Shopping Woes

Yes, I was just complaining about how difficult I find clothes shopping, but I’m more annoyed than I thought because my shoping issues have continued through the summer.

I bought a top, I took it home and it just didn’t sit right on my chest (the joys of having a big bust) so I took it back to M&S, and when the nice lady processing the refund asked me, I told her about it. She noted, because she is a good salesperson, that that store had just revamped it’s lingerie dept and I should have a look because they had worked to really cater to all sizes. So I did. There were many pretty bras. It was mid week, I was on holiday, I looked at every single bra on display, there was not one in my size, in the ranges that said they catered for my cup size, there were three bras in that cup size but not the right back size.Now, I know that I’m a big of bust, but the day before, I had walked into Bravissimo and walked out with three new bras in my size, the bra I had asked about they didn’t have in store but could get it sent to the store or my house. We were dealing with a range of bras that I had bought before so it wasn’t neccessary for me to be fitted but they could have arranged that and I could have probably found a lot of new styles in my size. At M&S, when I asked, they didn’t have any of the bras I was interested in, in stock and couldn’t order for me but I could look on their website. But with a new bra, you need to try them on.Generally, I’m just fed up of clothes shops always being out of the sizes I wear, whether it’s clothes or shoes. Is there a special vortex that larger sizes disappear to? because I’m getting really tired of shops only having the clothes I might want to buy in all sizes from 4 to 14 and then nothing until size 22. I also finally bought a dress a wanted (remember the East dress back in July) in the sale but although it said it was the blue dress, they sent me the pink dress because the blue had sold out. Then I tried again with a top and the 18 didn’t fit (in a shop when the 18 is often too big for me).

I think I’m just destined not to have nice clothes for a while but it’s something else, if all the sizes 16 to 20 in a blue dress sell out, what is that telling you who is buying your clothes? My biggest frustration is that I know the kind of clothes I want to buy, but the shops that I usually go to, stopped catering for me and for women like me. The interesting thing is that loads of people I know (and some I don’t) are saying this about the high street right now. So who are they catering for, their sales are going up so why can’t they identify their audience?

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Best/Worst 14 to 20 August 2017

Happy new week people!


Patty pans. The patty pan has started to fruit. I was begining to wonder if it ever would but we have had four this week!

Soda bread. Kathy and the children made me soda bread and delivered it on Friday. It was a lovely thing to do and it’s really good bread. I need to get a hold of the recipe.A day to read. That was yesterday, I did very little and just read books, it’s my favourite thing to do, I have lots of books….


It’s getting darker. I’ve noticed that the nights are drawing in but more painful from my point of view, it’s getting darker in the mornings and the streetlights (that are light sensitive) have still been on at 7.50am!

Honourable mentions to a day on the plot, dinner out, trying to work out how my new birthday present works, potatoes from my allotment neighbour, a haircut, going back to work after a holiday, working from home on Friday morning, an increased need for coffee, not having to do any food shopping because there is so much food coming off the plot right now, the joy of salsa verde which I have been putting on everything, books (I did mention all the reading I got to do over the weekend, didn’t I?), news of a tax rebate but annoyance at how to actually get the money…

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Friday Links

Happy Friday!  I have back to work exhaustion but the prospect of one more week at work before the last Bank Holiday until Christmas. As ever I’m writing this on Thursday so I can’t be held accountable for any additional madness that Trump might inflict on the world overnight….

Here are this week’s links.

Phillipa Gregory shows that she’s a snob and doesn’t really get her work or that of others. I read The Other Boleyn Girl and it was genre fiction. Just because you get asked on Radio 4 to talk about your books, it doesn’t mean you don’t write genre fiction and there is nothing wrong with genre fiction either…

Let’s hear it for the four hour working day 

Trains are too expensive. But transport’s real problem is subsidies for London. This is bollocks. Ok not all of it. Transport outside of London and the SouthEast is shocking and it’s ridiculous that people in Amble have to pay a £6 return to get to Newcastle on a bus. I argued that HS2 should have been started in the North and should have been focussed on connecting the northern cities together. However, transport in London is important and more importantly struggling to cope with the amount of people in London.   You don’t solve the problem by making transport equally worse. You properly fund transport all over the country and stop letting failing train companies pay their shareholders dividends and you renationalise the railways.

The president of the USA is a neo-nazi.

