Every now and then I need a blow out with my girlies. Sometimes this involves copious amounts of alcohol, dancing, and a great night out; sometimes, DVDs, chocolate and a chilled night in. On this occasion, it was my credit card rather than my liver or gut that took the hit…

Shopping or Suicide?

It was quite fluky that I managed to arrange a day with my two best friends at such short notice. Mel’s a teacher and Lindsey’s a nurse, so both have pretty demanding jobs and heavy workloads. Quite ironic, really, that I was the one reaching breaking point and in need of some girly-time! I’d told Jack earlier in the week that if he filled a sink with hot water, put all the dirty dishes in, and then left it all to go cold just one more time, he’d best sleep with one eye open or I’d smother him with a pillow. I’m not sure how insincere that threat was.

I’d sent an SOS text to both of them straight afterwards asking if they had plans already for that weekend, and by some freak occurrence, both of them were free, so we arranged to meet in Manchester for lunch and shopping that weekend.

Who Has Lunch Without Wine?

After Lindsey and I had found Melissa (she told us she was getting the train to one station and then got off at the other), we headed to Bella Italia for lunch and alcohol.

Besides being able to have a well-needed catch-up with my best friends and sharing what’s going on in each other’s lives, the best thing about meeting up with girl mates is the uninhibited conversation and banter. I love Steve to pieces, and there’s no-one who makes me laugh more or who I feel more comfortable with, but I miss the liberation of chatting to my girlfriends.

Three-way Sex (Conversations)

Jack doesn’t want to know about bridesmaids’ dresses (Mel’s wedding’s next year; guess who’s chief bridesmaid!), weight-loss, or the thousand reasons why Jenson Button is the sexiest man to walk the earth, and he definitely does not want to know about vibrators. I’m also certain he’d die if he knew whenever the wine starts flowing we all compare sexual notes! When I reflect on the types of comments that are made and the rude, crude, and totally inappropriate banter we share, I almost feel ashamed of myself…if it wasn’t so fun I certainly would.

It reminds me of being back at university (where the three of us met), when everything relationship-wise is new and in need of desperate scrutiny. Though how is a group of naïve, inexperienced 18/19 year old girls ever to solve the complex intricacies of dating, sex, alcohol-fuelled fights, cheating and heartbreak? Woe betide any boy who wronged any of us in those days!

The Consequences of Cheating

I remember once we were driving out of a carpark and we saw my ex on the phone outside a pub a little way down the road. The boy in question had, up until a few weeks ago, been cheating on me for three months. Deserves to be hit by a bus, right?!

Mel was driving. Because our university city was thwart with one-way systems, she put her foot down, as we planned to complete a girl-racer circuit and speed back round, passing the pub and my ex. Our master plan was to drive past him, scream some abuse, and possibly throw something at him. Lindsey lay down across the seats in the back of her car as she assured us she’d die if anyone saw her do it. Goody-Goody.

By the time Mel completed the circuit the best thing I had been able to find in the car to throw was a flip-flop; cheap and dispensable. I frantically rolled the window down and took aim as Mel neared our target. I timed the shot and threw it with as much force as my anger could muster (if I’d hit the pub wall I’m sure it would have gone straight threw it). Mel screamed out the window, “Be a ginger not a winger!” (a line stolen from Catherine Tate) as loud as she could.

What did I learn from this experience? I need to improve my aim. Missed by a bloody mile!

The Greatest Shopping Mystery

Why are sizes different in every store? I thought the idea of having a size at all was for the purpose of standardisation? How come New Look sizes are more generous than River Island?

I’ve been exercising more frequently recently than I ever have before, and I’m becoming slowly happier with my size and shape. Don’t get me wrong, I still need to put a lot of thought into my clothes to select carefully which ones hide my wobbly bits most effectively (my arse being the biggest offender), but I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

Imagine my elation when I fit into a dress size smaller than expected in a dress from New Look, and how quickly it was crushed when I could barely fit into a dress the size above in River Island. Seriously, do these clothes retailers not know they’re messing with women’s emotions?!

Clothes SOS

Admittedly, when we first hit the shops we were all a little drunk – a credit card in the hands of a drunken woman in the middle of a shopping centre is totally not a good combination – but what happened in the changing rooms of Top Shop was unbelievable.

We’d all taken clothes into the changing rooms, and managed to get three changing rooms next to each other in a quiet area. Mel, who is a jammy-bitch at a size 8, had put on a tight-fitting dress, and looked stunning. However, as I was getting dressed I heard what sounded like sex grunts coming from Mel’s changing room, followed by a not-so-quiet, “Guys?”

Mel couldn’t get the dress off. What had sounded like sex noises had been her trying to pull it off over her head. She asked me to come in and help her, and I found her with her arms stuck above her head and her dress stuck halfway off. I could have been anyone walking in, really, as she couldn’t see anything without bending all the way forward and looking through the head-hole of the dress.

As any best friend would, I fell into hysterics and dragged Lindz into the changing room as well. After the two of us had pulled ourselves together, and given Melissa sufficient time to panic that we weren’t going to help her, we managed to drag the dress off her. It was only when Mel was later putting it back on to the hanger that we realised it had a secret zip. Shame on me and Lindz for not finding it. Shame on Melissa for not remembering  she’d used the zip to get it on in the first place.

How Do You Blow-Off Steam?

I love spending time with my girlfriends. I think it’s really important for any woman to have a break and some time to herself away from her family every now and then. But sometimes it isn’t always possible. I think the only thing that would have made our shopping trips better would have been us having custom tote bags emblazoned with “The Great Shopping Mystery”, easily arranged though CustomToteBags4U.

So how does everyone else blow off steam, or chill out? I’d love to hear your ideas or suggestions!

Thanks for reading!

Ella xx