Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

A day off

The house is silent. There are no more excuses to be made. It’s time un-Christmas-ify.

I’m looking at some shoes strewn about, odd socks lying haphazardly on the floor, little piles of things to take out to the recycling and leftover Christmas cards. I know the kitchen needs tidying up from my latest adventures last night with Michel Roux Sr. I need to book train tickets to see a friend next weekend and I have letters to friends abroad that I must reply to. There are clothes in the wash basket which need washing and drying and I guess I should take down our two Christmas trees. That will take ten seconds as one is a picture of a tree and the other is a mini tree about as long as my forearm.
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But let me tell you about the other potential activities I could fill my day off with. I’m very tempted by having a cup of tea and reading Narnia. I’m equally tempted by the lure of shopping. Nothing major. I just need some new muslin cloths and tupperware. And possibly a steam cooker thing as I don’t have one and Michel Roux keeps telling me to use one. It’s hindering my culinary adventures. I would also like to go for a long walk and finish listening to the audiobook of The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling which, by the way, I am loving.

It’s a difficult decision to make. What to do with my day….

While I decide, I will just make a cup of tea and read Narnia a little…. Just a little….

Getting festive

Yesterday, my childhood friend and I decided to go to Westfield shopping centre. If this name doesn’t mean anything to you, imagine the hugest most enormous building in the world, full of shops and restaurants. I think it’s the biggest one in Europe or something. We made a plan to go there and sort out a few Christmas presents. I also kind of thought I’d keep an eye out for a nice outfit for Christmas day and maybe some new shoes as a few pairs are starting to look a bit scrappy.

Remember this: I was looking for a Christmas day outfit, shoes and some presents.

My friend’s agenda was something like this: new warm winter coat, smart clothes for work-related placement, Christmas presents for family.

We entered the foray and started our shopping expedition. We went into shop after shop, looking for warm coats. I kept an eye out for a nice dress for Christmas Day. There’s just one problem though…. I am a different person in my head than I am in real life, when it comes to clothes.

In my head, I’m edgy and cool, my style is very All Saints and when I pass people in the street, they wonder how they will ever be as cool and fashionable as me. I’d describe my look as ‘off-duty supermodel’ if asked. I’ve got beach-babe tousled hair and ooze effortlessness and cool, while being au naturel and fabulous.

….In real life, however…. I’m more non-descript. I wear neutral clothes for work – jeans and t-shirts mostly. So even when I have a day off, out come the jeans and t-shirts anyway. I think I own make-up, god knows where it might be though. There are also some high heels somewhere in a cupboard, I think. I’m quite flat-footed though, so don’t really wear them for long before I’m dying to take them off. I live in my Crocs whilst at work, which no supermodel, not even an off duty one, would ever wear. My hair could be described as tousled-beach-babe but if I’m honest, it’s more unbrushed-and-trying-to-turn-into-dreads. And in desperate need of a cut, which I’m too lazy to go and get. I wear dresses quite often but they’re the casual stretchy summery dresses that you team up with leggings and boots, not the elegant ladylike dresses that, in my head, I look so great in….

Hence, there is an issue when shopping. The me in my head looks fab in floor-length bejewelled gowns are beautiful and head-turning. The me in real life looks like a little squat dwarf in them as I’m FAR too short and look totally lost inside such long dresses. So as I wandered around oohing and aahing at the lovely dresses, I didn’t find anything I could actually wear, just what I thought I might be able wear when my moment of ‘cool’ kicks in. I’ve been waiting 27 years for it to happen so it’s bound to be any minute now.

I loved the plum-coloured fitted dress which looked like it would really compliment my body, if it weren’t for the 10inch lumpy tummy scar from my operation that shows through tight tops.

I loved the knee high brown leather boots that looked like they belonged on a horse farm, if it weren’t for the fact that I couldn’t pull them further than my chunky little mid calves.

And so it went on, for hours – me spotting things that would perfectly compliment the imagined me, but which didn’t suit or fit the real me. Things that would suit the real me were boring so I didn’t look at them.

We stopped for a food break halfway round and discussed a game plan. We remembered that I was looking for shoes, a dress and presents. She was looking for a coat, smart clothes and presents.

When we were on the move again, we made real efforts to find things. We walked. And we walked. And we walked. For about three and a half hours in total.