What’s happened in Charlottesville over the weekend is simple. Racist people marched through a town to try and intimidate and harrass people of colour and everyone else who wanted to change the name of a park and remove a statue. My country’s history on race and slavery is also pretty terrible but it is different so I’m reluctant to wade into this. Then I remember that the prevent strategy (for all it’s many issues) treats white supremacist organisations as it treats ISIS. So I can say this with a knowledge of my country’s failings on this (and its much smaller victories). What happened in Charlottesville is wrong, it was terrorism, there are not two sides to this story. White supremacists caused this, they betray the values of the country they claim to love, they caused a woman to be killed. They are responsible. Trump is a racist, ignorant buffoon, who has empowered, emboldened and generally given comfort to white supremacists and any decent citizen of the USA should be ashamed of their president.

This letter from the great, great grandsons of Stonewall Jackson is how you own your history and it’s good and bad parts.

Through our upbringing and education, we have learned much about Stonewall Jackson. We have learned about his reluctance to fight and his teaching of Sunday School to enslaved peoples in Lexington, Virginia, a potentially criminal activity at the time. We have learned how thoughtful and loving he was toward his family. But we cannot ignore his decision to own slaves, his decision to go to war for the Confederacy, and, ultimately, the fact that he was a white man fighting on the side of white supremacy.

Dishwasher or tumble dryer? I have neither so it makes no difference to me. I have a fridge/freezer and a washing machine and they are essential! The addition white goods item I need is another freezer because of the allotment….

This transcript of the jury selection for the Martin Shkreli trial is a delight

juror no. 59: Your Honor, totally he is guilty and in no way can I let him slide out of anything because —

the court: Okay. Is that your attitude toward anyone charged with a crime who has not been proven guilty?

juror no. 59: It’s my attitude toward his entire demeanor, what he has done to people.

the court: All right. We are going to excuse you, sir.

juror no. 59: And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan

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Cooking from the Plot: Caramelised Courgettes

We’re back to 101 ways of using up courgettes. This recipe. I use basil. It’s amazing. That it all.

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Allotment Adventures: State of the Plot

We’ve come a long way, this was the plot in August last year.This year there is more of everything and it’s much tidier. So let’s have a chat about what work we did on the plot over the last couple of weeks. First up we finally got around to framing another bed. Knowing that the nephews were due a visit, we framed the bed I thought would be most vunerable to small people walking on it, the one that was half french beans and is supposed to be half chard (if the seeds ever come up!) This is it a couple of weeks ago…And after my DIY magic. It took six of the metre long fixed lawn edging things, but because the bed it only 1.8 metres long, two of them had to be adjusted. Ma was very impressed and wants to do all of the beds, because it looks tidier, I agree but it’s a marathon not a sprint, I want to get four more and sort out the brassica bed sides this year. Then there are two other beds that need the same treatment (which will need another 18 panels) and we have plans to buy two or three more of the beds that we bought last year (that’s 2 1.8 by .8m beds and another one metre sqare bed) and then I’m probably officially out of room unless I put them at the top next to the shed and we already have plans for that area, that involve fruit bushes and wildflowers!

Speaking of the shed though. We go busy with some hooks and a drill and had a tidy up. Which also made Ma very happy.I had a tiny re-arrange of the greenhouse too and found a place for ripening some tomatoes, they were dragging on the ground so had to be cut off.We finally got a patty pan and it looks like more are coming. I’m pleased because the only thing in that bed is that plant so it would have been a total waste of space if it hadn’t sorted it’s life out!I trimmed the mutant, non-flower producing cosmos too, because they were over shadowing everything else in that bed. Lesson learned I won’t plant them in the salad bed. The nasturtiums also got a haircut…And so did the rosemary.The borage that I had to cut down because of the blackfly, self seeded and is coming up in the same place which is nice, I’m not sure that it’ll get through the winter but it’s nice to know that it’s been doing it’s things. Also self seeding were the poppies…The tomatoes are producing a little bit but some are still getting there.It looks like I have 4 solid butternut squashes ripening and they are big!There has been flowers and produce and it’s all abundant and lush.In addition to the stuff already mentioned, we pulled up the cucumbers because they had gone off the boil and gave the summer squash a mildew busting haircut. Ma did masses of weeding and there was feeding, watering and general work. The big thing was to get all the rubbish of the plot and into the dump. It was hard work and also involved meeting a mouse! We didn’t get to everything we wanted to do so the list is getting bigger, I’m dividing it into August/Sept work and Autumn/Winter list


