I am on a strict, strict budget. In the Miss Underscore household there is a distinct WW2 'Make do and Mend' mentality. I expect shortly, when I run out of money for winter tights, I will be painting my legs with ASDA Smartprice gravy granules, swapping Bobbi Brown lipstick for a smear of beetroot juice and brewing nettle, rather than Yorkshire tea.
So it is sheer, blistering agony that I am unable to indulge in autumnal shopping, which I firmly believe is the most wonderfully satisfying shopping of all. Cashmere jumpers, knee high boots, cosy flannel pyjamas, whippet-soft socks, wooly tights, winter coats, berry shaded lipsticks . . . . . . divine decadence darling (to quote Sally Bowles). I think it must be the mentality of the dormouse, cocooning itself in its snug nest, protecting itself from the bleakness of winter. If I wasn't living on such an austere budget then at the first scent of chilly, autumn-morning air I would take myself to Newcastle to stock up on cosy, cosseting supplies.
This year, sadly there will be no such treat. I am so freaked out by the precarious state of my finances that buying 2 punnets of greengages for jam this week (£3) seemed like fiscal debauchery. I am writing down everything I spend. It is so depressing. I have gone shopping cold turkey.
But, if I was giving up heroin I would be gently weaned off with methadone. If I was giving up nicotine I would have a little plastic cigarette to toy with (how eccentic would that look perched at the end of a silver Art Deco cigarette holder)? So, I am going to list all the things I would be buying, were I not broke. Virtuous, virtual window shopping!
Boden Cropped Cashmere Cardigans
The problem with these is there are so many divine colours that I would end up buying at least 5. There is nothing I love more than a cashmere cardigan. I live in them and they go with everything. Unfortunately, they are £89 each. At the moment I am craving pink, green, blue, grey and purple. £445 spent in two shakes of a lamb's tail. I love the design of these, they are so 1950s, retro chic. Very Eve Marie Saint.
Bottle Green Winter Coat
Yard duty at the School of Hard Knocks is Dickensian bleak. The North wind cuts through the arson-ravaged estate like a knife. I need a new winter coat. I would love a bottle-green one (bottle-green is simply my favourite colour). I've not found one locally yet, this one from an American store is perfect. I love it!
Knee-high Suede Boots and Opaque Tights
The combination of boots and wooly tights is as resonant of autumn as the smell of woodsmoke and the taste of cinder toffee. I love these chestnut coloured Boden boots.
Flannel PJ Bottoms
I have none of these in at the moment, yet they are essential fire-side loaf-wear. Madam Noir favours velour for her 'Mavis Rileys', I like brushed cotton flannel because the more you wash it, the softer it gets. I also think loose flannel pj bottoms are quite Annie Hall somehow. My usual place for tracking them down is good ole M&S.
Dresses and Skirts
Ironically, I wear more dresses and skirts in Autumn and Winter than I do in Summer. That is because my legs look so much better when camouflaged in black, opaque tights! This dress is another Boden find, and is more 60s than my usual favoured 50s design. I like it. I like it enormously, but maybe it is more suited to a willowy size 8 girl. I have a sneaking suspicion it would make me look like Hattie Jacques!