Persistence & the Self-Portrait: Shoeper Challenge #20 of 105

For the last two years I have been talking other people into taking pictures of my shoes for me.  My husband, my work colleagues, my children.  I am sure that they are all pretty fed up with it by now. I would be and so have been experimenting over the last week or so with taking pictures of myself.  I did this in the office after work hours basically so no one else would observe my narcissistic antics and laugh at me more than I was laughing at myself.

I had to find something to sit the camera on (the Victorian window sill) and then had to figure out how the timer on the camera worked. Since I have no manual for my camera (the Minx has hidden it somewhere) and even fewer technical problem solving skills this took a ridiculously long time.

Once I figured the timer and the flash out, the next step was taking photographs that included both my shoes and what I was wearing – Shoeperwoman’s Shoe Challenge rules are very clear in this regard and we lawyers like rules.

Ten seconds on a camera timer seems like a long time until you have to leap onto a desk and assume a position that includes your shoes and excludes a view of your knickers.

After acquiring some self-inflicted heel punctures and a few desk related thigh bruises I managed to get two passable shots out of about twenty photographs taken.

You can see the relief can’t you?

Not a great effort but at least you can see the shoes.

Over the last few weeks, I have been observing how other shoe bloggers in the Shoe Challenge meet the challenge of self portraiture. My personal favourites (in no particular order are):

1. MSVEVE K. who takes some crazy point of view shots of herself and Dracul her pet pig. Her portraits taken by third parties are a lot of fun too

2.  DENISE’S PLANET, CODES AND SECRETS  Denise has the most hilarious, animated, character-full photos on her blog. To me, her self-portraits have the quality of photo-novel romances that I used to read in magazines like the Jackie in the late seventies/early eighties.

Disclaimer: This photonovel did not appear in the Jackie Magazine.

3.  FETISHIST’S NOTES: Tali tells me that she sometimes balances her camera on the bonnet of her car. All her shoe and fashion photos are terrific whether self portraits or otherwise.

Via Spiga Sandals

Via Spiga Sandals last worn for Day 59 of the Shoe Challenge – My Powder Blue Tribute to Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy.

To see what the rest of the Shoe Challengettes wore this week click here.

If you have any tips/tricks/suggestions for self-portraits for blogs, please let me know.

Italian Boots and Buns (Part 2) – Shoeper Challenge #19 of 105

Beaded Tunic: Jaeger| Leather mini skirt: thrifted| Gateleg Stockings: Leg Avenue| Boots: Daniel Claude for Zomp (The Minx wears her big brothers tee shirt & underwear)

This week has been dedicated to learning new skills and re-learning old skills.

Once upon a time I could bake a fairly mean cake. In this instance ‘mean’ connotes something remotely edible.

Over the last couple of years my baking muscles  have atrophied and this became apparent recently with the brownie that wanted to be a cake and the culverin balls   hot cross buns episodes respectively.

So I went back to the drawing board.  In my case the drawing board is the entirely foolproof cookbook. The cookbook that has never once steered me wrong. The cookbook that  if followed to the letter produces fabulous food every single time.

This wonderful culinary grimoire is one that has been passed down to me by my mum who spent years creating disastrous food before she found it:

Cookery Year - First Edition 1973

With faith in my heart and the Cookery Year on my counter,  I turned to April and the sub-chapter entitled “Easter Customs” on page 135. At the bottom right hand side of the page you will see a little segment entitled “Hot Cross Buns”.  Armed with an amulet recipe and a cast-iron resolve I headed back into the kitchen.

This time things went much much better as evidenced below:

These were, by request, chocolate chip muffins. I even piped melted chocolate crosses across the apex of each bun.  The children gnawed out the chocolate and left the rest.  It turns out that no-one else in the house is quite as keen on hot cross buns as I am.

Separately I decided that I was going to try to use something other than iPhoto to edit my blog photos. Using a 7 year old boy to take photos is all well and good until one finds oneself with a wall mounted fan heater growing out of one’s head.

Beaded Tunic: Jaeger from some DFO sometime in the 90s| Boots: Suede Knee Highs from Daniel Claude for Zomp Australia| Black leather mini (unseen) from thrift| Gate Leg Stockings - Leg Avenue

I thought I would play about with the Retouch in iPhoto which was a bit of a mistake (see below).

So I decided, not having the money to download Adobe Photoshop, to have a go at using the free editing software in Picasa Web Albums.

This made things much much worse as somewhere during the editing process I managed to acquire Gerard Depardieu’s nose:

C’est comme ça:

The buns took less than an hour to make. My transformation into a short Gallic actor with a legendary schnoz took considerably longer – about 3 hours of playing about with pixels and sighing loudly.

