Archive of ‘Things I Bought’ category
(OK, I finally worked out how I’m going to handle this whole Photo-a-Day thing, and how I’m going to handle it is, I’m going to just keep posting the photos on Instagram, and then blog about the ones I really like, or which have a story to them, or something. That way you don’t have to look at 365 blurry photos of the sky, and I don’t end up writing 20,000 words about them, but I still get to document my life in photos, and also get some really lazy blog content into the bargain. And I probably WILL still write 20,000 words about them, just so’s you know.)
So! A couple of weeks ago, Terry surprised me with the news that he had bought us tickets to see the Counting Crows for my birthday this year.
(They’re not actually playing on my birthday, or even anywhere near it. Rude of them, actually.)
Now, I know it’s not trendy to like Counting Crows, but luckily I don’t give a crap about being trendy, because I LOVE them. I discovered them back when I was a tortured journalist (as opposed to being a tortured blogger, obviously. “Older, not wiser” has been the motto of my life.), and I couldn’t help but notice they were singing the story of my life, which is all about love, and loss and, er, growing up in a small town on the east coast of America, and then moving to L.A. in search of a dream that is never realised. So, you know, maybe not EXACTLY my life, but whatever: I RELATED.
(I just realised that describing myself as a “tortured journalist”, might have been misleading. I meant that I was tortured emotionally, obviously. I wasn’t, like, John McCarthy or anything. Glad to have cleared that up.)
Anyway, I love Counting Crows, is what I’m trying to say. So when Terry told me he’d bought us tickets to see them, my first thought was, “YAY! Counting Crows! I bet Adam Duritz will notice me in the crowd, recognise me as his number 1 fan, and pull me up on stage, to join him in a quick rendition of Mr Jones. Awesome!”
(And now I’ve made it sound like I stalk Adam Duritz or something. I don’t. I’m not allowed to, ever since the restraining order.)
My second thought was, “Hmmm. Maybe I should get some singing lessons, just in case.”
And then my third thought? Well, obviously my THIRD thought was, “OMG, what will I WEAR?”
Things like this, you see, present me with my biggest fashion dilemmas ever. (Yes, it took me a while to get us back on topic, but I got there in the end…) The fact is that my wardrobe is sadly lacking in clothes of a practical nature. If you want me to go out to dinner (in the 1950s), accompany you to a bar (in the 1950s), or attend a wedding, say (in the 1950s, natch), I will be able to pull something out of that closet without even having to think about it. But if you ask me to go on a hike, or on a coastal walk, or to help you weed your garden (Note: never ask me to help you garden. I will cut you.), I’m out. I’m not joking: the “practical” section of my wardrobe boils down to either:
a) Workout clothes
So, if you were to ask me to help you move house, say, I’d turn up looking like I was going to either run a marathon or climb Everest. Or I’d turn up dressed like a pin-up girl, obviously. None of these would really be appropriate for that particular activity, and none of them will be appropriate for a rock concert either. I mean, if we were in the seated area, that would fine. I’d just go with the pin-up option. But we’re standing. The last time I was in the standing area at a concert was at Bob Dylan in 2011. “It’ll be fine,” I thought. “It’ll be a bunch of old hippies, all flashing V signs and swinging their beads and stuff.” Yeah, not so much. Someone stamped on my toe so hard I seriously thought it was broken (And, indeed, the toenail died. Sad for it.), and … actually, no, sorry, I can’t talk about the Other Things that happened that night. It’s too soon.
What I’m trying to say here, then, is that not even I would wear stilettos and a sundress for something like this. I need shoes that can be stamped on. Clothes that I can
fight dance in. A comfortable, practical outfit that will allow me to be on my feet for several hours, in the middle of a probably violent crowd, without my feet hurting, or, well, my dress getting creased. Because I would HATE IT if my dress got creased.
At the end of the day, though, I’m still not prepared to give up my heels, so I bought these:
They’re biker boots. But they have a little heel! They are TOTALLY not my usual style, but they’re super-comfortable, and I think they’ll protect my toes if someone tries to break them again. As for what I’ll wear WITH them… my thought-process hasn’t extended that far. I’m sure I’ll work it out, though. Probably the morning after the concert, knowing my luck.
Because I’m the kind of person who puts a pretty, bokeh effect on the photo of her concert ticket, though, and to go some way towards combating the whole BIKER thing, I also bought these:
(excuse crappy, low-light iPhone photo…)
And the balance of the universe was restored. WHEW.
