Saturday, 20 September 2014

Shopping and The Pain of Walking - My Weekend So Far

When I was lying on my bed for no other reason than to sleep for eight hours straight on Thursday evening two nights ago, the weekend was a near, yet distant dream away. Of course, I could neither ignore nor deny the fact that it was indeed approaching, but my impatience to get on with it was truly winding me up. Once you fall into a routine - such as one involving school - which takes up most of your time during the week, a thankful reprieve like the weekend seems out of your reach, as though you will never get your hands on it.

In other words, I needed a break - from early starts, Physics lessons with a teacher whose wisest idea was to toss a basketball in a science lab and the deep purple bags underneath my eyes which looked like bruises - and the weekend was the perfect solution. But, unlike online shopping, you cannot buy the weekend on demand when the cravings become too much to bear: patience is required until it comes naturally to you. Unfortunately, the one thing that I didn't inherit from my parents - apart from my dad's in-need-of-being-plucked hairy eyebrows - was patience which, strangely enough, my younger I-want-it-now brother possesses in bucket loads. 

If I yearn to hop onto a bus and travel to the city on a school day - as I usually would at the weekend - there is no way that I'll rely on patience in the meantime. Waiting for things that I desperately need in the present bothers me which, in turn, resurrects the moaning instinct that literally defines me as a person. Sure, I'll put up with unfortunate circumstances and slowly, albeit not entirely recognize the fact that skipping Maths to shop around H&M - which, in itself, requires great mathematical skills when figuring out how much an entire season's worth of clothing will cost me - is neither an option nor a possibility. But do I accept it? No. And, thanks to my reluctance to let something completely slip from my mind, I complain about my lack-of-weekend woes until I catch the latest round of sore throats, rendering my oh-so-critical voice useless. 

Now that the weekend is here, I can thankfully push aside my weekday dilemmas and focus on the one thing that I love the most about Saturday and Sunday: relaxing. Although very little in terms of activities are achieved at the weekend, I personally find it as the most fulfilling time of the week because I'm granted relentless freedom; a gift that is even more cherished whilst trapped in a restrictive environment such as school five times per week. 

Teachers are no longer on the prowl once you escape from their classrooms for two days, giving you the freedom to let your guard down and be yourself - isn't it such a rarity while immersed in a place renowned for its conformist attitudes? Crowds of pupils you either know or dislike won't necessarily be crossed unless you reside in the same area, but at least you aren't forced to adopt such a friendly and socially acceptable persona while in their presence. And the time? On a Saturday morning, you will be amazed by the many minutes and hours that are in your control. Forget about timetables, classes and fifteen minute or so breaks until that deafening bell rings in your tingling ears. Once the weekend arrives, your time definitely becomes your time because you are allowed to spend it as you wish! Plus, there are many more from where that came from...

For me, however, this weekend hasn't been entirely based on the idea of sticking my head under the covers and hiding away from the world which, despite the two-day disruption, carries on as normal. In fact, I haven't had the pleasure of treating myself to the loveliest and most satisfying lie-in since last Saturday, so my body has mainly been running off adrenaline, motivation and maybe one or two Lidi cookies for the past week. Today's adrenaline-booster was the exciting prospect of travelling to the city - and going shopping. At ten in the morning. In an area where I only liked one shop. And had yearned to walk around in for ages.

Despite my fashionista/bargainista status, I hadn't actually gone for a proper shop - apart from the occasional dash into TK Maxx for a pint-sized umbrella (to pop into my schoolbag) - for months and, if I'm not already suffering from memory loss, over a year. During that time, I've relied on the internet and a few in-store purchases at the local supermarket to get my shopping thrills, having nearly abandoned a good old walk around clothing stores. It wasn't just related to time (which, without needing to say more, has been in very limited supply of late) and distance from my semi-rural surroundings, but also my interests. If local areas don't offer the shops and places that I like, why bother visiting them? 

Until a few days ago, I had hummed and harred over visiting the nearest city - courtesy of the lack of LikeATeen-approved shops - but, out of the blue, I changed my tune. Because of what, you ask? The historical buildings? Improved bus services? Or simply because I wanted to experience some city life? None of these reasons contributed to my spur-of-the-moment decision which, to some people, might be the craziest idea: I wanted to go to one shop. The new H&M store that had just opened in the city a month ago, which I hadn't even known about until reading the local newspaper the other night. As soon as I found out about it, my mind was made up: wherever it was, I had to replenish my need for Nordic fashions and style-conscious clothes that wouldn't risk breaking the bank. And, for the first time in over a year, I got my H&M hit in one go!

Having gotten used to ordering clothes on the internet, part of me had forgotten what it felt like to walk into a clothing shop, especially one as spaced out and large as high street giants H&M! In recent weeks, I had ordered some new clothes from H&M so, unlike somebody who had been stuck in the rainforest for the past six months, had not been fully deprived of any shopping experience - online or in-store. Nonetheless, my head was literally spinning as I took in the new surroundings, instantly comparing it to this shopping centre I used to go in my old county, which was home to one of the largest shops - let alone H&M store - that I'd ever stepped foot in. 

