Archive of ‘Dressember’ category
(Dress, Dorothy Perkins (sold out); Shoes, French Connection c/o Spartoo)
Last summer, workmen dramatically tore down the old office building I used to work in, and started building a gigantic Primark in its place. It was kind of like the opposite of paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, although only if your definition of “paradise” involves fighting people to the death for that last polyester skirt in your size. And actually, they DID also put up a parking lot, too, so it wasn’t really like that AT ALL, other than in the sense that ANYTHING would seem like “paradise” after that office block. (I may have to go back and delete that line later.)
Anyway, getting a Primark was a big deal for our town. We only got the round wheel, and, you know, FIRE, a few years ago, so to have a gigantic Primark is something of a coup. We were all, “Haha, Edinburgh, take that! You can keep your poxy castle: we got us a POLYESTER PALACE, by God!” And then Edinburgh was all, “Actually, we’re getting one too, AND we have Zara. Also: Anthopologie. And did we mention Harvey Nichols?” and we all felt a bit stupid after that.
Now, as it happens, my idea of paradise doesn’t actually include fighting people over a dress, although don’t think I wouldn’t do it if I had to. But I needed tights. Yes, my old nemesis, tights. And I wanted to get them from Primark, because, well, they’re cheap, and come in 150 denier, which is how I like ‘em.
(Note to all of the people who are about to tell me that I TOTALLY need to try Wolford tights and that even although they cost as much as a small car, I will never look back once I have tried them: NO. There is no way I’m doing that. I just don’t care enough about tights, sorry-I’m-not-sorry. And if it’s a choice between spending £20 on tights and spending £20 on a top, say, I know what I’m buying…)
So I needed tights, and I figured that as I was going to be spending money on something that would give me no pleasure whatsoever, I may as well make the experience even worse by going to this new Primark on the very day it opened. I know, what was I thinking? Because the fact is, I don’t really like people. And most people seem to live in the mall at this time of year. As you know, The Others make it their business to goad and torment me at all times, by getting all up in my face, crowding around me any chance they get, squeezing into tiny spaces of which I am the only other occupant, walking really slowly, and other acts of extreme evil like that.
But I needed tights. So I went, I saw, I shopped. And as we were at the mall, well it would’ve been rude not to have a look round all the other stores, too, wouldn’t it? My mum came with me, because sometimes I need someone to calm me down in these situations, and together we had a rare old time. Here is what I bought:
Yeeeeees. It says quite a lot about me, doesn’t it? I mean, can anyone guess which colours and patterns I like?
I also bought two pairs of trousers. This is why I’m officially giving up on Dressember. (Well, that and the fact that the posts were about as popular as … a really unpopular thing… and without the Internets to motivate me to take photos, I just won’t do it.) I want to wear my trousers, dammit. And also that skirt I just ordered from ASOS. (WITH A GIFT CARD, TERRY.) (Mum: it’s not the one I needed you to alter: you can stand down.) And I think that what I’ve learned from Dressember this time around is that, as much as I love my dresses, I also love my trousers and my skirts. And I don’t really like restricting myself to just one thing: in fact, as soon as you tell me to do that, I will want to do the exact opposite. I’m reminded of how, when I was a child and my parents would tell me I wasn’t to touch that new ornament/gadget/piece of expensive electrical equipment they’d just bought, I would nod solemnly in agreement, and then, the moment they left the room, I would go straight over and TOUCH THAT THING. And I would like it. And only once did I actually break it. (“It” just so happened to be a set of glass shelves containing glass ornaments, mind you, so… that was unfortunate.)
The tl;dr version of this post: I quit Dressember.
And I never did buy those tights…
DRESSEMBER, DAY, 11
Dress, Stop Staring; Shoes, Office, c/o. Idealo.co.uk
Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of my first “date” with Terry. Of course, yesterday was also a work day, so we decided to do our celebrating on Sunday instead, with a meal at a local restaurant and an opportunity for me to be totally overdressed as usual.
