Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….

I would’ve liked to have called this post ‘Changing Rooms‘, but was worried you’d be hoping for home improvement tips from Handy Andy and Lawrence Lleweyn Bowen.

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Fixing and florals

I’m talking actual changing rooms, in a shop. For the most part, I try to do everything online as I just find it more efficient (and I’m all about efficiency), but from time to time I like to have a ‘shmy‘. Shmy is a wonderful word of yiddish origin (I think), which essentially means ‘to browse, have a looksie, without necessarily having something in mind that you’re looking to buy.’

I’m sure there have been a hundred blog posts about these horrific confined spaces that we voluntarily enter into, but here’s my observational two bobs worth…

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1. The Gathering

Once I’ve lacerated both arms and almost cut off my circulation from holding existing shopping bags, my handbag and potential purchases, I finally make it to the changing room.

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Serious arm damage

I long for the service you get in the States: “Hey, would you like me to go on and start a fitting room for you?” (Yes please, I just may need a reminder of where it is.)

 

2. How Many is Too Many?

Some shops’ changing rooms have a five items or less policy, some take you up to ten. I like the ones where they are completely unmanned and you just stroll right in armed with the entire store’s ‘nueva colección’. Basically stuff you like, stuff you know won’t suit you but someone was wandering around holding it and stuff you want to try because your favourite blogger said it was ‘the’ seasonal piece and it’s sold out everywhere.

The issue with the number tags they allocate against your item is when you start swapping stuff in and out. So, unless Carol Vorderman is manning the changing room, you’re leaving there holding six items, giving back a tag for ten items and there are three excess hangers on the floor, that may or may not have been there previously. (Either way, you’re made to feel like a shoplifter.)

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Scene of the crime

3. Curtain or door?

I must admit I like a door, preferably with a lock. Curtains don’t tend to close all the way and it plays havoc with my OCD, whilst I faff about trying to get it central enough to hide my modesty.

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The one on the right’s killing me

I also like to be positioned near enough to the rail of swap-in potentials. This means you have the ability to do the ‘peek-round-in-your-undies-with-the-curtain-wrapped-round-you’, politely asking staff if they’ll pass you the red top with the frilled sleeves. (And no, you’re not keeping the frayed hem jeans.)

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“Have you got this in a size 10?”

4. Added Extras

A stool, or even better, a chair is a nice touch. A shelf is always useful too. Big fan of the buzzer to alert staff that you need another size or just to ask their opinion without having to do the head poke.

A mirror is a given – preferably a flattering one. And shame on you Selfridges – some of your departments have changing rooms WITHOUT A MIRROR!! I don’t to share a mirror with a Russian model.

Plus, stepping outside is always a risk, especially when you need a particular item in a different size and the person right next to you has the only one left on the shop floor/in the entire country. *prays they abandon it upon exit*

Hooks, double hooks, rails… chuck it all in. The more hanging space the better.

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New Look hook situ, if you’re interested.

5. Order! Order!

The likelihood is, you’re shmying in your active wear and wearing the most unflattering sports bra. (And that’s just the men.) So, if you’ve got a variety of things to try on, strip off and do it properly – the floaty Vitakin dress is never going to look right with gym leggings and a battered pair of Asics poking out the bottom of it.

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Strong look

7. What’s That You Say?

You hear all sorts when you’re in a changing room:

…Crying baby and nappy definitely being changed (yuk) – Primark 

…Click of iPhone camera. Someone definitely taking multiple shots of themselves in different outfits and sending to a friend. I know this for sure as I heard them follow up with a phone call to said friend, demanding an immediate opinion – Topshop

…Teens discussing whether to get the black vest top for £2.99 one or the white one – New Look

…People taking calls and pretending they are at work/just not shopping in general – Zara (for the record I hate their changing rooms – they’re so tiny that your nose is almost against the mirror, so you’ve little choice but to swoosh back the curtain for a proper look in the big mirrors outside.

“I”m busy, Doll. Will call you back in a minute, I just need to finish something.” Me, today, Brent Cross, Fenwick changing room, on phone to husband dearest, taking photos of myself, Whatsapping to stylist friend. Standing, sitting and jumping up and inspecting from every angle. And if I like the item, I will of course take a ‘fresh one’ from the shop floor.

Oh come on, you know you do it too…

Crunches or Crunchie?

Now that we are officially in March, you know what that means, right?

Yes. The weakest newbies at the gym have been weedled out.

“Thanks for the thoughtful 3 month gym membership for Christmas, darling.”

