A miscellany

I am the slackest blogger. It’s me. I haven’t even been writing in my offline journal, I’m so slack.

I’m not going to start the next paragraph with “in my defence”. I can have written the beginning of fifty billion posts but it doesn’t matter because none of you can see them! So there is no defence, really.

I did get rather irritated by an article called something like “Things you shouldn’t have in your home after 30″ – to pick a few examples, pine furniture is lovely, mismatched crockery is a valid lifestyle decision, and if you did pry my Ikea goods from my cold dead apartment you would be left with very little – but on reflection it was obviously clickbait, and now I can’t find the article anyway. Probably for the best! The argument against mismatched crockery hinges on whether it will impress people at dinner parties. I am forty years old and have never held a dinner party, and if I did, my guests would be suitably impressed by my well-curated eclectic dinnerware collection, and if they weren’t, they could bring their own plates next time. Or I could dig out my grandmother’s Royal Grafton, but I wouldn’t waste that on the sort of people who’d scoff at my octagonal Arcoroc.

I was going to write about my no-makeup look, but my no-makeup look is, in fact, no makeup. My full-makeup look involves at most six products anyway (BB cream or light foundation; brow pencil; eyeshadow; eye liner; mascara; lippy of some description) so it’s not a radical departure. It’s not a political statement either. It’s just that when it’s 35 degrees inside and I’m closing up the caravan and getting ready for a five-hour drive I can’t be bothered putting makeup on. You’re lucky I bother with clothes half the time. And by “you” I mean “everyone between the lower mid north coast and the inner west of Sydney, and also Mr Wright for not having to fund a charge of indecent exposure”.

I was also going to write about my recent nasty cold and the effect it had on my life. It is very difficult to barrack properly when you have lost your voice! There is no hand signal that you can perform that will fully express the concept of “excuse me, umpire, but that player obviously had prior opportunity to dispose of the football before he was tackled, and in consequence you should penalise him for holding the ball and award a free kick to my favoured team immediately” and that is also performable in half of a double bed, and it wouldn’t be as viscerally satisfying as yelling “BAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL” anyway.

(Addendum: Go Hawks! I am Swans 4 lyf but I was also a paid-up Hawthorn member when we lived in Melbs (they’re Mr Wright’s team; we went to see them beat Geelong in the 2008 grand final), and besides, if Hawthorn keep winning premierships then we’ll keep being the previous reigning premiers, and that can’t be a bad thing.)

(Are the previous reigning premiers the dowager premiers? They are now.)

I would write about the nasty sunburn I picked up over the weekend. It was hot, we were fixing the gutter on the dairy, I wore a swimsuit top that was much more low-cut at the back than I thought, I completely forgot that sunscreen existed, thank you ADHD. But if I tell you about the nasty sunburn then I have to mention waking up in the middle of the night on Sunday morning with my shoulders a fused mass of agony from an exciting synergy of sunburn and overworked muscles, and I don’t want to relive that experience. It’s bad enough a day later.

(I’d attempt to justify the phrase “the middle of the night on Sunday morning”, but I think either you accept it or you don’t.)

I am looking forward to when the skin starts peeling, though, because I am a ghoul.

Right! Panadol, aloe vera and a nice cup of tea, methinks. And maybe an exciting synergy of a cool damp towel and a pedestal fan.

This applies to blog posts as well

How I expect normal people do the vaccing:

  • decide to do the vaccing
  • pick up everything on the floor
  • get out vac and plug it in
  • vac lounge, bedroom, kitchen (we live in a small flat)
  • unplug vac and put it away

The Shelby method:

