Thursday, 20 October 2011

Getting My Groove Back : A Day To Myself

This week has been a little bit slower on grooving progress.   The start of the week was met with some disappointment, which meant I fell off the happy wagon slightly.  However, I had a word with myself, consigned my self-pity to the bin, got up, dusted myself down, and resolved to march on.  In light of aforementioned happy wagon fall, I did something I rarely do.  I had a day to myself.  Frankly, I just thought, ‘Bugger It’.  This is a 'Me Time EMERGENCY.’  So, with the little man safely being looked after, I took myself off into the big smoke for the day.  Such a world of possibilities, what would I do with myself for a day?

About 10 years ago, one of my favourite places in the world to spend a morning was Alfie’s Antique Market in Marylebone.  Four fantastical floors of retro, antiques and curiosities.  I used to waste hours in there.  It’s the sort of place I love.  I just lose myself, pouring over old things, wondering who owned them, what they were used for and how some things, so fine, so rare, ended up there - without an owner.

Yesterday, I took myself back to Alfies.  What a fabulous morning I had.  It was early morning and not too busy when I got there, I got talking to a couple of the dealers who were more than happy to chat away.  I ran my fingers over gorgeous vintage clothes and shoes, in ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’, and gazed for too long at vintage advertising posters in ‘Dodo.’  In the pricier areas, I marvelled at the extortionate cost of some ridiculously impractical retro furniture (clearly being mused over by some interior designers with bigger budgets than I will ever have). And in a bric a brac room, I found an intriguing bunch of old letters. I took myself up to the top floor café, and sat on the roof terrace with a Latte, looking over London as it thawed in the warm sunshine. Later, I spent a long time rummaging through boxes of old Victorian photographs, vintage menus, and various other social history paraphernalia, just because I could.  Indulgent, thoroughly indulgent. I awoke from my daze like state when the owner of the café came down from the floor above to tell me that I had absconded without paying for the coffee. Oops. (Clearly it is not safe for me to be out on my own.)

Having whiled away half the day, I made my way down to Marylebone High Street, and indulged myself again at Daunt’s Books.  A fabulous book shop. Another trance inducing place. Bookshops mesmerise me, especially this one.  I love looking at the titles, the covers, reading the synopsis on the back. They had some fabulous editions of old favourites, all bound in beautiful papers.  They looked stunning on the shelves. They were calling to me, 'Buy me, Buy me!'  Instead, I added a book to my Christmas list.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  It looked like my kind of read.

My sojourn was coming to an end as I reached Oxford Street, supposedly to get the bus home. But I found that visions of a woman with a sharply cut orange bob commanded me, yes, commanded me…to visit House of Fraser.  Mary Portas, Queen of Shops was calling, ‘Come, enter my stylish shop…my aurora dress could change your life.’ And so, hypnotic like, I obeyed.  I love Mary Portas. I always watch her on the TV.  I think she’s cool and stylish, I think she’s funny.  She’s a woman that’s got her groove.  A woman with va-va voom.  (Once I considered copying her hairstyle, but was dissuaded by the look of disdain on my husband’s face. It seems that he is not as much of a Mary fan as I.)  Anyway, off I went, to pay homage to Mary in her new retail mecca.  The place was heaving.  Lots of 40 + women, buying up everything in sight.  Clearly Mary is doing something right.  Mary’s items were lovely but I found myself resisting. Maybe it’s because I’m not quite at her ‘women over 40 demographic yet.  Luckily for House of Fraser, Mary’s calling me was to their benefit as I did end up buying a rather lovely silk flowery shirt.  I think this will look rather fab with last weeks new boots purchase and some skinny jeans.  Here they both are:

Boots: Pied a Terre. Shirt: Gerard Darel

I ended my day with some acupuncture.  I am a big believer in acupuncture.    It can assist with many things.   Mostly I have it to assist in my ongoing quest to try to conceive another baby - studies have shown acupuncture can help with fertility.   It’s all about ensuring a good flow of energy around your body.   I also find it helps me sleep better.  Last night I had the best nights sleep I've had in ages.

Did I feel guilty and indulgent yesterday?  Yes, I did - a bit. Was it worth it? Yes, it was. I felt better.  I got out of the goldfish bowl of everyday life; I did something different, something stimulating. It was wonderful.  I feel much more like the old 'me' today. 

A Note On Pants

Last week Kate set the challenge of stretching ourselves (beyond the knicker elastic) to overhaul our underwear drawer.  A very good challenge.  When it comes to knickers, I’m a Marks & Spencer kind of girl.  A good M&S briefs multipack is my failsafe choice.   (And here is a thrifty tip… black underwear usually lasts longer than white, because it doesn’t discolour or go grey!  Plus, black also has the advantage of making one’s bottom look slightly smaller.)  Anyway, here’s my effort.  Most pleased with the new undies. 

M&S Lace Briefs 5 pack. Modelled by Teddington.
(And before anyone says…how small is your bottom?? There is a freezer clip pulling them together at the back so that they fit him.  And yes, his hat is supposed to be like that, he is covering his eyes in shame.)
What have you done to get your groove back this week? Check out the other entries at Kate on Thin Ice.


  1. I wish I had joined you as it sounds like my perfect sort of day altogether.
    Love how you have put knickers on the bear. Does that mean you have really got your groove back and are going commando?!
    stick with us, we all have setbacks but we are in it for the long term benefits

  2. Commando indeed... Tis far too cold for that!

  3. What a lovely day! Me time is so important for sanity I think... I love my children to bits and enjoy being mummy, but there is nothing like having a few hours to remember what life was like before it revolved around the constant needs of others. I'm glad you had a good day, and loving Teddington's new knickers ;-)

  4. What a lovely day. I always think of escaping back to London whenever I have time off, sadly I don't get long enough to get there and back in time, so it's still a dream at the moment. Love the bookshop and love the latte, I would love both of those ideas. Like the last minute Mary Portas moment! Beautiful new clothes.

  5. What a fab post! How have I only just discovered your blog?! Makes me want to take a trip to London and discover all of those quirky shops hiding down backstreets once again!

  6. Love this post!!!!!!! As a London girl (of ten years) myself I have been to Alfies too - its really cool. Love the writing. Love the photos especially Paddington wearing knickers !!!! Ps very good purchase - the shirt looks lovely.

  7. The description of your latte is fantastic!

    What a great retreat, and how funny to be chased through the shop!

    Sounds like a proper treat day. I hope you have more of them!

    I love the pic of the bear - that is one racy so and so!


  8. What a fab day to yourself. Love your new boots & top. I should have put my new pants on a teddy rather than modelling them myself :-/

  9. Thanks for all your lovely comments Ladies.
    Glasgow Mummy - No way, it would have been a crime not to put your pants pic up. Be proud in your pants - you look amazing!