Day 30: No passion for fashion! 62 days to go!

Kat doodles about life:

DISCLAIMER: Images below may cause distress, particularly to those very interested in fashion.

So as promised today’s post will be about fashion. Not just any fashion. My (no) passion for fashion and how my style developed over the years . I came up with this idea when reading my friend’s blog recently. I guess you could say that she is a bit like me, as long as it does the job, she wears it until it falls apart. At the Maison Bentley Blog Party I realized most blogs were fashion themed. Nothing wrong with fashion or any of those, mostly women, who blog about it, but what about us, who just simply do not care about latest trends, must have bag of the season or how high those heels of Victoria Beckham are. I rather get a good bottle of wine, box of Brie, good quality drill or fancy paint. I do not enjoy clothes shopping either, but give me enough money and send me into DIY shop, paint or furniture store and I won’t come out before closing time.

What is it that makes me and other women different to those, who eat, sleep, live for fashion. I guess there are two reasons: it might be the way you were brought up and where. In my time, there was not much choice and I guess there still is not for someone like me. Ever since I left nine years ago I have never purchased an item of clothing back home apart from shoes. And now the second reason is that clothes do not fit, so it becomes a massive malarky. I have inherited dad’s figure and always been quite a big girl. Partying, eating lot of wheat, not really eating the right food or being stressed were many of those reasons. Being top-heavy did not help either. Over the last few years I am gradually loosing weight and now I am at the point that all the clothes I will show right at the end is so loose I could really do with a shopping trip, but that is not going to happen for a while as there are more important things to deal with, so I guess I just have to look like I expect big flood as we say back home.

Here we are, I hope you enjoy my fashion journey, and if you really cannot bare how hideous it is , feel free to switch it off and come back tomorrow. xx

I was born in communistic Czechoslovakia in mid eighties. No choice of anything, You had to even queue to get bread, there was nothing on the shelves and you always had to search for things at the black market. You could make the most of it by receiving clothes from the western world (very rare) and make them to fit you or knit. My mother loved knitting ever since I remember, so I always had enough jumpers. My favourite things to do were running around the forest, fishing with dad, playing football with the boys, building houses with lego, chasing deers and hares, when running through the fields and making boats from tree bark. Just what one typical tom-boy girl likes to do.

very little

Later, when Communism fall, we became free Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic not long after, I also started going to school. Things changed and I guess options were little broader, not as yet amazing. This is probably the last time you see me wearing bright pink and that picture of me wearing skirt and turquoise tights is only my mum’s idea of selection for school photo. I hated it and cried for about two hours. I know I am smiling in a photo, but it is only because the photographer told me to do so.

being a kid

Not long after I became a teenager. Terrible times! I really did not feel comfortable with becoming more girly, I hated everything around me including my parents and all the things they forbid me to do including going out to all those rock and punk gigs I wanted to go to. I felt that only black can make me look better and more desired flat looking like. Perhaps to the point I may disappear. When I look back at those photos, i cannot believe it is the same person and I just want to simply go and give myself a hug and say it will all be good.

black times

The times, when I was not impressed about living at home having to listen to my parents was particularly when I had to attend family events, weddings etc. No need to explain why..?

bad shirts

The black period kept being swapped with times of me looking fairly hippie. Not exactly like the sixties hippie, more the central european hippie. Tearooms were my second home, so anything batique style, layered and looking a bit different would do. I kept going with this style mostly to the point of just before getting to the university.  Some of the pieces are purchased in Britain, where I am finding out that I can get clothes in my size and it does not have to look so hideous. Now there might be few exceptional cases for example when I bought that beautiful sparkly dress (I know what you thinking- sparkles?) from Monsoon, but worn only about three times. It was just after Christmas and I have worked  for months and months very long hours. Being in town I wanted to spoil myself and ended up picking this dress costing nearly £100 already reduced. Ridiculous price to me at that time if you ask me. I just about fitted in, feeling excited and not being realistic at all, I bought it. It always had a success with the boys, but for the wrong reasons as if I talked to them, they would not look into my eyes. It was hanging in my wardrobe for years not being worn until I gave to it charity and realized it is time to become more sensible.

hippie

And there was the university! I think personally that is when the big changes started to happen.  I got accepted into theatre design degree and obviously as a fond of anything to do with paint, scenic painting, making things, I also had start learning about costume. Costume? What? Do I have to? You want me to learn how to sew?..You get the hint. The other things was a peer pressure. Not only because I was the oldest in the class, foreign one, with no interest of what is going on in the class, because I went through lot of grieving at that time, but also with no interest in clothes whatsoever.  I have slowly been nudged by other 13 girls and two boys (one of them was gay doing the costume) into becoming rather aware of what I should and should not wear. One day very kind soul brought me a leaflet from Topshop advertising the experience of personal shopper said: “Kat, I think this could really help you!” And you know what it did! The personal shopper did very well based on the fact my size of clothes is instantly sold out on non existing in what I like or that I was a bit difficult to start with. She told how to think, what to look for etc. I did spend lot of money, but she completely revamped my wardrobe and I still own that black and white dress with oriental ornaments. And I got compliments from the class, so that felt pretty good too.

topshop

You could say I became more confident in what to wear and learnt how to shop. Sometimes it was success, sometimes I look back and I would change it, but overall it was all definitely improving.

got more confidence

She says thinking that sometimes she had to be a bit out of her comfort zone, especially when it came to college fancy dress parties…

dress up

So how is Kat before and after… I think I did it. I somehow managed to find that sophisticated style with bit of that quirky look still there somewhere. You can never stop learning, so we will see after next shopping trip as my clothes are fitting pretty loose right now.

now

(However if you ask when I feel the best, pictures below show it perfectly. I mean it is my job and how practical I can be and have to be. No point wearing labels when you are splattering paint around.)

my fav

So if you managed to get to this point, that is pretty good. I congratulate you, you are one very strong fashionista. I wish there is more hope for me one day, when it comes to clothes. But I do not think I will ever get to the point as my mother- that half of the larder is filled with shoe boxes.