The result? My friend bought a jumper and some warm leggings. I bought a Christmas jumper and a leather jacket, because I’ve never owned one and it was more than 50% off the original price, bringing into my financial sights.

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I’m not quite sure whether I’d consider this trip a success….. But I do LOVE my jumper.

My new yoga enemies

Today, I was going to finally deal with a Leibster Award I was given a few months back and was looking forward to it as I remember the questions being quite good. I had also planned who I was going to pass the award on to. It all promised to be very exciting. As I have the morning free, I was going to sit here and dedicate myself to it with gusto.

So I went back to the day I was given it, in early September, rifled through the comments and found the one which said I had been given the award. And I clicked on the link, all excited. And the link went to a generic WordPress start-up page with nothing on it. There was one post from 13 November which said Welcome to your new WordPress site. And nothing else. It totally threw me. I know I took a few months to deal with the award… but enough to make her pack in her entire WordPress career?

Hence, I am now a little stumped. I don’t have anything prepared for a post. But never fear! In my massively exciting world, in which I am constantly doing and saying really interesting things, I shall serenade you (serenade?) with a tale of what happened at last night’s yoga class.

I have been doing yoga on and off for about ten years now, sometimes at home from a DVD, sometimes at classes, sometimes just from a book. So I’m familiar with the yoga ‘scene.’ My friend (the one mentioned in this post) and I decided to go to a beginner’s yoga class last night, as she has never done it before. I called up that morning and booked us in and at 5.50pm, we arrived, legging-clad and ready to go.

We walked into the room and saw a bench in a corner, which had a few bags on it, so figured this is where we were supposed to leave our stuff. We approached the bench, put down our bags and were chitchatting while we took our socks and shoes off.

“Are you new to the yoga class?” an older lady asked, as we were taking our shoes off.

“Yes,” we said, thinking she was perhaps the teacher and about to welcome us in a friendly manner.

“Ok. It’s just that usually we go here.”

We were confused. Did she mean that the yoga class was happening over the other side of the room and she and the man standing next to her were doing something different there and we had accidentally left our stuff in the bit where they have a different class? But they had mats down as though they were about to do yoga.

“Sorry, what’s… Is this bit not the yoga?” I asked.

“Yes, this is where we have our mats.”

Let’s just get this straight. An older lady, one who should have known better, perhaps in her fifties, was telling us, in a rather condescending manner, that as ‘new’ people to the class, we should learn that this is ‘their’ corner. Like the naughty boys who wanted the back seat of the bus and woe betide anyone who sat there mistakenly!

I was clearly quite annoyed as we had not even made any moves to give the impression that we were trying to stay in that spot for the class. We were clearly just putting our stuff on the bench next to everyone else’s stuff and taking our shoes off. We weren’t even trying to put mats down or anything. We hadn’t picked mats up yet!

“Yeh, we’re just taking our shoes off,” I said, irritated.

She sensed my annoyance.

“O, I’m not being rude or anything, I just, it’s just that we usually go here. I’m not being rude.” And she smiled politely. As though I wouldn’t notice that she was being rude, simply because there was a smile on her face. I’m not fooled, lady! You’re still being rude, even if you’re saying “I’m not being rude” and smiling! You’re still being really bloody rude!

So we said, “Yeh, we’re just taking our shoes off,” and pottered off to get mats. We put them in the other corner of the room but we were still quite near them as the room wasn’t that big. Everyone else was sitting or lying down, doing a bit of relaxation before the class, being very quiet and concentrating on their breathing. The rowdy ‘naughty boys on the bus’ older couple stayed standing and discussing something or other quite loudly, considering everyone else in the room was silent. I caught snippets of conversation.

“…had sex for the first time in six weeks…. yeh, six weeks…. yeh, she’s not been well… had that fall….”

I mean, really now? You kicked us out of the corner spot that we weren’t even trying to go in and now you’re discussing sex at an unnecessary volume in a room full of silent people, trying to be silent and relax prior to their yoga class. What’s wrong with you people?

So the teacher comes in, she greets us and is saying that she can see a lot of new faces and doing the general ‘hello’ stuff and this silly couple, the ‘naughty boys at the back of the bus who love talking about sex’ couple, keep talking, right over the teacher. As if they’re trying to show everyone who’s really in charge here. It was honestly ridiculous.