If you read Shoeperwoman, you’ll already have seen this dress, and even if you don’t, it’s the one I’m wearing in my Twitter avatar, my Facebook profile, the “About the author” box on this website… basically everywhere I’ve claimed a small piece of the Internet as my own, I’ve worn this dress on it. So I guess you could call it a favourite. You could also call it “That dress my parents bought me because they got sick of standing around in a dress shop while I agonised between it and another one.” Thanks, folks! (Yes, SPOILED.)
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter that you’ve seen the dress before, because this outfit was really all about the shoes:
These are also one of my favourites, and they were also a gift, this time from Idealo.co.uk, who very kindly allowed me to run rampant on their website earlier this year, and chose some products to review. I picked these Office platforms, because although I already had eleventy-one pairs of red shoes at the time (Joking. I only had eight.) if there’s one thing I believe, it’s that you can never have too many pairs of red shoes. Or too many polka dot dresses. Or too many opportunities to wear both of them together, and pose like an idiot in them. Or… oh, you get the picture.
These are actually much more comfortable than they probably look, which is a good thing given how often I wear them. As I’m fond of repeating over at Shoeperwoman, red shoes are more or less a “neutral” for me, because they work with so much of my wardrobe. Well, except for all the green dresses, obviously: if I tried that, people would probably revert back to using my childhood nickname, “Traffic Lights”, and God knows, it took long enough to get them to stop the first time…
Oh, and just to prove that I do still have a head, even although I cropped it out of all of the other photos:
(I was doing a weird, squinty-eyed thing in all of them. In this one, I appear to be either standing on my toes (why?) or am about to levitate. Let’s pretend it’s the second option: it’ll make this post much more interesting…)
DRESSEMBER, Day 7
Dress, ASOS; scarf, H&M; shoes, Kurt Geiger c/o Idealo.co.uk)
So, are you all suitably impressed that I haven’t complained about the weather yet? Even although the OMGSNOW came last week, and on day one, all everyone could talk about was the OMGSNOW, and on day two all everyone could talk about was how all everyone could talk about was the OMGSNOW? And now I’m talking about everyone talking about everyone talking about the OMGSNOW, and so the circle is complete. Although, if you could all now comment about the fact that I’m commenting about the fact that people are commenting about… actually, on second thoughts, let’s not do that, OK?
Anyway, on Day 3, the snow rested, by which I mean, “it melted, THANK YOU GOD.” And honestly, it wasn’t that bad: the fact is, I have no flights or holidays planned which the snow could conceivably ruin, and I think it realised that, so it didn’t linger, and I didn’t complain.
Then this week, the wind came.
Did I mention that I hate the wind? The wind is, like, my second most hated type of weather (Most Hated is snow, obviously, but I think that goes without saying by now), and I hate it because… well, because it messes up my hair, basically. It also managed to wreak complete and utter havoc with everything else, too, though. It was as if the wind thought, “Ha, I’ll show this snow how it’s done!” and then it proceeded to do just that. So by lunchtime yesterday all the schools were closed, our fence had blown down for the fifth year running, there was rubbish all over the street, courtesy of the bins that had blown over, Rubin was barking at his own shadow, and all everyone could talk about was the OMGWIND.
“Let’s go outside and take Dressember photos in the WIND,” I said to Terry. “They will be dramatic, and kinda cool. And even if they’re not, at least they’ll be more interesting than YET ANOTHER PHOTO of me standing in front of my shoes like a rabbit caught in the headlights.”
So, yeah, THAT worked out well:
And the rest were totally unusable. Remember that time my hair tried to kill me? THAT.
As this is Day 8 of Dressember, though (Yes, I know today is the 9th, but these photos are from yesterday), I suppose I better talk about the dress. As you can see, this dress is neither green nor black. Indeed, it is blue, and this particular shade of blue is currently the holder of the prestigious title of “Amber’s Second-Favourite Colour”. (Oh, hi, did I mention I’m still in high school, by the way? “Blue, you can be my second-favourite colour! And green, you are the MOST favourite colour, like, 4 eva!”) This dress is also a Problem Dress (TM). As well as having to have a substantial chunk cut off the bottom (I’m all about the midi skirts, but when it’s “midi” on the model, it’s “midaxi” on me, it has a funny waist. Or rather, I have a funny waist.