[Title lyric: Counting Crows, Round Here]
Yeah, I know, I know: it’s ANOTHER one of those stupid “photo-a-day” roundups. Right after the last one. With nothing in between them to at least allow me to PRETEND I sometimes write about other things here. SIGH.
Look, it’s not my fault. I HAD intended to have a couple of outfit posts for you this week, but… the weather. I don’t need to tell you about it, do I? Suffice to say the snow stuck around until a couple of days ago, and while it was here, I was dressed like this every day. Well, when I was outside, anyway. I didn’t dress like that at home, although don’t think I didn’t consider it. Did I mention it’s been COLD? Anyway, the snow was here, and then it melted. But when it melted, the rain came. And the rain remained. It’s still raining right now, in fact, which means I’m STILL not leaving the house, and I’m STILL not wearing anything worth photographing, because… the weather. Yes.
Anyway, I may not have managed any outfit photos, but I have been continuing with my 365 project, and I’ve gotten a little bit behind with the roundups, so I figured I may as well play catch-up. Seeing as I’ve nothing better to do, obviously.
Last week’s set of photos mostly revolved around my attempts at the Insanity Asylum workouts. Other than the photo of the pink sky, obviously. It’s… a photo of a pink sky. Look, I LIKE THE SKY, OK? As some of you may recall, I completed the original Insanity 90 day programme last summer, and really enjoyed it. I mean, I say “really enjoyed it”: I’m fairly convinced Shaun T and I were mortal enemies in some previous life, and that’s why he’s trying to kill me in this one, but still. This is the kind of exercise I like best: mostly high-energy cardio, which gets you totally out of breath and doesn’t give you much opportunity to get bored. Like yoga, say. God, I hate yoga.
So I completed Insanity (Yay, go me!), and for a while I was all, “I will work out every day now, for I have learned new habits which will serve me well throughout the rest of my long, healthy life.” Then December happened. And I ate ALL the things at Christmas. I also didn’t work out at all, and although I did make an attempt to get back into running at the start of this month, that attempt was to prove unsuccessful, because… the weather.
Enter Insanity: The Asylum. Which has well and truly kicked my ass over the past few days. From the top:
21. Welcome to the Asylum. Apparently I will “look and feel like an athlete in 30 days”. But which one, I wonder? My breath is bated. I bet it’s Tiger Woods. I just have a feeling about it.
22. PINK SKY.
24. Free weights. (Actually, they weren’t free at all: Terry paid for them. Boom boom!)
23. Resistance bands. My favourite is the green one, natch.
(Yes, I mixed up the order of these slightly. Such a rebel I am!)
25. On Friday, these shoes arrived, courtesy of Sarenza, whose brand ambassador programme I’m lucky enough to be a part of. I love them.
26. On Saturday we went out with a bunch of friends to a birthday party in a local bar. My “out on the town” outfits are rarely documented on this blog because I always leave it to the last minute to get ready, and then it’s too dark/late/Terry is too annoyed with me to take photos of them. I don’t think “tragedy” is too strong a word to describe this sorry situation. (Yes I do.) Instead, you’ll have to make do with this blurry iPhone photo, the capturing of which made me realise there IS actually an art to that whole “I am taking a photo of myself in the mirror” thing, and I am sadly lacking in that art. For instance, I was wearing a really nice jewelled collar but can you see it? No, you cannot! Because I’m holding my phone in front of it! That’s why my face is frozen in an attitude of barely contained anger. It’s either that, or the fact that there was an ice-cream van parked outside my window blaring out the A-Team theme song for twenty minutes. Or maybe that’s just my face.
(It’s totally just my face. I have one of THOSE faces. My “resting expression” is best defined as “pure, undiluted anger”, even when I’m perfectly happy and am thinking about, I don’t know, kittens or something. That’s why people are always walking up to me and saying, “Smile, it might never happen!” And why I’m always smacking them in the face in reply.)
27. The road to my parents’ house, where we headed on Sunday afternoon. It’s long. With many a winding turn. OK, it isn’t: it’s kinda short and straight. No one ever writes songs about those kind of roads, do they? Just blog posts. And not even full ones, just, like, a few paltry sentences as part of some stupid photo roundup. Sad for those roads.