  • decide to do the vaccing
  • two days later: decide to do the vaccing
  • one day later: decide I really must do the vaccing
  • next morning: stand in the kitchen vaguing out for ten minutes before realising I haven’t taken my tablets
  • make a pot of tea
  • take my tablets
  • have a game of Two Dots
  • have another game of Two Dots
  • run out of lives on Two Dots
  • notice shoes on the floor, remember I was going to vac
  • pick up slippers, take them into bedroom
  • go through pile of clothes in the corner of the bedroom; discover a jacket to wash, one cardigan to wear and two to take to Vinnies, and a surfeit of summer dresses
  • put dresses on the bed so I can go through them and decide which ones to keep
  • look for the take-to-Vinnies bag so I don’t have to start a new one
  • start a new one anyway
  • go through the boxes underneath the clothes, looking for the printer cable and the batteries
  • find the batteries!
  • have another game of Two Dots
  • find the take-to-Vinnies bag, which is full, so I’d have had to start a new one anyway
  • pick up the rest of the shoes, put them on the chair
  • get out vac
  • pick up the rest of the stuff on the floor, pile it on the couch
  • look up Australia’s population density
  • trip over vac
  • plug in vac
  • start another game of Two Dots; fling phone metaphorically away; get grip on myself
  • vac lounge room
  • vac bedroom
  • get briefly distracted by the dresses on the bed; talk to myself sternly
  • vac kitchen
  • vac kitchen again just to make sure
  • turn vac off
  • start tidying the kitchen table
  • wonder where the electricity bill went
  • look for electricity bill
  • trip over vac
  • unplug vac and put it away
  • go to pour a cup of tea, realise I never actually put any water in the teapot
  • remake tea, wash up, take the bin out, finish game of Two Dots, etc.
  • three hours later: move everything off the couch
  • twelve and a half hours later: move the dresses off the bed and back to the pile in the corner so I can go to bed
  • two days later: decide I probably ought to vac tomorrow

Triumphant return?

Shelby, Shelby, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen

…actually, “I’ve been in my bedroom listening to Queen” might be a bit more accurate on that front. And I haven’t even been doing anything useful like practising my Roger-Taylor-on-’39 impression! Shelby, you slacker.

So what have I been doing? Let’s see…

I got a job! (Yay!) Then I lost my job (Yay! …It wasn’t a very good fit and the pay was pants). Then Mr Wright got a job! (Yay!)

I moved to Bankstown for the job, then came back to Nerdhaven, then we both moved down to the inner west for Mr Wright’s job. We started off sharing a nice quiet apartment with a neat freak, then got kicked out (b00!) and had to move in with my parents (who are wonderful people but the commute was shocking), then found a nice house with a nice flatmate and a nice dog (yay! And awww, a dog) right on one of the busiest intersections in Sydney (um…), and are now renting a teensy flat with an outside loo and a separate laundry with no power. It’s a bit of a dive but it’s ours, and more importantly it’s quiet. (Yay!)

The goats are now living down the road with a larger herd and two guard alpacas. We see them when we drive past. Sherri (the big bossy one) seems to have installed herself as goatriarch; Terri (the little anti-social one) can now browse in peace.

I got re-diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression (yay?), had a medication adjustment (yay), and was formally diagnosed with ADHD, backdated to roughly 1980 (YAY). I’ll probably write more about this later, but: get yourself diagnosed if you need to. It has seriously changed my life.

Also, sleep apnoea. Mine is only moderate; I can’t quite afford a CPAP machine but I’ve got some exercises to do.

And I turned 40. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Still, it means I’ve been here for 40 years, and that gets a yay. (Yay!) Also a cheesecake.

I’m sorry if you’ve left a comment and I haven’t published it, but I have so much spam, I am unable to even. I shall install Disqus! It’s on the list. A list from which I can finally, finally cross off “put up a blog post”.


Shop What You Got: day 6

So this was possibly not the best challenge for someone who (a) doesn’t have to leave the block more than twice a week and (b) doesn’t have a dry place to stand outside when it rains! And (c) not having a phone that can Instagram is also a contributing factor.

But I will persist, oh yes. I’ve been very diligent in tracking what I do wear when I leave the block, even if I don’t get to photograph it, and I’m going to post 30 outfits featuring my 30 items even if it takes me until next January. So there.

Here’s another one!