“New Years resolution – must get fit.”

“The 40th/Bar Mitzvah/Wedding is out of the way. I can quit the gym now.”

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All of that basically.

Exercise is everywhere and everyone’s at it. Private PT’s, 24/7 gyms, non-membership gyms, boot camps, 30 minute HIIT fitness, al-fresco army-style training… endless choice. Personally I like the gym, but for the month of January and February I did not like the gym. A massive influx of new members trying to grasp the fact that a burpee is an exercise move, not something they do with their newborn. Bottlenecks at reception with confusion about how the swipe cards work (FFS…), queuing for equipment at peak times and the introduction of an app for bookable classes which was great in theory, but horrific in practice. To be in with a fighting chance of a leg lift at Booty Barre, you had to book on at 6am. (Class fully booked by 6:01.)

I am a creature of habit so about 3 times a week, I go to the gym and meet a man. I’m pretty sure we’re not ‘exclusive’ as I’ve seen him interacting with others. But he’s wonderful. We laugh so much and he really helps me get through my cardio fix. His name is Frasier. (Channel 4 for a double bill at 9am.) I used to meet a man called Raymond. Everybody loves him. (“Debraaaaaaaa!”…)

Once my cardio blast is over, I normally roam the gym to mess about on the equipment. I set my iPod to shuffle and go into my own world, unaware of all around me. A little U2, some Stereophonics, Florence and the Machine, Rolling Stones…

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve got Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris and the soundtrack from Flashdance seeing me through my squats, whilst I observe every little thing around me. Such as:

  1. People look much better than they used to when going to the gym. There is major effort going on. Natural dewy (Jew-ey?) make up, fabulous active wear and serious trainers. Leading neatly into number 2…
  2. A larger proportion of spend now seems to go on gym-wear as opposed to general clothing. With lots staying the in their gym gear for the rest of the day, it’s often worth investing in something durable. Don’t get me wrong, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty and all that expensive jazz is great, but nought wrong with some of the sports ranges in H&M (their hairbands are amazing), Primark and even Tesco (it’s Davina-endorsed don’tcha know?). I have sleepless nights that some of you haven’t seen the hilarious Active Wear spoof video. (FYI, I am blogging in my active wear.)
  3. I have a favourite locker at the gym. It’s mine without question and I get terribly irritated if it’s occupied. The downside to ‘my’ locker position, is that it’s often blocked by the lady who likes to dry-off starkers doing the ‘towel floss movement’. You know the one. With one leg up on the bench? Oh to be so uninhibited…
  4. Boob, wedgie and ball adjustment. It happens. Most girls at one time will do a cheeky gusset-check to make sure there isn’t a hole in her leggings and on the subject of leggings, black ‘fashion’ leggings are not acceptable gym gear. Yes, sheer is in fashion but it needs to be area-specific. Maybe if the rest of your kit is in the wash, your black Topshop leggings will do the trick on the running machine, but during downward-facing dog they’re as sheer as 7 denier stockings and I don’t need to see the outline of your upward-facing-you-know-what. Steer clear of sheer. (I’m hash-tagging that.)
  5. I’ve made lots of friends at the gym. I say ‘friends’ but in all honesty I don’t even know their names. TRX lady with the great arms, cross trainer girl with the same blue leggings as me, older man who has lost tons of weight. I smile. I nod. But we don’t know each others names. It’s a silent mutual agreement.
  6. Following on from that, I also have a ‘gubbie’. (A gym hubby.) He is about 22 and has no idea that he is my husband. We smile. Say hi. He wasn’t around last week, no explanation nothing. I think he’s having an affair…
  7. Someone farting in a class is still absolutely hysterical. It just is. Mobile phones on buzz mode in a class are not hysterical.
  8. People are territorial about being FROW in their classes. Don’t mess. Don’t try and be clever. It’s vicious. I’ve seen it
  9. A large part of peoples’ social media now follows nutritious foods, healthy lifestyles and gym tutorials. Thanks to my sister in law, I am currently obsessed/depressed in equal amounts by SBC on Instagram. This stands for ‘Skinny Bitch Collective’. Be warned. You can’t unsee it and you will most likely end up following it. I watch the videos whilst eating chocolate brownies to spite them

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  1. I feel slightly disappointed when I see gym husband/’friends’/PTs outside of their gym habitat.

Basically, the gym is like Disneyland to me and I expect everyone to remain in character at all times. I don’t want to see them handling the tomatoes in the supermarket or heaven forbid, in their civvies…