Ok, so I’ve been a bit slack with the ol’ blogging and Facebook page lately, so a bucket of soz to those who keep up with my life and what happens in it! But a few days ago on my day off, I decided to go on a little solo adventure to THE TANNERY, located around Woolston area, and holy smokes that place is amazing. It’s so stunning on the inside, got these beautiful tiled floors and wrought-iron decorations on the ceiling, and you can just walk right through the middle of the mall and effortlessly window-shop. And if this girl was going to go to such an arty, elegant place, I knew I definitely needed to look the part. So, on went the skirt, boots, white top (which was actually a singlet but I covered it up with this flowy black cardigan I got from my Mum ages ago) and this scarf I have, which was given to me from somewhere like Dubai or Switzerland. Oh, and can’t forget the red lippy, either. Trés chic.
After waving goodbye to Scottie for a couple of hours, I pushed open the heavy wooden doors and walked slowly through the mall, admiring the window displays and edging carefully past the cafe tables and chairs down the middle. The first shop that caught my attention was a Turkish jeweller’s, full of glittery silver rings, necklaces and keyrings made of coloured glass pieces. To be honest, I don’t wear a lot of jewellery, aside from my school leaver’s ring and on occasion, the odd necklace and bracelet, if I’m going out somewhere and just want to look pretty! But here I was, thinking, I might as well pop in and have a look round even if I’m not going to buy anything (that’s why it’s called ‘browsing, right?) so in I go. The rings are made with these lovely colourful stones, all shapes and sizes, even though some I’d never be able to pull off wearing. The man who runs the shop is really friendly and keeps saying, “Anything you want to have a look at, let me know,” and even gets this container full of rings for me to have a look at. As I’m looking at all the rings and stuff we end up having a bit of a yarn and he tells me that all the jewellery gets handmade over in Turkey, where he’s from.
“I’ve been in the business for a long time. Over twenty years,” he tells me, sorting through the rings. “There are all sorts of things here, so treat it as your store, yes?”
I tell him about how I’m going to Europe next year.
“By yourself, or with friends?” he asks me.
“Oh, by myself.” I reply, not sure how he’ll respond. One thing I’ve learned from saying this is that people will respond by either a) saying how exciting that is and they they know someone who did that and they loved it, or b) looking at me in a slightly fearful way as if I’m some deranged lunatic who hasn’t the faintest idea of the dangers lurking around in the outside world. Either way, my fears are put to rest as he smiles at me and says, “Ah, wow! You are a very brave woman.”
“Thank you.” I reply shyly.
“You will fit right in, you already have the European style,” he continues, referring to my outfit. (Needless to say, I’m pleased). “Sometime on your travels, make sure you stop by Turkey. Too many say there are problems there, but it is a beautiful country.”
I assure him that I will definitely put Turkey on my travel bucket list, then bid him goodbye and carry on with my meanderings. I spend several minutes in a small boutique that looks like it’s straight from a quaint London marketplace. Scented candles, soaps, scarves, necklaces, greeting cards, clothing and curtains are everywhere. Piled everywhere on tables, flung into corners or hanging on walls. If I owned half this stuff, I feel like my persona would change, and I’d suddenly be this ultra-calm girl whose house always smells nice, everything is tidy and who wears floaty scarves with a spritz of Jo Malone perfume and who knows how to make a proper homemade lasagne. I also spend a couple of minutes patting this adorable short wee dog that kinds looks like a fluffy roast potato on legs. Big round dark eyes, short legs, stumpy tail and a pudgy adorable face. Whenever I see a dog that is within my reach, I can’t not go over and pat it, so I kneel down and give it a scratch behind the ears. One of the shop assistants looks over and laughs. “He’s very taken with you.”
I smile back at her. “I can see that. He’s adorable.”
A couple of shops later, I find myself in the midst of the Recycle Boutique, a second-hand (albeit more high-end and modernised) clothing store that specialises in selling recycled clothing on behalf of others. Not that I’m going to buy any of the clothing, but trying a couple of things on never hurt, right? For once, I can pretend that I’m an ambitious go-getter with the wardrobe and the bank account balance to match. So I find myself a few dresses and head towards the changing rooms. They probably won’t even suit me and will make me look somewhat slightly chubby, I think, but it’s just for a laugh.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m staring at myself in the mirror, having tried two of the dresses on (one a black sparkly number with long sleeves, the other a white backless number that I’d definitely need to wear with a stick-on bra) and I’m torn. Why?
“Because you simply must acquire them for your wardrobe,” a big deep voice in my head booms. “You look fabulous in both of them, and let’s be honest, you could totally wear both of them in Europe next year.”
“But…but…my bank account, a small voice in my head protests feebly. And…saving for Europe next year. I mean, I don’t really NEED them, although it would be nice–”
“To hell with that!” The Voice Of Controlled Recklessness steamrollers on, squashing flat every last bit of reasoning I had to not buy the outfits in the first place. “This is your opportunity! When was the last time you bought a new outfit simply because it made you look and feel good?”
Hmm. That would be…never?
“Exactly!” it concluded smugly. “Imagine going to parties in Amsterdam and France, and wearing this black dress. You could walk the streets of Italy in both of these dresses and practically pass as a young Italian fashionista! It’s SO you, darling.”
“It’s so me,” I mutter, staring at myself again in the mirror and feeling very like Becky Bloomwood in Confessions Of A Shopaholic. True, the two dresses cost $69 together, but this is The Tannery, for crying out loud. “And, I mean, it’s practically an investment, right?”
Half an hour later, after downing a sausage roll at one of the cafes, picking up a copy of the latest Cityscape magazine and visiting a couple more shops, I go back to the Recycle Boutique and guess what?
I BUY BOTH DRESSES.
No regrets. Because a) I think they make me look somewhat fashionable and quite nice to look at, b) life is short and c) this would be the first time I’ve actually bought myself clothing in a year. A YEAR.
Also, as I head out the door to where Scottie is patiently waiting for me in the carpark to begin the trek home, I take a moment to visit the bathrooms. Seriously, if you are ever in the Tannery, even if you don’t need to go, you absolutely must visit them, because they are possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever been in. I’m not even in my mid thirties and already I can take a moment to appreciate a nice loo.
Right. I’m off to browse through Cityscape for a new cafe to have a blogging date at AND to re-try on both my new purchases, just because. ‘Til next time.