This is my favourite cardigan and I’m almost surprised it’s taken this long for it to make an appearance! It’s very versatile – it’s a fairly light-weight fabric but it’s still cosy, and while the sleeves are very long (down to my wrist before the ruffles kick in) they’re loose enough to push up to your elbows if the weather turns warm, but not so loose that they get baggy.

The original buttons were tragically cheap – they were this shiny black plastic stuff and they had stray bits of plastic sticking out the sides (!) – so I replaced them with some plain black buttons that have been sitting in my button stash for way too long.

(I have a thing about buttons. Sometimes I’ll buy op shop clothes that don’t even remotely fit me just so I can reuse the buttons. Sometimes I’ll buy op shop clothes that don’t even remotely fit me just because I like the look of the buttons, even if I have no idea of what I could use them on. It’s a thing.)

(Does anyone else do this? Please tell me I’m not alone.)

This is why I can’t have nice things.

(Sherri is the wilful one with the dark brown and white face. Terri is the sweet one with the light brown face.)

I didn’t have this outfit on for long so I’m not sure how well the scarf holds up as a belt in this configuration – I’d probably have to shorten up that long end somehow, or double it over as I did with my Melbourne Cup dress. We’ll see if it makes another appearance.

dress: House of Please Stop Cutting Your Tags Off, Ladies
cardigan: Target
scarf: Salvo’s Queanbeyan
earrings: made by me
hair clip: Big W
shoes: Candy

iCurvy World

Shop What You Got: interlude

I haven’t forgotten, and I’m still going! It’s just been a hectic week or so in the land of Nerdhaven. I’ve only left the block once since last Tuesday and we were too busy to take photographs. I did have tentative plans to catch up yesterday, but first we had to mulch the road so that next door’s cattle don’t walk all over it, and while I was making pegs out of old fence wire an excavator showed up to fix our driveway and dig out our dams, and then it was 6.30pm and neither of us could lift our arms.

I had even more tentative plans to catch up today, but it’s raining. Storming, in fact. This is a big deal. We’ve had a cumulative total of approximately 20mm of rain since June. (This is not a typo for 200mm. We keep records.) I’m certainly not complaining about the rain, especially since (a) the state is a tinderbox, (b) there’s a three-thousand-hectare fire on the next ridge over, and (c) we have dams again, but it puts a crimp in my outfit documentation.

“But Shelby,” I hear you say, “why can’t you just take photos inside?” Well, o delicious readers, I am currently residing in a caravan and we don’t have a great deal of inside. We’re getting demountable cabins soon – the next week or two, with luck – but they’re still on someone else’s block an hour’s drive from here. I do have an old dairy, which has some dry patches even though the roof is half missing, but it’s 300 metres away and I’d have to get all my clothes to and from the car and did I mention it’s storming?

On the bright side, it was so warm and windy on Friday that the washing dried in an hour and a half, so at least all my outfits are available even if I can’t photograph them.

In the meantime, I’ve updated my master list post with the new clothes I wore on Friday (new to the challenge, not new to me). I’m up to 18 items so far! And I haven’t even worn my other favourite cardy yet (it’s black with ruffles).

I’ll do my best to get photos up soon :)

Shop What You Got: day 5 (Melbourne Cup!)

Melbourne Cup day isn’t a holiday here in NSW, but Mr Wright and I happen to be friends with the proprietors of a local business who actually have it written into their constitution that they will have a party on Melbourne Cup day. How could we resist? In fact it was the best Melbourne Cup I’ve ever had, and that’s counting the time I actually won $7.50 on Doriemus. Props to Well Creative for the barbecue, Wingham Beef for the excellent scotch fillets, and a very special thank-you to everyone who topped up my glass of champers.

I had a hat, of course. But I forgot to put it on when we took the first batch of photos! Silly Shelby. It’s a white semi-frothy confection from Target, and I always intend to add more feathers to it but I can never decide what colour to go with. Black is elegant but boring. Blue is more exciting but I run the risk of looking like a North Melbourne supporter, or worse, Canterbury-Bankstown. Green is even more limiting. White is even more boring, with the added complication of having to match the whites. Silver would be a possibility if I could avoid looking completely ridiculous.

