Don’t Drink & Drive or Drive Old Buggered Cars

Zoe Wittner 'Sassy' Snake Skin Platform Stiletto Pumps

The most significant cause of road trauma and death in Australia is drink driving. You don’t have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. No-one drives quite as well after drinking alcohol, even though some people may look and act as though they are unaffected. Alcohol is a depressant drug that affects most areas of the brain.”

In the last two months my husband has been breathalysed 6 times by mobile Random Breath Testing Units in Sydney. Over the last two years he’s been breathalysed more than 30 times.

A lot of lamps. Really. As seen in Sarah and James' Granny Flat

Earlier this month we were at a kids Christmas party hosted by our friends Sarah and James. It was an excellent party, so much so that I very soon gave up attempting to walk in the above heels. On the way home we were  stopped by the police on Stoney Creek Road  and my husband was breathalysed.

Have you had anything to drink” the teenage police officer asked my husband. “Two beers this afternoon” said my husband in a very polite Scottish way. Scottish people are very polite to the police. (The Scottish Poliss are well-known for being psychopaths and it is best to be as submissive as possible when dealing with them. See below.)

John recorded a breath alcohol limit of just over 0.02 on both breath tests and was taken to Hurstville Police Station on the following basis (from the Custody Management Report):

Does the person complain of, or have you observed any sign of intoxication, pain, injury or illness?”

Comments: Slightly intox.

If being polite constitutes presenting as ‘slightly intoxicated’ in Australia gawd help us.

The teenage police officer asked if I could drive home. “I don’t have a driving licence” I said “and in any case I have had a bottle of champagne to drink so it would be A Very Bad Idea for Me to Drive“. I even showed him iPhone Camera Roll Exhibit A below.

Lulu & Red Silk Dress/Tunic over SES Leggings with Wittner "Sassy" Platform Stilettos

Look Officer – wine glass! Full. And I was wearing the crazy arse shoes too. Hard to drive in them. Meantime my son is crying his eyes out in the back because he thinks that Daddy is in Big Trouble.

The young police officer shrugged and asked me to find a friend to come pick us up.    I started texting my friends still at the party for one of them to come pick us up. I finally manage to get a hold of my fabulous friends Christine and  Dave. “Come pick me up” I wailed “John’s been nicked“.
At that point another older policeman comes along and asks me if I am going to be driving the car home.
I don’t drive, I have no licence and in any case I have had a bottle of wine to drink this afternoon so I can’t drive“. I say as politely as possible with two distraught kids in the back.
The rank of cars behind us slowly disappears. We are still sitting there waiting for my friend Christine to pick us up from the side of the road. It is getting late and clearly the cops want to be gone. The older policeman comes back and basically gives me a kindly uncle lecture the gist of which was as follows:
1.   I should have a drivers licence so that my husband wouldn’t have to worry about having a few beers at a party; and
2.    both children should have parents responsible and able to drive a motor vehicle
I explained to him again politely that I had no licence, had sat 4 driving tests and failed each and every one. Notwithstanding this, even if I had a licence I couldn’t drive because I was over the limit whereas my husband was not. He replied that my husband was over the limit. At that stage I  couldn’t shut the lawyer in me up because I found myself saying:
He will pass the blood alcohol test. Trust me.”
(I did my honours dissertation on the subject of Intoxication and the Law so I am a bit more adamant about these things than I would normally be with the poliss).
No. He won’t pass‘ the police officer tells me.
At the station John asks for a blood test. He’s told that he can ask for one after the third breath test but that it will be at his expense.
He waits 45 minutes for the second breath test which he passes. The other guy pulled in in front of him has gone well over the limit.
John got back in one piece about 3 hours after being stopped. The kids still talk about it.

On the way to the fireworks. 80s Bandage Dress from someplace or other in the Kings Road, London. Perspex heeled mules - Prada circa 1998

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. My husband decides that zero alcohol in the blood stream is advisable as we are driving from Hurstville to Bright Le Sands for the 9.00 pm fireworks.
 We park the car some distance away. This is sensible because we are forming the view that our 11 year old car is actually drawing adverse law enforcement attention to us:
What do you think?

Buggered Old Car

The fireworks went well:

Fireworks 2011 - Brighton Le Sands

Other Useful Things to Know – Shoe Saves 60 and 61 of 105
#60 Platform Stilettos:  Sassy by Wittners
#61 Black Satin and Perspex Wedges:  Prada 

47 Days to Go

No doubt who wears the short trousers in our house really is there?

