Personal Stylist

Remember when I made that Personal Shopping appointment at House of Fraser last year? I was quite pleased with my purchases. Remember?

Well… It took a while for me to settle back down in Lagos – get the children sorted, etc. So it was a while until LagosDad and I were ready to start going out in the evenings. By this time, some of the clothes were too big and I just couldn’t wear some of the other stuff. What I mean is, I looked at them and thought, ‘What was I thinking?’ ‘People will laugh at me if I wear this, it’s so not me!’ and ‘Why on Earth did I buy this?’

I’ve worn most of it. At least once. Some more. But they really are hanging off me now. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not exactly lost loads of weight, but those clothes are too big.

Over Easter I bought new jeans and cropped jeans/pants when I was in Dubai. They were great for a while – but they’re also big now. Again, I’ve not lost a whole lot of weight – but I have lost some since I did the Clean 9.

When I knew I was going to London, I decided to make an appointment with a personal shopper again. After a lot of internal debate (I’m just like that), I decided to go with Debenhams rather than with House of Fraser. More because, like I said, the guy from House of Fraser didn’t ‘get’ me.

I checked when my sister would be free (God bless her) to look after Vins and then made my appointment online. I went for the two hour General Update appointment. I didn’t know if I’d need a whole two hours, but figured it would be best to book that type of appointment just in case.

I met Valentina when I arrived and she showed me into a private dressing area. She asked if I’d ever ‘done this type of thing’ before and I told her about my experience the year before. She said that what she did was a little different. She didn’t just go and get a whole bunch of clothes in your size and make you try them on. She took shape, size, lifestyle, colours that suited, etc. into consideration.

She asked what I needed, what styles and colours I liked and disliked. She knew immediately what size I was wearing and then asked me what she could do for me. I told her that I needed help. And desperately! She said I was very well dressed (yay!), but that the style of top I was wearing wasn’t what really suited me. I told her that I wear that style to cover my stomach. However, she said I have a ‘wonderful hourglass figure’ and I had to show it. Oh. Ok then.

She left me for about twenty to thirty minutes to go and get a whole lot of clothes.

First – the jeans… I bought two pairs of jeans. Both amazing. And… Not expensive! I tried on a whole lot of tops and trousers and dresses. While I wasn’t thrilled with the sight of my stomach protruding in some of them, I knew that I’d be doing the Clean 9 again in a couple of weeks! And, I have to say, when I tried on a couple of the dresses, I actually said, ‘Wow!’ when I saw myself.

She told me not to look at all the sizes she’d picked up. But of course I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask her why some of the sizes were one or two sizes down from what I normally wear. As it turns out, she knows the store, the brands and the clothes really well. She knew instinctively what would fit and what wouldn’t.

Valentina helped me ‘wear’ the clothes properly. She told me how to put things together. What not to wear together and what kind of shoes to wear with each thing. And the best part was, she was friendly and chatty.

I was in heaven. And I was feeling good about myself. That’s always a bonus.

Once I tried everything on, I had to decide what I was going to take. I moved all the ‘Nos’ onto another railing. I looked at the ‘Yes’ rail and told her it was too much. She said she’d ring it all up, see how much it came to and then I could decide. I agreed.

The total was too much. I removed several items and cut my total by £200.

And I felt better. So I bought everything else!

If you’re thinking of making an appointment with a personal shopper, I really recommend Valentina. She did mention that she wouldn’t be at Debenhams (Oxford Street) for much longer, and I don’t know where she’s going, but she will be freelancing. Call her – she knows her stuff.

*This is not a sponsored post.

 

 

London With Vins

So as you know, Vins and I went to London for a couple of weeks.

We left on a Sunday – both of us excited. But I was sad to leave Booni as well. Vins was amazing on the flight. He only threw up once (at the end). Thank goodness for Kwells Kids!

We got our luggage, our minicab and checked into our hotel. It was his first time staying in a hotel and he spent the first few hours saying, “Mama, this hotel isn’t very good, is it? They don’t even have a kitchen!”

My sister was arriving on the Friday and I knew that I’d want to spend some time with her – shopping and whatnot. So I tried to make the first few days extra special for Vins.

On Monday morning we ran a few errands – picked up a passport application form, did passport pictures, bought a SIM card, topped up my Oyster Card, etc. He was super excited to have lunch at McDonalds (as was I!) and then he insisted that we go to Mothercare to buy his and Booni’s new pyjamas *face palm*

After spending what seemed like days in Mothercare (I usually love going there – but it’s a different story with Vins in tow. And I hate it when the sales are on and everything’s strewn around the place) – all because he couldn’t decide on which dinosaur pyjamas he liked best (we bought both in the end), we went to Geox so he could choose his new sandals. I don’t know why – but he takes so bloody long to make a decision!

