Letter to a Salesperson

Excuse me, could you say that again?

Oh – you think so?

I am the one buying the clothes, therefore I am the one that gets to decide if this looks acceptable or not.

I am NOT the one who sews, stocks or surmises that dresses for women should only have enough fabric in the bustline to look attractive on the hanger or in the display window, rather than actually cover the breast tissue area. The area where my gazoongas are so publicly displayed in this dress, out there for the world to see.

Never, ever go all Susannah and Trinny and tell a big breasted woman the new dress she is buying would look better ‘with decent underwear on, especially a decent bra’.

Because, honey, looking at you, let me tell you.



I want you to go down to the toy section and find a balloon.

Off you go.

Now, I want you to take the balloon into the staff room and inflate it with water. Not air – you have enough hot air of your own, you are venturing into my world now. G’head, inflate with water, to roughly the size of  a small soccer ball.

Soccer ball?

Now – for any of you that think this exaggerated – try this. (If you have gazoongas, use your own. If not, phone a friend and use hers. Once she knows why you are doing this she’ll happily comply.)  Right – gazoongas at the ready? Good-oh. Now, place one hand at the base of one gazoonga, where the underwire sits. Now place the other hand at the top of the gazoonga. The real top, where the breast tissue finally eases away into your shoulder or upper chest.  Now, keeping your hands steady – steady… move them away from your body and take careful note of the huge airspace between. See? soccer ball. Do the same excercise in width – gazoonga equals pi squared.  And look – much bigger than the fabric decorating the bust line of the summer dress I am trying on.

However… back to the balloon we go for. Take careful note of the balloon. Feel the weight. Note how it is not steady, it rolls around under your hands, slips to one side or the other. It moves, doesn’t it?  Like a living object?  Place it on the table. See how it goes flat on the bottom?  And the top? And sort of squished out at the sides?

It is NOT perky. It is NOT jaunty.  It’s not even properly round for gawd’s sake, is it?

Now let’s pretend for a minute – bear with me here – the tied up-end is a nipple.

I want you to put that balloon on the table and try and make the nipple align to the ‘correct’ place for one of these pretty little dresses – front and centre, pointing directly ahead. Whaddyamean it won’t stay there by itself? No shit.  It wants to point downwards, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s nip over to lingerie and find a bra. A real one, not one of those one-g-string-joined-to-another and disguised as an object smaller than an ear canal – one with at least 4 hooks at the back, underwire,  shoulder straps the width of a fire hose and constructed of fine mesh, concrete reinforcing, girdle material and bungee cord. Oh yeah, sex on a hanger for sure. What do you mean it looks like a torture device?  Try wearing it!  Now take your balloon, and carefully manipulate it into the cup of the brassiere. (I don’t know why they call it a cup either, it’s more reminiscent of  a salad bowl). Now put it on.

Now most big breasted  women cheat. They turn the bra upside down and inside out and do the hooks up first, then spin it around their torso,  pull it up over the ganzoogas and slide one then the other arm through the straps, then manipulate and arrange the front  as required. The only time they don’t do this is when they are trying on new bras and want to appear knowledgeable and sophisticated in front of the salesperson, and struggle to do it the ‘right’ way which is front first and then do the hooks up in the back. Which would be a piece of cheese if you were an octopus and had eyes in the back of your head and 15 fingers on each hand and could manage to manipulate four hooks in the back and support the weight of those  puppies in the salad bowls at the same time without breaking into a sweat and testing the limits of the 24 hour anti-perspirant that you KNOW you should not use because of the aluminium content and the link to breast cancer and all but you’ve done a full workout by the time you manage to get into your underwear and Jesu….

Sorry, I became sidetracked there.

Now remember – the nipple has to point politically correctly outwards. You need to keep the balloon tissue IN the salad bowl, not let it spread under the arms or under the underwire. Yes, I know it moves around, you have to manipulate it yourself. You have to hold your breast and lift your breast and arrange your breast and align your breast and then start again with the next one.