Back tomorrow, Kat xx

Day 20: A place you call home. Crossing the 9 years mark! 72 days to go!

Kat doodles about life:

Today is a fairly special day. Not that something exciting would happen event wise, but it is more anniversary kind of day.  I already crossed that nine years mark of being abroad in June, but today it is more significant because it is in the UK alone. I came over in order to be an au pair. An advert on a job site showing beautiful images of countryside around Church Stretton and Shropshire was good enough reason for me to go and say yes after I spent four months in Netherlands doing exactly the same job. I had three to six months in my head and then wanting to move on to au pairing in France and Scandinavia. But that never happened and nine years later I am still living in the UK, still with the desire of living in France and traveling the world.

I still remember that sunny autumn afternoon, when my grandmother accompanied me to the bus station in Prague after three weeks of holiday back home after the Dutch trip. I soon realized the food supplies may not be enough for the whole journey, so I had to act very savvy and make it last until the next morning as I had inadequate amount of foreign money for stops in other countries on the way.  We arrived at London Victoria Coach Station at 5:30 am the next day and I had to wait until about  4 pm for the next bus to take me to Shrewsbury. I had £20 in my pocket, which back in Czech  Republic at that time was equivalent of enormous amount of money, I believe you could say around 60 beers. (Just remember that was 2004!) It was unbelievable! I was suddenly in the country I was only taught about at school and picked out randomly as my A level topic in Geography and English language. What a coincidence!  All the talk about Queen’s guard, English breakfast, pigeons, black cabs, fog, driving on the left became very real. I felt perhaps even too real as I was walking out of the bus station with my big 3 stone heavy backpack, small back pack in front of me and an art portfolio in my hand, when suddenly massive double-decker bus nearly hit me as I was going to cross the pedestrian. Right I have to start keep looking right first, not left! Oh my gosh! Wake up! Thinking to myself! Feeling very excited I ended up walking into Hyde Park to sit down for a bit and look at the London map I just bought, so I can see what The City has to offer before I have to catch the next bus. I sat on the bench in a foggy, turning sunny, morning Hyde Park watching pigeons and texting those exact things  to my friends back home of what I could see, smell and feel at that right moment. It was simply just way too surreal.  You would never think such a situation can stuck in your mind for so long. I remember it like it was yesterday. Later on in the day my hunger was getting worse, so I decided to buy a sandwich, but opted for a baguette of cheese and tomato, because I felt I am getting more value for money. How wrong was I! For half of baguette they charged me £4.50! I was horrified as a tourist wrongly comparing prices and what it could get me back home. For some reason apart from cafes and sandwich shops I did not notice any supermarket, so I guess buying it from a cafe next to Parliament and Big Ben, explains it all. Oh silly me.

People often ask me if I like this country?! Well of course I like it! Otherwise I would not be still living here nine years later! I have created my life here, working on my career, I made it work for me, I worked hard, people gave me opportunities, I got myself through two educational institutions and many other courses, and I met some really wonderful and dear friends along the way. Quiet honestly I consider myself British. In a patriotic sort of way. Obviously I am still Czech as my passport says and I did not resent my home country in one way, but I made sure I made it work and felt homely here. I joined and blended within the society and certainly expressed my feelings in case someone was trying to accuse me of stealing jobs, benefits, not speaking English or putting me into the same group with Polish people. I paid tax for all these years, picked up all the colloquial language and even a British boyfriend along the way. I fall in love with English breakfast (minus the baked beans) and Christmas minces, forcing my Czech friends and family to try during Christmas visits including the famous pudding and brandy sauce. I fall in love with the weather and all year round temperature, which allows you to wear pretty much the same clothes just with an addition of few extra tops when required. Obviously that had some impact of me not getting it quite right when trying to go out on a night out back home in minus twenty Celsius and foot high snow in high heels and little black dress and not much else. That particular lesson was quickly learnt. I fall in love with British politeness and everyone wishing each other lovely day, banks, post offices and shops being open during the late evenings and weekends including making all the required information needed online or over the phone comparing to the byrocratic system back home.

I just simply fall in love with this country and that is why I am still here. And I know that even some people I know back home judge me for calling Britain home, it is not that I would hate my native country, I still call home ‘home’ too, I just feel very happy here and I call every place or country around the world home, when feeling the same way. Plus entertaining my friends when speaking Czech with Welsh or Bristolian accent is priceless and I really do not mind being known as the English girl. And for those, who judge, I have developed simple way to shut them up: ‘Take your passport, book the ticket, pack the bag and do it yourself! Then we talk! ‘ They soon realize you cannot compare the amount of money you earn here to being lonely on your birthday, during Christmas or when simply things are just not great and you cannot pop over to your local pub to have a chat with your mate. I do not know how long I plan to be here. I may have to return next month or simply never. I am enjoying living like the character from Happy Go Lucky, so I guess I leave it until my inner soul says that’s enough!

Thank you reading and Thank you for being part of my 9 years (and longer) experience. With love Kat xx

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