I, you see, was cursed with a long torso. (Which is a really weird curse to put on someone, but anyway) This means that the waistlines of most dresses hit just below my ribcage as opposed to on the natural waist, and also means that I can make almost anything look like maternity wear. I generally solve this problem by just belting everything (and this dress particularly needs a belt, because as well as being too high, the waist is kind of ugly), but the belt that came with the dress was cheap and plastic looking (also: lime green, which just so happens to be the only green I DON’T like), and none of the 11,564 belts in my collection were quite right, somehow, so I ended up having to press this H&M scarf into service instead. And then the wind pulled it in all directions, and you can see the waistline anyway, GOD.
However, let the record show that I have dutifully worn a dress for the 8th day in a row. Let it also show that I have now written 700 words about this, which is really too much for a post about a dress, especially a Friday post, which no one will read anyway, so I’ll shut up now.
Have a good weekend, everyone! (And remember, you can find lots more Dressember dresses here, and I bet none of them use ill-fitting scarves as belts, either!)
P.S. For some reason, my blog has decided to mark around 90% of comments as spam, and block them accordingly: it’s even doing it to my replies, so if your comment doesn’t appear, please don’t take it personally – you haven’t been blocked or anything, it’s just the spam filter and until we manage to work out what’s wrong with it, I will keep checking and approving the comments that end up there!
DRESSEMBER, Day 3
Dress, Black Halo ‘Jackie O’ dress, (c/o Shopbop); shoes, River Island
This Saturday was my friend Lindsay’s birthday party, which was being held in a club in Edinburgh.
“I’ll get ready super-early,” I thought. “Then there’ll be no last-minute rush, with Terry sitting outside in the car with the engine running, while I run around the house in my dressing gown and two different shoes. And if my hair turns into a giant frizz-ball, I’ll have time to tame it, rather than having to resort to a last-minute messy bunhead! And I’ll have time to take outfit photos that don’t completely suck! Yes, I will definitely make sure I get ready early!”
Then, having had that thought, what I did was, I sat on my ass all day, drank a lot of coffee, and completely re-built my Sim-self’s house in Sims Social. Time passed astonishingly quickly in this way, and finally, it got to the point where I really HAD to have a shower if there was to be any hope of me having time to do my hair, and make it good n’massive, the way I like it. So what I did THEN was, I built my Sim a swimming pool, and a deck with a hot tub. Then I went to have my shower.
What happened next was very long and traumatic, but I’ll boil it down for you quickly:
Remember the time I left a colour-depositing hair conditioner on for too long and it turned my hair bright orange?
Remember that super-awesome new conditioner I told you about a few weeks ago?
Remember when Geri Halliwell was in the Spice Girls, and she had those two blonde stripes at the front of her head, and the rest of it was red?
THAT. Only, on me, the blonde stripes were my usual colour, and the rest of it was REALLY, REALLY RED. Like, the type of red that does not occur in nature. THAT red.
In other words, yes, I made the same mistake twice. Yes I did.
In my defence, this was a different shade of the conditioner. (REALLY REALLY RED, I think it’s called.) I had used it last week for the first time, and it had made absolutely no difference to my hair colour whatsoever, so I figured it would be safe enough to leave it on for a bit longer this time. Um, even although the instructions specifically tell you not to do that. (I know, I know…) And obviously I didn’t apply it properly either, because, as I said, my fringe was left untouched, while the rest of my head looked like I’d spilled ketchup on it.
“No worries,” I thought, worrying. “It’s a wash-in, wash out colour. It’ll just wash right out!”
