Vagina Wisdom

Interestingly, given that my vagina is always rearing up and trying to kill me as I sleep, I seem to be drawn to write blog posts about the more decorative aspects of them from time to time. I am lured to the prettified vagina like a moth to a flame.

I have written about vajazzling them, steaming them, and sticking lumps of semi precious stones up them, with a side line in nipple tassel twirling just for the bantz.

It should come as no surprise then, that people have started to send me links to articles on other vagina based larks. I have been reading them in horrified fascination. I haven’t written about them for a while due to me having fallen out with my own vagina, with which I am sulking.

As Nancy Mitford would say, we are not on ‘speakers’.

I can’t get my head around people titivating theirs when really I’d just quite like all my reproductive organs to disappear magically overnight, to be replaced with the laminated, Barbie non-vagina of joy. I’m not interested in festooning it with boho bunting, or throwing it a party, or making it look alluring.

It doesn’t make sense to me that I should be spending my time poking things into mine to encourage other people to want to poke things into it too. I’m going to run out of room eventually, and with all my pre-existing conditions, I’m never going to get planning permission for an extension.

I cracked this evening after reading about a shimmer highlighter cream that you can use to contour the vagina. I knew that I just had to write about it, regardless of my feelings towards my own nether regions. Luring my unruly lady parts into a trap using glitter (more of this later), I laid about it with a mallet, and leaving it stunned in a corner, I have returned to share my thoughts with you.

Firstly, who the hell wants a shimmery vagina? Actually, it’s probably those people who were keen on the vajazzling thing, but didn’t like the idea of getting Swarovski crystals stuck in their clitoral creases, or accidentally ramming one into a passing urethra when the glue wore off isn’t it?

As for the contouring, I know it’s all the rage. Tallulah is so about the contouring, and has quantities of palettes in various shades of beige, which she slathers all over her cheeks (facial, just in case you were wondering), so that she can achieve the ideal cheek bone, which is basically one that looks like you could carve ham on it.

Am I alone in thinking that labia don’t really need to look like they have bones in them, or indeed shine? Does anyone look at their partner’s vagina with a critical eye thinking ‘hmm, I’d really like to get jiggy with those bad girl lady parts, but on second thoughts, the fact that they don’t look like a shiny bacon slicer has just put me right off? I shall retire to my study and read Proust instead.’

Apart from anything else, one would assume that if things were going right in the rudies department, it would be more about the feel than the aesthetic. If you’re far enough away to notice the quality of the shine I’d say that you’re probably making some fundamental errors of play and are likely to be out on your ear in short order. I mean, as my granny used to say; ‘Never mind the quality, feel the width.’ Although I don’t think she ever said it about vaginas. At least not in my hearing.

Moving on from the aesthetic to the medical for a moment, I was also sent an article about women who are putting ground up bits of wasp in their vaginas in order to make them tighter.

Mmmmm.

Technically what they’re using are called oak galls. These occur when wasps lay eggs inside the buds of oak leaves, and the larvae hatch into them, creating a kind of oak/wasp based mash up around them.

Again. Mmmm.

You are supposed to grind the galls into a paste and whap it up inside ya where it will apparently tighten the vagina walls as well as making it less whiffy. (Hint – if your lady parts whiff of anything other than lady parts, probably best to get this checked out by a medical professional rather than poking a load of chewed up insect spit up your foof. I’m no medical expert, mind you. I’m just giving you my best guess.)

You can get much the same effect with the application of toothpaste mixed with haemorrhoid cream, or grout with a soupçon of horseradish.

How tight is tight enough I wonder? Will it contract until your entire vagina can fit on a grain of rice? You could get your name engraved on it by a skilled craftsman whilst on holiday.

I’m not sure I’m on board with ‘tightness’ as a hugely desirable thing in a vagina. I mean, I’m all for not sneezing and finding your uterus in your flip flop as a result, but I’m not happy if we’re talking golf ball in a hosepipe tight. I like a bit of wiggle room myself. I’ve never got over reading that bit in a Jackie Collins novel when a chap died whilst on the job and the lady he was pleasuring was in such shock her uterine muscles clamped over his penis and she had to have him surgically removed. Would that be more likely to happen if you shoved a shit ton of dead wasps in your fanny? I think it would.

If you could get anyone to go near it in the first place.

Finally, I saw that you can now buy capsules of glitter which you can also shove up your lady parts, which dissolve and then allow you to shed glitter all over the shop during sex. This is presumably for those of us who are into Tinkerbell style sex fantasies. Or have the horn for Neil from Art Attack and think this might lure him into bed.

