Wrapping up Warm

frost-1149002_1920Last autumn I was just a couple of months into my new healthy lifestyle programme. I’d lost perhaps 20 pounds – not that much off what was, back then, a very ample frame. This autumn, with over 70 pounds having relinquished their fleshy grip, I’m feeling the cold more than I’ve done for almost two decades.

For the last several years, I’ve needed nothing more than a scarf about my neck on all but the very coldest days. For the last three years my favourite winter outerwear was in fact a sleeveless waistcoat (big buttons, asymmetrical – I love weird clothes). I never wore hats of any kind (in fact the only one I own is an aritsan bobble hat that I keep in the car in case I break down and have to sit out a frosty night at the wheel). My fingers hadn’t seen the inside of a pair of gloves since those ones you used to get sewn on to a string and threaded through your sleeves as a small child.

So it’s come as some surprise – in a good way – that this autumn on frosty mornings and blustery afternoons, I have been properly, seriously chilly, right into my bones. My built-in duvet – those flumpy folds of laid-down fat – has shrunk from a heady 13-tog to a lightweight 5 or 6.  My internal central heating appears to have shifted to an economy setting.  In short, I need winter layers like never before!

Yes, friends, that means… shopping (see – there’s an upside to everything).  I reason that in the long drawn-out autumn/winter/spring chilliness that we get here in the UK, I’ll get probably 6 months wear out of my purchases, even if I am still on the way down the size ranges. So I’ve gone to town a bit. I’ve treated myself to a faux-fur jacket (sublime and tactile to the point of naughtiness), a leather jacket (my first in thirty years, buttery soft and the colour of a Werther’s Original – sorry!) and a slate grey padded high-neck wind and shower-proof zip-up thing (stylish enough for my vanity, but practical for windy walks). Add a snug pair of woollen gloves (which wouldn’t have squeezed over my chubby digits last winter) and I’m all set.

2016-11-08-16-52-44I have the scarves already, you see, a whole drawer full…

Oh, but there’s still the question of my ears; I seem to have what I can only describe as… delicate ears; they’re temperamental, capricious… unsupportive. As a child I remember being prone to ear infections. As a grown-up I’ve had occasional problems when I went swimming or took a long flight. That was all, until I started walking more regularly.  Now I find that if the cold gets into my ears, they protest and deliver me days on end of painful gumminess; and when they’re really playing up, I get bouts of vertigo. In the summer, it’s sufficient to plug in my headphones and walk to music or an audiobook, but the colder weather demands a little extra protection. So I’ve invested in a pair of earmuffs.

2016-11-08-17-08-12Don’t laugh – they’re not the fluffy ‘Princess Leah’ kind, but far more workaday flat-to-the-head ones which hook around the back of my neck.  They do the job, even if they do look a wee bit silly. My vanity can bear it if it means my fragile ears stay toasty (but before you ask, that same vanity won’t allow me to upload a photo of me actually wearing the darned things).

Anyway, with my new outerwear, my old scarves and the pragmatic application of silly earmuffs, I’m all set for the cold months ahead and I’m looking forward to my winter walks.

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When you can’t have it all #shopping #fashion

autumn-1649362_1920Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness 

I love autumn, for so many reasons.

Beyond nature and being outside as the weather chills and the colours burst, it’s my favourite fashion season; and this autumn’s new styles have begun to show up in the shops.

What used to be my most loved and thumbed mail order catalogue has clattered through my letterbox.  I say used to be, as, yes, you guessed it, I have for several years been beyond its size-range.  With my healthy lifestyle commencing last September, and now 5 stone (70 pounds/+30 kilo) and around 5 dress sizes smaller than I was back then, I’m back in their range – comfortably.  Browsing its pages, I felt (oh, the irony!) like a child in a sweet-shop.

I wanted everything, you see.  Everything. Not only the beautifully cut jersey dresses (I haven’t worn a dress in two decades), but the shapely jersey tops, casual jackets, funnel-neck jumpers, button-through blouses, gilets and knitted sleeveless jackets, and the lovely tailored trousers (with actual zips and buttons instead of elasticated waists).  Everything.  By the time I’d scanned right through, front-to-back, twice, I had the corners of no less than 18 pages turned down and a little trail of drool running from the corner of my mouth.

This year’s autumn season fashion is rich with one of my very favourite colour pallets too, variously presented as berry, plum, burgundy, cerise, port or magenta – a deep dark red with a range of subtle blue/pink/purple undertones.  I am in fashion nirvana.

But.  But.  But…

You see, every year for the past two decades, I’ve purchased pretty much anything that looked remotely pleasing on my ample frame. Common sense and budget tells me that whilst I might want everything, I can’t have it.  Today, there is so much… MORE… that not only fits, but looks nice too. And I mustn’t forget that I’m still on the weight-loss path, and hopefully only passing-through my current shape and size. Next autumn, I might need a size, two perhaps… maybe even three… smaller.

I also know that I believe I look better in some things than I actually do – simply because I look so much better than I did this time last year. It’s a question of perspective. Others wouldn’t go where I would go with fashion, because they would feel too large and lumpy at the size I am now.  But that’s what being on the way down does to you – because wherever you are on the downward journey, it’s a big improvement on where you were.

This year, I have to establish a new strategy – restraint, selectiveness, a purchase plan for items I absolutely need – genuine essentials for the autumn/winter season, missing from my current wardrobe. That means… (sigh…) more moderation, self-control and indulgence management.

I’ve got reasonably good at indulgence management on the culinary front. But I’m not so sure I’ll be implementing the required degree of retail restraint with the same level of commitment.  That’s because I’m a woman, and women were born to shop.

Pssst…. I’ve been away to a fabulous healthy retreat holiday in Spain for the last week. Watch out for my next post for more on my experience.  But for now, if you’re curious, check out D-Toxd, here.