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I decided just before my last payday that I would give up online shopping. Not EVERYTHING, mind you, because where else am I going to be able to get Series 4 of "Entourage" in '"Lightly Used" condition for 97p other than Amazon? My online shopping embargo is limited to buying clothes and accessories, because I buy way too many, I have not enough money to do so, and my entire flat looks like the place where ASOS came to die.
I knew it was getting a bit ridiculous when I realised that I had been taking delivery at work of at least two packages a week for about two months. NOBODY needs that amount of floral dresses and/or logo tees. It's fucking ridiculous. I literally thought I was Mariah Carey with a massive walk-in wardrobe and millions of pounds when in fact I have two IKEA clothes rails in my bedroom and no savings. I had a word with myself. Nip it in the bud, Natalie, Jesus. Get a grip.
I unsubscribed from all of the daily marketing emails from all of the shops into which I usually haemorrhage money, muted all of their Twitter accounts, unliked them on Facebook and prepared for a month of having more money and a new mental resolve.
It's been 13 days.
I've had one small slip-up, where I accidentally bought a couple of T-shirts from Truffle Shuffle, because someone forwarded me a link to a tee that -- as a lifelong "Neighbours" fan (dodgy/brilliant Australian soap, for those who haven't ever seen it) -- I simply HAD to buy. It's fuckawesome. I can walk around with "Lou Carpenter" emblazoned across my chest like a fucking CHAMP.
Other than this very small slip-up, I have been rigid. I know that in order to not online shop, I have to completely avoid the source. This has resulted in something that I didn't bank on. I now have a LOT of extra time on my hands that would usually have been dedicated to browsing for that perfect non-under-wired lace bra in electric blue that I KNOW someone SOMEWHERE will sell, but I just haven't found it yet.
Used to be that when I woke up I'd have a quick look at the new added stock on some of my favourite stores. When I was on the train to work, I'd usually see if any of the things I liked that had gone out of stock had miraculously come back in, ready for me to buy the shit out of them like a pro. Mid-morning, I might have had a screen break and popped over to Topshop for a quick look (not a quick look). Lunchtime I would browse. On the way home I would browse. At home I would browse. You get the picture. It's all had to stop.
So what worthwhile things have I been doing to fill my time? Working overtime? Reading important, leather-bound books? Researching the Sacred Heart diet? No.
I've spent a large portion of my time looking at photos of cats with Hitler moustaches, because they never get old. Obviously, dressing as a Nazi dictator and one of the worst human beings to ever grace this great planet is completely abhorrent and if anyone I knew did it, they'd be toast. But if a cat has the Hitler stache? Amazing. Poor little Kitler.
In fact, any kittens help with the procrastination process. Or any baby animals at all. I can spend HOURS at a time just down the rabbit-hole that is the Google search "baby animals dressed up." Have you seen the kitten dressed as a mushroom? Oh, it is perfection.
I've also been trawling through the archives of thisiswhyyourefat.com which amazes, astounds, disgusts and delights me in equal parts. I think I mainly get disgusted with myself because I actually get so hungry looking at some of these abominations. The website basically documents all of the incredible and wondrous edible creations that have popped up over the past few years, like Pizza Hut's Hamburger Stuffed Crust Pizza, or Upside Down Mac & Cheese Pizza (a layer of mac & cheese sandwiched between two cheese pizzas!!!!).
Now, I myself have tried a KFC Double Down, but not even I could probably stomach the Quadruple Down Sandwich: six pieces of bacon and three slices of cheese smothered with the Colonel’s Sauce with four fried chicken patties as buns.
I've unfortunately upped my level of hate-reading the Mail Online, which isn't great, but there are only so many times you can see a Twinkie fried in different types of batter before your brain needs a change of tempo, you know? So this week I've learnt that Denise Van Outen has "an incredible bikini body," that Lea Michele has been "showing off an impressive tan" and that "Minnie Driver, 43, shows off her pert posterior but keeps covered up on top" and "revealed her enviable derriere and sculpted legs" which is obviously really important and newsworthy (says the girl writing an article about an online shopping ban).
I've also spent a disproportionate amount of time trawling through Facebook and looking at old photo albums and taking a one-way trip down nostalgia lane. Seriously though, this isn't a waste of time. I love looking at old photos. Who wouldn't want to be reminded of the night in 2009 when you borrowed your next door neighbour's child's trike for the evening and rode it through your house-mate's bathroom?
As another day rolls around of my no shopping challenge, I'm resigned to the fact that my free time is going to be spent turning my brain into cheese. But that's OK, because I won't have bought anything. I'M STRONG. I can do this.
Seriously though, holla at me if you know where I can get a non-under-wired electric blue lace bra. But not until August 1st.
Not shopping on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM