The New Shoe Heaven at Harrods

I might not have a huge, gorgeous collection of shoes, but I do admire and love them.  So many shoes are like little works of art, how can you not love them?  If you love shoes too, you’ll be really impressed and amazed with the new Shoe Heaven at Harrods that opened yesterday.

Harrods Shoe Heaven has taken over the fifth floor of their Knightsbridge store and covers an impressive 42,000 square foot.  Imagine that, 42,000 square foot of shoe shopping nirvana.  Harrods has created a new way of shopping with velvet banquet lounge seating, private shopping suites, and best of all beautifully crafted displays.  Within the overall space they have seventeen individual boutiques with collections from all of the leading designers and brands.  Here’s just a small sampling of the more than fifty designers represented in Shoe Heaven:

A little piece of Shoe Heaven at Harrods
A little piece of Shoe Heaven at Harrods
  • Aquazurra
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Chanel
  • Charlotte Olympia
  • Christian Louboutin
  • Giuseppe Zanotti
  • Jimmy Choo
  • Lanvin
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Tod’s
  • UGG Australia

If there’s a shoe or style that you are looking for, there’s no way you won’t be able to find it here!  I can’t wait to do a little shoe shopping now.  You can find out more about the wonderful new shoe boutique at Harrods, including a full list of the designers, on the Harrods website.

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Scholl Party Feet Gel Cushions

Scholl Party Feet Gel Cushions
Scholl Party Feet Gel Cushions

I don’t wear heels very often, so when I do, it pretty much kills my feet.  And depending on what kind of heels, and how high they are, that pain can come almost immediately, it seems.  There’s also the added issue of your feet sliding around sometimes in your heels because the insole is too slick, or your feet get sweaty (we all sweat, it happens) when you have all of the pressure on the ball of your foot.  So, when I saw an ad for the Scholl Party Feet gel cushions, I thought I would give them a try and see how they worked for me.  I have to say, I was pretty pleased with the results.

The Scholl Party Feet Gel Cushions are clear silicone (I think though they just say “gel”) pad that gives the ball of your foot a little bit of cushion so that you can wear heels without pain.  The gel cushion has a bit of sticky on one side that you put towards the insole to keep the pad in place, while the side that goes towards your foot has little thin bumps to help keep your foot from slipping.  The pads are pretty thin, so it isn’t ever going to be as cushiony as wearing a pair of trainers.  However, it is just enough cushion to keep your foot more comfortable.  Where I think the real benefit comes from, at least for me, is that it keeps your foot from sliding forward putting additional pressure on your toes and the areas of your foot that definitely weren’t meant for cushioning.  They are super grippy if you are using them when you are not wearing tights or hose, but they also work remarkably well with them, which is great because you don’t have to worry about your foot sliding around all night just because you wanted to have something covering your legs.

A bit of comfort for your foot without being obvious
A bit of comfort for your foot without being obvious

The little bit of added volume in your shoe, could make your shoe uncomfortably tight across the top, so it really does depend on the type of shoe.  Also, I think if you have a very high arch you might get the same problem.  I have a pretty high arch and I have found that these work really well in strappy sandal type of heels but can be a bit too tight with heels that are more closed across the top.  So, it is a bit of a trial period for any shoe/foot combination, I think.  The latest ones are 17% slimmer than the previous version though, so they have improved the slimness so that you have that little bit more space for your feet.  This also might mean that if you have tried these in the past, you might want to give them another shot.

The gel cushions are meant to be reusable, meaning that you can take them out of one pair of shoes and pop them in another.  However, I would caution about is that the sticky substance that keeps the cushion in place, is something you shouldn’t leave for a long time in your shoe if you plan on removing it.  You need to remove it within a day or you might end up damaging the insole of your shoe when you remove it.  I’ve never had this problem because I remove them right after I take my shoes off, but I’ve read a couple of reviews that mention this as a problem.  Alternatively, you can just keep the cushions in your shoes permanently.  No matter if you keep them in a single pair of shoes, or move them about, you’ll probably be happy to hear that they are totally washable, as well.  Also, since the cushions are clear, when you have them in strappy type heels they are pretty invisible and really blend in well with the insole of your shoes.

