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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

All about shoes and my inner Alexa.

Spring is finally here! I did have a scary dream last night that we had freak snow (remember when it snowed in April for Easter a couple of years ago) and bolted to the window this morning but thankfully, the white stuff had stayed away.  I honestly think I would down tools and refuse to leave the house (that'll be my mature, reasonable side coming to the fore once more) until I could venture out in ballet pumps.  


Speaking of ballet pumps and spring weather, a couple of people have asked me if I would do a piece on spring footwear.  Apparently my blog on wedge trainers didn't fill the shoe gap between full on boot and flipflop as it was intended.  Funny that.  I did predict that they would be a marmite item and I certainly hadn't anticipated seeing a charge of wedge trainers on the school run or in the supermarket.  I will admit I haven't ruled them out though..... I just can't thoyle them at the moment. ( Fabulous word that - one from my days living in Yorkshire.  Something you can afford but you just can't justify when you have other things that you'd be better spending your money on.  Having said that, I've just googled it and it doesn't seem to remotely exist.  Hmmm.  Well bugger that, I've been using it for years and it's a bloody excellent word, even more so considering it only exists in my oddbod world.  Clearly my Northern counterparts saw the Southern jesse coming a mile off and are still probably having a huge guffaw at my expense.   Literary genius, clearly I am not)


Back to the case in question.  What does one wear when it just feels wrong wearing full on boots but they'd cart you off to the funny farm if you ventured out in flipflops?


Well firstly I still advocate the ankle boot.   I know it's a boot but there are boots and there are boots (this is the bit where The Husband rolls his eyes and makes shooting himself gestures) This may only be something a woman can understand but, as I say to him, that's like me saying there's only one sort of functional trainer.  An ugly one.  Last year I had the not so pleasurable experience of going to buy new trainers. (as I was doing The Moon Walk which is a full marathon.  Oh yes, all of the 26.something miles.  At night.  In the dark.  In the cold.  I shall say nothing else negative as it is for an amazing cause and does raise a huge amount of cash.  But suffice to say I therefore have nothing else to say on the topic.)  


My old trainers, well, if you can really call them that, were a "fashun" pair of Gola slip on thingies from the mid 90's.  As I may have mentioned once or twice, I'm not what one would ever term, a Gym Bunny.  In fact it's rare to see exercise and my name mentioned in the same sentence unless accompanied by the words "lack of" or "bugger all".   So I dragged my sorry ass into a specialist running shop.  To be greeted by a lovely (soon to be somewhat perplexed) lady who asked what I was looking for.  


"Trainers to walk a marathon in"


"And what sort of shoe did you have in mind", she said gesturing at the wall of trainers behind her. 


And for the first time ever, I had an inkling of what The Husband goes through when he ever comes shopping with me and I ask him which x, y or z he prefers.  That blank expression which reads "but they all look the same"   There I was, knowing I had the exact same look on my face. 


"They all look the same." (I may have muttered something along the lines of "hideous" at this point)


"Well they're not..... (cue lengthy ramble as to their differences at which point I did completely zone out and had to double check I hadn't actually become a man)  So is there a colour you'd prefer?"  


I will admit I thought she might have been joking at this point.  Did she really think I was going to have a preference (bearing in mind that I am, at heart, a black/navy/khaki/camel/beige girl and they don't really make trainers in that jolly, energy inspiring colour palette.  For some random reason....) between neon pink, violet, turquoise, pistachio green or other various rather bright (I was secretly thinking "lurid") shades of pink/purple/blue/green?  All of which were going to get trashed in the mud during my extensive and rigorous training plan I had in mind.


"Right, ok, my criteria is a) I need trainers that don't give me a blister and b) cheap"


And the rest of the story is too dull to continue with (I bought trainers. I still have trainers.  I shall continue to have these trainers until they literally fall apart and I have to go through the whole rigmarole again.  They're white/silver with turquoise go faster bits on the side which don't actually work)  But suffice to say, a valuable lesson was learnt in seeing how other people, who may not share my ridiculous obsession with shoes, see a shoe shop. The moral of the story is:-  Don't take The Husband shopping.  Just take his credit card.


Back to boots.  There are some fantastic ankle boots out there which will serve you well over the next couple of months.  My absolute favourite have to be the Ambush Side zip ankle boot from Topshop






These would look great with skinnies, straight leg jeans rolled up, even under boot cut and definitely under a maxi skirt.  They are a great homage to (I wouldn't be so impolite as to imply copy) the Acne Pistol boot but at a fraction of the cost.  Hats off to Topshop (am having a complete love affair with Topshop at the mo.)  Perfect for those days when it's wet but actually quite warm.  Look great teamed with jeans and a lighter weight top.  And they'll hold their own come Sept/Oct when we have the same issue between flipflop and full on boot!


There are loads of ankle boots on the market at the moment.  Whilst we're here, I'm going to bung in My Lust of the Day as I just adore them.  Perfect in every way, bar the fact they're 5 inches in heel height which elevate me to tranny status.  I don't mind it on a night out but during the day I just look comedy.  Definitely a night out boot (of which I have absolutely zero need)  The Python Wedge Chelsea Boots from Topshop  




Second on my list of options is my beloved ballet pump.  What was good enough for Princess Di, is good enough for me. (actually sod that, I refused to wear blue eyeliner in the 80's let along now)  Completely timeless and I honestly think there is a ballet pump of sorts to suit every taste.  

I would love a pair of tan ones and if money were no object then these Chloe beauties would be mine in a flash.  Actually to be fair, I'd like them more tan/nude and less chestnut so it's sort of handy that they're completely out of my budget.  And even more handily they're sold out in my size.  Everyone's a winner.





Other more neutral and more pocket friendly (although still at the pricier end of the market) are these by my beloved Sam Edelman (worth a trip to the US just to stock up on)  Pic doesn't do them justice. 















Once again though, it's Zara though who come up trumps on the shoe front.  They are having an absolute stormer of a season.  My complete addiction for the past 18 years, having discovered them when I lived in Spain as a student, they are my go to shop for pretty much everything.  I even used to get all of my underwear there when they sold it (and embarrassingly I still have some.  I still wear it.  It's older than my children. I probably deserve better.  Buying underwear however, much to the utter chagrin of The Husband, is up there for me, with the excitement of buying functional trainers.)


Shoes, on the other hand, I could (and might) spend the Rugrats dinner money on.  (there's nothing wrong with baked beans - especially when they're served by a mummy with exquisite shoes on)


So from a classic cheap and cheerful (yet for £40 the leather will, I bet, be lovely) nude ballet pump





to a completely up to date version.  These have sneakily edged their way to My Lust of the Day Mark Two.  Black Ballerinas with skulls  Another totally marmite something but I adore.






The third option is the twist on a ballet pump.  Staying at Zara (it's so easy to and why would you go anywhere else?!), I am again loving and, feck it, I'm having a Lust of the Day Mark Three, Nude and Black plaited flat with ankle strap






Another option for a more casual look is the flat trainer.  Not the kind that you have to go to a sports shop to buy.  May I stress it is completely only my opinion which holds no value to anyone but I'm just going to come out and say it and risk offending someone.  Unless you are on your way to or from a gym or some form of exercise that involves sweat, I feel (strongly) that these should remain in a kit bag. I hold a similar theory with regards to fleeces but I shall quit whilst I'm ahead and move swiftly on.  


The old fave is of course the Converse.  Available in a rainbow of colours to suit every need. I personally have in navy and yellow. 


Another classic is the Superga - again available in a plethora of colours to suit.




Complete classic which you'd get a ton of wear out of over the coming months.  