28. This is Poppy. She is a parrot. And I’ll just ‘fess up right now: this photo of her was actually taken by Terry, using the “real” camera, which explains why it’s so much better than the rest of ‘em. (Actually, the top photo was taken by me with the real camera, too, but I included the blurry iPhone version in the roundup itself. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, because it’s not like I’m in a court of law and in danger of being charged with non-adherence to some strict Project 365 Code of Honour or something, but I feel the need for full transparency, apparently.) I DID also take a photo of Poppy with my phone, so this totally counts as part of my project (yes it does, shut up), but mine came out really dark and blurry, so I’m using Terry’s instead. Anyway, Poppy belongs to my in-laws, and unlike her predecessor Pepe (yes, it’s confusing), may God rest his soul, she is notable for being a nice, friendly bird, who has yet to take a chunk out of anyone’s finger. Unlike, you know, Pepe. She is also notable for the fact that we don’t actually know for sure what sex she is, so people walk around saying things like, “Look at Poppy, what a pretty girl he is!” and “She’s such a good boy, isn’t she?” Well, gender is such a touchy subject, isn’t it? We wouldn’t want her to feel like she was being pressured into being one or the other if she doesn’t want to. You just do you, Poppy. Atta girl. Boy. Whatevs.
29. I bought shoes. They are from River Island. I hope one day to be able to wear them, but, well… the weather. GOD.
And we’re all up to date. FINALLY.
[Clearwater Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida]
This is where I’ll be this time next month.
This is also why I’ve been a bit quiet recently: as regular readers know, the approach of a holiday sees me pretty much chained to my desk, frantically queuing up blog posts for The Fashion Police and Shoeperwoman so I don’t go out of business while I’m lying on that there beach. My muscles ache from the tension, I’ve developed RSI in my right hand thanks to all of the typing/scrolling I’ve been doing (I have a wrist brace from the last time this happened, and I’m trying to take as many breaks as I can, but other than that, my only hope is that Rubin suddenly develops a passion for women’s shoes. And learns how to write, obviously, so he can take over blogging duties.*) and yesterday I woke up with a migraine. But it will all be worth it. Yes it will. Because… the sun. And the beach. And the Neiman Marcus shoe department. And that feeling of being “home” I always get when I step off the plane and get that first whiff of the Florida air. (And never get when I actually am “home”, funnily enough…). Oh yes, it will be worth it.
As luck would have it, the week before we leave is the week of the Diamond Jubilee, which means I don’t have to write content for the public holidays on the Monday and Tuesday of that week. On the Wednesday, our friends are getting married, so I have the day off for that and, well, the day after to recover. Friday will be spent packing, cleaning the house and all of that other fun stuff you have to do before a trip, so basically I have just under three weeks to work, then I’m off for a month. And I could not be more excited about it.
It also makes for a good excuse to shop.
*Rubin can totally write, by the way. You all know this.
(I took this photo by mistake while scrabbling around on the floor, trying to find a sock I thought I’d lost while trying on shoes. I thought it summed up my morning pretty well, though.)
I wear earplugs every night to sleep. It’s partly because our room can be quite noisy, between one thing and another, but it’s also because I’m such a princess that even the slightest noise when I’m trying to sleep will irritate me beyond belief. So I wear my earplugs, and I guess it’s become part of my nigh-time routine: I switch off the light, then I switch off the sound, then I sleep.
(Actually, I don’t sleep: I mostly lie awake thinking there are crabs invading the bed, but that’s a whole other story…)
This Saturday, I had an appointment with the optician, and I also had appointments with aaaalll the shops in the mall where the optician is located. By the time I woke up, Terry had already left for the gym (“I worked out for two hours,” he told me later. “So did I”, I responded: because if running around a mall in 4″ heels doesn’t count as a workout, I don’t know what does…), so it was just me and Rubin. I made my coffee, fed the dog, and then returned to the office to drink said coffee while
playing Sims Social doing important work-related stuff.
Then I showered, blow-dried my hair, put on some clothes and some makeup, settled Rubin down with his toys n’ treats, and headed out to the car.
(This post is fascinating, isn’t it? I bet you all wish I would relate the mundane details of my mundane life EVERY day, huh?)
I was out of our estate, and well on my way to the mall before I realised I was still wearing my earplugs.
(I was quite relieved to make the discovery: up until that point, I’d assumed the car stereo was playing up…)
Things didn’t get much better when I reached the mall, because entering into it was like plunging into the depths of Hades: partly because of the seething mass of humanity that lay within, but mostly because of the temperature, which was sauna-like. I had anticipated this, and was wearing lightweight clothes, which were totally unsuitable for the time of year, but within seconds I was drenched in sweat, and having to restrain myself from just throwing people out of my way.
