Gone shopping?

Gone shopping?
Or has no new shoes changed our habits?

Monday, 30 April 2007

Still not shopping!

It's very strange - I still haven't been out to buy my new jeans, hair dye and new shoes. This is not a moral crusade to keep the Lent thing going into the rest of the year it is because of two things. 1. I just haven't had time - ridiculously busy with work, family and writing essays. 2. I'm just not feeling that motivated to shop. It is as though I've broken a habit.

I dare say it won't last but it feels funny now.

Meanwhile - on the good book front, Finding Sanctuary by Abbott Christopher Jamieson (Abbott of Worth Abbey), is a great read. Lots of practical advice and sage wisdom about slowing down a bit and creating space. When I have time I'll finish reading it!

Friday, 27 April 2007

A wife who waddles

I've been slaving away (well, trying to) on an essay about George Eliot (aka Mary Anne Evans), a forerunner of the humanist movement. In my reading, I came across this wonderful passage from her first novel, Adam Bede:

"I have seen many an excellent matron, who could have never in her best days have been handsome, and yet she had a packet of yellow love-letters in a private drawer, and sweet children showered kisses on her sallow cheeks. And I believe there have been plenty of young heroes, or middle stature and feeble beards who have felt quite sure they could never love anything more insignificant than a Diana, and yet have found themselves in middle life happily settled with a wife who waddles. Yes! Thank God: human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty - it flows with restless force and brings beauty with it."


Thursday, 19 April 2007

A God For All Seasons...

This is a book I read recently by Sue Haydon-Knowell. It's for Christian women and addresses the different 'seasons' she may experience during her life. It particularly addresses singleness, marriage and motherhood. Now, I am usually very suspicious of books for Christian women, but this has come highly recommended.

Although I don't see exactly eye-to-eye with Sue on issues like male headship and feminist ideas, I found the book really refreshing. She speaks a lot about how we allow our attitudes (good and bad) to influence the way we live in each 'season' of our lives and our relationship with God as a result. She speaks about God's love and acceptance of us just as we are and encourages us to make more time for prayer. Being a person who's completely rubbish at prayer, it really encouraged me to make more of an effort and to think more about the way I pray.

Prayer tips anyone? What do you find helpful?

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

It's not easy being green

Despite me really enjoying (no, really) getting the bus to the station in the morning during Lent, I have returned to my faithful car since Easter. Why? Well, my bus pass expired and they've put the flipping prices up.

Forgive me for having a rant, but why are the Government encouraging us to 'go green' but continuing to make it more and more expensive? I want to get the bus, I really do. It reminds me that I'm part of a community and gives the added bonus of not polluting. But driving is simply much cheaper (and I don't have to panic about missing the bus!).

PS Where has the lovely sunny weather gone?

Friday, 13 April 2007

blogging away

I for one have really enjoyed blogging my experiences throughout the no new shoes project and a couple of people have asked whether the blog would continue post-Lent.

I think it would be a good idea for it to continue, perhaps addressing wider issues of Christian living and whatever thoughts tend to come our way. Posts might not be so frequent, but it's been great to share our thoughts and challenges and it would be a shame if all that ended.

So here's to the next stage in the life of no new shoes!

Watch this space...

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Over and out

Well - I made it. I know than compared to most challenges, this wasn't that hard. But it was thought provoking. I realised just how much I normally snack in a day; how much time I spend mulling books or CDs to buy; how little time I spend thinking about the consequences of what I buy - the effect it has on the world and on me. I don't claim to be a radically new person at the end of this, but I am grateful for the chance to take part and the steadying influence you have all had - I would lasted about a week if it was only up to me.

Next year? Yes.


Sunday, 8 April 2007


Thanks for all the support, during our Lent experiment - do you think we should challenge the whole Methodist Church to have a go next year?

In a pause between mouthfuls of chocolate, I offer you:

When everything was dark
and it seemed that the sun would never shine again,
your love broke through.
Your love was too strong, too wide, too deep for death to hold.
The sparks cast by your love dance and spread
and burst forth with resurrection light.