Speaking of completely ridiculous things, we have these shoes with this terrain. Any terrain, really; they have a three-inch stiletto heel and I have weak ankles. I still like them. When we left Melbourne I wasn’t sure whether I’d ever be in a position to wear them again, but I liked them so much I decided to hang on to them anyway. They’re at least one size too big for me length-wise (there were no size 10s so I had to go for the 11), but width-wise they’re comfy, and I’ve always liked the crossover shoe effect ever since I first saw a pair on UK What Not To Wear. My heels are quite narrow and court shoes tend to slip off my feet, so I need something to keep them on, and ankle straps are all very well but I like a bit of variety.

Fishnet tights with open-toed shoes: Shelby says, sure! Unless your big toe is poking through a hole in the tights. Not that that happens to me on a regular basis or anything. And you should probably do your nails.

(These heels really are three inches high. Stiletto heels on dry grass… well, at least it’s better than stiletto heels on mud.)

I found the dress in Salvo’s at Tuncurry a few weeks ago and I wasn’t entirely sure about it – I’m not quite convinced by the combination of cowl neckline and no sleeves, but it was longer than my other black dresses and therefore much more elegant and romantic. Interestingly enough, looking at these photos I like the neckline but I’m much less keen on the length – I remembered it as being ankle-length rather than mid-calf. I may have to borrow a sewing machine and take it up to just below the knee. That’s still longer than my other black dresses and therefore still a bit more elegant and romantic.

I wanted to add something to bring me in at the waist, since I do actually have a waist (sometimes I forget), and I decided on this gold scarf; it’s at least six feet long with the tassels, much too long to go around my midsection just once, but not quite enough to go around twice and stay there, so I secured it with a brooch. In retrospect I would probably tie it a bit tighter next time, as it did slip down a bit over the afternoon, but it stayed in place and didn’t dig in, so I’m calling it a success.

And of course I still love my jacket.

dress: House of Homemade, via Salvo’s Tuncurry
jacket: Bianca Spender for Carla Zampatti, via Blue Cross Taree
scarf: via Queanbeyan Salvo’s
brooch: via Valley Vintag
earrings: made by me
hat: Target
shoes: also Target
fishnets: now in the bin
sweep numbers: 7 and 17
winnings: $0

(A note on the challenge rules: I’m not counting the hat, because it’s a hat and hats don’t count. I am provisionally counting the shoes, the proviso being that I can actually walk in them; otherwise I reserve the right to swap them out for a pair of shoes of equal or lesser height.)

iCurvy World

Shop What You Got: day 4

(Sorry for the delay in posting these! Monday night is aikido night, which means leaving the house before 5 and not getting back until after nine (yay living in the country), and yesterday I couldn’t get the internet to work.)

After Sunday’s ridiculous heat Monday was more seasonable, and when the southerly breeze really got going it was almost chilly. This is more the sort of spring weather that I like.

I am madly in love with this jacket. It’s Bianca Spender for Carla Zampatti, and I found it in *drum roll please* an op shop, on the dresses rack, bundled with a pair of trousers. My hands noticed the fabric before my eyes did. Nice heavy cotton, fully lined with a decent-weight acetate, no holes or marks or falling hems anywhere, all the hooks and eyes firmly in place. It was gorgeous.

I scurried straight to the change rooms with all my fingers crossed that it would fit. Spoiler: it was close enough. It was a little smaller than I’d prefer and I couldn’t do up all the hooks and eyes (but then again I wasn’t wearing my minimiser bra), but it nipped me in beautifully at the waist and flared nicely over the hips and even flattered my swimmers’ shoulders. I had to have it. I didn’t even bother taking the trousers off the hanger.

