My achievement of today was buying a mohair jumper for the very first time. It is the kind of jumper that is probably truly hideous but is actually completely genius.
I've been looking for some new winter knitwear and there is a penchant for the heavy chunk and neutral hue around at the moment. I love this look. It embodies hearty family walks, followed by glasses of expensive wine being drunk in minimalist barn conversions whilst wearing Jill Sander crisp white shirts.
I aspire to this look but the reality is that my current lifestyle has no room for neutral argyle. I'm thrown up on countless times a day with literally no warning. I'm in close proximity to toxic nappies and I'm normally emptying endless loads of washing from the machine whilst eating a packet of crisps.
For this reason I took my quest for knitwear to the only practical venue: Tkmax, New Cross. A long enough stroll with the pram to get my daughter to sleep but with enough emergency escape routes via the overground to abort should things go awry.
TKMax has long been my spiritual home. It is basically an upmarket jumble sale with the promise of discovery emanating from the one, solitary Gold Label designer rail. I've got some amazing bargains from there, including my beloved Marni rain coat which I have worn for many years. But in general, expectations have to be managed down, and it is useful for a browse whilst killing time.
The New Cross outlet doesn't even bother with a designer rail, it knows what it is: wall to wall tat. And for that reason I love it all the more. No pretence. A lot of glass jars with sweets in and today, a rudely priced raspberry mohair jumper guaranteed to give you a rash.
My initial reaction was 'my god that is truly hideous' but on closer inspection my daughter started laughing and I was inclined to agree with her sentiment: 'this is a feel good jumper' in the emotional and physical sense. It is proudly constructed of man made fibres, is a poor fit on anyone but for the bargain price of £12.99 it made me feel alive, if slightly like I'd slaughtered a muppet.
It is relentlessly strokeable and my 3 month old daughter was hypnotised by the colour, soothed by the feel and virtually suffocated by the rapidly malting fronds which she ended up inhaling. It also passed the vomit test with flying, neon raspberry colours. One of the benefits of man made fibres (aside from being crease resistant) is they repel liquid: the sick simply rolled straight off me.
And so it was with a lightness in my step and a joy in my heart that my daughter and i headed home, basking in the glory of my purchase. I put the jumper straight on (always a good sign) and have been wearing it ever since. My husband concurred with my choice and muttered something about it being 'so wrong it is right'. Ahem.
I've since discovered that after a few hours wear there are deposits of raspberry mohair all over the house and it is clear that it will never survive the wash. Still, it works as a fashion statement as a sensory toy for my daughter and at the crux of every good clothing purchase, it matches my phone. Mohair, don't care!