The conditioner is supposed to last for three washes. People, I am here to tell you that NO. IT DOESN’T. I stopped counting somewhere around five. And of course, the problem was that
I am stupid each time I shampooed it, my wet hair would be too dark to really tell whether I’d got the stuff out or not, so I’d have to start blow-drying it, only to find that whoops, nope, still the colour of a postbox! And then the whole process would have to start again.
I spent what felt like hours hopping in and out of the shower. By the end of it, my hair was like straw (I did put on some deep-conditioner, but by then I didn’t have time to really let it sink in), I was running late, and I STILL had a huge patch of ketchup on the top of my head. So I ended up with a last-minute rush, with Terry having to leave to pick up our friends and drop-off Rubin with my parents, while I rushed around the house in my dressing gown and two different shoes. And actually, I had planned to wear a completely different outfit, but by that point my confidence was shaken, so I went for my fail-safe standby: the little black dress. The dress you reach for when you know that if you don’t reach for something, your husband will probably just march you out of the house in your dressing gown. GOD.
And after all of that? You can’t even see the giant red patch, can you?
(My Sim house looks AMAZING, though, seriously.)
Dress: Pinup Couture ‘Joanie’ dress
Shoes: Next (from last year)
It’s Day One of Dressember, and I’m starting the way I mean to go on: by wearing a green dress. (I should just have renamed my particular challenge “Greendressember”, and been done with it, really, shouldn’t I?) Oh yeah, and by totally cheating. Because while I AM wearing this dress today (or at least, I WILL be, once I, er, get out of my workout clothes.*), these photos were actually taken on Sunday, when I wore it on our little afternoon tea jaunt. I did manage to resist wearing a pair of little white gloves with it, for full “ladylike” effect, but don’t think I didn’t consider it. Maybe next time!
(Yes, I do own a pair of little white dress gloves. Doesn’t everyone?)
And that right there is the reason why Dressmber is going to be more of a challenge this year than I really anticipated. You see, last year when I did this, I went on holiday for two weeks right slap in the middle of the challenge. To a hot place. (Have I mentioned that I like the sun? And hate the winter? Maybe once or twice, or a million times?) And this, of course, meant that I had access to all of my summer dresses as well as my winter ones, and the weather to wear them in. As it turns out, the vast majority of my favourite dresses are summery ones. My aversion to tights (which I am actually wearing in these photos, by the way – my trusty nude fishnets will surely earn their keep this month!) means that I appear to have focused my dress obsession on dresses which are totally impractical, and which I wouldn’t be able to wear this month, even if I hadn’t already packed them all away: go me! So if I do manage to continue with this challenge, there will be repeats. There will be lots of dresses you’ve already seen. And, well, let’s be honest: a helluva lot of them will be GREEN…
(Title lyric: Hello Saferide, Long Lost Penpal)
*(Seriously, why must I be plagued with the curse of honesty-in-blogging? I mean, I could just have told you that these photos were taken RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND, couldn’t I? And then you wouldn’t be picturing me sitting in my ratty workout gear, with my hair scraped back and no makeup on. But I just couldn’t do it. I will do better tomorrow, I promise. Maybe.)
This is what I’ve been wearing lately:
(Skirt, Topshop; turtleneck, Primark; boots, River Island; enormous hair, Amber’s own.)
I mean, not this exact outfit EVERY day, obviously. I don’t have a wardrobe filled with seven identical green pencil skirts and seven identical green turtlenecks, or anything. That would be weird. And also kind of cool. (I do have a lot of pairs of black boots, mind you…) But some variation on this has become my winter uniform: pencil skirt, turtleneck, tall boots, done. Sometimes I’ll go wild and replace the skirt with cropped pants. Living ON THE EDGE, people.
Anyway. This is my uniform, and this is also why I was reluctant to join in with Dressember this year. As those of you who’ve been following me for a whole year (just humour me and pretend you have, OK?) may remember, Dressember is a month-long attempt to bring back “dressy” dressing, with participants encouraged to wear a dress every day for the entire month, and take photographs as “evidence”. It was set up in reaction to something I think of as The Cult of the Casual, whereby people tend to live in jeans or sweatpants, and only get “dressed up” for weddings, or other very formal events: and sometimes not even then.
