Things I bought: Swedish dictionary and one of those teach yourself language courses, which I actually needed. But Swedish dictionaries are hard to find, and the one I did get is rather expensive and not very good. A bunch of light jumpers and cardigans and things, including a little denim jacket which I'm rather taken with. I would have been happy to do without them altogether, but since I don't want to quarrel with Mum and Granny, at least I bought them in extreme end of season sales, so I got a lot of clothes for relatively little money.
Things I failed to find: pyjamas which do the basic job of keeping me warm in bed. Everything for sale at the moment is ridiculously skimpy, and I don't have a moral problem with semi-indecent pyjamas, I have a practical one. Supposedly "sexy" pyjamas fail in their primary job of keeping me warm, and they don't do any good either because if there were anyone around to care what I look like in bed, I'd most likely sleep naked.
Any sensible shoes at all. High heels will make me fall over, sandals are not allowed in labs (for good reason) and everything flat-heeled on sale at the moment has no arch support and no ankle support and will not do for a job where I'll be on my feet all day. In the end I bought the faithful old Ecco black laceups, which are very good shoes but they also cost £60 (eep!)
Any trousers whatsoever which remotely fit. I think it's a combination of rather low waisted styles continuing to be in fashion, and the fact that the stable point for my weight appears to be drifting lower these days. I am not intentionally losing weight, but it's happening anyway, and it's sure as eggs not disappearing from my hips and bottom. So even more than usual, I have a smaller waist and bigger hips than the makers of women's clothes seem to expect (I'm also short, which doesn't help). But it's annoying to find lots of rather lovely trousers and have to discard them all because they are absolutely unwearable (not just vaguely wrong, but completely unwearable due to the cut). I think when the cold weather comes I'm going to go in for leggings under skirts; it seems to be my only option.
Anyway, the promised boobies. I did the Bravissimo thing, as recommended by a number of well-endowed friends. It was an interesting experience; their idea is that instead of measuring you with a tape-measure, the assisant watches you trying bras on and adjusts the size until you get something that fits perfectly. Which is probably a good idea, given the vagaries of clothes manufacturers generally! And it wasn't too intrusive; the assistant was very matter-of-fact about it, which I very much approve of. She offered to go out of the room while I changed bras, so even if you were shy you wouldn't have to do deal with a stranger seeing you topless; I'm not shy, and her obviously sensible attitude meant I didn't care.
I came out as 32E, in line with the Bravissimo theory that most women need to go down in back size and up in cup size to get a good fit. But 32E is really into Barbie doll territory! I can cope with the idea of being an E-cup, but how can there only be 32 inches around my chest?! Anyway, I bought this bra in the end. It's functional rather than wonderful, but I am impressed with how well it fits. Oh, and it's slightly more expensive than I would normally pay for a basic M&S bra, but not ridiculously so. And they didn't pressure me into buying anything, which I was worried about with all that personal attention.
Bravissimo has a good range, including sexy, plain, colourful, feminine, something for almost every taste. And this was reflected by their clientele, which did seem to include women of all ages and dress styles (I'm assuming people's tastes in bras vaguely reflects their tastes in outer clothes, but of course one never knows!) The trouble is that what I want in a bra is that it should be made mostly out of cotton (synthetics against my skin are sweaty and horrible), and that it should not have a horrible piece of wire under my breasts. And in any lingerie shop those preferences restrict my choices a bit. The assistant said that underwired styles are lot less uncomfortable if they fit properly, and she did demonstrate this principle, but I still prefer elastic rather than wire.
The other thing that's interesting about Bravissimo is the area where you wait to be assigned to a fitter. It's nice, with comfy chairs and a generally pleasant ambience. But the table has a stack of men's magazines! Obviously they have a lot of customers who drag bored boyfriends along and make them wait while they're being fitted. And they're carefully chosen men's magazines too, hobby mags and Men's Health and so on, rather than lad mags. I can imagine that women waiting for bra fitting would feel very uncomfortable if there were a stack of Nuts and Loaded in the waiting area! Interesting anthropological observation, though.
Anyway, that shopping trip took about 7 hours, which is time I can't really afford and is an extremely annoying way to waste a whole day. Also, I feel as if I'm sickening for something, something vaguely tonsilitis shaped. Which I really don't need when I'm about to move to Sweden! I really hope I'm wrong.