Last week, in celebration of my week of freedom, I took myself shopping. Shopping usually involves a list that starts with avocados and ends with potty training nappies so I thought it might be nice to visit my old friends the clothes rather than the groceries. I wanted to wander the halls of the shopping centre, stopping only to look at price tags and feel fabric quality rather than to retrieve lost balloons and tiny errant socks. I had nothing on my list other than a vague idea to look at coats and knickers but hey, none of the best adventures are planned.
My shopping trip started, as all good trips do, with a glass of wine over lunch. OK, so it was two glasses of wine but it was 1pm and my dining companion (hi mum) is doing dry January. I had to show her what she was missing, right? As is our tradition we chowed down at Carluccios (always pate followed by Milanese di pollo… if they ever change their lunch menu we’re well and truly screwed) and I have to say it was nice to not have to share the best bits of my meal with grabby little hands. Beautiful grabby little hands.
After lunch we mooched on over to Marks and Spencer. And this is where my day of shopping highs began. Well, it was actually when I started spending money, but really? Look at this coat! I’ve been desperate for something smarter than my leather jacket to wear to meetings and this one spoke to me. I love it. So let’s just forget that my Friday night drunken behaviour took my new coat onto a Kings Cross R&B dancefloor, shall we? Such disrespect for the beautiful new coat.
You know that feeling of invincibility you get when money ceases to have a meaning and you become some sort of shopping machine, instinctively knowing what is going to look awesome on you? It was either the wine or the coat but that’s what I had that afternoon. The shopping high had arrived.
The shopping high led me to the one place I’ve been avoiding for months. Because my body has a sick sense of humour, when I lose weight the first place it leaves is my boobs. They weren’t that big in the first place if I’m honest so the fact that my funbags had somewhat deflated didn’t bother me too much but my baggy bras did. And so I headed to M&S’s lingerie department to get my undergarmets fixed.
I don’t know why I’d been avoiding this. Shopping for bras is something I find impossible with kids, especially with a three year old who thinks boobs and bellies are hilarious (and really, why wouldn’t you?). I’m often so tired that the hours of hunting the racks for such specific sizes really gets on my wick and I usually end up exiting the department with nothing but a packet of microfibre pants (the comfiest pants out there. FACT). The whole experience is just such a faff and a headache that I do it online, get frustrated that everything is the wrong size, and end up exactly where I started. With badly fitting bras.
But this time I did it properly. I sought out a friendly middle-aged lady brandishing a tape measure and got properly fitted. I made embarrassing boob jokes when I was naked from the waist up but I suppose this just proves Elfie gets her sense of humour from me. I scoured the department and found some underwear sets that I liked and more importantly that fitted. They were matching and comfortable, a total revelation.
I journeyed home via GAP (apparently I’m a size 8 jean size, thanks gym and paleo!) because their manager is the best looking in the whole of the shopping center and I can’t get enough of their grey marl jumpers that are now on sale. And ever since I got home from that trip I have felt awesome. I’ve been through my underwear drawer, thrown out the greying items that I really should have stopped wearing a year ago and replaced them with my lovely lacy items. I relegated my Bridget Jones pants to a different drawer, telling myself I will wear them at night time only, and sorted the others by colour.
Now every time I get dressed in the morning I do not start with despairing over the state of my baggy old tshirt bras. My days begin with lace and frilly bits, and these small scraps of fabric have revolutionised the rest of my wardrobe. I’m suddenly excited to wear items of clothes I haven’t worn in ages and it’s nice to know that there’s something nicer that plain white cotton going on under my jeans and jumper combo. My new bras have given me a hit of winter confidence which is well-needed after months of hiding white my limbs under wool. Come at me, Spring, I’m totally ready for you.
My new underwear was the first purchase I’ve made in ages that felt selfish: bras won’t keep my children warm or impress potential clients at meetings (well they might, but then I’m probably doing business wrong) and the happiness of doing something just for me has lasted for ages. My new brassieres have lifted both my boobs and my spirit, and well, is there ever a better day than one in which you compare your state of mind to your breasts? If there is I want to know about it.
The next time I’m having a bad day I’m going to forget the comfort eating, the whining on the phone to my friends and heading straight for the lingerie. I’d suggest you do the same.