We went back to the hotel – he watched CBeebies and I started filling out the passport application form. And we had dinner at Pizza Express. It is actually a blessing that Vins eats spaghetti and pizza now. It really made life a lot easier for me!

The next day we went for an early Chinese lunch and then went to London Zoo. He loved it. And we walked A LOT! I hadn’t been there in years – at least 11, maybe more. I found it a little disappointing. It didn’t seem as big as it used to. And there didn’t seem to be as many animals either? But we had a good time together, anyway. I think his favourite part was the ice cream at the end *smh*

Wednesday was his passport appointment and I took him to the Harrods Toy Kingdom after that. It was, in hindsight, a mistake – but he hadn’t been there and I wanted him to see it. Well… He cried because I wouldn’t buy him a £50 guitar. And then he cried because I wouldn’t buy him an £80 children’s camera. However, I did get him the Transformer he’s been wanting. And a PAW Patrol book thingy. I also got him one of those remote control cars that goes up the walls and stuff (but I told him it was for someone else and I’ll give it to him for his birthday). I got Booni a birthday present from there and I got myself a new jigsaw puzzle. Nightmare. Anyway – at least this way I wouldn’t have to do Hamley’s. Right?

I spent most of Wednesday evening deciding on what we should do on Thursday. In the end I decided to take him to Chessington World of Adventures. He troubled me a bit – but on the whole, we had a really good time. We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 9 pm that night and we were both exhausted! He went straight to sleep – but I had to pack! We were checking out on Friday morning and moving into my sister’s room after she arrived at lunchtime.

Vins really was very good for those first few days. We spent time together and did a lot of fun things. Unfortunately, once the weekend came round, he changed! I just couldn’t understand why he was playing up all of a sudden – having more tantrums, etc. Then I realised – he was used to it being just me and him. He had my undivided attention. And then when my sister arrived – I was suddenly distracted. And he didn’t like it!

Anyway – my sister arrived. She had her own stuff going on – so Vins and I were still spending time together. Lots and lots of time. I was beginning to feel a bit suffocated!

On Saturday evening Vins and I met with LagosDad’s brother and family. Vins gets along with his cousins and chacha (father’s brother) and chachi (father’s brother’s wife). It’s amazing – he’s so reserved with so many people; and although he doesn’t know them very well – he’s totally comfortable! I won’t tell you about one of his cousins or about Vins throwing up at the table at ASK…

I had booked tickets for Dinosaur Zoo for the Sunday – it was brilliant! If you have a kid interested in dinosaurs – go see this! Vins was a bit scared – but it really was good. I won’t talk about the tantrum that happened afterwards (all because he wanted popcorn but the kiosk was closed)!

We spent the rest of the afternoon on Oxford Street.

On Monday afternoon I got my haircut. It was such a pleasure to go to Sam at Le Beautique Spa again! And yes, Vins came with me. He was very good, actually.

I’d booked tickets to go and see The Gruffalo for the following day and I (and Vins) were quite excited! In the afternoon I had an appointment at Debenhams (more on that later) and my sister took Vins to the park. She brought him to me a couple of hours later before she went out for the evening. We ran a couple more errands and then went home.

We went to Croxley on Wednesday – to visit Vins’ cousins. Actually – we ran errands in the morning and went to them in the afternoon. The kids played in the garden and my sister-in-law and I were able to catch up in peace!

My hairdresser, Sam, had convinced me to do keratin treatment – so that’s what I was doing for three hours on Thursday afternoon (more info to come) while Vins went to the Natural History Museum with my sister. In some ways I felt as though I was wasting time sitting there for three hours and not doing anything – but I was also so happy. It was the first time I was just sitting down and doing nothing. And without a child!

Poor Vins – on Friday he spent the day with me – going to House of Fraser, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer to get all the VAT forms sorted. We also had to pick up a few other things along the way!

We were leaving on Saturday evening, but of course there were things I’d forgotten – like shirts for my FIL, and the cooking sauces my MIL wanted. So we rushed out again on Saturday morning to get those sorted.

And that was it. I tried to make it as much fun as possible for Vins.

Two weeks went by in a blink of an eye!

(You can see photos on Instagram – lagosmum)

 

Personal Shopping

I’ve put on a lot of weight. I’ve gone up two dress sizes. Yes, the same happened when I was pregnant with V1. But I never really lost all the weight the first time round, so now I’m bigger than I was then. Oh – and my feet have also grown. Again. Last time they grew half a size. This time they’ve grown a full size. So they’re a size and a half bigger than they were before V1 was born!

I’m not thrilled about it. And I know I can lose a lot of it (if I put my mind to it) – but it will take time. More likely it will take time until I actually start doing something about it! It’s very rare that I feel determined to do something. It wasn’t until last year that I started looking semi-normal (for me) again. And that was when V1 turned three! I’ll have to start working at it sooner this time I guess.

