As my little man goes to nursery on Mondays and Tuesdays I now have time to do nice things for myself. On a Monday I present my radio show on Croydon Radio and on a Tuesday I usually catch up with some boring housework and watch a DVD if I have time or like today I get something to eat outside the house. I decided to have some dim sum for a treat today and was really surprised at how many families were eating out too. Then Hubbie reminded me that as it's the last day of school hols for most children this is their last hoorah with the grown ups.
When I was at school we didn't have a ritual other than to get our bags and clothes ready the day before we went back for the new autumn term. What we did have was the annual shoe shop on the Saturday before we went back. Every year my Mum would pack us all off in the car and take us to Hounslow to buy everyone new shoes. We always began at the C&A end of the High Street. For the youngsters out there it was like a department store that sold skiing gear at affordable prices and was a favourite amongst Asian families. I was delighted to find a few years ago that C&A still existed in Europe - we bought a pretty ropey suit for Hubbie in a branch in Paris and a vibrant pink coat for me that all but two of the buttons fell off after two wears.
The reason for beginning at C&A was so that my Dad could take hours to buy the same blue shirt and sand coloured trousers he bought every year. It took so long because he was so outraged that his size had gone up since last year and he'd try all permutations of outfit before reverting to his usual style and colours. He was also the wild card in the shoe buying stakes as my Dad has always worn slip on shoes, but he'd insist on trying every pair in every shop before choosing the same ones as last time. I have a theory that he can't actually tie shoelaces which is why he wears slip-ons. He never helped me tie my laces and seemed a bit befuddled when I did them myself. I will test this again when my son has shoes with laces and get back to you.
Of course the trawl of the High St ineveitably ended at Curtess shoe shop which provided most of my teenage footwear. It was affordable, pretty fashionable, but not trendy. Also, Paula Rushbrook from school worked in the Greenford branch on Saturdays so she'd slip friends a sneaky discount. I bought my first pixie boots in Curtess and probably many other ill-advised fashion choices. A woman with a love of shoes is so cliched as to be beyond parody. I mention this only because my own love of shoes has slowed in recent years due to swollen feet in pregnancy and now the need to be able to put on shoes quickly to get out of the house to do whatever activity is planned for the day.
I pretty much only wear sandals or boots now anyway as the trawl of the High Street was usually a pointless and ultimately unsatisfying search for the Holy Grail of shoes. A non-ugly, practical and yet nice to look at pair of shoes. I've found they just don't exist so I now own beautiful impractical shoes kept in clear boxes to look at. Lots of flat sandals that tone my legs (apparently) and many, many pairs of boots that keep my feet super warm.
However, it's the pair that I don't yet own that interest me most right now. A few years ago me and Hubbie made a bet which he lost - the details of the bet are not that important - suffice it to say that he owes me a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and it's now time to collect. I've never spent more than £50 on a pair of shoes (boots don't count) so this is a pretty major purchase for me. If I'm not careful it could end up being the most expensive pair of flip flops ever or a disastrous foray into the world of slingbacks (after a bad experience at Nine West in Las Vegas we don't mention them any more in this house).
I'll keep you posted as the search progresses...