I know, I know, it’s a most peculiar blog title but it will all make sense as you read on!
I’ll start with UB40. One of my all time favourite bands! Growing up I was never one of the popular girls. In fact, I never did fit in with the ‘cool kids’ and was often targeted by those of a bullying disposition. We moved around a lot throughout my childhood which meant frequent changes of school and me always being the new girl. There were times when my mum couldn’t afford another uniform for the next school so I would stand out even more wearing a red jumper when everyone else’s were blue. The Salvation Army once came to our rescue and provided me with a suitable second hand solution. I’ll never forget how much that gesture meant.
I can recall one incident in particular with vivid clarity from when I was 12 years old. All the girls were getting ‘boyfriends’. Although, at this age, that just meant being able to say you had a boyfriend. I’m not sure they ever spent time together apart from the initial ‘will you go out with me?’ and ‘yes, ok then’ but it seemed to carry some importance at the time. I was always tall for my age and the boys seemed so little to me. I had a tendency to walk, pigeon toed, with my head down. Perhaps trying to make myself appear smaller? Perhaps an effort to become invisible? To the boys I believed I was fairly invisible.
One day I was walking through the playground at break time and one of the popular boys walked up to me and started talking to me. I was surprised. I could see his friends, a few yards away, looking on. I wasn’t invisible to them after all. The boy’s final words to me were ‘would you go out with me?’. I couldn’t believe it but I said yes. It was at that moment his friends burst out laughing and he ran back to them, also laughing. They started telling others until it felt like everyone in the world was pointing and laughing at me and patting him on the back for asking me out as a dare. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. It refused to, so I went back to practising my powers of invisibility. Isn’t it remarkable how the sting of rejection and ridicule can stay with you for decades? Needless to say, things didn’t get much better until long after I left school.
I used to like escaping to my bedroom and listening to the radio, like most teens of that time. I’m sure many of you, like me, can recall making your own audio tapes! Oh, and what about the rewind-play-pause sequence in order to listen to the lyrics and write them down? Anybody? Occasionally, I’d get a copy of Smash Hits magazine where they printed lyrics to selected chart hits! Imagine that! I lived in a time without google! I had many favourites along the way but UB40 really did strike a chord within me as I stumbled through my teens. ‘One in Ten’ awakened my awareness of social injustices, ‘Red Red Wine’ made me want to dance and in my daydreamy teenage head ‘Homely Girl’ was written just for me.
I had left school and home at 15 and was 17 when their version of this 1974 tune came out. I was no longer ridiculed but was getting attention and being asked out, not as a dare but for real! The lyrics, for me, weren’t so much about boys but about my own self realisation. The ‘boy’ in the song was representative of my inner self. The one who knew that I really was ok, after all. That little voice we so often ignore that wants to tell us we are worth more than we think or more than others are showing us we are. The ‘beauty’ that is spoken of could be a metaphor for the inner beauty that begins to show on the outside when someone stops believing in what others are saying about, or to, them and they listen to the voice within. Amazing how the language of song can resonate deep within us.
Well, despite my love of UB40 I had never had the chance to see them perform live. The lead singer, Ali Campbell, left the band and I thought I’d never have the chance to see and hear him sing those old songs that meant so much. To my utter delight, I went to see him and two other original members perform at The Royal Albert Hall last week!
They were simply wonderful! I took my best friend, Steven, with me and we sang and danced our hearts out to every song. The highlight for me, though, had to be ‘Homely Girl’. I hoped they’d play it but wasn’t sure if they would. It was incredible and I am so grateful to have had the chance to see them live! I’m filing that in my library of memories under ‘flipping awesome’!!
Ooh, I didn’t half go on there! Ok, so that’s UB40. Now onto FIVE4U. I’m sure many of you have heard of our offer for new customers where they can receive 5 pounds off their next purchase after their first offer. I just thought I’d highlight it as it’s something worth telling your friends and family about. I’m sure they’ll thank you later.
Now here’s a great deal for everyone who has shopped with us, be it once or a hundred times before or even more! So this is where I explain ‘3410’. Three for ten… buy three Clearance items for ten pounds off your next purchase! This is valid up until the 8th of April. Take a look at the full terms and conditions here. I’ve browsed through the Clearance pages and there are some real gems! Literally! Tova’s Diamonique elephant band ring is in the sale!
There’s some fab fashion to look out for this week and next. This Saturday we launch the latest Skechers Today’s Special Value. It’s a brilliant, lightweight, stylish shoe with the most comfortable air cooled memory foam. The mesh upper allows airflow to the foot whilst the memory foam cushions each step and keeps you feeling cool and fresh, even without socks as I like to wear my Skechers. Remember, they’ll be at a reduced price from midnight til midnight only and Skechers TSVs are always massively popular. I hope there’ll be some left for my 6pm Skechers hour on Saturday!
Whilst we are on the subject of comfort and Today’s Special Values… I must mention the Vercella Vita set coming up on Tuesday the 3rd of April. I still can’t believe how fast the year is flying by… April in a few days! Back to the TSV! A set of four comfort bras from this beautiful Italian shapewear range. It is fantastic value at under £45, with the average cost of each bra just over £11. The saving against our QVC price is due to be around £25! The bras are easy care and the seamless design adds to the comfort.
A great alternative for anyone who does not wear wired bras and wants a comfortable non-restrictive undergarment with gentle control. I love wearing an off the shoulder top in warmer months and these work nicely underneath with the strap on show. I’m already thinking of a lovely coral Join top I’ve recently bought that would go well with one of these and a pair of light denim jeans. We’ve just sprung forward in terms of the clocks, heralding springtime’s (supposed) arrival but I say bring on the summer!
If you love a fashion fix, join me on Saturday and Sunday for our regular 4pm slot, Fashion Fix at Four. We always have great outfits to show you incorporating some of the latest trends and expert fashion know-how from our featured guests. I hope you can join us and join in. You can always keep in touch via my social media (below).
Til next time, I’d like to thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and for your continued loveliness. You’ve no idea how much it means to read your gorgeous comments.
Love Catherine xxx