And, in the hours before I laid eyes upon it, was the shop as great as I'd anticipated? In a sense, it was a mixture of yes and no: yes because the range of different styles was eye-catching and, had my pockets been bulging with fifty pound notes, would have been added to my basket within seconds, but the size and ambiance of the store didn't completely win me over. By this, I'm referring to the old H&M store that I used to love going to, which was home to three large floors that were spilling with my type of clothes. At the store that I visited today, I wasn't dashing to every single aisle to look at dresses, tops or jeans as I used to at the other one; I only picked up two jumpers, a skirt and several accessories after heavy searching. Whether it is my tastes or the company itself that has changed since my last visit over a year ago, I cannot be sure for certain, but my overwhelming pickiness was out in full force - as was noted by my dad who, until today, I don't think quite realised the extent of it!

Still, I got some sort of shopping hit and, overall, I quite enjoyed my shopping trip into the city because it gave me the chance to get to know new surroundings which, compared to where I used to live, are of a better standard! I now know which places are most ideal for shopping and, after walking out of many shops (including one which I can only liken to the fashion world's equivalent of Poundland) empty-handed, I'm keen to try other cities until I discover my one true shopping heaven. Today, mainly due to rediscovering H&M, was a great start and will hopefully mark the beginning of a new shopping era - though I might wait a while until my pocket money increases!

However, we shopping addicts are definitely not fools when it comes to recognizing the negatives - except the credit card-related ones - of releasing our inner shopaholics every once in a while. Despite my stance against fooliness, I made the most foolish mistake ever - wearing high heels on cobbled streets! My feet were in agony long before I reached the food court, yet I never realized how painful they could be until I attempted - for I never reached the top of it - to walk up a street which looked like a replica of the Coronation Street set. Within seconds, I had returned to a school trip that I still wish to this day that I had never signed up for because it involved climbing up an extremely steep mountain - it baffles me as to how I survived it once, so I didn't want to push my luck on a second occasion. No wonder everybody else were wearing flats in the city...

Plus, I was beginning to feel the after-effects of attending a Zumba class the night before which, for those who have discovered the Latin American dance phenomenon, is a combination of a dance party and pour-buckets-of-smelly-sweat workout. Of all my limbs, it were my legs that I had been stretched, toned and moved the most, so trekking throughout the city wasn't exactly the best way to relax my muscles!

As if my body hadn't already been put through a shopper's equivalent of a gruelling bootcamp, I then faced the prospect of walking from the shopping centre - where the new H&M shop is based - to a main street where I would be picked up by my mum and half-asleep brother (as he had had the much-coveted luxury of staying in bed until past 10am), before whizzing over to seeing my two new kittens.

When I last mentioned the 'kitten' situation, my family had, at that time, only decided to adopt one female kitten, whom we had called Teddie. For one thing, she has the softest and fluffiest fur - which, in my opinion, is even lovelier than an actual teddy bear - and her face can produce expressions that make your heart melt into the kind of mush that is only caused by love (and the cutest meow!). She had been born in a litter of four kittens, two of whom had already found homes, but the remaining kitten - the only boy - had not yet been reserved, his Bourneville-black fur perceived as a reason for it.

Cut a long story short, my family decided to offer him a home because we didn't want to split Teddie and her brother - who is now called George (ironically sharing a name with the Royal Baby!) - up, as we have only ever adopted kittens in pairs. In less than two weeks' time, we will be bringing Teddie and George home, so the prospect of living in a house with four cats - all of whom have been adopted within less than a year - is looming. I cannot wait to give both of them as many cuddles and kisses as I want, so I can bear to be parted from them for another twelve days!

After shopping my heart out this morning, part of my afternoon was spent in the company of Teddie and George who, at five weeks old, are flourishing and asserting more independence as each day passes. I can already predict that Teddie will be the feistiest of the two because she never keeps still - unless she wants to fall asleep in your lap! As for George, he is one of the most laid-back cats that I've ever known, but I guess that it is a common characteristic in boys; the same also seems to apply to male cats! Whenever I see them, I remind my two cats, Bart and Benny, that they will be handed a major responsibility in looking after their new siblings, yet they are either taking no notice or aren't bothered at all!

In case you are curious as to what Teddie and her brother, the oh-so-handsome (and royal!) George, look like, have a look at the picture below - they are so besotted with one another that they must sit together!

George is on the left, while Teddie - who actually looked at the camera without wiggling or squealing like a hysterical One Direction fan - is on the right, fascinated with the glare of the intrusive spotlight. As I love using my camera, they better get used to being in front of it!

That, I must say, is one half of my weekend. So far, I've enjoyed it as much as any other, but this one has allowed me to escape into other worlds that involve shopping, dancing and hobbling on painful feet. Perhaps I'll avoid the latter next time!

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