Using your hand, yes. Inside your clothes, yes.

Now the nipple has to align perfectly on the convenient seam there – the one they sew right across the nipple line in oh so natural breathe-able triple strength  itchyasshit  nylon thread. Just so you can have  inflamed milk ducts for the rest of your life. Even though you stopped breast feeding 14 years ago.

Finally, stand up straight – yes, those puppies are heavy – and look at yourself in the mirror.  Do your balloon breasts point skywards?   Do they impede over the side of your body? Jump up and down – go on. Never mind the sloshing. Do those balloons jiggle prettily? They what? Throw you off balance?  Now you know why gazzoonga endowned woman do not jog, they lurch. Or lunch.  And drink wine.

Now, lie on your back and look in the mirror.  Can you see what’s happening to your balloons? Take note of where the water has gone. And where the nipple is. Or was. Or isn’t. And that’s with a bra ON. Let me tell you, if they were real breasts you would  never lie on your back during sex again – at least not unless there was a power outtage or you were married to Stevie Wonder.

Now, stand up and try on one of these slinky black numbers. No? You are exhausted? You can’t breathe and your boobs hurt? Your nipple is itchy and your back aches?  You are hot?

No freaking shit.

So, sunshine, don’t tell me this dress would look fabulous if I had ‘decent underwear on’. It looks fucking fabulous because  I am fucking fabulous, my gazoongas are fucking fabulous and because your shoulder blades are on the wrong side of your body, you will never get a cleavage like this in your whole goddamn life no matter how many chicken fillets you buy.

Don’t bother wrapping it – I’ll wear it home.

Best by, Use by, or Expired

I recognise I have a problem.

I do.

Like the Yin for Yang, the black for white, my natural orderly personality that craves neatness and uncluttered areas has a secret obsession.

I am addicted to pantry items.

Larder loot.

Prada for the larder.

I have 2 large pantries that are filled to the brim. Chock-a-block with pickles, jams and chutneys that are made from exotic ingredients. Asian sauces with unpronounceable names. Sachets of hairy basil seeds and Argentinean high altitude Juniper berries and activated charcoal snowflake salt. And yes, these are real ingredients.

They are arranged beautifully and stacked  with labels facing forwards. That satisfies my OCD. Most of them are unopened… because they will be useful someday… should the perfect occasion arise.

Can’t waste a hairy basil seed.

So this year, when I commenced my foodie project of becoming as self-sufficient and natural as possible, I began making great pickles and jams and chutneys from exotic ingredients. I began making my own Asian sauces. I gave them unpronounceable names. And yet the stockpile still grows.

Enough is enough.

My mission is now, to slowly use every open, unidentified or out of date product before the end of the year.

Starting from open and oldest.

The snack food section is first.

I didn’t even realise we had an abundance of snack food, since it’s not something I ethically support.  Or purchase.

Yet, over time, I’ve acquired almost one entire basket of oddness.

The lucky recipient of stage one, are the boys. Specifically, the boy’s lunches.

A little addition every day.


My first offering was from a cute little container of chocolate coated sunflower seeds called ‘Sunny Seed Drops’  that an online contact sent me from Missouri. In 2008.

Yes, they were 5 years old. The candy colours were faded, but I pressed on.

My instructions were clear. 1 centimeter each day from the tube to be consumed.  After all, everything in moderation.

The 16 year old balked and gave them to his dad. Since The Sparky eats practically anything, that worked fine.

He’s still alive – so I pressed on.

The next challenge lie when I re-discovered 3 packages of commercial biscuits. I *never* buy shop bought biscuits. But each year, a school parent gave me a hamper and each year, a little box of biscuits were included. And filed in the ‘just in case’ portion of the pantry, just beside the tin of condensed milk. Just in case I ever needed ‘Gourmet Hamper Cookies’.

