Saturday, 28 July 2007

When she was good she was very, very good

But when she was bad...

The word that springs to mind is "oops"

If I were being entirely forthright and honest (which admittedly aren't compulsions which routinely trouble me) I might feel obliged to confess that this only represents about half of my recent purchases. Which may not be entirely in the spirit of budgeting (to be strictly accurate, it's not even remotely in the spirit of budgeting - don't let the 'Sale' bag fool you; while others hunt for bargains on the reduced racks I head unerringly for the 'new arrivals' Autumn ranges. I think credit my rating has a death wish), but to be honest (shucks, there I go again!) reporting on my inability to be frugal is getting a tad, well, depressing. So my next post will mark a new blogging direction! (I know, I know; the national press will be duly informed.)

Thursday, 19 July 2007

We interupt this silence to bring you...

...blogging! Strange though it may seem, I've only really just cottoned on to the fact that the purpose of a blog is to be blogged in, and as such mine has rather lost touch with its raison d'être over the last couple of weeks. In a sort of Paul-on-the-way-to-Damascus moment (though with less visual impairment), I realised that my favourite blogs are the ones which are constantly updated, and that mine's falling woefully short of the mark.

Part of the blame for my prolonged absence lies with The Sims 2. I got the original Sims when I was about 18, and I don't think anyone saw me that year beyond my occasional forages for food. My obsession - and geekiness - was such that my brother and I actually devised a talk show during which he interviewed me about a different Sim family each day. It ran for the whole summer. (Ye gads, I can't believe I just admitted that on the internet! I have no shame. Though come to think of it, my brother may emerge looking even more peculiar than me.) Anyway, I've had The Sims 2 for a while, but - for reasons that are now doubtless understandable - thought I might need protecting from myself and so didn't put it on my computer. (OK, this isn't strictly true. I did put it on my computer, but it ran so slowly that I was aging more quickly than the Sims.) But I've finally succumbed, with predictable results (and some not-so-predictable ones, too. Who'd have thought that staring at a computer screen for six hours straight could cause your contact lenses to pop out?).

In the small window of time that hasn't been eaten up by Sim-mania I've attempted a couple of forays into craftiness, with mixed success. Exhibit A, a découpaged box:

This was supposed to be a birthday present for my friend Chris, but for reasons that now escape me I decided that it was irreparably ruined, and therefore (again, for reasons which elude me) manhandled it. And, erm, broke it. So it is indeed now irreparably ruined, and instead of giving Chris a gratifyingly günstig present I'll be forking out for a costly paint-your-own-ceramics session, at the end of which I'll emerge with a cereal bowl which looks like it's been decorated by a small child who hasn't yet mastered hand-to-eye coordination. Poor Chris will then have to pretend to like it. Ah, the price of friendship.

Second up, I went along to the Edinburgh Stitch 'n' Bitch last night, which is held in the surprisingly lovely Chai Teahouse. (I doubt the staff are quite as keen on me as I am on their venue, as I spent the whole evening ignoring their extensive menu and ordering cups of hot water. I briefly considered explaining the budget to them, but I doubt they'd have been particularly receptive.) Five minutes before leaving the house I realised that I didn't actually have anything to knit, so I grabbed a ball of yarn and thought I'd just churn out a mindless scarf. Unfortunately, none of my fellow knitters recognised it as a scarf, and I felt too embarrassed to press the point. Which is how, when one member came round taking notes on what we were knitting, and told me that if I made up any old thing he'd probably buy it, I found myself saying that it was a coat to keep my cat warm in the aftermath of her chemotherapy treatment. Only when I went on to say that the loss of hair had revealed her unfortunate youthful penchant for tattoos did doubt begin to set in.

What kind of person thinks a cat coat is a likelier knitting project than a scarf?

In budget-ier news, I've been taking part in a few PhD students' experiments to try and counteract the effects of last post's budgeting blip. They're not the world's greatest money makers - I've done four so far, and earned a grand total of £19 - but, as the Evil Conglomerate that is Tesco says, every little helps. Some are more interesting than others: a particular low involved saying "the" rapidly and repeatedly for an hour solid while attempting to memorize the colours and positions of various shapes. I doubt that Sony will be releasing a game along similar lines any time soon.

Next time, some more of the Christmas decorations - promise! I need to improve my number-of-finished-decorations-per-week record (currently standing at 0.75) if I don't want to be in danger of missing Christmas entirely...

Sunday, 8 July 2007

For some reason - possibly because I've been living under some sort of view-impairing rock for the last few weeks - I hadn't really realised that the Summer sales were in full swing. So when I set off for John Lewis this afternoon it was in all innocence. Honest. I certainly wasn't going to buy anything. Nope, straight through the doors, beeline for the haberdashery department, eyes on the floor all the way. Quick scan for informative purposes only, about turn, beetle towards the exit. In and out in five minutes. Ten minutes, tops.

Except to get to the haberdashery department, you have to go through the wool department (well, you do if you take a cunningly circuitous route which bypasses haberdashery entirely. Cough). And the thing is, there was quite a large wool sale on. Also, in getting to the wool sale, you couldn't really avoid passing a large display of heavily discounted scarves. And a table of knitting patterns reduced to one pence each (ninety-nine per cent off! Doesn't that have a nice ring to it?). Forty-five minutes later I emerged with a bulging bag and a beaming smile. In fact, only now has the full scale of my idiocy really hit home. It's the middle of July. I have just bought:

1) a vast quantity of alpaca
2) a pattern for a woolen jumper
3) a Winter scarf

I may have to work on my concept of seasonality.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Does it count as cheating if you do it in your sleep?

My subconscious seems to be rebelling against the budget, as last night I dreamt I was on a shopping spree in H & M (more perplexingly, I also dreamt that I was part of a group of woodlice mercenaries which enslaved a colony of ants, but maybe this isn't the place to go into that...). My conscious self has been a bit better behaved - all I've bought in the last few days has been toiletries (which don't count because they were purchased with my Advantage Card points - huzzah! After four years of saving I'd amassed enough for an extremely small travel miniature of shampoo. I feel Advantage Card points may be a bit long-term for my general budgeting needs) and dye. Dying clothes (and my hands, and the bath, and the stretch of floor between the bathroom door and the washing machine) is my latest obsession. The anticipation! The mounting excitement at seeing the garment transform before your eyes! The realisation that you've accidentally dyed your sexiest lingerie a particularly virulent shade of puce! It's got it all. I'm not convinced that anything involving large vats of chemicals which carry warning signs is a suitable activity for someone as accident-prone as me, but at least it's better than the time I decided to take up fencing.