Happy Mothers Day (any day you want it to be!)

The first day I went back to work after my maternity leave with my older son I was a mess. I remember walking down a local shopping strip on my lunch break and this little antique store caught my eye. It has three large sapphires, which are my older boys birthstone. The number 3 was pretty significant as we were suddenly a family of three rather than a couple. It’s not that expensive, the sapphires are not that great quality but even great quality sapphires are much cheaper than diamonds.

The reason I was a mess was that I kept hearing that people saying ‘this must be so hard for you’ and it wasn’t that hard. It was a relief in a lot of ways, a way of starting our new life and being able to integrate being a mother into my personality rather than becoming a whole new ‘mummy’ person. Everytime I looked at the ring I thought about how much my family meant to me. Even when I wasn’t with my baby he was with me.

I always get complemented on the ring. My son loves running his fingers over it and asking which stone is him. I think that the ‘best’ fashion is fashion with a story, things that you wear over and over again. It’s just as good to buy something for yourself, and it some ways it’s even better than the jewellery we get as gifts.

One of the class mums has just had a baby and she is a little upset that she didn’t get a push present. I think we should ditch the tradition. Buy yourself a push present ladies, or don’t. It isn’t less meaningful to buy gifts for yourself at all. Image,

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Jo’Mina by Illamasqua+ Celia Birtwell x Uniqlo

This is a swatch of Jo’Mina. It’s an Illamasqua colour, a gorgeous vibrant pastel purple (is that a thing? a vibrant pastel). It’s shiny and has a dream formula, almost applies itself and looks like new 3 days into my manicure.

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Anyway I chose it to go with my shirt from Uniqlo x Celia Birtwell. It’s a super soft and comfy T with a great bright floral pattern – kind of punky florals but appropriate for the school run.  freaking love uniqlo. I wish they had a store near me, or indeed an online store that would ship to me but I know it would just suck all of the money right out of my wallet.

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Fast fashion like Uniqlo is a delicate topic right now. I see a lot of really polarising arguments on topics like fabric and textile manufacture in the 3rd world. I like Uniqlo as they make great quality clothing, but only work with suppliers with a proven labour record.

I don’t know a lot about Bangladesh society on a personal level, but I know a little about the Grameen Bank which is one of the earliest forms of microcredit (which is now more commonly seen through the more public online entities like Kiva). Anyway, life in Bangladesh is not good for women. The reason the bank targeted women to increase overall wellbeing for families (money earned/given to women tends to be used to directly support the household, the same is not true for funds given to men). The Bangladeshi public school system is ambitious, but flawed because of endemic issues like teacher truancy. There are many illiterate women employed in textiles and the ability to earn directly increases their agency in their families. They need the textile industry, and earning allows the women to feed their children and where needed send them to better private schools. Boycotting Bangladeshi made clothing is shortsighted.

The issue is that we need better textiles manufacture. It needs to involve the women who work there and it needs to be grounded in appropriate OHS laws and regulation locally as well as oversight from the purchasers. And if we want something to at home, something as easy as “checking out clothing labels” try buying the Grameen Uniqlo app which supports local high quality, ethical Bangladeshi clothes manufacture for the Bangladeshi market. Or if you are a bit more financial these women in Lahore Pakistan are looking for some funds to help in the family clothes dyeing business so they can improve their housing. Supporting ethical manufacturing will always be better for the local economies than a boycott of good and unemployment.

So how many pairs of shoes does the average person have?

I asked because I have 22. My husband has 3. I actually do wear about 90% of these but storage is distinctly an issue. I may need to consolidate somewhat. Again a theme emerges… this time of sensible heels, flats and shiny patent leather.

Shoes x 22

My favourites would be the anna sui loafers, these are part of her collaboration with hush puppies. They feel like little cushions on my feet (kind of how I had thought the cole haan air nike technology would feel).

 

A reflective pause on the topic of back seam stockings

Last night I was performing with my burlesque class (burlesque is possibly the world most fun form of exercise) and managed to rip my last pair of backseam tights. My first thought was “I’ll have to get a new pair of back seam tights tomorrow. Gahhh.”

But my second thought, given my challenge of not spending, is  do I need to buy these tight? And, lets call it thought 2a, is why the urgency? I have other tights, other sexy tights, other retro tights, too many damn pairs of tights to work out exactly which other tights I do own at any time. And it’s summer in Australia. It’s been over 40 degrees (+105F) so not exactly tights weather. More lying semi-comatose under cool breeze weather. I won’t start wearing tights regularly for another 4 months.

So there are other emotional issues at play. I don’t think I have a shopping addiction and I can afford all the things I buy. But they aren’t making me feel good, it just make me worried when I don’t have my stash of ‘stuff’ around. I’m like a squirrel stressing over her stockpile of nuts. But when the squirrel stresses it’s because she knows winter is coming and she’ll be using up the nuts. For me I have no such worried. There will be back seam tights this winter!

So I think at least in part this ‘hoarding’ is a bit of a crappy urge that comes growing up poor. I feel like we are living paycheck-to-paycheck when we aren’t and I buy up the little things I like as though this is a glitch, this ability to afford small luxuries. I need to remember that it’s not, and the money I am spending this I can spend on other things. I know that I need to get a healthier relationship with my ‘stuff’ for my own piece of mind.