The Shopping Habit

 

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One definition of ‘addiction’ is ‘the condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something’ and this definition brings one of life’s pleasures to mind: shopping.

I don’t think I’m actually addicted to shopping, but I do believe I could easily become addicted, given the chance. Living in the country, miles from any shops, is a help or a hindrance depending on your point of view. I think it’s a help, but if someone wants to throw some spare cash my way, I’m willing to test the theory.

What is decidedly not helpful to a shopping addict is the advent of internet shopping. A while back, when I was driving north with He Who Prefers Not To Be Named, I noticed an enormous, huge, ginormous Amazon warehouse had been built within ten miles of our home, ‘Just for us,’ we agreed. We are both seriously addicted to buying books on Amazon. It is just too easy. However, I have curbed my need for the services of the said warehouse: most of my Amazon purchases now are eBooks.

Research shows that many people buy things they don’t need, some buy things they don’t even want and most of these folks are a bit concerned about their shopping habits, some admitting they are ‘addicted’ to shopping.

In the developed world, merchandisers play to this addiction. Millions of Pounds, Dollars, Euros and Yen are spent every year on advertising. They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work.

Advertisers play on our emotions, telling us we deserve more and better than we have, assuring us that our life will be enhanced if we buy their products. It rarely turns out to be that way. In the words of an exceptionally wise man: Even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses. (Luke 12:15) and another wise man: A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

No wonder many shopping addicts are concerned about their shopping habit. They may well have come to the same conclusion – that it is just not bringing them satisfaction. But how to cure the addiction? Often professional help is needed. Identifying the underlying problem is necessary. Having a supportive friend or relative is helpful.

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Several things inspired me to write my novel, ‘Making It Home’.

Being just a teeny bit addicted to shopping was one. The thing is, I can live fine without it until I’m there, in the shopping mall or on the High Street, then I feel as though I’ve failed some test or other if I go home empty-handed. And I know I sometimes fall into the category of buying things I like but I don’t actually need. I mean, do I really need yet another ‘wee top’?

What is it about shopping that gets me?

My addiction is under control now, though it was never a serious problem. In my case, it wasn’t need or loneliness, but it was dissatisfaction with my looks and my figure. I had lost my sense of identity while raising our children and hadn’t found it again yet. I was constantly looking for that perfect dress, the one that would make me look tall and slim, those perfect jeans that would not only be comfortable but would make me look young and vital, that special wee top that would make me feel young and pretty again.

In analysing that, I got caught up in the idea of writing a story about someone who – unlike me, I hasten to add – just couldn’t stop buying things even when the money had well and truly run out. I thought it would be interesting to explore what her underlying problems could be and help her find some help to deal with them.

The discovery of a deceased relative’s secret addiction to shopping was another inspiration, albeit a sad one. Who knew Auntie J was filling her home with purchases she had no use for, filling cupboards and rooms with unopened carrier bags, receipts dating years back still inside them with the items she’d bought: the overwhelming sadness of her loneliness clearly unabated by hundreds of shopping trips? Who knew? Childless and widowed years before, she lived far from extended family and had few friends, mostly by choice, being a very private person. Reluctant to visit or be visited, her secret was only discovered when her home had to be cleared for sale after her funeral.

I used my overwhelming sadness to tell a little of Auntie J’s story in my novel, Making it Home, allowing a fictional character to carry her secret and share her loneliness. I like to think she might have enjoyed the alternative ending.

Making It Home

41C9fKLVtzL._UY250_ Kate had a home, but her heart wasn’t in it – or in her marriage. So she left them both.
Phyllis had a home – and her heart was in it – but she wanted something more. So she shopped.
Naomi had no home and her heart was in cold storage, frozen by grief and fear. So she shopped.
They found one another in a department store in Edinburgh.
The trouble with ‘retail therapy’ is, you can overdose.
As friendship grows between these three women, they help one another face up to their problems, realising along the way, every heart needs a home and it takes more than a house to make one.

Christine Campbell Amazon Author Page

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What about you? How do you feel about shopping: love it or hate it? Do you know what compels you to shop, or is it something you have to force yourself to do when you need a particular item? Please share your shopping thoughts and stories, good or bad, in the comments. I’d love to read them.

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Authors Spotlight : PattyWiseman.

I thought I’d share this author spotlight on Dave Mayall’s blog with you today. In the spotlight is Patty Wiseman, a delightful lady and author, and her series set in 1920s Detroit.
This series looks good and is on my To-Be-Read list. According to the great reviews it’s been getting, I’ll need to set aside a bit of time because it sounds like I’ll not want to put these books down once I start them.

writerdmayall

An Unlikely Arrangement by Patty Wiseman.

Young and rebellious, Ruth Squire defied her parents to live the high life of young people in 1929 Detroit. Handsome and responsible, Peter Kirby worked diligently to make his family’s life easier. Rich and powerful, Eric Horton held the fates of many families in his hands.
These three lives intertwine through the differing worlds of high society, middle-class life, and organized crime, culminating in an engagement, a kidnapping, a misunderstanding …
… and a murder.

