Shattering The Glass Slipper

Obviously in order to get what you want in life, you have to be wearing kick-ass shoes. It's as simple as that. Imelda Marcos may not have been the nicest person in the world, but the Iron Butterfly knew what she wanted and how to get it - amazing footware. All one thousand and sixty pairs. Nicole Kidman - ditches Tom for Roast Lamb with Mum, and immediately gets her mojo back, because she's out of the ballet flats and into the stilettos before you can say 'Tom Cruise is really, really weird'.

I often think the reason Napoleon divorced Josephine wasn't because she couldn't produce an heir - it was down to the fact that she wore higher heels than he did. Short man syndrome got the better of him (and possibly envy over her shoes).  

The Terrible (Forty)Twos

The Terrible (Forty)Twos

The Terrible (Forty)Twos give you a lack of will to want to do stuffs. Any stuffs. They make one want to burrow under the doona and not come out until the champagne and red velvet birthday cake with forty-three (!!!) sodding candles* on it come waving past the pillow, tempting the grey roots and panda eyes blinking into the sunshine.

Shoes & Sensibility

I do not know that I shall execute Martha's commission at all, for I am not fond of ordering shoes; and, at any rate, they shall all have flat heels. - Sunday, June 2, 1799, Jane Austen's letter to her sister Cassandra from Bath.

I love Jane Austen's writing. When I think of this clever, sly, witty, wry woman secretly writing her equally clever, sly, witty, wry observational novels under cover of embroidery, or doing household accounts, or reading some improving volume of boring yuck such as Fordyce's Sermons, and having to quickly whip away her pages of manuscript when someone entered the room - well. The modern mind boggles.

However. I so wish Miss Austen was kicking around on Goodreads today for several reasons - not least of which is the fact that she died far too soon, and without experiencing many of the things her heroines so happily encountered - but mainly because she left so many things unanswered in her fabulous down to earth fables. And one of these things just does not make sense, peeps.

Why, dear Miss Austen, do you never discuss shoes in your stories? I realise that others have bemoaned the fact that you pretty much ignore the Napoleonic Wars other than an occasional reference to how much loot an eligible Naval officer has pulled in - this even though Emma was published in the year Waterloo was fought and won, and you yourself had two brothers serving in the Royal Navy, eventually rising to the rank of Admiral. Perhaps you were bored senseless by Charles and Frank droning on about Trafalgar, who knows? Yo ho ho and a bottle of yawn (believe me, I am with you there sister).

But to ignore footwear... well.

Really. There's just no excusing that lapse of reason.

Did you not like shoes? Did you not have a fascination with the whole handmade kid slipper scenario? I mean, you devote a whole section in Pride and Prejudice to Lizzy's muddy petticoats, so why not chat about how stuffed her poor little boots were? I shudder at the thought of what they went through... I actually sympathise (just a tad) with prissy pants Mademoiselle Bingles in that respect.

That gives me a thought. Maybe you were mean about Caroline Bingley because she resembled a friend of yours who had nicer shoes than you. Transference issues eh Jane? Look, you should have just told her that her shoes were 'so 1798' and perhaps Caz may have been less unpleasant - who knows?

Because secretly, I think you loved shoes. The letter to your sister about Martha? Methinks the lady doth protest too much. She just knows they will be flat soled, blergh shoes and nobody is interested in that kind of malarkey. We want satin, and high insteps, and ribbons, and - well, you get the picture.

We want the early 19th century equivalent of the stiletto, sister.

I see it all now. Pride and Prejudice was originally titled Pumps and Prejudice, and was all about Darcy's horror of Lizzy's inferior ball slippers. He overcame his pride in his handmade Hessians for long enough to propose when she promised to give every pair of her crappy Chinese knock-offs to Lydia, and never write 'direct to the factory' again.

Compared to some of the other 'variations' on P & P I have read, this is actually quite believable.

I feel far more at ease thinking that JA loved shoes. Because let's face it; this is a woman sitting at home, writing furiously, giving her characters wonderfully satisfactory endings.

She damn well deserved really, really good...


In Vino Veritas

“We were not a hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort it was our belief that no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well made cocktail.”

— David Sedaris, Naked

Last night was spent doing one (or I suppose it's two) of my favourite things. Stuffing my face, in the best possible company, with cheese and salami and fruit and pretty much anything that's yum to eat - and drinking truly exceptionally good wine. 

I make no excuses for liking booze. Because I do. A well-made martini can make me smile like a Cheshire Cat, and feel as though I am at one of Jay Gatsby's soirées and I am just about to glimpse the host himself.  A good wine is a joy. A great wine - that's just bliss in a glass. And my penchant for champagne is no secret to either anyone who knows me or in fact most of the Western world.

In other words, if you are ever at a loss for a present with me, stick a bottle of Veuve in front of my nose (or a nice Pouilly-Fumé, I'm a reasonable girl) and I will pretty much be your friend if not for life, at least until I need another bottle of vino.

Feel free to add a gift voucher for shoes. I'm a simple girl. Bribery works. 

But there is the flip side of the cork.  

Alcohol is a depressant. It makes people do incredibly craptacular things to other people. Just like any other addiction, if you don't have a kill switch when it comes to consuming it, it can take over your life and cause untold misery.  

I don't say this to be an equally big depressant. I am just acknowledging that not only is alcohol hours of fun for the (in theory) 18+ members of the family, it's an issue for a hell of a lot of people and I don't discount that. 

Back however to my personal obsession with the grapeful dead.  

I have spoken before about why champagne is just so amazing. (Answer: it's champagne. QED.) But what makes wine tick? Why is it such an important part of the dinner ritual? The choosing, the matching... what is it about that glass of sauv blanc at the end of a really, really yuck day? 

This is what it is for me at least. 

With dinner, it's all a part of enjoying the process. It's part of the fun! I personally don't care about matching reds with red meat, blah blah blah - if you are not committing the atrocity of drinking botrytis semillon with a steak then fill your boots, drink whatever the hell you like. If you are with someone who enjoys wine, then the discussion adds to the enjoyment of the meal... you can be wine wankers together safe in the knowledge you are not judging each other. 

As for that glug at dusk? 

That's easy. 

It's an 'AAAAAAAAAARGGHHHHHHH!!!' in a glass. 


I'll Get You My Pretty, And Your Little Dog Too

“People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us... It’s people who claim that they’re good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.”

— Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

After a solid 36 hours with a fever and the inability to either focus my eyes properly or keep food in my stomach for longer than a ten second period, I am feeling decidedly bit - uh, witchy.

Then the Dread P sent through the image on this blog (I can't imagine why he would think of me in terms of wicked witches - I am sure it was the awesome shoes and the fabulous legs that prompted it) and I laughed because it was so very appropriate.

In my opinion, the so-called WWs in The Wizard of Oz got a very rough deal. Imagine. You're just getting on with your business, sending out the flying monkeys, maintaining the rage, making sure that everyone kowtows to you (because let's face it, you're pretty damn awesome - oh and you have the BEST ruby red slippers); and WHAM!

Some pesky little brat with pigtails and a very yarpy dog smacks a farmhouse down on your sister's head.

So. Not. Cool.

She then proceeds to run around Oz like a pinafored princess, singing twee songs about rainbows and bluebirds and making friends with highly suspect dudes in lion costumes and head to toe tin suits.

Release the flying monkeys? I would be releasing Weapons of Mass Destruction. And as for Glinda the 'Good' Witch... no fashion sense whatsoever. Everyone knows that black is the new black. She looks like an overgrown meringue.

Well. You see my point. A house lands on your sister, your other sister is mutton dressed as spangled lamb, you lose your totally fabulous shoes, and then some kid with attitude in a dress that looks like a picnic tablecloth throws a bucket of water on you.

Hmmmmm. It must be Thursday.

I am going out in solidarity with the Wicked Witches of the world. As far as I am concerned, anyone who floats around in a bubble with a crown on, rather than riding an old-fashioned broomstick and wearing a respectable black hat, needs a slap upside the head. The Wicked Witches of this world aren't evil. They just don't smile sweetly and make grandiose gestures on a regular basis. Instead, they simply get on with life, making the tough calls, trudging away, and yes, often being disliked, because they aren't trying to win Miss Congeniality.