I am troubled by this because glitter is really scratchy. Anyone who has had craft obsessed children will tell you this. They will also tell you that it is impossible to get rid of, and is worse than sand for getting into nooks and crannies you don’t want glitter in. So if you think for one second that your magical love making with optional glitter foof transferring to sparkly knob wand is going to stay secret, I’ve got news for you.

It won’t.

It will irritate the living crap out of your urethra for a start, and you will have the fun job of explaining to the doctor quite why your cystitis is so other worldly. There’s nothing magical about having to drink forty gallons of cranberry juice whilst pissing razor blades, even if they are more decorative than usual.

And it is a stone cold fact that any smear test you have for the next decade will come back with ‘hint of glitter’ as a result, even if you only try the stuff once. Seriously. If they made space ships out of a heady mixture of Calpol and glitter, they would be able to land on the sun and not melt. That stuff is indestructible.

So here’s my advice for what it’s worth. Aesthetically, a vagina in the wild might look a bit like a bearded clam (as my friend described it), but it seems to have worked pretty well for the entire duration of human existence in luring sexual partners to their doom/joy/impending parenthood.

You might not like the look of it. It may not go with your new stair carpet, or the latest spring/summer ’18 colour palette, but it’s totally giving some other vaginas and penises the horn somewhere, which is kind of the purpose as far as I can see. How about just letting it get on with its business without feeling the need to put up flock wallpaper or rinse it out with essence of wombat’s tears?

Rule of thumb for vaginas everywhere – If Gwyneth Paltrow thinks its a good idea, give it a miss.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

All the health

Yesterday was a tough day. Such a tough day it’s getting a blog post all of its own.

Regular readers will know that I have been waiting, not very patiently, to see the consultant this Wednesday about the results of my recent foray into the wilds of the chemical menopause, and find out whether, after a decade of me badgering, I will finally be green lighted to have a hysterectomy.

Originally I was due to see her on August 23rd, but when after my last jab, the nurse at my GP surgery pointed out that if I kept the appointment I would be weeks into withdrawal from the chemical menopause drug by then, I managed to arrange the appointment for this Wednesday morning. I’d still be two weeks into withdrawal, but it was the best I could do. I couldn’t get them to prescribe me more of the drug as the consultant wanted to see if the effect was truly down to the drug by me coming off it before she saw me again.

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, the withdrawal so far hasn’t been as horrific as I had imagined. I’ve had a spectacular three day migraine, which wasn’t much fun, but other than that I’m just sweaty, mildly crampy and quite sleepless up to now. I was congratulating myself on Monday morning that if this was the worst it was going to get by Wednesday I’d consider I’d aced it, when I got a call from the hospital.

It seems my luck had run out. They were cancelling my appointment and the earliest next appointment they could give me was 30th August, a week later than my original appointment. It would mean I would be withdrawing from the drug all through the holiday which is something I’d rather hoped to avoid.

The woman on the phone asked me if it was alright that they’d done this. What could I say? The consultant had to cancel clinic because she needed to operate on another patient. This happens a lot. There are huge waiting lists across the NHS. Elective surgery always gets bumped in favour of emergency surgery, and once an elective patient has been cancelled, the hospital have a certain time frame in which to reschedule and perform the surgery or they get fined. Someone needed that surgery more than I needed the appointment, and I’m not an emergency, so I go to the back of the queue.

I get it, and it’s right and fair given the strains on the system.

On the other hand I was not alright with it. I was really, really upset.

The cancellation prompted a very serious conversation with Jason after he called a local private hospital and talked to them about my situation. It turns out that I can see the same consultant I was scheduled to see on the NHS, privately on August 7th. Also, if I see her and she says yes to surgery, I can have a hysterectomy within two weeks of the initial consult with her.

This was very overwhelming news because suddenly something so far away was potentially going to happen very soon, and also, the cost. The cost was not small. It’s our family holiday/big anniversary treat rolled into one type of cost, and Jason was happy to use the money for that, but I had to consider what it meant for all of us.

In the end these are the things which made me decide to go private and weep all over my lovely husband, who announced that we’ll just have a better holiday/bigger anniversary treat next year so not to worry about it.

Because he’s a fucking bearded saint and I LOVE him.

Firstly there is no guarantee, given the current state of the NHS that my appointment will not be cancelled again on 30th August, because this, unlike indefinitely cancelling surgeries, is doable.

Even if I get the appointment on the 30th August, and I then get a green light for surgery, I will go on another waiting list. Average wait times for surgical appointments is 3 months for most things, more for others. Let’s be generous and say 3 months is likely for me. It means we are looking at November for a possible surgery date.