My very good friend Nomes took me for coffee and brunch today.

Coffee Heart by

You’ve been blogging quite a lot recently”  she observed.

You may also have similarly observed this. I am on a mission. I have a shoe challenge to complete and a very limited time to complete it in. I also have 3 kilograms to lose and no one else to bore with my masochistic tales of running and  not consuming nice things other than you lot.

So here’s the deal. I have 47 days to wear and blog about 59 more pairs of shoes.

The Shoe Challenge rules include a direction to

wear every pair of shoes you own by the end of the challenge on February 14th, 2012.

After  14 February 2011 I have to either sell, sling  or donate the unblogged about pairs to charity.

How am I going to manage this task?” I asked my husband.

Just bung up a few pictures, write about the first thing that comes into your head and I’m sure that that will do just fine” he said.

Today’s shoes were not the best choice that I could have made for meeting Nomes for coffee. Cityrail trains were running to  a lazyarse holiday timetable (ie ten minutes late). Though I am often late, I really REALLY hate being late.  Nomes had kindly arranged to meet me at Cafe Dov in Potts Point, mere metres from Kings Cross Train Station. The tree roots are surprisingly hazardous round those parts especially when wearing platforms. So I sashayed as quickly as I could while trying not to fall over.

Suede Peeptoe Platform Ankle Bootees by Wittner Shoes

Before I got there  Nomes sent me an @reply on Twitter as follows:

I am very disappointed that she didn’t wear these.  They are bright red and smell of bubblegum. She’d have been fighting shoe fetishists off with sticks even at lunchtime.

Melissa Amazonas in Red, Shiny, Rubber

So seeing as I am hearing just writing about the first thing that pops into my head – the running is still going. Today’s soundtrack was pretty apt:

Girl it’s a long time when you’re running

Other Useful Things to Know – Shoe Save 59 of 105

Bootees:  Wittner via eBay (seller took the glass beads off)

When: 30 December 2011

Where:  Brunch with Nomes.

What with: Black & White Maxi skirt gifted by Kristen Obaid, black camisole from thrift.

Deck the Portaloos

Christmas decorates the ordinary world in a way that children appreciate. They are used to most things in life being different and strange. To them turning our local park into a carolling concert ground was nothing extraordinary.

The portaloos were of particular interest but then I am coming to realise that my children are Aussies and are going to be much more au fait with outside toilets (and no soap therein) than I ever was.

The Minx has even taken to wearing…


Although I did catch her checking out thesefor a party mummy‘ in Wittners sale.

She is very safety conscious and said that she would have to be ‘very slow to walk in those shoes‘.

The safety consciousness is a great thing but it become a bit of a pain in the bum when she insisted on blowing out everyone’s candles at the Carol Service.

I wore a sensible pair of wedges and a leather jacket. It was cold and it is always good to set an example although being of sound British stock my children laugh in the face of cold.

Shoe Save 58 of 105 – Lipstick Wedges.

Incidentally, although I still hate thongs, I can now tolerate them thanks to Marshall & the Fro

Running & the Restorative Power of a Spider Web Breadless Sandwich

A Tree Spider Web in Sydney - Edible, apparently. Not so sure about the spider

Being someone who tends towards extremes I decided to burn off the Christmas calories by going for  a Big Run this morning.

My alarm went off at 6.30 am.

At about 6.40 am my husband had managed to gently wake me by yelling “Is that your alarm ?” repeatedly. He may have had to yell of course when the whispering “wake up my beautiful darling wife – it’s jogging time” failed.

Odd though it may seem, I do own practical shoes and I managed to save two pairs of these today <blows proudly on fingernails>.

The first pair are RUNNING SHOES. Sadly although I can run in stilettos it’s not a terribly good idea to do so. K-Swiss Trainers are a better choice.

I chose my usual running soundtrack. By usual I mean the last running soundtrack that I ran to about 6 months ago. I hate running.

The iPod rebelled and autoselected this as my initial running track instead.

It worked. I listened to the rest of the album managed to keep running for an hour and I HATE running. Even Gary Glitter + TRex can’t do that for me at the moment.

The actual exercise bit is okay and fine. What I really find hard is running into and through tree spider webs. There is that horrible moment of face hugging stickiness followed by another five horrible minutes of checking for arachnids in one’s hair. The ideal thing is to sprint as possible in the vain hope that you will dislodge them torward velocity. According to scientists, you can ingest spider web silk with as much impunity as your own toe nails clippings. Good to know but I’d still rather not do so.

