“It’s Alimentary*, My Dear Watson” or How to Lose 5 Kilos in 2 Days (Unpleasantly)



About 10 days ago Mel Corthine asked me on Twitter if I’d ever tried a yogic colon cleansing regime that involves slowly swallowing a twenty foot length of muslin cloth and then removing it after after use to lift mucus from the stomach and oesophagus. It is one of a number of equally unpleasant sounding but extremely yoga digestive cleansing methods that are collectively known as Dhauti. Both Mel and I agreed that despite the deeply disgusting thought of going through with these practices the promised end result – a good spring clean out of the insides – was appealing.

Little did I know that while we were talking about dhauti ingest* a small and sinister stomach bug had taken up residence in my gut.

On Monday the Minx and I took a trip to Bondi on the train. It was good fun and she and I shared lots of cuddles, some laughs and clearly a nasty micro-organism or two thousand. The homeward bound trip on a rush hour train was a surreal experience – my head was thumping, my muscles hurt and my stomach was churning and yet I found myself wrestling a 4 year old plus 4 bags and a stroller off a CityRail train.

Mummy” THE Minx asked while I concentrated hard on not kneecapping the lady opposite with the stroller wheels and/or vomiting, “Why do you have so many bags?

I dunno Minx” I replied biting back what felt like bile “Perhaps because I’m a complete masochist?” The man next to us thought this was quite hilarious apparently and yet still didn’t move his legs sideways to let us past.

  • WARNING TWO: Sydney CityRail commuters, memorise the face in the following pictures, next time I shall throw up on you – no more Ms Nice Jaws Clamped Together)

By the time that I got home a tiny percussion band were whacking me about the back of the head and shoulders with not so little drumsticks. Stretching out horizontally across the sofa seemed to stop the nausea but the addition of Myth Busters and/or Top Gear (who knows which) was enough to send me off to review what I’d had for lunch. My husband then packed me off to bed with a hot water bottle and about 7 cups of peppermint tea for what become a night long journey of plumbing abuse.

The next day and the day after involved more unpleasantness than any of you deserve to read about (except YOU Mr Unhelpful Commuter op. cit.). I kept myself entertained by trying to photograph my shoes with my legs on the headboard.

Stilettos on the headboard

By Thursday I had lost 5 kilos in fluid. I was quite impressed in a delirious sort of way. Instead of eating something, I amused myself by sliding easily into a long leather pencil skirt that hitherto had only fitted me with the aid of a lot of breathing in, calisthenics and an industrial strength girdle. I should have taken a picture as proof but by that time I was so dehydrated that any fleeting vanity was replaced with a alarming thought that the top of my head was about to burst open.

Luckily at that point @TiakiPilates called me:

How are you feeling love? Better?” she asked.

I think I am going to die” I may have said.

You’re dehydrated” she said “You could go to the hospital for rehydration. On the plus side in the hospital you’ll get good drugs to help you sleep. On the down side, hospitals are cold and you’ll come back with something even nastier. Or you could get John to go and get you some Hydrolite“.

Not long thereafter that is exactly what what he did and in between the Hydrolite and the jelly beans from Dulux (see above) I started to feel semi-human again.

The plus side of the projectile pollution episode? I feel like I have done my Dhauti for the next three months and one cup of coffee makes me feel like I’ve imbibed some kind of wonder elixir. No alcohol yet though. I’ve been too scared to try it out on my newly cleansed insides.

Instead I am sitting on the sofa on a Saturday night desperately saving a number of boots and shoes. I had intended to blog about them separately but time is short so please consider this the Porcelain Omnibus Edition.

Shoe Save 1 – Zu Corset Back Platform Stilettos: #35 of 105

Zu Black Corset Black Platform Stilettos

When:    Friday 12 August 2011

Where:    At work

With:      Wish jersey sequinned Dress worn over Metalicus long sleeved top; Tights                                       from Coles; Black  glass jewellery from various dollar shops and thrift shops

Shoe Save 2 – Lace Up OTK Boots: #36 of 105

Lace up piratical boots

When:    Friday 12 August 2011

Where:      Dress up Friday (work)

With:       Leggings by KMart; Black Leather/Patent Leather Corset:                                                                     Stormy Leather.

