Shoe Loyalty

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So, before I go straight into this story I feel like I need to explain that this is actually a little bit of a risky post as there is no real ‘good’ outcome for myself (or my husband) if I decide to actually click ‘post’ and not leave this wallowing in my draft folder for a little while!

It’s no major disaster – no-one is going to get into any trouble or harm, I feel like I should just get that out the way before I continue. Basically, if I tell the story and my husband finds out (by reading it) then I’m in ‘trouble’ for spending more money on shoes and if he doesn’t find out (i.e. if he doesn’t read it – as I would like to think that anyone who knows us both and reads my blog would never grass me up!) then I know that despite what he says, he doesn’t actually read my blog and therefore does not support my hobby! (the ‘not supporting my hobby’ part is complete exaggeration – I know that he doesn’t need to read my blog to support me, but y’know, it adds to the drama, and who doesn’t love a bit of drama!)

Now, it’s not like I could say anything to him, as really I want to keep my little shoe shopping spree to myself, so it’s a bit like catch 22. But at least by posting this, I will know if he knows and ultimately if he reads my blog! Unless of course, he knows but doesn’t say anything so I don’t know he knows! (Are you still with me?! Hopefully you FRIENDS fans out there enjoyed that reference!)

So the story is…I went to London on a work trip last week, couldn’t get an earlier train back as we had advanced tickets so naturally I did what anyone would do with a free hour to kill in London…went shopping in Christian Louboutin. Now, I was only going to look, honest! Ha, who am I kidding, I was never leaving without a little brown bag of joy! What I wasn’t expecting was to be recognised by one of the members of staff. I always tell Steve that it’s a bad sign when the person in a shop (or often in our case, takeaway/restaurant) knows your name (and order) and he insists that you get looked after better and it shows loyalty – which is a good trait in a person…

Well, its official. I am loyal to Christian Louboutin. Now, to be fair the sales assistant didn’t know my name – but he did remember me from a couple of months earlier and did recall what I’d bought and what else I said I was going to buy! (Nail varnish nude and red, the same as the soles!) Ha, how embarrassing! I did say to my colleague (who I’d dragged halfway across London) not to mention it to anyone as it’s never good to be remembered by a shop, but actually thought it was quit typical of me and worthy of a share after all! I was just casually browsing and he asked me if I needed help. It would have been rude not to try the shoes on, so when another assistant went to get them and I carried on ‘browsing’ he was like, haven’t you shopped with us before? You’re the girl who came in for the nail varnish! I went as red as the soles of the shoes, and I was like, yes it was me, I am the girl who tried every shade on, painted every nail and then couldn’t decide on which shade of nude. Over an hour later I did leave with a purchase though – I mean picking the right varnish to match your shoes is a very important decision… (Especially when said nail varnish is £34 a bottle!)

So, needless to say I left the shop, yet again with another pair of shoes. I am VERY loyal. But they’re so pretty and unique and now I don’t have to drag my hubby around the CL store in Paris – we can do the things he’d prefer/ more time for more shops for me!! I did it for him ultimately! I am such a kind and considerate wife.

Not that he will get mad, as we don’t have that type of relationship anyway – we don’t really care what each other spends our money on as long as the bills are paid and there’s food on the table, what does it matter… BUT he has just come back from the Dive Show in Birmingham and spent a similar amount of money on a pair of fins – and they’re technically shoes, right?! So, all in all, we’re both as bad LOYAL as each other!

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The one with the DIY disaster

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Well, these past few days have most certainly been eventful, and not all in a good way. Not to dwell on the bad stuff, I thought I would share the drama of how me trying to save money and be thrifty, actually managed to cost me much more than I ever intended. (Now I can laugh about it!)

After the success of my shoe making course, I decided to search the internet for more shoe making ideas. I came across a post on a fellow bloggers site (for some reason it won’t let me link it here, but a google search if you’re interested and you will find it!) Basically the post was a step by step guide on how to make a pair of shoes a la Marc Jacobs.

The blog was about making a pair of cat shoes (for the none MJ fans!) – and they were awesome! So naturally, I decided I was going to do the same. Not only would I have a pair of shoes similar to a designers, they would be a fraction of the price and have much more sentimental value. Win-Win, yeah?

A few days later I went to the shops, bought my supplies (acrylic paint, a gold marker and masking tape!) and came home all excited about renovating an old pair of shoes…that was until disaster struck.

As I squirted the paint (black) out of the tube onto my brand spanking new paint pallet, it shot right out the other end and landed on our beige sofa. I couldn’t believe my luck (or more like un-luck!) I was quite far away from the sofa with tissue paper and a plastic mat covering as much of the floor as possible, yet I managed to hit the one place that it wouldn’t wipe off!

After an hour and an half of scrubbing, bleaching, soapy-watering, crying and yelling at the sofa, the stain was not budging! There was nothing I could do. I hadn’t even managed to put paint to shoe yet.

My sofa: Before the scrubbing and yelling:

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My sofa: After the scrubbing and yelling:

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So I did, the only thing a girl could do at that moment – cranked up the music – reminded my husband that he loved me and should keep perspective of what was important when he got home (It was worth a try!) and painted my shoes.

