'Tis the season to be jolly... which is why it beggars belief that going to my husbands work Christmas ball is such a trauma for me (yes, I'm fully aware that it's a first world problem ;) ).
I struggle with big groups of people socially, I feel very awkward and anxious. Not in an anxiety attack type way (I've only ever had one of those in my life thank god and that was back in April) No, it doesn't present itself in the can't breathe/ heart racing form. It's just I feel very concerned that I'll embarrass myself, Chris or the company. This usually comes to a head at this time of year when we entertain clients at the ball for the company Chris works for.
Suffice to say I'm a complex character, indeed who isn't, and this has absolutely nothing to do with having a colostomy either, this fear predates the stoma by a good decade. Some might be surprised to learn that I feel like this because what I lack in self belief I make up for in volume, I'm really very annoying, gobby even but as they say - Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud.
I dosed myself up with Rescue Remedy and put my big girl pants on and got ready for the night ahead.
My friend Kim came up with us in our car as she was meeting her husband up there (Matt is both a client and a friend). We arrived at the hotel in London early afternoon, which meant we could have a sit and chat before we had to get ready.
It was lovely to just relax for a bit. I'd got myself in quite the pickle. It's most annoying and utterly unnecessary too as all of Chris's clients are absolutely lovely and most of them I'd class as friends, despite knowing this I just couldn't get on top of it.
It's a great night out, if only my brain would cotton on to that sooner.
I'm very blessed with friends who make me laugh, laugh so hard it hurts. It's all you really need in life I think.
Shirt from Ralph Lauren, Jeans from Topshop, boots from Penelope Chilvers (a fave of the Duchess of Cambridge too).
Mocktails for me and Bubbly for Kim for a bit and then it was off to get ready for the ball.
I went full on cheapskate for the night, yes! Me! It's almost Vintage...I've worn this dress a few times now but I absolutely love it. In fact everything I wore was old.
Dress from Phase Eight, Shoes from Dorothy Perkins (about 5 years ago) and bag from Kurt Gieger (a couple of years ago too).
All gussied up for a big night out, some of us didn't return to the hotel this chipper I can assure you ;)
It really was a fun night despite my anxiety. I'm lucky that my best friend of 20 years - Michelle is always at the ball's as her husband is Chris's boss. She always settles me down and tells me to just be myself...but as my boys always say "just not too much" hahahahahahahaha
The handy thing about not drinking (which slightly compensates for the lack of the relaxing effect of alcohol) is you don't get the chronic hangovers, weirdly you still get a headache just from the late night, but not the gut churning, so that's a win right there!
We stayed at a gorgeous hotel and had a wonderful hearty breakfast, well most of us did but sadly Matt wasn't feeling it hahahahaha.
The hotel had a fab roof terrace with very cool little igloo's. I wouldn't mind going back one night and hiring one.
Top from Dorothy Perkins, Jeans from Topshop, Boots from Penelope Chilvers.
Atfer a big breakfast and feeling far less anxious we headed off to enjoy a day of Christmas Shopping.
I wanted this bear but Chris wasn't keen...possibly to do with the fact we hadn't bought a thing we'd gone for at this point.
Coat from Moncler, Scarf from Gucci, Bear from Ralph Lauren.
We stayed the whole day, and into the evening. Ben got the train up and joined us for the shopping trip. Its so lovely in London this time of year.
We popped into Belstaff on New Bond St, I like to have a little mooch round in there. I asked if they still had that gorgeous black dress that I tried on a few weeks back, I explained the the shop assistant that I had previously tried it on and that I had fallen in love with it, and that I would have bought it if Chris had got back to me in time and given the green light. Anyway she went off to find my size only to return and ask me if my name was Suzanne? Apparently the assistant from all those weeks back had put it by for me! How lovely is that! And how fortuitous that I happened to pop in and find it!
We're going to Paris in a few weeks and I'm going to wear it for dinner one night.
Sunday was spent finishing of putting up my Christmas decorations, I might not have any real discernible talents but I do a lovely Christmas display if I do say so myself! :)
Sunday afternoon was spent with my gorgeous cousin Emma and family for our Christmas get together.
Jumper from Victoria's Secrets, Jeans from Topshop, Shoes from Tommy Hilfigur.
We popped into Victoria's Secrets on Saturday for some pyjamas, I saw this top and couldn't work out if it was for bed or not. I actually had to ask. It's just that my Great Aunt Pink knitted me a bed cardigan in this exact colour when I was a child. It's possibly why I was drawn to it.
Anyway, turns out it's a day jumper and it's sooooo very cosy.
Cousin Emma and her family are some of my favourite people, she'll kill me if I don't mention her top too, it's from a boutique in Fuengarola, Spain, she's obsessed with the clothes there.
I saw this on insta yesterday and struck me as very apt for me right now...
....says all you need...