I wish there was a Cookery Year version of photo-editing software around here somewhere.

Elsewhere I figured out how to switch the flash off on my camera so that I don’t get dancing lights across photos taken in the mirror (see below). That’s only taken me 3 years to figure out by myself.

Don’t ask me why I didn’t use the manual. The Minx collects and planks these in her secret leaflet booklet somewhere as yet undiscovered. More on this later.

Have you learned anything new recently? What was it and how long did it take?

The Shoes Help Make the Story – Guest Shoe Blog Post by Susan Fujiki aka @kungfupussy

Skechers(R) Sneakers Photocredit Famous Footwear

Most sneakers are worn around the house, for a walk around the block or if they are lucky, a trip to the gym a couple of times a week. Not my sneakers – I made mine work.

I remember exactly where I bought them. I was on my lunch break and I had just joined a gym in Japan and I needed some sneakers to wear. I had a 40 minute break between teaching classes and I headed over to the Kuzuha Mall and debated between these sneakers and another pair of more classic style running shoes.  I liked the silver sparkles so I chose the Skechers.

The sneakers were broken in walking from my apartment in Neyagawa to the gym. They got comfy as I ran with them on the treadmill and walked around the gym avoiding people who wanted free English lessons. I wore them on the weekends as I walked around Osaka: along the Dotonbori river looking up at the Glico running man, around Osaka Castle, and in AmericaMura where I would go to buy CDs from Tower Records.  No matter what the weather was, when I wasn’t working the sneakers were always on my feet and worn with blue jeans and a random Japanese-English t-shirt.

Their first trip overseas was to Thailand where they experienced ancient ruins and sandy beaches. The next trip was to China which was full of concrete and steps. After that I thought, why not try some snow? Together we walked an incredible number of miles through Moscow. They carried me to Lenin’s tomb, to the Kremlin and to the most amazing golden churches. They kept my feet warm as I walked around St Petersburg in a slushy mess. They were with me as I paced from Russia to Mongolia to China on the Trans-Mongolian Express. They were on my feet when I was almost thrown off the train in Siberia.

The sneakers, a little worn in but still comfortable, stayed with me until I left Japan but don’t worry, I didn’t leave them there. They traveled with me on a more important journey: backpacking around the world from my old home to my new home.  Together we saw ancient temples in Cambodia and they helped me hike to see the sun rise over the Himalayas in Nepal. They filled with sand as I saw Egyptian pyramids and with water when it rained in Venice. They were on my feet when I handed over my immigration packet when I entered my new home – the USA.

Once I had settled into my new life I decided to let the worn down, faded and now not so sparkly silver lined black Sketchers have the ultimate rest. I got a little sad when I threw them away as together we had done so much but I reminded myself shoes can’t talk. Shoes help us get to where we need to be to collect our stories. Thank you Skechers. You helped me collect some amazing ones.

Susan Fujiki, sneakers and some famous mythical creature


Things that you should know about Susan:

While at University, she once spent a morning looking for the remains of her 30 something boss after he left a heartbroken suicide note in the video store that she worked in. He turned a few hours later alive, well, oblivious to the distress he’d caused  and stoned with his 16 year old stoned girlfriend who had been the reason for the non-suicide.

She really does know how to do Kung Fu. She has also studied Tai Chi and Yoga but  most people aren’t as impressed by these skills hence why she didn’t call herself Tai Chi Pussy.

For More Kung Fu Pussy

Read her blog The Tatami Mat 4.0 here.

Once you have done so, please the vote for Susan in the Best Australian Blogs 2011 Competition People’s Choice Awards here.

To Follow Susan:  

Facebook and Twitter

Black Patent Leather and the Darth Side: Frocking Friday the Fifteenth, Shoeper Challenge #18 of 105

Traditional UK Academic Dress - image eBay UK Store Garbo Antiques

Today as I was lecturing again I thought that would wear something reminiscent of the academic gowns that my teachers and lecturers used to wear in Scotland. I have a Akira Isogawa dress that I bought from his design studio when it was on the same floor as our law firm’s office. Those were tempting times. Sadly and luckily Akira moved his studio from Surry Hills to Marrickville before I could buy too much more from him.

It is a black silk tent dress:

Akira Black Silk Tent Dress

with slices of butterscotch silk satin slip shining through underneath

and lots of embroidery down the sleeves.

