I started as I mean to go on

Monday is a bit of a special day, isn’t it. Well at least it is for me, although I accept that I tend to subscribe to the bad juju school of thought, where a falter means a fall, and setting the right pace from the get-go is the virtual guarantee of success.

So Mondays are important, as they have the power to shape my entire week. Going to bed and beating myself up for various shortcomings accumulated throughout the course of the day pretty much means that Tuesday will dawn with the black dog camped out on my shoulder. And so it continues. Vicious.

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This was my Monday. I was up early, and getting the children well-breakfasted and to school for their 8am gym club wasn’t stressy. I picked up some fruit & veg, and then dropped my youngest at nursery. I went for a run. I ran into a friend. I resisted any temptation of a food-related nature. I returned some ill-conceived purchases (that’s always a good feeling). I mooched around in the inspiring loveliness of the Liberty haberdashery department, and went to check out the new & other stories store (it’s amazing. Slightly disorganised, but it’s early days… and the stock more than compensates). I made calls that needed to be made, paid bills that needed to be paid. Ran into another two friends in town. Picked up the kids, did homework, read stories, fed them a decent home-cooked meal and got them to bed happy and not too far past what might be considered a reasonable time. The cleaner had been, the Nespresso order arrived (could’ve hugged the delivery man!) and my neighbour popped over. Texted my mum. Watched Broadchurch.

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It all sounds so terribly prosaic doesn’t it?!! But this was a Good Day. And my bet is that tomorrow will be too.

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she enclosed the gift receipt

It’s the oddest thing, but on my recent birthday, I received bags of various descriptions from no fewer than 4 of the women in my immediate and extended family. Odder still, because I am fairly pernickety about sartorial matters, and nailing anyone’s taste is no easy undertaking (which is why vouchers, preferably from Selfridges or Liberty, are always welcomed).

In any case: whether I liked the bags or not, there were just too many of them. Only one, however, came with a gift receipt: it had been bought at Fenwick in Newcastle and so to the Bond Street store I headed.

Fenwick is wonderful. Just so lovely and peaceful and unfrazzled. I adore Selfridges but you can barely make a dent in it in the space of a whole day, and there’s just so much to be had, or even just cooed over, that it can be a little overwhelming. I’m sure I would miss any sales bargains on offer in the melting pot of all that’s on view.

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Not so at Fenwick, where I tried on, in a leisurely fashion, a handful of designer items, all heavily marked down. And then I saw this Joseph sweater. So thick and cosy, with its cabling and blackberry stitch panel, made from a blend of wool and cashmere. And the colour! Vibrant yet deep, cheerful yet cold-weather appropriate. It was marked down from £385 to far, far less than that, leaving me with just £37 to pay on top of the value of the gift certificate from the returned bag.

That bag may just have turned out to be my best birthday present of all.