I should probably begin this post with the hopefully so-obvious-it-doesn’t-need-to-be-said-but-I’ll-say-it-anyway disclaimer that these photos are strictly of the “just for fun” variety. I don’t ACTUALLY carry Rubin around in a handbag: he was in this one for approximately two minutes, and he’d been bathed that morning, so no animals or handbags were harmed in the making of this post, I promise. And with that out of the way…
OMG DOG IN A TOTE BAG, YOU GUYS!
I just… I couldn’t resist. The bag arrived on Friday, you see, from the nice people at Florian London, and, as always, Rubin displayed a huge amount of interest in the parcel and walked around sniffing at it and wagging his tail as if to say, “I can has tote bag, yes?” “Look,” I said to Terry. “This bag is so big, Rubin could probably fit inside it!” Uh-oh. Well, once that statement was out, there was just no going back, was there? Especially not once I’d posted it on Twitter.
And that’s how Rubin came to find himself inside a handbag, briefly. And how I came to find myself wearing totally unsuitable shoes on what surely must have been the coldest day of the year. (OK, the handbag had absolutely nothing to do with my choice of footwear: I’m just SO SICK of having to wear boots and tights all the time, and I’ve been waiting to wear these shoes for weeks, so I thought I could get away with it, given that we were only outside for a few minutes. And also given that it’s technically “Spring” now. Wishful thinking, folks…)
Still, at least I know that next time I carry this bag I’ll be able to comfortably fit my laptop inside it. And a warmer pair of shoes. And probably the kitchen sink, my bed, and just about anything else I could possibly need. It’s a home away from home, people! And not just for Bichons…
WHAT? Oh, come on: you didn’t seriously think I’d prance around in stilettos in REAL snow, did you? I mean, not even I would be quite that stupid, although I’m willing to admit that it does SEEM like the kind of thing I’d do. In fact, just last year, I was contacted by a journalist from a national newspaper, who wanted to include me in a feature about women who love heels. I got really excited about this… until I realised the journalist in question was mentally adding the words “too much” to the end of that sentence. And the headline of the piece wasn’t even going to be “Women Who Love Heels”: it was going to be something more along the lines of “Crazy Woman is Crazy”. And I was going to be the crazy woman. Yes.
My suspicions about this were first aroused when the journalist asked me to send her some photos of me as a child, wearing stilettos. I mean, I didn’t even know they MADE stilettos for children, and even if they had, my younger self was far too busy being a showjumping detective and wearing a swimming cap in public to even think about such things. “Well, do you have any photos of yourself wearing high heels to, like, a sports day, say?” she asked. “Or while walking on a tightrope or something?” Now, as amused as I was by the suggestion that I would ever voluntarily take part in sports, I have to admit, I was a little annoyed that she obviously thought I was too stupid to see where this was going, and where it was going was a sad spread in a Sunday paper featuring yours truly wearing stilettos while milking a cow or something. Look, I used to be a journalist myself: it takes one to know one.
Naturally I declined to be involved at that point, because while I DO wear heels most of the time (certainly more than average, I’m guessing), and find them perfectly comfortable and practical for MOST of the things I get up to in life, I don’t insist on wearing them for everythingany more. And when it comes to walking the wolf in ankle-deep snow, I do what any self-respecting fashion blogger does: I reach for the Hunters. And also a gigantic, puffy gold jacket which I bought in Zara’s children’s department last year, in a rare moment of practicality which I still feel smug about now, because it cost 50% less than the identical adult jacket, which was the exact same size. And also because my intuition was correct for once, and we have indeed reached that low point of the winter where I cast aside fashion and JUST WANT TO BE WARM. Even if it DOES mean walking around wearing a sleeping bag.
“You look a bit bedraggled,” said Terry, the charmer, while he was taking these photos. What he neglected to tell me, however, was that I also looked like a big-footed hunchback*, and that’s why I don’t post photos of myself in wellies and sleeping bag-style jackets very often. I’ve already shown you the kind of thing I wear to walk the dog in autumn, though, so I thought I might as well show you the corresponding “dog walking in winter” outfit. I don’t really know WHY I thought that, if I’m honest. I mean, it’s not like I have tons of readers all lining up to say, “Let’s see what you wear to walk the dog in all the seasons, Amber!”, but then again, you didn’t ask for ANY of this, did you? Not the dresses, or the shoes, or all those polka dots. None of it. God, I feel sorry for you all, sometimes.
