Thursday 31 May 2012

Deafinitely Girly's shopping ban

There comes a point in life sometimes where you have to say 'Enough, I have enough.' and for me, that point came yesterday as I was tidying my flat and wondering where to put everything... namely clothes and shoes.

While I'm not one of those people with wardrobes packed full of things I've never worn, I am one of those people that likes to keep my wardrobe up to date, I like wearing what's in fashion – for example, coloured jeans – but I'm not always very good at stopping at the one pair.

My wardrobe isn't dripping with designer items either. I'll TKMaxx it for labels and happily buy everything else when I see it, wherever that may be and preferably as cheap as possible.

But it's become clear, I have enough.

Further more, the fashions seem to have become cyclical. Anything seems to go. Boots can still be tucked into jeans eight years on, blazers have been happily existing since the early 2000s and the only sad thing in my book is that platform trainers are not fashionable anymore – they're excellent for keeping flares out the rain.

Yesterday I bought a pair of pinky/red skinny jeans which were DKNY, £124.99 and exactly what I'd been looking for. Ouchy yes but I got them for £19.99 in TKMaxx. However, it was as I was cutting four inches off the bottom and hemming them, that I decided that was enough. The coloured jean obsession ended here. The shopping ended here. I was going to enjoy the clothes I had. If there was something I wasn't keen on, it would go to charity and anything that could be altered, updated, mended or recycled would be.

For six months.

Starting tomorrow.

Included in the ban is all clothes – except bras (I'm still searching for the ultimate T-shirt one) – and beauty products. I want to wear, enjoy and use every last thing in my cupboards. To help me in my challenge I am banned from buying magazines – although I will still snaffle the free ones – and have unsubscribed from every single shopping email that comes into my inbox.

What excites me the most about this challenge is the positive impact it's bound to have on my finances. I am not concerned that I will run out of things to wear or stuff to put upon my hair, because thanks to being a Superdrug blogger for two years, for the latter I have rather a lot in reserve.

I am also excited about the space it's going to create. Last night, I collected a load of stuff for charity by asking myself this question, 'Would I choose this over everything else in my wardrobe?' If the answer was no, then it was bagged up.

That's the thing you see, and I'm sure it's the same for many others, I have fashion favourites. When packing for a weekend at the moment it's all about the blue blazer, Gap cotton jumpers and green jeans. I'm neglecting a ton of stuff that's in fashion and right there in my wardrobe because it's easier to grab the stuff on the back of my bedroom chair.

Well, not anymore. From now on, I'm going to try and put together a new outfit every day. I'm going to find things I never knew went well together and I'm going to remind myself that I look good in them...

That's the other thing you see, things that once looked great, stop looking great because of the constant evolution of fashion. I have dresses I know looked great when I got them, but right now, I'm not sure about them because of the length of the hem, the sleeves, the neckline… 

The same with shoes – remember the chunky heel trend of 1999 or the stiletto moment of the mid 2000s?

Thankfully, I've always been a fairly classic shopper so haven't got too many Edina from Ab Fab items lurking, but oh, to have to her confidence at carrying off anything.

And I think that's the final thing I'm hoping to achieve in this six-month challenge. A confidence boost. A reminder that I look nice in the clothes I already own, not the ones I have yet to buy.

I'm hoping with the money I don't spend, I can start to collect savings again. Stop proclaiming my poorness when really all I needed to do was shop less.

And will I write about it? For sure, but not here on the DG homepage... You can find my challenge journey here.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

(Deaf) things are getting better (?)

This week is going to be super busy in my day job trying to fit everything in before the long Jubilee weekend...

Four days break. Hurrah!

I'm writing this from a sweltering hot bus. It's 7.30am. And the fact that it's sweltering can only be a good thing in my book.

You see this poor weather is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't at the moment. We need rain, we get a whole month of it and everyone moans. We wish for sunshine and soaring temperatures. We get it and everyone moans.

I kind of think we should search for the positives in the situation such as: I've worn more summer clothes in the past few weeks than I did the whole of last summer.

But that's quite enough about the weather. This morning I want to talk about on-demand TV via iPhones.

The amazing BBC iPlayer offers subtitles on its iPhone app so that even from the comfort of my bed, at times of complete insomnia I can watch a bit of TV and understand what's going on.

So last night I thought I'd download the other channels' apps: ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. I was hopeful they too would offer this accessible service. After all, if one can do it, why can't the others?

But it seems the others can't. I searched high and low for a subtitles setting, I checked every crevice of each app and all appeared to have none.

