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Let your mind go and your body will follow

Regular readers will know that I tried going to Salsa for a while but for one reason or another, mainly confidence, I stopped going.

Since I’ve spent so much time and money on laser hair removal and Voice Coaching, I decided I may as well press on and address that too, and so I contacted my Salsa teacher since she is really nice in order to enquire if she does private tuition, and she does.

So today I spent an hour with her, just working on basic moves; moving to music and being encouraged to essentially do what the title of this post says (I’ll give you extra points if you can identify the film it comes from, but only if you do it without googling!)

Normally I have to be drunk to let go like that, and of course when you’re drunk you always think you dance better than you do. But something wonderful happened today – I was able to let go and just dance. And if felt wonderful. I was so pleased with myself and am going back on Friday for another session!

On the way back, I needed to call into Fleet to pick up some things I had bought online but with ‘Collect In-Store’ rather than delivery, and I just happened to see a little craft stall and fell in love with a pair of earrings, which I bought. Then as I passed Claire’s Accessories I recalled that it had been just over 6 weeks since I had my ears pierced there, so called in and asked if they would help me remove my starter studs. It proved quite tricky to remove them, but we finally got them out and we got the new ones that I had just bought back in. I’m so happy! I’d like to thank the staff at Claire’s in Fleet for being so helpful and nice; it’s so lovely when you get people going the extra mile to help you.

I also managed to get a really lovely jumper in New Look for over 50% off and which cost me £11. Bargain! I’ll not post a photo just yet – it can wait until a I take a pic of me wearing it.

I also had another go with liquid eyeliner when I did my make-up this morning and, as you can see from the pic, it came out pretty well. Yay!

 

Posted by on 17th December 2013 in Diary, Out & About, Social

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Brides in the Aisles

The Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity have now published their official pic for their “Brides in the Aisles” Guinness Book of Records challenge, which is the attempt to fill the aisles of Sainsbury’s, Hedge End with 1,000 brides on Sunday 9th February 2014.

bridesss[1]

To get involved, click here for more details.

 

Posted by on 2nd December 2013 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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She’s a model

I had a fabulous opportunity to be a model yesterday. My good friend Del is a photographer, and he had been approached by the Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity to take promotional photos for their “Brides in the Aisles” Guinness Book of Records challenge, which is the attempt to fill the aisles of Sainsbury’s, Hedge End with 1,000 brides on Sunday 9th February 2014.

The organisers had asked for girls of all types, including t-girls, so naturally he thought of me and asked if I wanted to be involved. Obviously I bit his arm off!

The lovely people of Brides of Southampton were involved, and they lent me the fantastic dress that you can see me in here. The dress was so comfortable that I didn’t want to take it off afterwards!

Brides in the Aisles

Brides in the Aisles

The vegetables were a little bit of silly fun because it is Sainsbury’s that is the venue.

Thai bride

Thai bride

These pics are not from the official pictures, as they aren’t yet available. They’re just ‘behind the scenes’ snaps that were taken at the time and published on the Facebook page of the Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity. I am reproducing them with their permission.

More pics as I get them.

 

Posted by on 21st November 2013 in Diary, Out & About, Photos, Social

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Pew! Pew! Swipe! Swipe!

A couple of days ago (ie. Saturday) I had another session of laser hair removal. Nothing much to report really – it hurt like hell as usual, and it took two hours as usual. I’m definitely showing progress though, with large areas of my body completely hairless now apart from annoying little clumps here and there. But my face, especially the upper lip, is still stubbornly refusing to die off although hair growth has been much reduced. But I can definitely see me having to have further sessions on the face beyond the six I pre-paid, and I’ll probably need electrolysis too in order to get the light-coloured hairs that the laser cannot get at.

Jane Norman dress

Jane Norman dress

Whilst I was in Epsom, which is where I go to for the laser, I did a little shopping. I don’t enjoy shopping half as much when in guy mode, but I’m confident enough in myself that I have absolutely no problems buying girl stuff when presenting as a guy. I find staff are generally completely fine with it; they either assume I’m buying for a girlfriend or simply don’t care. Besides, a sale is a sale isn’t it?

Anyway, I saw this absolutely gorgeous sweater dress in House of Fraser in the Jane Norman concession. Unfortunately it was full price and a little more than I would want to pay, as it was £32, but I absolutely adored it. I think it will look fantastic with a pair of leggings or thick tights, and knee length boots.