Watch the trailer click here

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I really enjoyed this story. I am not normally a historical romance person, but I loved the characters in this story, and it kept giving unexpected twists and turns. Plus the author obviously put a lot of time in…

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Whose Turn Is it in The Sun

This has been a day of sunshine and shade, starting out cloudy but developing into a glorious spring/summer day. When I took my first walk of the day, part of the time the garden was bathed in sunshine and part lost in the shade of a few large clouds.

Depending when I looked, some of my favourite flowers were basking, spreading their petals to catch every moment of warmth, others waited patiently in the shade until it was their turn again.

So what inspiration did I take from my walk today?

Well, I got to thinking how it is that, as writers, sometimes we shine a light on one character, sometimes on another. There was a time when most books were written from only one perspective, but these days readers are quite used to different parts of the story being written from different viewpoints. In most cases that is a helpful thing to do because it allows the reader to see and feel how the different characters react to what is happening. It can make for a richer reading experience.

In my last post, I included a little excerpt from Mirabelle’s viewpoint about her fashion choices when it comes to outer-wear. Today, I’d like to bring her daughter, Summer, into the light and share with you her mixed feelings about her mother’s appearance:

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Searching for Summer

Summer watched Mirabelle as she made her way to the ice-rink. It was amazing how light she was on her feet, given she was still massively overweight, even though she’d lost tons. Made you realise how ginormous the woman used to be. Can’t possibly be healthy to be that huge.
She looked stupid in her flapping dress and dripping shawls, her feet in big, furry sheepskin boots darkened by the snow that wet them. Summer tried to feel the old disgust at Mirabelle’s unique, un-cool dress code but, instead, affection and tolerance filled her heart.
Why should Mirabelle conform? Why should she be as every other mother of her old school friends: either neatly turned out in their designer outfits, or sporting clothes that no longer suited them but made them feel young and fashionable? Mirabelle was different, all Summer’s school friends had agreed on that. It used to matter, used to embarrass, frustrate, infuriate even. But now? Summer smiled. Mirabelle was exotic, even in her soaking wet state, she was bright and bouncy. Eccentric, yes, but so what? She was lovely.

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The Reluctant Detective Series

When Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, her life changes for ever. Wandering the streets of Edinburgh, living with the homeless, or trailing her daughter across Scotland, Mirabelle finds she has a gift for finding other people’s children while she’s searching for her own. Her kitchen becomes an unofficial missing persons agency, and she becomes a reluctant detective.

Searching for Summer ~ Traces of Red ~ Rusty Gold

Other books by Christine Campbell

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Thanks for the Rain

My thankfulness walk today was taken in the rain, and guess one of the things I was thankful for. Yes, my trusty wellies! I love my pink wellies. I’ve had them a long time, used them a lot, and they are still pretty and practical.

Funny, I used to dodge the rain whenever I could, but since I’ve been taking my thankfulness walks round the garden, I really don’t mind it at all. I might mind, of course, if it was pouring in torrents, but gentle rain – that I can take no bother. It’s rather pleasant. Living in Scotland, we really have to get used to it. But after all, that’s why Scotland is such a glorious, lush, green country.

My novels are all set in various parts of Scotland, so rain often features in them. It would be odd if it didn’t. So how do my characters cope with the rain? Like me, they have no choice but to get on with it, but they don’t have to like it. Mirabelle does.

Mirabelle is totally unfazed by the weather. She turns her face up to catch snow on her tongue, to feel gentle rain on her cheeks. Perhaps you’d like to read a wee passage about her preferred outerwear, come rain, hail, snow or sun:

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An Excerpt from Searching for Summer.

Mirabelle adjusted her position, resting her face against the cold glass, listening to the rain so close to her cheek she could almost feel it pock her skin. She stayed like that until the side of her face felt flat and cold. A shiver ran through her and she hugged the duvet closer.
Was Summer cold? Was she dry? What coat was she wearing?
Seized with a need to know if her daughter was adequately clothed for the weather, Mirabelle abandoned her window vigil, letting the duvet fall in a frilly, floral snowdrift and rushed to the closet in the hall. She raked through the coats and scarves and assorted rags and tags hanging there.
She herself hated coats, never wore one: too restrictive, too formal. Instead, no matter the weather, she would wrap a poncho or some soft, colourful material around her shoulders. Two layers if it was cold, three if it was colder. When heavy with rain, she’d hang them around the house to dry: multi-hued banners proclaiming her artless individuality. When the fringes frayed and tattered, she’d discard the shawl and use another.

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So what about you? Do you cope well with the rain, even liking being out in it? Do you have a favourite coat or pair of wellies? Or a favourite umbrella?

Do share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you.

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The Reluctant Detective Series

Searching for Summer ~ Traces of Red ~ Rusty Gold

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Paris Between the Wars – “V” is for Madeleine Vionnet

Martha Reynolds has reached the letter V in her A-Z challenge this month and has written about the French fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet, who designed some fabulous gowns but was also a lady ahead of her times in that she instituted some unheard of conditions for her workers.

