All posts in the Travel category

Cranking up the pace (aka getting ready for a holiday)

Published September 1, 2013 by iftheshoefits

Lots of folks are coming back from their summer break rip roaring and ready to go.  I’ve certainly noticed a renewed energy from those returning to work anyways.

But spare a thought for those of us who haven’t taken more than a few days off this summer – those of us who have battled on through the heat waves, the monsoon rain and the thunderstorms that have defined this epic summer.

But don’t feel too bad for me since we’re heading off for a 10 day break in less than 2 weeks time (hooray). However, it does mean more stress at work trying to get everything done before I go (and that’s quite the list).

I’ve compiled my holiday packing list too, but in doing so have realised that I need a new pair of trainers as I’m only taking 3 pairs of shoes with me – wearing one pair and packing two more.  I’m taking the lovely yellow wedge sandals, some khaki Birkenstocks that go with everything but I also need something a bit more practical – a pair that are both supportive and good looking for some more strenuous activity.  I was going to take my walking boots, but they’re just too ugly and only look good with some suitably outdoorsy clothes.  So this weekend has been spent trawling the internet for something practical and stylish – and that’s easier said than done.

I’m also getting in those last batch of workouts and have averaged 3-4 a week at the moment which is pretty good for me.  I may not be quite bikini fit yet, but I’m not that far off from where I want to be.  So I’ll continue hitting the gym with gusto knowing that it’s doing me some kind of good – all the while getting rid of the muffin tops.

So off I go to have one last look and fill that online shopping cart, I need to do it soon so that I can break them in before we go.  Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 🙂

Green Tea – who’d have thought it?

Published August 17, 2013 by iftheshoefits


green tea

I’m a coffee loving kind of girl.  In my prime I would be ordering an early morning, pre-travel gigantic 5 shot latte. How I loved them, they nurtured me from the passive state of near-sleep to the pre-dawn meeting prep that a long train journey brings.

I still love coffee, but tea has sneaked in over the years.  Current favourites are Lipton’s Moroccan Spiced, any Earl Grey and any type of fruit tea.  I avoid peppermint and camomile, they’re just too horrible to contemplate as I can’t get passed the smell to sip them.

Green tea used to live in the latter category, but slowly and surely I’ve begun to integrate it into my daily beverage intake.  If I’m feeling particularly pious, I even drink it before that all important first cup of coffee.  But that’s pretty unusual if I’m honest.

Put it down to trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, cutting back on caffeine and upping the water levels.  It still isn’t great – I never think, “mmmmm, that cup of green tea really hit the spot”, but I do want to believe it’s doing me good.  I just wish it tasted a little bit better.

I don’t mean to be controversial – but what’s with cricket? Seriously.

Published August 12, 2013 by iftheshoefits

Don’t get me wrong, I love sport. I loved it long before the London Olympics. I’ve loved it since I was a clumsy little girl.

But, I just don’t understand cricket. I can admire it, and respect cricketers as true athletes, but even after a decade living down here in Cricket heaven, I still don’t really understand the rules, or why they bother at all.

I get the concepts – overs, unders, wickets, runs – it’s the scoring I can’t wrap my brain around. I just don’t care enough to learn the rules – life is too short to understand what a score of something like 436 for 3 actually means. What’s that about? Each season I feign interest with colleagues who perk up from their desks every so often asking what the latest score is. I gain kudos by repeating parrot style what’s just been reported – but if someone asked me to break it down any further I’d be stumped. See what I did there?

My idea of hell is travelling with a cricket fanatic colleague on a long car journey – I’ve been known to fake a kidney infection just to make us stop at more services so I can get a break from it.

I may be a philistine but life is too short for cricket.

Strange occurrences on the way to work

Published August 4, 2013 by iftheshoefits

I’m one of those people who get asked for directions no matter where I am, apparently because I have an open face whatever that is. Unfortunately, I have very little sense of direction and I don’t drive so I’m altogether useless at giving directions.  And, I’m usually a visitor myself, so can be observed merrily following my little blue map dot ensuring I’m still heading in the right direction.

But strange things happen to me on my travels, not upsetting or dangerous, just a little odd.

Walking to the Office

  1. Wandering along placidly in the autumn sporting a faux fur gilet, I was waiting patiently for the green man at a crossing when I noticed that a Range Rover was coming to a stop. The passenger’s window was down and a beautiful, if somewhat large rottweiler was sitting there.  He took one look at my faux fur gilet and leapt out of the window.  He had me pressed up against the wall and was playfully tugging at my top – the owner was aghast, applied the handbreak and nearly gave himself a hernia trying to manhandle his enthusiastically friendly dog back into his car.  I just laughed it off and carried on my way.
  2. Half a mile on from my dog incident, this time striding purposely towards the office, I was stopped by a rather tall and slightly dishevelled man.  He grabbed my arms and shouted “Mine” at the top of his voice – I simply moved away, told him firmly, “No, not yours”, and walked on.  Builders on the other side of the road shouted after me, “Don’t mind him love, he’s harmless”.  Slightly disconcerting, but completely random.