What I didn’t realise is that it is 10% Angora. I’m allergic to animal hair on the whole, especially cats, and also I don’t tend to wear wool as it makes me itch. So I’m hopeful that I’m not allergic to Angora hair or else this could be the only garment I own that requires me to take antihistamines in order to wear it. ha ha

Now, really I shouldn’t have bought that as I’m trying to cut back on my spending at the moment. So I certainly shouldn’t have bought my other purchase. But, again, it was one of those “I must have that” things. I went into Jones Bootmaker and I saw these Timberland boots and fell in love with them because they are exactly what I have been looking for.

Timberland Boots

Timberland Boots

There was a little bit of confusion with the member of staff when I asked if they had them in my size. She went away, and after a while came back with them in a box and moved as if to take me to the till. I said I’d like to try them on, and she apologised and went away again and came back with another one. Presumably those were the ‘trying on’ pair. So I thanked her as she handed them to me, and casually said that I knew I wasn’t really dressed for buying ladies stuff that day but the boots were so nice I had to. A little light bulb went on over her head, and then I tried them on and walked around the shop in them not caring what anyone thought about me.

They fit perfectly and were really comfortable, so a purchase was made.

The boots are waterproof (as you would expect from Timberland), and as you can see from the photo on the right, the lower part of the zip opening is sealed so stepping in puddles should not be a worry. With the weather we are having in the UK right now, that could be a distinct advantage!

The leather is heavily grained and feels very sturdy, but is also butter soft. I think it may be Nubuck from the texture of it and the way it’s almost suede-like when you stroke it. Naturally when I got them home I gave them several coats with Scotchgard-equivalent generic “Leather, Suede and Nubuck Protector” spray.

I adore the lace detail on the back, and also the fact that it’s functional as well because it’s not lacing; it is elastic. It’s a lovely little design detail.

Price-wise, they were equivalent in price to my DUO boots. However, Jones were running a £20-off offer which lessened the financial sting a little bit.

I can’t wait to wear both the sweater dress and the boots, and I think they will go really go well together. I plan to wear them this Saturday when I go up to London for another session of Voice Therapy.

 

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Friday on my mind

On one of my recent fashion updates I mentioned that I had bought a lovely Rockabilly-style dress from Friday On My Mind. Well, now have photos of me wearing it. Woot!

This pic is a close-up that doesn’t really show the whole dress, but I liked it a lot so decided that this would be the one I would post to Flickr. If you look closely (or zoom in) you can also see my experiments with liquid eyeliner that I have applied to my upper lids above the lashes. I’m quite pleased with how it came out.

Friday on my mind

Friday on my mind

As a bonus, and not currently on Flickr (although I may add it at some stage), here is a pic showing the whole dress too. Isn’t it lovely?

The whole dress

The whole dress

 

Posted by on 13th October 2013 in Clothes, Shoes, and Jewellery, Photos

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Strictly plant inspecting

I had a great weekend just gone. It started off with a bit of drinksitting on Friday evening and staying up into the early hours of the morning talking drunken rubbish to friends on Facebook and IM, and then a lie in on Saturday morning and a little bit of a hangover (a far more mild one than I deserved to be honest). I watched the F1 qualifying (I’m a big F1 fan), pottered around a bit. and before I knew it, it was early evening and Strictly Come Dancing came on the telly. Now, I have a confession to make; I have never watched it before. But I know several of my friends love it so I gave it a go and I am absolutely hooked now. I loved it! ha ha. I smiled, I laughed, and I even cried at one point, but mostly I had a happy grin on my face and felt very entertained and happy. And that can’t be a bad thing can it.

Plant inspecting

Plant inspecting

Sunday saw me in a much better disposition, so after I had watched the F1 race, I got my makeup on, experimenting with liquid eyeliner which worked really well for me. I also tried on this lovely dress that I got from La Redoute that I mentioned in my last post. It fits beautifully and I’m really pleased with it. In fact, I decided to pop out down to Marks & Spencers wearing it. And then took my car through the car wash after.

Girl Racer

Girl Racer

I was a bit bored whilst in the car wash, and I had my trusty little Panasonic compact camera with me that does great selfies so took this pic whilst I was waiting. I’m quite pleased with how it came out. Can’t say the same for the car though; the automated car wash missed loads of bits. Still, it’s better than it was.

When I got back home I decided to try on some more outfits and take some more pics. I’ll be posting them up on Flickr over the next few days so be sure to keep an eye on my Flickr if you don’t already!

 

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Fashion update

Recently a catalogue (a real, actual, dead tree one) popped through my letterbox from the French company La Redoute. I’m not entirely sure where they got my details from, but no matter. I confess I haven’t heard of them before.

La Redoute - Soft Dual Fabric Round Neck T-Shirt

La Redoute – Soft Dual Fabric Round Neck T-Shirt

I had a quick flick through and saw a t-shirt top I absolutely adored and just had to have. And what’s better they were giving an introductory offer of £15 off my first order so long as I spent more than £20.