Akira Isogawa - Embroidery Details

The dress is a sample. Apparently Akira tried it on one of the studio assistants who was very busty, hated the way that it hung on her (like a maternity dress) and decided not to put it into production.  It looks a lot like an academic gown. A good friend of mine walked straight past me in it, not recognising me without a waist. This leads me to think that it really needs a chunky chain belt (which I don’t have):

or a gold silk rope belt like this one by

Gold Silk Tassle Rope Belt by

Since it was also Black Patent Leather Shoe Day (apparently) and since all my other black patent leather heels have committed suicide, I wore these.

Christian Louboutin Miss Fred Tacco Patent Leather Shoe Boots

Not a particularly elegant match, but quite school-teacher-y and appropriate since we’d been talking in class the previous week about Christian Louboutin’s court battle against YSL and Brazilian shoe maker Carmen Steffens for trade mark infringment in the Case of the Red Soled Shoes. With registered trade marks comes power.

Christian Louboutin Sticks the Boot into YSL - The Australian 8 April 2011

One of the (male) students up the back reeled off  the history of red soled shoes and Christian Louboutins with such passion last week that I thought I would wear mine to show shoe solidarity.

While I agree wholeheartedly that Louboutin has to take a stand against other top end designers passing off their shoes as his, I am a bit sad.  It will only be a matter of time until the Gianmarco Lorenzis boots that I lust after (from 2006) have the red sole stripped from under them. Having missed out on a pair in a recent eBay Australia auction, I shall be redoubling efforts to buy a pair forthwith.

The lecture went well. (We’ve been asked back to teach Digital Media Law next year).

When I got home my husband greeted me with resounding “All Hail Darth Vadar“.

You may have gathered by now that my husband is rather pass remarkable particularly on Frocking Fridays.

I have been compared to an Italian Street sign and Radar O’Reilly

It is always unwise of me to lower my defences.

Luckily I have a helmet.

Anonymous Italian Boots and Buns (Part 1) – Shoeper Challenge #17 of 105

Most sensible bloggers headed off towards their Bank Holidays weekends yesterday with their computers switched off and their trapezius muscles following shortly thereafter.

Unfortunately, I have about two weeks of blogging to catch up on and footwear to save so expect to hear more from me this weekend.

Last week I didn’t write or sleep very much at all due to presentations and lectures and so on. When I did write it was entirely work related. When I slept it was fitfully and full of powerpoint presentation images.

This week my husband tidied up our hard drive at home while I was at work to try to make the Internet go faster. In doing so he deleted a large number of the boot and shoe photos that we had taken during the fortnight that I was not blogging. The internet remained slow because we’d reached our monthly download limit. Now I was also missing some good photos for the blog.

Last weekend I decided, therefore, to bake hot cross buns and reshoot my boot photos from midweek.

There were two Easter traditions in our house when I still lived with my parents – compulsory consumption of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs with morning tea and compulsory consumption of hot cross buns for afternoon tea. To burn off the extra calories so consumed these days I’d have to do triathlon training. Being lazy, I just don’t consume these things. Also, eating milk chocolate made in these parts for some strange reason makes my teeth ache which helps my willpower in relation to Creme Eggs  no end.

There is nothing more delicious, however, than a hot, hot cross bun and last week I had a craving and most of what I needed to make the buns in the cupboard. I thought that it would cheer me up.

Helpfully my husband, being a potter, is also a dab hand with bread dough.

This was just as well because for a wee change I was wearing mostly black which most bakers generally avoid. 

Once kneaded, we left the dough to rise.

We left it for quite a while.

I started to work on a blog post which, due to our lumberingly slow internet connection was lumpy and uncomfortable work. Photos took 5 minutes to upload. The spinning beach ball of death appeared often on my screen.

About 8.00 pm I decided that, after the boot reshoot and the blog travails that, despite the dough not haven risen much at all, I now really REALLY needed to eat a hot cross bun. So I balled and baked them.

They turned out like this….

Buns of Steel

Buns of steel. Or concrete.

It’s not a good idea to eat after 9.00 pm though, right?

To make matters worse, I have been completely unable to find the brand of these boots. All I know is that there is a numeral one inside a circle stamped inside and the boots have leather uppers, soles, insoles and were made in Italy.

If anyone has a good link to a cast iron (pardon the pun) hot cross bun recipe, please let me know below. I am going to try again this weekend.  Recent stories of baking disasters would also be appreciated to cheer me up. 

Pink Flowers & the Chocolate Birthday Cake Imposter – Shoeper Shoe Challenge #16 of 105

Via Spiga Floral Suede Sandals

The last couple of weeks have been fairly shocking.  The boss and I were preparing for a presentation on Social Media law on 12 April 2011. I didn’t sleep much and worked more than I didn’t.