“Why did I do this to myself?” I wondered. “Why did I come to the mall on a Saturday? I mean, I’m self-employed. It’s not like there’s no other possible time I could shop.” And yet, of all of the days in all of the week, I had to walk into this one, and now I was paying the price. The hot, sweaty, uncomfortable, crammed-into-a-small-space-with-The-Others price.
The Others were at their absolute worst that day. They were all doing their slow-walk, spread out across the aisles so as to prevent anyone passing them. Any time I spotted an item of clothing I wanted to try, The Others would all rush to snatch it out of my grasp. God, I hate them.
With fifteen minutes to go before my appointment, I found myself in H&M, with approximately one thousand items of clothing to try on, and the main fitting room closed for refurbishment. I went upstairs to the children’s department fitting room, which has only a couple of cubicles, and joined a line which snaked all the way to the exit and didn’t move AT ALL in the time I stood in it. Now, our mall is HUGE – seriously, it occupies a square footage that is probably larger than my hometown – and the H&M is as far as you can get from the optician’s, while still remaining under the same roof. I had no choice: I ran frantically around the store, replacing all of the items I’d been going to try on, and then I RAN to the optician’s… or rather, I slow-walked to the optician’s, held up at every turn by the antics of The Others, who were all dawdling along, forming an impenetrable barrier between me and my goal. I couldn’t get past them, and it’s illegal to kill them, so I had to content myself with jogging frantically on the spot, and trying to dash through any small space I could find. It was no fun at all.
By the time I reached the optician’s (mercifully on time), I was a complete wreck of a person. My face was tomato-red and shiny with sweat, my clothes were twisted and rumpled from the many times I’d wrenched them all off to try something on. My hair was a tangled mess, my eyeliner had started sliding down my cheeks, Alice Cooper style, and I was pretty sure my shirt was on backwards. I didn’t just look like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards: I looked like the hedge had actually attacked me, and then asked all its friends to join in.
I reached the waiting room with seconds to spare, threw myself triumphantly into a seat (everyone nearby instantly moved away at the sight of the deranged sweatmonster who’d just joined them: why couldn’t that technique have worked on The Others?) …
… and the optician was running 10 minutes late.
I MISSED OUT ON SHOPPING TIME FOR THIS! I yelled. Inside my own head.
Anyway, the optician eventually came to get me, and I was ushered into his office. And as I sat there, patiently trying to work out whether the letters looked better or worse with THIS LENS or THIS ONE (God, I hate it when they do that. The letters always look exactly the same to me?), I glanced down at the shopping bag beside me, which was gaping open on the floor…
… and there, right at the top of it, and threatening to spill out onto the floor any second, was the new bra and knickers I’d just bought, along with a multipack of seam-free undies.
I can only hope the optician approved.
As for what I bought:
Did I mention I’m really into mint right now?
(And no, I’m not showing you the underwear: it’s bad enough that the optician had to see it…)
(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…
I got me some new shoes.
I’ll look a lot like Minnie Mouse in them (and, in fact, that’s their name: Minnie.) but I don’t care.
I would actually try to justify these as part of a “Minnie Mouse” Halloween Costume (even although I think her shoes were yellow?), but my friend Ewen
is a big meanie has challenged me to dress as something non-glamorous this year. This has proved a challenge indeed, not just because, as some of you know, I like to use Halloween purely as an excuse to be even more over-dressed than usual (see “Marilyn Monroe“, “Audrey Hepburn“, “Joan Holloway“, er, “Lady Gaga” but also because I hate spending money on anything that isn’t a dress or a pair of shoes, and so I was forced to try to put something together on less than £5. (Well, OK, I wasn’t “forced”: I just did it.)
All will be revealed next week: for now, I’m off to stroke my shoes some more…
[Shoes: Miss KG by Kurt Geiger 'Minnie2']
[Disclosure: these shoes were courtesy of Idealo.co.uk, but chosen by me..]
So, I already had this dress:
And I love it. Love it. It’s a great dress. All swingy, and swirly, and most importantly, mustard, which is my current colour obsession. And in ponte fabric, which I really love, because it doesn’t crease as easily as some fabrics, and I’m one of those people who can spend hours ironing her clothes, and then within two minutes of putting them on, they’ll be looking like I just picked them off the floor. Of a barn. But anyway: I had this dress, and I loved this dress.
But then yesterday?
Yesterday, they released it in green, too:
And honestly, I think they did it deliberately, as a test of my willpower. Seriously: one of my favourite dresses, now available in my favourite colour? A test. Obviously.