I decided the logical thing to do here was go oldest first. That would be the shredded wheatmeal from 2011. It became apparent that  these were not of sound biscuit body when the taste testing teen spat them back at me.  So we moved on, to English shortbread,  circa 2012.  They went into circulation today – 2 per lunchbox per day – which should knock them out in a week. There’s still the  2013 milk arrowroot to cover and that will be the end of the hamper biscuits.

The upside is, the terrorists are being well fed and I will slowly regain my pantry… that is, assuming I can refrain from the next providore that carries super interesting products.

Highly unlikely.


What’s the most bizarre thing in your pantry? Do you need to join me as I FOOD* food?

*Free Out Of Date food

A Fashionable Conversation

Sometimes, when I put my clothes away, I imagine them having a little talk.

A chat about where they’ve been, what they saw, what they did.

Since they get trotted out for different events – usually food related – I imagine my garments to have gleaned quite  the  repertoire for the gastronomic.  And afterwards, post soiree, they are returned to the robe, resplendent with tales of their travels.

To be what they are.

Totally uncultured gossips.

I imagine them, whispering conspiratorially.

“Where have you been? What did you do?
Oh my gosh did you? And she was there too?
She wore you with what? Wow, you get out a lot!
She never wears me there, she thinks I’m too hot.

Did you taxi or bus? Or did you take the train?
Did you see poor Laboutin – she left his heel in the drain.
I see you tried the the crab cakes… there’s a bit on your neck.
Oh, it’s seared chicken livers, with cream sauce and Triple Sec?

Last time we went out, we took black wool pants
they got sat on all night, they had not a chance
the button – popped –  blame
Fromager d’Affinois
it had nothing to do with dancing on the bar!

Oh -Red dress is sulking. She doesn’t get out.
and poor linen jacket copped a greased  Brussels sprout-
She must love you a lot –  you got the padded hanger.
They’re usually reserved for items of glamour..

And so it goes.

More often than not, it takes me to the next morning to return my clothes to the robe.

There are shoes to be shelved, underwear to toss to the basket. The discarded, unworn reject pile to be mollified and maintained.

And as I hang, fold and slide, I make sure sure to give a little smooth to the errant sleeve or collar.  Slip them back to their rightful place in queue of conspiracy, ready for their little chats.

As I turn away, from the corner of my eye,  I spy my make up brushes peeping out from my cosmetic case. And I wonder…

When Shaun Micallef Came to Visit

Like most people,  someone dropping in unexpectedly sends me into a mild spin. How clean is the house? Is my hair brushed? Are the toilets clean? (I live with boys, you get the idea).

The idea of a celebrity dropping in unannounced sends me into a major spin. I would need a week to get the house in order, lose 5 kilos, have my hair done and try  for a make-over. Especially if it was a celebrity that I have a mild crush on.

But when  Shaun Micallef came to my house, I was naked.

In the bathroom.

Wrapped in a towel.

The bathroom down the boys end of the house, not the ensuite off my bedroom.

Teen son led said celebrity straight to his bedroom and proceeded to show him scouting badges, model cars, aircraft oddities and train sets. Surprisingly, Shaun Micallef proved to be an ex-boy scout, enthralled with scout badges, blankets and plane paraphernalia.  Who knew? Jarrod, Toby and Steve were stoked. Not only were there 4 geeks in the house, there was a geek idol. A celebrity geek idol.

And a naked mother in the bathroom.

Toby took great delight in sticking his head through the door and announcing that “Shaun Micallef is here, didjaknow?”

Horrified that Toby was now also in the bathroom, giving away my secret lair, I snapped at him to shut the door and go away.  I sat on the loo, and listened as Shaun Micallef was given the grand tour of the house – including all things messy – by 4 teen geeks. I hoisted the towel and peered at my drying tangled hair while Shaun Micallef sat at the kitchen bench and conversed with 4 teens about planes, trains and other things geeky.

Bravely, I snuck through the hallway to the kitchen nook. I was about to throw caution to the wind and do a bolt for my bedroom behind Shaun Micallef’s back when an alarm went off. Shaun Micallef and 4 teen geeks all looked towards the alarm system just as I emerged. The alarm was jangling , my towel was slipping and 5 sets of male eyes were upon me. Eyes closed and mortified, I steeled myself to be brave. Open my eyes. One, two, three

My son turned off the bedside alarm and put down a nice fresh cup of Earl Grey tea beside my bed.

