So much plastic

I spend a lot of the time listing items to sell. A lot of this time is spent looking at labels. There are so few clothes that don’t have plastic in them. Like, less than 1%. Really only the beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) things that are 100% silk. Everything else, every wool, cotton piece of clothing is a blend and is mixed with acrylic, polyester, rayon, viscose, polyamide, latex, lycra. If it is only a blend of these things then the lining is usually acetate, which feels like a really cheap form of satin. Soft, yeah, and silky, but plastic, and cheap. Sooo many names for a plastic product. And then there are the myriad items that boast to be 100% acrylic, the soft ones. 100% viscose, the soft, durable ones. 100% polyester, almost everything else.

I did a google search. So now I’m an expert. Obvs. All these materials are made from plastic heated ultra high, then passed through tiny holes to make threads that are then blended to make clothes. They are made from a oil, a fossil fuel, a product that is not finite, and turn into products that do not biodegrade back into soil for hundreds of years.

So I ask you this. Next time you buy an item of clothing, look at the label. Don’t buy it because it has plastic in it (you’d never buy anything) but just be aware of what’s in your beautiful jumper, that sexy bra, those flattering jeans. Buy second hand if you can, vintage if you’re cool enough, reuse and, in so doing, reduce. Love those soft clothes but just be aware of where they come from.

It’s been a year…

I don’t know why I’ve left it so long to write another blog. So this is a reminiscence of something I started a year ago – read the previous posts for what ‘actually’ happened.

I wanted to voice an idea I’ve had in my head for a few years now. It started with a pair of shoes: a specific pair, one that I’d bought to wear with a particular dress for a special party. Except, I went to the shops and tried on the shoes with socks. So I arrive at the party, head up to my hotel room, don the lovely dress, feel great, and then put on the shoes, now without socks. And I look like I’m ten years old and I’ve snuck into my mum’s closet to try on her shoes. The heels last even less time than usual and within half an hour, I’ve resorted to flats.

Back at home, the shoes get relegated to the back of the wardrobe. But they don’t hide from my mind. They appear every time I think about that dress, about parties, about shoes. They’re clogging up my personal space. It’s not just the shoes, it’s a lot of stuff.

I ask a friend to show me how to use ebay. She says yes but she’s not my most pro-active friend. In the end, I invite myself, my ipad, the shoes and a bottle of red over to hers and we get on the case. A week later and I’ve sold the shoes for £7. I get a buzz because they’d been bid up from £4.

After that, I avidly went through my wardrobe. Sweaters I’d hardly looked at in months, jeans that were too big, sports gear that was too small. Suddenly, I’d decluttered to an extent that my cupboard made sense. I could see things, everything had a place. I was hooked. I’ve been through the whole house ridding myself of anything and everything. I’m currently going through my mother’s place, and she lives on a family farm. If I wasn’t enjoying myself so much, the farm would be daunting. There’s a barn, a loft and an attic full of three generations of belongings.

The most expensive object I’ve sold to date is a ruby glass vase that none of us like, for £100. The strangest thing is probably my granny’s swimming cap, chin strap and all, from the 1950’s for £40. And probably the most boring item was a Renault keyring. All valuable to someone. And it’s not about the value, it’s about decluttering, creating a life less materialistic, with more space. There’s a sense of recycling too. It’s not going to landfill and even the packaging I use is second hand. It’s come to be a large part of my life. Let me help you do the same and you might even make a bit of cash at the same time. I’ll come to your home, help sort through things, and sell them for you.

I was just reading an interview by GQ magazine to Caitlin Moran. My mind wondered, not because I was bored, I wasn’t, I hang on Caitlin Moran’s every word, both in the Times column and in her book How to be a Woman. But I have just spent half an afternoon reading the last 4 chapters so perhaps I needed a break. And I started to think about what I was going to order for dinner tonight. I’m not feeling that great, truth be told, I had Breakfast at The Wolesley this morning, a 9 year long wish fulfilled and I had, amongst other things, a small fishcake and approximately a pint of coffee. Not sure which one it was but as soon as I got home, I went to the loo and immediately afterwards took the preventive action of popping an Imodium. But that will not stop me thinking about food. Also, we’re going out with Gunter’s friends tonight and we’re meeting in Soho and I’m hoping we’ll go Vietnamese so I can order starters.

It’s something Gunter and I don’t see eye to eye on at all. Gunter is happiest after a single course, cooked meal, either in a restaurant or, surprisingly, at home.

But I love to pick. My favourite meal consists of serving snacks and home made dips at home. Our home is so small that all sitting around a dinner table requires moving much of the furniture around and then there’s only space for 4 people. So perhaps it’s by default but a bowl of almond-stuffed olives, warmed pittas chopped like soldiers, dry-fried halloumi and my signature guacamole (garlic, salt, lemon and put the stone in the bowl) is one of my favourite things to do. I’ll select a red wine, occasionally white and away we go. Heaven.

I also love to have bread and cheese at my mum’s. It usually includes a selection of deli treats: pork pies, smoked salmon trimmings, an avocado shared, with Worcestershire sauce in the hole (a word that Gunter pronounces each syllable separately), the marble lazy susan heavy with Cambozola, Jarlsberg, Boursin and a moulding end of cheddar. Gunter will, in desperation, cook himself a pasta dish with tomato and tuna sauce.

so much action

This is fantastic. There’s so much going on. It’s almost like facebook, the more you put up there, the more comments and likes you get and the more you go on it to check and the more fun it becomes. The more addictive it becomes. Since I sold my Bench jeans, I also sold a check shirt although they haven’t paid for that yet, it’s a shame because it’s all packaged up and ready to go. I didn’t sell the Banana Republic shirt but will give it an iron before it goes back on for sale, oops.