You can buy these at a lot of different retailers, like Boots or Superdrug, or Amazon.  I got mine from Amazon for £4.19, which is the same price as Superdrug.  Both of which are a bit cheaper than the £4.99 they cost at Boots.  I think the price seems quite good because these are going to last quite a while, I would imagine.  Plus, at that price you could definitely afford to buy a couple of pairs and consider just leaving them in a pair of heels permanently.  If your problem isn’t really cushioning for the ball of your foot, you might want to check out some of the other products that they have in the Scholl Party Feet lineup.  They pretty much have cushioning for all of the problem areas of your feet.

Style Notebook: Summer Sale Bargains

As you probably know, all of the stores have been having terrific Summer sales, which are sadly starting to wind down.  Though sometimes you can get even better deals right at the end of the sale because there have been additional reductions.  I took full advantage of the sales recently to pick up some great new pieces to add to my wardrobe.  Well, one of the items wasn’t actually on sale, but was still a good deal.  All in all, I came out way ahead and now have some great new clothes.  You can’t beat that!

My Super Savings during Summer Sales
My Super Savings during Summer Sales

I can’t believe all of the good deals there were this Summer.  I tried to keep myself in check and I think I did a pretty good job even with just one impulse buy of the not on sale scarf from John Lewis.  But, for £20.00, I don’t feel that guilty.  All total, I ended up saving £135.00 on my recent sale purchases, or just over 33% on the originally priced total.  And spending £289.00 is certainly better than spending £424.00.  I mean, with that kind of savings, I could maybe hit up the final reductions at a few more sales even.

As you can see pretty easily, my biggest spend and biggest savings, came from Jaeger.  They have great final reduction prices on now and still have a decent amount of items in a variety of sizes too.  I am actually thinking that I might have to take just another peek through their sale to see if there’s anything else I should pick up; I’m sure there’s at least one or two things.  The Patch Pocket Silk Blouse is something that I’ve had my eye on for a while but really cringed at paying the full £120.00 for it, so when I saw it in the sale for £40.00 off, I knew I had to get it.  The shirt is beautifully tailored as you would expect from Jaeger.  The silk is a bit heavy for the hot part of Summer but will be perfect when it starts transitioning to Fall; it’s pretty wearable all year long, just not on a hot Summer day.  I got mine in Blue, but they also have Navy, Bright Coral, Camel, and Ivory.  They’ve reduced the Navy to just £60.00, the other colours are all still £80.00, except for Ivory which is still full price, of course.  I also got a beautifully designed pair of white Linen Shorts, reduced from £80.00 to £60.00.  These are very long shorts coming to the bottom of my knee.  They are made from a very nice linen, not that super thin stuff, and are also fully lined so that you’re not showing your pants; that is not an elegant look.  I really like them and find they are perfect for wearing in the evening to dinner, but equally as nice during the day for errands and shopping.  I like them so much I’m actually thinking of getting a black pair too, while the sale is still on.

This was my first order from Baukjen and I have to say, so far, I’m liking it.  I got the top and cardigan both in the same colour, but not necessarily to wear together.  The fabric is an incredibly soft viscose jersey that feels great on and is the perfect lightweight layer for Summer.  The Cowl Top drapes beautifully because of the lightness of the fabric and is rather flattering.  The Drape Cardigan feels similarly nice on and looks perfect with a cute little tank under it for something that is ideal for a cooling Summer evening.  I also like that these are great for travel because they fold up quite small and don’t seem to get terribly wrinkly looking.  Either of these pieces look great with my new white linen shorts from Jaeger too.  The sale is still on at Baukjen but they do seem to be quite limited on sizes now.

The ballet flats from Merrell were something that I was actually replacing.  I bought a pair of these last year when we were in Australia for a wildly inflated price, that really irritates me now in retrospect.  In any case, they seemed really comfortable at first and then I realized when we were on holiday in Japan that the left shoe was mis-cut so that the upper was off center and that caused it to dig into the top of my foot in a most uncomfortable way.  So, then I was stuck with this stupid pair of shoes that I couldn’t take back and I had already worn.  So, I was annoyed but willing to give them another chance when I saw the shoes on sale this Summer.  The price of £49.00 that I paid during the sale was way less than I paid in Australia and seemed reasonable, as long as I didn’t get another pair that were messed up too.  I was quite relieved when they arrived and were perfect, and perfectly comfortable.  The Vibram barefoot sole is so comfortable, even if you’ve been out walking all day.  They are just as comfortable as having a pair of trainers on, but certainly look much nicer.  The upper of the shoe is a very, very soft leather that feels comfortable from the very first time you put on the shoes.  The insole is made from M-Select FRESH which keeps your shoes from getting a bit whiffy when you’re wearing them without socks in warm weather.  All in all a great shoe as long as it is put together properly.  Sadly, the sale at Merrell has ended, so these are back to their full price of £70.00.  I’d like to get a pair of the black ones too but I’ll have to wait until the next sale perhaps.

