What not to spend

Posted August 18th, 2008 by Penny Wise

Eek, where on earth did last week go? I'm sorry it's been so long - *sigh* - I guess I'll have to confess. You see, I have a new love in my life and it's been taking up every waking moment. Don't worry though, I haven't ditched Noel for a younger model, in fact he's very supportive of my new passion! I have rekindled my love of running in a BIG way. Every day I've been at the gym or pounding the pavements and my goal was to work up to a 25km half-marathon. Unfortunately once again I have discovered that running does not love me. My old Trinny, Susannah and Gok. You may know them too! I only wish I'd met them years ago, I would have saved so much money. I have to confess, I don't watch a lot of TV so I had never seen them in action before. It was only when I was hanging out with Sophie Gray in Australia that I thought it was about time I did. Sophie proved to be a great source of fabulous make-up tips and I was very impressed. 'How do you know all this stuff?' I asked. 'Trinny and Susannah!' she replied. 'I don't think much of their manner but they really know their stuff'. So since my return I have made it my mission to get educated - particularly on 'what not to wear' after unearthing the disaster area that is my wardrobe.

I did some research on their books online, read some reader reviews and borrowed the one I thought sounded like it covered what I was after best, called 'What You Wear Can Change Your Life'. 'Yeah, whatever!' I scoffed at the corny title. But you know what? Even from just the first quick flick-through I learned SO much. I was going to leave my wardrobe decluttering until after I had finished my 12 week Biggest Loser Challenge but I couldn't wait, I was all inspired. Trinny and Susannah took me through step by step, showing me how to work out which suited me and which didn't. The difference between some shades and others were amazing and by the time I had finished there was a huge pile of garments on the bed waiting to go to the op shop. Ironically most of them I had never worn and now I could see why - it was not so much to do with the style that didn't suit me, it was the colours that were all wrong! No matter how much weight I lost, they were never going to look any good on me so I had no qualms in donating them to charity. As a result I am now left with a much more manageable wardrobe. It's far easier to find outfits which go together and I know that whatever is in there suits me. Instead of trying to cover myself in 'slimming' black (which Trinny and Susannah swear nobody should wear), I have discovered that bright, bold colours look much nicer on me. Who would have thought it! This book is well worth a read but to be honest I wouldn't go and buy a copy if you can beg or borrow one, or at least pick one up on eBay or Trade Me. It's excellent but doesn't take long to read and once you're sorted, you're sorted!

I did find Gok Wan's book 'How to Look Good Naked' a little harder to find but picked up a copy on Trade Me. I never used to watch this show on principle as the title just put me off but so many of my friends raved about him I made the effort to watch one of his shows and was instantly converted. What a sweetheart of a man! Through Gok's book I have learned that my figure is not an 'apple' but a 'Sexy Broad' type - sounds much better don't you think? I have also learned that I REALLY shouldn't have bought those two pairs of boots a couple of months back as they make my legs look short and fat and that people with short legs shouldn't wear trousers with turn-ups. Good heavens I can see what he means now - shame I already bought three pairs! Needless to say they have also been designated to the op shop pile and I shall never buy a pair again. Gok has also taught me the art of layering clothes, which I was completely clueless about and envied everyone else I saw who knew how to do it. This trick alone has brought all kinds of tops out of my wardrobe and has made them work for me at last. Yay!

Anyone who has watched Gok's shows before knows one of the biggest secrets to looking good in your outer-wear is to get your underwear right. He reckons that cute little bikini undies look good on absolutely no one as they force even the slightest hint of a tummy to 'pop over' and bulge through whatever your wearing. What a revelation! All these years I have absolutely HATED my tummy, yet all I've done is make it look even bigger than it is! Unfortunately I can now see that every single pair of undies I own make me look like the Michelin man so I guess it's going to be a gradual process phasing them out. Noel was not impressed when I told him I was off to the Bendon factory outlet last week to get some new Bridget Jones-style knickers but funnily enough he's been telling me how much slimmer I look ever since!

While I was at the sale I remembered something else all three style-gurus told me - that as many of 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. I realised I hadn't had a professional bra fitting since I was about 11 years old, which isn't surprising as it was a truly dreadful experience. From then on I simply sorted myself out, telling shop assistants no, I knew EXACTLY what size I was and what I was looking for, thank you very much! Still, the wondrous Gok had now spoken so I decided to pluck up courage and get measured. What a difference a decade or two makes - I didn't even have to take my shirt off! I did wonder if I was wasting my time but was amazed to find I was actually two sizes bigger than I had been wearing the last 10 years. The assistant brought a range of lovely new bras for me to try and whaddya know? I had two boobs now, not four! I actually fitted these ones, rather than bursting out over the top! I had no idea how big a difference a well-fitting bra could make - if only the darn things weren't so expensive!

My new best friends have even helped me declutter my make-up and accessories by helping me see which colours and styles suit me. As a result I have halved my bead collection and am down to the bare minimum in my make-up bag. It's a great feeling, I feel so much more 'together'! I only wish I had known all this before, then I wouldn't have made so many bad choices in the first place. One thing is for sure, now I have been enlightened there's no way I'm going to let it happen again. Already I can see it will make life so much easier in the future, just in saving time and expensive mistakes by only shopping for clothing in the right colours and styles. Not that I will need to go clothes shopping for a VERY long time, mind!

Things have been pretty quiet on the home front. Last week was Liam's birthday - I am now the proud parent of a 12-year-old! He really is a very good Simple Saver. He still hasn't touched any more of his holiday money, not a cent of his birthday money and hasn't spent any pocket money for 14 weeks! Even he didn't know what he wanted for his birthday - the best he could come up with was a rugby ball and a bag of cashew nuts. So because he wasn't getting much I told him he could have the day off school on Monday and we could go and do something nice together for his birthday. However, he couldn't think of anything and when Monday rolled around he said 'You know Mum - we already went to see the All Blacks. I couldn't ask for any more than that. I think I'll just stay home and kick my new ball around instead if that's alright.' So that's what he did and a very frugal day was had - much to the disgust of Master Ali, who was full of all sorts of expensive ideas his brother flatly refused to carry out!

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