By the end of it, I was pretty proud of my efforts, despite the whole destroying the sofa incident (of-course!) which, coincidentally will now cost me considerably more than buying a pair of MJ’s shoes would have done in the first place! Ha!

That aside, I’m still pretty chuffed and I have more shoes to decorate this week. I’ll keep you updated with my progress!

Like I said, I totally cannot take any credit for the idea, but I will post a how-to guide (minus the sofa part!) for anyone interested.

Here are my shoes:

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The one with all the shoes

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This weekend I went to London to finally attend the ‘ballet pumps for beginners’ course I’d been dying to do with I CAN make shoes. Now, although I had a right ol’ drama getting there, I have to say, oh my life, what an awesome day I had.

I arrived the night before, as I didn’t want anything stopping me getting to the course on the day. Everything was going well until my shoe broke just as I got off the train. Ironic really; given what I was in London for. By this time it was 5.45pm so the only place I could really go was to FatFace in Euston station. There were literally no shoes in my size in the entire store. Eventually the girl found a greeny coloured sandal in the storeroom and I immediately agreed to take it. £38 lighter I left the store and headed for the tube. After somehow ending up at the wrong tube station, wandering around shoreditch for half an hour and finally making my way to bethnal green my feet were killing. These shoes were far from my dream pair. Another forty minutes of walking up and down the same bloody street, I finally found the Travelodge – turns out, the tree was covering the sign so I’d walked past the hotel 3 times. Finally, a whole 2.5 hours after arriving in London, I was at the hotel and could take these godforsaken shoes off.

My feet were cut to shreds. The shoes were ruined and I literally had blisters galore. I needed a shower, a lie down and a large glass of vino.

After a chilled out night, I was looking forward to the course the next day, but dreading putting the shoes back on my feet. Thankfully I’d come prepared with some plasters, for what little good they did. Thankfully the studio I was doing the course in was only a stones throw away, so I managed to hobble down the road and avoid the rain.

When I arrived, it turned out the other people on the course had missed their train and so now it was only me booked in for the day. I had one-to-one tuition – it was great! I got stuck in pretty quickly, picking the colour of my leather and cutting out the soles.

The tuition from Amanda was amazing, she took the time to show me step by step how to do everything and was always on hand to offer advice. The time flew by, I couldn’t believe how quick the shoes were coming together.

I can definitely say that I learnt a lot from the course; I love shoes even more than I thought I did, I cannot cut or stick very well, sewing is also probably not my forte, but I can definitely learn more by doing. I want to make shoes all the time! I am hooked!!

I am so proud of my very own handmade shoes. They are just too cute. ☺

I was so excited I bought a home shoe making pack there and then and have been scouring the internet even since looking for the perfect leather. The second I get a free weekend, I will be making pair number 2.

I would thoroughly recommend I CAN make shoes, so much so, I am going back in winter to do the high heel making course with them. I’ll make a shoe designer out of myself one day – just watch this space! 🙂

Maud’s vs Manolo’s – I Can Make Shoes

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This afternoon I am leaving the countryside and heading to London Town for the much anticipated shoe designing course with I Can Make Shoes.

To say I am excited is an understatement. I literally cannot wait.

I am going to call my first pair of shoes Maud by Danielle. I haven’t decided on the colour yet – I’m torn between keeping it neutral and then I can wear them every day, or going all out an making a statement shoe. There is a lot to think about. Haha.

One thing is for sure though, Jimmy Choo & Manolo Blahnik better watch out, as Maud’s will be soon coming to a shop near you. 🙂 Now, what to spend my first million on?? I’ll have plenty of time to think* about it on the train. (*and of course, by think I mean daydream endlessly!)

Orders in a comment please! Haha. 😀

Designer Diving or a Treat for Feet?

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Recently, I took some well needed time off from work and swapped my Manolos for a very different type of footwear, namely my fins, for a 2 week, all inclusive diving holiday to Egypt.

I first started scuba diving in 2008, after booking a holiday of a lifetime to the Maldives, Steve insisted that I couldn’t beat his 2nd love (rugby was his first) and so I either spent 2 weeks in paradise by myself, or I embraced the underwater world and he would teach me how to dive. After stupidly saying when we first met that diving was something I’d always wanted to do, I didn’t really have much of an option other than putting my money where my mouth was.

I was taught in the local diving quarry in North Wales, in a 13 year old wetsuit, that I had very little control over the movement of it. I literally hated every single minute of it, but continued with the promise of the cold and dark, murky water turning into a literal paradise and whole new world as soon as we touched down on the Sun Island Resort, Maldives.

Skip forward 172(ish) dives and its safe to say that I’m extremely glad that I persevered. Although it is fair to say that I absolutely love swapping my heels for fins in the tropical waters of the world, I must admit, cold water diving isn’t really my thing and these days, I do tend to stick to being more of a holiday diver. Having said that, I still manage to own multiple pairs of fins, one pink pair for warm water, a black pair for cold water (when I do venture out) another pink pair that are more suited for diving in a current, and a yellow snorkeling pair, for, well snorkeling! I mean, Marc Jacobs et al is seriously missing a trick here, designer fins is definitely where it should be at!