My family didn’t see too much of me in the two weeks or the weekend before.

On Sunday 10 April 2011 (two days before the presentation) my son the Noisy Boy, turned 7.  We were going to buy him a cake before I took a strange notion to make him one.  I used to find baking very therapeutic.

Once upon a time not too long ago I was a reasonable baker.  How hard can a chocolate cake be after all? Particularly when making it involves a lot of this:

and a bit of spoon licking.

(the blond boy is not mine incidentally, he belongs to a nice Russian family that take my son to the beach for hours at a time, dont mind his strange shrieks and gurgles and seem reluctant to bring him back. Good if clearly barking mad people as the Noisy Boy really is very noisy indeed)

Some balloon popping while the chocolate beastie was in the oven.

Before voila –  wait  over. Cake ready.

The cake tin that I used was too wide so the chocolate cake transmogrified into a large chocolate brownie

That didn’t stop my weans from inhaling the whole thing in under twelve hours.

We have managed to get through seven years without having a formal birthday party with tents and screaming and fairy bread and more screaming and so on. Although my son complains a bit chocolate cake is always a good distraction. Even a chocolate brownie masquerading as a chocolate cake.

Which just goes to show really that all you need to keep my children happy is chocolate, balloons …

…and shoes.

Blood will out, as they say.

Relaxing avec air du gateau au chocolate dimposteur (+ balloon chasing sweaty hair)

Happy birthday wee man – next year I’ll be going to Adriano Zumbo for your birthday cake x

The rest of the Shoe Challengettes have posted pictures over at Shoeperwoman’s Week 9 Roundup.

Why Shoes? – Guest Shoe Blog Post by Kelly Burstow aka @BeaFunMum

Sometimes I get a little zing when I meet people online. 

These people, the zing people, are  the people whom I usually ask to guest blog for me. Some say no, some say maybe and then tease me with softly whispered promises over months of correspondence. Some say yes and then surprise me with beautifully crafted posts delivered up as gifts on the days when I am feeling down and wonder whether I can keep on writing, about shoes or anything else.  This post from Kelly over at Be A Fun Mum is one of those posts – a brightly wrapped breath of frangipani floating by on a waft of warm summer air.  Kelly and I met at the Aussie Bloggers Conference and she promised to blog for me. Her shoes are making me smile today on a crisp cold autumn day and reminding me that there are many more wonderful floral sandals (and guest bloggers as yet unmet) out there.


My Favourite Pair of Shoes

Why Shoes?

I did something today I’ve never done before: I counted my shoes.  I have…23 pairs of shoes…24 if you count my slippers. Perhaps a little bit of an excess — yes? But I truly wear them all! Shoes just get me. Right here (hand over heart). They are they first thing I put on and the last thing to come off. This may be pathetic, but I even have a shoe book on my bedside table. I’m serious. So what is it about shoes that get me?

Maybe it’s the undefinable pleasure I feel at hearing the click, click of heels on tiles.

Maybe it’s because they make me feel pretty and feminine.

Maybe it’s because they come in every colour under the sun.

Maybe it’s because every shoe has a story.

The thing is: I just can’t tell you exactly why I love shoes so much. There’s just something magical about them. Very much like Cinderella’s glass slippers (they were the only magic that survived the 12 o’clock curfew, you know). So if I had to sum up my love for shoes in one sentence it would be this: When I put on my favourite pair of shoes I feel like a princess. Overlook the cliché, would you, and just {sigh} with me.

I really need to get myself some glass slippers I think…

Cinderalla Shoes - Glass Slippers - Real Glass Slippers

  1. Cinderella Glass Slippers: Yes, these are wearable glass (plastic) slippers by Touch Ups. And only just over $50.
  2. Real Glass Slippers: You can buy a pair of real Maison Martin Margiela Glass Slippers for $2,500 a pair. Ouch.

My shoes

Here are some of my shoes, and I want to tell you a little bit about them.

  1. There are 6 people living at our place so it’s rather crazy how many shoes there are. I decided to keep everyday shoes outside on shoe racks (pictured below).  This way, shoes don’t get lost underneath someone’s bed and they are easy to grab as we run out the door. I keep most of my shoes (pictured 1) inside my cupboard on a shoe rack.

Shoe Rack

2. I saw these red boots when I was holidaying at Caloundra Beach, Queensland…and they were half price. I almost fell over myself to buy them.  When I wear them, people often stop        me to ask me where I got my “gorgeous red boots”.