I would be going in as an elective surgery patient. There is a very good chance that I will be bumped off the elective list in favour of an emergency. This happens all the time. It’s why I’m not seeing the consultant on Wednesday. Hell, when I had Tilly I was actually whipped off the operating table as the anaesthetist was about to give me a spinal block to make way for an emergency. With my realistic head on, I could be looking at getting surgery as late as February next year, maybe later.

The longer I wait for a consult, the further into withdrawal I go, and the more my hideous menstrual cycle rears its head again, along with the miserable mental see sawing that I had thought was normal until not having hormones showed me that it isn’t.

Also, presuming the consultant puts me back into chemical menopause while I wait for surgery, I have to suffer the first month of readjustment to the drug again. I also have to throw into the mix the fact that my body seems not to be reacting as favourably to the drug now, so I can expect daily joint pain. The joint pain is not quite as hideous as the migraines, but at its worst I cry turning the tap on, or putting my bra on, and just like the effects of my menstrual cycle, it stops me living the life I want. Also, I’d probably be put on the three month dose rather than the monthly dose, because it’s cheaper and less of a drain on time to administer. Apparently the side effects of the three month dose are worse. I could be looking at being on it for 3-6 months.

Whatever I choose, the summer holidays are fairly ruined, so it’s a question of whether I want to ruin Christmas too.

I thought about whether I was being selfish to want the surgery sooner rather than later. I can wait. I could wait. I’ve waited for ten years of asking for a hysterectomy to get this far, and things weren’t exactly rosy before the begging began. I’m not going to die because of my condition. I’m a stoic woman.

What’s really hard is that during the two months that the drug was working well, I felt fantastic. I wasn’t tired all the time. I wasn’t borderline anaemic. I didn’t have migraines that turned me blind and flipped my digestive tract inside out for days. I didn’t have to leave the kitchen because the smell of food was unbearable. I didn’t spend my days monitoring the swoops and dips of my erratic mental state and adjusting accordingly. During that time I lived. I lived like I imagine most normal people live, and it was amazing and yes, miraculous. Just thinking about what it was like makes me want to weep.

Once you’ve experienced that. Once you know that you can have it, and that what you had before was not ‘normal’, and could be fixed, it’s so very hard to go back there, even for a while.

I asked Jason if he thought I was making up how much the drug had positively affected me during that time. I am, you may marvel to know, prone to exaggeration.  He said. ‘Being with you was like when we used to go on holiday for four weeks, but better. You were relaxed. You were well. You are not exaggerating.’  Then I cried some more.

I still felt selfish at spending all that money on myself, but the truth is that when I am where I was before I started taking the drug I am only living for, at best, two weeks out of every month, and often during those weeks I am tired and recovering from what the rest of the month has done to me.

The truth is that now that the jab is not working as well, I am back to only living well for two weeks out of every month.

In my pre surgery future I know that half my life will be taken up with coping rather than living. And I can do that. I can cope, and I am lucky that I can, and I totally get that there are people out there living with much, much worse conditions and almost certainly doing it much more bravely than me, but the fact that I don’t want to shouldn’t feel selfish. It should feel like self care.

It’s not just that I cannot participate in my own life half the time, I cannot participate in my family life half the time and that isn’t fair to any of us. During my last migraine Oscar was the only one home from school with me for an hour before the girls got back. I was so ill he wanted to call an ambulance. Afterwards he told me he was afraid I was going to die, and that he was sorry he hadn’t been able to help me and for being scared.  I don’t want him to be afraid and I don’t want him to be sorry and when I’m in the middle of an attack like that I don’t have the words to console him or make him feel better, and that adds to the burden of guilt that for all these years, my family have had to look after me as much as I look after them.

And as I type all this, the decision to go ahead with the private health care option seems so glaringly right and obvious, and I wonder why I still feel conflicted about it, even after saying yes, but I do. So I’m feeling all the feels right now. I’m feeling guilty, and terrified and excited and panic stricken, but mostly I’m feeling that I’m the luckiest woman in the world that my husband and children are the best husband and children in the world and I’m going to use that as my touchstone as I get through the next few weeks because it’s probably going to be the only thing keeping me sane.

 

I’m just calling it title

My house is full of children of various ages and sizes. Every room is littered with stuff. There are makeshift beds everywhere, and there is no moment in the day when someone is not eating something. Social arrangements are complex and various. The front door really should have been replaced with some kind of revolving arrangement as they surge in and out, shouting reams of instructions, exhortations and requests at me as they come and go.