So I shushed them.

That’s right. I shushed them.

ssshhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

It started small but they didn’t take any notice so it built until I was almost hoarse from shushing. It felt good.

The teacher joked that it was like a cinema. I presume she meant people shushing other people for talking through the film or being loud with popcorn. So I admit it. I am a shusher. I also used to do it at uni if people were talking through the lecturer’s teaching. That’s just me, ok? I’m a shusher!

So then the class started and I forgot about my new yoga enemies but as I’m writing this, I’m remembering all over again and am re-flabbergasted. So my friend and I have made a plan. Next week, we will arrive really early and TAKE THEIR SPOT IN THE CORNER! Mwah ha ha ha ha! We live on the edge. And if they say anything to us, we will say, all innocently, “O, sorry, we’re new, we didn’t realise. Well, we’re here now. That space there is just as good, try going there.”

My Crocs and I

At first, when my manager at work said she was going to get us all Crocs to wear, I groaned in horror. Crocs! How ugly! I’d never be able to walk out from behind the counter for fear people would see them and judge me.

As if it weren’t bad enough that we were being given Crocs to wear, by the time it got around to ordering mine, there were only yellow and purple left to choose from! To save getting confused, we were each to pick a different colour, so we’d be able to tell which pair were ours. The more ordinary colours had been picked already, the brown, blue, black and grey, which, unless you looked closely, could kind of look like an ordinary pair of shoes. So I had a dull purple or a bright yellow as my options. I picked the purple, it was quite dark and not that noticeable. We ordered them online and then when they arrived, they were obviously an eye-catching bright purple. Obviously. The type of colour which immediately draws your eye.

I was extremely self conscious about wearing them at first. I’d point them out, jokingly, as though I was desperate for people to know that I was aware how idiotic they looked, but they were just my work shoes! Honest! I didn’t buy them out of choice! They’re just my work shoes! Don’t judge me!

Occasionally, I’d put a purple t-shirt on, absent-mindedly and then get to work, change into my Crocs and realise that it looked like I’d organised my outfit that way, to match my Crocs.

Then I started getting casual about them, wearing them home after work, or to the shops. Sometimes I’d go and see a friend straight from work and I’d still have the Crocs on. By the time I realised, I’d just shrug and keep going, hoping that the friendship was strong enough to withstand the extreme ugliness and the general impression they gave, that my feet were ginormous flippers.

Before I knew it, they’d sneaked a place in my line up of shoes and demanded to be considered as the shoe I might choose when I got ready in the morning. Even on days I wasn’t working. There they were, the hugest purplest ugliest things I’d ever come across, with big holes in them, which made rain a nightmare, and with a considerable layer of dirt around the toe area that I was too lazy to clean.

And yet.

And yet they are MY Crocs. They are my big ugly purple Crocs.

And I love them.

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A dedication to my childhood friend

My favourite friend when I was a little girl at school had blond hair, like me. She was a little bit short, like me. And we were always together. People used to mix us up.

One time we swapped shoes for fun at breaktime and forgot to swap them back. Our parents were quite annoyed at us when we went home with the wrong shoes on.

We used to play with two dinosaur shaped erasers, one blue and one green. The game we played consisted of us burying the dinosaurs at break time then coming back at lunch time and digging them up. It was a pretty good game, if I remember rightly. We were about six years old and inseparable.

When we were about nine or ten, my favourite friend said she was moving away. They were moving Wales, which was the other side of the world for all I knew! I now know that it was essentially just down the road, a few hours at most. But then, it was the most far away place I could imagine. I was pretty gutted.

A few years of letter-writing later and we planned a visit. My mum drove a friend and I to her house and we stayed overnight. It was hilarious. We ‘made’ a Ouija board and made out we were terrified of looking in the mirror at midnight. We giggled and pulled our stuff into the front room, away from the mirrors, to sleep.

A few years later, my friend came to Liverpool to stay over. Another friend was there too and we had great fun. The next visit was a few years later, when my friend came to look at the university in Liverpool on an open day.

Then I left for Africa and lost contact with most people. I then went to university in Glasgow for a bit and one day, I decided to try texting her old phone number. She was still using it! Amazing! A bit of catch up and lunch in Liverpool next time I was back re-established the friendship.