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dressing casually, if that’s what works for you. But for those of us who really love to dress up, the fact that there are so few opportunities to do it these days can be a bit of a drag: and when we DO throw on a dress and a pair of heels, we’re usually met with scornful glances and endless questions about whether we have an interview, and why we’re “all dressed up”. Sometimes it can be hard to overcome that. I got sucked into the cycle of “jeans with everything” a few years ago, and it was really hard to break out of it: not because I didn’t WANT to, but because it’s so unusual to see someone wearing a dress of ANY kind in my town that you can end up feeling really uncomfortable when you do.
But now I wear dresses. Quite often, in fact. And that’s one of the reasons I wasn’t going to take part in Dressember this year: because it’s supposed to be a challenge, and for me it’s not so much a “challenge” as it is “taking photos of what I wear every day and posting them on the Internets,” which isn’t really something I want to do, for various reasons. I really enjoyed Dressember last year, though, mostly because I met some great people through the Facebook group at the centre of it all, so I’ve decided to give it a go this year too, although with a couple of modifications: I won’t be posting photos every day this time, and I will probably also include the occasional skirt, just to have a bit of variety. This is a bit cheaty of me, but they were allowed last year, and like I said: obsessed.
So, who wants to join us? If you do, you’ll find the Facebook group here: there’s no obligation to post photos if you don’t want to, though: you’re more than welcome to just join in however you like!
As for me, here’s one of the reasons I won’t be doing daily photos:
Left to my own devices, they all end up blurry as hell. Or I get a ton of photos that look like this:
With me grinning rigidly at the camera, while thinking, “Why isn’t it working? Why isn’t it working? Why isn’t it working?”
Anyway: Dressember! Who’s in?
(Terry and I had a great New Year, but now we both have the lurgy: he has a horrible cold/flu type thing and I have “daggers” in my throat, so rather than typing out an all-new post, all about how very miserable we both are, here’s one I prepared earlier, to mark the end of Dressember. You are welcome!)
December 31 marked the end of 2010, but also the end of Dressember, in which, as I’m sure you know if you glanced at my blog even once last month, I and a bunch of other women (and men: let’s not be sexist about this…) pledged to wear dresses every single day for a month. As challenges go, it actually wasn’t a particularly difficult one for me, not only because I wear dresses a lot anyway, but because I spent part of the month in a completely different climate. That meant I had access to my summer dresses as well as my winter ones, and it also gave me a great excuse to get dressed up every night for dinner, thus allowing me to wear the occasional pair of shorts during the daytime: a little bit cheaty, but hey, I was on vacation!
And how did it go? Well, I wore a dress on every day but one: the single exception was the day we flew home from Tenerife, and as it was a full day of travel, which happened during The Great Airport Shutdown of 2010, I decided to give the dresses a miss and went for the warmest, most non-crease option I could find in my holiday wardrobe, just in case we ended up being stuck at the airport for the rest of our lives or something. I DID, however, wear more than one dress on a couple of the other days of my vacation (not at the same time, obviously: I mean one during the day and then a different one in the evening), so hopefully that balances out my one dress-free day and makes everything right with the dress-wearing world once more.