There’s no point telling me to avoid trees. Anywhere that involves open spaces around here seems to also feature a preponderance of trees.

On the way... spider web #1

Despite the spider web and small flying insect inhalation, the hilly bits and the views are genuinely worth the run.

Poulton Park, South Hurstville

The thing that  I cannot overcome is my loathing of running. I loathe running for many reasons. It makes me feel ungainly. What’s more, I really loathe having to tie double knots in my running shoe laces to stop them coming unravelled and trip me up.

There is no good reason why the laces can’t be covered over. I went cycling with my son later in the day with a pair of really old OverRock mountain biking shoes:

See flappy leather thing over the laces? That is a very good feature indeed and one that the manufacturers of running shoes should snaffle.

You can’t run in cycling shoes though. So until such time as OverRock do trainers, I shall be trying shoe lace shibari a la the Ladies over at Fit Sugar.

Rather than use this whole post have a whinge about functional footwear (and save ugly shoes), I really have to share the delight that my 7 year old son has experienced by progressing to Size 1 adult shoes. Seven Adult shoes sizes less than mine.

My wee boy is growing up.


Shoe Saves 56 and 57 of 105. K-Swiss Trainers & OverRock mountain bike shoes

No Boxes Were Harmed in Writing this Post

What I should have done today:

– get up at 6.30 am
– gone for a run
– come home and done an hour of nerve cleansing yoga asanas and as much pranayama as it tooks to purge my Christmas food induced apana build up
– feng shui the shit out of my front room or at least fold up the small mountain of washing that has built up over the last few days.


Gold Stiletto Heeled Strappy Sandals by Gary Castles Sydney (thrifted)

What I did do:

– headed off to a friend’s house and ate more food

– fell asleep on her sofa while she, her husband and mine worked on one of those WhoDunnit jigsaw puzzles.

The weather is still sticky, necessitating handkerchief hems and frequently slurping of cold water.

All of this is sweating and drinking good for getting rid of the Christmas Day toxins.

If I can get my children to sleep tonight before 10 pm (these naps in the car on the way home are playing havoc with their bedtimes) I’ll be running tomorrow.

What have you been doing to get rid of the Day after Christmas blurg feeling?

Shoe Save 55 of 105

When?: Boxing Day – 26 December 2011

Worn With: Silk and satin Gasp Emanuella dress via eBay & Bond-Eye Australia Yellow Bikini underneath

Golden Stilettos, Frankincense & Myrrh

Gold Snakeskin Icone Stacked Heel Stilettos.

It’s been a while since my husband cooked turkey for Christmas for over 20 years. “You don’t lose the knack” he tells me. I’ll take his word for it not least because here I am sitting at my keyboard drinking alcoholic drink without guilt at 12 noon, watching two happy peaceful children and trying not to stick to my chair. A Sydney Christmas is usually a hot and sticky one and this year is no exception. Notwithstanding the heat the smells from the kitchen are AMAZING.

This has been a very hard year in many ways. Some people who I cared for a great deal and trusted even more let me down in ways more horrible than I could have imagined. A fellow blogger who supported me through regular comments on Law and Shoes died far too quickly from liver cancer.

This has been a very good year in a lot of ways. I am finally on the road to doing something that I think I was born to do. My mum just received her third all clear mammogram since her cancer two years ago. My kids are turning into wonderful little human beings with the ability to surprise me with some of the quite raw insights that they share with me. My son on someone I worked for who hasn’t paid me said

“Mummy, does that mean that [Person’s name] is just keeping all their money for their family? That’s not very nice. [Person’s name] won’t have many friends doing that.”

Christmas is a good time for soaking up the wisdom of children and in return for helping to create the folklore of their own youth. There are little chunks of stories and memories from my past that I have acquired from my parents. Like a minstrel who (literally) can’t hold a tune, I doing my best to pass them on. My Christmas tradition of one present being opened before Christmas Mass then the remaining present openings taking place thereafter has been officially adopted.

The 7 year old seems to have created his own Christmas tradition by helping me to cho0se my outfit for 7 am Mass. He picked one of my Difficult Dresses.

Gasp by Emanuella satin wrap dress. Gold snakeskin stilettos by Icone.

