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The higher the heel, the better I feel...

An article published on a parenting website, April 2012:

Of all the carnage caused to my body by two pregnancies – saggy tummy, stretch marks, (can I mention piles? sadly it’s hard to ignore them) – by far the worst is the change to my feet.  I spent years building up a spectacular shoe collection in a size 4 and a half – but months spent supporting the weight of two people and a mountain of cake has left my feet a shade over size 5. Rows and rows of shiny, sparkly, furry and downright fabulous shoes are now gathering dust under my bed, only taken out to be stroked then squeezed on to my complaining feet, then cast aside after a quick hobble to the mirror proves too painful. 


But while my changing feet forced a change in my footwear – it turns out there’s not much call for heels in my new life as a mum of two. I hung on as long as possible, managing to stuff my feet into some rather tasty crushed velvet peeptoes in the last days of pregnancy – but now it’s all about flats. Hauling a scooter while pushing a buggy and holding a toddler’s hand is much easier when you don’t have to think about your own balance. So for the park, mum boots rule.  But at the office, I can indulge my passion for shoes. 


Returning to work after maternity leave is a pretty daunting affair. Alongside worries over whether you can still do the job and whether your precious babies will be okay with whoever’s caring for them, is the question of what exactly to wear.  Although never blessed with a model’s figure, I pretty much knew what suited me.  Now I have a new body, my former favourites have mainly gone out of the window in favour of black (very slimming) and anything which drapes (I like to think it’s very slimming). 


So far, so drab. Thank heavens, then, for my high heeled saviours, a bright red, patent, skyscraper pair of Rupert Sanderson platforms.  Who can fail to feel confident in a sexy, stylish, scene-stealing pair of shoes? ( Especially when you got them for a real steal on Ebay).  They go with everything, especially my mainly black new wardrobe. And with an extra few inches in height, comes a wiggle to my walk and a business-like ‘click-clack’ sound, making me feel like a super-efficient secretary or at least someone who has had a good night’s sleep and can remember her own name.  


Of course, it took me a while to feel comfy in these alpha female shoes.  High heel queen Kirstie Allsop once told me she had to relearn how to walk in her trademark shoes after the birth of her first child, because of the effect pregnancy has on your core muscles. And I felt the same. Before babies I spent every waking moment in heels – at 5 foot 3, everyone remarked on how short I was if I ever fancied a rare dress down day. But the first time I tried out heels after the birth of my daughter I wobbled like a newborn lamb and, horror of horrors, had to resort to wearing a pair of trainers for the tube trip to work.  


Still, on the steps of the office, I took off the offending sportswear, and slipped my feet into my sexy Sandersons. After months as a mum, I finally felt like me again. I strode into work with my head held high and a smile on my face. And although I spent most of the day reading emails and having coffee (sat down! And I drank it while it was hot! Amazing) my high heels helped me look the part – which in turn helped me feel that I could still cut it in the workplace.   


At the end of the day though, digging my comfy shoes out of my bag, I was ready to start being a mum again, and trainers were the perfect pair to help me rush home in time to run my daughter’s bath and put her to bed. Now I spend more time lusting after gorgeous shoes (snakeskin Michael Kors sandals?  Dries Van Noten spike heel shoe boots? mmmm ) than wearing them. But every time I need to feel on form – I have one rule to live by. The higher the heel, the better I feel.  


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