I have promised that 2010 will be the year of no clothes buying. I will mend, I will make do, I will only buy secondhand from the Sally Army for under 2 quid. Thus far I have done well, but preparing for Autumn and Winter, shuffling through my boxes of clothes, a horrible thought dawned on me. Last Winter, I had just stopped breastfeeding daughter. I was still in the feeding tops (for which read horrid baggy things) that i'd worn with son. I was still breastfeeding her the previous Winter, and him the Winter before that. In short, all my clothes are stretched, baggy, and past it, not unlike myself. My pre-baby clothes are weeny, tiny things that I laugh at, sadly. I was a size 6 pre baby. Then 3 years of breastfeeding and thyroid problems put paid to that and I am now a 10. Which doesn't sound much, but I am only 5 foot tall. I'm fine with it, I will never be a 6 again, and I will never wear those black drainpipes again. So what to do?
Clothes swapsie! My friend Alison has doen the opposite to me, she's shrunk. She has bigger clothes, I have smaller. Cue parcels flying between Wales and the Fens, and two new wardrobes for the cost of postage, all without the hassle of shopping, and nice and thrifty too. New skirts, shirts, joy! Not knowing what you are getting in a parcel is a joy. Plus a nice chat with a friend and that nice feeling you get when you're waiting for a parcel. And the follow up call. All good, and certainly more humanising than normal shopping. This, along with my extra thrifty allowance of a huge £2.50 per week at the sally army shop, has bagged me two pairs of trousers (one Monsoon!), a M& S jumper, and a selection of 50p jumpers for the kids over the past few weeks. But my sticking point is this: shoes. I have , for the Winter, one pair of wellies and a pair of trainers. The amount of wet the Fens gets, this is NO GOOD unless I want to be wearing wellies from Spetember to April. I have excluded the kids from the new shoes ban, as they have wee little delicate feet, not shocking parmesan heeled chunks of size 3 like me. Size 3? Yes, 3. I can buy KIDS SHOES. Or boots. I'm foraging the charity shops, none. Because kids wear through shoes, none left to gift, and nobody else has such freaky wee feet. So it's going to have to be new. I'm enviously glancing at the kids snow boots i've ordered from Next. My kids will have toasty feet this Winter, mine will be in my Tesco kids wellies, toes encased in ice. It's not fair! I'M pushing THEM! I want new shoes! WAAAAAGH!
I think I may have found my sticking point there. I don't mind dressing in second hand. I don't mind wearing my wonky sewing. But I just want new, new, shoes. Pre kids, I wore 4 inch heels to teach all day. Marched around in them. Owned 20 plus pairs (my feet were then size 2. Get that! They were crushed and flattened into 3, one foot 3.5, by 2 pregnancies). Now I own plentiful pretty shoes I can't wear. I am an Ugly Sister. I want a pretty shoe. I want a boot that fits.
And herein lies the rub. Having a size 3 boot, I must be pretty weeny all over, right? Wrong. These calves have done some walking and biking. They have levered a double buggy over footpaths. They have biked the length of Portugal in 5 weeks. They have bourne down. They are not the calves of a pre-pubescent girl. So they don't fit any boots, except wellies. Feeling freakish, I googled wide calf fitting boots, already having abandoned my "no new" promise with regard to boots. 150 quid, at least, for the privilige of having weeny feet and slightly non pre-pubescent calves. This is the ONLY site found. Oh, no, hang on, this one has boots for only 80 odd quid (sob) Sisters of the non wee calf unite! Demand reasonably fitting boots! No longer will you have to rummage, asking for lace ups only! No longer will you have to remortgage your house for boots! No? What? An industry conspiracy??? Wellies it is, then. Nobody notices what I wear anyway, and now I have an excuse to be a weird mum with chicken poo on her boot on the playgroup run. The other, nicer, boots, were just too spenny.