So, the t-shirt was a must. But what else to buy to make the minimum?

La Redoute - Short-Sleeved Lace Dress with Elasticated Waist

La Redoute – Short-Sleeved Lace Dress with Elasticated Waist

Then this lace dress caught my eye. Yay!

Total price for the two of them together, after discount, was £22.99 (inc delivery) which I thought was fairly reasonable.

A few days passed, and then I got an email proudly proclaiming the “good news!” that my order was being prepared for despatch. I don’t know about you, but after 3 days I would expect an email apologising for the fact that it was only now being despatched. I’ve since had a further email the following day saying that it had now been despatched and they hoped I had got the items by now and that I was happy with them. Well, no such luck as if they’d looked at the courier’s tracking site like I have they’d see it was still in transit. That was yesterday (Saturday) so hopefully I will get it tomorrow or Tuesday.

A google search of La Redoute shows some real horror stories with frequent delays in delivery, and even worse experiences with Returns & Exchanges, so hopefully I will be one of the lucky ones and it really will be with me soon. Just got my fingers crossed now that I don’t need to do a return.

Update: The items arrived today and I’m absolutely over the moon with them! So I guess that either I was one of the lucky ones, or La Redoute have addressed the criticisms that the internet is awash with.

 

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Fashion Roundup

Not much to report on my recent purchases, but there are a couple of things I wanted to share.

DUO - Aralia

DUO – Aralia

First up is to say how brilliant the Customer Service is at DUO Boots. I bought their Neva boots, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but felt that I wasn’t totally happy with them. I won’t go into detail, but DUO couldn’t have been more helpful. Julie, the person I corresponded with, helped me choose a pair that had a narrower ankle fit, which turned out to be the Aralia boots I had almost gone for anyway, authorised a free return (usually £3.99) and also applied a 10% discount to the price of the Aralia boots as a gesture of goodwill meaning my boots ended up costing me £148.50 – I honestly couldn’t be happier with how they handled the whole thing and I will definitely be buying from them again.

The turnaround felt like forever (it was actually only a week), but the Aralias finally arrived with me last Saturday just as I was getting ready to go out. After a quick try on I decided they were definitely keepers so I wore them when I went out. They proved to be pretty comfortable even when walking around IKEA for an hour or two, but they did give me little warning twinges that these are not boots to go shopping in for hours on end. At least not without gel pads for the balls of the feet or maybe insoles. I will investigate that.

Rocket Dog - Satire

Rocket Dog – Satire

Another company that gave me a painless refund was Amazon. I ordered these absolutely gorgeous Rocket Dog ankle boots a couple of weeks ago. Since I’m on Amazon Prime they arrived the next day, I tried them on, and it was immediately clear they were way too small (and I don’t just mean a little, I mean like 2 sizes too small despite being clearly labelled as my size). So I went to my computer, called up the order, clicked the Return button, printed the pre-paid returns label, packed the boots up in the box & bag they came in, applied the label, and popped down to my local Collect+ dropoff shop which happens to be open until 10.30pm. By the time I got home, Amazon had credited me a full refund. Fantastic. Such a shame they didn’t fit though, because they are so cute.

Tulip heart necklace

Tulip heart necklace

Finally, I was at an Antique & Vintage Fair at Sandown Park Racecourse last Sunday, and this beautiful silver necklace caught my eye. The seller wanted £15 for it and I managed to get that down to £12, which I consider to be reasonable. I haven’t worn it yet, but I look forward to doing so soon. I’m going to be going to the big Antique and Collectors fair at Alexandra Palace this Sunday so I may wear it then.

 

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Balance restored

I wrote previously that I had spent £50 on a pair of shoes I didn’t like, and completely undone all the savings I had made from bargain hunting. Well, balance is restored! I went into my local branch of Barratts today and they were more than happy to process a full refund on the shoes. Yay!

So by my reckoning, I now have £50 to spend on shoes. Woohoo! \o/

 

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Madam… madam… sir

Had a rather odd day today.

I needed to go up to London for a Voice Coaching session today, but there was an Art Deco & Art Nouveau fair in Woking this morning and my appointment was in the afternoon, so I detoured via Woking on my way up to London. It’s sort of on the way.

The fair was a little disappointing, although I think that was more down to my mood than anything, plus the realisation that I don’t think I am as “into” Art Deco as I initially thought I was. I didn’t stay long; after 45 mins I was done and back on the road to London.

Westfield Shopping Centre

Westfield Shopping Centre

I got into London in good time and, instead of parking up in Hammersmith as usual I decided to drive a little further to Shepherd’s Bush and park up at the Westfield Shopping Centre for a little shopping. Also it’s a flat £5 for the whole day to park.