Martha Reynolds Writes

A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvibBetween 1919 and 1939, Paris experienced a cultural and intellectual boom. This blog will feature artists, writers, composers, musicians, and designers. Paris was at its cultural peak.

Madeleine Vionnet Madeleine Vionnet

A French fashion designer who trained in London, Madeleine Vionnet established her first fashion house in Paris in 1912. She was one of the leading fashion designers in Paris from 1919 to 1939. Called the “Queen of the bias cut” and “the architect among dressmakers”, Vionnet is best known for her elegant Grecian-style dresses.

Vionnet evening gown, 1931 Vionnet evening gown, 1931

Vionnet gowns Vionnet gowns

Vionnet’s bias-cut clothes dominated haute couture in the 1930s, setting trends with her sensual gowns worn by such internationally known actresses as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo. Vionnet’s vision of the female form revolutionized modern clothing, and the success of her unique cuts assured her reputation. She fought for copyright laws in fashion. She instituted what, at the time…

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Finding Style at any Age

Once again, I have a guest to introduce to you, and I’m certain you are going to enjoy meeting her. I met Andrea Pflaumer online when I booked in to watch her seminar, Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50. I enjoyed the seminar very much and felt drawn to Andrea’s gentle yet authoritative personality as well as to the guests she interviewed.

As an author, I often write about ordinary women who find their strengths and become more courageous as they age, so the title of the program intrigued me, and I wondered if could I use this information to help keep my characters authentic.

In the event, not only did I find it helpful on that level, but I also found it encouraging and reinforcing on a personal level.

So, without further ado, I shall let Andrea tell you about herself and what she does.

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Sixteen years ago, at the age of 52, I started a new career as a journalist, writing shopping and human interest articles for local and national magazines and newspapers. Because fashion and style had been long-time passions of mine I began writing a non-fiction book based on principles of individual coloring and personal style typing. On the face of it, wearing the most flattering clothing always seemed like such a superficial thing, but the deeper I went into studying the background material for my book, the more profound and personally affirming it all became. And based on the comments I’ve received from my readers, it has for them as well.

Now, that I’m at an age when the entire issue of appearance is fraught with a lot of societal judgement and personal angst, I started asking my friends and my readers how they felt about their personal appearance as they reached their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It came as no surprise that many of them expressed dismay. They described the experience of shopping as extremely frustrating because they had a hard time finding hip, affordable, and flattering clothing targeted to older women. They described becoming “invisible” to fashion designers and marketers, not to mention to the opposite sex. Not only did this invisibility apply to their appearance, they told me, but it reflected a larger dread: That they longer had a meaningful place in the world. It’s a common thread and a very troubling one.
So I set out to see if I could change their – and my own – thinking on this. I searched for women who were traversing the aging minefield in a more gracious way. And, I discovered many spectacular women who are doing so, not just in gracious ways, but in bold and dynamic ways. This was the start of a series of video interviews I conducted for a program I call Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50. My guests included women who have had successful careers but decided to go in new directions after 50, 60, 70 and even 80. Some were forced into those changes due to divorce or widowhood. Some simply decided to follow their curiosity or to unpack old passions that had been locked away for decades. And some made changes in their lives, literally, to save their lives.
Along with these inspiring women I also interviewed three wonderful men who offered practical fashion advice for older women: one is one of the most famous red carpet stylists in New York, another is the most sought-after “makeover” expert in the US, and lastly, I interviewed my own color and style mentor, John Kitchener, Director of Personal Style Counselors.
I came away from the experience energized and hopeful, not just for myself, but for my entire generation of women. I learned that by gaining certain habits and skills we can look forward to our later years with energy and enthusiasm. I also came away realizing that the knowledge and coping tools we have gleaned over a lifetime can enable us to become very visible, both in our own lives and also as role models for younger generations of women. These skills and tools have enabled us to move through change – and sometimes profound loss – and have made us stronger and more resilient. They have also allowed us to connect with deeper, more grounded parts of ourselves.
So from a completely new and unexpected direction, developing Vital, Vivacious and Visible after 50 helped reinforce my primary goal when I wrote my first two books: to help women and girls maintain individuality, authenticity, and courage throughout all the stages of life.

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SRY_3D_front-500px1-200x358 Andrea Pflaumer is a speaker and educator, and the author of Shopping for the Real You, the only book based on the Personal Style Counselors (PSC) system, providing a detailed guide to wardrobe, color, and personal style.

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Her new e-book, She’s Got Good Jeans, applies that same critical eye to a popular subject: where to find (and how to style) the best jeans for one’s body shape, style and budget.

Her series Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50 will be available on both video and as audio podcasts in early May.

You can follow her blog at http://shoppingfortherealyou.com

her Pinterest pages at https://wwhttpsw.pinterest.com/andreapflaumer/

and her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/shoppingfortherealyou/

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Christine Campbell, author and blogger, has six published novels:

Family Matters, Making it Home, Flying Free, Here at the Gate, Searching for Summer, and Traces of Red; all Contemporary Women’s Fiction, often with ‘mature’ female protagonists.

You can find out more about Christine and her books at: http://author.to/ChristineCampbell

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