Girls in Russia like to dress up. And not just for a night out. With three men for every woman competition is tough. Even with the horrendous state of roads and pavements, high heels are in! So I decided to join them. I bought some fairly sensible high heel ankle boots with a fair amount of pointing, nodding and smiling. Only three weeks in to my stay here and I hadn't quite figured out the whole shopping thing. My next shopping adventure was my skinny jeans. This time I had the good sense to take my host along with me. My host and the shop assistant had a lengthy discussion about my height and size, handing me every single suitable pair of jeans in the shop. Twenty minutes and ten pounds later I was the proud owner of Russian jeans. Since then I have managed to go shopping by myself and leave with an entire outfit, even if I had to resort to English more than once. And most recently, when my ancient rucksack finally gave up the ghost, I looked round three separate shopping centres, chatted with countless shop assistants and never once had a problem with my Russian. Now that is progress!