I say to all the non-glittery, non-Glindas out there - be proud of your witchiness. Embrace the fact that you are not one hundred percent lovable every day. Be prepared to cop a flogging from those who don't understand you; but remember this - for every five people who don't get what you are about and who only see the mean outer you, the one person who does get you - well, they are worth those other five and more.

Because the people who look beneath the green skin and the sometimes zitty - I mean warty - profile - will see your inner strength and beauty. And they will know that just because you have a whole army of flying monkeys, it doesn't mean you don't love and care for each and every one of them.

Just as much as one yarpy little dog.

If I only had a brain. If I only had a heart. If I only had courage.

Wicked Witches have all of the above. They just keep them hidden from public view. Along with their extensive shoe collections.



She Loved Life And It Loved Her Right Back

“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”

— Bob Marley

I cheerfully confess to stealing the attached quote from Miss Fiona last night about 5 seconds after she posted it on Pinterest. Fi, I owe you one - or possibly two glasses - of champers for this one. Luckily we are now in the same state which makes this eminently more achievable!

Having just mowed through a mountain of moving boxes, and dealt with all the detritus attached with the process of plopping oneself into a new location, I can cheerfully say that I haven't had a lot of love to spare for anything - or anyone - in the last few weeks. Which is why, I think, that this particular little piece resonated with me when I saw it last night. That and the enormous technological frustrations I was having, which when one's work is based online does not make the heart grow fonder of - well, anything.

To quote Roxie Hart in Chicago, you can like the life you're living, you can live the life you like - but liking it? It's not enough. You need to embrace the craptacular and the mundane as well as the awesome, even if there doesn't seem to be much point at the time. I may have been grumbling and gnashing my teeth as I unpacked what felt like the seventy two-hundredth box last night; but then I looked around and saw something spectacular.

A home.

It had appeared while I was bitching away to myself about packing paper and interwebs and I hadn't even noticed. Which is a shame, because it looks really speccy, if I do say so myself, and I should have enjoyed the process more, rather than only seeing the hindrances.

Life is such an amazing gift, and we squander it. We waste so much time thinking about what we might be able to obtain, or who we might be with, that we don't love the here and now. We also think it should be all highs and something out of a romantic comedy, with the whole 'wow' factor occurring on a daily basis, when in fact it's just life. Crap happens, and we have to deal. That doesn't mean we can't find some way to love the process.

I think that if I can write this after a decidedly average week, and mean it, that a lot of other people can manage to keep going with a bit more amour for the daily chore. And you know what? If you honestly hate things so much, or if life is just 'meh' and you can't see any joy down the line - for the love of monkeys make some changes so that you can love life more.

And maybe - just maybe - you will love yourself more in the process too.

One may even find the inclination to purchase a new pair of shoes. Believe me, genuine joie de vivre is needed for that.

Shoes know.

Love x

An Awfully Big Adventure

“She asked where he lived. ‘Second to the right,’ said Peter, ‘and then straight on till morning.’”

— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

This post really belongs in two sections. Hmmmmm... actually, three. Because there is a lot of gratitude, quite a bit about shoes, and it sits nicely in the 41 bucket list items for the year.


What a woman.

How is it involved in the 41 Steps? I am glad you asked (even if you didn't). Step Number Five: Live Somewhere You Have Never Lived Before. So that I am. I am about to grace (they may disagree with that term) the fair shores of South East Queensland. To feel the sand between my currently broken toes on a daily basis, and to further my ambition of NEVER GOING THROUGH A CANBERRA WINTER EVER AGAIN.


So off I head to the Land Of The Long Orange-Skinned Meter Maid. Where ugg boot and bikini combos are considered the height of fashion and my paleness is a weird attraction for Japanese tourists on the Main Beach at Surfers. Where people watching is more than a hobby, it's a way of life, and where the best coffee and pork belly in the Southern Hemisphere can be found if you don't think like a tourist.

If there was a bookshop closer than Coolangatta (sorry - Gold Coast) Airport, all would be for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Thank goodness for the interwebs.