I’ve also listed some sports gear, sooo many watchers on the stella mccartney jogging bottoms, and quite a lot of interest in the nike top. A couple of bids on the Next jeans, even though the comments included that they’d been shrunk in the wash. And a men’s snood. That’s a strange one. I got an email requesting a “buy it now” – I didn’t know what to think or do on that but with my seller’s reputation at stake, I’ve declined, hope that’s the right thing to do. It’s gone up on the bid loads, again, I’m slightly worried about the state of it but the description wasn’t wrong. Well used and well washed.

I even had good feedback: “quick delivery” (it was still only second class but I got to the post office next day) and “top ebayer” – really pleased with that one. Such a reputation I have to keep up. The pressure!

still a novelty

I have a second bid on the shoes, it’s exciting and I’m feeling the buzz. They say that both buying and selling through the bidding process is good fun and I’m feeling it. I hope for a bid on the jeans and there has been a watcher. I’m not sure it was a great idea to wear them, if they don’t sell, I’ll try again putting them on a hanger.

The highest bidder so far is a miss paddington. I hope she gets them because of her name alone. But I also hope there’s a bidding war at the end. There are 90 mins left, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay off the internet for that time. That said, I’m procrastinating and should be listing more things on there, there’s so much to get rid of.

I’ve got a shirt out to photograph so hope to get around to listing it tonight. Thing is, I can’t remember where I bought it. I thought it was Gap but it has a different label so who knows. It’s also slightly creased, but it looks good.

I spent a while this evening checking out other stuff for sale on ebay. There is some cool stuff but the pricing is so weird, there’s no real code to follow, I guess the skill comes with time.The important thing is that I’m getting rid of stuff so if I make a bit of pocket money on the way, then great, I mustn’t get greedy.

a bid a bid

I feel like a kid in a sweetshop, I’ve had a bid. The kid’s had a bid. The shoes will have a new home. I don’t know who it is or why they want them. Not knowing conjures up all sorts of images in my head. Why is it so exciting. They have to wait over 2 days to get them for 4 quid but anyway, it’s so exciting, the clutter will go. What next…

One watch on the jeans, which is impressive considering my bum looks huge in them, bigger every time I look. Signing off for a date with a bar of chocolate.

Bench jeans

The friend who helped me set up ebay today. We checked my account and the shoes listing. It’s had 10 views and  4 watchers. Apparently, that’s quite good. When Linds sold her dress, she’d had 4 watchers. Fingers crossed. I put on the Bench jeans and we photographed them. I preferred the photos we took of the jeans laid out on the (clean) floor but Linds said it would accentuate the nice fit if I wore them. I think it just showed off all the Christmas goose I’d eaten a couple of weeks ago and the close up shot of my bum (to show the label) is cringe-making, but there you go. I had to swap around the front and back photos so that the back is the first pic as it’s slightly more flattering. If nothing happens, the floor photos will go up instead.

day 2

So I check my emails and there are a couple from ebay. I got excited, I thought it meant someone had checked out the shoes. But they were just welcome messages.

Then I signed into ebay and saw that there was a message for me. That got my hopes up too. But again, it was just a welcome message from ebay. There is a section where it says “Views/Watched etc” and underneath was a number 7. I left the page briefly and then returned to it. The number had risen to 9. What does that mean? My friend said that Watchers were much more important than Viewers but I can’t work out what’s what. So I’ll look into it and find out.

Just in case you’re interested, these are the shoes.


Ah, there are now 10 views and 2 watchers. This can’t be bad. It’s a confusing thing. The website has so many tabs and options, it took me a good 5 mins to work out where the page was with this info. Exciting though.

step 1

New year’s resolutions are for other people, something to go back to work and talk about. But then I got thinking. Christmas is  good time for that – no work, extended period of time to actually do stuff you’ve been meaning to do all year. And, besides the thinking, I got loads of stuff done. I hardly watched any TV and that got me thinking even more. I also got an ipad for Christmas. It has a keyboard so you can actuall, like, type stuff. Hence my addiction with technology is finally starting. Without TV, there is so much more time. There’s time to think and time to read and time to not worry about how little time you have left til bedtime.

All this, added to the fact that a change in circumstances over the past couple of years, means that I have stuff to get rid of. Decent stuff, stuff that it would be a shame to just throw out or give to charity. So I decided I was going to learn how to use ebay, and write about it.

Back in London on the 4th, with a whole day to get started, and then too much time to get other useful stuff done without TV, and a lot of procrastination. So I didn’t set up an ebay account and I didn’t start a blog. The first week back at work was spent telling everyone I’d given up TV and that I was going to sell loads of stuff on ebay and write a blog about it. And it wasn’t until my friend invited me over to hers that I asked if I brought extra wine, could she show me how to use ebay.

Recently a new ebay user herself, she went through the motions and helped set me up. It was not hard. Sometimes you just have to stop talking, stop thinking and just do it. So I photographed a pair of party shoes that I’d stupidly tried on with socks on, even though they would eventually be worn with a dress and tights. I spent the whole evening looking like a child who’s tried on her mum’s shoes with way too much space in the heel  and ended up with a smart pair of shoes I couldn’t wear ever again.

So I photographed them and uploaded them and put a price of £4. It’s January and there are sales on and everyone’s skint.

So there we go. Let’s see what happens.