It’s a little tight across the shoulders (driving is difficult but not impossible), but hopefully it’ll ease a bit with wear, and it’s not like I’ll be slinging boxes around in it. In fact, in this climate it’ll probably sit in my wardrobe 360 days of the year and I’ll just take it out every now and then to rub the soft lining against my cheek and get a hook in my eye.

Do you want to know how much I paid? $7.50. Seven dollars and fifty cents for an Australian made designer trouser suit. I’ve been to op shops that charge you that much for a plain T-shirt.

(The trousers don’t actually match the jacket – they’re a different fabric and a different shade of black, and also two sizes smaller. I’m not sure whether it’s more ethical to donate them back to the op shop, or sell them on Gumtree/Ebay and then use that money to buy more clothes at the op shop.)

This T-shirt is one of the smallest sized garments I own. I thought it looked a bit small for a size 16, but you never know, and when I tried it on it looked fine. Then when I was putting back all my rejects I looked down and saw “size 10″…

I didn’t plan it in advance but I like how the silver studs on the T-shirt are echoed by the silver hooks and eyes on the jacket.

The skirt was originally part of a minidress – the top half was designed for someone with more restrained assets (shoulders and bosom both), but the bottom half fit nicely, and it had pockets, which sealed the deal. I don’t have enough clothes with pockets. (My jacket has pockets. Another reason I love it so.)

In order to make it into a skirt I had to cut off the top half, then cut out the front zip, then cut a bit from the neckline to sew over the enormous (three inches at least) centre-front gap in the waistband where the zip had been, then thread the elastic through the resulting waistband, then tidy everything up, all by hand because I have no space for a sewing machine. It’s a good thing the skirt fits after all that! It’s much shorter than I’d usually wear, but I put so much effort into it that I’m wearing it anyway. And I like wearing fun tights and showing them off.

jacket: Bianca Spender for Carla Zampatti, via Taree Blue Cross Op Shop
t-shirt: Rivers, via Lifeline
skirt: Crossroads, via Vinnies and my sewing kit
earrings: made by me
tights: Target, via Target
shoes: Candy

iCurvy World

Shop What You Got: day 3

It was another ridiculously hot day in the Manning Valley today (37 degrees mid-morning! This might be barely acceptable in February, but in November? When one is hung over? It’s ridiculous) so Mr Wright and I went down to the creek for a swim and a picnic lunch. About three swims, as it happens. It was hot.

This is my current Top Outfit for throwing on over my swimmers:

Blue dress, green cardy

The dress is another op shop find from Someone Cut The Label Out Couture. I haven’t worn it enough to really get the hang of it yet, which is probably a good thing, because today’s outfit photos have shown me that it’s much more see-through than I realised! It is very comfortable and it dries in no time, which makes it great for swimming-adjacent activities (like when you get distracted and drip peach juice all down your front and have to rinse your frock out in the creek), and I love this shade of blue.

I’ve been pairing this dress with my white cardy, but I didn’t want to get creek dust all over it, so I opted for this green one, which has about one more season’s wear in it before it falls apart. I like blue and green together as long as they’re the right blue and green – these are both bold colours (not quite jewel tones) so they work well, but I’m not sure a pastel green would work with this blue, and I probably wouldn’t wear this cardigan with a pale blue top.

Blue dress, green cardy

I wanted to finish the outfit off with my silver elasticy sandals – they’re a bit too tight for my wide feet so they’re hideously uncomfortable for long periods, but they’re actually really nice for short periods like heading from the van to the car and from the car to the creek. But when I put them on, the elastic on one side promptly pulled out and I didn’t have time to fix them! I’d have swapped in a pair of white sandals, but I can’t find a decent pair of white sandals to save myself, so bare feet it was. I was going swimming, after all. And I did have a hangover.

[only two images today owing to a critical case of STF (See-Through Frock)]

dress: House of No Label (via Salvos Tuncurry)
cardigan: Basque Woman (Myer)
shoes: House of Barefoot Shelbies (via The Great Sandal Drought of 2013)
ibis clip: originally silver, painted with green nailpolish by me
earrings: a present in high school

iCurvy World

Shop What You Got: day 2

Today was the Wingham farmers’ market, and we wanted to get there fairly early, so I threw on my easiest outfit. We were in such a hurry that I completely forgot to wear lip gloss for the photos! I promise I put some on before I got in the car.