People, I failed the test. I have NO WILLPOWER whatsoever. I am completely powerless to resist the lure of the green dress, so now I have 22 of them: or at least, I will have, once it arrives.
Can I get an intervention over here?
“There, there, Rubin… I promise I’ll get over my addiction one of these days…”
You see this swimsuit, folks? This is my New Favourite Swimsuit. And I almost didn’t get it. Allow me to explain…
You see, the swimsuit in question is by a company called Esther Williams. (Yes, named after THAT Esther Williams.) They make these gorgeous, retro-inspired swimsuits, and I’ve been coveting one for a long, long time. Specifically an emerald green one. Because if I can’t be wearing a 50s-style green dress, I want to be wearing a 50s-style green swimsuit.
But the swimsuits aren’t cheap, and although the brand is stocked by a handful of UK retailers, I had my heart set on an emerald green one, which was only in stock at the time on the company’s own, US-based website, meaning that international shipping and import duties would make an already Not Cheap swimsuit a Very Not Cheap swimsuit. I, however, was going to be in America myself at the very time I’d be needing the suit, and so it was that I hatched a cunning plan. I would wait until I reached San Francisco (where I wouldn’t be doing any swimming, and therefore wouldn’t be needing any retro swimwear) and once I was there I would order my suit, and I would have it sent to the house we were renting in LA, planning the purchase carefully so that the swimsuit would arrive at roughly the same time I did.
But things didn’t go according to plan. Because I’m an idiot, basically.
You see, these suits are made to order, and go through a meticulous quality control process, which means that it generally takes around 6 weeks from you placing the order to you actually receiving your swimsuit: a fact which is mentioned on the company’s website.
I realised this fact approximately five seconds after placing my order.
Realising that the swimsuit would, therefore, not arrive at the house until long after I was back home in freezing old Scotland, I did a bit of whining, and then I emailed the company, apologised, and asked them to cancel the order.
But they didn’t.
No, the next day I got an email from the lovely Marq at Esther Williams, who offered to have the suit sent to me in the UK, at no extra cost.
Now, even if that had been the end of the saga, I’d have considered it the best customer service I’d ever had, because this company was basically offering to absorb the cost of the international shipping, just because of MY stupid mistake. Which was pretty damn nice of them, I thought.
Of course, the problem with that was that swimsuits aren’t much use to me in the UK, and it seemed like a lot of money for something I wouldn’t get to wear until God knows when, so I apologised again and said that as much as I’d love to prance around my hometown in an emerald green swimsuit, people look at me funny as it is, so I’d better resist. And then I hung my head in shame, because honestly, they were being so nice, and I felt like a total heel for messing them around like that.
Anyway, I figured that would be the end of my Esther Williams swimsuit plan, but I had figured without Marq, who, it turned out, wanted me to have that swimsuit almost as much as I wanted it myself. So he called the company’s manufacturer, managed to track down a suit in the right size and colour, and had it overnighted to the company’s HQ, so he could send it on to me.
SERIOUSLY, IS THAT NOT AMAZING SERVICE?
(Um, these photos kind of give away the ending of this story, don’t they? I should really have thought this through more…)
Well, I was all a-tremble at the thought of the imminent arrival of my new swimsuit. Every day we would come home from wherever we’d been, and I’d rush to check the mailbox.
It didn’t arrive.
Like, AT ALL.
I was devastated.
So, I emailed Marq and asked if it had been sent yet. “Er, yes,” replied Marq. “In fact, according to the tracking, it was delivered last week…”
I typed the tracking number Marq had given me into the USPS website, and sure enough, according to them, they’d delivered the suit to me the previous week.
Except they hadn’t. I’d checked the mailbox faithfully, and nothing had arrived. So I double-checked to make sure the address they said they’d delivered to was correct, then I went out and searched the perimeter of the property, to see if the mailman had simply thrown the package over the fence. (That had happened the previous week, with another package, which landed under the sprinkler and got a good soaking. Mailmen: they hate me.) Nothing.
Now, the house we were staying in was at the top of a hill, so we didn’t really get people just passing by. There were only two houses nearby, and they both happened to be empty at the time. The house was also surrounded by a high wall and gate, so no one could get into it without being buzzed in. The mailbox was on our side of the fence: people could put packages into it from the roadside, but you could only get them out from our side. All of these factors made it highly unlikely that the package had been stolen – and for that to have happened, USPS would’ve had to have left it outside the property, which would’ve been an odd decision given that there was a mailbox RIGHT THERE for them. So, basically, the only way USPS could possibly have delivered this package without us knowing about it was if they’d thrown it over the wall, which they hadn’t. My extensive search of the grounds proved this, and I also may have drafted in reinforcements to allow me to extend the search. I’m sure my dad really enjoyed those five hours spent searching the undergrowth for a swimsuit, too.