As you can see, Rubin is also wearing a coat in these photos, much to Terry’s disgust. I realise the sight of animals in clothes is kinda freaky to a lot of you, and I apologise for that, but rest assured, I didn’t put it on him because I thought it looked cute: I did it because the snow attaches to his fur like velcro, and then forms huge snowballs which can’t possibly be comfortable for him. He DOES look cute, though, there’s no getting away from it.
And not the least bit like a big-footed hunchback, either. Lucky him.
*It’s not my posture, honestly: I was wearing at least three other layers under that coat, one of which was almost equally chunky. I could hardly move my arms, seriously. If the cops had turned up and told us to put our hands up, I’d have ended up getting shot because I just couldn’t have done it. I know you’re thinking that’s OK because really, what are the odds of Terry and I being involved in a shoot-out while walking the dog? But then, what are the odds of Terry being accused of stalking me, either, huh? You just never know, is all I’m saying.
Season’s greetings, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying a good Christmas/holiday season/Wednesday/delete as appropriate.
*Goes to check that it is, in fact, Wednesday. Realises it’s actually Thursday. Panics slightly at the realisation that OMG, the time, it is passing her by. Stops speaking in the third person, because seriously: ANNOYING.*
I may not be a big fan of the hysteria that surrounds the run-up to Christmas, but I do take a break from the humbugging for the day itself, which is always a good one. This year was no exception, and we’ve spent the past two days at my parents’ place, where we got lots of lovely gifts (many of which you’ll see soon, because they were the type of gifts you can wear…) and had lot and lots (and lots and lots…) of delicious food: so much, in fact, that we were still eating it on Boxing Day. My parents are probably still eating it now, in fact.
(I’m joking: my parents are probably hitting the sales right now. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is all I’m saying…)
Every year, my mum does a different theme for our Christmas table, and this year’s theme was holidays and days out: she’d made an amazing table cloth covered in mementos from our various trips (it totally didn’t photograph well in the low light, which is also why some of these photos are a little yellow…), and we had starters from around the world, before the “traditional” turkey dinner, which actually isn’t particularly traditional in our house, this being the first time we’ve had it in years. We all had far too much too eat, but hey, it’s Christmas: it’s what you do, no?
Rubin, meanwhile, had a slightly more adventurous day, thanks to an intrepid cat, which had the temerity to wander past the house while Rubin was sitting at the window, guarding us all. Well, he wasn’t going to stand for A CAT on his patch (I mean, can you even BELIEVE it?!), so he took off into the garden in hot pursuit (The cat wasn’t actually IN the garden, of course, but outside is outside as far as Rubin’s concerned…), and somehow managed to pull a muscle in his leg in the process. We’ve no idea how he did it – my mum was watching him at the time and says one minute he was running flat-out, and the next he was… well, STILL running flat-out, but now on only three legs, the fourth being tucked up under his belly. We spent the rest of the day fussing over him and trying to get him to lie down and rest, but he didn’t seem to notice anything was amiss and continued to try to jump on and off the furniture and race around after his toys, so I think the whole incident was more traumatic for us humans than it was for him. He’s still limping slightly, but as I write this, he’s just launched himself off the bed and raced downstairs to bark at the Tesco delivery man, so I think he’s probably on the mend…
Jacket: La Redoute // Sweater: Primark // Trousers: H&M // Boots: Next // Sunglasses: Gucci c/o Shopbop
So, after thoroughly depressing everyone with my last whine-fest of a post, I decided it was time to tackle the issue head-on, and by “the issue”, I mean “the fact that I always spend the colder months of the year huddled up in a ball, rocking back and forth and muttering incoherently about The Darkness.” (Not the band, I hasten to add. That really WOULD be weird. No, I mean the actual darkness. That we’re about to be plunged into this weekend when the clocks change and the world is turned to eternal blackness.) It’s Amber Vs S.A.D, people. It’s ON. And I’ve decided to take a three-pronged approach. First up, there’s these guys:
Vitamin C to fend off the cold, and any other lurking lurgies (Which is totally going to be the name of my band, by the way. The Lurking Lurgies. We will sing melancholy songs about winter and hopelessness, and being forced to wear tights. It’ll be all kinds of awesome.) out there, and Vitamin D to make up for the fact that we’re not able to get much of it from the sun right now. (Mr D is standing a little apart from the Messrs C, here: it’s because he hates them. I was all, “C’mon guys, huddle up and give me a big smile for the camera!” but D was all, “Nuh-uh, can’t make me.” Apparently he think that because the C twins are brightly coloured and self-confessedly ”effervescent”, they don’t take their role as vitamins seriously enough? He may be right.)