Here’s what I learned from my month of wearing dresses:
1. Dresses aren’t any harder, or any more complicated to wear, than jeans or sweatpants
When I told people about my challenge, the most common reaction was something along the lines of “Oh, I just couldn’t be bothered with that!” or “I’m too lazy to get dressed up every day!” as if the act of throwing on a dress is some gargantuan task, involving several hours of manpower and a tremendous amount of forward planning. Here’s the thing, though: it just isn’t. We don’t live in the 18th century any more. Putting on a dress doesn’t involve lacing yourself into a corset, or calling in the maid to help you struggle into fifteen crinolines. In fact, I can throw on a dress and a pair of shoes in the same amount of time it takes Terry to put on his jeans and t-shirt: sometimes I can do it faster. It isn’t any more complicated than jeans, either: in fact, given that some of the time you only need to find one other item to wear with the dress (shoes or boots) as opposed to at least two (shoes, top), you could argue that the dress is actually the easier option, and I have argued this point many times, particularly in the summer, when it seems to me that a loose cotton dress and a pair of sandals is easier and more comfortable to wear (as well as being quicker to put on) than some other combo of top + bottoms. I also think dresses can be more practical at this time of year, too: no trailing hems to drag through the snow and rain, no restrictive waistbands to loosen after Christmas dinner: what’s so complicated about that?
2. Just because you’re wearing a dress, it doesn’t mean you’re “dressed up”
This is a more complicated objection to work around, because, as I’ve noted before, society in general (or perhaps just where I am, who knows) seems to feel that wearing a dress – ANY dress – means that you’re “all dressed up, OMG!” And this wouldn’t matter, really, except that for reasons that aren’t particularly clear to me, being “dressed up” has become something that’s very much frowned upon. Maybe it’s because it’s considered frivolous, maybe it just makes other people feel like THEY should be “dressed up” too, I don’t know. But despite everything I’ve said about dresses being comfortable, quick and practical in many situations, if you choose to wear one you WILL endure questioning about why you’re “so dressed up!”, and it WILL sometimes be the kind of questioning that’s designed to make you feel uncomfortable, as if you’ve just been caught doing something BAD. You will also be stared at: when we were on holiday, Terry and I actually made a game out of counting the people who’d stop what they were doing to blatantly stare at me as if they’d never seen someone wearing a dress before, and this was a totally new concept to them. Let’s just say it happened a LOT. In fact, if I didn’t get at least a few blatant stares on the way down to dinner each night, I’d start to wonder if maybe I should go back and change…
3. People will get used to it
All of that said, if you’re prepared to stick it out and break through the “OMG U R WEARING A DRESS!” barrier, you’ll find that people will get used it to pretty quickly. Maybe not the people who visit a certain hotel in Tenerife in the winter, mind you. They’ll never get used to it. (Other things They will never get used to: keeping the volume of Their TVs at a volume low enough for it not to be audible ten miles away; the idea that loudly blowing your nose at the dinner table, foghorn style, and then inspecting the contents of your handkerchief, is NOT ON) But the people who know you in real life will very quickly come to realise that you wear dresses because you like them, not because you have a job interview, are an airhead or secretly wish you were Marie Antoinette (which would be silly, because she got her head chopped off, and you all know how I feel about THAT…), and will say no more about it. This will be a happy, happy time.
4. YOU will get used to it
As the end of Dressember drew near, and I started to contemplate the prospect of having access to my entire closet again, I realised that I hadn’t really missed the jeans and trousers. I missed the skirts, sure, but as skirts aren’t so very different from dresses (and were actually permitted under the Dressember rules), I’m not sure that counts. I won’t be spending January in jeans: in fact, I’ve worn dresses every day since the challenge ended, and was really happy when the Dressember members decided to continue the dress-wearing, in the form of Frocking Fridays. (On which every Friday, you wear… oh, I don’t actually need to explain this, do I?) Naturally, I’ll be more than happy to take part in that: anyone want to join us?
Here’s my Dressember gallery – bear in mind that I didn’t manage to take photos every day, but I did faithfully wear dresses on all but one of them!
(Dress: Vintage Allure, Christmas gift from my parents)
This dress is called “Ethel”, but I will forever think of it as “Roisin”, because it was lovely Roisin who introduced me to Vintage Allure in general, and to the Ethel dress in particular, so thank you to her, and thanks too, of course, to my fabulous parents, who picked up on all my oh-so-subtle hints (My mum: “What do you think Terry would like for Christmas this year?” Me: “You know, it’s the weirdest thing, but he won’t stop talking about this dress from Aspire Style! Here, let me show you it…”) and arranged for this to be under the tree in the middle of the living room floor on Christmas morning.