Trains / Tube

  1. Me and public toilets don’t get along.  Me and train toilets are usually a disaster.  I had been travelling to different locations and meetings all day and I really needed the loo, so bravely I set off down the carriage.  Luckily, it was a modern train and had one of those tardis-style toilets.  All was well until I tried to get out; the door started to open, but ground to a halt with only about 2 inches of its exit available.  I tried all of the buttons, I tried to force it open with my hands, all to no effect.  Someone else came through the carriage – I was trying to explain through the door what had happened – he tried all of the same buttons from the outside, again to no effect.  We combined efforts and tried to force the door with our hands.  Nothing.  My freedom-fighter went off to find the train manager and explain the situation.  Someone with a tool kit was taken on at the next major station, after 40 minutes I was finally freed and made my sheepish way back to my seat, I got a cheer and a round of applause from my carriage commuters. My dislike for train toilets has only been strengthened since that experience.
  2. There are many obvious stories to tell about travelling on the tube in rush hour, sweaty armpits, no air conditioning and bad breath are the usual culprits.  My experience was different.  I shared a very small space near one of the exits on a District Line carriage with a large and skittish stick insect.  How it made it’s way onto the carriage is anyone’s guess, but I had no desire for it to become attached to me.  I was holding onto the ceiling hooks with one hand, and my laptop with the other and this creature kept trying to make it’s way closer and closer to me.  I couldn’t move, and I have a fear of insects flying into my hair and not being able to find their way out, and this praying mantis look-a-like was making its way perilously close to me. Taller souls were equally uncomfortable being so close to it, so people were awkwardly positioned with their heads as far away from it as possible.  That was the longest 15 stops of my life.

Now the more philosophical amongst us state that the journey is the destination, but sometimes all you want to do is to get to work in as straightforward a way as possible.

Marmite – my kind of condiment

Published July 21, 2013 by iftheshoefits

If ever there was a condiment that divides households, it’s marmite.

Now, I love the stuff, especially on toast.  In fact, one of the only things I miss about regular travelling is that I now can’t justify going into Starbucks at omg o’clock and ordering a skinny latte with a cheese & marmite breakfast panini.  It’s a great way to start the day.

Now, as everyone knows, marmite is a love it or hate it taste sensation, it’s not one of those flavours that you can take or leave – nobody is ever sanguine about the absorption of marmite.

Now, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits positively detests marmite – its very existence is abhorrent to him. One of the biggest declarations of love from himself was a recent event, he had watched me eat some marmite on toast, walked over and swept me up in a passionate embrace, tongues and all.  He didn’t dry heave, he didn’t pull away, he didn’t immediately rinse his mouth out, we were simply of the moment.  Now, that’s what I call romance.

Nobody really likes spiders

Published July 19, 2013 by iftheshoefits

I have a small aversion to spiders, in our household we call them mini monsters.  Not a phobia, I don’t run screaming from the room, but I would really prefer that they were invisible.  I know that they are wonderful little creatures, and keep all sorts of other beasties at bay, but I would prefer to live my life without co-habiting with any of them.

Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits comes home tomorrow – he won’t be worrying tonight about the mess, or the domestic appliances that may have blown up whilst he’s been away (there have been a few) – he’ll be more concerned about coming home to some kind of arachnidarium

He’s never recovered from his homecoming from an extended trip 10-15 years ago.  It was a hot summer, just like this one, and we had wooden floors throughout our lower floor.  Large spiders liked our house, and that summer we were spider catnip.

Now, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits is our chief spider catcher – and I love him dearly for that amongst other talents.  However, he had been gone for 3 weeks – and we were averaging about 5 spiders a week.  I’m not talking the cute little money spiders, I’m talking large bodies, very long legs, and very very noticeable whilst scurrying across the floor.

I discovered that I could catch them easily enough by putting a glass over them, but that’s as much as I could bear.  He walked into our living room to find that I had used every glass we owned (and had bought many more) to capture the blighters.  You had to walk carefully around them in some kind of weaving motion, to make your path through to the kitchen, where there were more.

He was gobsmacked – I explained that I couldn’t sleep if they were loose, but that once I’d caught them, I couldn’t move them or put them outside.

So, tonight, on the eve of his return home, I think he’ll be more worried about that kind of homecoming.

Difference between the sexes – holiday packing

Published July 18, 2013 by iftheshoefits

There was a gentle debate at work today regarding how many bikinis one of the girls was packing for her week long, caribbean holiday.  She has seven bikinis, and has decided that she needs to pack at least four of them.

A male colleague was visibly horrified, “why would you need four, surely one would do, two if you wanted a choice?”.  The intake of breath from the female contingent was audible.

I’ve travelled a lot through work over the last seven years, and have learned the art of packing through trial and error.  The key to packing is a good list – and a good capsule wardrobe – I only buy things that mix and match.  I make a list of items I want to take, I then make a list of outfits for each day, usually decided by which shoes I want to take.  I then whittle it down to the right combination – which flip flops and wedges go with most outfits.  It works for me every time, but I do need time to plan it.  My worst nightmare is a panic pack.

My other half has a simpler method, he simply counts the number of t-shirts and shorts he needs and packs them (adds a few for emergencies) – job done.  It works for both of us.  We can usually go away for a week long trip with one check-in bag and a small carry on each.  If we can’t – it means I’ve overdone it.

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