Shoe Save 3 – Novo Multicoloured Cage Booties: #37 of 105

Novo Multi-coloured Cage Booties

When:    Saturday 20 August 2011

Where:     Mrs @DGarberg’s Birthday Party

With:       Zip Tights from Sportsgirl, Chiffon Tunic from US eBay Seller                                                               Tamars Treasures. Cage booties by Novo.

Shoe Save 4  Zoe Wittner Black Patent Leather Silver Heeled Ankle Boots: #38 of 105

Wittner Black Patent Platform Ankle Boots

Unfortunately the heels are not metal which is a terrible waste – but they have put me in mind to get one of these cracking Gucci patent leather pencil skirts.

Maybe in a few eBay seasons or so – these retail for about AUD$1720.00 at the moment.

Worn:  19 August 2011

For:      Grace’s karaoke night (@Chrisenhall, Linda Tran and I sang

for her birthday. She may even have forgiven us by now for getting our Gaga on in triplicate.

With:    Black leather & Mesh Marty Samuels top via eBay;  black PVC and white cotton brocade corset from Gallery Serpentine, Sydney;  opaque tights from SES;  black rubber knickers $4.00 from eBay Australia (bargain); Black Patent Leather Platform Ankle Boots by Zoe Wittner
* I spent much of the week thinking up digestive tract puns. Actually, I lie – I spent much of the week on the toilet or in bed groaning but the latter sounds like more fun.

Why Victoria, Vanessa and I need to get comfortable shoes. Shoe Saves

A couple of weekends ago we took the kids to the beach. It was extremely windy.

I wore completely the wrong type of shoes entirely:

Irregular Choice Mules

although I did manage to talk myself into wearing a nice sensible warm puffer jacket and comfy trousers (and socks).

Fast forward a week and it seemed like a good idea to take the weans for a bush walk to wear them out get some fresh air down their necks. Since the aforesaid bush is in an itty bitty boutique park behind our house it was more of a bush stroll but still sufficiently wild for the children to believe that they were going on a bear hunt. I managed wear a pair of boots that were not really fit for purpose. The boots were last seen being worn by the Minx here.

The Minx wears: Catamini Jumper, pyjama bottoms & her big brother's old shoes. My boots: The Wild Pair suede/leather knee boots via eBay. Overly bright Fair Isle sweater brought from Scotland and the only one not munched to death by Australian moths.

Wearing impractical footwear is not unusual for me. On a windy beach in Scotland I once ruined a perfectly good pair of leather soled handmade cowboy boots scrambling over rocks. I was wearing a fake fur coat at the time too.

When hiking in the Scottish Highlands I managed to get sheep faeces all over a nice pair of black suede boots with 3.5 inch heels. Why on earth do I do these things to myself? It is almost 99.9 % vanity. Being short, my legs look a lot better in jeans when I am wearing a slight heel and hiking boots don’t have that effect. Well these might but you couldn’t pay me enough to wear them. Or maybe you could – make me an offer and we’ll take it from there.

Teva Hiking High Heeled Sandals

It would take a fair amount of convincing though since practical shoes are not things that I am naturally drawn to. There was a time when I collected flat shoes to walk everywhere in. Flat shoes, you should know, never ever last as long for me as heels. The reason for this may be that I treat my flat shoes a bit more viciously on the basis that I should be able to walk faster, jump higher and catch trains in them in a single bound. In heels I always give myself a bit of extra time to get places and so consquently the wear and tear is not quite so severe. In addition, I have suffered some of my worse shoe related injuries wearing flat shoes I am not alone in my vanity. Many women in the public eye will go to absurdly uncomfortable lengths to look glamorous for the paparazzi no matter how ridiculous the outfit outcome. Vanessa Hudgens struggled through photo opp recently with sticking plasters on her knees caused by a fall wearing platform heels while bike riding. On the same day that Vanessa’s photos were syndicated, model Victoria Silvstedt was photographed sinking into sand in stiletto sandals:

Victoria Silvstedt's Beach Stilettos - Copyright The Daily Mail 2011

According to Mary Anne Sieghert, this is possibly just another example of gullible women falling prey to what she calls the “tyranny of porn”. In the Independentshe says:

It’s no longer enough to be earthy, feminine, curvy – a real woman. These days, we are supposed to wax ourselves so as to appear an aberrant, plastic caricature of femininity. Then we are expected to wear heels so high that they look like they’ve been dragged off one of those soft-porn, semi-bondage posters teenage boys used to have in the 1970s, at the end of legs sheathed in latex. These shoes wreck your feet and cripple your lower back. At a yoga class the other day, I looked in despair at the state of the women’s misshapen toes. They could have been victims of Chinese foot-binding. High heels stop you running for a bus. They stop you running from danger. You can’t stride out in them; indeed, you can’t even keep up with the man you’re walking alongside. In a word, they make you submissive – just as having a Brazilian makes you look like a submissive pre-teen or willing porn actress. See the pattern? These trends are sold to us, in a hideously Orwellian fashion, as “empowering”. No, it’s not empowering to be hobbled by excruciating heels. Nor is it empowering to be encouraged to dance suggestively with a pole. It’s tacky, it’s tarty, it’s undignified and it’s wholly inappropriate unless you’ve embarked on a career as a prostitute.

Without going down the path of defending my love of heels I would say only this to Mary Anne – if you are looking at someone else’s toes in your yoga classes you are probably not concentrating hard enough on your bhandas or your drishtis. Both of these disciplines help you to walk more safely in heels incidentally. Also, some of us particularly those of us with a natural tendency to plantar flexion find it simply easier to walk on our toes. My paternal cousins and I all walk on our toes when barefoot, always have always will. So here is the challenge for folk like me (and my new shoe buddy Victoria) – to find a comfy pair of shoes that we could wear in the sand, then to park and then to a restaurant*. All comfy shoe suggestions will be gratefully considered and any eeking will be done privately. ______________________________________________________________ Irregular Choice Mules last worn here and saved herewith as Number 31 of 105 for the Shoeper Shoe Challenge Wild Pair Boots saved for the Shoeper Shoe Challenge #32 of 105.

*Not that I get to restaurants terribly often but if/when I do I will now be well prepared.

Sometimes a nightmare never ends: wearing red for the Morecombes: 15 August 2011

No one ever recovers from losing a child.

No doubt that you can function and you can keep on living but something inside you will always be grieving and searching for what you have lost. The loss of expectation of a life not fully lived.

Unless we have experienced such a loss, we cannot understand what Denise and Bruce Morecombe are feeling this week. Their son Daniel was abducted 8 years ago.

To know that your child has gone and that you will never see him again is terrible enough – to have no remains to visit, no official talisman of grief to sustain them is cruelty of an enormous magnitude.

Nikki Parkinson blogger, journalist and a parent herself encouraged us all to dress in red to honour the memory of Daniel yesterday.  Red is the colour of the tee shirt that Daniel was wearing when he disappeared. As a parent it is the very least that I could do.

Many many bloggers joined in silent support yesterday, swathed in shades of red. Here are a few of them:

Daniel Morecamber Memorial Mosaic - Copyright Nikki Parkinson 2011

You can find an enlarged version of the Mosaic here .

For further information about the Morecombe’s child safety campaign and to send words of support visit the Daniel Morecombe Foundation website.

Cheongsam; Red

I'm wearing red for Daniel today

In Chinese culture red is a symbol of fire and of good fortune and joy. I wish and pray and will continue to wish and pray for all of these these things for Denise and Bruce Morcombe.

Compliments will get you everywhere – 64 (or more) Australian legal tweeters

Everyone loves having people say nice things about them. Normally I wouldn’t blow my own trumpet but in this case I can promote the greater good by blowing 63 other trumpets at the same time.

Amici Curiae have posted a list of 64 or more twegals (legal tweeps) worth following on Twitter. Since I know that you are all following me on Twitter already (and if you aren’t you should be) get thee along there and check out the others forthwith.

