a wedding dress fitting – next Thursday. Very scared. Can they make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear? I’d settle for polyester gladly - just more silky than sowy.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Uptight, up-weight and update

An update is overdue. I’ve been back from our East-West trip (okay, Devon and Suffolk) since Thursday but trying to get back on top of work has dominated my time. More particularly, applying for jobs to take me away from work. There’s nothing that makes me so excited as the job I missed out on but I’ve put in a couple of applications and am scouting for more opportunities whilst keeping my fingers crossed for something that appeals as much as The One That Got Away. Ideally actually getting the job this time.

I have just fallen in that the wedding is only 5 weeks away now. Not sure why that’s suddenly come as a surprise but it has. And a week of that I’m away in India with work. I am kind of freaking out. Not sure why or what purpose that will fulfil but there we go. Clearly I’m going to be a fat bride (assuming I don’t contract something dreadful in India. Dysentery didn’t make me lose weight you might recall...) . At least I’ve really done my best not to be a fat bride. In such minor points must I seek consolation. Of a type. As it is, I’m especially freaking out about my dress fitting. It was to be this week but 10 days off, with more carbs than I should have had, will have caused my weight to rocket (I’m too scared to actually get on the scales) and the fitting would be a couple of days before my period is due which would cause more bloating. But. What if I’m the only bride who’s fatter now than when the dress was ordered? What if it doesn’t fit? I am literally breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about it. My heart is pounding and I want to cry. What a wuss.

There is, I am sure, a myriad of other wedding details to sort out (I spent yesterday looking at over 8000 cufflinks on Etsy. That is not an exaggeration – in fact there were 8,128) but I can’t see past the dress fear to work out what they are. If only, IF ONLY I was the sort of girl who lost weight through stress. I’m on a fasting day today (and last Friday and Wednesday and Thursday this week) and I am hungry; stress or no stress, I could seriously eat. I could eat for panic, I could eat for hunger and I’m pretty sure that despite not doing either, my metabolism is still flatlining.

Other things stressing me out: my mum got me in a right tizz about my hen do. Now, this is organised by my two best friends who are, I think, like sisters to me. I don’t actually have a sister but if I did, I cannot believe I would love her as much as I love these women. I trust them explicitly, implicitly and every which way. But my mum started saying what I could and couldn’t wear and I got breathless with fear. As it is, I’m going shopping tonight but I do have a back up outfit in mind. Not a great one but it’s good to have that safety blanket. At one stage I thought they’d planned a ‘bag lady’ theme – which they’d both be rubbish at but which I could probably have quite a choice of outfit for.

And we went to lunch with friends of P’s on Saturday. I had in mind exactly what I would wear, but when I put it on and showed P he said it looked too tight. The skirt was actually a bit big but what he meant –and clarified in slightly too graphic a way – was that it emphasised my horrible stomach. I changed but felt awful – about myself and about my outfit choice and about my wardrobe in general - and these clothing crises are just too close to the wedding day for comfort or sanity.

I’m also suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious about being the centre of attention – more at the hen as P will do a good job at sopping up attention on the wedding day (most people there are on his side): how absurd? There will only be half a dozen of us at my hen do so I can hardly be too worried. Not to mention that these are my closest friends. I’m hoping that a zen like calm will descend on me any day soon and persist until well after the wedding. Ohhhhmmmmmm.