Getting the slipper

Ahhh, yes, autumn, the time of year for crisp mornings, conkers and slippers (unless you’re me, in which case every day is a slippers day because slippers, like napping, rock).

I’ve written about my preferred slippers before, the brilliant Birkinstocks, and don’t get me wrong, I still find the support from these slippers to be fantastic for people with arthritis and joint problems, and I’m especially enjoying the benefit of them now that I work from home and I spend a lot of time in them. They are slipper numero uno.

However, as the mercury drops as autumn closes in, I’ve found myself desiring something else in order to fix a problem I have, and that problem is other people’s houses. Like a good guest, I take my shoes off before traipsing around the houses of my friends and relations, and now that it’s fashionable to hate carpets I have found that my arthritic joints get cold and really sore when I am in contact with cold floors (stone especially, but wood will also set off the dull, niggling little ache that just pulls the joy out of my day).

Of course, I could (and have done in the past) take my slippers round to other people’s houses, but this requires a level of organisation that I have not yet achieved. Especially if I have the kid and dog to take too because when you’re carrying all their crap, remembering to take slippers in an extra bag is just a step too far. So I decided to get myself some Mahabis.

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Mahabi classic: £79

Mahabis have been around for a while, I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of them, so I’m not pretending to tread new ground here, but I have been so happy with my Birkinstocks until now that I didn’t see the need for them. Mahabis have a removable outer sole, which allows you to wear them outside and, when you get to your destination, take the outer sole off, leaving you with clean indoor slippers, and nobody has to remember extra bags of anything. Now, I’m not talking about wearing these on the tube to get across London to see my friends, I’m talking about people who I have to drive to see, where I will literally walk to the car, drive, park a short distance away (if not bang outside) and then walk up to the (cold-floored) house. You may not do this that regularly, maybe you live somewhere where the public transport is top-notch or the parking is a no-go but, in my suburbs, this pretty much describes all local family get-togethers, as well as my daughters play dates, not to mention brunches and lunches with friends. Staying in is the new going out, after all.

For me, and my achey-breaky legs, it made the (rather large, let’s be honest) expense acceptable. So, are they worth it? As you can see I went for the classic wool grey (more expensive ‘luxe’ versions are available) and yellow sole combo, and they are very snug and comfortable.

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They have a soft sole, unlike the Birkinstocks, so there is no support from the slippers, but the wool makes them warmer than the Birks, and they stay on thanks to the stretchy rubbery bit behind the heel so I can wear them to climb into the loft (bonus):

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The outer sole clips on and off at the back, and this is a pretty neat idea, but it’s no quicker than just changing into some outdoor shoes so it’s not a game-changer for just nipping out to do the bins:

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And you do have to try not to lose your soles, but I reckon I will soon be leaving these by the door (in the shoe pile that I really need to sort out but can’t bring myself to face) for easy on-off visiting:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It helps that they look kind of scandi-cool too. I won’t feel ashamed rocking up to a play date in these rather than feeling like a granny (in a bad way, not in a cool wearing-purple-giving-zero way), which is also nice. When you have arthritis, feeling like a premature granny is sadly inevitable and, when you have bad days, it helps to still feel cool on the outside, and these are definitely warm on the inside, cool on the outside.

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Smartening up in September

Earlier this year I made the big leap of becoming a freelance editor. I haven’t really blogged about it because it was, at times, incredibly stressful and I wondered on many an occasion whether I was doing the right thing. I’m the sort of person who takes a lot of self-confidence from the quality of the work I produce, so if work is thin on the ground, I tend to take it personally and then get myself into a right tizz. There are pros and cons to everything, and although I do miss the buzz of working in central London and having work colleagues, a stressful office and a public transport system that was regularly driving me to despair (and charging me a massive amount in the process), as well as the age-old question of consistent childcare, finally pushed me over the edge and into the no-mans land of working from home.

It is, I’m pleased to say, going well. Even in the summer holidays when I was sharing my workspace with a six-year-old, who are by their nature intrusive, I feel like I’ve just about managed. I have, however, noticed a slight but noticeable slide into an eternal uniform of jeans, t-shirts and trainers, more so recently perhaps because it’s the summer holidays and when you have to walk the dog with a recalcitrant child, followed by making a ketchup-centric lunch, and then an afternoon of ‘craft’, it’s hard enough to get out of bed, nevermind pick something to wear that totally slays. Not to say I look awful, it’s just I don’t really feel the need to dress like it’s not the weekend any more, and I really miss that.

So, it’s my new (academic) year’s resolution to dress like I might well be going into the office. I’ve been noseying around the shops (or more accurately their websites, because my kid doesn’t shop well), and getting kind of excited about the new season stuff coming in (I love autumn), but I think a lot of excitement has been to do with the fact that everything is new, and there’s not that been that much that I thought, ‘yes, I want that’.

However, I did see these pair of shoes on the Uterqüe website , and my eyes became little hearts. Red strappy shoes, studs and, best of all, a cute comfortable heel — it’s what my dreams are made of:

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Uterque studded shoes: £115

Uterqüe are owned by the same company as Zara, and it’s a sort of higher quality version (a bit like H&M with & Other Stories), which is good because although the clothes in Zara are often bang on the money style-wise, the quality of the fabric is sometimes a lot to be desired…

They don’t look it, but they are also very comfortable to wear, the straps aren’t tight and the shoes have a nice width so no pinching, so no issues about them rubbing my swollen joints or restricting my movement, but my feet don’t feel like they’re going to fall out of them either:

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I’m not usually into getting matchy-matchy with my accessories, but I am very tempted to buy this bag from Hush to just set the red of the shoes off nicely:

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Hush aveline bag: £99

These shoes, although pretty awesome are also quite pricey, but there are some red strappy shoes from M&S, which are a total bargain for leather shoes:

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M&S red strappy shoes: £39.50

And if you’re really on a tight budget (September always means new school shoes and uniform, so it’s a tight month for a lot of people), ASOS have some black textile strappy shoes for £20!

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ASOS lunge: £20

Now, I will be wearing these shoes with my jeans a lot, but in the spirit of getting out of my jeans, I think these shoes also work really well with shirt dresses. There are lots of statement midi dresses in the shops, and I can’t decide whether I actually like them or whether I’m just bored of summer dresses. I love the colour of this one from M&S (though maybe not with the red shoes), or, for a bit more length, this one, but I don’t really like the flared sleeves, and I think anything too ruffley with strappy ballet shoes runs the risk of looking twee and too ladylike. Because shirt dresses are kind of masculine, they aren’t always great with boobs, and simple shirts are hard enough with the gaping risk to be honest, let alone a whole dress, but as long as there is a belt, or you can add a belt, you can size up if gaping at the boob or hip is an issue and draw it in to define your waist. I really like all of these, and I’m rather tempted by the checked pattern which seems to be in for September:

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1 ASOS: £58. 2 Zara: £39.99. 3 French Connection: £120. 4 Karen Millen: £215. 5 Ganni: £180

I also like the idea of wearing a long shirt dress, unbuttoned a little, with jeans as with the French Connection dress. I bought this dress and, although I washed it very carefully, it shrunk a little (most noticeably on the sleeves, but I roll mine up anyway), so you have to be very careful with it. So, yes, I am definitely going to be weaning myself off the jeans slowly (you don’t want to go cold turkey though, right?), but at least my steps in the right direction will be in glorious shoes.