3.   I can’t even believe this myself. I kept these shoes; I would say my favourite pair of shoes, in the cupboard for 10 months before I wore them! I was determined to save them for             my  Masked 30th Birthday Party.  After drooling over the shoes for months and months, you can image my pleasure at wearing them for my birthday party. I purchased them from a little shop on Mt Tamborine, Queensland. They are made from hand painted leather and just scream “ME” all over.

4.  Believe it or not, my husband wanted me to buy these shoes. Usually I hear “not another pair of shoes”, but not this time.   My husband and I went away for a weekend. Just us; no kids. While we were strolling in a shopping centre, take-away coffee in hand, my husband spotted these sassy and smart shoes in the window and loved them…so he made me buy them.  😉

5. It’s true: I keep a shoe book on my bedside table.  Shoes: the ultimate accessory by Tessa Paul.

6. I wore these shoes to my Dad’s wedding. How adorable are the bows at the back!?

Shoes. Shoes, shoes, shoes. They truly are the ultimate accessory.  They can be anything from practical friends to glamorous confidence boosters.

What do shoes mean to you?

Who am I? I’m Kelly.

When I’m not running around after my four kids, you’ll find me drinking tea from a pretty cup.  I love lying on the grass and the view mountains afford.  You can visit me over at my blog Be A Fun Mum.  I really have the coolest shoe blog roll you’ll ever see. Want to be on it?

Follow me:  Facebook and Twitter

Lecturing in Lace & Leopard Print – Frocking Friday the Fourteenth Shoeper Shoe Challenge #15 of 105

Leopard Print, Lace & Seamed Stockings

Black/Cream Lace Dress by Toille| 50s Contrast Seamed FFS Stockings from eBay seller Leglines|Silk/leather Amanda Starr Stacked Heeled Sandals via eBay

It has been a busy couple of weeks at Chez Calcei.

The business of teaching people things started in earnest on Friday 8 April aka Frocking Friday the Fourteenth.

At 5.30 am I was busy pretending to be asleep and realizing that if I pretended too much longer I was going to have to sprint uphill to Hurstville to get there by 6.00 am to light scented candles, put on soothing music and prepare an atmosphere conducive to meditative exercise.

At 6.15 am I was teaching a lot of ladies to lift up their pelvic floors and do proper pushups.  By 7.00 am the sussuration* of discomfort and dirty looks cast in my direction lead me to believe that my mission has been successful.

At 9.00 am later that morning I was due to teach some music industry students about legal stuff. My experience of teaching legal stuff to non-lawyers is mixed. Sometimes you can get a class full of energy and interest – at other times, the very sniff of anything even vaguely legalistic sends the students into a torpor or a mutinous murmuring.  Whether there is positive or negative energy in a room, the challenge is to find ways to harness it and work with it. To this end I advocate wearing something that I feel comfortable in and supported by so that I can forget about myself and concentrate on the people who are there to learn.

So as soon as my 6.15 am ladies headed off in search of coffee and their transportation to work, I formally prepared myself discourse in the toilets at the Hurstville Tiaki studios. These are rather swish toilets with candles, candlelbrum and baroque mirrors.  Getting dressed in here is a bit like preparing to go to the opera.

For added confidence (and safety just in case of abnormal knicker function) I decided to wear a fairly firm new foundation garment that looks like this.

Vintage Girdle/Garter Belt

Vintage White Criss Cross Girdle from eBay Seller mizzvintage.

It may seem incongruous to you that someone who practices pilates and yoga would wear a girdle (or admit to it). However, I have my days/weeks/months that I can’t fit into my clothes and I refuse to put my life on hold while I wait for my body to shed its winter hibernation weight.  Also, I fully believe that good posture makes you feel better, look better, think and speak more clearly. It’s too easy otherwise to spend 90% of the time in kyphosis, hunched backed over a computer keyboard or protracting your shoulders to grip a steering wheel. Stick a girdle or a corset on and trust me, you’ll rediscover the location of your transverse abdominis in the very second that you attempt to slouch.

Also, and this is one of my hitherto closely guarded secrets – to wear vintage stockings as I very often do requires a set of suspenders that will actually hold the things up.

FFS Stockings; Seamed Stockings: Vintage Stockings: 50s Stockings


Stockings from the 5os and 60s do not have any stretch in them. None whatsoever.  The stockings shown above extend to just below mid-thigh on me and I am 5 foot 4 inches tall.