It was very disappointing to delete each app less than 5 minutes after downloading.

But what it made me realise is that recently I've stopped demanding answers for things like this. I've taken a bit of a back seat. Gone are the days of shouting at the BBC for its shocking subtitle efforts – to be fair I rarely need to anymore – and I haven't fired off a stroppy enquiring email for an age.

What's happened?

Well, in all honesty, I got busy. But I also think things have improved quite considerably in the three years I've been moaning/blogging.

For example, not even the computer iPlayer had subtitles back then, there were hardly any subtitled plays and it was a miracle to discover a transcript of an audio guide at museums and galleries.

Nowadays it's as though all that moaning, not just from me but from other brilliant people demanding better deaf services has worked.

So what's your favourite technological improvement as a deaf or hard of hearing person? Do you have a favourite app you can't live without? And what still has room for improvement?

For me, subtitled iPlayer rates pretty high. That, my iPhone lyrics app and being able to see King Lear with subtitles at the Donmar Warehouse. Things I'd like more of are regular subtitled films in the evenings not just at 2.30 on a Tuesday afternoon.

Let me know what you think...

Friday 18 May 2012

Not hearing my Pa on the phone

This morning I am tired and sofa shaped. And the reason for this is I fell asleep on my sofa and woke up at 4.40am this morning.

Now, this would be all well and good if my sofa was one of those DFS advert ones where people loll around all over them, limbs everywhere.

But my sofa isn't one of them.

It's a very beautiful, pale blue, high-armed 157cm long sofa that means my compact living room still has enough room for erm… living in.

So when I woke up in the first light of dawn, my neck was bent like a giraffe in the womb and my feet were resting on the window sill... and I'm not tall.

Groaning, I staggered to bed, for two hours with a hot water bottle on my neck and now here I am, sat on the bus, primed for a day at the office, with the mobility of a Thunderbird.


But let's move on we, because today is thankful Friday.

And today, I'm thankful for my Pa.

Yesterday he was in town meeting up with some old friends of his. They're all record experts so went on a sort of shop-crawl around the best CD shops in the capital. (Ma, if you're reading this, I think Pa was just window shopping. There were NO CDs in any of his carrier bags).

Anyway after work I met him for an early supper before he was due to get the train home again. He rang me – something only The Rents do – and told me he was in a Costa on Regent Street.

'I know it' I said and dashed out of work. I arrived at Cafe Nero and rang him. 'Where are you?' I said.

'At the Costa on Regent Street' he said.

Deaf girl fail: 1

'There isn't a Costa on Regents Street,' I replied, barely able to hear him above the racket of the traffic.

'Upper Regent Street' he yelled.

And with a harrumph (sorry Pa) I hung up and strode/navigated/fought my way over Oxford Circus to get to Upper Regent Street.

No Costa.


I rang him.

'There's no Costa on Upper Regent Street either,' I whined.

'It's opposite Miss Selfridge' he yelled.

'Miss Selfridge is on Oxford Street,' I pointed out. 'Are you in a Twighlight Zone, Pa?' I asked helpfully.

It turned out he wasn't. He was in fact in Great Portland Street, the next road along...

Pa fail: 1

So after eventually meeting up I took him for tea at Mother Mash in Ganton Street. It's a marvellous place... although I do wish they'd serve their sausages a bit crispier. We chatted and caught up and he gave me a present he'd got me that day – a mug with a very early London Tube Map on it, which as I am a bit of a Tube geek, I absolutely loved.

Pa is an excellent present buyer.

But what I was thankful for was my Pa's incredible patience with me shouting at him because I hadn't heard him on the phone. He took it all in his stride. He didn't once get mad at me and when we met up, my grumpiness wasn't even mentioned.

Pa is one of the most tolerant people of my deaf rants. He puts up with my impatience, my strops and my tantrums with a cool efficiency that is most impressive.

Although next time, I'm going to make him text me and perhaps send me a photo of where he is…

That way there will be no yelling.

And just for the record, THERE IS NO COSTA ON REGENT STREET…

Thursday 17 May 2012

Deafinitely Girly and the terrible din

Last night I got in rather late from London Aunt's. We were having a great old catch up that didn't end until the early hours of this morning. So when I arrived back at my flat, I tiptoed in so as not to disturb my neighbour.

But what a wasted effort that was because at 4am this morning, I was awoken by what I can only describe as a terrible din. It was the sound of someone trying to play the steel drums on the big metal industrial waste bins that belong to the pub on my road.

