Day 86 of the Shoe Challenge – If penguins wore shoes…

…would they look like these?

Handpainted vintage shoes by MOLAIRE Cécile Pagès

or these

Black & white Dr Martens Brogues

or these


Penguin Shoes Photo Credit: The National Geographic Magazine

My husband has collected penguins for many years. This is a small representative sample. There are many, many more.

A peck of penguins

He shared a house with someone in the armed forces who knew people who had been stationed in the Falklands.  To escape from active duty in the Falklands  soldiers looked for ways to get a psychiatric assesessment that they were not fit for active service. The way to do this was  not  emulate the TV/CD  tendencies of

Corporal Maxwell Q Klinger  in M*A*S*H but to visit the penguins.

To get down to the penguin beaches, soldiers had to walk slowly and deliberately across a landmine infested field. When stopped and asked why they were doing so they were to reply “I am going to speak to the birds“.

Ever since that time, my husband has had a soft spot for penguins.  There are penguins in various parts of our house. Here are a few that I could easily find in and around our kitchen.

There are a few more.  One he has even named ‘M—-‘ after me.

We went to Edinburgh Zoo together once and brought M—- with us.  My husband spent quite  a lot of time introducing her to the penguins. Penguins are a fairly inscrutable bunch. They don’t say much, smell quite strongly of fish and every so often flick faeces at each other and at zoo visitors.  Such was M—-‘s fate on this particular day.  If there is a penguin version of anthropomorphising, it doesn’t extend to stuffed penguins.

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Zoo

It is fair to say that at one point in time my husband had a collection of penguins that rivalled my shoe collection. Now that we have children, both our collections are raided regularly.  Both my children have a penchant for high heeled leather boots.

Since it took me until I was nearly 18 before I allowed myself to be talked into wearing a pair of high heels (thanks Dad), I take this as a very encouraging sign. The Noisy Boy in particular is rather fond of my heeled boots. I think that he sees himself emulating is hero Captain Jack Sparrow while wearing them.  Maybe one day, ten or twenty years from now he’ll come across a similar pair of boots which will gave him a stab of swashbuckling recognition.





I had a similar stab of recognition when I saw these shoes




Elle Effe Black & White Sling Back Brogues

These are quite similar to the first pair of shoes that I ever bought.

There was a slight, very quiet and slightly nervous girl at school with me in Fifth Year.  Her name was Claire. At least I think it was because up until the day that I first noticed her shoes, we had never exchanged more than two or three words.  On a particular day, I saw a pair of black and white shoes flash past me in the school playground and decided to accost her.  I started shoe stalking early.

I love your shoes” I said.  She looked nervous.

Erm, thanks” she said, looking around for reinforcements.

Where did you get them?” I asked in that voice that you use to prevent cats from scarpering when you want to cut their claws.

Barratts” she said.  Then she scarpered.

Barratts probably still has a branch in Paisley High Street. The shoes looked a bit like these saddle shoes – just squint a bit and imagine that the white bits are black and vice versa.

I loved my black and white shoes and wore them constantly.  The remaining nuns teaching at school didn’t complain, but then why would they complain about habit emulating footwear?

The shoes cost £17.00 which was quite a lot of money at the time, particularly as the predominant material was a spongy polyurethane.  When it rained the moisture from the pavement found its way into the shoes and my feet frothed from the inside out. It would then take about 3 days for the shoes to dry out. Eventually I wore them out.  Since then I idly lust after two tone shoes.

On my current wish list are the following:


The Alexander McQueen black and white striped leather pump (photo credit: The Shoe Minx)



Brooke Stiletto Copyright Photo Credit: Cos K Collections

Cos K Collections  Handmade Brooke  4 inch stiletto heel (£170.00)

And last but not least – the Christian Louboutin Esoteri Platform Booties down from $899.00 to a mere $197.98 from the Onsale Christian Louboutin site .  I have no idea whether these are the Real Deal or not so I will defer to my Online  Shoe Guru and Louboutin authenticator, Erin over at Shoe Love and revert in due course.  [Note To Hosiery Lovers: Erin is currently rocking a pair of two tone black and white stockings from Transparenze from TJ Maxx of all places.]


