Please try to remain calm as you suddenly start to morph into a more disgusting version of Ursula the Sea Witchjoshua shortman for varsity / hunterxcolleen (deviantart) / changes made /

Hello once more and an extremely warm welcome back to Martha’s Mindful Madness! The column in which you, the reader, sit on my literary lap and are spoon fed the ambrosia of mindfulness from the very hand that penned this article. I admit, I have missed the last few weeks’ instalments, genuinely because I forgot to do it. A huge apologetic shout out to Tilly Aldridge who texted me to say how much she loves MMM – I hope I can win your trust back.

This week I had to venture into London for a doctor’s appointment. That’s right baby, MMM is going global! I decided while I was there to go dress shopping with my mum in order to find something for May Week. I have split the process of shopping for important clothing into three easy steps, and will guide you, my baby birds, through the process, ensuring that you have the ability to remain mindful.

“Quick intro to my mum: best woman I know, great fringe, brilliant taste in jeans”

Quick intro to my mum: best woman I know, great fringe, brilliant taste in jeans. Quick intro to our shopping experience: pretty horrific, really busy, mildly successful. We decided to go to Oxford Circus, which made me feel sick to my actual stomach, but had to be done for variety. Therefore, my attack here was, as ever, three-pronged: prepare, procure, and sit still for multiple hours.


If you haven’t been subjected to the nightmare that is Oxford Street, count yourself lucky. Picture the scene: you know what you want to buy, and where to get it. Seems simple enough, right? Now add 10,000 of the slowest moving tourists you have ever met in your life into the mix. Make sure that whenever you accidentally brush someone, which you will definitely do, that they look at you with both fear and hatred in equal measure, making you feel like a criminal and a bad person. If you think King’s Parade on a Saturday is bad, you would be right, but this is worse. I think it makes perfect sense, therefore, that I deemed it necessary to mentally prepare myself the night before. I lit some incense and mucked around with my sister’s crystals while pretending to do breathing exercises, and felt my soul align. In reality I mainly planned which shops I wanted to go to, and in which order, and I felt like I was prepared for anything. I highly recommend ensuring that any potential fun is as organised as possible. 8/10

“This is the step where you stare at your feeble and naked body in a small cubicle”


The morning after, we began our journey. We wandered, ever weaker, for the best part of Saturday. Eventually, I did find a lovely dress, but it took many hours and a strategic Wagamama break. This is the step where you stare at your feeble and naked body in a small cubicle, protected only by a small curtain, and repeat the mantra “my body is not made to fit the dress, the dress is made to fit my body”. Please try to remain calm as you suddenly start to morph into a more disgusting version of Ursula the Sea Witch and, most importantly, do not cry upon your exit of the changing room. Hand your failed experiments over to the unrealistically beautiful woman working there with your head held high. “Yeah I just didn’t think any of them were very ‘me’, you know?”. She nods, and does not care. This period of your day will be the worst, until you find a dress you like and decide that you are the most beautiful person alive. The main way to stay mindful here is by accepting that you can’t; trying on dresses has been designed with pain in mind. I personally like to go into dress shopping muttering affirmations to myself. I may look crazy, but I’m actually just protecting my mental health. 2/10


Behold, my true mindfulness advice. I believe that after anything emotionally taxing, one reserves the right to not only rest, but completely shut down. Therefore, I advocate the approach of perfect stillness for up to half a day, after which I can guarantee mental restoration. For me, this took the form of watching four episodes of Torchwood back to back, and knitting half the sleeve of a jumper, and reader, if there was a way you could hear me sigh with delight right now you best believe you’d be hearing it! There’s something so special about having to give up your sanity for the best part of a day, and clawing it back at the last moment, armed with motionlessness and telly. For you, of course, the mindful act of stillness may take the form of something more universally recognised as good for you – stretching, yoga, a little sleep. However you choose to be still, know that I am behind you in spirit, in intention, and physically. Turn around. 10/10


Mountain View

Martha’s Mindful Madness: Shostakovich, slosh-ta-soap-ich, and balcony adventures

Overall, I thank you once more for joining me on what was not so nice a day. On the plus side, I got to spend time with my lovely mother, whom I now realise I neglected to mention at all. However horrible, or indeed lovely, clothes shopping may be for you, remember to take care of yourself, your body, and your relationship to it. You are more than a thing to wear nice suits and pretty dresses, but (hopefully) a person, with (ideally) your own thoughts and opinions, and no amount of trying to put ten different hangers on one peg can take that away from you.