I am hiding in the study. I have told them I am working. I am not working. I am just retreating. They are all lovely, each and every one of them, but it’s fair to say I am in overwhelm.

I had a wonderful weekend in London. My health held up. I saw Anne Marie Duff in Common at the National on Saturday. It was very weird. At the interval, Andrea turned to me and asked me if I knew what was going on. I said that I didn’t. She was relieved. I was relieved. Anne Marie Duff was marvellous though, which made up for a lot. I’ve loved her since watching her in Shameless, and this is the second time I’ve been lucky enough to see her on stage.

On Sunday we met up with my wonderful friends Alex and Connor who I haven’t seen for ages, and have missed a great deal. We ate delicious food and followed it up with a trip to Camden Roundhouse to see Daniel Kitson’s Something Other Than Everything, which was amazing.

I was relieved about the Kitson thing being amazing, as I had read a troubling opinion piece in The Guardian by a woman who was upset that he’d used derogatory racial language in the show. I was surprised when I read it, not that he’d used derogatory language. He uses eye watering language a lot of the time, but that the way she had framed it had made it appear as if he had been using it to be deliberately insulting. I’m not saying that she wasn’t upset, or her feelings were not valid for her and I am in no position as a white woman to deny her personal experience. I am saying that I believe that she took his words out of context and that in the narrative of his performance I totally understood what he was trying to do, and didn’t find it offensive at all. I thought it was an excellent show, and very Kitsonesque, and if you like Kitson, it’s well worth trying to get tickets for it.

We stayed over in London on Saturday night. We stayed in an Airbnb place in Golders’ Green and spent much of the weekend when we weren’t theatre going trekking around North West London. It was pretty nostalgic for me. A lot of the walking we did took us along routes I used to push Tilly in her buggy when she was tiny; Golders’ Hill Park, Hampstead Ponds, the Heath, South End Green, Haverstock Hill, Primrose Hill. It was lovely to see how much has changed and also how much has stayed the same. Usually Andrea and I drive back and forth in a day if we’re going to see something, and it was nice not to be on a deadline, and just drift around.

I Bloody Hate Having To Come Up with Titles

First week of the summer holidays done and dusted – just like that. The children and I have done very little this week except to perfect the art of lolling around. There are books in various stages of being read propped up in every nook and cranny of the house. This is very pleasing to all of us. It’s not good to be stranded without a book, even on the stairs.

My reading has been pretty sparse (for me) of late, even though I have so many wonderful things to read. I’m hoping that I get my reading mojo back soon, particularly as I’ve just signed up for Net Galley and it looks amazing.

I’m pretty proud that the kids are trained so that if we announce they need to get ready because we’re going somewhere, the first thing they pick up is a book. They’re still terrible at the coats/shoes/appropriate clothing stuff, but the book stuff is in the bag.

We are also deep into watching season six of Parks and Recreation and thanks to Tilly and her boyfriend who happened to start watching it and lured us in, starting season three of Shameless. I’d forgotten how much I love that show. I know it’s not appropriate for Oscar, but he’s too small to shut in a cupboard anymore anytime the television goes on, so I’ve stuck another twenty quid in the therapy jar and decided it probably won’t kill him.

Tilly said to me last night that every time she watches an episode of Shameless it reminds her how much of an accent she has when she speaks, even though most of the time she doesn’t think of herself as having one. A ‘Lestah’ accent rather than a Mancunian accent, obviously. I said, as we were driving to the chippy, and she had to buy them because I couldn’t be bothered to change out of my pjs, that I was reminded how much like the Gallagher family we are, only in a nicer house.

Tallulah gave me a pedicure yesterday. It took a long time because it is fair to say that my feet are like hooves. Years of walking around barefoot and a total disregard for doing anything to a part of my body I can cover up 99% of the year means I am never  going to make my living as a foot model. Tallulah however, is up for the challenge. She tells me that if she keeps working on me for a few months I might even be able to go to an actual nail salon and not frighten the proprietors. I left her drawing up a rota of treatments which may have had: ‘N.B. borrow the belt sander from the shed,’ on it.

We have left the house a few times, correctly dressed for once. On Monday I went into town to meet my friend Rosalind. Rosalind and I met at the age our oldest children are now (18), which is a pretty mind-blowing thought. Despite the fact that we have always lived the nearest to each other of all my uni friends, we often go for long swathes of time without seeing each other. This is not down to any rancour and entirely down to the fact that we have seven children between us and really busy lives.  When we were chatting over tea on Monday morning, we worked out that we haven’t seen each other for eight years. When we parted company we decided not to leave it that long again, although as she said; ‘Even if we did, we’d just carry on as if we’d seen each other the previous day.’ It’s true. It’s just one of those easy, comfortable friendships that just works, which is rather lovely.