Gracious God, we praise you for the light of new life
made possible through Jesus.
We praise you for the light of new life
that shone on the first witnesses of resurrection.
We praise you for the light of new life
that continues in our hearts today.
We pray that the Easter light of life, hope and joy
will live in us each day;
and that we will be bearers of that light into the lives of others. Amen.

happy easter everyone!!!

Hurrah! For one thing, we made it, but much more importantly, today we celebrate our Saviour's resurrection and all the hope and joy that that brings into this world.

It's a beautiful, sunny day in Kent which seems more than appropriate for Easter day.

Reflecting on the past 46 days, it has been tough, but perhaps not as tough as I thought it would be (maybe because of the occasional cheating!). I don't feel like my spiritual life has been dramatically changed or that I am now a particularly saintly person, but I don't think was ever the point of the project. I do feel that I've been challenged about the way I spend my money and how self-indulgent I had become without realising it. Mikki's last post has particularly challenged me - I am most definitely a Primark shopper and I always chase after a bargain. But at what cost?

It's easy to forget that everything we have in this life is temporary and that God calls us to do the best we can with it. That's the thing I have felt most challenged about over Lent.

I also feel that no new shoes has really brought some blessings into my life that wouldn't have been there otherwise (at the risk of sounding unbearably twee). For one thing I have made a new friend - Michael. Since I haven't been using my car to get the the station in the morning, I've been catching the bus. Michael also catches the bus, we got chatting about this and that and now it's really nice to see each other in the mornings, sympathise over lack of sleep and and share how our families are.

So, I'm glad we've done it and this certainly won't be the last post on the blog. What can we get up to next Lent I wonder.....?

Have a great Easter weekend everyone!


Friday, 6 April 2007


At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew, I just can't believe IT!

Did you see the news last night? A new store opened on Oxford Street and the police had to be called in to control the crowd. I thought it must be a really special designer store and that the people who had camped overnight to be the very first in hoped for amazing bargains. No, it was a new branch of Primark!!

What is going on? You can go to Primark in almost any high street and buy T-shirts for £3. They are likely to be made in a sweatshop and be environmentally damaging (apart from a token couple of ranges that they sell as ethically traded - as if that makes it all okay, like Nestle introducing a fair trade coffee - they don't get the point, if they include a 'fair trade' version, that just proves the rest is not fairly traded. Stop it, I cry.)

Anyway, back to Primark - I think what happened on Oxford street epitamises what No New Shoes is about. We are trying to swim against a tide of shopping for shopping's sake, where the measure of success is how cheaply you get the work of another human being.

I have a shopping list (suprisingly short) for the end of NNS - 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of work trousers, 1 new lipstick and a packet of cotton wool balls. I won't be camping on Oxford street waiting to get them at the cheapest possible price - because if nothing else this Lent, I've rediscovered that there is more to life!

EPILOGUE I hope that you have time to pause this Good Friday (when the shops should be shut!) to remember the man who gave his whole life so that we might know the real cost of love.

Monday, 2 April 2007

No more Rudolph

Victory! I have found my powder compact! It was underneath my desk...what a wally. I am stupidly happy about finding it and shall endeavour to make it last until Sunday.

On another note, this weekend I found the whole no new shoes thing rather difficult. It was the weekend of the Vitality Show (www.thevitalityshow.co.uk), which is a bit like the clothes show but for makeup, beauty, health care, fitness etc.

Yes, it's rather shallow. And yes I love going to it. Every year, I get a girly group together and we hit Olympia for free samples, bargains and general fun.

But not this year. It's not just the shopping and freebies that I love (although that is utterly brilliant as self indulgence goes), but it's the time with my girlfriends, many of whom I don't see very often. Also, as it's usually me that organises it and since I tried to pretend it didn't exist, no one else I know went. So I kinda feel like I let them down too.

But I didn't go. So I'm quite proud of my self-restraint. However, I did go to a gig on Saturday night at which my friend was singing (she was utterly brilliant). Rather than pay for my ticket, I bought my friends a few essential items (bread, milk etc.) and they payed for me. I know that's kinda cheating, but I would have gone anyway.