Newer kids on the block are the Ash metallic numbers in low or high top.  A selection available from Ash








And then we have a whole arena of flats that, I confess, to drawing a blank at, but it would be remiss of me not to mention that they're out there.  A fine example of where the minefield of mutton versus frump comes alive and threatens to blow me out of the water.  Loafers are a prime example.  Russell & Bromley have, in fact, been doing them for a couple of years.   Now I adored these first time round.  I had oxblood beauties that I saved and saved for, from Next.  The consummate height of passion for a 14 year old working on Wembley Market at the weekends to save her pennies to buy clothes.  (maybe I wasn't as cool as I thought, as I remember hankering after an embroidered cardigan from there as well. hmmmm)


However at 37 I could easily afford them and thought they'd be great.  Alexa Chung looked fab in them after all.  And there in, alas, was my error.  Yes, Alexa Chung looked great in them as she was about 10 and didn't live in the home counties doing the school run, taking the kids to Brownies, swimming and jujitsu and joke about taking a bum bag and pound coin holder when she went on a rare night out, Up West (not sure I've mentioned that gem - will save it for another day.  It's really not worth waiting for I hasten to add)


Suffice to say, they epitomised the mutton/frump dilemma.  I didn't look remotely mutton in them.  Hell no, I looked like a retired librarian.  Of course it didn't stop me buying and returning them three times in the hope that one day I'd look into the mirror and see Alexa grinning back at me.  Err, yeah no, that never happened.  Somewhat unsurprisingly.


Hence my lack of enthusiasm at trying moccasin boat shoes, espadriilles, t-bar shoes, the aforementioned loafer (tassel or penny), brothel creepers, brogues, deck shoes or slippers.   There are a myriad of options of all of the above out there, if any of them take your fancy.  I would hate to put anyone off and would love someone to find their inner Alexa.  Mine told me to F off in no uncertain terms. I'm sure yours won't be nearly as rude. 



Very briefly now as I have kids to put to bed.  The tv has done an excellent job of babysitting for the past hour but I should probably step up to the Mummy plate.  Warning - do not be afraid - pictures are bigger.  I am verging on lifesize.  If too big, do let me know and I can reduce.

Sunday for Mothers Day (lovely relaxing day and then dinner with all three Rugrats and The Husband.  Astonishingly it didn't descend into carnage.  All hail the Smith & Western restaurant in Tunbridge Wells.  Gordon Ramsay it's not but I would certainly recommend for a family outing) 



White ribbed longline vest - Joseph
Khaki button longline 3/4 sleeve tee - Joseph
Stone skinny trousers - Dorothy Perkins
Camel tweed edged with leather military jacket - Jesiree
Khaki and black leopard print scarf - By Malene Birger
Camel Cypress ankle boots - Acne
Tan leather cuff - Mulberry
Cheetah print ponyskin bag - Zara


Monday back to reality and back to the school run.  Then coffee and breakfast with one of my best friends who's just moved into a gorgeous house (where I plan on spending A Lot of Time!)  And an afternoon spent sorting out the quagmire that used to be my boys bedroom.  I went through all their clothes (of which there was an obscene amount) and have sorted everything into seasons and ages.   The first of my spring cleaning bouts.  There will (there must - I'm slowly turning into Stig of the Dump) be more decluttering efforts. 



Black vest - Primark 
Black fine knit long sleeved jumper - Cos
Khaki skinny zip jeans - By Malene Birger
Black vintage style tweed blazer - Zara
Khaki and black leopard print scarf - By Malene Birger
Black Madonna stud wedge trainers - Ash
Cheetah print ponyskin bag - Zara


Today, a lovely coffee morning for Rugrat Two's class at a friend's house.  And then onto brunch at another close friends house.  (acknowledgement of massively lazy morning)  Home to tidy for the cleaner.  I have been heard to say that I tidy for the cleaner so they can spend their time cleaning.  Which is a crock of shit.  What I actually mean is that I tidy so they don't see what an absolute state we live in the rest of the week.  Confession over. 




Navy fine knit short sleeved jumper dress - Whistles
Distressed biker style skinny jeans - By Malene Birger
Beige and navy tie dye style scarf - Cos
Camel knitted blazer - Whistles
Gold pine cones necklace - NW3 by Hobbs
Chestnut peep toe lace up heeled ankle boots - Kurt Geiger
Chestnut vintage style cross body bag - Campomaggi from Plumo


Enjoy the sunshine tomorrow - is supposed to be verging on scorching (for March that is!)












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