Failure to prepare is preparing to fail…

When I travel, I like to prepare. I have an A5 notebook entirely dedicated to packing lists – it lives on my bedside table and contains the details of what I’ve packed for every trip since around 2008. Yes, I am *that* anal.

However, I’ve become rather blasé about packing for vicar weekends. We have lots of them, I need the same things each time, it’s only two nights – what could go wrong? I hate to generalise, but there’s rarely a residential when one of the men hasn’t forgotten something fairly crucial. Toothbrushes are frequently neglected, in fact one friend has now forgotten his twice, including once in France – resulting in a very amusing Franglais conversation in a corner shop in an attempt to procure one.

But, as of this past weekend, I can no longer mock. On Friday, as I unpacked at our latest residential, I realised I’d forgotten my hairbrush. Inconvenient, but by no means a disaster. Especially as I had packed my new hairstyling gizmo (the Babyliss Big Hair – it’s amaaazing), which would brush my hair as I dried it on Saturday morning. Plus, various people offered to lend me one. Easily solvable.

During Friday evening’s lecture, a thought crossed my mind. I pondered which pants I’d packed. (Yes, this is the kind of thought that crosses my mind during a theology lecture. I’m sorry. I’m very easily distracted.) I couldn’t remember and, worse still, I couldn’t recall the action of placing them into my bag. Hmmmm. This could be a difficult one to resolve.

Before bed, I remembered this pondering and checked my bag. No pants. But, at least I had the opportunity to handwash them, and hope that they’d have dried on the radiator (of my very toasty room) overnight. I came up with a couple of back-up plans – namely using leggings as underwear (but only after checking that they weren’t the pair with an unfortunately placed hole in the seam) and persuading someone to drive me to Sainsbury’s sharpish – but fortunately, they were dry by morning. [Why did this have to happen the very weekend I’d decided to risk an outfit that was simply a long top and leggings??]

Obviously, I’d also tweeted about this misdemeanor. Not in a ‘Oh no! I’ve forgotten my pants!’ way, simply: “Hmmmm, looks like my hairbrush wasn’t the only thing I forgot this weekend… #MajorError”. And obviously, my sister instantly knew what I’d done and invoked one of her favourite memories of me from primary school, ending her tweet with: “Does dad need to do another emergency pants delivery?” Yes, one day, when I was 9, I’d worn my swimsuit to school, realised when getting dressed afterwards that I’d forgotten my underwear, and I suspect (though I can’t remember) then threw a wobbly and insisted that my Dad came to school with some immediately. Everyone’s been there, surely?

Facebook revelationsA Facebook status in the same vein. I only went as far as to like the correct response…

In fact, I’ve been there as an adult. Not often, occasionally I’ve forgotten my pants on a swimming day, but never before for a 48 hour trip. On this occasion, blame lies entirely with my new weekend bag. I was clearly so excited by my recent purchase (less than 2 hours prior to packing) and all the extra space it had compared to my gym bag, that I decided not to fill it to its maximum capacity.

I am an idiot.

Friday Fun in the pub

Pubs are good places to go on Fridays.
Heck, pubs are good places to go any day. (Though probably not every day…)

In pubs, one can buy beer. If you’re in Sweden, or a Swedish pub you could buy beer (ok, lager – but I’m a cider drinking girl so the difference between the two is lost on me) that’s officially sanctioned by God – look:

God’s own lager. Check out the groomed moustache Nils too.

Actually, this wasn’t in a pub, I was being a tad misleading. It was a Swedish restaurant – Fika on Brick Lane in case you’re interested. One of the few places outside of Ikea where you can eat Swedish meatballs (though sadly without the special sauce) and, if you’re adventurous, Reindeer sausages. Sadly, neither me nor the God’s Lager drinker fancied the latter, but I did get a glass about half a metre tall for my pear cider (there may be just a slight exaggeration in that sentence). I also discovered a problem with such tall glasses – their centre of gravity isn’t quite where you’d expect it to be, which could, if you were a bit of an idiot, lead to an embarrassing moment of accidentally spilling cider down you and all over the dessert menu. You’ll note I said ‘could’, not ‘did’… 
On the subject of random restaurant adventures in the capital, Wahaca (a Mexican restaurant with a few branches across the capital) is also worth a visit. Not only is it recommended by my genuinely Mexican friends, but it also has this in the (unisex) toilets of its Soho establishment: 
In case you can’t tell, it’s an odd water feature/stream thing. It’s fed by the sinks in the toilets.