As for the shoes - well, I am having to pack them. Which involves much effort. Much, much effort. And multiple pauses to appreciate just how lovely my shoesies are.

I am certain they will love their new home.

There are built in shoe racks in the wardrobes.

Mainly though, this post is about gratitude. Gratitude for those people who have made my time in the Can pretty damn amazing. Who have made me laugh until I've had to cross my legs and hope for the best; who have held my hand in some fairly spaztacular moments, several of them involving various hospital visits; who have cried with me, drank, eaten, cried, not cringed whilst I've sworn at the rugby and netty and AFL on TV, again when I've sworn at live rugby, cried some more; who have propped me up and been inspiring, irritating, huggable and horrible.

Who have loved me and been my friends.

Gratitude is not quite a strong enough word for the emotion I wish I could express for what you have given to me. But it will just have to do.

And as I set off on the reverse of the road trip that my gorgeous sister Oonagh and I made about six months ago, this time with a very suss Thelma to my Louise in tow (Thelma as far as I know didn't have a 5 o'clock shadow), I am happily aware that in a few days time, I will be crunching through said sand. And also, that not too far up the road from my new abode, a buccaneering boyo will soon be home from adventuring to help make my life well - interesting. To say the least. God help the Gold Coast.

I don't know why P. Pan was so keen on popping off the twig.

Life is a big enough adventure for this little duck.

And her several trillion pairs of shoes.

Not Waving, But Drowning

Inigo Montoya: I donna suppose you could speed things up?
Man in Black: If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.
Inigo Montoya: I could do that. I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.
Man in Black: That does put a damper on our relationship.

— The Princess Bride

This may seem initially like a very depressing post, and nothing at all to do with gratitude, or even shoes for that matter (and when shoes aren't helping it means it's a bloody great beast of a black dog kind of day). And you would be right in some ways. It isn't a happy, marshmallow-filled, fluffy bunny kind of entry. But that's OK. Because sometimes, life just isn't like that - which is one of the reasons why I write about shoes some of the time (see Heel Thyself for background on that one).

I have been having what I tend to term a Long Dark Teatime of The Soul, or as I also call it, A Need To Give Myself A Good Slap Around The Head And Sort Myself Out. I am aware that the latter is not a technical psychiatric or psychological term, and quite possibly is actually frowned upon in said circles, but it tends to work for me most of the time. And one of the ways I deliver said Slap is to write down what is wrong - and also what is right. Having now done that, things are seeming to make a lot more sense.

Nobody can be happy one hundred percent of the time. That would make them robots. But sometimes - well, sometimes the happiness quotient slips below the acceptable mark to a point where it's hard to get the energy to come back to the median point on the table. And this is where the Slap is so important - and also hard to deliver when one is physically and emotionally tired.

Please be aware that I don't go around physically hitting myself in the head - I may be depressed but I am not masochistic (those who have witnessed me wearing shoes that are vastly uncomfortable but incredibly gorgeous please hold their tongues. Oh - I just mentioned shoes - see, writing things down does help!).

What I am talking about with the Slap is recognising that something is wrong; that you are perhaps caught in the UnderToad of Life and are being swept out from the shore. That the frantic hand gestures are not a sign of buggerising around in the waves and having a good time but are actually a gesture for help.

This is where the gratitude comes in. And it takes two forms.

I am grateful that I have incredible people around me who both are close enough and intuitive enough to recognise when I am in fact flailing and coughing up salt water. They are supportive and empathetic without being sooky-la-la (which they know I can't stand above all else) and they reach out to grab me without my having to reach for them first. They are all incredibly busy people - some in massively stressful situations or even outright dangerous occupations - but they support me, and in the right way. And secondly - I am grateful to myself. Which sounds supremely egotistical I know; but once upon a time I would not have had the strength to admit I was going under the water; and would instead have just let it take me out to sea and ended up who knows where for who knows how long.

So you see, this is about gratitude. As it turned out, it was also a little bit about shoes.

Mostly though, it's about not going under.

Because the School of the Slap doesn't believe in that.

I Shall Not Want What I Can Not Have

“Sometimes you don’t even know what you want until you find out you can’t have it.”