Also lovely was popping round to see my splendid friend Jenn’s newest niece, who was born last Friday and who really is teeny weeny like a new born chick. Weighing in at six pounds it was quite marvellous strange to be holding such a tiny dot of a human being when Tilly can drop kisses on the top of my head from her vast height, and Oscar makes my thighs go numb if he sits on me for too long.

It was delightful to cuddle her for a while. I had forgotten how easy it is to slip into that rhythm of jiggling a baby when you’re holding them and it reminded me of the first time I went shopping without Tilly (she was at the child minder’s) and I was so unused to being solo, I kept rocking the shopping trolley in the supermarket, much to the alarm of my fellow shoppers. Holding a newborn did make me a little nostalgic for a while, but not enough for me to want to sacrifice sleep, and the fact that I may no longer be able to jiggle Tilly in my arms, but she can make a mean jug of Pimms’, makes up in practicality what it lacks in cuteness.

Health wise, I’m a week into withdrawal from the menopause drug and the side effects are not quite as horrible as I had feared, which is bloody marvellous. Headaches are a thing however, which is one of the reasons for a lot of lolling this week, as is nausea, mild cramps and weirdly intense but short mood swings. Hot flushes continue much the same. It’s not great, but it’s not buckets of blood and nihilism, which is what I thought might happen. I see the consultant next Wednesday. I’m hoping to hang on to some kind of manageable life until then.

Doctor Her

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will know that today the BBC announced who the thirteenth Doctor Who will be. I had hoped for Sue Perkins with Idris Elba as her assistant, but frankly I think the rising libido of most right thinking people on the planet caused by such an alliance would have melted what’s left of the polar ice caps, so it was never going to happen.

Instead we have Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor and OMFG I actually cried, and I’ve been stealth crying on and off all evening because this is fantastic, fantastic news. Firstly Whittaker is a brilliant actor and deserves the recognition. Secondly, it’s only taken fifty four years to get a woman Doctor.

Only fifty four.

But you know it’s not all party hats and streamers. Already the Daily Mail are picturing nude shots of Whittaker on their website, and Twitter is in an inferno of misogynistic, sexist crap (not my time line, because all my people are the best fucking people) in which people who haven’t seen her act or sat through a single episode are already saying they aren’t sexist but the can’t possibly watch now because the show is ruined.

They aren’t sexist but (They’re always ‘not sexist, but…’) they’re willing to base their whole argument on the fact that the only difference between her and Peter Capaldi is that she has tits and a vagina where he has man nipples and a penis. Because, you know, genitals are the root of all acting chops.

As an aside – Laurence Olivier had unfeasibly large testicles, which is the only reason why his Hamlet is so acclaimed. And his tights were under so much strain.

Also apparently female Time Lords are not ‘natural’. Because it’s totally logical that an imaginary, time travelling, Gallifreyan Time Lord with two hearts, who can regenerate into anyone and anything, and who travels through timey wimey stuff in a Police Box saving the universe every Saturday can only be a man.

So apart from that, it’s all good, and I’m just delighted.

I’ve already debated this far and wide across social media, but I wanted to note it here for posterity. I want to remember this day, because I really hope that one day people will look back at this furore, and wonder why it was such big deal. I really hope I’m still alive to witness it.

Jason caught me crying about the news and was utterly baffled as to why I thought it was such a big deal.  I read him this amazing blog post about it, and it made me cry all over again and is utterly brilliant.

Then I showed him what one of my friends who has a baby daughter wrote. She said that it’s amazing that her daughter is going to be able to grow up thinking that it’s totally normal for girls to be Ghost Busters, or Jedi Knights or Time Lords, and how wonderful it is that she won’t have to make do with being a side kick or a Disney Princess (unless she wants to).

And he got it.

And I tweeted Jodie Whittaker, and I told her that the last Comic Con I went to, I went as David Tennant’s Doctor Who, but that it’s going to be better at my next one, which I will go to as her, the thirteenth Doctor Who.

 

 

Real News

OK, already bored of two days being a fashion maven. Is that the right word, maven? Maybe I mean fashion’s John Craven. That’s probably more like it.

Have a few choice selections from this week that haven’t involved vomit, or clothes. I mean, advice about clothes rather than wearing or not wearing them.

