Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Step Into My Salon

For most of adult life, I've had the same haircut - a bob.

Layered, short, long, sleek, razor cut, parted in the middle, parted to the side, graduated, jet black, streaked bright pink, with a fringe, without a fringe; but mostly a bob.

There have been a couple of ventures into uncharted territory - the Gwyneth Paltrow crop that left me resembling a demented pixie and the 80s permed-to-the max long mane which just make me look like a female Brian May (that'll be Anita Dobson then) - but it's the bob I always go back to.

On a skiing trip to Italy, it was achieved by the hairdresser scraping it back into a ponytail and hacking the bottom off, before fleecing me out of a small fortune. But weirdly, it was a cut that worked and years later - on the camping trip from hell, where my hair turned into a ball of frizz - I begged with Kevin until he did the same.

That's why for the last 14 months, I've been letting my other half cut my hair. I'd like to point out that he isn't a hairdresser, barber or dog-groomer - he works in the print trade and is a clumsy left-hander - but I think he does it really well and (so far) no-one seems to have noticed that I've skipped the professional trim which was costing me around £60 every six weeks. (If anyone has noticed, they haven't said and, while polite, my friends would certainly be at pains to point out a dodgy do.)

And there are other advantages, apart from the financial.

Usually, my hair would go all wayward around 10:45pm on a Sunday night, leaving me in a state of near hysteria that the weekend had passed with it behaving perfectly and now it would be at least another week until I could book an appointment. Now, when that happens I just have to haggle with Kevin until he gives in and trims my tresses. I have a hairdresser on demand! It's every girl's dream.

But best of all - he hasn't, not even once, uttered the *words: "Going anywhere nice this year love?"

*with apologies to hairdressers the world over - I know you don't really say that. You don't, do you?

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Step Away From The Sale Rail!

I know times are tough for retail and for that very reason, I feel awful posting a blog asking fellow shopaholics to step away from the sale rail, but for the good of a dwindling bank balance it has to be done.

Usually by mid-January, the shopaholic - stressed by all those half price or less tags - can start to relax a little as fashion goes full-price again and all they have to avoid are commercial TV channels showing a never-ending loop of adverts displaying happy people on holidays they can't afford to book.

Excessive viewing of these adverts generally results in a shopping spree (which you tell yourself is to cheer you up because you can't afford the holiday) and on returning home laden with bags of unnecessary items, you realise you could have paid for your entire clan to got to the Maldives for a month.

But this year is different...

Sales are still in full swing and showing no signs of retiring back to the stock room. My lunchtime sandwich shop is fraught with the dangers of items bearing labels of temptation - 50% off; 70% off; £1 or less; free if you bring your own bag; tired old tops and stained skirts, which have been kicked around the changing room floor for the last three years, desperately trying to get our attention so they don't have to face the humiliation of the clearance section.

But for the restrained shopper there are still bargains to be had. In a moment of consumer clarity, I found two really great dresses from Zara reduced to just over £20 and perfect for work. I don't normally wear dresses to work, but thought it could be the 'New Me' and ventured out in the little black number this week.

The opinion of one of my esteemed colleagues was that it made me look 'a bit like someone in The Spy Who Shagged Me'. This would be great if I wasn't so fearful that the 'someone' he was referring to was Mini-Me...

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 - It All Becomes Clear

Clarus: the latin word for 'clear', which over time has gone through Italian and French alterations and ended up being Clari (admittedly, not a massive change considering it probably took place over hundreds of years).

But, those are the first five letters of just three things that are going to make a big difference to my life in 2012...

Clarity: No more faffing around! I need a clear idea of what I really want to do with my life, where I want to be and how I want to get there. It will also mean clearing of debt and clearing of clutter - two things which I never fully seem to get to grips with despite convincing myself that my life would be perfect if neither were in it.

Clarinet: My Christmas gift from Mother and suggested by my consultant as a way to help build my breathing up a bit. Originally, this was going to be achieved through opera singing lessons, but - as I'm reliably told by several of my nearest and dearest that my singing 'would scare rats off a bin' - this idea was ditched, even though it was obvious to me that they were simply jealous of my dulcet tones and were lying to cover up their envy.

Clarisonic: You can't take on the world - or learn a musical instrument - unless you're looking your best and having banged on for the last year about how great my skin could be with this little device, Kevin relented and asked Santa if I could have it as I'd been a (reasonably) good girl over the last twelve months. I'll be unrecognisable by the end of January!

I'll keep you posted on whether it's all going to plan, but in the meantime, I hope 2012 brings you a little clarity too. If, however, it's brought you a clarinet, let me know and we might try to get a band together...