If you are serious about wearing vintage stockings you will require the assistance of a firm set of suspenders. Don’t bother with the usual garter/suspender belts that you can buy in high street stores:

Sheer Suspender Belt

If you are wearing stockings with these for day purposes, you’ll just end up with the waist band working its way over your hips and down your thighs while your stockings puddle Nora Batty style round your ankles:

Nora Batty (aka the late great Kathy Staff) strikes a typically scary and yet alluring pose

You’d have much more luck with a set of wide belt 6 to 8 strap suspender belts. Secrets in Lace have a really good selection of these and cater for curvy (ie normal sized) women.

Secrets in Lace - Intrigue Garter Belt

The best way to hold stockings up that I have found so far bar none is to wear a girdle.

While vintage stockings outstrip modern stockings in appearance and durability, I’d generally choose modern versions of vintage lingerie. The vintage girdle that I wore one pictured above is firm and very pretty but the latex plastic dimples attached to the garter clasps broke off after the first wearing.

Garter Belts Clasps

Not a big deal as replacement clasps are fairly easy to come by but bit of a pain in the bum nonetheless.

I have a few different styles of girdles now (mostly by Rago®) varying in prettiness and firmness. All are equally effective.

My collection started last Easter when my husband bought me a full length Rago one from a specialist lingerie store called Gotta Have That in Bexley, NSW. It was ridiculously expensive (about AUS$150 compared with US$54.00 on Secrets in Lace and £37.46 from Stockings HQ) but I didn’t know anything about the brand or where to buy it online at the time. I just fell in love with the swirly circular detailing on the control panels.

Rago 9357 - Photo Credit Rago(R)

Now and again I crack myself up remembering those 18 Hour Girdle by Playtex(R) ads from the 70s. Clearly they have had a long lasting effect on me and so subliminal body image advertising to pre-teens works.

The shoes were dead easy to choose – Amanda Starr silk and leopard print stack heels with a little black leather rose flower.   It’s taken me a year to find two pairs of Amanda Starr heels via eBay but I am a patient woman and I know that I will uncover more.

By 9.00 am and after two cups of coffee (no food I can never eat before I do any kind of public speaking or court appearance) I was ready to go.

Amanda Starr Silk & Leather Leopard/Black Rose Sandals

And the class?

FFS Stockings; Seamed Stockings: Vintage Stockings: 50s Stockings

Seamed Stockings - Straight Seams!

Once my boss and I were in the room the students gave us a great reception. Their energy and enthusiasm was amazing. We learned things from them. That is a sure fire sign of a good teaching experience – when I walk out of the room wiser than I walked in.

What do you wear to give you confidence? 

Have you got a talisman outfit or piece of jewellery or something else that someone once gave you for luck?

(* I’d like to thank @johncarneyau for this wonderful word. I’d spent hours trying to thesaurise it without success before Asking Twitter. )


Suicidal Shoes – Frocking Friday the Thirteenth, Shoeper Shoe Challenge #14 of 105


All good things must come to an end.

There comes a point in anyone’s lifetime where one’s favourite item of clothing or footwear dies on one.

This week I have lost two pairs of shoes. Two black patent leather shoes.

This is a bit of a disaster because the next BPL (Black Patent Leather) Shoe Day is on 15 April 2011.

Dead Shoes x 2

On the surface all would appear to be well. It is only when you turn them over that you will notice the cause of death:


Sydney Humidity eats my soul(s)

Slow steady heat induced sole disintegration.

Sydney weather encourages all my shoes to commit hari kari. I have about 10 pairs of boots and shoes that need to have the soles stuck back on.

I have it on good authority that Selleys Glue will reignite the relationship between footwear and sole. I fully intend to purchase the aforesaid Selleys Glue and shall report on the reconciliation process in due course.

Sadly, the division between my favourite sensible work shoes, my Fiorduna patent leather pumps, cannot be so easily salvaged with Sellys Glue.

Sometimes I do wonder though whether I should save or bury shoes.

The first pair of shoes at the top (the Schuh shoes) were my second pair of stilettos. I bought them from Schuh in Paisley 20+ years ago. They cost me 18 quid.  The Fiorduna pumps I bought from a rather expensive Italian shoe store in Sydney, just up from the Chanel shop.  They cost me about $150 on sale in or around August 2000.  I have to say that the Schuh shoes were a better investment. Both pairs of shoes have sentimental value.

After some initial thoughts of resuscitating the casualities using glue and so on I have decided to give both pairs of shoes a decent burial and  buy myself a new pair of black patent leather heels. The question is, which shoes shoud I buy that will be immediately comfortable and live to earn their purchase price?