Oscar has been auditioning for the school’s co-production of Hamlet alongside the Curve theatre next year. He found out today he got a part. He is Laertes. He is pretty excited. ‘I wanted to be Hamlet, but he’s got loads of lines, so I’m quite pleased X got that really. But I didn’t want no lines, because that would be rubbish. Laertes has just the right amount of lines.’  Quite. Also: ‘I don’t understand how Laertes can poison Hamlet first and yet Laertes dies before Hamlet.’  We had the, ‘the most important person in Shakespeare always takes the longest time to die,’ discussion. I’m wondering if he’ll pay this any heed, or spend several minutes dying theatrically in the background, stealing Hamlet’s thunder whilst still not being obliged to learn any more lines?

Tallulah went to Drayton Manor Park on the school’s reward day. To qualify for the reward day you have to turn up regularly and not kill anyone or get pregnant as far as I understand it. She enjoyed it, despite being banned from the tea cups. ‘I tried to get off before it finished. I didn’t know it hadn’t finished. He was so grumpy about it.’ I asked her if she had been upset. ‘Nope. It was a boring ride and we only had ten minutes before we had to go back to the coach anyway.’

Tallulah has also had sports’ day. ‘I came 16th out of 17th in the high jump. My event was nearly last so I got to spend all the rest of the time eating snacks.’ I asked her if she was sad about her placing. ‘Nope. Sports are mostly stupid. Why would you want to fling yourself around like that? Anyway, Mr. Redman loved my ‘Fight Like A Girl Badge’ and he’s going to get one for next term.’ Fair.

I have finished the woodland section of my garden and taken delivery of my beautiful Gertrude Jekyll climbing roses from David Austin. I spent large parts of yesterday evening covered in bark, earth, compost and picking rose thorns out of my hands/hair. Also saw a spider with a luminous green/white body. Very disturbing. It looked exactly like the sort that would climb into an orifice and lay eggs, waiting for you to explode with spider babies. I confess to hitting it with a trowel. I relinquish my ambition to be the Dalai Lama yet again.

Derek is having hunting success this week having caught two mice. She loves Jason most of all in the entire universe at the moment and has brought both mice in for him as a gift.  We managed to chase the first mouse out of the house. Derek scooped it up and carried it down the garden path. I followed in hot pursuit. I persuaded her to drop it. It sat on its haunches and smacked her on the nose with its mouse paw. I swear by Cheezus this totally happened. It was at this point Derek noticed it again, rather than the packet of Dreamies in my hand, and promptly picked it up and legged it through the hole in the fence where I could not follow, and no Dreamies would tempt her back. At first I was all like ‘Go! Team mice!’ and then I was like, ‘You idiot. You could have used that biffing on the nose time to bugger off into the undergrowth. Mouse imbecile.’

The second mouse arrived last night just as Jason was about to go to bed. This mouse was very small, and very lithe, which caused many problems. The last mouse had been rather fat, which meant that when Derek carried it about, she dented it rather, thus slowing it down and making it easier to work with. This mouse was so teeny it could basically sit inside the damp mouth of Derek with only its tail poking out like a Fu Manchu moustache, therefore it was bewildered but largely unharmed when she unleashed it under Jason’s desk.

Every time we managed to corner it, it leapt over obstacles with aplomb, unlike Tallulah at sport’s day. Eventually it wedged itself behind a book case and everyone but me and Derek went to bed. I systematically cleared away any debris from the floor to allow me ease of access when the mouse eventually came out. In doing this I found a mummified frog carcass and became somewhat ashamed at my slatternly housewifery. Then I was just glad that it was mummified and it didn’t smell, and learned to live with the shame. It was like a life time of therapy rolled into about sixty, intense seconds of my life.

I settled down to watch Craig Revel Horwood discover his ancestry in Who Do You Think You Are? (I am stunned that he is Australian. It explains his accent. I’d always put it down to a mild stroke he didn’t really want to talk about). Derek settled down under Jason’s desk, preening at her hunting skilz. At about half past one, just as I was darning a beloved Jigsaw sweater that was more holes than sweater, there was a kerfuffle and the mouse and Derek went into combat.

I leapt up, impressively not losing my needle nor impaling myself on it absentmindedly. I swooped, swooped on the mouse, who ran up the blanket I was wearing as a shawl, at which point I leapt athletically around, slithering out of the shawl and fashioning it into an impromptu Dick Whittington style bag, with the mouse scribbling about in the middle of it. I whipped it out and threw it all on the decking with a thunk and a somewhat spitty and concussed mouse made its way to freedom. While all this was going on, Derek, who is as thick as swill, was wandering around under Jason’s desk lamenting her lost love and making pouncing motions towards the bookcase where the mouse no longer was. The idiot.

