“I miss getting an Estee Lauder gift set at Christmas” she murmured one evening last week while perusing the ads in a trashy TV paper that would undoubtably mention my cousins name somewhere within its tome.
For those males reading this of the wedded variety you will understand that its this time of year when those hints and suggestions start to drop thick and fast, in our case they are less of a hint and more of a “pin you against a wall by the throat and threaten you with a brick”, and if you don’t nod sagely and indicate that you have mentally noted the not-so-subtle suggestion then the next outburst will be of the stylee “I don’t know why I married you…”
So I nodded sagely and muttered, “Ah yes, my mothers Estee Lauder gift sets” and then continued under my breath, “she has a lot to answer for if I ever go to a bloody séance”
When we first moved down here, no let me start this sentence again but using my wifes words, when I dragged her kicking and screaming down here from her North East roots, “I didn’t want to come you know, you made me…” and also “I’ve regretted it ever since, you pig”, when we moved to Leeds, city of MY birth, in 1984 my mother was already retired and living the life of a lady who dines occasionally at The Original Oak with her cleaner-in-crime Joyce, and shops occasionally in Schofields.
Most Leeds residents of a vintage will recall that Schofields was the shop on The Headrow where ladies like my posh Auntie Doris shopped, the sort of department store that smelled strongly of Maiden Aunt’s talc and dried lavender in small punnets, the sort of department store where if you bought clothes hangers they would be clothes hangers with floral patterned padded covers to disguise their simple practical purpose into something more dainty and befitting of a Ladies wardrobe, the sort of department store where the tea room was called a tea room and not a cafe, the sort of department store that did not seem to sell anything at all of interest to a man, I can’t recall ever walking through Schofields and thinking “Oh I think I would like one of those”, for Schofields was exclusively for women just like my posh Auntie Doris, posh women then.
After she retired from being a cleaner for Leeds City Council our mother took on some airs and graces and following the lead of her much posher sister-in-law (the aforementioned posh Auntie Doris, the one who wouldn’t let you in her house with your shoes on – the one who actually once refused to let our Ned and me in her house at all), and started to browse the sacred shopping halls of Schofields.
And it was there that my now en-poshened mother was introduced to the Schofields exclusive Christmas Estee Lauder gift set promotion. Put simply if you bought one of Estee Lauders extremely over-priced womens beauty products you were then granted the privilege of buying the extremely over-priced Estee Lauder gift sets consisting of several other extremely over-priced womens beauty products that you hadn’t realised you wanted until the day you ventured into Schofields to buy just one of Estee Lauder extremely over-priced beauty products.
My mother was always a sucker for deals like this – “buy one product for four times the amount of money than you intended to spend on a similar non-branded product and we’ll let you spend one hell of a lot more money on more of our products that you previously had no intention of buying”, she fell for it every time.
The first Christmas that we spent back in Leeds (I dragged her here you know, she didn’t want to come), my mother went to Schofields to buy some perfume for herself and ended up spending an absolute Kings ransom on a shitload of other Estee Lauder products in a presentation box that, until now, she hadn’t realised just how much she needed, and bereft of any other idea with what to do with it all, she gave it all to my wife as a Christmas present.
Thus started a Christmas tradition that continued every year until my mother gave up her eight year battle with cancer, there would be no more Estee Lauder gift sets for my wife after this sad event – what – you think I’m going to walk into Schofields and start buying shitloads of womens beauty products – how long have you been reading this blog ?
Sadly, the hints are starting to be dropped thick and fast now, I hear nothing but the name Estee Lauder most nights, and its not subtle anymore, “You’d better fooking buy me that Estee Lauder gift set for Christmas” was the latest ever-so delicate suggestion, “Oh, don’t you want a pair of bed socks like last year then” went down like a lead balloon, what was wrong with those bed socks is what I want to know.
Take a look at this, click right here and try to guess which of those gift sets is the one she’s hinting at – if you guessed at the £28 lip gloss one then you’re only £287 out.
If it wasn’t for the fact that my life would be terminated in the time it took her to stride to the kitchen and back for the large butchers knife just after opening her present, I’d buy her this, just for a laugh like.