Me in a skater dress

I got this dress from Big W in a recent sale – this is where yesterday’s skinny black belt came from. It’s a size larger than I’d normally wear, even taking into account Big W’s anti-vanity sizing (I usually wear a 14-16 but I’m a 16-18 at Big W), and it does make me look on the larger side, but on the other hand it’s so comfortable and floaty that I don’t really care. (And on the gripping hand they didn’t have an 18 anyway.)

What I love about this dress:

  • the boob panel actually goes over my boobs
  • the neckline is cool wihout being too plungy
  • it has short sleeves! Not cap sleeves, not three-quarter sleeves, short sleeves! It is one of two dresses in my collection that does. And I own a lot of dresses.

Now look to the other side...

It looks fine with the black belt but I think it looks better with the scarf. I get really twitchy when I have anything too close to my neck and also I have an enormous chest area so I find it hard to wear scarves as nature intended, but I love scarves and have amassed a vast collection over the past twenty years (without even noticing; I don’t remember buying this one), so it’s always a plus when I can wear a scarf in an interesting way.

Hey, red shoes!

I converted to footless tights during the Incredible Pre-Black-Saturday Melbourne Heatwave of 2009. I wandered around the streets of Abbotsford in my footless tights and maxi skirt, looking for a cafe that was open so I could buy some lunch because it had been too hot to make anything at home that morning (all the cafes were closed because it was too hot to make anything), and not expiring from the heat. These red sandals are probably from the same period; all my sandals have been breaking lately, and I was reduced to wearing my tan Maseur sandals in desperation until I found these in a storage box. They tone very nicely with my nailpolish (I tend to wear red a lot) and I picked my cherry earrings to continue the theme.

The end

dress: Avella (Big W)
scarf: I really have no idea. Savers Greensborough maybe?
shoes: Casual Expression
earrings: made by me

iCurvy World

Shop What You Got: day 1

Hello there!

My first ever outfit post! Please be kind.

I decided for the first day of November I’d wear one of my current favourite outfits. I had to go into Centrelink (more on this later) so I needed a bit of a confidence boost. Funnily enough, just about everything here is either from an op shop or bought on sale – proof that it’s certainly not the cost that makes the outfit!

View 1

I got this dress in a bag sale (stuff as many clothes as you can in a bag for $5) from Valley Vintage; I’d picked out a couple of dresses for myself and some shirts for Mr Wright, and there was enough room left in the bag for some things that I wasn’t quite sure about. Originally the waist was elasticated, which made it too short to wear on its own and also a bit less than flattering, but I figured that eventually I’d find the right pair of skinny pants to wear underneath. Then I had a brainwave and unpicked the elastic, solving all my problems and giving me a new favourite dress.

Interestingly the store label has been partly cut out, but the size label is still there. Mr Wright and I have been throwing around ideas as to how this might have happened. Was it a gift for someone, and did the giver want to make sure the recipient didn’t return it for cash? Is it a low-class label and did the owner not want to appear too bogan? Is it a high-class label and did the owner not want to appear too show-offy? Did it not have a label in the first place? We may never know.

Another view of my outfit

The cardigan is another op shop score. I bought it to practice my embroidery on, but I couldn’t decide what to do, and then one day I needed a white cardigan and there it was in my wardrobe. I’m a big fan of cardigans, and a white one is a good compromise when it’s not warm enough to go bare-armed but it’s too sunny to wear black.

Look! Over there!

dress: House of No Label, via Valley Vintage
cardigan: Marco Polo, via Vinnies (Taree)
shoes: Candy, via the Anglican Op Shop in Wingham (that’s actually the name of the shop)
belt: came with a dress from Big W
tights: Emerson (Big W)
earrings: made by me from an old chandelier

iCurvy World