Being of the hirsute persuasion means that decent hair removal is vital. Being a disorganised type, however, means that, more often than not, I am sporting something akin to two caterpillars above my eyes. Fringes are the poor man's botox, yes, but they also hide a multitude of hair-removal sins.
Anyway, given half a chance, I'd do a Sunday morning sprint to Clapham to visit the Glow beauty bar in Debenhams. £14 and it's like you've had a facelift. But then an Asian friend - let's call her Miss Z-to-3 - expressed her horror at such prices.
"No more than £3" was her stern instruction. £3?? I live in London, doncha know. Still, allowing for a bit of Southern inflation, I kept my eyes peeled for less expensive options - not an easy task with my fringe hanging halfway down my face and stray caterpillar tendrils getting caught up in my eyelashes.
So, £5. £5 is good, right?
It is. If you're going for the straight in, straight out, take no prisoners approach, then £5 is great. If, on the other hand, you're travelling with Baby L and desirous of him falling asleep before you subject yourself to the not-so-soothing ministrations of a cotton-wielding threader , you may encounter some problems. If Baby L decides that observing the, ahem, rather colourful half-term shopping crowds (pink glittery slogan outfit for your daughter's Pixie Photo portrait anyone??) is more his scene than sleeping, well, then, you may very well be screwed.
I put money into the Iggle Piggle Ride. The Batman ride. The Iggle Piggle Ride again. I bought him a muffin. It was gluten free and delicious, so I ate most of it myself and bought him another one (not GF this time, lest I be tempted to scoff that one too). I bought him a babycino, and myself a flat white. I walked him up and down, up and down. And still his eyes did not glaze over. And nor, for that matter, did mine. They honed straight in on TKMaxx, and I was in like a shot.
I've been slightly obsessed with the idea of fine chain detailing ever since trying on this Chloe dress in Selfridges a few weeks ago - so much so that I even took a photo of myself on my iPhone in the dressing room mirror. Yes, apparently I am one of those people.
So how could I resist when I spotted a sweater with chain-embellished shoulders? Navy, tick, bit of sparkle, tick, slight military feel, button-up back, tick. I love it. And Baby L is still not asleep. No, he saves that party trick for just a few moments after I pay for the sweater, a pair of Anne Klein lace tights, a Calvin Klein dress and a Becksondergaard plaited belt, plus a knit for my mum and some Halloween tat for The Princess and Master C. Right now, £14 for hair removal is looking pretty good.
Anyway, he's asleep, and it's still "Attack of the Killer 'Pillars" under my fringe. I hoon it down to the other end of the centre and am nearly stopped in my tracks by the wailing and caterwauling that assaults my ears. What in the Sam Hill is that?? Oh, of course. A talent contest. And I though the Pixie Photo stand was bad.
So I'm subjected to the torture of simultaneous threading and cat-on-acid-being-violently-ill singing. Just to add to my joy, they're singing songs from Annie.
"The sun'll come out ... toooomoooorrrrow... bet your bottom dollllllaaaaaaaaaah..." Ha! I've pretty much spent my bottom dollar on waiting for my tinker of a baby to go to sleep! I wince, and am swiftly instructed by the stern Bengali lady to stretch my skin tighter. "And you have too much hair," she scolds, not referring to my fringe. "Too much!! When you last come?!! You need come every 3 weeks, so."
"Yes, if we remortgage the house and I get some earplugs," I mutter.
And from the stage - "You're ooooonly... a daaaaay ... aaaaaaaa... WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY."
Baby L starts, shudders and is awake. He is confronted by the sight of a lady bending menacingly over me, and wails. It is indicative of what's going on over on the stage that his cry sounds very small. Trust me, that boy has lungs.
Eventually, we're out of there, a few hundred quid down (I may have gone into the M&S foodhall to soothe my nerves after the threading incident... ) and suffering mild sensory overload. But the caterpillars have been squashed underfoot, and I totally love my new clothes. And really, in the scheme of things, £50 for a CK dress (and it's a classic number, honest - very Aniston, black, chic, quite timeless) is as bargainous as, well, £5 threading isn't it?
Maybe next time I'll just skip the muffin.