Last Saturday I went shopping with Lemon Cake Lady in what turned out to be a "tits and arse" day!
We had escaped for a whole day and got to be us again instead of Mum.
Don't get me wrong, we love being Mum's but sometimes you just need a damn good day out.
So off we ventured to Norwich letting the train take the strain. Unfortunately part of the journey meant letting the coach take the strain but that did give us the following gem from the driver, who said, in a thick Suffolk accent;
"Put your seat belts on to comply with the law"
No please, thank you or kiss my replacement bus service. It takes on it's full effect if you say it making "comply" the longest word in the sentence, if not the whole world, then you get the picture.
Once we arrived in Norwich we headed straight for Bravissimo.
It's like a Mecca to us both. I have, to not put too fine a point on it, enormous boobs. I hate them. I hate them with a passion. They get in the way, they make my back hurt, they are the butt of many a joke and they cost me a fortune to "house".
No picking up a £2.99 bra from Primark cos it's pretty and trendy and I can float around the bedroom in it tantalising the window cleaner. Oh no. I'm talking re-mortgaging the house just to buy something plain and functional to go under a t-shirt.
But still Bravissimo have excellent service and loads of choice in my size so I do have pretty stuff as well as the obligatory "over the shoulder boulder holders"!
And more importantly they always make me feel better about myself. The assistant I saw was very flattering about my shape and how I'd dressed. We were both wearing one of their dresses and she complimented mine and I hers. It was that moment of slight frisson when two woman appreciate each others form. After all as Ken always says, "There's a little bit of lezza in all of us!". Mind you the assistant had just felt up my bangers on a professional basis and she may well have been on commission but frankly I'll take my pleasure where I can find it! I got two bras with matching knickers.
My bank balance may have taken a serious hit but I came away feeling uplifted.
In more ways than one!
Which brings me to our second appointment of the morning.
Lemon Cake Lady had booked us into an event called Jean Genie at the Chapelfield shopping centre. This was a Gok Wan style pod where advisors would fit you for jeans and had various pairs from all over the centre for you to try on. Big, small, tall, short, small waisted, long legged, of child bearing hip or as petite as a pin, it didn't matter. They were there to help and make the best fit make the best of what you've got.
If Bravissimo was the booby lady then this I had affectionately nicknamed the "arse doctor"!
The ladies were funny, charming, helpful and positive. Lemon Cake Lady and I are the polar opposite of each other. LCL has a great figure but whereas she is slim on top with a tiny waist she's conscience of her hips and bottom. I quite like my lower half and indeed Hippy Chick has remarked on more than one occasion that I have "cracking pins, but I carry all my weight on my top and middle, especially after having the boy.
LCL was delighted to find jeans that actually fitted her after all these years. She is, according to Levi's, a supreme curve. I could've told them that years ago. And I'm a slim leg, slight curve. Apart from the obvious help and information this was so much more than that.
With the help of Hippy Chick I'm on self confidence kick about my body image. For years, when shopping, I've done this awful squinty face into the changing room mirror which annoys the hell out of LCL.
"Don't do the face" she'd yell at me as I screwed my face up and narrowed my eyes in an attempt to not really look at myself properly. It's like the hall of mirrors at the fairground. If I distorted the image maybe I would look thinner. Or disappear altogether! In fact all it achieved in doing was giving me the look of someone who had smelt something nasty and couldn't work out where it was coming from.
What Hippy Chick is helping me do is accept what I have and learn to love it. If I want to work on slimming it down or toning it up later on then so be it, but for now I want to love myself, wobbly bits and all and say this is me, without screwing my face up like old man Steptoe every time I pass a mirror.
So what Bravissimo and Jean Genie did was to help me love my best bits and control and compensate for the bits I don't like.
One of the ladies who helped us at Jean Genie had , as far as I was concerned, a perfect figure, yet she declared that she didn't like her thighs and they only looked ok because she was wearing the right jeans. How could she not like her thighs I asked? How could I not like my boobs and my curves she asked? I was womanly and "lush" she told me. I had my second little lezza moment of the day. I was starting to like this!
Then I realised that there is no perfection. We all of us don't like something about ourselves, even those who seem to be perfect. When I told LCL that I found this very comforting she said,
"What, that no one is happy?"
"Yes" I declared. "That no one, however perfect we think they are, is so smug and self satisfied that they don't have flaws and things they don't like about themselves too."
Then of course Samantha Brick wrote "that" article but hey you can't be right all the time can you?
That would just make you perfect...