You right there mum? You were making weird faces in your sleep. Sounded like someone was trying to strangle you! What are you making me for lunch? Can Toby and Jarrod and Steve come over this weekend on the public holiday? Oh, and mum, I have to wear Chinese costume for cultural day….

This weekend, my house will be spotless, and I will be NOT using the boys bathroom at all.

When Shaun Micallef comes to visit, I want to make sure I am not in the bathroom.

It could be very unpleasant.

Published on ivillage news May 17 2013

Doing the Nancy Ganz Dance

Nancy Ganz. A range of women’s shapewear, swimwear and plus size clothing is an ideal mix of comfort and style for all seasons.

Girls, we know what that means.

The suck-it-in underwear.

I’ve always been a bit slack when it comes to suck-it-in underwear. I’ll buy quality cotton knickers, take a good look and as long as there is no VPL (visible panty line) I’m good to go. However, recent months of eating out quite a lot has meant the scale has risen from a reasonably respectable number to the words GET OFF. And then to GET OFF. NOW.


I attended a charity event recently. It promised to be a pretty swish event, and being the well prepared girl that I am, I  had bought a rather pretty, girly fitted dress for the occasion.  I knew that no matter what undies I put on, VPL *was* going to be an issue  so, under advisement of a gorgeous  friend who is always well dressed and rather stunning, I set off to purchase the recommended undergarments. “Nancy Ganz”, she said, “are the ant’s pants”. And she patted her gorgeous little figure. “See?”

Next thing I know, I am standing in the change room trying to wriggle myself into iron clad elastic.

So, let’s take a minute to discuss Nancy Ganz versus control underwear.

Nancy Ganz are no ordinary undergarments.

They are not for the faint of heart.

These are the Iron Lady of underwear.  The resistance in the elastic in these is akin to bench pressing twice your bodyweight with equal back pressure. Have you ever tried to force cat jaws open in order to get one to take medication?  Yeah, that. Include the scratching and writhing.

The bottom of the pant starts  just on the lower thigh. The top ends somewhere up high and although this image doesn’t show it, to avoid a muffin top under the bra roll you  are supposed to tuck the top of the elastic tube under the bra strap.

The overall effect is mean to make you look like this.

Pretty impressive, huh?

On the big night, I don my pretty new dress, add some sparklies, apply war paint and tame the locks. And heading out the door, I give one quick, last look in the mirror to make sure that everything is where it should be. Yes, indeed – smug as a mug in a fug, I slip on my dancing shoes and head out with my new bestie, Nancy.

Nancy and I had a fine old time settling in, sipping champagne cocktails and supping on canapés. Oh, how we glided gracefully through the first hour, confident and secure.  And as long as I didn’t try any sudden bending, all was wonderful. And  all that sipping and supping leads to a wonderful little champagne buzz which leads to more champagne which eventually leads to a rather pressing need to.. well.. excuse oneself to powder one’s nose.

And here I learned yet another lesson in fashion.

Getting them on, at home, in the comfort of your bedroom is one thing.

Getting them OFF, or at least down to your ankles, and then back UP again, in a cubicle space the size of a telephone booth, is another.  With one leg braced on the loo, my back pressed up against the door and my handbag between my teeth me and Nancy inched our way precariously past last week’s pasta, November’s cheesecake and last October’s dalliance with a Camembert wheel and some Prosecco.  When we got to the point of reaching the 40+ something aging milk ducts, we realised we needed to powder our nose again.  Have ever tried to tuck something under the back of your bra strap without assistance? Whilst tipsy? And on heels?
Good luck with that.  Let me just say, I was no longer looking – or feeling – very glamorous.

Which is why I may – or may not – have spent the rest of the evening commando style.

I’ll never tell.