64 or more Australian Legal Tweeters 

Why was I wearing a corset on a school night? (Shoe Challenge 32 of 105: Fredericks of Hollywood Steel Heel Stilettos)

More steel heels - metal heeled black stilettos by Fredericks of Hollywood

Up until about 2002 I had a fairly good uptodate selection of books about shoes and the theory of shoe design.

Since 2002 I have sadly missed quite a few key publications.

From 2005:

Shoes: The Complete Sourcebook| Thames & Hudson 2005

From 2007:

The Seductive Shoes: Four Centuries of Fashion Footwear by Jonathon Walford 2007

From 2009:

Fifty Shoes That Changed the World: Design Museum 2009

From 2010:

Shoes A-Z: Designers, Brands, Manufacturers and Retailers by Jonathan Walford 2010

and most recently, from 2011:

Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers by Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil 2011.

I briefly met Peter McNeil this week while waiting in line at the Powerhouse in Sydney to get into a Sydney Design 2011 lecture with our mutual shoegal pal Soshoemi. He was not impressed that I had not yet read his book (sorry Peter).

Soshoemi has recently moved to Sydney for work and managed to score two tickets to listen to Valerie Steele. She wore an elegant Paul Smith shift dress and jacket with her Manolo Blahnik investment power heels.

Soshoemi's Manolo Blahnilks

Ms Steele is a fashion historian and a prolific writer who is currently in Australia to discuss the relationship between art and fashion which is the title of her new book. She is the author of a number fashion treatises including one of my style Bibles – Shoes: A Lexicon of Style (1999). It is a book full of footwear that makes me ache with longing:

The Scary Platform Chopine Style Sandals with Laces

Rocco Barocco platform lace up sandals - page 92 - Shoes: A Lexicon of Style

The spiky barbed wire Todd Oldham sandals

Todd Oldham's Barbed Wire Sandals

and last, but not least those sublime Tom Ford for Gucci Steel heeled stilettos that I blogged about here

Tom Ford for Gucci - Metal Heel Stilettos

Bearing in mind that Ms Steele has written about shoes, fetish fashion and the history of corsets it was pretty much a moral certainty that I was going to wear steel heels and a corset.

Black & White Silk vintage Shirt by MaxMara via eBay | Vollers Satin Underbust Corset http://www.vollers-corsets.com/corset/underbust-corset-v1918ul/ |Black wide leg trousers by Zac Posen for Target| Steel Heel Stilettos by Fredericks of Hollywood

As far as I could see, Soshoemi and I were the only ones wearing high heeled shoes. Fashion academics don’t dress up to go out, apparently. Either that or high heels are no longer in fashion like nude shoes or prosthetic shoes as Maggie Alderson calls them. Since I have about another 60 odd pairs of high heels to get through, I think that I will be bucking the trend.

It’s my birthday & I’ll sing out of tune if I want to – Shoe Challenge 31 of 105 – The Lorenzi Platforms

Bless me readers for I have failed to save any shoes for nearly two months now and here is my confession – I may now have more than 105 pairs to save and 146 days in which to save them all.

Be prepared for copious shoe posts about nothing in particular and with lots of photographs to fill the gaps.

Luckily I am recommencing the Shoe Challenge with one of my favourite pairs of shoes:

Black Patent Leather & Turquoise Suede Gianmarco Lorenzi Platforms

These are not only one of my favourite pairs of my shoes but regularly eyed fondly by others. I wore them to our corporate photoshoot at the studio – that’s me on the far right hand side.

Our CEO Nikki fell a bit in love with them that night and then snaffled them for our next photoshoot:

These Lorenzis are particularly vertiginous heels but not terribly difficult to walk in – providing one does so slowly and not along bumpy Sydney streets. Alcohol helps enormously I find.

Such is my fondness for these shoes that I save them up for very special occasions – Christmas parties, photoshoots and birthdays.  They have a fairly huge personality of their own and are best matched with little black dresses like this one:

Turquoise Necklace: Birthday gift from the weans; black silk dress by Jacquie E via eBay; Gianmarco Lorenzi Platforms. Seamed fully fashioned contrast stockings from Cervin at StockingsHQ.com

It was a birthday party that deserved a special pair of shoes as it has kicked off an August of birthdays and celebrations which will include a karaoke competition at some stage. Being a health studio that believes in balancing yin and yang we had equal amounts of nice and naughty things.