If I had a tax refund cheque I would probably bite the bullet and buy a pair of these (Christian Louboutin Pigalles would pretty much match with anything).

CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN Pigalle 120 patent pumps via Net-a-Porter

At the moment, however, I am unsure of it whether or not Louboutins are Sydney humidity proof. It would break my heart (and be pointless) to spend $700 or thereabouts on a pair of shoes and not get at least 10 years wear out of them.  I have no difficulty buying expensive things provided that they earn their keep.

Generally we’ve noticed in this house that investing a wee bit more in a well known brand pays dividends in the long run.

For example, my husband has had a lifelong obsession with Levi 501 jeans. He has to buy these in or from the USA. Apparently this is due to the particular type of cotton you get over there.  If you get American made Levi jeans he tells me that you will get about 4 years out of them.  The lifecycle of my husband’s Levi jeans is as set out below:

– 18 months to break them in

– 24 months of loving them

– 6 months of realising that no other pair of jeans will ever look quite this good on your ever again

–  thereafter imminent death usually when one is trying to run for a train.

A pair of Levi 501 jeans will cost between $80 and $120 (Australian) to buy via eBay online. If you amortise the cost of these over 4 years the cost per annum is $30 per year.  This is the standard that I apply to most purchases – the upper limit for most purchases is $30 to $40 (Australian) per year.

I get really irritated when clothes do not even manage to last past the first wearing before displaying suicidal tendencies.

A couple of weeks ago I was quite pleased to pick up a brand new with tags silk chiffon dress from one of my favourite local thrift stores. It looked lovely on the way to work, was comfy and floaty and breezy in the warm Sydney autumn sunshine. A little bit too breezy as it turned out because the zip had decided to separate on me from waist to rib.

Luckily I was wearing a full length slip at the time so the display of flesh shown above was not apparent to my workmates.

I’ll be going back to eBay buying at this rate.

Suicidal Black Chiffon Dress: Love Me Me

Stiletto Sandals: Dahto Shoes Sydney, Australia (bridal and other shoes made to order)

The Minx wears: Rock Your Baby Tee & her big brothers  grey marl knickers

Dahto Black Leather Stiletto Sandals

What was your best clothing/footwear investment purchase?

Save the Real Shoeperwoman!

When I started this blog in September 2009 I fully intended to write about law now and again.
As time went on I realised that you were all a lot more interested in my shoes than the law. Much of the time, I would say this about myself too hence why up until now, I haven’t discussed any of the legal cases that I am involved with.
Part of the reason that I don’t blog about my legal cases (other than client confidentiality) is that most of the time the practice of law is hard slow painstaking work and completely unlike Ally McBeal, Boston Legal or Harry’s Law. Rather than swanning in and writing ‘just won a million dollar settlement in court today’ I’d be more likely to write ‘revised 400 page contract. Woke up in a puddle of my own saliva 2 hours later with my cheek on page 295 and a red pen up my nose‘.
Now and again though, cases come through the doors at work which remind my boss and I why it is that we do what we do. For those of you who don’t know we are IP/IT and media/entertainment lawyers.  If some multinational corporation swings in and steals your intellectual property (as a major fast food chain did to one of our clients recently) we will go into battle for you and we will win.  It’s the one time that we feel a bit like the legal avengers that we studied law to become.
Yesterday I got a distressed message from my favourite shoe blogger, Amber McNaught aka Shoeperwoman of the Shoeper Shoe Challenge. You can see her badge on the right hand side of this post. In my opinion Shoeperwoman represents all that is good about the blogging community. Her Shoeper Challenge has acted as the catalyst for me to meet and be encouraged and inspired by other people who love shoes and clothes as much as I do.  A lot of people are inspired by Amber. Some of them are so inspired that they seek to copy or impersonate her.  Amber has dealt with these incidents with humour and grace.
It came as huge shock to me to find out yesterday that she has encountered yet another imposter. This one is not only seeking to impersonate Amber but basically to prevent her from blogging under her alter ego – Shoeperwoman. Rather than put words into her mouth, I am posting her story below.  Please read it and lend your support in the best way that bloggers can – by writing about it.
I do often wonder though, why so many people persist in doing the wrong thing and try to bully someone out of protecting their hard won trade mark rights rather than do the right thing and concede early in the piece. Perhaps Laura Blake has more money than sense or perhaps like many people she just thought it would be easier to rip someone else off than to come up with her own ideas.

