Ted Baker dress
In Russian we say ‘как встретишь Новый Год, так его и проведешь’ which means you will spend the New Year the way you greet it. I greeted mine with my four favourite men - Mr Chateauneuf, DeeQ, Little Dude and a newly acquired lover I’ve been lusting after for a while - Ted Baker. In case you are wondering, his presence was entirely in a shape of a very expensive dress I wore that night.
OK, it wasn't THAT expensive but it was pricey enough for me to have a long discussion with my bank account in the changing rooms, and it was painful enough for my card to wince while I was punching in the pin code. As I walked out of the shop I couldn't believe I had just purchased my very first Ted Baker item.
Oh yes, 2014 was great; the year when the tables finally turned in my favour. Only two years earlier it was a very different story. Caught up in post-divorce turmoil, I spent far too much time in Bluewater shopping my sorrows away, maxing out a few credit cards and getting myself into serious debt.
After that I hid myself from debt collectors and the world in general. I was in a financial crisis, didn’t trust anybody including myself and permanently damaged my liver by drinking far too much. But I knew that the only person who could get me out of the mess I ended up in was the one who got there in the first place - me.
So with the help of trusty friends, Mr Chateauneuf and many books (the help which came in the shape of cheering, tough love and sound advice - in that order) I slowly started building myself up again. I stopped blaming my ex, owned up to my mistakes and I grew a thicker skin.
What followed was many disheartening months of job hunting. I ploughed through endless interviews, and having had been turned down more times than I care to remember, I developed an immunity to rejection. Until one day, when I no longer cared, I got a call and a job offer. It was everything I ever wanted and more. I finally got my finances under control and was able to afford life rather than a bare existence.
Months were going by and although I knew I could afford things, I still winced every time I completed a purchase. The painful memories of hardship were swirling around me like a bad hangover, clouding my mind and preventing me from seeing the real picture which was that I was in fact doing fine.
I didn't realize how bad it was until the Ted Baker dress. That day I walked out of the changing rooms, found Mr Chateauneuf and showed him the dress. He said he loved it and that I should definitely buy it. As I looked into his eyes I realized he knew, even before I worked it out. He knew how important it was that I bought it for myself.
He was right there and it would've been too easy for him to get his credit card out and buy it for me. But he knew I had to do it for myself. It was between me and me. For the first time in my life I loved the man more for not buying something for me.
That night, hours before the New Years party, I took my time doing hair and make up, I paired up the dress with my favorite red heels and a new clutch. I had all my lucky charms - something new, something red and someone I loved. I felt fabulous and was ready for the party and the New Year to arrive.
As I walked around the room - inhaling perfumes, admiring beautiful outfits and exchanging kisses with friends, I couldn't help but wonder, as 2015 was fast approaching and we all were pinning our hopes onto the new happy beginnings, did we take time to consider what we learnt from the past year? Did know what we were leaving behind?
The sands of time of 2014 were slipping away and as the clock struck midnight I shut my eyes, just for a second, and let go of everything bad that happened that year. And when I opened them again, I welcomed the new 2015 and everything I wished for.
Much later we left the party and walked right into cold January air. He wrapped his arm my waist and we strolled home. Chatting with the boys, laughing and swapping stories from the party we walked into the New Year, new beginnings.
That night I had all my lucky charms and everything I wished for was walking right next to me. But I also knew exactly what I was leaving behind.