  • more pruning of the plum tree
  • plant out and sow some of the things we have planned for autumn
  • sort out the raspberries (shorten the lines, work out the frames)
  • sort out the brassica bed (new sides and netting, put up the french beans)
  • extend the strawberry bed (weed and plant out new runners)
  • sort out the space for the new long bed at the bottom of the plot
  • plant potatoes in bag for Christmas (late but what can you do)
  • plant spring bulbs at front of plot
  • sort out paths on plot (weed/woodchip/make paths at front of plot
  • mark out space for gooseberry bushes
  • sow grass seed at front of plot

Winter/Autumn work

  • re-site the gooseberry bushes
  • sow broadbeans and garlic
  • clear up/feed/cover summer beds
  • new raised beds
  • clear/clean/secure greenhouse
  • decide what we’re growing next year
  • order what we need in good time

There is still lots of work but the nature of it is different, I was talking to someone the other day who was saying that she likes closing the plot down in autumn and coming back to it in spring. I like the seasonal change of the work but I do want to use the plot a bit in winter which is why I planted all the leeks and cavolo nero and why this year, I’ll sow broad beans and garlic and chard. It’s nice to feel the seasons…..

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A birthday in cocktails

I got 6 birthday cards this year, 4 of them were drinks related. According to Kathy, if my friends really thought that it was a problem, they’d tell me by staging an intervention, not send me cards about it. However, my birthday weekend did feature quite a few cocktails. I didn’t drink all of these but I thought that I’d document them.

My birthday weekend started with drinks at the London Cocktail Club with some work friends. It was happy hour!


The Last Word (Hendricks, green Chartreuse, Maraschino and lime) Manhattan Sour (Gentleman Jack bourbon, Martini Rubino, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white, angostura) and the look on Jess’ face when I told her that the foam was egg white was hilarious!Old Fashioned. (Woodford Reserve, demerara sugar, angostura and Ardbeg 10 scotch) this was much more orangey than the ingredients list would suggest. 

Everyone else.

The Dude. (Vodka, Tia Maria, almond essence, milk, cream and a marshmallow) Boogie Nights (Grey Goose, Le Citron, Crème de Pêche, amaretto, pineapple juice and peach puree) they came with sunglasses. Yes there is a photo of me wearing them somewhere!

Surprisingly, I was home at a reasonable hour and not hungover the next day! Which was Saturday, when I went to Charlotte’s W5 with Kathy and Adam. I had two Comin’ Thru the Rye’s. (rye whiskey, dry vermouth and a lime and clove liquer). They were good.So good that on Sunday (my actual birthday) I took Ma there for drinks. She had two of the ‘comin through the ryes and I had two silver bullets (Gin, lemon juice, cumin anise liqueur)

And now you know why this week, I am having a period of abstinence from the demon drink, my liver needs some recovery time!

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Best/Worst 7 to 13 August 2017

Happy new week people!


Holiday. I didn’t go away but it was so nice not to be at work. A big part of my job is the administration for and minuting of a monthly meeting and I always give myself August off the minuting part of the work. So I have my birthday week off work and when I get back to work it’s like a holiday because I don’t have to type up minutes!

Tomatoes. Our tomatoes are starting to come in and I have discovered that I like some of them raw. I have eaten them raw before but I mostly prefered to cook them. Last week though, I have devoured them and found a new tomato to grow next year. Meet the Black Russian tomato, it’s delicious on toast..

Family lunch. I love my family and it’s always lovely when we are all together. The boys are a delight, Joe is a lovely tiny, garlic bread stealing, lamp breaking hurricane, Oli is just so much fun and is really interesting. We’re going up over the bank holiday to babysit while Ben and Laura celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and I’m really looking forward to it although I expect to be exhausted!


The world. I haven’t commented much about this on social media but the situation with North Korea, Charlottesville and the ongoing trauma that is Brexit negotiations and the racist terrible attitudes that seem to have been given new (and disgusting) life. It’s a mess and it makes me sad.

Wednesday weather. London at an entire day of miserable rain, it was grim, even ducks stayed indoors…

Honourable mentions to work on the allotment, a patty pan, some sunny days, the gin related birthday cards, cinema in the afternoon, pavlova, reading and lying in past 7am and generally being glad to be alive.

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