Christian Louboutin Esotera Booties

It took me a while to figure out why I love black and white shoes so much.  My husband thought it might have been something to do with Alan Parker’s film Bugsy Malone where a few of the leads were wearing spats.  I know that this cannot possibly have been the case because Jodie Foster irritated me for many years to the extent that I literally couldn’t watch any film that she was in.   The actress Barbara Flynn (The Beiderbecke Trilogy, Cracker) has the same effect on me.

And then suddenly it hit me –  black and white was pretty much the colour combination of the early Eighties particularly if you grew up listening to The Selecter, Madness, the Specials and Bad Manners.

So that explains my two tone shoe obsession.



Can you remember the first pair of shoes that you ever chose/bought for yourself? Can you remember why?

C’mon, don’t be shy – you can tell me and the rest of the Internet.


This post is dedicated to Kissability/Kathleen Joy – poetess and penguin lover. I wore these for her and she laughed.

12 thoughts on “Day 86 of the Shoe Challenge – If penguins wore shoes…

  1. Oooh, I love your posts.

    The first pair of shoes I ever bought for myself were a pair of navy blue deck shoes – not sure what they’re called in the UK… maybe ‘boat shoes’? They were all the rage in Perth in 1986 and I’d desperately wanted a pair.

    Unfortunately, on my rather hefty potato-picking-peasant-legs, they looked like cardboard strips on the bottom of tree trunks.

    I don’t think I even wore them out more than once or twice and I have never owned a navy blue pair of shoes since.

    I still blush when I think about them.

    I am blushing now.

  2. They are called boat shoes and they are extremely cool. I believe that the Baby Lawyer is partial to these at the moment. Why on earth did you stop wearing them NDM. Did someone make a bitchy comment?

    That said I wore my black and white flat shoes with a pink and grey knee length sweater dress and black opaque tights. It wasn’t my greatest fashion hour.

  3. The first pair of shoes I bought myself? I don’t really remember but I do remember a couple of pairs of shoes that I wore back in junior high school. Looking back I consider one of those very ugly (I remember one of my aunts – my favorite by the way – looking at them kind of aghast but being polite just the same.) They were something like this but without the cool embellishments:

    Apparently they were very much a 70’s style (my era).

    The other pair was a pair of adorable Candies. I loved those shoes and wore them for years. They looked kind of like these:

    Only much cuter…mine had a thinner slide and they were…well, there’s that word again: so cute!

    Candies were another staple of the ’70’s and have recently made a comeback.

      • Well you are a dear! My comment feels MUCH better. It was, understandably, feeling a little rejected.

        I actually did spend quite a lot of time searching for the links to those shoes. Shoes from over 30 years ago are not exactly rampant on the web. I had fun though. Found some very interesting stuff and it actually psyched me to go shopping this weekend.

        Oh, and a sort-of-funny thing happened to me today. My birthday is next month and my 22-year old son told me today that he is thinking of getting me a gift certificate to a shoe store for my birthday. Does he know me or what?!

  4. Yep, 1995, Year 8, bought myself a pair of black Converse All Stars by mail order using discount coupons I saved from cereal boxes. Changed the laces to purple. Loved those shoes but can’t wear them anymore because my feet got wide.

  5. I want the Alexander McQueens!

    I still have the pair of shoes I first bought for myself – military-style Docs. I was adamant about not wanting the yellow stitch style.

    That would have been in 1996, when I was in Yr 12.

  6. Aaargh, I actually found a pair of those Louboutins in my size on earlier this year, for some ridiculously cheap-for-Louboutins price. Sadly, they may have been cheap for Louboutins, but it was the week before pay day, so they were too expensive for me, and needless to say, a couple of days later they were gone. I hope whoever got them is appreciating them as much as I would have.

    I don’t think you can go wrong with a good pair of two-tone shoes. There’s just something so “dapper” about them. And I’m glad to see you’re starting the little ones early on the road to shoe obsession 🙂

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