Whilst there I grabbed this sneaky selfie.

After a little shopping I hopped onto the Circle line to get myself round to the Voice Coach’s office. As we passed Notting Hill, there were announcements that stations were closed due to the Carnival and as we passed you could hear the music thumping and look down at how crowded and busy it was.
When I arrived, I was a good 25 mins early so I popped into a local wine bar and had a cheeky glass of white wine. £4.40 for a small glass is par for the course in London but still galled a little as it tasted little better than plonk you could buy for the same price per bottle. Still, it was nice enough.

So, suitably refreshed, 2pm came around and I went up to my Voice Coach’s office. Knocked on the door, and no answer. I checked my emails, checked my texts, sent a text to her checking the time was correct, then availed myself of the loo to freshen up, then checked back. Nothing. By now I guessed something was up, and also realised that my gmail account was no longer linked to my phone as I recently switched to 2-Factor authentication on that account, so laboriously started to reconnect it on a 2G+ data connection and finally, after 20 mins, had it. And there was an email sent at 12.30pm cancelling the appointment due to ill health. Crap. Or, rather, vomit apparently. Ewww.

So I decided to go to the Science Museum. Don’t ask me why, I just wanted to. Now, first mistake was to go to Baker Street (since it was close) and try to head West. Heaving. Absolutely packed with Carnvival-goers. There were police everywhere and the train that arrived as I did was stuck for ages trying to leave because it was unable to close its doors due to people messing around. I got on the next one but felt really uncomfortable with the pissed-up people on board, plus a group of guys near me were blowing up balloons from capsules and inhaling them. I’m guessing that was Nitrous Oxide (aka Laughing Gas)?
So at the next stop switched trains to a different line, not least because the train I was on wasn’t going to where I wanted to go. LOL.

Eventually I made it to South Kensington and started to walk the underpass to the Science Museum. Now, if you have never walked this route in heels my advice would be “don’t”. By the time I got there my feet really hurt. And after wandering round the Science Museum for about 40 mins they REALLY hurt, despite several rests at convenient seats. But I bravely carried on, and then went next door to the Natural History Museum. However, after about 20 mins of that I felt I wasn’t going to make it. Hobbling outside I jumped in a cab and asked to be taken back to Westfield. The helpful cabbie informed me that it was pretty busy due to the Carnival and we could be delayed. Yeah, ok, whatever; this seat seems pretty comfy right now.

We eventually got there, and I decided that shopping was very much in order but that shoes were a must. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything I liked at a sensible price, but each step was getting more and more painful and I was getting more and more desperate. I was also taking more and more frequent breaks. Basically I was hobbling from one seating area to another at this point. I was in agony.

At some stage in this fog of pain, I swung near a shop and some girls in the doorway of one started to try to get my attention, calling “madam… madam… madam…. ” in that ‘can we just have a moment of your time to try and sell you something’ way that people do and then when I ignored them and swung away from them, switched to “sir”. Then laughed uproariously in an “OMFG!” way when I finally looked round (I did so in case they were trying to tell me I had dropped something). These were members of staff, remember! WTaF?
Sadly I didn’t note the shop and I was in too much pain to do much, otherwise I would have gone back to enquire what was so funny and whether a P45 was equally funny. Great way of winning customers, eh?

Finally I went into yet another shoe shop (I think it was Barratts) and told myself I was buying something no matter what. I found some Rocket Dog shoes I really liked but they didn’t have them in an 8, only a 7. There were also some Hush Puppies that I didn’t really like but were in an 8, so I got them to bring me the other one for those. I then went through pair after pair of shoes until I got sick of asking “do you have these in an 8?” and started asking “so what DO you have in an 8?”. Eventually, I though “f*ck it, I’ll get the Hush Puppies”. So took them to the till and they rang up £50 which did not seem at all right as I had been looking at shoes in the £30-£40 range. But that was the price. However I was close to tears now and couldn’t bear the thought of having to put my heels back on. So I just paid. So, basically, I paid more than I wanted to pay for a pair of shoes that I didn’t like. FML. That totally undoes the bargains of my last post too.
[Update: I managed to subsequently get a full refund on them at my local branch of Barratts a week later]

Still, at least I could now walk so I considered going to Yo! Sushi but realised I couldn’t really spend £30 on sushi when I’d just overspent on these shoes. So I went to the food hall and had Singapore Noodles at Bamboo Basket for £7.50

After that, and a little more shop wandering, it was now 7.30pm and I really had had enough. So I wandered back to the car and hit the road to come home.

 

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