Sunday, 7 September 2008


It's odd what sparks off memories. I was reading a book about the 1950s when it mentioned that Christmas wouldn't be complete without a box of Fortnum and Mason peppermint creams. I haven't thought about them for years. My Grandmother always got a box for us. And I can still see the red padded paper covering, and how they were eked out as even then, they were seen as such a treat.

Which then took me to a department store in Birmingham called Marshall and Snelgrove. They also had very distinctive boxes to put their goods in. For a while my very glamorous Auntie worked there and I can remember a Birthday treat probably when I'm either 9 or 10 when we caught the train to Birmingham, we usually caught the bus. We got seats at the very front of the train and could watch the driver. Then to see my Aunt, who gave me a sixpence to put inside my new patent purse. I remember being excited about getting home too, as I hadn't been allowed to take my birthday handbag with me in case I lost it, and I wanted to wander round the house with it, being sophisticated!!!

All of which proves that nothing really changes, as nowadays my sister and I whatever else we buy each other will always buy each other violet creams, it's just are taste buds have altered. What's important for both of us is that they have to come in a box of some description. And I have kept the box from a couple of years ago as it came from Fortnum and Mason and is a lilac coloured heart shape.

And as for the purse and handbags.... well if I ever treat myself to new ones I spend happy time playing with filling them up and then enjoying using them.

The ultimate treat in this way, which will never be bettered was after having had a mastectomy. It was my first outing to Manchester. I had booked myself a facial, that in itself was wonderful. I was still reasonably frail but being bloody minded about being able to cope!

After the facial I wandered round Harvey Nicks and Selfridges just mooching, just feeling glad to be able to do this again. I was looking at the handbags, purses and shoes. All way beyond my pocket. When I spotted this handbag that just said look at me,touch me, buy me.

This was big stuff, I couldn't justify this sort of expense. I put the bag down and wandered around the store some more, arguing with myself about such potential expenditure. I went back to the bag.

It ticked so many boxes for me; It was a designer bag and although I know this is shallow, I like designer stuff. It was subtle in it's labelling, which was important, as I don't like being flash, and it was big enough for all my needs.

Oh, the dilemma, I had to go get a coffee to continue this discussion in my head.
So in Transactional terms my controlling parent was really beating my needy child up at such a ridiculous idea. Fortunately my rational adult decided to enter the fray and said firmly to me..... I'd been through hell in the last few months, I'd got some insurance money back and I could afford it. And most importantly that I damn well deserved a present from me to me, for coping with all that I had gone through.

Sold to that woman.

Now two and a half years later my Prada bag is one of my most prized possessions and in use everyday. It is an outward sign for me of what I had to go through to deserve it.

It is really important that we learn to reward ourselves for coping with what we have to deal with in life. Everyone should have a list of things that are of no use, but are rewards for dealing with the shit. My list contains things, like fresh flowers, a total waste of money as the die, but essential weekly to my well being. My list is quite extensive, and of course I got the ultimate handbag.

It is all too easy to sacrifice ourselves for others, to spend all our spare money on the family and never give to ourselves, cause we hook into not deserving it.

I don't think this is healthy. I feel that if I am able to look after my needs then I'm in much better shape to look after others, and I will do it with a joyful heart. Rather than resentful attitudes and martyrdom which is what too many people hook into. And they wonder why no-one takes any notice of them......

DUH! it's cause they take no notice of themselves in the first place.

So go on get out there do something just for you.... like the advert says "you deserve it!"

And maybe when we start to care for ourselves then we can take on board what Thich Nhat Hanh says:
"Peace is all around us- in the world and in nature- and within us- in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter of faith;it is a matter of practise"

If I can love me, then I can love you. And if I love me I can find peace and everything that flows from it.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

I love that bag! I so know what you mean, at the moment I have fresh lilies in the lounge, their scent permeates the house and they make me happy every time I see them. Cost? £2.30 from the greengrocers, so easy to justify as well!
BG x

Fire Byrd said...

For me it's seasonal, so stocks in the spring, freesias, sweet peas in the summer. Right now I have a vase of bright pink spikey dahlias with eucalyptus which smells divine.But then I treated myself as my consultant doesn't want to see me for 9 months. Amazing how much treating myself nowadays relates to cancer or absence thereof to be more accurate.

trousers said...

Agree to all of that (except that maybe a Prada bag wouldn't be very "me").

Just as, in the end, you cannot deal with others shit until you've learned to deal with your own to some degree - then yes, I think it's a very valuable thing to reward yourself too for the same reasons.

I remember going on a much needed holiday and texting a mate to let him know that we'd arrived and found a nice bar to have a drink in - as part of his response, he said "you deserve it!!" It hadn't occurred to me at that point that this was the case, and those words felt like a slap in the face, knocking some sense back into me!

Wild Cat said...

What a lovely post! And so, so true - I can't remember the last time that I 'treated' myself.

Maybe it's about time I did! Although, I can't think of what I'd like LOL :o)


Trixie said...

The thing is as you said, you treated yourself. But that bag has lasted you quite awhile, and STILL in perfect nick, so shows it's worh spending the money on something that is going to last, than going through ten 'cheap' bags in that time!

Faith said...

Enjoyed your post, and agree with most of it. Can't see myself spending a fortune on a handbag, but then I don't like them that much. I do treat myself to other things though - like a spa day.

lampworkbeader said...

Interesting post. I agree that flowers are very important.

Fire Byrd said...

Trousers sweetie, just be careful what you wish for , you know what Fairy Blogmutha can do!!!

Then catz it's very definately time you did, cause no-one else will give to you girl if you don't do it yourself first

trix, your right about the bag it's nicely battered now.

faith, i agree with you about spa days they are such a treat. Almost essential!

lbw, yep flowers can't beat them for an instant cheer up feeling.


Cait O'Connor said...

I am in total agreement with you. Don't they say women who suffer from breast cancer have not cared for/loved themselves enough? That may be too New Agey for some folk. I never spoilt myself until after I had it, I used to feel guilty but no longer! Life is too short.

Mel said...


Now there's one that I sometimes struggle with--this 'gifting' myself...

Might haffta make a point to pick up some flowers today......

Fire Byrd said...

Oh Cait I'm right up there with you about life being too short. Gotta get the most of it right now and not tomorrow.

Mel, read above comment and buy flowers NOW!!!

Preseli Mags said...

It's a fabulous bag and you damn well did deserve it! I'd love a designer bag or shoes, and no I don't think that's shallow. Some things are just special. When I had a (fortunately benign) breast lump I bought a pair of really pretty, but impossible to walk in, pair of shoes during a bit of 'scared shopping'. I've never worn them, but they remind me now of how lucky I am. xxPM

nitebyrd said...

It is important to be kind to oneself. The dilemma comes in when you always feel guilty about it!

Fire Byrd said...

PM, that's a wonderful reason to buy totally wonderful but useless shoes, I'm all for that. So glad it was a false alarm as well.

Nitebyrd.... guilt what's that???

Exmoorjane said...

Love that you told that story - remember you telling me it in my garden when I admired that totally GORGEOUS bag! Also really interesting to hear it in those terms - controlling parent, needy child etc....think I need to cosh my controlling parent over the head! jxx

Eve said...

Your prada bag was one of the most inspired purchases I've seen made in my day. It is exactly as you describe, beautiful, subtle, functional and enduring. My strategy is always to divide the price by the number of times you use it, just pence per outing for you, my dear, over the course of a lifetime.

Love you dearly. Missing you. November's not so far off.......