— Meghan O'Rourke, The Long Goodbye, A Memoir

There are times in life when we have to face up to some basic home truths. They may be tiny; they may be life changing. They may smack us in the face abruptly or creep up on us with the stealthiness of a thief in the night. It could be something as simple as 'don't have two short macchiatos at ten o'clock at night, because then you will end up writing your blog at one o'clock in the morning' - or as complicated as 'if you enter into X transaction with X person you will get burnt for X number of years'.

The point is, when they hit you, they hit you. And unless you take notice, you never learn your lesson. The reason for the saying 'it's all just a little bit of history repeating' is because we are stubborn creatures who refuse to listen to our own brains yelling 'you idiot, sharks patrol these waters... watch out or next thing you know, you'll be off the surfboard and a tasty treat!'

It's the same with the things in life we want and can't have - sometimes can't have immediately, sometimes can't have at all. I don't know about you, but when I want something, I want it. Any delay, and I want it even more. I know it's human nature, but it shocks me sometimes. There is no rational thought behind it; it is a primal urge that propels me towards whatever is in my line of sight like a missile zeroing in on its target.

And I don't necessarily mean material things (although admittedly when it comes to shoes, get in my way and it will be ugly as hell - for you I mean. Not for me, because I will be wearing beautiful new shoes). It could be something as simple as wanting personal space, or sleeps, or as complex as wanting an emotional investment returned.

What has this to do with gratitude? It's a bit roundabout, but I'm getting there.

I am grateful that gradually, I am learning something about wanting what I can't have. And whilst it hurts to admit it, like the whole home truths scenario, the fact of the matter is this.

Sometimes, even though we may desire them with every fibre in our being, things that we want, but can't immediately have - or can't have at all - aren't meant to happen for a reason. It's because they aren't good for us. A bit like eating chocolate cupcakes for breakfast five days in a row, trying to invite things into our lives which we desire to be there - but ultimately don't belong there - end up in only one way.

With a feeling of afterburn in the region of the heart.

And because chocolate cupcakes don't come cheap these days (and neither do new shoes) - an empty wallet.

So be grateful that you don't always get what you can't have.

It may save a serious case of indigestion, if nothing else.

Heel Thyself

“I like Cinderella, I really do. She has a good work ethic. I appreciate a good, hard-working gal. And she likes shoes. The fairy tale is all about the shoe at the end, and I’m a big shoe girl.”

— Amy Adams

I was talking to someone the other day about this blog and they said to me 'I really like what you write - the whole gratitude thingy, it's lovely. It makes such a difference to my day - you should feel really good about it'. I was just feeling all warm and fuzzy (and perhaps a little teary, because well, it had been a bad day), and was about to thank them, when they put their hand on my arm and shook their head at me.

'You do ruin it all though of course'.


'It's all that stuff about shoes. It's so trivial and shallow. You should only be writing about meaningful issues. Otherwise, well, nobody's ever going to take you seriously. OK, bye!'

And they were gone, like a well-intentioned air to surface missile which had completed its mission and could knock off for afternoon tea.

Said target of the strike stood there dumbfounded for a minute or two. And then realised something.

I like writing about shoes. If I didn't write about shoes, I wouldn't be able to write about anything more meaningful, because it is the trivial and shallow pretty bits of life that carry me through the sookypuss parts, and let me get on with being grateful.

Shoes are spectacular. They are an instant mood-lifter. Feel craptacular? Throw on a pair of black suede stilettos. Bam. Suddenly the sun is shining - even if just a little bit. Throw in a little black dress and the world is your oyster.

Something about a pair of stunning shoes makes me feel mysterious and alluring. Sometimes it makes the difference between me being able to go forth with confidence into a room full of strangers - or not. And they don't have to be high; they just have to be gorgeous. And much as I might tout that 'one must suffer to be beautiful', they also have to be comfortable.

Shoes are a little piece of heaven wrapped up in tissue paper and individual cloth bags. And I love them. From a purely logical perspective, there is no point to them other than to keep my feet from freezing. Do they love me back? Hell no. They are pieces of dead animal and slithers of satin and lace. I'm besotted, not insane. Are they a good investment? Only if leather suddenly becomes a viable building material (NB: check out leather as a viable building material). But that's not the point.