On the most recent diving holiday, we held awards at the end of the trip, and I am very proud to say that I won the ‘best worn neoprene’ award for my co-ordinated diving attired. The Captain of the Boat we go diving on referred to me for the whole week as ‘Pink Woman’ – I mean, a girls gotta co-ordinate, you never know who you might bump in to!

The one thing I do love about diving holidays is that (although I love my clothes, shoes and handbags as much as the next person) it is always nice to kick back and chill out with, well no shoes. We always go diving now with a company called Divers Lodge who are based in Hurghada. The dive guides are so friendly and knowledgeable and boat staff are amazing, literally the most helpful people in the world, and I cant talk about the diving without mentioning the lunch served on the boat and is the best you’ll find anywhere (no exaggeration!) and the dive sites are awesome. But the best part of it is all is my feet finally get a rest! From the minute you step foot on the boat you enter a no shoe zone, and that is it, for the whole day, my feet are free. Its the most amazing feeling in the world (along with the peace and quiet you get whilst diving with dolphins and turtles and every fish known to man, of course!)

For anyone out there who is in to diving, or wants to give it a try, I would thoroughly recommend Divers Lodge, Hurghada. Not only for an amazing experience, but for the treat for your feet! 🙂

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Shoes, glorious shoes

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much money I spend on shoes. I often joke about price per wear and how, it’s ok to buy more; they’re an investment. But in all seriousness, I sometimes think, I could have bloody well made this myself…

This got me thinking – why do I give all my hard earned money to shoe designers, when I could in fact, make my own? I mean, most of the best (in my opinion) designers are men; Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin… and where do these men get off in being able to say what shoes a woman should wear? I should be able to decide what heel height I want on my shoes, what shade of blue it should be and not give in to the world of fashion to tell me what’s hot this season and what’s not.

I am a woman, I have my own ideas and damn right, I am going to make my own shoes.

Marilyn Monroe once said ‘give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.’ Well, I have made a decision, I am going to enroll on a shoe designing course, make myself some shoes and conquer the world, one shoe at a time.

Watch out, ‘Maud’ by Danielle will be hitting the shelves in no time!!

Manolos, Mulberry, Marc Jacobs and Me

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Anyone who knows me knows where I come from and my values as a person. I love my family, would do anything for my friends and even though I don’t see either of them as much as I would like to, I hold them as the most dearest things to me.

In the same vain, I would not call myself shallow (and I hope others wouldn’t either) I can happily go without materialist thing; but when it comes to shoes and bags, I will confess, I AM AN ADDICT and a complete sucker for a designer buy* (*I say bargain – but it does depend on who’s eyes you are looking at the purchase from.)

Growing up, I wouldn’t say I was really into fashion, I always wore joggers and t-shirts – I hated jeans (to be honest I’m not a massive fan now – thank god for jeggings I say!) I was quite happy with what I had and never really wanted for anything…However, there is one particular memory I have a child, and it was back when I was about 6. My mum bought me this coat for school and I hated it. It was bright blue with red and yellow blocks of colour on it. Utterly hideous it was, I kicked up such a fuss, but she still made me wear it.

I remember one day, one of the other children in my class pulled the toggle and ran around me and I got tangled up in the coat. Now back then in my eyes, it wasn’t the child’s fault for doing it, no, it was that goddamn coat’s fault, and if it hadn’t been so hideous, then I wouldn’t have been targeted and had my toggles pulled….Well, that what I told my mum that evening, when I announced I hated school and was never wearing that coat again, it was ruining my life. (Not sure the drama queen has even really left me, even now to be honest.)

Anyways, what does this have to do with designer shoes and handbags?

Well, from that very young age, I vowed I would never wear a horrid coat like the one I’d been forced to wear in primary school, again. When I was older and rich (ha, I wish eh!) I was going to buy myself a nice, really expensive coat (and bag and shoes, of course, it would be rude not to.) So, now I am older (and unfortunately not yet fulfilled the ambition of being rich) I would be being disloyal to my 6 year old self, if every once in a while, I did not indulge in a bit of Michael (Kors), Marc (Jacobs) or indeed Manolo or Mulberry!

So, these days I do what my 6 year old self would have wanted me to do. I have the best relationship I can possibly have with Michael, Mark, Manolo, and sometimes Jimmy (Choo, of course.)

Now, I am by all means not flash, nor do I actually have a wardrobe full of designer bags and shoes. But, I do feel quite strongly that it is my duty to myself, to ensure that the 6 year old within me suffers no more…

So, with all this in mind, when my husband next tells me off for ‘wasting my money’ or that ‘Tesco sell perfectly good shoes and bags’ I am going to sit him down and tell him the truth…It’s not that I want these things because they’re pretty and soft and just so damn b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l, it’s because of the promise I made to myself back when I was six.

Do you think he’ll believe me? Probably not, but it’s worth a try – There’s a gorgeous pair of Mulberry boots I want and I really do need to find some way of justifying buying them before they sell out!!!