The wrap part of the wrap dress takes a degree in origami to accomplish especially before coffee. It took me so long to wrap the dress in fact that the first fight of the morning erupted as the 7 year old tried to stop the Minx from unwrapping her first present.

It's never a good idea to come between a Minx and presents

Now all is well. The 7 year old is watching A Bridge Too Far on his own DVD player. The Minx is watching Shaun the Sheep on her DVD player and the telly simultaneously. Different episodes you should know.

John is still farting about lovingly with the turkey. He would like you all to know that he doesn’t use traditional stuffing becuase he dislikes the idea of putting meat inside poultry. Accordingly he uses citrus fruits, ginger nuts, seeds  and just a hint of chilli. It is all smelling quite amazing and someone is calling Monkey Bingo.

Have a wonderful Christmas Day wherever you are.  Forge your own traditions and let me know all about them below.

To see what the rest of the Shoe Challengettes have been wearing click here for week 45 

The Entirely Unroyal but Still Really Quite Spectacular Wedding

Neil and Irene Watt - The beautiful couple

In my view, all wedding guest outfits should start with the shoes.

The bride can start with the dress – it is her prerogative. The guests should err on the side of fashion caution and direct their gaze down before working their way up.  The purpose is after all to look nice for the bride in her photos and not grab too much attention for yourself.

I decided to stick with my usual favourite shoe colour combination – black and white.

Guiseppe Zanotti Black and White Woven Sling backs

You can blame Erin over that the Shoe Love blog for me buying these shoes. Without her I would not have discovered Italian shoe designer Guiseppe Zanotti.  

Zanotti shoes go for crazy prices on eBay and are virtually impossible to find in Australia   I bought these on a moment of wild eBay US search returned happiness (free postage within the US to my HopShopGo address made owning them within my grasp). As soon as they arrived I wondered immediately where I would wear them.

Not long after I received a text from my friend Neil Watt, of Outlawyers, an ethics white knight and lover of vintage hats and clothing.

He was getting married to his gorgeous Russian girlfriend Irene.

From there on I had to find the rest of the outfit. I decided that I needed a hat:

And an Appropriate Dress:

Vintage Bill Blass Coat Dress via eBay, Friend via @MikeDJeremy on Twitter

I did think about opera length gloves but was pretty sure that these would attract Odd Looks.

Funnily enough  when I arrived I noticed that both the bride and the groom also started their wedding regalia from the feet up. Irene wore the most delicious pair of  cherry red patent leather sling backs.  Check out the fab heel protectors.

I have to get me some of these heel protectors thingies for my stilettos because I am fed up to the back teeth replacing two rubber tips because one has become detached in grass. I really think that there should be a discount given by the cobbler when you only lose one heel.

Luckily we had seats with a wonderful view so we didn’t have to walk very far and no heels were damaged in the course of this wedding.

The View

You could, of course, forget about wearing high heels and plump for a pair of sensible and elegant Florsheim pinstripe flats (like the groom)

As long as you ensure that you balance the shine of the shoes with a spectacular vintage hat… (the piece de resistance)

As I headed towards the canapes and bubbly I was aware that I had attracted the attention of a slender, handsome man. It turned out to be the suave and charming David Munn of Antons who dressed both the bride and the groom and who gave me some insights into wedding dressing. He complimented me on my vintage fully fashioned seamed stockings. I complimented him on knowing that they were fully fashioned vintage stockings. It was mutual outfit love folks.

The elegant and charming David Munn

David is not much impressed by the amount of flesh that was being displayed in general at weddings and at the races in Sydney. His view is that one should err on the side of formality in wedding guest outfits particularly rather than dress for a junket on a cruise ship. I tend to agree because the day is all about the bride. It is a stressful day for her making sure not only that she is dressed to kill but that all the guests relax and have a ball.

Which we did.

Shoe Save #53 of 105


Spreading the belly love

The human belly is an amazing thing.  It houses more organs and is associated with more vital functions than you could shake a stick at. Bellies should be revered but more often than not we fail to see the beauty in them.

This post reminded me of a project that one of my husband’s students completed for her degree show – plaster casts of female bellies. It’s a fascinating and beautiful sight to see what real female flesh looks like and a bit confronting because we are used to worshipping at the altar of the female gym belly with its half a dozen demi-gods, the rectus abdominus aka the Evil Six Pack.

I call it the Evil Six Pack because its sole aim seems to be to make men and women feel bad about themselves.