People do look at you oddly when you take photos in public loos, I wonder why? When I showed this photo to my mother she pointed out that it might, rather unfortunately, be mistaken for a urinal by some men. Lovely thought. 
Hmmm, it’s just struck me that ‘Friday Fun in restaurants’ would perhaps be more apt, but I don’t think it quite has the same ring to it… Forgive me. 
Sorry, this isn’t particularly ‘fun’ – unless you’re on the look out for world cuisine choices in the capital. Life is not giving me much time for blog writing (or any of the other kinds of writing I really need to be doing) at the moment (hence the lack of blog content this week, which saddens me) – hopefully next week it will improve. In the mean time, I can only reiterate last week’s suggestion of checking out The Hairpin, which has kept me amused all week – particularly an article entitled: “Do you wear underwear under leggings and tights?” to which my response (before I’d clicked on the link) was “Yes!! Who the heck doesn’t??”. Read the article and the comments – your mind will be boggled. 

One of those things…

There are certain things in life that are inevitable:
It will only rain when you’ve left your umbrella at home.
The parcel you’re waiting for will arrive 5 minutes after you leave the house.
You’ll arrive at the bus stop to see the bus you wanted driving off away from you.
Toast will always land buttered side down.

Add to that list (if you’re female/given to wearing skirts): at some point in your life you will leave a toilet having tucked your skirt into your underwear.

In my adult life, this has now happened to me twice. Both times were at work functions – in fact, the two occasions were almost exactly two years apart. The first time was at Conference up north, where I exited the bathroom, walked to the (large) dining room and crossed it in front of 100+ people, unaware that my skirt was caught in my leggings – until a dear female colleague (and senior manager) rescued me. The shame.

At the international conference the other week, it happened again – almost in identical circumstances. This time, instead of walking past the lunch queue, it was the morning coffee queue. Again, a female colleague (well, the then Vice-President designate) came to the rescue – though untucking my skirt herself was possibly unnecessary. In my defence, that particular incident was more the result of overly complicated layering than incompetent dressing, but was embarrassing nonetheless.

Once upon a time I would’ve been mortified by such events. Now, my philosophy is that it will happen to all someday and it’s not worth getting your knickers in a twist about it. (Because twisted knickers would probably make the situation even worse too…)

An observation…

If men are going to wear trousers that ride down when they’re seated, could they at least make sure that their underwear’s decent?

At the pub this evening, I was waiting for my colleagues to come back from the bar when two guys came and sat on bar stools opposite, sitting down with their backs to me. I couldn’t help but notice that as their jeans rode down, their decidedly amusing pants became visable. (One pair of black & white checks and another that seemed to be pale green with large cartoon characters.)

As my two (female) colleagues returned to their seats, both noticed this display of bad taste and were greatly amused. So much so that one (who shall remain nameless as I’m feeling generous) nearly went to pull the cartoon characters’ trousers up. Thank goodness she kept her hands to herself!

In my defence, in case people think I was perving, the bar stools were significantly higher than our table – so their backsides were right in our line of vision.

But it’s an issue…I even noticed our worship leader on Sunday exposing a large chunk of bright red underwear when he sat down to play in the carol service. Perhaps they were his special Christmas pants?

On the other hand, maybe I just need to get out more.
[And yes, googling for an image to go with this post was fun.]

Aesthetic and functional

Note: I’ve ummmmed & ahhhhhed over whether to write this post for a few days, but have finally decided to go for it as it amuses me, and that’s pretty much my main criteria for this blog!

On Saturday, I left my house intending to pop to my local shopping centre – not for any particular purpose, just to get out of the house for a bit – for an hour or so. Five hours and £70 poorer I got home having ended up in Covent Garden. (I was following a tip-off that there was a Fat Face sale on.) If I’d spent £70 in Fat Face, or on clothes in general, it would have been fine. In fact, I spent £70 on bras. Three of them, to be precise.

Did you know that over 70% of women are wearing the wrong size bra? It’s not that surprising, given the amount of faffing with measuring tapes that’s usually required to find your cup size and your back size. Whoever thought that a mathematical formula was the right way to fit underwear?? (Must have been a man.)

On a recent girls’ weekend away, the two main topics of conversation seemed to be bra sizes and mooncups. No idea why. We’re all well educated with good jobs, but put 15 of us in a house for 2 days and that’s what it comes down to.

One girl was about to get married (actually, 4 were) and had just been fitted for a bra to go under her wedding dress. Being blessed in that department, she’d headed to Bravissimo (who only sell bras in D-K, yes, that’s K!) and in the space of 10mins went from a humble DD to FF. Needless to say, her fiance was very pleased about that piece of news! [It wasn’t that she was in totally the wrong size, their fittings usually mean you go up a couple of cup sizes but down a couple of back sizes.]

So, this was where I ended up on Saturday. Like my friend, in the course of 10mins I too went from a D to an F and then (for one particular style) a FF. Very weird. I’d told my sister what I was up to, and texted her asking her to guess what size I’d ended up – her response? JJ! Thanks Mims.

Anyway, I’m now singing Bravissimo’s praises. They’re not uber expensive, and the bonus is that if they don’t have what you want in store, they’ll order it & have it delivered to your home with no postage cost. Last night I came home to a little box, with lots of tissue paper in, and the third bra. Good stuff. There’s nothing I like more than a shop that knows how to package its wares!