Before I go any further, it would be worth mentioning that I’m not trying to offend anyone with my comments about size or shape. I’m not saying that big isn’t beautiful or anything like that. I’m talking about MY size and MY shape and how it makes ME feel. I think if you feel good, you look good. And right now, I’m not feeling good. Got it? Good.

Since Baby V was born (two months ago), I’ve worn leggings every day. Leggings and a maternity t-shirt. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m very comfortable – I won’t deny that. I tried on some jeans about two weeks after he was born. Big mistake. I couldn’t get anything round my waist and zips hurt my c-section site. So I decided I wasn’t going to do that again.

I was tempted to buy lots of winter clothes. You know – layers! But that was pointless as I am only in London for a short time. And I’m glad I didn’t as it’s been so warm. Well, until yesterday anyway.

And now I need summer clothes. All summer long I’d waddle around the shops (buying stuff for the children) admiring the clothes. I wanted to buy loads – but didn’t know what size I’d need. So I didn’t buy anything. And I’m regretting it now!

Anyway – so since I’ve never been this size (very large) or shape (very round) before, I’ve really struggled to buy clothes. I didn’t know how to dress for my shape or what would look good/what I could get away with.

The first thing I did was go to John Lewis to get myself measured so I could buy new bras. I couldn’t wait to get back into underwired bras! After trying on about ten bras, the ‘fitter’ (I don’t know what else to call her) told me my size. She then went on to tell me that they had NOTHING in stock in that size. Lovely. So I went to House of Fraser. I got fitted again. Turns out I wasn’t the size the woman in JL told me, and I was actually another size. But that size wasn’t in stock at House of Fraser. I was ready to have a meltdown. All I wanted was a bra! The lady at House of Fraser gave me another size option. The fit wasn’t perfect – but it would do.

I’d been thinking about making myself an appointment for a personal shopper at John Lewis or Debenhams. To help me with my clothing dilemma. I’ve been to John Lewis A LOT over the last few months – and while I’ve liked a few things I’ve seen – I hadn’t liked loads. So I decided not to do it there. I don’t know why I decided against Debenhams, I just did. So while I was in House of Fraser that day, I made a Personal Shopper appointment for the following Wednesday. The lady who took the appointment asked me if I’d mind a male stylist. I was quite happy with that. In fact, I preferred it.

The next morning I put on my new bra. And I was really upset. It just didn’t fit properly. It had looked alright in the store – but terrible at home. So I went to Bravissimo. Why I didn’t go there in the first place, I just don’t know. The lady who did my fitting was brilliant and I left with four new bras. Hooray!

So the morning of my personal shopping appointment dawned. I was nervous. What would it be like? Would it be like a Trinny and Susannah thing? Would I look like a different person (yes please!)? Would I get to walk round and choose stuff with the stylist? Would he laugh at me and my huge arse? Would he advise me on what I should and shouldn’t wear? Clearly I had too much time to think about it!

Anyway, so I arrived fifteen minutes early and waited. And waited. A man finally showed up. He looked at me and smiled and said, ‘Hi’. I said ‘Hi’ too. And then he said, ‘I haven’t seen you for a long time.’ Errr… Or ever? I told him we’d not met before. He looked a bit confused but shrugged it off.

He led me to a private dressing area for my consultation. I explained that I had just had a baby and needed summer clothes – day and evening. The consultation was about ten minutes long. He said it would normally be longer, but because there’s only winter wear on the shop floor there weren’t going to be too many choices! Great. He told me to wait there and that he’d be back in about thirty minutes with a whole bunch of stuff to try on. That was fine, but I was confused. How was he going to know what I will or won’t wear? He didn’t know that I try to avoid sleeveless tops (the arm holes always gape and my back fat isn’t a pretty sight). He didn’t know that I like sparkly things. Or that I didn’t want to wear any short tops. What the hell was he going to bring me?

When he came back, he brought a rail of clothing. I immediately saw things that I hated. And a couple of things that I quite liked. On the whole I didn’t think he really ‘got’ me. But how could he have? I tried everything on anyway and I have to admit, I was quite impressed with some of the things. He told me I had to dress for the body I have. Not the body I had. NO SHIT? REALLY? Isn’t that why I was there? He also told me that if I wear long tops and t-shirts, my legs would look shorter. Oh yeah! I saw that immediately. I’d much rather have my arse hidden away, but that wouldn’t always be possible. I wondered why he hadn’t bought me some of the evening wear I’d seen when I’d walked around earlier. Did he think I was too old? Too fat? Wouldn’t need it? I let it go and decided I could always try stuff on on my own at a later time.

So he did quite well. I bought quite a lot. I won’t tell you how much I spent or how many items I bought. But I will tell you that because it was all mostly summer wear, it was pretty much all on sale!

The experience has bolstered my confidence a little. I feel a bit better about going into shops and trying on (and buying) larger sizes than I’m used to.

But I am going to miss my leggings and maternity t-shirts once I’m back in Lagos!