The point is, shoes are seriously fabulous.

And I will write about them.

Because otherwise I might hurt their feelings, and next time I wear my favourite nude patent Mary-Janes, I might get a blister.

And cue the insanity.

Fashion Rhymes With - Rugby?

“Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves and, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times.”

— Betsey Johnson

Yesterday, whilst a lot of hard work, meant combining two of my favourite things.

Footy and frocks.

When I say footy, I mean of course the Great Game - Rrrrrrrugby Union. And by frocks, I mean playing dress-ups with my wonderful Hurricane Henry.

A lot of people can't understand how I can love fashion and sport in equal proportions. Well, it's quite simple; whilst I love playing in the Wardrobe of Life, there is so much pleasure to be had in watching a really impressive try, or for that matter a great game of cricket or AFL - or netball, or a superb drive from the Jensonator in F1... and why should I have to choose between Marchesa and a maul? There's room for both in my brain.

It's hard to explain in some ways; suffice to say I feel the same letdown in the pit of my stomach when Net-A-Porter sells out of the one item I have earmarked as 'gettable' when it's on sale that I do when the Waratahs royally stuff up a potentially very winnable game (no names mentioned - oh wait, Israel Folau).

Girls like sport. They also like dressing up. Why do boys get surprised by the former, but not the latter? And I am not talking about 'oh he's gorrrrrrgeous so I'll watch this' liking sport; I am talking about loving the game, the tactics, the actual play. Because quite frankly I would rather eat my own hair than think about the dudes who play the sports I love (notable exceptions perpetual crushes Carlos Spencer and my husband to be, Jenson Button).

Women do understand sport. We do enjoy it. We like commenting on it. But many people (read: men) still think it's weird if we start in on what we think of Australia's chances in the Ashes (bugger all) or why Collingwood are finally going to lose the preliminary final curse and be holding the Premiership Flag this year (I dreamed a dream).

Yet if we talk about shoes... eyes roll back in heads, auto-yawn commences. So treat those of us who love the game as a precious commodity, lads.

As the Dread commented to me recently, my dream job would be designing the jerseys for the Wallabies - and getting to yell at them for the state of the team as I am doing the fittings. Assistant Coach (Design and Back Line Tactical Play).


As for my quote - well, we all know this to be true. It's probably the one point of this post that nobody would argue with.

Just remember - sport and style can meet halfway. Even on the halfway line in fact.

Now, about the Tahs...

The Peasants Are Revolting...Understandably

“I think that the older I get, the more I realise that the ultimate luxury is time”

— Michael Kors

Those who know me well are very much aware of my love of luxury. After all, why turn right when you can turn left? But some make the mistake of thinking that luxury is necessarily about material things, when sometimes the truly decadent and divine things in life are intangible or indefinable.

Take my adoration of the shoe for example. Yes, I adore wearing expensive high heels because let's face it, Louboutins can make an Oompa Loompa's legs look like Miranda Kerr's; but it isn't about them being costly which makes them precious to me. It's simply because they are beautiful. There are a hell of a lot of pricey shoes out there which I wouldn't touch with a bargepole, because they are really, really ugly. There are some very inexpensive shoes which are similarly totally gorgeous and thus get a spot on the Shoe Racks of Sublimity.

But on a higher level (if possible) than staring worshipfully at wondrous footwear, there are very different luxuries that can't be found in a shop. And it's these that I am most grateful for.

Having the time to read a good book. To watch a trashy TV show. Making a really delicious meal, even if it's only for myself. Laughing at truly stupid things with close friends who get the joke without explanation. Working for myself. Feeling healthy. Being thoroughly spoiled by someone simply because they want to make you feel great. Having people who care deeply about me, even if some of them are a long way away physically.

How are these things not luxurious? Because there are millions and millions of people on the planet who cannot count them as things they get to enjoy. Which makes them both rare and a privilege which I do not discount.

I am filled with gratitude for the luxuries I have in my life; not a life in the sun in the way most people would think of it - but definitely one that is less cloudy than most.

That's not to say that a private jet would go unappreciated... or naturally...

More shoes!