These giant tin cans on wheels normally only make a noise on bin days at 6am when wheeled and hurled into the waiting lorry, but last night they really let rip.

Astonished by the sheer volume of noise coming from outside, I got out of bed and peeked through the blinds and sure enough, there was a swaying, rucksack-adorned man wielding what looked like a Sigg Bottle and smacking the hell out of the bins.

It was quite a sight.

Eventually however, he seemed to give up and stumbled on his way down my road.

And did this make me mad? Did this make me shake my fist at him and grumble about my already short sleep becoming shorter? 

Well no not really. You see there are two silver linings to this event. The first is that I will never tire of being awoken by sound because it is one of my greatest fears not to be woken by sound. Being woken by sound is confirmation that my ears do still work even if it's only a little bit.

And the second silver lining? Well rather meanly I could pretty much guarantee that downstairs my neighbour would be doing her nut. She would be doing her nut at being woken up, doing her nut at the noise, doing her nut in panic that there was possibly a drunken psycho outside and I had a left the gate – which is held on my a dangling screw – open, and perhaps the best one of all, doing her nut that she couldn't blame it on me.


It wasn't me.

Although, it did look kind of fun.

I may just invest in a Sigg Bottle at lunchtime.


Friday 4 May 2012

Deafinitely Girly and the Cath Kidston umbrella

Last Saturday I bought myself a Cath Kidston umbrella like this

It is a thing of beauty and, as its Fulton, it's pretty good quality, too. None of this blowing inside out malarkey and, even better, I can pull it down right over my shoulders and peer out between the flowers.

In short, I LOVE this umbrella.

As you can imagine, in the recent weather it's come in very handy, too. Every day I've been proudly walking through the streets of London under the safe embrace of my flowery shelter, and every day I've thought, 'I'm so glad I own this umbrella. So so glad.'

So as you can see, I really really love this umbrella.

Then yesterday, just before leaving work to go and vote, I proudly showed it to my boss. And then, I jumped on my first bus that takes me home.

On this bus, I proudly hooked my umbrella on the rail in front of my seat. 'Must not forget my umbrella,' I said to myself.

On changing buses I went upstairs and sat on the top deck. But something was missing, and if it wasn't my umbrella then I'd be a pretty crap story teller wouldn't I?

The bus with my umbrella hurtled by. I hurtled down the stairs of my bus and boldly asked the driver to 'FOLLOW THAT BUS!' She was more than happy to oblige as her route took her the same way, for about one more mile.

But then, disaster struck. A STUPID tourist got on my bus. He sat his entire family down and then got off again to buy tickets from the machine.

I watched my umbrella slowly slip away out of running reach. I tried to resist the urge to scream at the tourist. I tried not to cry.

The bus driver then stepped on it and we hurtled up Regents Street in hot pursuit. By Oxford Circus, after a collection of sinister red lights, I'd given up hope. But then, on turning into Oxford Street I decided the only thing to do was run, run after that damn bus.

So that is what I did. I threw my handbag over my shoulder, apologised to my heel-encased feet and legged it as fast as I could, dodging the BLOODY tourists who were intent on wandering at a snail's pace in the middle of the pavement.

By Bond Street I could see the bus in the distance. I pressed on.

By Selfridges, I could see it at a bus stop. It was so close my heart was almost breaking. My lungs felt like they were going to explode, my big toes were dislocating, but still I pressed on.

And then? A miracle happened. A red light held the bus with my umbrella on it just after the bus stop. I ran level with it and it started to move. I mouthed frantically as I spied my umbrella… the people on the bus were staring.

Finally, I got level with the bus doors and banged on them. The bus driver ignored me until I did the most impressive sign language of 'I'VE FORGOTTEN MY UMBRELLA' and with a smile he let me on.

I could have kissed him!

Staggering onto the bus, barely able to breathe, I grabbed my wayward umbrella and a little cheer went up as the passengers realised what had happened. I then stepped straight off that bus, gasping for air, into a crowd of commuters who were waiting for my original bus. When they heard my story they congratulated me and patted me on the back, laughing.

I tried to laugh but it came out as a rather strangulated wheeze.

But I didn't care, I had my umbrella back.

As I slid into my bus seat, I reflected on both my journey and that of my umbrella and drew the following conclusions:

I can run in heels

When motivated by my love of Cath Kidston, I can run fast.

Not all bus drivers are bastards.

The congestion in central London – the one that holds up buses – is not so bad after all.

And what a fitting tale for a very thankful Friday.

Have a good one peeps.

DG x

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