I haven’t quite had time to start writing it yet, but I really think the most important thing is to get the title right, and then the rest will just fall into place. And I’ve already jotted down loads of ideas about what to wear in the author photograph.
So basically, it’s no surprise that I’m a little overdrawn at the moment. But the point is, all that money is out there, working for me. And luckily my bank manager, Derek Smeath, is very sympathetic to my needs. He’s a real sweetie, actually. For a long time we didn’t get on at all — which I think was more a communications problem than anything else. But then we met up and had a nice long chat (plus I gave him some advice on what to buy his wife for Christmas) and now I really think he understands where I’m coming from. And the truth is, of course, I’m a lot more sensible than I used to be.
For example, I have a completely different attitude toward shopping. My new motto is “Buy Only What You Need.” I know, it sounds almost too simple — but it really does work. Before each purchase, I ask myself one question: “Do I need this?” And only if the answer is yes do I make the purchase. It’s all just a matter of self-discipline.
So, for example, when I get to LK Bennett, I’m incredibly focused and direct. As I walk in, a pair of high-heeled red boots catches my eye — but I quickly look away and head straight for the display of sandals. This is how I shop these days: no pausing, no browsing, no eyeing up other items. Not even that gorgeous new range of sequined pumps over there. I simply go straight to the sandals I want, take them from the rack, and say to the assistant, “I’d like to have these in a six, please.”
Direct and to the point. Just buy what you need and nothing else. This is the key to controlled shopping. I’m not even going to glance at those cool pink stilettos, even though they’d match my new pink denim skirt perfectly.
Nor those slingbacks with the glittery heels.
They are nice though, aren’t they? I wonder what they look like on?
Oh God. This is really hard.
What is it about shoes? I mean, I like most kinds of clothes, but a good pair of shoes can just reduce me to jelly. Sometimes, when Suze isn’t at home, I open my wardrobe and just stare at all my pairs of shoes, like some mad collector. And once I lined them all up on my bed and took a photograph of them. Which might seem a bit weird — but I thought, I’ve got loads of photos of people I don’t really like, so why not take one of something I really love?
“Here you are!”
Thank goodness, the assistant is back, with my lilac sandals in a box — and as I see them, my heart leaps. Oh, these are gorgeous. Gorgeous. All delicate and strappy, with a tiny little blackberry by the toe. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them. They’re a bit expensive — but then, everyone knows you should never skimp on shoes, because you’ll hurt your feet.
I slip my feet into them with a frisson of delight — and they’re just fantastic. My feet suddenly look elegant, and my legs look longer… and OK, it’s a tiny bit difficult to walk in them, but that’s probably because the shop floor is all slippery.
“I’ll take them, please,” I say, and beam happily at the assistant.
You see, this is the reward for taking such a controlled approach to shopping. When you buy something, you really feel as though you’ve earned it.
We both head toward the checkout, and I keep my eyes carefully away from the rack of accessories. In fact, I barely even notice that purple bag with the jet beading. And I’m just reaching for my wallet, congratulating myself on being so single-minded, when the assistant says conversationally, “You know, we’ve got these sandals in clementine, as well.”
“Oh… right,” I say after a pause.
I’m not interested. I’ve got what I came in to buy — and that’s the end of the story. Lilac sandals. Not clementine.
“They’ve just come in,” she adds, rooting around on the floor. “I think they’re going to be even more popular than the lilac.”
“Really?” I say, trying to sound as indifferent as I can. “Well, I’ll just take these, I think…”
“Here it is!” she exclaims. “I knew there was one around here somewhere…”
And I freeze, as she puts the most exquisite sandal I’ve ever seen onto the counter. It’s a pale, creamy orange color, with the same strappy shape as the lilac one — but instead of the blackberry, there’s a tiny clementine by the toe.
It’s instant love. I can’t move my eyes away.
“Would you like to try it?” says the girl, and I feel a lurch of desire, right to the pit of my stomach.