In an ideal world we would be allowed to find our own contentment or samtosha and the ability to admire and respect our bellies (and bodies) for what they do for us, not how they appear to others or are judged by others.

Marg Thomson Self Portrait "The Naked Truth"

For that reason I love seeing images of what real women look like naked or semi-naked. People who are brave enough to show themselves as they are allow us to escape the tyranny of those who seek to profit from our self hatred by selling to us and encouraging us to ‘lose the Weight’ as if the ‘Weight’ was an unwelcome visitor and not part of our own bodies.

Have you got any favourite images of bellies – your own belly or the belly of someone you love – that you would like to share? Please feel free to post a link in the comments below. Lets pass the belly love on!

Here’s mine for a start off:


 About my belly:  My navel has never quite returned to its original position after I had the Noisy Boy.  Now and again if I am ill or stressed a little bit of intestine will escape through my belly button and I’ll have to lie flat and push it back in with my thumb.  Practising Yoga and working on pilates exercises that strengthen my deep abdominal muscles has helped me stop this happening as much. This is good because it’s kind of a disgusting thing to do and the only way to repair an umbilical hernia, or so I’m told, is through surgery.

Take a long spin to the coast in an Indian Truck?

Dolly Turquoise and Leopard Print Stiletto Strappy Sandals by J Vincent

Exams are never much fun are they?

Here I am at the ripe old age of mumphly burffle meep having sat and passed at least 400 plus exams and I am still a big fearty about the whole thing.

About the time that I was finishing off the Colour In Dare   I also decided to start studying to sit my teacher training exams in yoga, pilates reformer and pilates mat.

Studying for these exams involves swotting up on a number of things including learning a lot of odds and ends of anatomy.

My mum, who is a shiatsu practitioner, bought some useful anatomy text books with big writing and lots pictures for me including this one:

The Muscle Book - by Paul Blakey is easy to read on the train.

The Muscle Book is great because it almost makes the words sternocleidomastoid, tensor fascia lata and flexor hallucis longus trip off my tongue.

As an ex-lawyer I have always been strangely comforted by long legal words and complex documents. Give me a 25 page document in 10 point font, a mug of tea and some good music and I can decipher and explain the contents to you in under an hour. It’s a sort of linguistic sleight of hand the ability to find sense in amongst the heretofore and notwithstanding the foregoings.  Surprising that anatomy terminology with its crazy words that attach to deep muscles that attach to different parts of the spine are driving me completely bonkers at the moment.

There are three different parts of the spine and each of those parts has three separate parts. Like some species of linguistic vertebrae-c Russian dolls.

The Russian doll looks a bit like this:

My friend Stacey gave me an easy way to remember the sequence of the erector spinae muscles:

“Just think of taking a longissimus spinalis to the (ilio)coAst(alis)” she says.

Then she started going on about spinning caps and lumber jacks to remember all the other bits. I nodded and tried to panic as inobstrusively as possible. I hate memorising things – if I can’t absorb knowledge and then apply it I feel like I am cheating or something.

I’ve always had problems remembering muscles even though I can find them with my fingers. From my mum I have also received another gift that helps me to do this – a kind of kinesthetic sixth sense. When I touch someone I can pretty much always find the areas of pain or tension in their bodies. Sometimes I touch people and realise right away that I need to back away and point them towards a doctor. Sometimes I can hold a tense point on their bodies and feel energy pulse and push past it. I can’t see a lot of things with my woefully myopic eyes and very often I choose not to see things that are as obvious as neon lights on an ice cream cone to other people. My sense of touch and my sense of smell never fail me.

In the last few weeks my hearing has gone and this last week a terrible head cold has robbed me of my sense of smell. Holistic healers will tell you that a cold will often manifest as a result of mental congestion, too much going on and not knowing which way to turn.

It’s as if my mind doesn’t want to hear any more lies and broken promises.

If I can just get through this next month of exams I’ll reach some kind of breakthrough and manage to join up the kinesthetic and the linguistic chambers of my brain.

Maybe in doing so I can find the knowledge to learn how to heal some longstanding emotional wounds of my own.  The ones that lead to me making terrible decisions.

Meantime, of course, there will be colourful dresses and shoes because my eyes still want to be happy.

Colours:   A lot

Shoe Save: Number 52 of 105

Silk Dress worn Skirt by Diane Von Furstenberg & Silk Wrap via eBay plus leopard print sandals. My husband calls it my Indian Truck look