The guilty pleasures of a woman left alone

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Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to Orange in country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

Mr Miner comes home today after five weeks away, which means it's time to hide away all the guilty pleasures that I partake in when he's not around.

It's not that I'm a different person when he's here, but there are some little habits you don’t want your other half to know about (think biting your nails or being a bit of a slob!)

When it comes to biting my nails, I quite clearly remember being 11 years old, looking down at my hands on the school bus and deciding that if I wanted to be like my idol Baby Spice (I was the blonde one of our group), I really would need to have nice nails. From that day on, I didn’t take another bite.

Nowadays my guilty pleasures are a little less gross, but seemingly a little harder to quit. Mr Miner ended my occasional after-party cigarette with this simple line: "If you’re smoking, then 'this' isn’t happening." As if by magic, my 11-year-old willpower returned and that was that.

I also try not to drink too much when Mr Miner is away. Not that I’m a complete alcoholic when he’s around, but as an often-single, twenty-something living in Sydney, over-priced cocktails kind of come with the territory.

These days I know myself well enough to have some control when it comes to drinking (I at least question the third bottle of Pinot!) This is because I’m very aware that, while my friends nurse their hangovers on the sofa the next day, gently cajoling their other halves into bringing them bacon sandwiches and Powerade, I'm generally at home alone, nursing a growing sense of impending doom and feeling like world is going to end.

The fact is that alcohol is a depressant and it works very well on me, so without Mr Miner here to tell me to "Get over it Rummy!" I just don’t cope too well. I love nothing more than a good mojito, but these days I try to stop at two rather than ten!

No, while he’s away I tend to indulge in other guilty pleasures. Slightly healthier for my body, but less so for my wallet. So right now, let me confess:  I’m Sarah and I’m a shopaholic!

Whether it’s clothes, food or home furnishings, I can’t help myself. I shop because I can, not because I actually need anything. I shop online at work, I hard-core shop at the weekends and I can’t resist a good bargain. I have spent hours of my life on Gumtree, and don’t even get me started on pharmacies or stationery shops.

Luckily, I don’t usually spend beyond my means. But I certainly enjoy shopping and when Mr Miner’s away I definitely shop more. For me it’s all about comfort. I like to 'treat' myself when he’s away and do something that makes me feel good.

My guilty pleasures generally revolve around indulgence and comfort. I’m a sucker for new comfy pyjamas for a night in, or a new nail polish to make myself feel good. And I can’t go past a lingerie department: the rows of pretty shiny colours and soft and silky fabrics just call out to me.

It might be as small as a bar of Green and Black’s dark chocolate, in its glossy, tempting packaging, but I have to satiate the urge to buy something that’s just for me.

This is all well and good when he’s away for a week at a time. But after five weeks apart my bank balance is not looking so healthy, particularly after this weekend’s Kmart and Garden Centre splurge (it was a Sunday and everyone else had plans!)

So I now have 24 hours to throw out the chocolate wrappers (oh yes - my other guilty pleasure is being a complete slob when he’s away!) take the tags off new clothes, hide the receipts and invoke the willpower of my 11-year-old self to put a stop to this behaviour – for the week that he's home at least!

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