Important announcement regarding

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by Shoeperwoman

(First of all, the Shoeper Shoe Challenge roundup will not be appearing today as my time has been totally taken up with the issue below. My apologies to everyone who’s sent me photos – I promise I will publish them on Monday. In the meantime, I would really appreciate your comments and re-tweets on this post…)

I had really hoped not to have to write this post, but having exhausted my other options I’ve taken legal advice (from the wonderful Caveat Calcei, who you all know from the Shoe Challenge), and feel I have no option but to go public about an issue regarding the “Shoeperwoman” name and this site.

As most of my regular readers will know, I set up Shoeperwoman two years ago this month, having registered the domain in May of 2008 and spent a year planning the site. At the time there were no other sites using the name. Earlier this year, however, a UK-based company launched a shoe blog called “Shoeper-woman” and an associated retail website of the same name.
logo Important announcement regarding

(Not my blog)

I don’t really want to link to these sites as I feel they are damaging enough to my brand without me helping their Google rank, but you can see the address of the retail site from the image above and the blog can be found at (note: all of the links in this post are nofollow, and this is the only time I will link to these sites.)

First of all, I want to clarify that these sites have absolutely no connection to or to Midas Media.

I realise it’s confusing for people as they are using the same name, and writing about the same subjects, often in exactly the same way (i.e. using phrases like “shoeper-hero”, “Shoeper-man” etc.) but there is no connection, so please know that this is the only “Shoeperwoman” site run by us (with the exception of our associated Twitter and Facebook accounts, which also use the “Shoeperwoman” name), therefore if you come across these sites, or any others, please be aware that they have nothing to do with us.

The other company is also using the name “Shoeper-woman” on TwitterFacebook and other sites, which I realise adds to the confusion. If you are in any doubt whether something you read online is being said by me, or by Laura Blake, who is the owner of the other sites, please feel free to get in touch.

domain dispute Important announcement regarding

(Not me)

When I found out about these sites, I immediately contacted Laura Blake, who tells me that she does not believe there is any issue with her using exactly the same name as me for her two sites (although she has put up a disclaimer today which you can read on her blog). Obviously I’m disappointed about this. I set up two years ago: it is my livelihood (along with my other blogs), and Terry and I have worked very hard to build up the brand to where it is today. It’s disheartening, to say the least, to find that someone has knowingly decided to use exactly the same name and idea for a very similar project (Laura tells me she was aware of the existence of this site but decided to use the name regardless), and obviously this will make it much harder for both of the respective businesses to thrive, as rather than having our own unique identities, these two new sites have effectively set themselves up in direct competition to us instead.

not terry Important announcement regarding

(Not my Shoeperman…)

What Laura didn’t tell me during our lengthy email conversations, was that not only has she knowingly used a name which has been associated with my blog for the past two years, she has also applied for the UK trademark to the name “Shoeper-woman”. If she is successful in this application, this would mean that I would no longer be able to use the name I have made mine, and this site will effectively cease to exist. As the revenue from this site forms a large part of my income, I’m sure you can understand my distress at this, and the reason I’m writing this post.

To answer the obvious question that has cropped up in relation to this: no, we do not own the trademark to the name “Shoeperwoman”. We looked into doing this when we launched the site, however the very high cost of this was prohibitive for us, as it is for most other bloggers, and so we were forced to rely on the goodwill and common sense of our fellow bloggers/site owners, and to hope that most people would prefer to create something that’s truly their own rather than to duplicate another brand. Obviously that isn’t always the case: some of you may remember the issues Jennine Jacob’s The Coveted encountered recently when another site launched using the same name, and if this can happen to me, and can happen to a well-known blogger like Jennine, it can happen to anyone.

We have now lodged our own trademark application for the name, which means we’re already hundreds of pounds out of pocket in our bid to assert our right to continue to use a name which has been associated with this site for two years now, and which I have also used on Twitter, Facebook and other sites for the same length of time. Having taken advice on this, we believe it could cost us much more to defend our brand, which is obviously causing us a great deal of stress. This is where you come in:

How you can help Shoeperwoman:

Obviously this is a source of huge concern to us, so we would welcome any support our readers and friends have to offer us, in the shape of comments, re-tweets and advice.

If you are a blogger, and would like to mention this issue on your site, I would be eternally grateful, not just for my sake, but because as I mentioned above, this is something that can happen to anyone, and it is devastating to work so hard on something for so long, only to see it put at risk like this. Also, any links back to (especially those using the word “Shoeperwoman” as the link text) would be a huge help to us right now as they will help cement our position in search engines and support our right to the trademark when we file our dispute.

I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who has emailed Terry and I with their support over this issue: it really means the world to us to know that we have loyal readers who will continue to support us no matter how many other ”Shoeperwomen” crop up!