We’re off out now to ring in the New Year, first of all with Terry’s family, and then with some friends of ours, who also very graciously picked up on all of our, “Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if someone had a party on New Year’s Eve, and it can’t be us because it just can’t!” hints and invited a bunch of us around for a party. As some of you may know, I hate New Year with a terrible, fiery hate, which I would explain to you in great detail, except I’m much too lazy and we really will have to leave soon, so here’s a blank space where you can all feel free to imagine what I WOULD have said if I could’ve been bothered:
<insert hatred of New Year here>
I’m sure this year will be much less mournful than usual, though, so that’s something. Thank God for good friends, eh?
I was also going to do one of those end of year round-up things that bloggers always do, but as ever, I just thought, “meh, that’s what the archives are for”, so if you really want to know what I got up to this year, you’ll find the link at the top of the page. It was more or less just, “Blah blah, work, blah blah people who think I’m a shop, blah blah identity theft on the Internet, blah blah ashcloud, weather, FLORIDA YAY!, weather, weather, SHOOOS!, weather, SHOOS!, blah blah winter, OMGSNOW, snowsnowsnow, HOLIDAY!, the end.”
And now that we’re actually at the end, both of Dressember, and of 2010 (Oh God, here we go, I can feel myself getting maudlin. Dad, if you’re reading this, get the wine ready for tomorrow. Also the whisky. Now would be a good time to produce that pony, too, just FYI), all that remains for me to say is so long, and thanks for all fish. No, wait! All that remains for me to say is Happy New Year when it comes (if you can possibly try to imagine me slurring that line through my maudlin tears, it would make it more accurate), and I hope you all have a wonderful 2011. I also want to thank each and every single one of you for talking the time to read and comment here, and I’m not just saying that: if you were all here right now, I actually would go round and give each one of you a big, squishy hug. It would be a bit awkward, but I would mean well, I promise.
Now, where’s that whisky?*
(* I don’t actually drink whisky.)
(Well, not yet, anyway…)
(Dress and belt: Christmas gifts from my parents; boots, River Island)
There’s no punch line to the title of this post, I’m afraid, because it’s not actually a joke: it’s just what we did last night. (And I feel duty bound to tell you that only around half of the assembled company were Greek or of Greek descent. That wouldn’t have made for quite as good a headline, though…) Don’t worry, we did call ahead to book a giant table…
The meal was a kind of last supper to allow us to say goodbye to Terry’s brother and his family, who headed back to Kent today after their flying visit. It’s very rare that the entire family get together like this – in fact, up until the surprise party this week, it hadn’t happened since our wedding – so a good time was had, and now we can all look forward to getting together again in another four or five years. Like many Greek people, Terry’s mum gets a lot of pleasure out of counting the number of people present at any particular gathering and announcing later “There were eighteen of us, you know!” so I’m sure she’s enjoyed the past couple of days, and as Terry’s other two brothers are staying on into the new year, there will be plenty more gatherings to come.
Meanwhile, as you can see, there are two of me in the images above, which I’m sure is a disturbing thought for anyone who knows me. The restaurant was a very casual kind of place, so I wore this grey jersey dress, which was one of my Christmas gifts from my parents, with my grey boots, which I get much more wear out of than the phrase “suede thigh high boots” might lead you to expect.
As for today’s dress, I’m afraid it’s going to have to go unrecorded: Terry, John and I have just taken Rubin for a long walk through the woods, so my black knitted turtle neck dress had to be accessorised with leggings, those rubber boots I’ve been wearing all month, plus, er, thermal underwear. Plus the usual coat, hat, gloves, three-pairs-of-socks that is part of my usual winter outdoor uniform. I couldn’t be bothered lugging the camera with me on our walk (Which was a mistake, because it was a cold, misty day, and the sun going down over the hills was just spectacular) and now that I’m home, the light inside the house will be no match for my all-black outfit, so I’ll simply leave you with Terry’s description, which is that I look like, “The Milk Tray man, only a woman.” Awesome.