In unrelated news I have done some pretty intense hoovering this afternoon.

Even more unwanted fashion tips from the least fashionable woman on earth. Roll up.

I’m having fun with this fashion thing so I may continue offering unwanted fashion advice today, just because I can. Also, because the alternative is cleaning the floors.

I’ve instagrammed yesterday’s bargains and today’s ‘look’ over @thevoiceofboo if you’re not bored rigid yet.

Thanks for all your comments, which were excellent and which prompted today’s post.

I totally appreciate the fact that it is way easier to shop charity/vintage if you’re a smaller size. I also appreciate that bosoms are a total fecker and a game changer for many. Despite my runty size I have a 32F bra size which is an utter pain in the tits, frankly and means that I have to be creative around the bosom area. I know your pain.

Someone suggested Oxfam online in the comments. A wider range of sizes and free returns. What’s not to like? Also look at EBay. I have a particular love for Gudrun Sjoden clothing, which comes in a vast array of sizes, is spectacularly generously cut and is available in absolutely beautiful colours/patterns. It’s also really expensive, but really not so much second hand. Check her out. Also, for layering looks, on Ebay search ‘lagenlook’ which was a thing a few years ago. There are some glorious things there. You will not be sorry.

However, I will reiterate the whole ‘ignore sizing’ thing as a keep searching, pom pom waving encouragement. Example. One of yesterday’s bargains was a cotton/t shirt dress by Sandwich in navy. It claims to be a size 36, which is a UK 8. I tried it on. To say that it’s generous is an understatement. I could probably get me and one of the kids in there. In my opinion it could easily fit a UK 14 if you’re comfortable with a clingy fit.

Also, think about how you’re going to wear something. For example, the Sandwich dress would look fab on a taller/bigger sized person as a tunic with jeans or leggings. It doesn’t need to be worn as a dress just because it says it is a dress. I very often wear small dresses as t-shirts/tops. I also wear very large dresses with huge belts, or narrow belts, or ties or scarves which I sometimes utilise when I can’t find a belt I actually like.

Be bold in how you think about wearing stuff. Not only can you wear dresses as tops, but you can also wear shirts that you can’t do up, simply as shirts you can’t do up, over t shirts/vests etc. I often do this due to my unruly bosom issues. I also do this with coats. You do not have to do the buttons up. Your world will not end if your chest gets a bit breezy. If it’s bothering you, cover it up with a ruddy huge scarf. Problem solved. Try not to die in an Isadora Duncan style incident if you do go for the huge scarf resolution. My mother worries about this daily.

I bought a magnificent shirt recently. It’s white with huge bell sleeves and some kind of flared, bustle type detailing that sits on the hips. It’s basically a bastard massive pirate shirt and I lusted after it. Sadly it was a tiny size and I could not get it done up over the acreage of bosom. But I still lusted after it. I carried it around the shop while I browsed other stuff and then hit upon a genius idea as to how to wear it and promptly parted with my £3 and carried it home. I wear it with a waistcoat over the top, which does button up, and a vest underneath which you can’t really see, but which will save me should the waistcoat buttons give up. It makes it look even more swash buckling and piratical and it’s excellent fun to wear. Although big sleeves and soup eating should be avoided at all costs.

Top fashion tip there, re soup/sleeves by the way.

Other ways to make stuff fit include not bothering with doing up zips/buttons on things like pinafores. I simply whack a t shirt on underneath and throw the pinafore on top and leave it totally undone. If someone comments I just say something like ‘Fashion.’ very darkly, or if pushed will look wise and tap my nose and say: ‘Autumn/Winter 17’ or whatever the coming fashion season is about to be. Turns out most people know much less about clothes than I do, and I know fuck all. This always works.

Ballgowns work brilliantly with jumpers on top. Who knew? I have a particularly daring scarlet ball gown which I love, but is a bit Nell Gwynn on the tits front. If I want to wear it in the day I pair it with a navy Gap jumper and it looks fab. Try it. Honestly it will revolutionise your life. Ball gowns are the way forward. Waistcoats and shirts/blouses also work to normalise more glittery offerings in the day. Pairing evening wear with Doc Martens or Converse also works hugely well.

With skirts, employ the time honoured pregnancy tip of doing stuff up with safety pins/knicker elastic and then hiding it all with long tops. You can also use safety pins when skirts are too roomy, by creating a new ‘pleat’ and just folding the material until it fits and safety pinning the whole lot together. Of course, you could always get stuff altered, but it depends if you think it’s worth it and you’ll wear and wear the stuff. If, like me, you’re probably going to give it back to the charity shop in six months, safety pins rule.

