“My wellies and I seldom part company, to the deep embarrassment of my daughter.” The moment I read these words in a delightful new blog called Charwood Farm (the tale of a family who’ve swapped life in London for a leaky caravan and a three-acre field in Devon), they struck a chord with me. Why? Because for the last six months I’ve worn the sparkly black Rocket Dog plimsolls I bought for £5 at TK Maxx virtually everyday.
After years of tottering about in high heels and wedges I’ve suddenly discovered the bliss of wearing flat shoes. I’d even go so far as to say they’ve transformed my life. I can whizz down the steps to the tube at Marylebone Station, instead of gingerly feeling my way at a snail’s pace, and I can keep up with my long-legged son when we walk into Oxford (well, I have to do an ungainly sort of half-run, half-walk, but it’s fine).
The only trouble is that after a lifetime of heels I worry that I’m choosing speed over style. My ultra-glam mother would have been horrified. She always wore sky-high heels to the office, although admittedly she drove her car in bare feet and never wore shoes when she walked round the garden in Dorset. “The soles of my feet are like cast iron,” she used to tell my children as they wandered round the wood picking up fir cones together. “Wow,” they said, taking her words completely literally.
Actually, I think my daughter has inherited the high heel gene. Even though she spends most of her time in biker boots and pumps, she’s got an impressive collection of teetering heels. When she got her first Saturday job in a shop she coolly blew the whole of her first month’s pay cheque on a pair of blue velvet Vivienne Westwood shoes with tiny gold crowns on the sides. She wore them devotedly till they fell to bits and even now reckons it was the best money she’s ever spent.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Friday, 7 October 2011
I’ve got lots of happy memories of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington – from interviewing the Oscar-winning screenwriter Colin Welland on the front steps (see below) to visiting a Kaffe Fassett exhibition with my great aunt and watching her inspect the back of every tapestry to check how neat the stitching was.
I wasn’t planning to include children’s books in my regular Friday Book Review feature but first I discovered it’s Children’s Book Week (till October 9) and then the delightful Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day thumped on to the door mat.
The first children’s book to be published by the V&A, it’s a delight from start to finish. Charmingly illustrated by Emily Sutton and written by London College of Fashion professor Amy de la Haye, it’s the story of a little girl called Clara Button. Clara loves drawing, making things and dressing up while her big brother Ollie is more interested in skateboarding and other action boy pursuits. When a precious hat that once belonged to their granny gets torn their mother takes them to the V&A to find out how to mend it.
The pictures of some of the delights on view at the V&A – including the famous sky-high Vivienne Westwood shoes that Naomi Campbell toppled off on the catwalk – made me want to hop on the bus and revisit the museum straight away.
Best of all, the book subtly makes it clear that there’s something for everyone at the V&A. While Clara is entranced by the hats and thinks the museum looks like a palace, the more sceptical Ollie is mesmerised by hunting swords used in battle and Tipu’s Tiger, a mechanical toy made in India in 1793 which shows a tiger attacking a life-size wooden soldier.
Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day by Amy de la Haye and Emily Sutton (V&A Publishing, £10.99)