Then there’s the running. Last winter, you see, I noticed that I didn’t feel quite as wretched as I normally do, and I attributed this partly due to the fact that I managed to keep up my running regime, even in January and February, which I normally spend trying to find reasons not to get out of bed in the morning. OK, it was a milder winter than usual, so that probably contributed too, but I think pulling myself out of hibernation mode and actually forcing myself out into the fresh air had a lot to do with it. This year so far I’ve been doing a lot less running. I’ve still been exercising, but because we’ve had so much rain, my regular running trails are all like swamps, so I’ve been choosing to do my Insanity workouts indoors instead. Yesterday, though, was a rare sunny day, so I went for a run, and felt SO much better for being in the sunshine for an hour. So much so, in fact, that when I got home I showered quickly and then dragged Terry and Rubin out for a long walk in the sun, too. And this brings me to point three in my plan: making the most of any drops of sunshine we’re lucky enough to get.
This is actually something Terry and I started doing this summer, when it rained so much we thought we were going to have to build an ark, and send the animals in two-by-two. And by “the animals” I mean “the shoes”. On the days when it stopped, though, we decided we may as well try to make the most of the nicer weather when we had it, so we basically dropped everything and went outside for as long as possible. We’re really lucky in that working from home makes that possible: we can take the afternoon off and then work in the evening, when it’s dark anyway, so we’ve decided that’s what we’re going to do this winter, too – basically get outside as much as we can, even if it means working through the night to catch up. Which it won’t, obviously, because by this time next week it’ll be dark by 3.30pm. GOD.
While everyone else is lapping up the amazing autumn weather, though, and talking about how it’s their favourite time of year, there is at least ONE person who agrees with me that it actually kind of sucks:
He spends a LOT more time in the bath at this time of year, that’s for sure, and while he thoroughly enjoys getting dirty, he’s not quite so keen on getting clean again. Don’t be fooled by the serious expression on his face, though: he’ll hate me for telling you this, but it has nothing to do with the prospect of the shower which awaited him at home – he’s absolutely terrified of walking over that bridge!
P.S. I wrote this post late last night. This morning, the sun basically didn’t bother to rise at all, and I almost didn’t either: round one goes to S.A.D…
So, there I was, just hanging out in the garden, as you do. Posing. Totally unaware of Terry standing right there in front of me, with the camera. When all of a sudden…
Oh. Hi, Rubin. Why so suspicious? You wouldn’t have come running the second you heard the shutter click, with the intention of inserting yourself into all of my photos and pulling terrifying wolf faces, would you?
I thought as much.
We all know you can do better than that, though, Rubinman. Why not show the nice readers one of your REALLY scary faces?
That’s more like it. And, you know, while you’re here… I know fashion blogging isn’t really your thing, but I’m sure you could show us all a thing or two about how to wear clothes?
Yes. Just like that.
He is always, always, the star of the show; I’m just his sidekick. That’s just the way it goes when you’re owned by a small white wolf…
[Dress: ASOS // shirt: H&M // shoes: Head Over Heels by Dune]
Unlike me, Rubin isn’t a big fan of the heat. Which I guess is understandable, given that “personal style” for him involves wearing the same, white fur coat every day. This is why dogs don’t have style blogs.
Luckily for him, however, Saturday afternoon was sunny and warm, but with enough of a breeze to keep him cool when we stopped off for a quick walk en route to my parents’ place, for a barbecue. I was a bit less lucky, mind you: that wind was NOT kind to my dress. Let’s just say there were more than a couple of “Marilyn Monroe moments”, although without the elegance. Yes.
It was during the barbecue later that night that my dad used the phrase “as happy as a dog with two tails”, and while I honestly think that if I WAS a dog with two tails, I’d probably be just a little bit freaked out by it (I mean, two! Tails! OMG!), it does pretty much sum up me in the sunshine. And it sums up Rubin in the … it just sums up Rubin.