Also think about wearing skirts as dresses. Tilly often does this. Sometimes she uses a belt to gather it in at the waist. Sometimes she just goes totally A-line. Basically a skirt worn as a dress is simply a version of the classic Vivienne Westwood tube dress and if anyone tells you any different point them at Vivienne, scowl and walk/waddle away, depending on how tight the skirt is. Seventies wrap skirts are pretty excellent for this kind of dressing, and also fit anyone at all, as each skirt is made with roughly seventy metres of material and could be turned into a family sized bivouac at a push. Take note for the coming zombie apocalypse.

Layering is something I do a lot with clothes that don’t really fit. I have a vast array of very long vests in every imaginable colour and I use these as the foundation of all layering experiments. I have to layer a lot as many t-shirts are cut too high and show my collapsed parachute of a stomach, which is no fun for anyone. Also, I tend to buy beautiful wool jumpers, forget I have beautiful wool jumpers and then shrink them. I never say never, so I simply stretch them with my super human strength and wear them as weeny jumpers over a vest. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that jazz.

With layering I have rediscovered leggings, which I cast aside once I’d had children. I have stout, lycra leggings in basic colours which I actually do buy new as a rule due to the fact that I hate it when the knees on leggings blow (whilst doing ninety on the M6). I wear these instead of footless tights (which I snag to buggery), and wear them under skirts, under shorts etc. I also buy crazy leggings from charity shops on occasion because I just like to upset the children. I have some stained glass patterned ones they all find particularly offensive and which I wear when I have a ‘fuck my life, why didn’t I breed chihuahuas?’ moment. It’s a tiny revolution, but it’s very satisfying.

Other layering genius involves harem pants and wide legged linen/cotton trousers which are usually one size fits all and brilliant with all kinds of things you wouldn’t necessarily think to layer them with, i.e. shirts and huge jumpers (menswear section is your friend), tunics and of course, dresses. I know it’s a bit All Saints (the pop group, not the fashion emporium), but if you like the look, then wear it and remember that most ‘youth’ think Shaznay is a swear word and are too young to remember anything that makes you feel old.

If you’re trying to hide stomach areas, using huge beach scarves as a kind of skirt/sarong malarkey and pinning them with huge costume jewellery brooches works well. Also the layering thing. If you wear ninety layers of contrasting cloth people will get so confused as to what you’re wearing they will give up worrying about whether you’re fat. Not that it’s any of their fucking business in the first place anyway. People who do that just need jabbing in the eye with a sharp stick anyway. Fuck em.

I’ve also used huge scarves as tops, being creative with safety pins and belts, head wraps, and as actual scarves. Amazing but true.

Another trick I use a lot is to wear incongruous things together. Like huge skater combat trousers with too small t shirts under the ubiquitous vest, and then a very formal jacket on top. People get so confused about what the hell you’re doing they just fail to comment as their head spins round.

Beachwear is brilliant for ‘unstructured’ clothing for layering/belting etc. I am not talking about bikinis, although I sometimes buy bikini vests as regular vests because they tend to be more supportive. I am talking about sarongs, kaftans and beach coveralls. Nobody said you had to only use them on the beach.

Also, if you live in an area with a large Asian population you might be lucky enough to find salwar kameez, which are basically gorgeous tunics and harem pants, which you can split and use for all kinds of things. See also pyjamas. I wear pyjama tops as blouses. I wear nighties as dresses. It’s all good. A particular favourite is a nightie with a denim or leather jacket on top.

Also remember menswear. Men’s shirting is usually superior to women’s and there is an increasing range of width fittings for men these days.  And, you can pick up shirts that need cufflinks and buy cufflinks, which are a joy. Also if, like me you have the bosom issue, unfitted is good, and I just whack a waistcoat on top if I want a more fitted look. Waistcoats are fantastic. I have a selection from mens and womenswear. They have these little cinch in bits on the back panel that means that they’re fantastically self sizing. They’re an absolute essential for me. Mens jackets are also good and are cut more generously, and generally better than women’s suit jackets. As an aside, if you like a suit jacket or trousers but not the other half, charity shop suits are so cheap you would be mad not to buy the suit, keep the half you want and give the other half to a different charity shop so they can sell it as a separate. Job done.

Final tip. Wear hats. Hats are excellent. There are not enough hat wearing people in the world. Also fascinators are good, and you can get them ridiculously cheaply in charity shops. Don’t wear them for posh. Wear them every day. I wore one covered in pearls and feathers last week to a meeting about cuts to the NHS. It cheered everyone up, including me. Go hats.