The upshot was that if USPS had delivered the package, I had never received it. At this realisation, a cold chill went down my spine. You all know about the lack of luck I have with mail. I’d assumed those issues were restricted only to Royal Fail, here in the UK. Now it seemed my luck had followed me to America: and had claimed my prechus swimsuit into the bargain.
Well, we called USPS. “Meh, we’ll look into it,” they said, in a tone which clearly told me that they would do no such thing.
So Terry and I jumped into the car and drove down to the local post office, which was where the package had last been tracked to. We stood in line for 30 minutes, before being granted an audience with The Grumpiest Man Who Ever Did Live. “Reeeallly?” he said, sarcastically, after hearing our sorry story. Then he rolled his eyes dramatically (“Hey!” I wanted to say. “Enough with the drama, old dude. I’LL be bringing the drama here, thanks very much.” But I didn’t, because I think he would’ve killed me with his eyes.) and went to get the manager.
The manager came shuffling out apologetically, refusing to look us in the eye.
“Yeeeaaaah,” he said nervously. “See, there’s not much point in me asking the delivery driver what happened to your package. Because he’ll just say he delivered it?”
There was a short silence as we all digested this piece of information.
“Soooo,” said the manager. “I dunno, really. Maybe just ask the company for your money back? And, like, hope they say yes? Otherwise you’re basically screwed?”
OK, he didn’t say that last bit. But it was what he meant.
I was really upset by all of this. I didn’t think it was fair for Esther Williams to have to bear the cost of the lost swimsuit, but at the same time, I didn’t really know what else to do other than to contact them again and tell them what USPS had said. So I emailed Marq, hoping that perhaps the ground would open up and swallow me before he got to read his mail.
THIS time would surely be the end of the matter, I thought, as I guiltily pressed “send” on my email. But I had seriously underestimated the lengths that Esther Williams Swimwear were prepared to go to to help out a Scottish girl in need of a retro swimsuit. You see, Ether Williams are based in California. Marq, as it turned out, was going to be at a bar not far from where we were staying, that very night. And that blessed man had managed to track down another swimsuit in my size. I could collect it from him at the bar, he suggested, and cut out USPS altogether?
That’s how I came to find myself collecting a mysterious package from a strange man in Canoga Park late one summer night. And that, my friends, is how the world was saved.
Oh no, wait, it isn’t: it’s how I came to have a green, retro style swimsuit. Ah well, same thing.
In conclusion: Esther Williams Swimwear = best customer service EVER.
Marq = MY HERO.
USPS = Don’t even get me started.
(As an addendum to this story, Marq tells me that the original suit was returned to them a couple of weeks later. My guess is that there’s a mailman somewhere in California who just really liked the colour green…)
I know this will come as a surprise to no one, but seriously, I love Zara. I mean, look how nicely they pack even a small order:
A box! I love boxes.
And tissue paper!
Tissue paper makes me feel spechul.
And what’s in the box, is the question on no one’s lips?
Why, a stripey sweater, of course!
As you can see, I am age 11 – 12*. Only not really, because that sweater is large enough for Terry to wear, should he so desire. (Note: he doesn’t. Or not that I know of, anyway. Because I am the one who dresses like a fisherman in this house, thankyouverymuch.) It’s sold out online, though, so no stripey sweater for me, sadly, unless my mum can work her magic on it and make it fit.
But I still appreciated the box.
(*Mentally this is about right, though.)
This morning, as I was drinking my coffee and checking my email, there came a knock upon the door. There, on the doorstep, stood a delivery man clutching a parcel.
“Another pair of shoes?” he asked, as I signed for the delivery.
And you know, it WAS another pair of shoes. And not only that, but another pair of red wedges . Houston, I think we have a problem…
How many pairs of red wedges does one woman need, I hear you ask?
“Four” is the answer you’re looking for.*
*Four is also the answer to the question “How many stripey jackets does one woman need?” funnily enough. Four: it’s the magic number!
(Oh, they’re from Schuh, by the way. Just in case any of you aren’t quite meeting your Red Wedge quota for this month.)