(He got a haircut the next day. He was really happy only to have the one tail when that happened…)
(Yes, that’s a giant twig attached to his fur. This happens without fail, every time he steps outside the door…)
But enough about dogs and tails: you just want to hear about my eyebrows after my HD Brows treatment, don’t you?
Well, the short story is that the HD Brows treatment went exactly how you all thought it would go, and exactly how I thought it would go, too, given my chequered history with dyeing hair. In fact, so certain was I that it would be an unmitigated disaster that I actually came pretty close to just cancelling the appointment. But I left it too late, so yesterday afternoon the condemned woman ate a hearty lunch, and then she drove herself to the salon with a heavy heart.
My fears were alleviated slightly when I met my brow tech, who had red, hair just a couple of shades lighter than mine, and the most perfectly tinted brows imaginable. Surely, I thought, my eyebrows would be safe in the hands of a fellow redhead? Surely she, of all people, would understand the unique set of problems connected to having vampire skin and translucent facial hair? “I’ll have two of those, please!” I said, gesturing to her perfect brows, and then I settled back and prepared to be transformed.
And then, a short while later, I sat up, took the hand mirror I was offered, and gazed into a pair of mascara-pooled eyes (I cry when I have threading done. I can’t seem to stop myself), perfectly framed by the blackest brows you ever did see. GAH.
Well, I drove home, and went immediately to the bathroom, where I grabbed the bottle of Head & Shoulders I bought last time I had a hair dyeing disaster, and tried to use it to strip out some of the colour. (If you’ve never tried shampooing your eyebrows, by the way, all I can say is that you don’t know what you’re missing. And honestly, you don’t WANT to know…) Afterwards, I thought it looked OK. In fact, I even Tweeted that it was OK. And then later? I realised that it was very much NOT OK, NOT AT ALL, OMFG.
Looking on the bright side:
1) Terry says it’s not nearly as dark as I think it is.
2) The salon told me the colour would fade within a couple of days, and I’ve certainly found that to be true in the past when I’ve, you know, dyed my eyebrows black with eyelash dye. Sorry, I mean, when my friend has done that. Because I have never done that, no, not me. What do you think I am, stupid?
3) I almost always wear gigantic, eyebrow-covering sunglasses when I’m out in public (see above photos for evidence of this. And all my other outdoor photos, actually.). I always knew this would come in handy one day. And OK, I’m pretty sure that when I stopped to put fuel in my car on the way home from my appointment, the cashier thought I was about to rob the place when I didn’t remove my sunglasses, but hey, wearing sunglasses indoors will…give me an air of mystery? Which is… good? I guess?
4) The shape of the brows is GREAT. Which is honestly nothing short of a miracle, especially when you consider that my eyebrows actually get their own hate mail sometimes. According to the salon I went to, they were:
Two completely different shapes
Did I mention “coarse”?
After all of this, though, the beautician told me that they weren’t the worst eyebrows she’d seen. And the unspoken words “but they’re pretty damn close” hovered in the air, unspoken…
They look a little better this morning. And today? Today I’m having my hair cut. Wish me luck…
Just in case any of you were worried that my recent silence is a sign that the ghost which switches our TV on and knocks over our posters had taken more drastic action against Terry and I, I’m here to report that all is well. And, I mean, it’s not like there’s been any other spooky occurrences to suggest there’s a ghost in the house, maybe in the region of the front door, say:
(Um, please excuse the quality and shakiness of this video – I filmed it on my phone, late at night. I was also probably drunk.)
Seriously, he stood like this, staring intently at absolutely nothing, repeatedly that night. And no, there was nothing outside (that was visible to the human eye) and no mysterious sounds (that our human ears could pick up), so the question remains: WHAT DOES HE SEE? Is it dead people? And are they likely to try to posses us any time soon, I wonder?
Actually, there’s a small part of me right now that’s secretly wishing there WAS a ghost in the house, or that I could become possessed by a demon or something (Note: Not really. That’s not an invitation, o spirits of the netherworld! Begone from this house!). It would at least break the monotony, and give me something to write about here, wouldn’t it? Because here’s the thing, not that you particularly care: I haven’t bee quite lately because of ghostly presences in our home, but just because there is absolutely nothing to see here, folks, move along please. I have, of course, been continuing to blog elsewhere, because that’s what pays the bills, but actually, I think that’s part of the problem: I write about fashion at The Fashion Police, about shoes at Shoeperwoman and (occasionally) about makeup at Hey, Dollface! and it doesn’t really leave much left over to write about here.