Next thing I knew, I was back and forth travelling quite a bit before settling into a different course in London and we start emailing again. She’s in Thailand, teaching! Perfect. I had just started sponsoring a little girl in Viet Nam and was really keen to visit her. So I planned a trip to see my little sponsor girl in Viet Nam and my friend in Thailand. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It was such fun.

The next year, after she had returned to England, I went back to Asia with a friend and she came for two weeks of our trip. That was in 2007. She moved to Hungary for a few years next.

I don’t think we’ve seen each other since then. We’ve been friends a long time now. Over twenty years. I don’t think I’ve known anyone (excluding family) for that long!

And then, a few months ago, my friend Facebooked. She had a place on a postgraduate course at my old university, down the road!

This is very exciting. For a whole year, my childhood best friend will be living down the road, instead of across the world.

Tonight, she is coming for dinner. I am preparing a feast. When I get excited, I cook. I hope I don’t burn everything now, in a frenzy of excitement and forgetfulness.

Attempting ‘sporty’

I’ve decided that it’s time to give my list of Stuff I’d Like To Do Post-Exams another go. I’ve done Getting Excited About Stuff, which was good. I think next I’ll do Being Sporty. I mean my version of sporty, by the way. Which I think is most people’s version of mild exercise. I’m ok with that.

Yesterday I went on the most epic walk along the river, which was amazing. I came across a boat race, a mariner’s club open day, an outdoor art installation, open air theatre, a jazz concert, a music festival, an open-house day at a group of artists’ studios, two schools’ open days and a wedding in a gallery. It’s lovely what nice weather can do. I discovered loads of things that I’ve been walking past for years but never gone in. Huge stately homes and beautiful gardens. Funny little islands and secret passageways. Fantastic statues and royal residences. It was such a lovely way to spend a Saturday.

Even when rain threatened to stop play and I didn’t have a jacket, I soldiered through and it stopped in the end. Even when my shoes threatened to tear apart the backs of my heels (silly me for wearing the trainers I hardly use for a long walk), I found a shop and bought plasters and kept going. I had a London Walks guide book with me and had just picked the first in the list and was reading the information as I went around. It was great fun.

So I decided this week I am going to challenge myself to do something active every day. Not just a ten minute stroll to Waitrose. Actually active. I’ll keep you updated.

I also started NaNoWriMo a few days ago (National Novel Writing Month). You write 1667 words a day and in a month you have a 50,000 word novel! Finding time for it is a bit of a challenge but I’ve kept it up so far

I touched the key and….

Ok, so I’m still not done with this week’s Chat magazine. You’ll be glad to hear we’re revisiting it and this time, I’m heading to the ‘Spirit World’ section, with Chat’s medium, Tony. Now every week, there’s a picture of a key.

The ‘lucky things that happened to readers’ last week were….

Kate baked the perfect chocolate cake for her son’s birthday.

Peggy learnt to ride a bike (she’s 60).

Maggie’s dog has finally stopped chewing her shoes.

Apparently those things happened because of touching the key. Amazing. So if you’re reading this and you want some amazingly good luck (if you are going to make a cake, ride a bike or get a dog, maybe) close your eyes and touch the key and report back the lucky things that happened to you as a result of it. Let me tell you about my day yesterday after I touched the key. The luckiest day ever!

I woke up at 4.15am to do an online exam, my last thing for my law degree, and my computer didn’t break in the middle of it! Wow!

I made a cup of tea and didn’t spill any of it on myself! Amazing!

I wasn’t late for work! In fact, I was three minutes early… Lucky!

I was very tired but I didn’t fall asleep standing up! Omg!

I had five coffees but didn’t have a heart attack! Gosh!

Someone annoyed me at work but I didn’t punch them! Brilliant!

I had a sleep when I got home from work and didn’t fall out of bed! Yeh!

I made a tasty banana bread! Fantastic!

I made a nice dinner for a friend who came over! Fab!

The football was on but I read a book instead so I wouldn’t get bored! Great!

The washing dried on the line outside so I had clean pyjamas for bedtime! Amazing!

You see? All you sceptics out there. I bet you’re eating your words now, aren’t you? See how LUCKY my day was after I touched the key? I might write in to Chat to let them know how much they helped me and they might put me in their Lucky Key column.

I heart Chat.