The ups and downs of attempting to go a whole year without buying any new clothes...

...without becoming a naturist, as the title suggests

Thursday, 14 April 2011

April - Coping with 'The Big Three' whilst trying not to shop

Where have the last six weeks gone? We moved house in the last week of February and, despite feeling almost totally settled in, still don’t have an internet connection; hence the long gap in entries!

We did quite well in my book (and amazingly well compared to most people) in not buying new things for the house. We found a £30 futon on ebay which was, for the first week, our bed and is now the sofa. When we find a decent sofa on ebay, the futon will move upstairs and become the spare bed… so £30 very well spent I think! We were given a dining table and chairs and a freezer, which a friend was throwing out, and we haven’t replaced the curtains which, though not to our taste, are perfectly functional for now. With these bits and pieces, and the few bits of furniture we already had, we have only had to buy a washing machine and bed new. The bed is from a company which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, called Big Table; they are based in London, where they make their own mattresses and use sustainably sourced timber to create simple but beautiful beds. We even managed to get next day delivery from London to Bristol!

The smaller things which we don’t have, such as garden tools, a camera and some kitchen knives, have formed a sort of wedding list, for those people who don’t like our ‘no presents’ request and feel the need to buy something! The wedding is now only two weeks away and the last couple of weeks seem to have disappeared so quickly. I am feeling worryingly happy and relaxed with the plans so far. We have managed to make, find or borrow so much of what we need for the day and it actually looks like we might stay within (or very nearly within) our very ambitious budget.

I trawled charity shops last week to see whether I could find a ‘wedding dress’, though not the traditional meringue. After 9 charity shops and no dresses which were remotely promising, I resorted to ‘proper’ shops. Even then I had no luck as I felt really fake in all of the dresses I tried on in shops like Coast and Monsoon. They were lovely dresses, just…not me, I suppose. Eventually I managed to find a dress which I felt really comfortable in and was a good compromise between ‘me’ and ‘wedding glam’. I found it in an independent shop on
Park Street
, and although it is 100% silk, I was amazed at the price. More details on that and photos to follow after May 1st!

It is a huge relief to have found a dress, perhaps even more so than it is for most people, due to another dramatic event in our lives. As if buying a house and getting married wasn’t enough to be getting on with, I am also growing a small person inside me! Although I am nearly 19 weeks pregnant now and not feeling like it is so small after all - especially not when trying on posh dresses!!

I really had no idea that I’d be planning a wedding, furnishing a new house or preparing for the arrival of a baby when I started this year, however I am determined to stick to my plan, and buy as few new things as I can. Despite my ever expanding waistline. I only have just over two months left of the actual year, but I feel really motivated to carry on… if I can manage a year like this, I can manage anything!

So; this month’s shopping update!
I have discovered that charity shops don’t ‘do’ maternity, and despite the fact that I have grown out of at least half of my clothes, I have managed really well so far. I have been given a black wrap-around dress and maternity linen trousers (both great for work). I have only needed to buy one maternity bra (£12). I have invested in two ‘bump bands’ (£9 for the pair) which are stretchy bands to wear over trousers or skirts with zips undone, so that I can still wear some of my old things. I also had to buy a pair of pumps (£19) as it has become too hot for my work boots, but sometimes too damp for my work sandals! So I have had to spend a disappointing £40 on new clothes this month, but I suppose considering the circumstances that isn’t too bad.

On the baby side of things, I have already acquired a huge selection of newborn clothes, thanks to a very generous friend with a 6 month old baby! Due to lack of internet and so much wedding planning to do, I haven’t had much opportunity to do as much research as I would like to have done, but I have found a cloth nappy company which I really like. This, perhaps is a topic for a new blog (or am I just getting carried away now!?) but I am going to try to buy the nappies second hand – why stop at clothes!? We are also going to try to find a second hand birth pool to buy/borrow, as we have decided to have the baby at home if possible.

But yes, I will stop with the baby talk now before you all stop reading this! It isn’t due to appear until September, so all research and preparation is now postponed until after the wedding and if I feel the need to ramble on about it, I promise I will create a separate blog!

Hopefully I will be able to post a ‘Wedding Special’ at the start of next month, with plenty of photographs and a breakdown of how to have a beautiful day on a budget. For now, I am going to go and make some (more) bunting to adorn every inch of the wedding venue.

Whoever invented pinking shears has my respect…

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