Of course, this blog has always been that most awkward of genres: the personal journal. It’s supposed to just be about my life. But really, all that’s been happening in my life right now is that I write about fashion, shoes and makeup, and… that’s it. So things may be quiet around here for a while. Or, then again, they may not, because normally what happens is that I promise I won’t be blogging much, and then I suddenly discover that I have so! much! to! say! and you’re stuck with even MORE of me, instead.
This afternoon, we decided to jump in the car and take Rubin for a long walk in the countryside just outside town. We actually thought we were being pretty clever here (Yeah, I know: famous last words…), because the thing is, our house is surrounded by woodland. And Rubin’s fur is like velcro. So, basically, every time we walk him during Autumn/Winter (so from September – May, really), he comes home looking a bit like an Ent, with entire trees tangled up in his fur, and, well, it’s not much fun for any of us, really.
“I know!” said Terry this afternoon. “We’ll take him on a different walk, far, far from the wicked trees! Then the worst we’ll have to worry about will be a bit of mud!”
Or, you know, a LOT of mud. Like, OMGTHATISALOTOFMUD. And also quite a lot of trees, to be honest, because it’s not like there are NO TREES in the countryside, is it?
Trees. In the countryside. WHO KNEW?
Rubin really enjoyed his walk, though. Terry and I? Not so much, to be honest. Not once we got him home, anyway, and had to spend the best part of an hour bathing him, then cleaning the bath, cleaning the floors, scraping mud off the walls, ceiling, and all of the other places Rubin managed to shake it. And did Rubin care?
Well, what do YOU think?
Oh yeah, I also managed to capture a UFO, out there on that lonely road:
Or possibly a scary ghost, which has been following me around, ever since it ransacked my kitchen (who, me, exaggerate?) and switched on my TV the other night? At first I thought it was just the reflection of the sun or moon in a puddle, but this photo is actually a duplicate of the one above Rubin, and as you can see, there’s no water there. Definitely a ghost, then. That, or my iPhone case creating weird effects again. My money’s on “ghost”, though.
So, after yesterday’s incident, in which Terry left the front door open all night, prompting the police to pay us a visit in the early hours of the morning, I resorted to desperate measures to make sure the same thing couldn’t happen with the BACK DOOR:
What? A bit of an over-reaction, you think? Trust me, this particular event has been in the post for a loooong time now. A looong time. It was just… unfortunate… that it had to happen on the very day the doors in our house were already under a black cloud. And hey, isn’t it funny that we left the front door wide open, and then made sure it was totally impossible to get out of the back one? And by “funny”, I mean, “GAH, I’m going back to bed now. With wine.” Who knew doors would one day declare themselves The Enemy?
That’s how Terry came to spend all of Friday afternoon procuring, and then fitting, new locks and handles for both of our doors. It took a while. And it was FREEZING. Now our house is like Fort Knox, though: or, at least, it will be, assuming we actually remember to LOCK THE DAMN DOORS, FFS.
I don’t think he’ll be making THAT mistake again in a hurry, somehow.
We tried to rescue the day with a nice, relaxing evening, but right before we went to bed we let Rubin out, and he came back in like this:
I refer not to the OMGDEMONEYES, but to the mud on his face, paws and undercarriage. We don’t know what happened out there in the garden. We honestly don’t WANT to know. But it did mean that at 1am in the morning, we found ourselves facing a “Dog in the Bath” situation:
And that concluded our Friday the 13th. We’re not really looking forward to the next one…
In other news (which will be totally repeated news if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter: sorry!), yesterday morning we woke up to this:
Well, actually we woke up in the middle of the night, to Rubin barking hysterically in order to alert us that the the house was falling down. It wasn’t, thankfully, but it really did sound like it for a while. This is the fourth time we’ve lost our fence in the past few weeks – I’d blame the fence, but everyone else’s was more or less the same. (And normally it just blows down: this time it snapped right out of the steel fence posts, thanks to our neighbour’s bin being thrown at it by the high winds.) We got off lightly, though: there was some pretty major damage around town/the country in general, and I from what I’ve heard, at least two people were killed, so we were lucky: fences can always be fixed…