The John Lewis Birdie Branch Scarf was a total impulse buy.  I popped in for a super small umbrella and casually looked through the scarves that are right next to it and totally fell for the cute bird print in crisp navy and white.  It wasn’t on sale but was just £20.00 so it seemed like a reasonable price.  I’ve worn it a couple of times this Summer and it just adds that bit of something to outfits.  I did get an ivory cashmere scarf for just £10.00 that was way on sale from like £30.00 or 40.00, so I felt good about that and will be really pleased with that purchase this Winter.  Also, I really recommend the small umbrella too for £18.00.  It is small enough that when you are walking along on the sidewalk you aren’t in danger of putting anyone’s eye out but it is just wide enough for one person.  The small size of it though means that it can fit in even a tiny handbag, so you don’t have to be without an umbrella, which is kind of important here in the rainy UK.

I hope you made out as well in all of the great Summer sales!  And if you haven’t taken advantage of them yet, you’d better hurry because pretty much every store is on their final reductions.

Style Notebook: Jaeger Summer Sale Now On

If you’ve been spending all of your time outside enjoying the great summer weather, you might want to come in for long enough to browse through the Jaeger summer sale.  They have lots of their beautiful clothing and accessories on sale currently with reductions of up to 50%.  As part of my effort to upgrade and improve my wardrobe, I have decided to take advantage of the sale to get myself a few items.  My summer wardrobe could be much nicer, so this is the perfect time to pick up a few key pieces.  They also have a few pieces that are certainly fall or even winter appropriate too, like a beautiful cashmere waterfall cardigan.  But the items in the image below are really the ones that I have my eye on.  I think they’d all be great to pep up my summer clothing choices, and make me seem a bit more pulled together, even when the weather is hot (well, hot for London).

Jaeger's Summer Sale is Now On - Save up to 50%
Jaeger’s Summer Sale is Now On – Save up to 50%

I love the clothing and accessories at Jaeger and have quite a bit of their stuff in my wardrobe.  So, naturally, whenever they have a sale or a special deal on for loyalty card holders, I try to take advantage of it.  And their summer sale is the perfect time for me to get a couple of items to add to my summer wardrobe.  And at a great savings too!

If you’re on the lookout for some great deals, you should check out the Jaeger sale.  I’m not sure when it will end, but I’m guessing it will end by the end of July definitely.  I can never remember how long their big sales like this last.  However, if you’re interested I wouldn’t wait too much longer to check it out or make your purchases before colours and sizes start selling out.  They have 430 clothing items and more than 100 accessories in their sale, so surely there is something that is perfect for you.

Trip to Helsinki: What to Wear?

Helsinki is gorgeous on a sunny day!   Too bad we'll only have rain.
Helsinki is gorgeous on a sunny day! Too bad we’ll only have rain.

Dave and I both really like Helsinki, so we decided to have a nice little four day city break there this weekend.  Yes, we did stay home for the three day bank holiday weekend, which seems to make no sense, but Dave couldn’t get away from work until late this week.  In any case, it is a shame we weren’t there for the bank holiday because they were having gorgeous clear, sunny skies with weirdly (for them) high temperatures in the 25 C /77 F range.  But sadly, our travel luck just isn’t that good, so it will probably be raining for much of the weekend that we will be there and the temperatures look to not even be out of the teens – 13 – 18 C /55 – 65 F – for highs and more like 8 C/46 F for lows.  So, now I’m stuck with the dilemma of what to wear for the soggy, cold weekend.  Though of course, I am always hopeful that the weather forecast will change by then.

I am a big, huge fan of packing light and with items that can be worn in different ways so that I don’t end up dragging a bunch of luggage with me, this is especially true for a short trip.  Luckily, we travel enough that I have this down at this point.  And, I’ve got a great carry on sized suitcase that allows me to pack a lot of stuff in not too much space.  But for a short trip like this, we might only take one bag and split the space (I know, shocking).  I must admit, I am much better about having outfits all ready to go for winter trips, somehow summer trips are always more difficult for me to style.  With the temperatures being so completely not warm this weekend in Helsinki, I will most definitely go with the casual jeans look and my Converse All Stars since sandals are definitely out.  For short trips like this I also pick a colour scheme to work around to make sure that all of my items are interchangeable for the best set of options: red, white, blue/denim, and black for this trip, I think.