One more day of Dressember to go!
(I absolutely hate these photos of myself, so I took them down. I seriously have no idea how daily style bloggers cope, because no matter how much time I allow myself for getting ready, I always end up running around at the last minute with a pair of laddered tights in one hand and a lipstick in the other. Then I’ll try to put the lipstick on my legs and the tights on my face or something. Add in the fact that this month I’ve also had to allow time to take a handful of badly-lit photos and, well, this is what you end up with. Daily style bloggers, I salute you.)
So! Yesterday was a day Terry and I had been anticipating almost as much as Christmas itself, or perhaps more, actually, given the planning that went into it: Terry’s mum’s surprise 70th birthday party, which I totally failed to take any photos of, because I am so full of fail this week. I actually had the camera on the table in front of me all night, and every so often I’d pick it up and examine it like it was some kind of foreign object, the likes of which I’d never seen before. Then I’d put it back down and continue ignoring it. In the end, I forgot to capture so many important moments of the evening that I figured I’d just focus on enjoying the evening instead, and rely on the many video cameras in the room to capture it all for posterity.
Terry’s mum’s birthday isn’t actually until the first week in January, but because everyone was going to be back at work/school by then, it was a little too difficult to arrange for that day, so we decided to have the party yesterday, when most people were still off work, and it was easier for Terry’s brothers to make it to Scotland for the event. Terry had been planning the whole thing for weeks: he’d booked a venue, arranged food, etc, and had planned to basically make it a “This Is Your Life” style surprise for his mum, who thought she was going to the theatre, but was met instead by a room full of people doing the full-on “SURPRISE!” *jazz hands* kinda thing. She was pretty shocked. There may have been tears. They may not all have been hers. Thank God I wear waterproof mascara is all I can say…
(The solution to hideous photos: just cut off your own head…)
The biggest surprises were still to come, though. Terry started off his “welcome, one and all” speech, and mentioned that there were some people who unfortunately couldn’t make it, namely his brother George and his wife, who live in Athens, and his other brother, Niko, with his wife and family, who’re in the south of England. At that point he cut to a “Sorry we couldn’t be there” video which George had recorded in advance, to get their mum good and disappointed before George and Georgia appeared in person and almost gave her a heart attack.
That done, Terry told his mum that all of the surprises had now been had, and that Niko, Rachel etc definitely weren’t coming. Then he went back to his presentation, and a “waitress” came into the room to start serving water to people. But! This was no “waitress”! It was, in fact, my sister-in-law Rachel, who reached Terry’s mum and offered her some water. “No thanks,” said Terry’s mum politely, before doing the biggest double-take I’ve ever seen, and then jumping up to hug Rachel, and then Niko and their son Jonathan, who’d snuck out of their hiding place by that time. More tears were shed, and then Terry did a little speech he’d prepared, which led to even MORE tears. So, basically, we invited lots of people out last night in order to make them cry. You’re welcome, everyone!
Anyway, it was a great night, and Terry’s mum was completely amazed by everything, which was, of course, the whole point. Oh, and I did remember to take a photo of one thing:
The cake! Isn’t it amazing? Here’s a better photo of the top:
(Terry’s mum sews a lot, needless to say.) This was made for us by Siobhan at Caketasia, who did an absolutely amazing job, and I can confirm that it tasted every bit as good as it looked, although it seemed a terrible shame to cut into such a lovely thing. (We did, though, and it was worth it.)
So, that was last night: because we have lots of family here and have been so busy with this, and the various other things we have on this month (it’s a complete social whirl, I’m telling you) we’re still not officially back at work yet, and all of my blogs except this one are still running automated posts which I wrote in November or something. I’m SO going to need another holiday when this month is over.
In other news, I introduced myself to someone yesterday with the words, “Hi, I’m Amber’s wife, Terry.” I am awesome.