Cupcakes and chickpeas

Strawberries and jelly sweeties

Champagne and single malt whisky (that may be two yins or two yangs of course)

Grace will be enjoying the next birthday off the cab rank

and copious Karaoke

Something that very few people know about me is how much I loathe the sound of my own singing voice. This is something that I can date back to Primary 7 at St Catherine’s in Paisley. We were all of us singing our wee hearts out over some hymn or another for a school mass when Sister Cecilia stopped, pursed her lips in an unhappy way and declared:

Something is not right.  You three – stop singing” she tutted waving at me and another couple of children next to me.

Right, start again” she said and waved her ruler like a conductor’s baton .  “That’s better” she said happily as I sat there silent, with my face burning, absolutely mortified with shame.

Up until recently the only place that I have happily sung publicly was in church. There is safety in numbers and let’s face it,  there will always be someone else there with a soprano that bends the stained glass windows.

About three weeks ago, the entire Education team headed out for karoake.  There is empirical research that group singing promotes well being by boosting oxytocin which in turn leads to feelings of happiness and well being.  I really didn’t think that I could get up and sing but I closed my eyes and bellowed out this song with one of my younger colleagues:

And with that song I broke the back of my fear of public singing.

Last Friday, we worked our way through this song with choreography. It is a big help having people around you to hit the impossibly high notes while you mime and laugh at yourself

Anyone else scared of singing in public?  Come along and growl with me:

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

The path to non-attachment is studded with footwear distractions

This weekend I taught essential yoga theory to a wonderful group of yoga teachers and soon to be yoga teachers – some experienced yogis, some not so experienced. Yoga theory is literally impossible to teach in the abstract. It is also hard to teach yoga theory without sounding like you are examining your own belly button fluff. As a result, I found myself falling back on some of my own lack of enlightenment experiences to illustrate the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Some of you might remember my struggle with reconciling ahimsa, the yoga doctrine that encourages people to avoid causing harm or pain to other living creatures, with wearing my Gran’s fur coat and leather shoes generally.

One of the things that I struggle with is my love for collecting shoes. We all have a Thing that we like to collect. My husband collects enamel badges of comic book and cartoon characters, tin clockwork toys and penguin soft toys. My children collect small plastic expensive Things that are regularly fed into the DVD player and two of every bit of Harry Potter memorabilia that an Australian newspaper has been selling over the last week or so.

(If you walk past our house you will hear me yelling at the Minx to put the wand down before she puts someone’s eye out with it.)

To me, shoe collecting is one of my flaws as well as one of the things that makes me happy. It is my Thing. While my children have tried to lay claim to my shoes, the higher heels have thwarted them.

I get a bit twitchy when the kids wear my heels which tends to suggest, sadly, that I am becoming more attached to Things than my children.

Then there is my continued persistent drooling over shoes. For example, despite having at least 4 pairs of Gianmarco Lorenzi shoes when my daily eBay search throws up a show stopping pair of double platforms like these I still look at them lustfully:

and think to myself – I can afford $650.00. Of course I can’t afford $650.00 and, in fact, it would be complete insanity for me to spend $650 on a pair of shoes. But I want to very much.

This to me seems to be quite at odds with aparigraha: the principle of non-grasping and non-possessiveness. According to the Yoga Sutras (and mental health practitioners everywhere) the more we practice not being attached to Things, the more happy and contented we will be.

So collecting Things and wanting things is the anthithesis and the arch-enemy of aparigraha and not good right?

Look at these shiny red heels though (deep breath)

Would it be different if I hung them on the wall and called them art?

Gianmarco Lorenzi Pumps - photos copyright eBay seller robbie7469

What Things do you collect? How would you feel about giving them up?

With particular thanks to Tracey and Chrissy for some of your insights and for your energy yesterday.