Lyssé Knitted Ankle Leggings in Denim
Lyssé Knitted Ankle Leggings in Denim

On the plane, I always try to wear something comfortable like leggings or a knit dress.  It might not be super fashionable, but it is comfortable when I’m going to be sitting around for a few hours; 3 hours of flight time from London to Helsinki.  I haven’t found a great summer type knit dress for flying but I do have a pair of denim-look leggings, or jeggings, that I like for summer trips, plus they work well with my chosen colour scheme this time.  And let’s face it, skinny jeans aren’t super comfortable on a flight, so this is a good comfortable compromise.  I have a number of white shirts that I like to pair with my leggings, but my favourite is probably a very lightweight cotton tunic with buttons down the front and a bit of detail around the neckline, under which I wear a tank (necessary since you can totally see through the tunic).  I am always getting cold on flights, so I have some waterfall cardigans that I like to wear with my leggings to keep me comfortable and warm.  The two that I have, one in red and one in purple, are made from a t-shirt type material which makes them great for travel because they don’t get really wrinkled looking and are easy to pack or carry around if I get warm.  I’ve also found that if I want a slightly different look from them, I can wear them with a belt and they look more like a blouse with a drape neckline.  On the way back, I will switch out the white tunic with a casual white silk shirt that I have that works perfectly with the rest of the pieces.  So that takes care of the two days when I’ll be actually flying.

Pepperberry: The Classic Shirt, perfect for travel
Pepperberry: The Classic Shirt, perfect for travel

On the other days I will probably wear jeans, either bootcut or skinnies depending on my mood when packing or maybe both if I have room.  I might take the slim leg jeans because I’ve been wearing them a lot lately and they are actually pretty comfortable and look cute with with All Stars or my ballet flats.  I will definitely be taking my Pepperberry Classic Shirt in white because it always looks so tailored, yet is really comfortable.  Plus, it goes well with or without the waterfall cardigan, as dictated by the weather.  Also, a plain white shirt can so easily be jazzed up with good accessories, like a fun scarf, a big necklace, or even a really cool belt.  I will probably also take a black cashmere v-neck sweater that I almost always take along with me when we travel.  It goes with everything and cashmere packs well and can be very warm too; it’s the perfect travel companion.  For my other daytime look I think I’ll take a heather grey top that I have that is great for transitional weather.  It is long, hitting me around the mid- to top of my thighs depending on how I play with the ruching, plus it has a draped neckline that is both comfortable and flattering.  I like it because it is made of a soft, cotton that is like a sort of thick t-shirt material, so it is super easy to pack, but has some style about it while still being very comfortable.

Red trench or black jacket with hood?
Red trench or black jacket with hood?

We haven’t decided if we’ll be doing anything special for dinner any of the nights we are gone, so I’m kind of skipping that part of my packing.  However, if we make that decision to have a nice dinner out or something, I’ve got a wrap-style dress from Pepperberry (like that link, except with longer sleeves so it is less daytime) that I would probably take because I know it packs quite well and looks very flattering.  Of course, if we do that then I have to bring other shoes and Dave will have to pack more stuff too and that wasn’t really the type of trip we were planning.  So, we will probably just stick with the very casual style trip.  Dave is definitely in need of a trip where he can just totally take some time off and relax, so for us that means easy packing and no pressure to find someplace spectacular to have dinner.  Those types of things are for other trips, not a quick and fun city break like this one.

Obviously, I’m going to need a coat or jacket that can take the rain for this trip as well.  I’m trying to decide between taking my red trench coat or my black lightweight rain jacket.  I love my red one because it is good in cold, rainy weather, however, it doesn’t have a hood if you’re caught without an umbrella.  The black one is cute and has a bit of a trench coat style but only comes to my hips and it is rather thin making it less great when it is cold, but it does have the helpful hood.  The other good thing about the black jacket is that it can pack up to almost nothing, which is probably why I will take it.  Since it is black, which can be very bland and boring, I often pick a fun scarf to wear with it to give it a bit of colour, I have a paisley black, white, and red silk scarf that I will probably take since I know it will go with everything else that I am bringing.

Phew, so now I’m all done figuring out what to wear and am ready to go on my trip and relax.  Well, except for the actual packing.